International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: October 14, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Bakeries in Zimbabwe remained closed Sunday and shop
shelves were empty of bread despite a 300 percent rise in the official price
of a loaf.
The state Sunday Mail, a government mouthpiece, said the National Prices and
Incomes Commission allowed the bread price to increase to Zimbabwe dollars
100,000 (US 20 cents, euro 14 cents at the dominant black market exchange
rate) Friday as part of a review to help businesses remain viable.
The rise came after the government slashed the price of bread by more than a
half in June aimed at fighting the world's highest official inflation.
Bread, the cornmeal staple, meat and other basics then disappeared from
store shelves as businesses were forced to sell their goods at below
The independent National Bakers' Association said chronic bread shortages
would continue despite the price rise until flour supplies improved.
"Only a few bakers have flour stocks ... the rest are likely to remain
closed," said Vincent Mangoma, chairman of the association.
Earlier this month, the agriculture ministry blamed daily power outages in
the crumbling economy for disruption in production of irrigated wheat, with
harvests two thirds of what was required.
Acute shortages of hard currency have delayed wheat imports.
Mangoma said the new bread price remained insufficient and did not include
soaring costs of scarce gasoline that accounted for about 27 percent of the
price of a loaf.
Gasoline is mostly sold by private dealers for the equivalent of US$ 1 (euro
70 cents) a liter (US$4.50 (?3.18) a gallon).
The value of the Zimbabwe dollar remained in free fall in the past week,
reaching up to 600,000 to US$1 in black market deals. The official exchange
rate is 30,000 to US$1.
The government has taken over some 5,000 white-owned commercial farms since
2000 in often-violent seizures that disrupted the agriculture-based economy
in the former regional breadbasket.
Last month, the government hurried through legislation forcing whites and
foreign interests to hand over 51 percent control of their businesses to
The Indiginization and Economic Empowerment Bill has still to be signed into
law by President Robert Mugabe.
New legislation proposing similar measures for blacks to take a controlling
stake of the nation's mines goes before the Harare Parliament when it
reconvenes Oct. 30.
In the worst economic crisis since independence, independent estimates put
real inflation closer to 25,000 percent, and the International Monetary Fund
has forecast it reaching 100,000 percent by the end of the year.
Last week, the state central bank acknowledged that farming in the nation
that was once a major food exporter had become a "laughing stock."
It announced the free distribution of tens of thousands of animal-drawn
plows, planters and cultivating equipment so the upcoming agricultural year
would be what it called "the mother of all seasons."
Among the range of incentives to revive food production was an offer by the
central bank of a free vehicle, a family holiday in southern Africa,
spending money and free fertilizer and chemicals for any farmer who produced
1,000 tons of maize.
Monday 15 October 2007
By Justin Muponda
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has moved to quash dissent in his ruling
ZANU PF party by unleashing loyal war veterans on a campaign of intimidation
to whip the party into line and pressgang unwilling lieutenants to rally
behind his candidature in next year's presidential election.
The veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war are holding countrywide marches in
support of Mugabe, the country's sole leader since independence from Britain
in 1980, as the "sole candidate" of ZANU-PF in the presidential poll that
will be held together with elections for Parliament.
Political analysts said although Mugabe would most likely emerge
unchallenged at an extraordinary party congress in December, there is
growing disillusionment over the 83-year-old leader's style of governance.
"I have no doubt no one will publicly stand up and challenge Mugabe at the
congress but he is aware there are many pockets of opposition and so the
marches by the war veterans are a message to say 'don't even dare'," John
Makumbe, a senior political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe
"But more importantly they should be seen in the context of the internal
squabbling within ZANU-PF. War veterans have always stood by Mugabe in his
hour of need, which is what they are doing. They are reliable," he added.
Senior officials in ZANU-PF have presented a united front over Mugabe in
public but some are quietly plotting his ouster, seeking a candidate who
could pluck the country out of a deep economic recession, they blame on his
But Mugabe, who has been in politics since the formative years of
nationalist movements in the 1950s, has continued to out-manouvre his
opponents so far in the party and outside to hang on to power amid the
The crisis manifests itself in hyperinflation, the highest in the world at
over 6 500 percent, unemployment around 80 percent, severe shortages of
food, foreign currency and fuel and rising poverty levels.
Analysts said by allowing free rein to the war veterans and their leader
Jabulani Sibanda, who remains expelled from ZANU-PF, Mugabe was creating a
parallel power base, afraid to rely on the army or his inner clique.
"Mugabe has never trusted anyone, so he will not rely only on the army or
officials in ZANU-PF because of the inherent political risks," said another
UZ political scientist, Eldred Masunungure.
"The reason for the marches is part of a strategy to try and draw out his
opponents into the open and some have come out already and so he knows who
supports him and who does not. Mugabe will not leave anything to chance even
if he knows he is the sole candidate," added Masunungure.
The war veterans marches in Bulawayo last week were sharply criticised by
senior leaders in the province, including Vice President Joseph Msika and
ZANU-PF national chairman John Nkomo, arguing that Sibanda had no mandate to
campaign for Mugabe.
Mugabe's critics say he has emasculated the security forces but is still not
guaranteed total support, adding that retired General Solomon Mujuru, who is
known to be pushing for a rival candidate to succeed Mugabe, also had some
influence in the military.
Mujuru is the power behind a faction that helped Mugabe block the rise of
Emmerson Mnangagwa to the position of vice president, in what was seen as a
plot to remove the ruling party's ageing leadership.
But analysts have cautioned on the influence of so-called power brokers in
the party saying Mugabe ultimately was the only voice that commanded respect
from all and sundry in ZANU-PF.
Several predictions of Mugabe's demise have not materialised to date and
despite his old age, the former guerrilla leader looks to be fully in charge
and continues to tighten his hold on power.
"There is that tendency to overstate the influence of some of Mugabe's
opponents in the party but we have seen time and again that Mugabe is still
the man in charge in ZANU-PF," Makumbe said. - ZimOnline
Monday 15 October 2007
By Simplisio Chirinda
HARARE - The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says it will continue to engage
the government after a court ordered white Zimbabwean farmers to vacate
farms earmarked for resettlement.
Several Zimbabwean white farmers now face an uncertain future after Chegutu
magistrate Tinashe Ndokera last week ruled that those still on targeted
farms after a 30 September deadline to vacate the properties were in breach
of the law.
Any white farmer still on his land would be deemed to be trespassing on
A number of white commercial farmers have so far been arrested for defying
the government order to vacate their properties.
CFU vice president Deon Theron said at the weekend that the mainly white
commercial farmers body would continue negotiations with the government on
behalf of its members.
"As CFU we will encourage our members that we keep on engaging with the
government and look for ways in which we can put these cases to finality,"
""We don't want to get tied up in individual cases but we want to find ways
of breaking the impasse and make sure that we reach a compromise with
The CFU has over the years tried to engage the government over the takeover
of farms without success.
Theron said the affected Chegutu farmers are yet to come up with a common
position as to what steps to take next following the judgment.
"I am not sure what the farmers would like to do but some have indicated
that they would want to appeal while others are thinking of abandoning the
"These are individual farmers but they don't seem to agree on what course of
action they would like to take but have indicated that their lawyer is
studying the judgment and should have a position on Monday," said Theron.
The government has since the beginning of the year given conflicting signals
on the fate of remaining white farmers, with some officials saying they
would be allowed to stay and others saying they would be evicted.
Nonetheless, evictions have continued sporadically.
This has often led to contradictory statements from Vice President Joseph
Msika and Lands and Land Reform Minister Didymus Mutasa, with the latter
insisting that no white farmers would be allowed on the land by 31 December
Msika has without success told Mutasa to halt new farm seizures, arguing
that chasing away the few white farmers left in the country was not helpful
to the agriculture sector or food security and was no longer in sync with
the popular mood in the ruling ZANU PF party. - ZimOnline
Monday 15 October 2007
By Tafirei Shumba
BULAWAYO - An increasingly paranoid police has again stopped the performance
of another provocative theatrical satire titled "Overthrown" as artists step
up their challenge against President Robert Mugabe's controversial rule.
The play was set to be staged on Friday at Amakhosi Arts Centre in Zimbabwe's
second largest city of Bulawayo.
Police also ordered the premature closure of the venue which has arts
offices, a restaurant and theatres, where the play was set to perform the
same day Mugabe was visiting the city on official business to cap graduating
Agents from the Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) told artists
and guests, who had come to watch the satire, that they were under
instruction from their "commanders" to stop the play. They then ordered more
than 100 artists and guests to disperse and the centre to close prematurely.
"The play is not going ahead and that is an order from our commanders.
Everyone must now disperse," one of the PISI officers said to grumblings
from the artists and guests who soon dispersed after the officers warned of
"serious trouble" if the artists defied the order.
"Serious trouble" is in reference to the unleashing of the brutal riot
police who beat up people indiscriminately in similar situations.
"Overthrown", written by Stanley Makuwe and produced and directed by
playwright Cont Mhlanga, generally reflects the deepening political and
economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
However, police were adamant the play deliberately targets Mugabe and that
Mhlanga and his artists wanted to embarrass the 83-year old President by
staging the satire on the same day he was visiting Bulawayo.
Mhlanga told ZimOnline at the weekend: "Yes, I knew Mugabe was coming to
town but that doesn't mean that artists should stop breathing because Mugabe
is in Bulawayo. We are living in a confused country where all State systems
are seeing ghosts at every turn."
A populist Minister of Information and Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who
wanted to score a personal "diplomatic coup" by meeting artists, ahead of
the staging of the play, did not attend the scheduled meeting at the last
ZimOnline learnt that police intelligence advised the minister that meeting
the protest artists would not be viewed favourably by Mugabe, who is
fighting to silence dissenting voices in his ruling ZANU PF party.
Ndlovu, who had officially confirmed to Amakhosi that he would be meeting
the artists, was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
Some artists had questioned Ndlovu's motive, with others accusing him of
seeking to hoodwink the arts industry that he was democratically
"accommodating" dissenting voices and yet state radio, television and
newspapers that are all under his charge censor critical arts.
Mhlanga, who has seen several of his plays banned this year, told ZimOnline:
"Yes, if you look at it the other way round, artists would have loved to
meet the minister. He is part of the policy makers and we wanted to let him
know what we think about their style of governance.
"But closing us down like this won't help because the issues that we are
reflecting will still be there as long as humanity exists."
Mhlanga has vowed to remain defiant saying he was now considering using
"invisible theatre" which is performed spontaneously without notice in
public places and is popular in repressive societies where critical satires
and other tough arts are banned.
The playwright said he had written Mugabe and Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri highlighting the use of police force and the state heavy hand on
artists and how that worked against the otherwise good spirit of unity in
the context of the ongoing SADC brokered negotiations between ZANU PF and
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
Zimbabwe's two biggest political parties are engaged in talks under the
mediation of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki that are meant to find a
democratic settlement to the country's eight-year political and economic
Apparently, "Overthrown" had been given the green light by the state
Only last week police arrested two theatre artists and a journalist in
Harare during the performance of a satire "The Final Push" and punished the
artists "for lampooning" Mugabe by making them perform the play repeatedly
in police cells for a grueling nine hours non-stop.
The "Final Push" actors again defied the police and on Friday performed for
journalists and diplomats at the Quill Club, a club for journalists in
Critical theatre including sharp tongued musicians are viewed by government
as agitating forces for the removal of Mugabe and are subjected to
harassment and detention without trial. - ZimOnline
Monday 15 October 2007
By Lizwe Sebatha
BULAWAYO - Several Zimbabwean schools have ordered parents to pay a
"retention allowance" to teachers in a desperate attempt to stem the mass
exodus of experienced staff, ZimOnline has learnt.
Zimbabwean teachers, who last week ended a two-week strike over poor pay and
working conditions, earn about Z$14 million a month, a figure which is below
the poverty datum line (breadline) that stands at Z$16 million.
Hundreds of teachers have fled the country in search of better paying jobs
in neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana and as far as
Australia, Britain and New Zealand.
To stem the mass exodus, government schools in the second city of Bulawayo
have introduced the novel idea of 'retention allowances' with some schools
ordering parents to pay between Z$1 million - $2 million to "assist"
The retention facility is said to be currently focusing on science and
mathematics teachers, who are the target of an aggressive recruitment drive
by foreign employment agencies.
Several headmasters who spoke to ZimOnline on condition that they were not
named confirmed the arrangement saying it was the only way "they could
retain teachers as the government was not interested in their welfare."
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the militant Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe that led last week's strike, said it was true that schools
were now demanding retention allowances from parents.
"That is why we have always asked for better salaries and improved working
conditions to avoid a situation where our teachers are reduced to surviving
on donations and charity like what is happening.
"It is sad that they have to ask for donations from parents when it is the
job of the government to pay teachers," said Majongwe.
Education Minister Aneas Chigwedere could not be reached for comment on the
matter yesterday but the ministry's director for the southern region that
includes Bulawayo, Dan Moyo, said the practice was illegal.
"We have heard such reports from schools but it is not part of government
policy and it's illegal as it marginalises the poor that cannot afford to
pay," Moyo said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an unprecedented economic crisis that has
manifested itself in rampant inflation of over 6 500 percent, massive
joblessness and poverty.
The southern African country has suffered a massive skills and brain drain
as professionals such as teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers and lawyers
flee the country to seek better paying jobs abroad. - ZimOnline
Our fifth anniversary! Who would have thought 5 years ago that we would still be outside the Zimbabwe Embassy protesting against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and campaigning for free and fair elections. It was good to have recognition for our long commitment – shortly after we arrived the place was swarming with media: BBC, Channel 4, Sky News, the Press Association and others. There was even a report in Kenya.
The main event of the afternoon was the presentation of our petition to Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, by a group of Vigil stalwarts: Dumi Tutani, Chipo Chaya and Luka Phiri. The petition reads “A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government, and the European Union in general, to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region”. Kate criticized SACD countries fro keeping quiet about Zimbabwe and congratulated the Vigil on its years of dedication. She later went on BBC radio to defend the petition (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/realmedia/sunday/sundayauto.ram), pointing out that our target was not humanitarian aid but government-to-government aid. As always, she was a popular visitor to the Vigil, posing for photographs with supporters and handing out flyers to passers-by.
We were also pleased to be joined by Justin Shaw-Gray of our partner organisation in Zimbabwe, Restoration of Human Rights (ROHRZim).
It was wonderful to get an encouraging letter from Morgan Tsvangirai brought over from Zimbabwe by Cecilie Mariri, who lives in Zimbabwe and has joined us before. Mr Tsvangirai wrote: “As you meet to mark five years of a continuous presence and unity of purpose, demonstrating your revulsion with the situation at home, may I take this opportunity to record my deepest appreciation over the work you have done so far. Your vigils have kept a flicker of our struggle burning. Your vigils have highlighted the plight of desperate Zimbabweans to the world. Through your vigils you have shown a deep sense of patriotism and solidarity with us at home. Together you fought hard with us in our struggle. We are now on the home stretch, nothing has no end. Get ready for a New Zimbabwe. Prepare yourselves for a new society as we take on the Mugabe regime in this final and decisive phase of the struggle.”
Given Mr Tsvangirai’s strong endorsement of the Vigil it is doubly puzzling that elements within the MDC UK (who paid for Lovemore Moyo, the MDC Chairman, to come over) chose the day of our anniversary for an MDC UK meeting for Mr Moyo to discuss dissent within the party in the UK. This meeting could have easily been called for another day and we know that many MDC members who felt compelled to attend this last minute meeting had been planning to come to the Vigil. Since Mr Moyo was in the UK on the day of the anniversary, why did he not join us as his predecessor, Isaac Matongo, used to? We can’t believe he didn’t know. Well, the Vigil knows who the true activists are in the UK and who are the self-servers who bicker and jockey for position in countless meetings.
It was a very busy day for our volunteers who worked so hard to make the social event after the Vigil a success. Special thanks go to Agnes Zengeya, Luka Phiri and Gugu Ndlovu-Tutani who bought the food and to Jeff Sango and Fungayi Mabhunu who bought the drink. Thanks also to those who gave up their day to go the venue to cook, sort out the drinks and run errands in preparation for the evening. Apart from Agnes, Luka, Gugu, Jeff and Fungayi, these included: Netsai Matambanadzo, Daisy Zuvaradoka, Bernadine Mwanandimai, Julia Sakakomva, Colletta Moyo, Loicy Sibanda, Trecy Sibanda, Sheilla Chetsanga and Ivy Chawapiwa (on her birthday). Volunteers came from as far away as Oxford and Southampton.
The social event was a good occasion with much networking. Unfortunately our supporter Sue Shaw had to miss it to make her long journey home to North East England – more than 3 hours by train. We also missed Caroline Witts who had to make her way back to Devon. Kuchi Muchari who came from South Wales managed to get to the social event but had to leave early to return home. Thanks to Walter Semwayo and his team who provided such lively music. It accompanied some virtuoso dancing. Thanks also to Sam Takaravasha who tirelessly cleared up through the evening filling up black bag after black bag.
For this week’s Vigil pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 169 signed the register. Supporters from Banbury, Bedford, Birmingham, Bolton, Brighton, Crawley, Derby, Exeter, Guildford, Ilford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Morpeth, Newcastle, Orpington, Oxford, Reading, Romford, Sheffield, South Wales, Southampton, Southend, Stoke-on- Trent, Swansea, Tunbridge Wells, Woking, Wolverhampton and many from London and environs.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 15th October 2007 – Central London Zimbabwe Forum. More planning for our campaign re Mugabe and the Portugal summit. How can we neutralise Mugabe’s propaganda? Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub).
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
October 14, 2007
By Tonny Mafu
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe would need external financial support to slow its
dramatic economic decline, its central bank has warned.
Delivering a recent monetary policy statement, a straight-talking Gideon
Gono said balance of payments support would be crucial for the world's
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor also urged the government to be
cautious in its plans to force foreign-owned companies to sell majority
stakes to locals.
"Noble as this objective is, however, our well-considered advice to
legislators and government in general is that a fine balance should be
struck between indigenisation and the need to attract foreign investment,"
Bloomberg on Friday quoted a newspaper report that the Zimbabwean government
and the main opposition were to discuss financial support from foreign
donors, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Norway,
Switzerland, Germany, the UK and Australia.
Zimbabwe last received any external institutional financial support in 2001.
Between 1980 and then, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and
the African Development Bank pumped a combined $2.4 billion (R16.2 billion)
into the Zimbabwean economy.
The economy received its largest support in 1992 when the three funding
organisations injected almost $700 million into the country.
However, since the government forced through a controversial land reform
programme in 2000, all balance of payments support from multilateral
institutions has dried up. Between 2000 and 2005 there was capital flight of
more than $200 million.
Gono underscored the importance of foreign investment to the Zimbabwean
economy, calling for flexibility in the indigenisation process.
"Where foreign investors bring in clear long-term benefits to the country, a
reasonable degree of flexibility ought to be exercised in allowing investors
to hold majority shareholding so as to accord them escalated dividends that
enable them to plough back their initial investment outlays," he said.
He warned that capital was a "timid commodity" which could exit at the
slightest inclination of attack.
Gono recommended a gradual empowerment process.
Investments of more than $500 million should be allowed 20 percent
indigenisation over a period of one to five years, which would increase to
45 percent between year six and 10, eventually reaching 51 percent between
the 11th and 15th years.
Entities worth between $150 million and $500 million would start at 30
percent indigenisation, while those with lower than $150 million would have
to comply with 51 percent indigenous ownership immediately.
By Byron Dziva In Harare
Last Updated: 3:09pm BST 14/10/2007
The shops are empty, petrol is only available on the black market, and
the country's once abundant wildlife is under threat from hungry poachers -
so come to Zimbabwe for a holiday.
Exhibitors at a four-day tourism fair in Harare made no bones about
the difficulties they face selling the country as a destination.
"Zimbabwe is treated with strong suspicion, as if it's another part of
the world in the mould of Darfur," said one, who has taken part in
government-sponsored promotions abroad.
"Convincing tourists they can come here and enjoy themselves without a
scene requires all the energy a marketer can muster in the world."
In fact the country has world-class attractions, from Victoria Falls
on the border with Zambia to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe in the south-east,
but nowadays visitors only have to share them with a few other intrepid
"Given the political challenges facing Zimbabwe it's been difficult
convincing buyers, particularly in the West, that it's a safe destination,"
the exhibitor added.
In keeping with Mr Mugabe's 'Look East' policy, Harare is now trying
to draw in tourists from Asia, and the few European buyers present said they
were only there because of pleas from Zimbabwean embassies in their home
The authorities claim tourist arrivals were up 24 per cent in the
first half of this year, to just over a million, although all statistics in
Zimbabwe have to be treated with caution and most visitors only go to
Victoria Falls, many of them on day trips from Zambia.
"It's politics at the end of the day, if it doesn't change, we will
continue witnessing marginal improvements for many years to come," said a
local hotel chain representative.
Tourism was once a valuable source of foreign exchange, and officials
at the show followed Robert Mugabe's practice of blaming the West for their
problems, rather than his own gross human rights violations.
"Because of the barbaric onslaught on Zimbabwe in the past six weeks
by some countries in the west led by the United Kingdom, a good number of
our buyers from those markets have withdrawn their participation at this
years' Travel Expo," said Karikoga Kaseke, chief executive of the Zimbabwe
"We don't care, it's their own funeral, they are drinking poison," he
added, in a not entirely welcoming manner.
THE VANGUARD ALERT
We will not sit idle and watch, We will not mourn but FIGHT
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) has been for the past twenty
days calling on the government to intervene and guarantee the immediate and
unconditional release of the Great Zimbabwe University students
representative council secretary general Edison Hlatywayo who was arrested
on 27 November 2007. Hlatswayo appeared before Masvingo Magistrate Court
twice and unjustifiably remanded in custody at Masvingo Remand Prison. He is
however yet to appear again on the 15th of October 2007.
The students stand out and condemn in the strongest terms, the perpetration
of violence and torture on students by the government of Zimbabwe. We have
of late seen an escalation of arrests ,detentions, torture and threats to
students in institutions of higher learning. ZINASU further holds Robert
Mugabe and his government accountable to Edison Hlatswayo's threat to life
through various forms of physical and psycological torture.
The Zimbabwe National Students Union strongly urge political parties, who
are in negotiations to put issues of the operating environment as a priority
before embarking on piecemeal amendments to the constituion, that do not
address these key and critical issues as we approach yet another election.
It is our view and we argue that it is not possible to have free, fair,
undisputable and uncontested results under the current legislative framework
of the constitution. Zimbabweans deserve a chance to elect a leadership of
their choice in a free, fair and transparent way.
Against this backdrop, students and colleagues from colleges in Masvingo and
other ZINASU member institutions around the country will converge in
Masvingo to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Edison
Hlatswayo. We urge those who are handling the case to take heed of this
threat as we promise that we will liberate one of our own through any means
necessary. We wish to remind the police that we are a peaceful lot and urge
them to treat us as such. Our move in solidarity with Hlatswayo.
Zimbabwe National Students Union
53 Hebert Chitepo Ave,
From The Sunday Mail, 14 October
From Bulawayo Bureau
Zanu PF Politburo member and chairman of Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project,
Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, yesterday said those proposing drawing heavily sewer
polluted water from Khami Dam should proceed to the dam with their cups and
drink it themselves and leave city residents alone. He was responding to
calls by the water authority to have Khami Dam water purified in an effort
to have the water connected to the city's water supply systems, in an effort
to solve Bulawayo's crippling water shortages. Speaking in an exclusive
interview on the sidelines of a Zanu PF Provincial Co-ordinating Committee
meeting in Bulawayo yesterday, Dr Dabengwa said Khami Dam water was
unsuitable for human consumption as it was condemned a long time back.
"Ofuna ukunatha amanzi eKhami kabuye lenkomitsho yakhe azowakha azinathele.
(If there is anyone who wants to drink that water he should take his cup and
drink it alone.). That water is unclean and you cannot expect people to
drink it," he said.
Dr Dabengwa said the focus should instead be on the rehabilitation of
boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer as these provided an immediate solution
to the city's perennial water woes. He said Khami Dam water was a "non
starter" which should not even be considered as the water was heavily
polluted beyond measure. The water activist said the thrust should be on
providing clean water and the Mtshabezi- Umzingwane Dams connection should
be given the priority it deserved. Khami Dam was decommissioned in 1988
after a study proved that the water was unsuitable for human consumption
following the dumping of raw sewer and industrial waste. The dam has been a
dumping ground for sewer since then, making it almost impossible for it to
be purified. Last week, BCC spokesman, Mr Phathisa Nyathi said Khami Dam was
almost full, but had not received any water from the rains, meaning that all
the water deposits were from sewers and industrial waste. Zinwa suggested
that the best way to solve Bulawayo's water problem was to tap and purify
the Khami Dam water. This caused an uproar from residents and the city
fathers, who argued that the water was beyond purification and would lead to
a health disaster.