(MONDAY 11TH OCTOBER
REGIME’S LATEST REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION IN ZIMBABWE SET TO CLOSE DOWN WHAT LITTLE
SPACE IS LEFT FOR PUBLIC DEBATE AND DEMOCRATIC
& SOLIDARITY TO THE STRUGGLING PEOPLE OF
Our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe continue to suffer at
the hands of a dictatorial regime intent on destroying any vestige of popular
democracy and socio-economic well being for the vast majority of the citizens of
that country. The latest attack launched by the Mugabe regime on basic freedoms
is the NGO Act that has recently been presented to the Zimbabwean
Parliament. It is but the latest in a
series of manufactured legal constraints imposed on the people of Zimbabwe by a
regime that has become intolerant of any criticism and dissent. The NGO Act,
when enacted, will do to Zimbabwean civil society what AIPPA (Access to
Information and the Protection of Privacy Act) did to the print media and the
BSA (Broadcasting Services Act) did to the electronic media. Coupled with the
draconian POSA (Public Order & Security Act) which places severe
restrictions on the constitutional right of freedom of association and assembly,
the NGO Act represents nothing less than the closing down of what little space
is left for public debate and democratic activity, a development that has the
potential to drive Zimbabweans to seek other, extra-legal, solutions to their
Our historical and more contemporary experience in South Africa
convinces us of the need for vibrant, independent and progressive organs of
civil society. Trade unions, social movements, community civics and progressive
NGOs played an essential role in the defeat of the apartheid regime and in
keeping alive the spirit of popular democracy, economic justice and social
liberation and continue today, in new forms, to uphold that tradition and to act
as vehicles for the voices of the poor and marginalized.
For all freedom
loving people in our region, continent and across the world, one thing must be
clear - Mugabe did not liberate Zimbabwe; Zimbabweans did with the help of many
people inside the country, in Southern Africa and abroad. Mugabe's somewhat
limited and chequered contribution to that struggle does not confer a divine
right to reign in perpetuity and to terrorise the people of that country. It is
high time that South Africans unbundle the 'liberation' mythology of Mugabe and
seek a much clearer understanding of this megalomaniac who has literally
destroyed the hopes and dreams of an entire nation in the name of completing a
self-constructed and self-serving 'national liberation struggle'.
We call upon all South Africans to
open their eyes to the creeping fascism and very real repression that is the
reality of present-day Zimbabwe. Let us not be fooled by the demagogic victim
syndrome and vacuous anti-imperialist rhetoric of Mugabe and his crony regime.
Let us listen to the people of Zimbabwe, including those hundreds of thousands
that have been forced into political and economic exile in our own country. Let
us demand that the South African government show moral courage, political
honesty and human solidarity towards the suffering people of Zimbabwe and act
now to do all it can to ensure that this, and other, repressive legislation is
stopped in its tracks.
The people of Zimbabwe contributed enormously to South
Africa's struggle for freedom and they deserve the full support of South
Africans in their own struggle to regain a freedom that has been brutally
assaulted and raped, in their own name. Let us not allow the people of Zimbabwe
to be sacrificed on an altar of lies, expediency, personal egos and elite
THE MUGABE REGIME! POWER TO THE
For further comment/information, contact Dale McKinley
on 073 429-4086
Message from Sarah Carter and Kate Kaye-Eddie ......
Animals are starving
as the amount of food is decreasing for the demand
that is needed. Recently
we have been reduced to feeding the predators.
Other animals that have died
in the game park such as the matriarch
elephant, sable, impala and the list
Please, we desperately need your help in the feeding and caring
large number of animals in our care. Animals are being sent to our
Sanctuary almost weekly, with the cost of everything going up almost
daily, we are in desperate need of some assistance. All the animals
within the sanctuary are there for a reason - they are orphaned,
injured, former pets or problem animals and cannot be released back into
They are relying on us.
All these animals require
food, housing and veterinary care.
Veterinary costs continue to increase
on a monthly basis and basic flea
and tick control is rapidly becoming
beyond our means. Our major source
of food for the herbivores is no longer
operating at full capacity which
means we are receiving less than half the
amount of waste vegetables
that we need.
We have in the past been
relying on donations of horses and livestock to
feed our predators and this
source is shrinking as the economic
We do have a
sponsorship scheme in place for very lucky individual
animals, however these
only cover the cost of that one specific animal.
We still need to cover the
cost of the other animals. We have put
together a "list" of essentials that
we desperately need for the
well-being of our animals.
(Spray or Spot-on - for Rolf the Cheetah) DOG DIP, FLEA
DUSTING POWDER NAILS, WIRE, POLES DOG KENNELS, CRATES
(for shelters during
A SPONSOR FOR 3 ORPHANED PIGLETS - they require 2 litres of
milk/day which we have sourced at $4000/lt
A SPONSOR FOR 2
ORPHANED CALVES - they require 2 litres of cows milk per
day which we have
sourced at $3500/lt
WASTE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES FERTILIZER LUCERNE AND
WHEELBARROW, SHOVELS, HOES MOLASSES AND HAY AND LASTLY, BUT MOST
IMPORTANTLY - YOUR SUPPORT! Just by visiting our sanctuary on the
Shamva Road you are helping us. We are only half an hour from Harare
and open every day except Mondays.
Thank you for helping us to care
for the Bally Vaughan animals. We
cannot do it without you! By sponsoring
a Bally Vaughan resident, or
assisting with one of our projects, you are not
just helping this small
group of creatures, but you are making a difference
to the future of
wildlife in Zimbabwe as a whole.
Please if you are
interested in helping please contact:
BALLY VAUGHAN BIRD AND GAME SANCTUARY
War veterans leader granted $1 million bail
JAILED former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association
secretary-general Endy Mhlanga has been granted $1 million bail pending his
appeal to the High Court.
Mhlanga was last month jailed for
two-and-a-half years by a Harare
magistrate after being convicted of theft
by false pretences and corruption
involving $448 599.
Karwi granted Mhlanga bail pending appeal after hearing
both the State, represented by law officer Mr Morgan
Nemadire, and the
defence team led by Advocate Eric Matinenga, who was
instructed by Mr Aston
He also ordered Mhlanga to report at the Criminal Investigation
Fraud Squad once every week and to remain at his Budiriro house
matter is finalised.
Mhlanga, a former director of war
veterans' investment company Zexcom
Foundation (Pvt) Limited, was convicted
on two counts of theft by conversion
which arose after he registered a B2500
company car in his name.
The corruption charges stem from his corruptly
awarding of a tender to his
company, Mashtech Training College, to repair a
fleet of Zexcom cars.
Zim to buy 200 combine harvesters
ZIMBABWE wants to buy 200 combine harvesters from Argentina and
ensure that there is no shortage of equipment next
A delegation of officials from the Department of Agricultural
Department of Irrigation, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority will shortly leave for the
South American countries.
The Government is stepping up efforts
to build combine capacity for next
"It is now too clear that
we will meet our grain requirements. In fact, we
expect very high
production, but to enhance our position, we need to have
equipment,'' said the Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Joseph Made, yesterday.
The delegation would also negotiate for credit
lines to be extended to
Zimbabwe to buy the combines. The combines would not
be expected to ease the
current combine shortage but would help speed up the
harvesting of next
Brazil and Argentina are among the
very few countries that have climates
similar to Zimbabwe's and which make
"The GMB should take the lead in making sure the
wheat crop is harvested
and, as such, it should be interested in the
availability of combines,''
said the minister.
Wheat and maize are
classified crops which can only be sold to the GMB and,
as such, the GMB,
being the sole buyer, should take interest in their
Efforts by the ministry to source for more combine harvesters
with the 35-year national agricultural strategic document
that seeks to
increase grain production and food security.
said the ministry would also appeal to the Reserve Bank for foreign
down-payment so that the combines can be bought on credit.
It is expected
that new farmers would be given the option to buy some of the
some would be distributed across the country's
The consignment would also include grain dryers to enhance grain
reduce weevil attack.
On the rains lashing across much of
the country, Dr Made said they were a
challenge to wheat and barley farmers
as any delay would result in the crops
sprouting, but he added that the
rains were good for land preparation.
The Government has in past few
months been importing tractors and combine
harvesters. Land reform has,
indeed, pushed up the demand for machinery and
equipment as more people got
portions of land to cultivate
MUGABE SPURNS FOOD AID AGAIN
Tues 12 October
MAPUTO - President Robert Mugabe has again rejected
assistance, insisting Zimbabwe had produced enough to
Mugabe, who was speaking at the end of a three-day
yesterday, said Zimbabwe planned to hold an agro-industrial fair
how the country was emerging from a severe food and economic
gripped the country for the last three years.
international food relief experts told ZimOnline yesterday that
food output improved last farming season, Zimbabwe still faced a
of 700 000 tonnes of the staple maize.
A senior official with one
food agency, who spoke anonymously for
professional reasons, said: "I think
the evidence is there for all to see
that the maize harvested is not enough
to feed the people.
"We have visited some of the resettlement areas
which are still lying
fallow....Even the resettled farmers may need food aid
because they did not
get adequate support to produce food. You must also
look at the widespread
poverty in urban areas to see that things
are not looking good at all."
The official said Zimbabwe, which has
grappled with acute shortages of
foreign currency since 1999, needed to
raise hard cash to import more maize
to augment existing stocks. The country
requires 1.8 million tonnes of maize
for national consumption and for
strategic reserves until the next harvest that begins around April
ZimOnline exposed three weeks ago that Harare had
since July this year
quietly imported 100 000 tonnes of maize from
neighbouring Zambia and
Malawi. Sources at the government's Grain Marketing
Board said the decision
to import maize was taken after it emerged
that harvests would be far below government forecasts of 2.4 million
of the staple grain.
And board chief executive officer, Samuel
Muvuti, last month also told
a parliamentary committee probing the country's
food situation that the
state's grain utility had up to last month collected
a paltry 200 000 tonnes
of maize from growers. The board is the only
authority permitted to buy
maize from farmers under the government's grain
The parliamentary committee is still to table its findings in
Aid agencies have accused Mugabe of claiming food
sufficiency in order
to drive them out of the country so he could manipulate
food relief to buy
votes ahead of a crucial parliamentary election scheduled
for next March.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party, local and
international human rights groups have accused Mugabe and
his ruling ZANU PF
party of denying food to his opponents. They deny the
Mugabe, who was in Maputo to pay homage to President
Chissano, also claimed tension in Zimbabwe had eased and that the
crumbling economy was on the mend despite inflation hovering above
As an example of Zimbabwe's progress on the path
to recovery, Mugabe
noted that the country was now manufacturing
anti-retroviral drugs to combat
a raging HIV/AIDS pandemic that is killing 2
000 people in the country every
week. - ZimOnline
Maize seed, fertilizer shortages hit country
HARARE - An acute shortage of maize seed and
fertilizer could still
see food production in Zimbabwe dropping again even
if the country received
good rains this farming season, ZimOnline has
In a snap survey yesterday, fertilizer and seed
suppliers across the
country said they did not have enough stocks and had
quantities farmers could purchase at a time.
Shortages of foreign currency to import raw materials plus reduced
production capacity at the country's only fertilizer-making company had
combined to see a drop in the quantity of maize seed and ammonium nitrate
fertilizer, critical in the production of Zimbabwe's staple food crop,
The main farming season begins in less than three weeks
time with the
first rains expected by early November.
country's sole manufacturer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, Sable
temporarily stopped production in August because of a labour
and also because of shortages of foreign currency to import
Officials at Sable's fertilizer factory near Kwekwe
kilometres west of Harare, yesterday said production at the
factory was now
at 60 percent but still far below demand which they said
peaks around this
time of the year.
A farmer in one of
Zimbabwe's main maize-growing areas in Mashonaland
Central province said:
"Fertilizer merchants have been limiting supplies to
customers because Sable
is not supplying them enough. Some of the outlets
are out of stock while
those that have the
commodity are limiting orders to about two 50kg
bags of fertilizer per
The Sables's general manager,
Joseph Mhunduru, could not be reached
for comment yesterday. But Mhunduru
last month told the Press that the
company was increasing production
capacity and would be able to meet demand
depending on availability of
Officials at Zimbabwe's two largest seed
producers, Seed Co and Pannar
Seed, who spoke anonymously said the two firms
had so far released about 9
000 tonnes of seed onto the market.
About 75 000 tonnes of seed should have been released to the market by
time of the year to ensure good harvests, according to agricultural
The seizure of mostly white-owned seed producing farms
government has hit hard production because the new black farm owners
resources and skills to grow seed.
Once a net food
exporter, Zimbabwe has grappled with severe food
shortages for the past
three years after chaotic and often violent
government land reforms
destabilised farm production. - ZimOnline
Judgment reserved in governor's trial
Tues 12 October
HARARE - High Court Judge Tedius Karwi yesterday reserved
a case in which Mashonaland Central governor Ephraim Masawi is
political violence and issuing death threats to opposition
supporters in his
Masawi did not personally appear
for the hearing which was held in the
lawyer Jessie Majome, who is representing Masawi, said: "The
judge said he
will pass a ruling on the matter in due course."
The governor is
accused of threatening opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party
national executive member, Claudious Marimo,
with death after he refused to
defect to the ruling ZANU PF party.
Masawi, who is the highest
ranking government official ever to be
tried of political violence, is also
accused of having held meetings with
militant supporters of the ruling party
urging them to cleanse the province
of all MDC supporters. He denies the
charges. - ZimOnline
ANALYSIS: MDC in quandary over Tsvangirai treason
Tues 12 October 2004
HARARE - A crippling question is
troubling Zimbabwe's opposition MDC
party: What to do if, on Friday, its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai is convicted
on charges that he plotted to kill
President Robert Mugabe?
Senior members of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) are trying
to reach consensus on the appropriate
response to a conviction, which apart
from the question of its injustice,
would render the party leaderless with
no obvious successor.
There is almost universal consensus in Zimbabwe that Tsvangirai
foundation on which the MDC is built. Without him, the party is
as good as
dead. Tsvangirai's political stamina, charisma and powerful
endeared him to many in the Zimbabwean
body politic, which is why he
narrowly lost to Mugabe in the 2002
presidential election which was widely
dismissed as rigged.
If convicted Tsvangirai faces the death
penalty or a long jail term.
He will then be barred from contesting high
political office in
In many interviews with MDC
officials, ZimOnline established this week
that the opposition party was
sharply divided on the issue with many party
officials preferring to reject
a conviction of Tsvangirai and retaining him
as the leader.
According to this school of thought, the treason charges against him
trumped up and not legitimate. The party should therefore show
solidarity with Tsvangirai and insist that he remains leader even
jail. It should put forward his name for elections and refuse to
any bar on him contesting.
The party should also focus on lobbying
for his release through a
determined campaign of mass action in Zimbabwe and
refuse to participate in
elections from which Tsvangirai is barred. It
should also try to sustain a
civil disobedience campaign to make the
ungovernable until Tsvangirai is freed.
second school of thought propounded a different approach,
Tsvangirai's enemies in the party as being "more realistic".
cannot mortgage the party and the future of Zimbabwe to the soul
man," said one MDC MP who preferred anonymity. "What if Tsvangirai
Will these same guys suggest we disband the MDC altogether because as
party we cannot do without him?
"I have the utmost respect for
Tsvangirai but I think we ought to be
realistic in our analysis....We can't
just handover the game to Mugabe."
According to this second school
of thought, if Tsvangirai is convicted
the party should elect a new leader
and move on. Zimbabwe needs an
opposition and the MDC should fulfill that
need with or without Tsvangirai.
"We need to avoid building
personality cults as ZANU PF has done with
Mugabe," said a member of the
national executive council.
is no doubt that Tsvangirai's trial is political and all the
trumped up because Mugabe wants to eliminate him as his major
Mugabe might succeed in doing that because it's all politics.
we should then do is to ensure that Mugabe does not get away
with it. This
we can only do by rallying around a new leader who will
appropriate opposition. If we get power, we can then release
set aside all the political charges against him to enable him
politics. This we cannot do if we take a position that amounts
to saying the
MDC should die with his conviction."
Officials in the second school
of thought suggest that in the event of
Tsvangirai's conviction, MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube or fired
Harare executive mayor Elias
Mudzuri should take over.
Some even suggest that the whole treason
trial is being used to
eliminate Tsvangirai from the political scene and
replace him with a new
opposition leader who will be amenable to forging a
unity government with
Mugabe, something that Tsvangirai has
Unconfirmed reports suggest that
Ncube is the favourite in Pretoria,
which has not made a secret of its
disdain and contempt for Tsvangirai after
he last year accused President
Thabo Mbeki of lying about the Zimbabwe
Mbeki believes that with Ncube at the helm, he can get
President Mugabe to
agree to a co-operation arrangement and end the Zimbabwe
Mbeki and his henchmen in the ANC consider Tsvangirai a
block" to resolving the Zimbabwe crisis, according to one ANC
fundi. In the
final analysis, Mbeki prefers a reformed ZANU PF to remain in
opposed to an MDC government.
He doesn't want
trade-union backed parties to continue outstaging
liberation war parties in
southern Africa, according to the official.
Mbeki would alternatively
prefer a kind of co-operative government in
which ZANU PF remains dominant
and the MDC a junior
partner, something he believes he can achieve with
Ncube at the helm
of the opposition party, the ANC official
But that seems all based on a wrong analysis of the
politics. The official acknowledged that African
political parties are built
around strong personalities and Tsvangirai is as
of now the rallying point
for the MDC.
Without him the party is
In the unlikely event that Ncube took over while
Tsvangirai is in
jail, MDC officials warned that the party would split if
Ncube tried to work
out a deal with ZANU PF which would benefit him as an
The MDC is yet to take an official public position on
its response to
a conviction of Tsvangirai in the treason case. But the
debate has taken
centre stage in the party because it does not want to be
caught with its
pants down this time around.
Its failure to
plan in advance and adopt strategic responses to
political situations has
cost it dearly in the past.
In the 2002 presidential elections, the
party had not planned a
strategic response if it lost the poll. It had
believed it would win.
Tsvangirai had reportedly penned his victory
speech and he was ready
to move into State House before the results were
The lack of strategic thinking and planning became
evident when at a
post-election Press conference, Tsvangirai was asked for
his party's next
move. He publicly ruled out challenging the election
results in courts only
to go to the courts a month later.
also ruled out calling people into the streets to protest against
election because this would cause bloodshed. But only months later he
for a "final push" to topple Mugabe, which earned him a second
These "wish-washy" prevarications have been cited as
greatest weakness though the MDC essentially needs
Reports suggest that High Court Judge President Paddington
regarded as being too close to Mugabe, had already convicted
without consulting his assessors.
The tow assessors,
with whom Garwe head Tsvangirai's trial, now hold
the key to his fate on
Friday. It was the decision of two assessors that
helped former ZANU PF
firebrand Edgar Tekere with an acquittal in the early
1980s after the
presiding judge had convicted him of the murder of a white
* ZimOnline will provide you with a spot on report on the
judgment soon after its delivery on Friday.
Air Zimbabwe to launch flight to China before year
HARARE, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe's
national carrier, Air
Zimbabwe, is set to introduce a direct flight to
Beijing, China via
Singapore before the end of the year, the New Ziana news
agency reported on
The country's Transport and
secretary,Karikoga Kaseke was quoted as saying he
could confirm that
Zimbabwean government was expecting the introduction of
The introduction of the flight to the two countries
will be in
line with the government's "Look East" policy which has seen the
tourist arrivals from China increases from 3,354 in 2003to 11,584
China also granted Zimbabwe Approved Destination
Status last year,
encouraging Chinese people to travel to
Kaseke also confirmed that plans to introduce a
direct flight to
Dubai are being considered. Enditem
Global Fund rejects appeal, denies political bias
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Oct 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's request for funding from the
Global Fund to
Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria has again been
Last week Zimbabwe appealed the Fund's earlier rejection of
its HIV/AIDS and
TB grant proposals. Fund spokesman Tim Clark told IRIN on
"sadly, neither of the Zimbabwe appeals was
In July the Fund turned down proposals from Zimbabwe for
HIV/AIDS, TB and
malaria, "for technical reasons". David Parirenyatwa,
Zimbabwe's Minister of
Health and Child Welfare, accused the Fund of
political bias, something the
Global Fund has strongly denied.
its proposals been approved, Zimbabwe would have benefited from a US
million five-year commitment by the Fund. Clark pointed out that
was not the only country to have proposals rejected in July: 36
had been unsuccessful.
There were 13 appeals to the Fund to reconsider
country proposals, and "of
these Zimbabwe launched two appeals - it only
appealed for two of the
disease components (HIV/AIDS and TB), and neither of
those were successful
at appeal," Clark noted.
As was the case in
July, "technical reasons were given for the failure of
the appeals, which
were judged by an independent panel, and those reasons
will be communicated
back to Zimbabwe. So, if they intend to re-lodge the
applications in the
next round [of proposals], they will have a good idea of
what work needs to
be done to knock them into shape," Clark said.
However, Mary Sandasi, the
director of a local HIV/AIDS group, Women and
AIDS Support Network, told
IRIN she believed the Global Fund was "mixing
issues" and had "a hiddgen
"The Global Fund is supposed to be looking at HIV/AIDS, TB and
they are taking up other issues; issues that are to do with the
Zimbabwe, and that can only be dealt with by Zimbabweans without
interference," Sandasi said.
"I think this is the fourth
round [of proposals], and we have not received
any funding from them. We
feel there is a hidden agenda," she added.
Clark denied any political
bias in the Fund's decision. "Anybody looking at
our portfolio of grants
throughout the world will see we have given grants
to North Korea, Sudan,
Myanmar ... to a number of difficult environments
throughout the world. I
don't think that, logically, anybody could accuse us
motivations in our funding decisions," he said.
He explained that the
funding applications "are all screened by an
independent panel; the board of
the Global Fund then approves funding on the
basis of the recommendations of
the independent technical review panel,
which is an international review
panel that reviews [proposals] for
He noted that
"there are two grants that have already been approved to
Zimbabwe during the
first round in April 2002 - some US $14 million for
HIV/AIDS programmes and
a malaria grant for nearly US $9 million - and it's
subsequent applications have not been successful".
The appeal process
concluded on 7 October. Three proposals succeeded, one
each from Niger,
Russia and Uzbekistan.
Zimbabwe's nationwide strike is over
By: Gareth Tredway
16:00' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2004
JOHANNESBURG (Mineweb.com) -- The
Zimbabwean Chamber of Mines has confirmed
that the nationwide strike
involving as much as 60 percent of Zimbabwe's
mineworkers has been called
off and that workers will probably return
Verden, executive director at the Chamber, says documentation had been
received from the trade unions and the ministry of labour instructing
workers to return. He said arbitration hearings could commence at the end of
this week between the Chamber and unions.
The strike action began on
October 8, but dates back to March, when
arguments arose whether initiatives
by government and the reserve bank had
borne fruit for the country's mining
industry and should be passed on to the
Verden says a
hearing in September found against the Chamber, saying that
did come from the initiatives. The Chamber then appealed the
workers decided to strike before a resolution.
He said the Chamber agreed
to drop the appeal if workers did not take strike
action, but that at the
first discussion between the parties two days later,
"the country was awash
A total of 25,000 workers out of the 45,000 registered
miners in Zimbabwe,
were reported to be on strike, with coal, asbestos and
Those that were affected were Metallon, a
South African and Zimbabwean gold
producer, and Impala Platinum. Metallon
had stoppages at three of its five
operations, while Impala says the effects
have been "minimal".
"The effects at Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats)
of this industrial action
have been minimal," said a statement, "Time lost
at the Selous Metallurgical
Complex has totalled 14 hours. Mining operations
at Ngezi have not been
affected to date."
Mugabe's Farmers Seek First Access to Cash in Ailing
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Posted to the web October 12, 2004
THE curator of Zimbabwe's Royal Bank warned the
financial institution was on
the brink of collapse yesterday as a court
battle pitching farmers against
the caretaker played out .
McIndoe said Royal, one of four commercial banks that have been
to liquidity problems, would go under if new investors were not
time to recapitalise it.
In an opposing affidavit to a court application
filed by the Hurungwe
District Farmers Association in a bid to withdraw cash
from the bank,
McIndoe said the farmers would precipitate Royal's complete
collapse if they
were allowed to remove their money.
"The bank is in
a hole, and to allow withdrawals would be tantamount to
digging the hole
deeper," McIndoe said.
"Normal operations by Royal Bank may only resume
if a new investor comes on
Farmers, who received land under
the government's chaotic land-reform
programme, instituted litigation
against Royal to get their money out ahead
of other depositors.
said that they needed the money urgently to finance their operations.
farmers said refusal to release their money would "plunge our activities
into an abyss".
However, McIndoe said the farmers had no special
right of withdrawal,
compared with other depositors.
does not belong to any special class of depositor that the
choose to deal with differently from the rest while at the same
controlling the levels of withdrawal of funds, " he said.
is just like every other depositor of Royal Bank, and it is
possible to enable him to access funds without extending the
same to the
On August 4 Royal Bank was placed under the management
of a curator for six
Other banks shut for not having enough
money to cover themselves include
Barbican, Intermarket and Trust. Up to
nine banks in Zimbabwe are said to be
near collapse more trouble for
Zimbabwe's already overburdened economy.
NMB, one of the biggest locally
owned banks, and NDH were last week reported
to be in financial crisis
NMB has been trying to secure a rescue package from the central bank to
avoid collapse. The bank was said to have been looking for Z160bn. The
central bank has so far doled out Z500bn to save troubled
Observers, however, say the financial bale-out will fail as it
address fundamental problems that include a deep liquidity crisis,
structural weaknesses, mismanagement and managerial incompetence
AI Index: AFR 46/030/2004
News Service No: 254
12 October 2004
Ahead of World Food Day, Amnesty International invites journalists to
launch of its latest report: Zimbabwe: Power and hunger - violations of
right to food. The report will be launched in Johannesburg, South Africa
15 October 2004.
In its report, Amnesty International looks at the
food shortages and food
insecurity which Zimbabwe has experienced over the
past four years, and
whether the government has fulfilled its obligations,
human rights law to which Zimbabwe is party, to ensure
the right to food for
all people under its jurisdiction.
also looks at specific government policies and practices which
have had an
impact on food security. These include: the impact on the right
to food of
the way in which the land reform program was implemented; the
the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board which has a
monopoly on trade and
marketing of maize, the staple food; food aid and
and the use of food and food aid around elections
Samkelo Mokhine, Chair of Amnesty International South Africa
Following are conference details
Samkelo Mokhine, Chair AI-South Africa
Audrey Gaughran, Researcher, AI
DATE: 15 October 2004
TIME: 10 am
Sunnyside Park Hotel,
Corner of St Andrews and Princess of Wales
TEL: +27 (11) 643 7226
further details contact: Samkelo Mokhine at AI South Africa Tel:
27(0)832612656 or Jelena Visser at 27(12) 320-8155
Noczim officials get bail
October 12, 2004, 11:10
top officials from the state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
have been charged with corruption involving more than Z$77
Lovemore Manduku and Lenyfesty Mukonoweshuro were both granted
bail on separate fraud charges in a Harare Magistrate's
Both men are accused of buying subsidised fuel from Noczim depots,
was needed on farms they had been allocated under Zimbabwe's
land redistribution programme. The state says neither Manduku
Mukonoweshuro own equipment that could use the fuel.
been plagued with fuel shortages since late 2000, largely as a
foreign currency shortages caused by an economic crisis. - Sapa
Zim: Union members arrested
12/10/2004 15:25 - (SA)
Harare - A strike by Zimbabwean postal and telecommunications workers
entered a second week on Tuesday as police arrested three trade unionists
for allegedly trying to rope in more protesters, an official
Mlamleli Sibanda, a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
(ZCTU), said the three men were arrested in Zimbabwe's second city
He said the police gave no reason for the arrests
and have not pressed
charges. Police were not immediately available to
confirm the arrests.
"They're still being held at the police station,"
Sibanda said he believed the three were arrested for urging
others to join
the strike by workers at the state-run telephone and postal
began on Thursday in protest over unpaid pay increases
agreed to in June.
"The workers were awarded an increment in June this
year. Since that time
management has not affected that increment, saying
they can't pay," said the
Sibanda claimed the strike
had been widely followed with management having
to fill in for absent
workers throughout the southern African country.
Taibu disappointed at pullout by leading England players
12 October, 2004 08:08
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe
captain Tatenda Taibu is
disappointed England will be missing several top
players when they tour the
African country next month.
"We would have
loved for all of their players to come. We want to play
best...and I think politics and sports should be separated,"
reporters on Tuesday.
England are scheduled to play five one-day
internationals in November. Fast
bowler Steve Harmison has pulled out on
political grounds while Andrew
Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick accepted an
England and Wales cricket board
(ECB) invitation to be rested for the
"Whoever has replaced Harmison would obviously be
good enough to represent
his country. But it is disappointing not to face
Harmison who has been doing
so well," Taibu said.
The ECB decided to
go ahead with the Zimbabwe tour in spite of reservations
among players about
political repression in the country, because it faced a
heavy fine by the
International Cricket Council if it pulled out.
Zimbabwe cricket has also
been in turmoil since April when 15 white rebel
players walked out of the
team accusing the Zimbabwe Cricket Union of
A committee of
the ICC, who have suspended Zimbabwe's test programme until
the end of the
year, is due to submit its report on the allegations later
this week at an
ICC executive board meeting in Lahore.
Zimbabwe return home from Pakistan
having lost three one-day internationals
in a tri-series but Taibu said the
experience would serve them well against
"England is a
better team and since we are looking to keep going forward we
need to be
playing against better teams."
England tour South Africa after the
Zimbabwe one-dayers and Harmison,
Flintoff and Trescothick are due to join
MDC claims voters roll rigging
12/10/2004 21:18 -
Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Tuesday told
authorities had reduced the number of registered voters in
the party's traditional stronghold, ahead of next year's
David Coltart, the secretary for legal affairs
for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told parliament his party
believed the number of
voters in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo had been
cut by 15% since
elections in 2002.
"In urban areas there has been a
reduction of registered voters compared to
2002," Coltart said.
MDC claims it lost parliamentary polls in 2000 and presidential polls
years later because of intimidation and electoral fraud.
The party has
threatened to boycott polls scheduled for next March if
Mugabe does not implement electoral reforms.
"On our analysis, for
example in Bulawayo province there is a 15% reduction
of voters on the
voters roll compared to the voters roll we had in 2002,"
After being cautioned by the speaker not to make allegations
government officials who were not present to defend themselves, the
legislator said his claims were based on a "preliminary analysis" of the
voters roll and were not "an assertion of absolute fact".
party members were not present in parliament and debate was
"Zhing-Zhong" Gets the Thumbs Up
BULAWAYO, Oct 12 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's clothing manufacturers
well why Asian economies are often referred to as "tigers".
swiftness, low-priced imports from the East have cut a swathe
local clothing, textile and footwear market.
of Asian goods now ranks high on Zimbabwean manufacturers' list
of worries -
which also include triple-digit inflation, high interest rates,
consumer demand and political instability.
"These goods are being dumped
even in the rural areas. They come cheap, are
of cheap quality and our wares
cannot compete - especially with the Chinese
types," says Justice Mashinti,
who heads the National Employment Council for
the clothing industry. The
body provides a forum for unions and employers to
negotiate wages, safety
regulations and other matters.
In a dig at the perceived frailty of Asian
imports, consumers have
nick-named them "zhing-zhong".
suspicions about the quality of these goods have not prevented
from buying them. In a county grappling with 70 percent
affordable goods are invariably sought after.
Batteries, playing cards,
toys, tooth brushes, nail varnish, electric irons
and radios are among the
bright assortment of Asian products available at
stalls in flea markets
across the country.
At Sekusile, a busy and crowded market in the
southern city of Bulawayo, a
trader called McDonald is hardly visible behind
the rows of colourful
ladies' underwear and the racks of men's shirts that
are for sale. His own
stall is bedecked with sports shoes and slippers that
sell for a third to
half the price of their local equivalents.
make up to 300,000 (Zimbabwean) dollars (about 40 United States dollars)
day," says the 25-year-old, who travels to neighbouring Botswana once a
month to replenish his stock. Botswana, he adds, has many Asian shops
offering a variety of products at low prices.
While Asian imports
have traditionally been the preserve of flea markets,
they are also making
an appearance in the formal retail market. "We see
shoes that we think are
Chinese," says Mike Vernon, a local manufacturer of
Allen Feigenbaum, who also makes shoes - mainly for export, "Because of
economies of scale and availability of the most modern equipment, they can
produce footwear at prices that are impossible to beat."
import duties do little to stem the influx of Asian goods. "For many
these products duty is a ludicrous 100 (Zimbabwean) dollars (less than
U.S. dollar) per kilogramme (of clothing)," says economist Eric Bloch.
save local jobs, the clothing industry union is spearheading a campaign
encourage Zimbabweans to buy domestically manufactured products.
saying to the Asian people, don't supply us with what we can produce
supply us with that which we can't produce," says Fred Mpofu,
general-secretary of the union. "It's like we're exporting our jobs to
The union plans a competition at the end of this month to
fabrics and designs.
The Parliamentary Committee on
Industry and International Trade also plans
to investigate the sale of Asian
goods, as acting chairman of the body Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu says government
policy on cheap imports is unclear.
"We are facing a crisis in our
consumption of imported inferior goods
without the government showing much
comprehension," he notes.
IPS could not obtain comment from the Ministry
of Industry and International
Trade on the extent of Zimbabwe's dealings
with Asian countries.
However, a commercial officer at the Chinese
embassy in Harare who declined
to be named said the trade balance between
China and Zimbabwe was tipped in
Zimbabwe's favour. This was due to the fact
that tobacco exports from
Zimbabwe accounted for 75 percent of the 200
million United States dollars
in annual trade between the two
The officer maintained that most Chinese-made products were of
quality, "but where people are poor, they will source poor quality
a cheap price."
Any effort to address the matter of Asian
imports is likely to be
complicated by the fact that Harare is pursuing
stronger ties with the Asian
bloc, this as relations with Western countries
sour because of political
Since the start of 2000, a
controversial land redistribution programme,
disputed parliamentary and
presidential elections and widespread human
rights abuses have put Zimbabwe
at odds with former colonial power Britain,
the United States and
Government's rapprochment with Asian states does appear to have
benefit for the tourism sector, however, which has been hard
perceptions of political uncertainty in Zimbabwe.
and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema says the number of Asian
likely to rise by about 50 percent this year from 41,000 to
80,000, a figure
that includes some 25,000 Chinese. (END/2004)
Tsvangirai sues Ben Menashe in Canada
Last updated: 10/12/2004 22:35:04
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change
(MDC) president, Morgan Tsvangirai, is suing
a former Israeli special
assignments agent and his political consultancy
firm - Dickens and Madsen -
in a Montreal Superior Court, Canada, for a
staggering US$3,1 million
(Z$17,36 billion) for unacceptable commercial
conduct involving dishonesty,
deception and fraud.
According to court papers filed by Tsvangirai, MDC
Welshman Ncube and shadow minister for agriculture Renson
flagrantly violated a contract to lobby international
support for the
opposition party and instead cooked up stories of a plot to
President Robert Mugabe.
This led to the arrest of
Tsvangirai and his colleagues, Ncube and Gasela,
on charges of high treason
- a charge that carries the death penalty in
and Gasela were acquitted before the conclusion of the trial
government insisted that Tsvangirai had a case to answer.
Tsvangirai's treason trial is expected on Friday. Tongues are
wagging over the outcome of the High Court decision, with the big
being what will happen if Tsvangirai is convicted and vice versa.
Daily Mirror says it has the court papers in its possession. They read
part: "The plaintiffs have denied and continue to deny any allegations of
plotting to kill President Mugabe. The plaintiffs state that the audio and
video tapes do not establish any such assassination plot on their part, and
further state that the whole sequence of events described in this statement
of claim was a fraudulent scheme by the defendants to discredit the MDC and
destroy the reputations of the individual plaintiffs.
state that the defendants undertook the fraudulent scheme
described in this
pleading at the request of and or solely for the benefit
Mugabe, in order to prejudice the MDC's attempt to win the
elections on March 9 and 10, 2002."
Menashe - the government's star
witness in the treason trial against the
former firebrand trade unionist
Tsvangirai - claimed that his firm was
engaged by the opposition to
assassinate President Mugabe in December 2001.
"The plaintiffs state that
in the course of their dealings with the
defendants, the defendants made
numerous fraudulent misrepresentations, all
with the intention of defrauding
the plaintiffs of US$97 600 and damaging
their reputations as well as the
political objectives of the MDC," the court
papers went on.
result of the fraudulent actions described by the plaintiffs in this
statement of claim, the plaintiffs have suffered damage to their
reputations, significant emotional and mental distress, for which the
plaintiffs claim damages in the amount of US$1 million," the MDC added.
Further, the opposition party is claiming US$15 000 as compensation for
expenses incurred such as out-of-pocket allowances, legal fees and
In their response, Dickens and Madsen stuck to their guns and
all was above board.
The firm maintained that the MDC
wanted to overthrow President Mugabe and
his government using unorthodox
Dickens and Madsen asserted that the MDC did not require lobbying
from their firm, since the party had already retained the services
a company located in London, to do the same job.
plaintiffs sought to engage the services of defendant to accomplish an
illegal act, being the coup d'etat and assassination, and consequently any
monies paid to defendant cannot by law be reclaimed," said Dickens and
The MDC was represented by Borden Ladner Gervais and Dickens
and Madsen by
Zilbert Schwartz. Both lawyers are based in
Further, Dickens and Madsen were accused of refusing to lobby
MDC programmes and objectives ahead of the bloody 2002
although they had been paid US$97 600 for the
Instead of working for the opposition, the MDC asserted, Menashe had
considerable work for the Zimbabwe government and was used to trap the
Menashe audiotaped and videotaped his meeting with
Tsvangirai on November 3,
2001, in London and on December 4 the same year in
The tapes were later broadcast on an Australian television
subsequently leading to the arrest of the MDC leader, Ncube and
The plaintiffs claimed that during their
meetings with Menashe, he did not
disclose his links to the Zimbabwe
government and in particular that he
"considered President Mugabe to be a
"The plaintiffs state that they retained the services
of the defendants
under completely false pretences and misrepresentations
made by the
defendant, Ben Menashe, on his own behalf ."
Mabika: a comment too far
The recent decision of
Zimbabwe Television to sack commentator Charles
Mabika was a shock to
viewers that loved his unique perspective on matches.
Known to his
fans as "The Voice of Football" and "CNN", Mabika is
loved for his fast,
high-pitched commentaries interspersed with jokes and
Mabika began radio commentary in the mid 1980s and covered
Nations Cup finals, Zimbabwe's first appearance, for
But his career came to a bizarre end after Zimbabwe's 3-0 home
to Nigeria's Super Eagles in September's World Cup
Labelled as being "biased and unpatriotic" by ZTV
executives for his
praise of Nigeria's performance, his sacking was
announced on the evening
news two days after the 5 September
He was accused of paying too much attention to the skills of
Eagles and, in particular, midfielder Jay-Jay Okocha.
His excited description of the trademark somersaults of Julius
scored Nigeria's opening goal, also came under criticism.
phone-in programme "This Is Football", formerly presented by
Mabika, has had
many callers asking for the return of their favourite
However, ZTV's head of sport, Josephine Zulu, has
emphasised that he
will not be allowed back.
positioned ourselves as the leader in Zimbabwean sport and
demands unswerving loyalty to the national team, whether it
is winning or
losing," she said.
"Like any employer, ZTV reserves the right to
hire and fire employees,
guided by both professional and legal
Mabika himself has said little in public but
emphasised in a statement
that he is far from unpatriotic.
life starts and ends with football, I love my country very much,
and I will
always remain the Warriors' number one supporter," he said.
"Football and I are inseparable, because that is the only thing I
and sleep about."
From The Daily Mirror, 12 October
New twist to Mawere
embattled Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere's
South African based
asbestos marketing company, Southern Asbestos Sales
(SAS), has taken a new
twist with revelations that there are behind the
scenes maneuvers by State
appointed SMM Holdings administrators to illegally
rescind a High Court
order. A South African High Court granted Petter
Trading, the right to
collect money due to SAS from SMM Holdings, after the
Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe stopped payments to companies linked to Mawere.
According to a
memorandum written by South African Advocate Matane Mphahlele
SAS dated October 1 2004 to his client, chairman of SAS
identified only as P
Mariemuthu, the lawyer said he had been informed by the
financial manager Cleopas Sanangura that SMM secretary
Peter Moyo called him
on September 28 about a certain affidavit he wanted
him to sign. Sanangura,
Mphahlele claimed, informed him that Moyo wanted him
to sign an affidavit
confirming that a Cession Agreement between SAS and
Petter Trading and SMM
was backdated and therefore fraudulent. Moyo
allegedly informed Sanangura
that the affidavit was required for an
application by SMM to rescind and set
aside a court order granted to Petter
Trading to collect funds due from SMM.
This followed the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's refusal to allow such payments
to any company connected to
"Sanangura said that he had
informed Moyo that since he was no longer an
employee of SAS it would be
inappropriate for him to represent the company.
Moyo informed him that if he
complied he would be handsomely rewarded by the
administrator of SMM Afaras
Gwaradzimba for signing the affidavit," Advocate
Mphahlele wrote. Moyo
allegedly indicated to Sanangura that if he did not
cooperate, he would be
imprisoned by the Zimbabwean police who were after
Mawere. Sanangura are
allegedly stood his ground arguing that he was not
prepared to lie. At that
point that the telephone was allegedly handed over
to a man who identified
himself as Edwin Manikai, a lawyer appointed by the
government of Zimbabwe.
"Manikai confirmed the statement of Moyo and
threatened Sanangura with
imprisonment if he did not co-operate and that
they were in the country
(South Africa) to work on the court documents.
"Manikai is alleged to have
said the affidavit was an essential part of the
case they were preparing. He
confirmed that Mr O Dube, managing director of
African Associated Mines
(AAM) had already complied and had been
appropriately rewarded in line with
the statutory instrument issued by the
Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,"
Mphahlele described Manikai and Moyo's behaviour as a
travesty of justice.
"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe
this is a travesty
of justice and is tantamount to undue influence and
Mphahlele wrote. Last night Moyo declined to comment on
developments. He only said: "I cannot comment because there is a
tomorrow (today) in South Africa. Sanangura communicated with our
you should contact Manikai, our lawyer." Manikai could not be
comment as he was said to be in Canada. In an interview with
night, the lawyer confirmed the authenticity of the documents
possession of the Daily Mirror and said Moyo and Manikai tried to
Sanangura into signing the affidavit. "SMM want to rescind the High
judgement which Petter Trading obtained from the South African High
but an affidavit is a legal document which one must sign voluntarily
legally, otherwise it becomes forgery," said Mphahlele. SAS is alleged
have been established by Mawere as a vehicle through which the troubled
businessman siphoned billions of dollars generated by Zvishavane based
Shabani Mine in asbestos sales. Mawere is alleged to have sold asbestos to
international markets through the SAS but failed to repatriate foreign
currency earnings to Zimbabwe. The government recently specified him and
wanted him extradited to Zimbabwe to face fraud charges involving more than
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
August 9th – Sunday August 15th
Media Update 2004-32
INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM SUFFOCATED
EDUCATION – DECLINING BY DEGREES
urgent need for additional alternative daily sources of information, including
an independent national broadcaster, was further confirmed by the
government-controlled media’s censorship of reports disproving claims that the
country had produced sufficient food.
only appeared in the private media.
Zimbabwe Independent (13/8) for
example, reported that the World Food Programme (WFP) had asked the Zambian
government to mobilise maize for Zimbabwe in light of growing fears of looming
food shortages in the country. This, according to the paper, coincided with the
South African Grain Information Services revelations that about 40,000 tonnes of
maize had been brought into Zimbabwe through South Africa between April and July
this year. Studio 7 (12/8) carried a similar report.
evidence of food shortages appeared in The
Standard (15/8) which reported that three governors from Matabeleland
North, Matabeleland South and Masvingo had written to government seeking food
aid as their provinces had run out of food. Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe was
quoted confirming the report.
government media ignored these reports.
these media sought to present a rosy picture of the country’s food situation,
particularly ZTV (9/8, 8pm), which quoted the chairman of the government’s
Taskforce on Food Procurement and Distribution and State Security, Minister
Nicholas Goche, claiming that, “Maize deliveries to the GMB are
high, indicating that levels of production are high.” However,
Goche let the cat out of the bag when he stated that only 125,000 tonnes of
maize had been purchased so far from the farmers, two months before the onset of
the new farming season.
more revealing were his projections that between 600,000 and 700,000 tonnes of
maize would be delivered to the government-run Grain Marketing Board
was in stark contrast to Agriculture Minister Joseph Made’s assertions earlier
this year that the GMB would receive about 1,2 million tonnes of maize this
season, almost half of what he claimed the country had produced.
did not subject these conflicting projections to analysis. Rather, it diverted
attention from Goche’s startling revelations by showing footage of maize stacks
at one GMB depot in a bid to buttress official claims that the country had
produced enough food.
the private media did expose these discrepancies, their effectiveness was
compromised by the fact that they are niche market sources of information that
are not readily accessible to most of the people subjected to official
propaganda in the dominant government-controlled media.
is against this background that civic organisations should intensify their
lobbying for the repeal of repressive media laws, which have severely curtailed
citizens’ rights to access information through media of their
International criticism suffocated
government media’s reluctance to cover criticism of the authorities’ human
rights violations manifested itself in the manner in which they tried to stifle
reports on renewed international pressure on President Mugabe’s government to
restore civic and political liberties ahead of the March 2005
media avoided a full discussion on the concerns of the international community.
Instead, they accused Western “imperialists” led
by Britain of conspiring with civic organisations and the MDC to oust the ruling
party from power. As a result, the substance of the critical views on the
country’s poor governance remained elusive.
fact, the official media’s claims that Zimbabwe was under siege from the West
were reinforced by President Mugabe’s Heroes Day rhetoric. He was quoted on ZBC
(9/8, 6 & 8pm), The Herald
and Chronicle (10/8) calling on
Zimbabweans “to defend
and protect” the country’s independence from “imperialists”,
adding that “the
country was prepared to go back to the trenches to defend the gains of
independence if the need arose”.
the private media cited regional and international bodies noting that it was
actually Zimbabweans who were under threat from their own government, which,
among other deprivations, had stripped its citizens of their basic freedoms
through authoritarian laws.
(12/8) and The Zimbabwe
Independent (13/8), pointed out that the international community’s
intervention was aimed at forcing government to adopt fundamental democratic
the government media was reluctant to accurately identify the source of
Zimbabwe’s problems. This was illustrated by their failure to fully explain the
reasons behind Greece’s decision to bar Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere
from attending the 2004 Olympics. The move is in line with the European Union’s
(EU) targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean leadership, which stands accused
of gross human rights violations.
of fairly explaining the reasons for Greece’s decision, ZTV (11/08,7am)
attributed the ban to the EU’s attempt to “extend its focus from politics to
and Chronicle (12&13/8)
also censored the full reasons behind Chigwedere’s ban thereby giving the
impression that Greece’s move was malicious. Neither did the papers acknowledge
that besides Chigwedere, Brigadier Thura Aye Myint of Myanmar had also been
barred from attending as part of the EU’s sanctions against leaders it accuses
of human rights abuses (The Daily
the papers passively quoted Chigwedere vilifying government’s favourite punch
bag, Britain, of having influenced Greece to bar him from the
(12/8) quoted him as saying government would object to the ban, while the
Chronicle’s comment (13/8)
claimed that “Zimbabweans will never miss the so-called
glamorous cities built using stolen resources such as
sober coverage of the matter only appeared in the private
reported the public condemnation of the human suffering in Zimbabwe.
example, SW Radio Africa (12/8) reported that about 30 Roman Catholic Bishops
“from four different
countries in Southern Africa” who recently met in South Africa
had “condemned the
suffering in Zimbabwe and called on various organisations to impose targeted
sanctions on the Mugabe regime.”
7 (12/8), SW Radio Africa (13/8), the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard cited the Human Rights Watch
(HRW) report which criticised government’s “lack of
transparency” on the food situation in the country. HRW noted
that this threatened
“citizens’ access to food”.
Radio Africa (11/8) also reported that an international human rights
organisation, Redress, had accused government of “a widespread, systematic and
planned campaign of organised violence and torture to suppress normal and
democratic activities…” Redress revealed that, “almost 9,000 human rights
violations (occurred) between 2001 and 2003.”
an effort to counter these reports, the
Chronicle (13/8) accused the MDC, the Southern Africa Catholic
Bishops’ Conference and NGOs of issuing “damning
statements” about Zimbabwe “in a co-ordinated
effort tailored” to
“foist the Zimbabwean
issue onto the agenda” of the annual SADC summit in Mauritius.
The paper dismissed Redress’ torture claims as “a regurgitation of numerous old
‘torture’ reports” but did not explain how these civic calls for
a democratic Zimbabwe translated into an “anti-Zimbabwe”
(15/8) reported US Secretary of State Collin Powell attributing Zimbabwe’s
problems to government’s political intolerance, which had seen the country
become “a drain on the
region and a calamity-in-the-making for the international
community”. Powell reportedly noted that solutions to Zimbabwe’s
problems included the restoration of the rule of law, a free Press and
Zimbabwe’s former pluralistic political life.
also revealed that growing concerns over government’s “gross human rights
abuses” was likely to see the intervention of the United Nations
(UN) “amid revelations
the world policing body is on the verge of tightening its stance against
Harare”. The Gazette reported that UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan was expected in Harare before the end of the year to “gauge the political
temperature” in the country and “hear it from the horse’s mouth
(the Zimbabwean government)”and other major stakeholders,
including the MDC.
paper also reported that government’s non-reformist culture might be put to the
test after an electoral commissioner from Namibia, a key ally of Zimbabwe, made
call” for the establishment of a tribunal to punish errant SADC
states that fail to conform to regional electoral standards during a SADC
electoral reforms conference in Victoria Falls recently.
Zimbabwe Independent meanwhile, reported on the
MDC’s efforts to lobby SADC leaders at their regional summit in Mauritius to
step up pressure on Mugabe’s government to accept regional electoral standards.
And it quoted the party’s deputy secretary-general Gift Chimanikire saying it
was “too simplistic
and indeed deeply misleading to assume Mugabe has the support of all African
fact, claims of a shift in African opinion on the Zimbabwean situation appeared
to have compelled the Sunday
News (15/8) to bemoan the death
of SADC “brotherhood
that we had grown accustomed to”.
paper accused “some
African countries” that were now vocal against government’s human
rights record as being “manipulated” by
the West against the “interest of fellow
more vitriolic attack however, was reserved for Nigerian president, Olusegun
Obasanjo, whom The Sunday Mail (15/8) accused of being used by the
British to clandestinely fund the MDC’s campaign ahead of the 2005 parliamentary
attacks, carried in two stories written by the paper’s columnist William Nhara
and its political editor, Munyaradzi Huni, were conspicuous by their coarse
language rather than facts.
Sunday Mirror, (15/08) reported that a “diplomatic row”
had erupted between
(the) erstwhile buddies” over the matter. The paper cited unnamed
diplomatic sources dismissing earlier Sunday
Mail allegations (8/8) that Britain was funding the MDC through
Nigeria as based “on
faulty intelligence, which the paper and relevant state organs did not bother to
claimed that the Nigerians had been infuriated by the report, which resulted in
their foreign minister Olu Adeniji, summoning Zimbabwe’s Charge d’Affairs in
Abuja to explain the government paper’s onslaught against their
was also reportedly sent to the SADC summit in Mauritius to meet with his
counterpart, Stan Mudenge, over the matter.
Education – declining by degrees
authorities’ penchant for exerting a stranglehold on all spheres of Zimbabwean
life under the guise of defending the country’s sovereignty was underscored by
continued government interference in the administration of private schools and
President Mugabe’s pronouncement that his government was considering revamping
the country’s education system to produce “patriotic”
the most absurd development was the Zimbabwe Independent’s revelation that Education
Minister Aeneas Chigwedere had outlawed “extra lessons during school
holidays without the ministry’s approval”. Quoting a circular to
parents by a Harare primary school headmaster, the paper reported that anyone
defying the ministry’s directive would be arrested.
the document: “Authority can be sought in
writing by parents through the school head. Any teacher or child doing extra
lessons will be reported to the police.”
while the private media questioned some of these bizarre education policies, the
government media were more notable for their passivity. For example, ZTV (11/8,
8pm), Power FM & Radio Zimbabwe (12/8, 6am) and The Herald (12/8) simply quoted Chigwedere
defending his ministry’s objections to the “compulsory
donations” demanded by some schools to supplement
government-fixed school fees and failed to challenge government interference in
the day-to-day running of private schools.
FM quoted Chigwedere saying: “The economic environment has been
improving for the past six months…there is no reason why the schools should be
raising school fees.” But the station failed to relate this
misleading reasoning to economic realities.
of the government-controlled media provided a detailed background to the
donation problem, which emanated from Chigwedere’s decision to slash fees at
these schools to unviable levels.
The Financial Gazette comment was categorical in blaming
Chigwedere for the education sector’s demise.
paper accused him of destroying private schools on the basis of his “ruinous ‘wisdom’”
that they were a “bastion of capitalistic privilege
and racial discrimination” despite evidence that the majority of
the pupils at the schools were black.
argued that Chigwedere’s stance had resulted in the schools facing the
Zimbabwe Independent agreed in its Editor’s Memo. It noted that Chigwedere
had embarked on a systematic policy to ensure that well-run and well-equipped
schools were reduced to the same condition as other dilapidated non-performing
addition, the paper quoted Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC)
president Luxon Zembe lashing out at Chigwedere, saying he had no right to
meddle in private schools’ fees as long as the parents were prepared to pay for
the quality facilities offered by these schools, which the government ones did
The Sunday Mirror, quoted an adamant Chigwedere
arguing that contrary to the parents’ “ignorant”
perception that his ministry was “interfering” in
the management of private schools, it was merely “enforcing” the
Zimbabwe’s education system was thrown into further disarray following President
Mugabe’s Heroes’ Day announcement that his government was considering
overhauling the education system to ensure it produced “patriotic students who cherish
the gains of independence”, ZBC (9/8, 6 & 8pm), The Herald, Chronicle and The Daily Mirror
claimed that “in the
past they (education institutions) produced graduates who became enemies of the
struggle. If our institutions have a capacity to produce enemies of the
struggle, then they are ill-equipped or do not deserve to be
the government media buried this revelation in the main body of Mugabe’s
address, The Daily Mirror gave it
greater prominence, drawing parallels between this plan and government’s earlier
creation of a similar programme under the National Youth Training Scheme, which
critics charged was designed to indoctrinate youths with ZANU PF
MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
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