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Government Ignores Food Aid
Financial Gazette (Harare)
October 12, 2001
Posted to the web October 12, 2001
THE government has so far ignored a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) facility under which Zimbabwe could get food relief from international donors, it emerged this week, as nearly a million villagers in the country's poor rural areas showed they needed urgent food aid.
Diplomatic sources yesterday told the Financial Gazette that international donors were on standby waiting to support a basket fund that is coordinated by the UNDP to buy food for Zimbabwe, which faces severe shortages of bread and the staple maize meal by the end of this year.
"But the donors or the UNDP cannot do anything without a formal request for aid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," one diplomat said.
Both Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge and his permanent secretary Willard Chiwewe could not be reached for comment on the matter.
UNDP resident representative in Harare Victor Angelo could also not be reached by the time of going to print last night.
The sources said a team of United Nations experts led by the World Bank had planned to visit Zimbabwe from August 1 2001 to examine what and how much food aid the country should get.
They said all had now come to nought after Harare had remained ambivalent about the food relief opportunity following a demand by donors that whatever aid they give should be distributed through apolitical institutions and channels.
Traditionally a major regional maize exporter, Zimbabwe faces critical shortages of maize and wheat and needs huge outside funding, although the government denies this saying it will import no more than 160 000 tonnes of both maize and wheat to supplement local production.
A study by the World Food Programme (WFP) whose results are still to be made public shows that 700 000 people living in Zimbabwe's poor rural areas now require food aid.
A WFP official said the organisation, which can also help mobilise food relief for Zimbabwe, could not do so until the government formally makes a request for help.
Illegal farm invasions by government supporters and the state's own chaotic fast-track land reforms, as well as a delay in the start of the rain season last year, shortages of fuel and farming inputs, and a mid-season dry spell combined to cause a drop in agricultural production.
Meanwhile in Zimbabwe's traditionally low-rainfall areas such as Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces, there are already visible signs of food shortages with most families requiring food supplements because of poor harvests.
Aid agencies indicated this week that more than a million villagers in these areas needed urgent food aid.
Plot to Expel Farmers Foiled
Financial Gazette (Harare)
October 12, 2001
Posted to the web October 12, 2001
David Masunda, Deputy Editor-in-Chief
INFLUENTIAL leaders of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party and senior intelligence officers hatched an "Idi Amin-type" plan to expel almost all white farmers from Zimbabwe by December if international efforts to resolve the land crisis failed but the plan has apparently been abandoned, it emerged this week.
The government however denied the existence of such a plan saying the introduction of the fast-track land reform programme was meant to address such concerns as the slow pace of resettlement.
Idi Amin, the 1970s ruler of Uganda, expelled all Asians from the East African country after accusing them of corruption and excessively exploiting the economy.
The Zimbabwean plan, which seems to have been aborted following the signing of the Abuja agreement last month, would have begun with riots on farms in the Chinhoyi and Mhangura areas of Mashonaland West, intelligence sources told the Financial Gazette.
Many farmers in August fled the rich farming areas from rampaging government supporters who targeted their small communities for random assaults.
According to the sources, the plan by the CIO and ZANU PF hinged on landless villagers, party youths and self-styled war veterans being inflamed to attack farmers and drive them out of properties as the quickest way of implementing the government's fast-track land reforms.
Marauding bands of villagers and war veterans attacked farmers in Mashonaland West in August and looted properties, forcing owners and their workers to flee after an altercation at Liston Shield, a farm about 15 km from Chinhoyi, ignited the rampage.
It is alleged that some senior ZANU PF leaders had visited the farming area and urged villagers to physically attack farmers to force them to abandon their properties.
Twenty-one white farmers were later arrested and are being charged with common assault. Their case attracted international attention when the courts initially refused them bail.
According to the sources, the exercise to induce the mass exodus of white farmers from Zimbabwe was only abandoned after Nigeria successfully cobbled up a truce between Zimbabwe and Britain, its former colonial master, in Abuja on September 6.
What also helped to cool tempers was the generous land reform plan offered before Abuja by some members of the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) as part of the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative.
Under the Abuja agreement, Zimbabwe assured the international community it would restore law and order in exchange for the resumption of Western aid and the funding of its land programme.
One source said the "Idi Amin" plan was actually part of a "grand strategy" hatched by members of the spy Central Intelligence Organisation, war veterans and some ZANU PF leaders as the final countdown that would have culminated in attacks on leading members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Aspects of the plan that apparently found favour among senior military and intelligence officers included forcing MDC leaders to flee the country before next year's presidential poll.
"When it comes to the nitty-gritty, these people do not care. They are guerillas, they are just like the Talibans," said one intelligence source, referring to the militant Islamic government being pounded by the United States for allegedly supporting international terrorism.
Almost all of Zimbabwe's senior military and intelligence officers are former members of Robert Mugabe's pre-independence ZANLA guerrilla army.
The source said Britain and the CFU must have got wind of the plan and immediately agreed to attend the Abuja talks. The CFU, through a spokesman, however said this week the organisation did not know of the plan.
Contacted for comment, a senior ZANU PF legislator this week said in confidence that while not privy to the original plan to scare away farmers, the intention to get rid of them was well known within the party and would continue "whether there is Abuja or not".
"It is simple," said the legislator who preferred anonymity, "the whites have to leave the farms. The difference now is that with Abuja, they will be paid. Before they would have left with only the compensation for improvements they made on the properties."
The ZANU PF leader said in provinces such as Mashonaland Central, white farmers had already realised that only working with the ruling party would assure their continued stay on their properties.
Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary-general, said his party was aware of the plan to force some of its senior executives into exile or into detention and scrap next year's presidential election.
"We are aware that that is one of the contingency plans which is said to be preferred by ZANU PF even now. It's not as if this has been abandoned because of Abuja," Ncube said.
He said his party's own intelligence sources had warned the MDC that the ruling party would use all means at its disposal to retain power and these might include introducing martial law and arresting opposition party leaders.
The department of information yesterday evening brushed off the so-called "Idi Amin" plan saying the fact that the government had introduced the fast track land reform programme was to address concerns over the slow pace of resettlement since the Lancaster House conference in 1980.
A government spokesman directed the Financial Gazette to ZANU PF or the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association to check whether they knew about the alleged plan to chase away farmers to speed up the resettlement exercise. It was not possible to do so before going to print.
Ministry Urgently Seeks US$24m
Financial Gazette (Harare)
October 12, 2001
Posted to the web October 12, 2001
ZIMBABWE'S Health Minister Timothy Stamps says his ministry is urgently seeking US$24 million ($1.32 billion) from Treasury to buy drugs for public health institutions.
In addition to the urgently required funds, the ministry also needs an extra US$4 million ($220 million) each month to maintain adequate drug stocks, which it has failed to do in the past few years because of insufficient funding.
"We need US$24 million immediately just for the stocking of drugs in public health institutions," Stamps told the Financial Gazette this week.
"We will need around US$4 million a month to maintain the stocks for a period of 12 months and this will mean a total of US$48 million."
He said his ministry was allocated US$1 million ($55 million) last Friday by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to buy drugs, which would only last about two weeks.
Stamps added: "What is encouraging is that the Reserve Bank has now put us on second priority after fuel to get foreign currency to buy drugs. We have already received US$1 million from the RBZ but it will only last for about two weeks."
The Ministry of Health, which was allocated $10.9 billion in the 2001 budget, is seeking $27 billion from the Ministry of Finance, which will present the 2002 budget to Parliament at the beginning of next month.
However, Stamps said the $27 billion sought did not include funds to import specialised drugs like the antiretroviral medication used to suppress HIV.
He said he was concerned by foreign currency shortages, which are hampering imports of medication and medical equipment and have spawned a thriving parallel market where hard cash is trading well above the $55 per US$1 at which the Zimbabwe dollar is fixed.
"We are hopeful that we will get the $27 billion, which is just a nominal figure and does not include the provision for specialised drugs and other equipment," Stamps said.
"My concern is about the exchange rate because most of our commodities like medical supplies and equipment are brought in from outside and we have to get the forex to import them."
But he said if his ministry was allocated $27 billion in the next budget, this would be sufficient to maintain health services if the cost of drugs did not constantly shoot up.
Zimbabwe's health delivery system has been ranked among the worst in the world by the World Health Organisation and is expected to deteriorate further if the government fails to provide adequate funding.
HIV/Aids Trials Doctor Escapes De-Registration
Financial Gazette (Harare)
October 12, 2001
Posted to the web October 12, 2001
THE Supreme Court has saved a Zimbabwean medical doctor from being de-registered by the Health Professions Council (HPC) for alleged "disgraceful" conduct arising from clinical trials he carried on some AIDS patients.
Justice Nicholas McNally, sitting with Justices Simbarashe Muchechetere and Wilson Sandura, ruled that de-registering the doctor as decided by the HPC was "a wholly inappropriate penalty" because his conduct, though improper, was not disgraceful as it was done without evil intentions.
The HPC, the body governing the conduct of all health practitioners in Zimbabwe, had, after a disciplinary hearing, resolved to cancel the registration of the Marondera doctor as a medical practitioner for disgraceful conduct.
The charges against the doctor were that in 1991, based on an article about some research in the United States, he conceived the idea that it might be possible to kill the virus that causes AIDS by injecting povidone iodine (commonly known as Betadine) intravenously.
He proceeded to do so on 14 of his patients after having first carried out experiments on a pig and two dogs to determine the safety of the dosage.
All three animals died, but when injected to some of the terminally ill patients, one of them survived and the others showed some improvement, although they later died.
Of the 14 patients, 10 were AIDS patients, one suffered from tuberculosis, one from diabetes and the other two suffered from cancer.
After an investigation, the disciplinary committee of the HPC charged the doctor with ignoring the advice of the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe to stop conducting clinical trials with povidone iodine in contravention of the Drugs and Allied Substances Act. It resolved to cancel the doctor from its register.
After the decision had been taken to de-register him, the doctor appealed to the High Court which overturned the decision of the HPC's disciplinary committee.
The HPC appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court to overturn its decision.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that although there was an element of clinical trial in the doctor's conduct, his actions - at a time when every medical practitioner was trying to cope with the horrors of the AIDS pandemic - were not based on evil intention. Therefore his actions could not be regarded as disgraceful.
"I must confess, as a layman, I find it difficult to understand what is improper or disgraceful in the actions of a doctor who treats a patient, for whose ailment there is no known cure, by injecting a substance which he has some reason to believe might be beneficial and which he is reasonably certain can do no harm," Justice McNally said in a judgment delivered recently.
The court granted the appeal by the HPC but said although the actions of the doctor were to some extent improper, they were not entirely disgraceful and punishing him by de-registering him would be too harsh. An appropriate penalty would either be a censure or a caution, the court said.
The attack on Tsvangirai's motorcade, the latest in a series of incidents of violence and torture in recent weeks, adds urgency to the international campaign to impose travel sanctions and freeze the overseas holdings of Mugabe and his cabinet.
Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the assault on his motorcade was an assassination attempt. 'It was clear. What would you say when a group of between 50 and 70 people attack you and almost destroy your vehicle?' asked a bruised and shaken Tsvangirai, hours after the assault on Friday.
The attack occurred 12 miles outside the central city of Kadoma where Tsvangirai was travelling to encourage people to register to vote for the upcoming presidential elections, due by the end of March. Mugabe, 77 and in power for 21 years, is seeking re-election for another six-year term.
Tsvangirai, a popular former labour leader, is posing the biggest challenge to Mugabe's rule since Zimbabwe became independent in 1980. Last year Mugabe's party won a narrow majority of 62 of the 120 elected seats in parliamentary elections marked by widespread state-sponsored violence. 'We will use any and all means to make sure that Mr Mugabe is re-elected,' said a top Zanu-PF official of the impending presidential polls. 'If it takes violence, then we will use violence.'
This was the second attack on Tsvangirai's convoy this year. On 23 July, Tsvangirai's motorcade was attacked by Zanu-PF youths in the run-up to a parliamentary by-election. Tsvangirai said the new attack was a clear violation of the Commonwealth's Abuja agreement in which the government promised to restore the rule of law. He alleged that police knew of the attack but took no action to stop it.
'The international community should note that the Abuja agreement was a smokescreen to hoodwink them into believing that law and order would be restored in the country,' he said. He urged the Commonwealth to take steps to hold Mugabe to the promises he made in the agreement.
In another violent incident, six MDC members were tortured for two days last week by Zanu-PF supporters who beat the soles of their feet with iron bars and held them over a fire causing burns to their bodies. The victims said they were told their torture was the launch of the presidential election campaign.
Since the Abuja accord, more than 30 new farms have been invaded by Mugabe's followers, according to the Commercial Farmers' Union. The invasions have been accompanied by numerous acts of violence.
The attack on Tsvangirai is expected to boost the campaign to press Mugabe to stop violence and allow free and fair democratic elections. A new report, by the International Crisis Group, urges that travel sanctions and a freeze on overseas assets should be imposed against Mugabe, his cabinet and their families.
The report, 'Zimbabwe: Time for International Action', warned that the postponement of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting following the 11 September terrorist attacks in the US should not allow President Mugabe to believe that because the world's attention is distracted he is free to continue violent repression in his country.
The first forum to consider such action against Zimbabwe's leadership will be a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers on 29 October. The European Parliament passed a resolution on 6 September that calls for 'visible and tangible action' on President Mugabe and his close associates.
Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Hurt
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A mob of about 70 people hurled stones at a car
carrying the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party as he traveled to a
party meeting, leaving him with bruises, his supporters said Saturday. The attack on Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change,
took place Friday near the town of Kadoma, 90 miles southwest of Harare, said
party spokesman Learnmore Jongwe. Jongwe accused agents of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union Patriotic Front of orchestrating the violence as part of a
strategy to stop Tsvangirai from campaigning for elections early next year. ``The strategy ... involves the use of agents disguised as village
vigilantes,'' he said. Ruling party officials could not be reached for comment. Tsvangirai's car was also attacked July 27 by stone-throwing youths as he
campaigned for an election north of Harare. In both attacks, vehicles in the opposition politician's convoy had windows
smashed. Friday's incident was reported to local police who were ``not cooperative at
all,'' Jongwe said. None of the attackers was arrested. The presidential election could be the biggest challenge to Mugabe's 21-year
rule since he led the nation to independence in 1980. Zimbabwe has been wracked by unrest over the government's plan to seize farms
owned by whites and give the land to blacks. Ruling party militants have
occupied 1,700 white-owned farms since March 2000, and nine white farmers have
died in violence since June. The ruling party won 62 of the 120 elected seats in parliamentary elections
last year. In the previous parliament, Mugabe controlled all but three seats.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A mob of about 70 people hurled stones at a car carrying the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party as he traveled to a party meeting, leaving him with bruises, his supporters said Saturday.
The attack on Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change, took place Friday near the town of Kadoma, 90 miles southwest of Harare, said party spokesman Learnmore Jongwe.
Jongwe accused agents of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front of orchestrating the violence as part of a strategy to stop Tsvangirai from campaigning for elections early next year.
``The strategy ... involves the use of agents disguised as village vigilantes,'' he said.
Ruling party officials could not be reached for comment.
Tsvangirai's car was also attacked July 27 by stone-throwing youths as he campaigned for an election north of Harare.
In both attacks, vehicles in the opposition politician's convoy had windows smashed.
Friday's incident was reported to local police who were ``not cooperative at all,'' Jongwe said. None of the attackers was arrested.
The presidential election could be the biggest challenge to Mugabe's 21-year rule since he led the nation to independence in 1980.
Zimbabwe has been wracked by unrest over the government's plan to seize farms owned by whites and give the land to blacks. Ruling party militants have occupied 1,700 white-owned farms since March 2000, and nine white farmers have died in violence since June.
The ruling party won 62 of the 120 elected seats in parliamentary elections last year. In the previous parliament, Mugabe controlled all but three seats.
CHITEPO ASSASSINATION—Chitepo first black barrister in southern Africa —BIOGRAPHY OF HERBERT WILTSHIRE CHITEPO
Chitepo assassination saga deepens
From The Sunday Times (SA), 14 October
Government threatens farmers
Authorities talk tough as they threaten to attach farms in a bid to forcibly repatriate 10 000 desperate but illegal workers from Zimbabwe
Department of Home Affairs Director-General Billy Masetlha has warned farmers that they will have their properties attached and be made to pay for the repatriation of illegal workers as the government moves to kick out nearly 10 000 Zimbabwean farmworkers. Northern Province farmers have been given until midnight tonight to clear their farms of Zimbabwean workers. "Monday is D-Day. These people must be gone. The deadline stands and we are going to act. We are going to hit the employers to stop this practice. There are going to be a few farmers in trouble," Masetlha said this week. But farmers say the move will bankrupt them, and farmworkers say they will starve if they are forced to go back home to Zimbabwe. The deadline comes after four years of negotiations about the fate of illegal workers who continue to flood into the country, desperate for work and ready to accept as little as R150 a month. Farmers from some 93 farms in the Soutpansberg/Limpopo Valley area near Messina begged the government this week to extend the deadline. Masetlha said the farmers complained they could not find local labourers and that "South Africans were lazy and did not want to work". However, he said the Department of Labour had compiled 20 000 names of people in the area who were "hungry and ready to work". Masetlha said from tomorrow government would monitor farms and would take "drastic" action if the deadline was ignored.
He said farmers would be charged with contravening the Aliens Control Act and the Labour Relations Act and could face fines of up to R25 000 or have their properties attached. They would also have to pay the costs of repatriating workers back to Zimbabwe. "We are not to blame for this," Masetlha insisted. "This did not start with Robert Mugabe. This is a practice that has been entrenched for generations because it is a cheap and dispensable form of labour." But Kobus Kleynhans of Agri-SA said: "These strong words of Masetlha's are misplaced." Kleynhans said agriculture was the backbone of the already frail Northern Province economy and without workers, crops would fail. "This is going to give the economy a very hard knock. I don't think this has been calculated in Billy Masetlha's estimation of what will happen there."
Many Zimbabweans say working in South Africa is their only hope for survival. Bigman Chauke, 26, a foreman who sends home about R500 (more than Z$3 000) a month to his wife and two children, said he was desperate to keep his job. "If I must go back then I am going to starve. There is nothing in Zimbabwe. I am here to work, not to steal or do other bad things," he said. Tractor driver, Kenias Chikunguvo, 25, has been working on the same farm as Chauke since 1995. "If I go back I will not survive. The government must feel sorry for us and let us stay." Emma Algotsson, a researcher for Lawyers for Human Rights, said: "The decision is totally political. It is easy and nice for Home Affairs to say they will create jobs for South Africans. I agree with this, but the situation is not being dealt with properly. These people have had informal work permits for 16 to 20 years. They have a legal expectation and right to continue working." Algotsson said South Africa had a responsibility towards people elsewhere in the region. "How can they make this decision now with the situation like it is in Zimbabwe?"
On the farm Varkfontein, Andrew McEwan now employs 59 Zimbabweans and 90 South Africans. He was one of a few farmers to comply with a similar deadline in April, and sent back 72 workers. He said he had only been able to find four South Africans to replace them. "If the government is genuine about taking out all illegal immigrants then it is okay, but this can hurt us the most here in the poorest province. There is only agriculture here so they must be wise and not let the farmers suffer," he said. McEwan said that he lost R800 000 last year as a result of floods and that his farm was "on its knees". " All the farmers are bankrupt. That is a plain fact." McEwan said he was concerned about the effect of sending back workers now when crops were ready to be picked. "If I send back 59 workers then I may as well close the farm and another 90 people will be out of work," he said. "I hope they will allow my workers to stay but if not, there is nothing I can do but pay them and take them to the border because I don't want to go to jail, and the government says they will imprison us."
But the dilemma facing the Zimbabweans and farmers does not move Constance Nemavhola, an unemployed South African farmworker who was dismissed and replaced by a Zimbabwean. She worked for just three days in May and the 31-year-old mother is left struggling to feed her four children. "I was born here and my parents died here. We don't want anymore Zimbabweans. We cannot get jobs because of them."
Bread supplies crumble as Zim slices prices
Harare - Supplies of bread ran low in Harare on Friday, and shops in smaller towns closed, after the government slapped price controls on basic commodities, a move criticised by manufacturers. One supermarket bakery in the city centre had people jostling for the last loaves of bread, while another had sold out of bread shortly after business opened on Friday. Manufacturers have criticised the controls, which slashed bread's retail price from around Z$70 to Z$48,40, saying it will kill the industry. "The proposed bread prices will render the industry unviable and, regrettably, will lead to closures, resulting in massive job losses from both the baking and milling industries," said a statement from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI). The state-run Herald reported that retail shops in the towns of Karoi, 200km north of Harare, and in Kadoma, 140km west of the capital, were forced to close on Thursday after consumers staged demonstrations to force the immediate slashing of prices after the government imposed the price freeze. The government gazetted the prices of controlled items late on Thursday amid accusations that manufacturers and retailers were profiteering from charging consumers exorbitant prices for them. But this was dismissed on Friday by the CZI and bakers, who blame high input costs.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 12 October
Matiza gets controversial $1,2 billion airport contract
Controversy shrouds the circumstances under which Zanu PF Murehwa MP and architect Biggie Joel Matiza was awarded a $1,2 billion contract for the design of the upgrading of two domestic airports last year, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt. Matiza was granted the tender to design the upgrading of Bulawayo and Victoria Falls airports. It has also emerged that Indigenous Business Women’s Organisation president Jane Mutasa was awarded an $11 million controversial tender to supply the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) with uniforms after only one other company had been invited to submit bids.
Government sources told the Independent that it was "highly unprocedural" for the CAAZ to have given Matiza alone the two projects, raising concerns over how the MP acquired another six multi-million dollar government-related projects for architectural work. Normally architects get 9% of the project cost and Matiza has so far been paid $42 million of the preliminary design costs for the two airport projects. A source close to the deal said the issue raised eyebrows as to how a single architect could be awarded tender for the two projects ahead of over 15 other indigenous architects.
Government contracts Matiza has clinched include the Bindura State University, Chinhoyi Hospitality College building, Zimdef Bulawayo head office, NSSA phase II building, Interpol Rotten Row headquarters, and the Home Affairs Central Registry building currently under construction at the corner of Herbert Chitepo and Leopold Takawira. All the seven projects are worth $3 billion. The source told the Independent that Transport and Communications minister Swithun Mombeshora has received repeated calls from concerned architects to investigate the matter. There are over 15 indigenous architects in the country who have been scrounging for government-related projects without success over the past years.
Matiza allegedly sub-contracted Pantic Architects, a Yugoslav company based in Harare, to design the Bulawayo and Victoria Falls airports. The decision to pay Matiza was taken by the dismissed former chief executive of CAAZ, Godfrey Manhambara, who allegedly took advantage of the absence of a board to fast-track the project and award it to Matiza. The deal was later questioned by the new CAAZ board led by Godfrey Matemachani. Matemachani by yesterday had not responded to the Independent’s faxed questions.
CAAZ acting chief executive Karikoga Kaseke told the Independent that there had been a lot of rumour surrounding the projects from "concerned architects". But he refuted claims that CAAZ invited Matiza alone to present his profile. Kaseke said that CAAZ invited seven architects to present their profiles of which only three did so. "Matiza tendered through the government and he won," Kaseke said. "We should be applauded for giving Zimbabweans government work. He submitted his work and we found it favourable." Kaseke said the information could be coming from architects who were jealous. He advised the Independent to go through the relevant documents. Kaseke also defended Mutasa’s $11 million tender she won for the supply of CAAZ uniforms. "Only two people, one of them Mutasa, responded to our tender and Mutasa won. She is a black Zimbabwean woman who went through the normal channels and was granted work," he said.
Matiza said the allegations levelled against him were false. He said that he was always considered "on merit". He said that foreign architects, Pantic Architects and Vienna Consultancy, never designed the Bulawayo or Victoria Falls projects on his behalf. "They are our strategic partners," he said. "These are very sophisticated institutions and we want to produce quality work so we have to engage their services," he said. "They were just there to make a critique of our projects," he said. The government source within the aviation industry queried Matiza’s reaction. "Matiza cannot allege that he was granted the work on merit because there were no competing proposals for the project delivered," he said. "There is no reason for Matiza to say that Pantic Architects are strategic partners because they are based here and all registered architects are deemed to have the same level of competency," he said. "He should state at least one building that won an award for designer excellence if he is being considered on merit," the source said. "The whole deal just stinks," he added.
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 14 October
MDC suspends four MPs
The MDC has suspended from the national executive four members of parliament linked to the squabbles that recently rocked the party. Party spokesman and MP for Kuwadzana, Learnmore Jongwe; security chief and MP for St Mary’s, Job Sikhala; MP for Zengeza and national executive member, Tafadzwa Musekiwa; and shadow minister for finance and MP for Hatfield, Tapiwa Mashakada, were ordered yesterday to step down from the national executive, as well as from their positions in the party. They, however, remain as ordinary members of the party until the commission set up by the MDC to investigate the root of the squabbles finalises its report.
MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, confirmed yesterday evening that the four, together with Chitungwiza provincial chairman, Alex Musundire, had been relieved of their duties pending investigation. The decision to suspend the five was taken at a national council meeting yesterday. Said Ncube: "The national executive and the national council resolved that anyone whose name has been mentioned in connection with the problems in Harare and St Mary’s be temporarily suspended from holding any official duties for and on behalf of the party until the commission has finished its work. The move is to facilitate proper investigations."
"What this essentially means is that Learnmore Jongwe will not perform his functions as spokesman for the party and will not sit in the national executive; Job Sikhala will not perform his functions as secretary for security and will not sit in the national executive; Tafadzwa Musekiwa will no longer sit in the national executive; Tapiwa Mashakada will no longer perform his functions as shadow minister for finance and as vice chairman for Harare province and Alex Musundire will no longer be chairman for Chitungwiza," said Ncube.
The five have been at the centre of factional clashes which rocked the party late last month and early this month. Sikhala at one time threatened to resign from the party after his house was attacked by youths, allegedly sent by Mashakada and Musundire. The group descended on Sikhala’s house on 27 September and extensively damaged the house and injured his two-year-old daughter. The attacks were blamed on Mashakada and Musundire who are alleged to have formed an underground youth movement to cause divisions and mayhem in the party. The underground movement is said to have been behind the chaos at the party’s Harare provincial elections last month. The elections had to be aborted after the youths ran amok resulting in MP for Glen Norah, Priscilla Misihairabwi running for dear life after she was attacked by the group.
Musekiwa, Jongwe and Sikhala at one time wrote a letter to party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, expressing concern at Mashakada’s conduct, whom they accused of trying to break the party. Mashakada, on the other hand, accused the trio of being part of a wider plot to dislodge all the executive members. Ncube said the suspended members would resume their duties once they were cleared by the commission of inquiry. "We will look at the report. Once the report has been submitted then those cleared of any wrongdoing will resume their duties. It will be up to the disciplinary committee to decide whether those not cleared by the report should continue with their official duties," said Ncube. In a separate interview, Tsvangirai dispelled fears that the five had been fired from the party. He said disciplinary action would only be taken once the commission has presented its report. "That is rubbish. No one has been axed from the party. The fate of those members will only be determined by the findings of the commission," he said.