The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe court adjourns coup plot case
Mon Oct 15, 10:35 AM
HARARE (AFP) - A Zimbabwean court on Monday postponed hearing a case
six men accused of trying to topple veteran President Robert Mugabe
the prosecution said it was not ready.
"The accused persons
are warned to attend court on October 29," magistrate
said at a hearing in Harare.
The men's lawyer Charles Warara told the
court he would apply at the next
court date for refusal of further remand
for his clients who have been in
detention since their arrest in June on
coup plot charges.
"I ask the attorney general's representative that they
be present when I
make the application," Warara said.
The six men,
including a retired soldier, Alfred Matapo, were arrested in
June over an
alleged attempt to topple 83-year-old Mugabe and replace him
Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa is among those seen as
Mugabe's possible successors.
The prosecution said Matapo conspired with
the other suspects and recruited
various members of the security forces in
preparation for the alleged coup.
Matapo allegedly planned to incite
soldiers to take over the government and
later declare himself interim ruler
before installing Mnangagwa as
They have denied the
charges through their lawyers, saying they were
discussing the formation of
a new political party when security agents
barged into their meeting in the
capital and arrested them.
In June, a high court judge denied the
suspects bail, saying there were
fears they could flee.
NCA Member Organisations to Demonstrate in Harare
SW Radio Africa
15 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
The National Constitution of
Assembly (NCA) has announced there will be a
peaceful demonstration in the
capital this week by some of their member
civil organisations. Earnest
Mudzengi, NCA National Coordinator, said the
group would not reveal the
exact date of the demonstrations because the
police have taken advantage of
that information in the past to block their
explained that the main issue is that they want a people driven
constitutional reform process and do not support the secrecy surrounding the
current talks being mediated by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki. He
said: "We don't want a few people to sit down and write the constitution. It
should be authored by the people. And we have no problem with any mediated
efforts as long as there are no secrets and the issue of the constitution is
at the centre."
Mudzengi also pointed to Amendment 18 which was
passed by both parties in
parliament this month. He described it's passage
as "a dangerous precedent
that will not bring democracy to the people".
Sections of the Amendment
increased the number of seats in parliament and in
the Senate. Mudzengi
described this as "allocating seats to each other", and
called it a "power
game" that is taking all of Zimbabwe hostage.
members have taken to the streets persistently over the last few years
despite numerous arrests and severe physical assaults on the group's leaders
and activists. The government has also been on a campaign of hunting down
and abducting known NCA officials and suspected activists. Many have been
living in hiding but continue to pressure for a new constitution.
75 Woza And Moza Activists Arrested During Protest March
15 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
At least 75 activists from Women of
Zimbabwe Arise and Men of Zimbabwe Arise
were arrested outside the
parliament building in central Harare, after
staging a peaceful
demonstration against police brutality against its
co-ordinator Jennie Williams was one of those arrested and taken to the
central police station in the capital. Patuma Sonyowa who took part in the
protest march said police needed five trucks to ferry the activists from
parliament to the central police station.
'We started our march
from First Street right up the parliament door steps
where we intended to
handover the report on political violence against our
activists. It was also
here where police ordered us to disperse but we
refused and instead sat on
the pavement. We were singing songs that
denounced police brutality and we
also called for a new constitution and the
return of the rule of law,'
She said police took away all their banners and protest
lawyers were denied access to the activists who were
believed to be under
interrogation from the time they were picked up by the
police just after
'The lawyers told us they were chased away
by the police and that they were
making frantic efforts to engage more
senior practitioners to handle the
case,' said Sonyowa.
Students Fail to Write Exam Due to Water And Electricity Woes
Radio Africa (London)
15 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
Students at a Harare high school on Friday
failed to sit for an examination
due to lack of power and water, forcing
authorities to push forward the test
into the weekend.
students from Kuwadzana 1 High School's Food and Nutrition
class were asked
by their teachers to bring "water and portable stoves" from
Kuwadzana 2 High school, that had power. But according to our
Simon Muchemwa, facilities at Kuwadzana 2 proved to be
inadequate to cope
with the needs of all students, leading to some having to
sit the test the
following day and others, as late as Sunday.
shambles the Zimbabwean education system has become,
teachers and students
where seen carrying "two-plate" stoves and containers
of water as they
frantically sought an alternative venue for the
examinations. Questions have
also been raised about the integrity of the
entire examination, as it is
feared that some students may have learned of
its contents, from friends
sitting for the same paper at different schools.
Muchemwa reported: "What
the Kuwadzana township witnessed is something akin
to a sad and unfortunate
circus show. It best resembles the shallow levels
Zimbabwean education has
plunged into and questions the integrity of the
Muchemwa added that the crisis was compounded by the absence of
teachers from duty, as many are still sitting at home in protest at
Teachers in the country went on a nationwide strike in
September that has
threatened to cripple the education system. They were
awarded a backdated
pay increase by government a fortnight ago, which many
have spurned as
inadequate, despite calls by the Zimbabwe Teachers
Association for them to
return to work.
Mugabe to attend EU-Africa summit in
Portugal, official says
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: October 15,
LISBON, Portugal: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
plans to be at a
European Union-Africa summit in December despite Britain's
threat to boycott
the talks if he attends, a senior Zimbabwean official said
"Our president will be at the summit," Zimbabwe's Information
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said in a telephone interview with Portugal's
radio station. The Dec. 8-9 meeting is to take place in
Ndlovu urged other EU countries to oppose British prime minister
Brown's refusal to deal with Mugabe's regime, which is subject to EU
Mugabe's critics accuse him of economic mismanagement,
failure to curb
corruption and contempt for democracy.
Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country holds the EU's
presidency, said Monday the summit between the 27-nation EU and the
53-member African Union will address human rights and good
"This summit is important because there is so much to
discuss and decide,"
Socrates told European lawmakers visiting
British to boycott summit if Mugabe attends
Waterfield in Luxembourg
Last Updated: 7:31pm BST
The British Government will mount a total
boycott of a forthcoming
European Union and Africa summit if Zimbabwe's
leader Robert Mugabe attends.
David Miliband, Foreign Secretary,
hit back at a Zimbabwean
declaration that Mugabe was planning to defy
Britain by attending a Lisbon
meeting between EU and African leaders this
If Robert Mugabe decides to come the summit there will
ministerial representation," he said last night. "We don't think it
anything other than a media circus if Robert Mugabe goes and that is
are clear that if he goes Gordon Brown and I won't go."
The African Union of 53 countries, chaired by Ghana, is demanding that
EU invites Zimbabwe but following a meeting of Europe's foreign
Luxembourg, Mr Miliband said that the question of Zimbabwe's
had not yet been settled and he insisted that Britain's
Mugabe was shared across the EU. "There is widespread horror
situation in Zimbabwe. This is certainly not a bilateral UK and
issue. It is an EU and Zimbabwe issue," he said.
Officials had hoped
that Mugabe would spare the blushes of European
leaders by not accepting an
invitation to the summit, saving EU face while
meeting African demands that
Zimbabwe should be not be excluded from talks
on their continent's future by
former Western colonial powers.
But earlier yesterday, a senior
Zimbabwean official said that Mugabe
would attend the EU summit despite
Britain's threat to boycott the talks."
"Our president will be at
the summit," Zimbabwe's Information Minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said in an
interview with Portugal's Renascenca radio
station. Ndlovu claimed that
Britian has no right to lecture Mugabe because
Mr Brown had failed to call
general elections after becoming Prime Minister
this summer."Other EU
countries should tell Gordon Brown to shut up," he
said. "Gordon Brown is
not even qualified to talk to us on human rights and
as you can see he
failed his own country's internal democracy in Britain."
other members of his government face a travel ban and other
Europe. A previous summit between the African Union and EU
failed in 2003
after Britain and other EU states refused to attend if Mugabe
Zimbabwe urges EU to tell Brown to "shut up" on rights
Oct 2007, 12:33 GMT
LISBON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The European Union should
tell British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown to "shut up" on democracy and human
rights in Zimbabwe
ahead of an Africa-EU summit in December, Zimbabwe's
said on Monday.
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told
Portuguese radio station Renascenca that
Brown had no right to lecture
Zimbabwe when he himself was "running away"
with power by taking over from
Tony Blair without an election.
"Other EU countries should tell Gordon
Brown to shut up," Ndlovu told the
radio station. "Gordon Brown is not even
qualified to talk to us on human
rights and as you can see he failed his own
country's internal democracy in
EU president Portugal is
hosting the first summit of EU and African leaders
in seven years in
December but Brown has said he will not attend if
Robert Mugabe goes. Mugabe faces a travel ban in
Union supports Mugabe in attending the summit and Ndlovu said
the the issue
was a closed chapter. "Noone can stand between Portugal and
heads of state from the African Union and European Union," he
summit between the African Union and EU failed in 2003 after Britain and
other EU states -- who accuse Mugabe of rights abuses -- refused to attend
if Mugabe did. Portugal has said it will not discriminate in who it invites
but has yet to send the invitations.
Ndlovu said Europe had no right
to accuse Zimbabwe of human rights abuses.
"European countries are not
clean, they are not clean at all," he said.
"Human rights should be
discussed also in the European Union, some of the
members of the European
Union are the worst offenders of human rights; why
He said that during the time when Zimbabwe won its independence
colonial power Britain, people were imprisoned and land was taken
"Where were all these countries (then) who are in the EU, who are
for human rights?" he said.
Critics accuse Mugabe of
running down one of Africa's most promising
economies, which now has the
highest inflation rate in the world at 6,600
percent and persistent food
Mugabe, who is 83 and has been in power since independence
from Britain in
1980, accuses western countries of sabotaging the economy as
his seizure of white-owned farms to resettle landless
Zimbabwe: kwashiorkor comes to the capital
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Date: 15 Oct
October 2007 (IRIN) - Theresa Machirori, a thirteen-year-old
student in the
Zimbabwean capital, Harare, has become used to the morning
washing her face and legs, putting on a tattered uniform and
going to school
Once one of the brightest class stars, her academic
performance has declined
and she often drifts off to sleep during lessons.
When she gets home in the
working class suburb of Mabvuku in the afternoon,
she has a cup of black tea
before eating the evening meal of vegetables and
sadza - the national
maizemeal staple - with her parents and three
It is a diet the Machirori family have subsisted on for the
past three years
since the father, John, was retrenched when the cement
where he worked ran into financial
"That my children fight over food is now a regular
occurrence that we have
almost become used to, but when I see them
quarrelling during a meal, my
heart is always filled with pain, even though
I take care not to show it,"
he told IRIN.
"However, I think we are
lucky, in a way, because I know there are so many
families out there that
are literally surviving on water, and there are many
deaths that are taking
place quietly because of lack of food," Machirori
is among thousands of households that Harare's municipal
authority says are
surviving on one meal a day. Food insecurity in urban
areas continues to
worsen as Zimbabwe's official inflation rate of more than
makes basic commodities both scarce and unaffordable.
Clare Zunguza, a
nutritionist working for the Harare City Council's health
recently told the parliamentary committee on health that "Most
not eating anything in the morning and afternoon, and only have
one meal in
the evening, hence malnutrition is now prevalent in Harare."
Harare local authorities recently reported that cases of
risen by 43.7 percent in 2006, compared to the previous
year, and the
Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey said conditions such as
underweight, associated with poor food quality and quantity,
in the country's 10 provinces.
Kwashiorkor is a
malnutrition disease that results from inadequate protein
intake, even when
the diet is otherwise adequate. Early symptoms include
and lethargy. As protein deprivation continues, there
can be stunting, loss
of muscle mass, generalised swelling, and decreased
immunity. A large,
protuberant belly is common, as are skin conditions,
changes in pigmentation
and thinning hair.
Zunguza said at least 30 percent of children under the
age of five were
malnourished, and recommended that supplementary feeding
increased, specifically among primary school pupils most affected
Before the economy began its sharp decline in
2000, and the donor community
scaled down operations in the country, citing
a hostile environment, most
primary schools benefited from supplementary
feeding schemes; now schools in
only three of Harare's most populous suburbs
receive free food supplements.
"Shortage of nutrients among pregnant
women in high-density suburbs is on
the increase, resulting in them giving
birth to underweight children, who
are at the risk of developing
complications and infections," Zunguza said.
People living with HIV and
AIDS, three-quarters of whom were the head of the
family, were also affected
by the scarcity of nutritious food.
Harare's acting director of health,
Dr Stanley Mungofa, said no deaths
related to malnutrition had been
recorded, but admitted to a parliamentary
committee that the acute shortages
of water had given rise to outbreaks of
diarrhoea and skin diseases. "We
have had increases which are above what we
government declared 2007 a year of drought, and the Famine Early Warning
System (FEWS NET) has said Zimbabwe would have to import more than one
million metric tonnes of cereals to augment poor harvests that will leave
about 4.1 million people, or more than a third of the population, in need of
food aid by early next year.
A vegetarian nation
Zwizwai, a member of parliament for the opposition Movement for
Change (MDC) who also sits on the parliamentary committee on
the problem of malnutrition was a "big worry that has affected
of the country".
"The majority of the people in this country live on less
than US$1 per day,
meaning that the poverty datum line is pathetic; as a
result they cannot
afford to buy whatever food is available," he
"Add to that the fact that foodstuffs with nutritional value,
such as eggs,
meat and milk, are in short supply, and where they can be
found they are
being sold on the black market at exorbitant prices, and you
can see the
whole scenario is tragic," Zwizwai told IRIN.
In June the
government introduced price controls, forcing retailers to
prices by 50 percent. Manufacturers said the prices were
could not produce at a loss and stay in business. Since
the rush that
emptied shop shelves of whatever was available at the cheaper
shelves have mostly stayed empty.
"We have been reduced to a vegetarian
country because even kapenta [a
traditionally cheap small dried fish] that
is rich in protein is difficult
to obtain from traditional sources," Zwizwai
"The Grain Marketing Board [the state-controlled company with a
buying and selling maize] is seizing maize from urbanites, who
sourced it from areas that had relatively good harvests," further
He pointed out that the current commodity
shortages were taking a toll on
school children, hospital patients and
prison inmates, who now had to rely
on their relatives and families for
food, "but that is proving difficult
because those very people who are
supposed to help them are also starving".
Zwizwai said government had
failed to put in place mechanisms to ensure that
vulnerable groups of
society, such as AIDS patients and children, were given
priority in the
distribution of the little food available.
Plight Mbiri, 44, who is
living with HIV/AIDS in the small town of Kadoma,
about 200km southwest of
Harare, recently moved to Harare to live with a
brother because his poor
health made it increasingly difficult to fend for
wife left him two years ago when he became critically ill and he has
on donations from his brother, who works as a bank teller in Harare,
he lost his job due to poor health.
"Harare seems to be better in terms
of the availability of foodstuffs and
drugs. I was going through hell,
living alone in Kadoma where I used to work
as a teacher, because having TB
I needed good food to complement the drugs I
was taking, when they were
"I am sure my condition would be better if I could afford at
least two good
meals a day and while my brother is doing his best, I know he
here in the capital," Mbiri told IRIN. "Even when money is
available, it is
a struggle to get the food to buy."
does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Zimbabwe's ruling party insincere about talks,
Monsters and Critics
Oct 15, 2007, 16:37 GMT
Zimbabwe's main opposition on Monday accused President
Robert Mugabe's party
of treating with disdain key inter-party talks by
mounting a crackdown on
'We continue to receive disturbing reports from across
the country of
violence against our supporters, said Nelson Chamisa, the
spokesman of the
main faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic
The MDC is engaged in talks with the ruling ZANU-PF party
neighbouring South Africa that are aimed at defusing political
ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections due next
outh African President Thabo Mbeki was given the mandate to mediate
talks by the regional SADC grouping in March.
This followed a
violent crackdown against the opposition earlier that month
that left at
least two people dead and dozens of opposition officials and
'The regime is working hard to shrink the democratic
space of ordinary
Zimbabweans,' Chamisa charged.
claimed that police had turned down 103 applications for
rallies made by the
MDC since the talks began, despite the fact that war
veterans and other
supporters of President Robert Mugabe have freely staged
marches in towns
and cities countrywide.
'We condemn the incessant attempts by the regime
and security agents to
tamper with the people's basic freedoms of assembly,
association,' Chamisa said.
He said MDC Member of
Parliament Paul Madzore had been summoned for police
following a weekend rally.
Last week state prosecutors withdrew terrorism
charges against more than 20
opposition activists, including Madzore, who
were arrested in March and
detained for several months.
The MDC has
said it will demand compensation from the state for the
detention of the
activists, several of whom were severely assaulted in
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Ailing Student Denied Bail Again
SW Radio Africa
15 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
Edison Hlatshwayo, the secretary general for
the students union at the Great
Zimbabwe University, has been in custody for
nearly three weeks for
allegedly defying police authority. On Monday he was
further denied bail by
a Masvingo court.
Hlatshwayo has been tortured
and incarcerated at the hard criminals lockup
of Mutimurefu prison and was
remanded in custody until Wednesday, after a
magistrate ruled that the
police still need to investigate the case. Student
bodies and civil
organizations have criticized the ruling, citing
Hlatshwayo's failing health
and the lack of police evidence.
Activists at the Zimbabwe Students
Union and the Students Solidarity Trust
(SST) have charged that Hlatshwayo's
continued incarceration is because
security agents targeted him.
spokesman Simba Moyo said Hlatswayo was being denied bail as the police
"getting back at him".
"Its unclear why the police would allege they
still want to investigate
Edison. They allege he got rowdy at an event so
they should simply charge
him for that and contest the case," Moyo
"We are aware however that there is one particular officer called
who harbors a grudge with Edison and wants him to languish for as
possible in prison. Our friend is being denied food and is not well
have launched a campaign to publicise his case to the outside
Hlatshwayo was arrested on allegations of malicious injury to
assault, while attending a public meeting organized by the
Forum at Charles Austin theatre hall in Masvingo.
Our experiences in Nigeria -Zimbabwean farmers
Posted to the Web: Monday, October 15, 2007
Mustapha, a worker in the farm of Allan Jack
What is your
I am Tawio Mustapha, a native of Shonga. I have been here
Since these people came there have been development. They are
factories at the other side. This is a store where we are keeping
How will you assess their farms since they
They said they have problems of sales here and that is why
embarked on the cultivation of soyabean this year, because it gives
money.The maize they planted previously did not yield much. This is because
most maize farmers in the country plant maize too.
started here what were you doing?
I was working at the Bachita
Sugar company . On the relationship
with the people?
is no problem with them at all. The idea of the farm here by the
Paul Reflaff, Zimbabwean farmer
it been here in Shonga?
We have been busy building, tilling land,
You have been here for close to four years now, how many
land have you cultivated ?
There are thirteen of us
here and we have about four thousand hectares
and we have been cultivating
maize, soyabeans, rice, cassava, plantain and
we have done a little bit of
experimental work with groundnut and
vegetables, banana and pawpaw. On a
large scale it has been maize, rice,
soyabeans and cassava.
have been harvesting, we have made storage for the dairy, we have
5000 tonnes storage for the dairy, this is going to be our second
crop now and the first soyabean crop was not that great. In fact
none of our
first crop was satisfactory, but from the lessons we have learnt
our crops are looking much better this year.
What happened that
your first crops were not that successful?
We were late in
planting, the finance came late so we started planting
late, that probably
was the worst problem and we had some substandard
fertilizers and the land
we planted was virgin so the soil has to be worked
before it starts becoming
In essence, in your 1st, 2nd year, you did not
make yield, not to talk
We are hoping that by the
end of the third year we start getting
decent crops. By the time we get to
the third year crops we start getting
good results .
relationship with the people?
You can see that the people are
working in all the areas. Residents
are employed on the farms. At times
between us we employ a couple of
thousand people and you have to ask them
whether they are happy or not. We
are their employers and so we are very
strict and disciplined. We are
instilling a lot of discipline and work
ethics. The labourers work very hard
but they have to learn how to stick to
We have 13 farmers here and another 20 in Nassarawa.
Between 13 of us
here we have cultivated about 4,000 hectares.
What is taking place here?
This is for the dairy and we are going
to be producing milk and what
is standing there is the processing plant and
the packaging for the dairy
products that we will be producing and then the
other building for milking
the cows and housing the cows.
many people are you likely to employ here at the end of the day?
guess is as good as mine. I think as long as we are developing,
is going to increase as things start working properly the number
Is there any deliberate effort to train the locals on
No, we have been very busy
concentrating on getting ourselves settled,
setting up these farms and what
we hope is that lots of people will learn by
working for us and
understanding, but we still have a long way to go before
we get this place
running to a point where we start thinking of putting up
centre. We are still a long way away from there, we are going
to make sure
that we survive first and our priority at this stage is to get
and get the place viable and make this farm productive. Until we
can do that
we can't teach anybody anything, we are probably learning from
the locals as
they are getting to learn from us.
From your experience so far,
from which of the cultivated crops did
you get the best yield and
I think we have been successful with everything we have done.
to be careful not to be disappointed with our first couple of years,
have gone a long way. We have done a lot of soil analysis, we have
got a lot
of experts come here to advice us and what the problems are and
shortfalls are and each year we will continue to rectify our
until we get it right.
We are still yet to get
irrigation which is a big factor and we hope
that will start happening in
the nearest future. We are still yet to get
electricity here and whole lots
of things, so we still got a long way to go.
Building up the
infrastructure is a master job and what I planned
doing here in 5 years took
me 25 years of my life else where in Zimbabwe. We
still got a long way to
In the next five years, what do you think will happen
You can imagine this factory when it is working, there will
be so much
work, and employment, there will so be much hassle and bustle and
like this is going on in every farm, so you can get an idea of the
activities that will be generated. In 5 years time, it is going to
be like a
hub of activities.
Some farmers are putting up an
abattoir for chicken, chicken plants,
others are putting up cassava plant,
there is going to be rice mill.
How do you think African nations,
especially Nigeria, can be
self-sufficient in food?
relatively simple, it just needs strong will by governments in
long as the enabling environment is created, the system gets on
automatically. And I will say that Nigeria can feed itself with the right
government policy and that is what we are seeing here, we have seen a
fantastic government policy that has helped in legislation and getting the
banks to lend money. All the talk of infrastructure takes time, but it is
coming. We are the Guinea pigs so we are trying to get all things in place
and when the next set comes, it will be quicker for them.
is no question about Nigeria being able to feed itself. Like I
government gets to create the enabling environment, in other words,
going to be incentives for people to do it. So that a person who
puts in a
day's work gets a day's return and he will be satisfied with what
done that day and that is the bottom line, you got to make money.
Have you been selling your grains?
We have been
selling to lot of people and factories in Ibadan, Lagos
and Nassarawa where
people come to buy our cassava.
On the estimate sold so far,
can't give the estimate, but it could be up to a thousand tonnes.
the hectares cultivated so far:
Last year we did about 2,000 hectares
and we have cut down this year
because of finance as you can see we are
putting money into processing plant
and the chicken processing, but next
year we will be back. The banks are now
coming on board in
What is going on here?
We are building a processing farm for the diary. We are talking of
of a large number of people.
Experience in shonga?
Coming together, the people are not working as expected but that will
with time On the land cultivated and the crops?
Right now we are
trying to cut back as we did not the financing on
time, so we have
cultivated about 300 hectares in my farm, that of Mr.
Swarts and Mr.
Reflaff, we are working together but because we did not bring
the cattle the
year before we have got all we need already, so we don't need
to plant more
this year. Next year between the three of us we are going to
between 900-1000 hectares.
In the first and 2nd year what crops did
you cultivate and the result?
We grew maize and soyabean. The maize
in Nigeria, you have three
diseases which affect maize terribly. One is
common rust and the second is
green ..... your plant breeders told me our
seeds are resistance to these
diseases, but they are no way near resistance,
so a lot of work has to go on
into breeding varieties that will stand the
climatic condition we have here.
Have you been able to do
No, that will take time to do. We are not breeders, we are
On the cultivated soyabean.
grow well here and the harvest from maize have been slightly
harvested between, 3 and 4 tonnes, but this year we are
probably going to
get about 5 tonnes.
On the number of people employed ?
Between the three of us, (Allan, Retzlaff and Swarts) we have
On how the country can be self sufficient in food
The country can be, you have everything like the climate,
fall, the soil, you just have to get the husbandry side of the
farming a lot
better and that will improve on an annual basis.
On the challenges in Shonga?
The challenges are clearing the land,
trying to get the labourers do a
decent day's work for a decent day's pay
and just normal farming problems
that are on-going.
Spare parts, there is no spare parts here, chemicals.
sold in liters parks we needs to be buying in 50 liters
On what the place was before they got there?
was just bush, there was nothing here, everything we have done
started from the scratch and now you can see we have buildings
and everything is going.
On what is expected in the next five
This processing plant will be producing over 50000 liters of
day. From the soyabean and other crops, because of the plough back
soil there will be improvement, the policy in nigeria is just clear
burn, nothing plough back into the soil. We plough back and it can only
"You can see there are
lots of production here. This is my third
cropping . Soyabean mainly. I
have got only soyabean this year, about 250
Previous seasons, i cultivated soyabean, maize,
groundnuts, coffee and
we are doing a chicken project, so we will be needing
all that soyabean for
the poultry. I have got enough maize from last year,
so i am growing
Maize have been very disappointing
because it is very tropical here,
very humid, so we got a lot of diseases in
the maize. So we are not growing
maize this season, we need to go purchase
maize in maize growing areas.
The market is very good very the
soyabean. We are building shield for
the poultry and by march or April next
year we should have completed this
The varieties of
maize, we have here are not right, the right is grown
in this tropics are
not suited for this area, because of the disease.
Northern black comes in
and to go round it, we need to start looking at
seeds that are suited for
this area, which we are probably going to get in
brazil or south America
that are of the same tropics.
There are lots of research done in
those countries on maize and crops
diseases and in this country we don't
have such researches. So that is how
we can over come the problem with the
maize, by bringing in great seeds.
Q: On the projection for
soyabean this year?
It is our second year on farming on soyabean,
it will take up three
years before you get to maximum production, but we are
hope for better crop
this year, this year the crop looks promising, we are
15-20 tonnes per hectare.
It means you are
expecting 3750 tonnes- 5000tonnes on your farm alone.
Q: On how the
country can be self sufficient in food production?
agriculture, by growing crops, getting a good marketing
Getting good research going, and being more viable and the
banks being able
to assist the farmers.
Look at your small scale farmers, all he
does is to grow enough to
feed itself and he goes to do other jobs for cash.
You need the bank to
support him to grow the crop commercially.
Q: Talking about financing what has been your experience like with the
The banks don't know what agriculture is, they are used
to short terms
loan, if you want to go into commercial farming, you are
looking at minimum
of 5 years- 15years lending, you have to buy equipment
and you need to put
infrastructure in place and you cant do that in 1 year.
The banks get to be
educated or change their agriculture policy to lower
interest and long term
AHMED MUHAMMED, a worker in the
farm of the Hunters
Q: How long have you been working here
I have been here for the past three years. I plant and work for john
I have learnt a lot about land preparation and how to plant
well as irrigation.
With the experience i have gotten from them i
want to start my farm to
put into practice what i have learnt here.
We are about 100 people and about 500 in the entire farm one. There
people who are into monitoring of crops, irrigation and other
I have been for about three years and i have learnt
about rice and
crop planting as well as harvesting. I also learnt about
techniques. And i will like to set up my own farm too when
i leave here.
In Mr. Hunter's farm, there are about 150 in his
farm, he is working
on a poultry farm as the site has been
IBRHAHEEM ISSA, a cyclist,
Q: Before the
coming of the Zimbabweans what was it like here
Before the coming of
the Zimbabwean farmers, things have changed in
the town. I have worked with
them as planter, mechanic.
Before they came, we heard they were
coming to take over our land and
that they were not going to pay us, but
when they came it was not the same
as we got employed in their farms and
those of us who could not afford
bicycle started buying motorbikes as well
as cars even building houses.
TOCHUKWU FIDELIS from Enugu
I was selling in the chemist here before coming to work for
zimbabwean farmers here as they pay me 10000 naira monthly.
EMIR OF SHONGA, HRN Dr. Haliru Ndanusa Yahaya
"The farmers were
supposed to be given land on the other side and
those people were to have
their land prepared for them. The compensation is
not one off thing , it is
a series of small incentives, like monitoring,
land preparation and that the
people will benefit from spin off .
Then the road network we
refused to disposed the farmers. Other
incentives, they are going to have
1000 hectare farm that will be developed
by the community. Training of the
youth as part of the 13th farm to be
created by the government and that farm
will be manned by the Zimbabwean to
be owned by the community, so the
community has direct use of the proceed
from the farm and that is coming on
"Nigeria environment funny enough does not encourage
banks are not doing anything as far as agriculture is concern
interested in giving money to oil sector as well as trading. So it
difficult to raise money for large scale farming.
last president came with his might to get the banks to come here
to see what
is happening, before the 50b naira was syndicated to the agric
"Fortunately the IFC was able to raise some money for
them and with
that they will be able to do 24 hours farming and when that
starts there is
going to be lots of activities, as they will employ lot of
people as all
their farming will not be mechanized.
we want to encourage eco-tourism as a spin off of the farm
activities as the
money that will be spent here is huge and we encourage the
to continue and see the whole area as a development unit as
part of their
strategy for the development of Kwara state.
"In terms of the
changes that have been taking place, it is quite
dramatic, but I am aware it
could be more dramatic. Unfortunately, I
painted a rosier picture and
therefore for them it may be is this what they
said , but all communities in
that area will benefit from it. But it has to
do with funding.
I am personally impressed. As all compensation are about being
Some are disappointed, but most people are happy in
fact when they are
outside and hear how people talk about this project they
appreciate they have a hidden treasures.
Zanu PF has no exit strategy
The structural economic crisis in Zimbabwe
continues to spiral out of
control. The country's economic statistics and
continue to break all unsavoury
Who would have thought that we would have real inflation in
excess of 8 000
percent and who would have thought that one day, broad money
increase by a factor of 17 073,1 percent in a space of six
Equally astounding, have been the response, or lack of response
regime which is intellectually hibernating at its offices along
For instance, who would have thought that the
mainstay of dealing with the
non-existent supply side of our economy would
simply would be the printing
of money-not even real money but bearer
cheques? In addition, who would
have thought that the solution to our
stratospheric mega-inflation was to
up business and frighten shop
keepers into reducing prices?
Indeed, the fascinating reality reflected
in the cacophony of solutions
proffered by the regime to the crisis is that
the regime has no formula,
has no method, has no system and has no value
other than that of power
The regime has no respect for
fundamental and structural economic
principles; the major one being the
elementary housekeeping rule that you
cannot spend if you cannot produce,
and you cannot consume if you are not
The regime has
simply shown that it can have its cake and eat it. It has
without producing and consuming without industry.
Put simply, as Eldred
Masunungure recently argued, it is a regime that is
not risk-averse and will
assault and murder common sense and basic economic
principles for the sake
of its reproduction. In the end, it lives up to the
paradox of failed States
and all dictatorships, Burma included. That they
are strong, vicious and
risk-taking internally but are weak and
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono's monetary
statement of 1
October 2007, more than anything else, captures the
dialectical matrix of the regime.
We find it
contradictory that in a situation where inflation is rampant and
the "number one enemy", that Gono would unleash an unmitigated ,
expansionary monetary policy that will completely devalue savings
In the recent monetary policy statement, Santa Claus Gideon
Gono will be
doling out early Christmas presents to manufacturers and
farmers at 25
percent interest rates at the same time maintaining the
Treasury Bill rate
at a pitiable 340 percent when real inflation is over 8
What this means is that there will be a further increase in
supply (M3). At the same time, it will mean that the new regime
interest rates will exacerbate the savings stock in Zimbabwe. In
savings are going to be pushed to at least -15 percent of Gross
Product when an average country like Zimbabwe requires at least 30
of GDP. Thus, one cannot expect a notable supply-side recovery of
To be fair to Gono, there is logic to his anarchy; the
logic being that he
has pulled a no-stop to ensure that there is no excuse
for farmers not
producing in 2007; which he has done with zero-originality
through what he
calls dubbed "the mother of all agricultural
Indeed, farmers should have no excuse for not farming.
However, there is a
fallacy in the good Governor's logic and a horrible
risk-element. A prudent
Governor cannot put all the eggs in one basket,
particularly if that basket
is dependent on certain variables that no one
controls, in this case, the
Furthermore, it is a
false development model that sees agriculture and the
mining industry as the
mainstay of supply-side recovery. The economic
crisis on the African
continent, as has been argued by people like Mbaya
Kinkwenda, is the crisis
of its accumulation model; a model based on the
materials and the absence of any value addition.
Such a model is
outdated, crumbling and "incapable of reproducing itself."
always argued that economic policy in Zimbabwe must be driven by an
model that is people-centred, anti-neo liberal and anti-poverty
recognizes the centrality of value-addition, technology,
and the complete liquidation of the rural-urban divide as
we know it
The absence of such a model means that Zimbabwe continues to
one crisis to the other, from one monetary statement to the
other and from
budget statement to the other without any direction,
purpose or agenda. In
simple terms, the regime has been playing blind-man's
buff with the
Gono must pray that his gamble pays off. And
praying here is not a
metaphor. He must literally kneel down and beg the
he has simply done is to sacrifice all
logic and economic prudence on the
basis of an assumed bumper
The knives are out for him. Two or three Zanu PF factions
are baying for
his blood and there is good justification for the knives that
In his monetary statement for the second quarter in 2004,
Gono spelt out a
highly ambitious 5-year vision up to 2008 and that vision
was based on
certain key deliverables. The first was the stabilization of
inflationary spiral to maintain the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.
Governor, where are you on this score?
Second was the
stabilization of the exchange rate and normalization of the
exchange and trading. At the time he took over as RBZ
governor, the US
dollar was trading at 1: 56 to the Zimbabwean dollar.
predicted that year-end inflation would be reduced to 150 percent
his vision for 2008 would be achieved. At the time, Gono said that
to turn around the economy was not an option. Sadly, the chickens
home to roost and failure has become his only option.
As a party, we
have always argued against the RBZ's quasi-fiscal
are they unlawful but they are also unconstitutional. Parliament
approve all expenditure and allowing the RBZ to continue dabbling
unlawful activities is unacceptable. It is quite clear that the
statement of 1 October 2007 sounded more like the supplementary
a monetary policy statement dealing with key instruments such as
exchange rate, money supply and the interest rate.
further concern is that the quasi-fiscal activities and the monetary
statement itself were clearly crafted with 2008 elections and the
the insatiable Zanu PF goblins in mind. Thus large sections of
population are going to be bribed by cheap lines of credit that
going to be repaid. That is the tragedy of the Zimbabwean and
politician. The same is not concerned with the interests of the
poor masses but rather with personal aggrandizement, looting,
We therefore see a further exacerbation
of the economic crisis and more
suffering of the ordinary Zimbabwean. Those
lucky enough will flee to the
Diaspora but the majority of us will continue
to live without jobs, food,
clean water, electricity and
This crisis cannot continue and as we have argued elsewhere,
Zimbabwe lies in a new, people-driven Constitution and free
Any formula disloyal to these values
has absolutely no chance.
Hon Tendai Biti, MP
Head Or Tail, the People Lose
13 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
African intellectuals and
international relations experts are beginning to
see the Somali situation as
gravitating towards the level at which it can be
described as a humanitarian
However, despite the Somali situation and reality gradually
the worst case scenario, it is nothing in comparison to what
it is happening
in Zimbabwe; a country that can now be described as being
actually being at war.
Robert Mugabe, once the
hero of the country's independence from Great
Britain and the shinning and
guiding light of the brand new nation's change
from the colonial Rhodesia,
has become the arch villain of a people who seem
resigned to waiting for
divine providence to intercede to rescue them from
the vice- like grip of
their once beloved leader, through death.
Even the international
community seems resigned to such hopes in helping to
get rid of a dictator
clothed in the benign camouflage of a democrat. The
situation has become so
bad today in the once beautiful and potentially rich
country of milk and
honey gone sour, that to buy a car, another car would be
required to load
the Zimbabwean dollar sufficient enough to buy the new one.
galloping at a world and historical record of over 1000 per
cent per year.
As at stands, it is standing at about 25,000 percent. When
dollar was officially devalued, it was taken from 250
Z-dollars per US$1 to
Z$30,000. But in reality, it was exchanging in the
streets, in the black
market, for lower than Z$150,000 to the US dollar. So,
in practical terms,
with that much difference between the official exchange
rate and the rate in
the open market, it means the currency is still being
operated in voodoo
With a bag of money not worth a cup of rice anymore in the market;
is if there are people in the market with enough commodities to
union of teachers last month, thought they about had the last they
stomach. They declared a strike for increased pay. As probably one of
few institutions left still managing to raise its head above water, the
strongman octogenarian ruler offered them a four million Zimbabwean dollar
increase per month to take their monthly pay packet from Z$2.9million to
Z$6.9million. But for the approximately 100,000 teachers, that was not
enough. The union was demanding for a 20million-dollar increase per month to
take the average earning to Z$24.2million. This went to show the nadir that
the economy of the country had reached.
If ever a nation can be
grounded, Zimbabwe is at that crossroad. Paralysed
by fear, lack of money, a
currency that is not worth the ink that is smeared
on it and a welter of
strikes, Mugabe last month embarked on another one of
ill-advised blueprints, this time with the intention of dealing
inflation by introducing a three-way surgical law:
- The first will lead
to a 51 percent 'Real Zimbabwean Ownership' programme,
which meant no
foreigners could own more than a 49percent stake in any
company or start up
in the country.
- Government reserves the right to nationalise the mining
- The Introduction of a new Wages and Prices Commission to have
the power to
reduce commodity prices by 50percent.
Rather than ease
the problem for the masses, these measures only helped to
make things worse
for them. And in a country where bread is as hard to come
by as gold and
diamond; where already, the only commodities that are
regularly found on
stalls in shops and the few supermarkets that are yet to
close shop, are
washing powder, soap, dog food, and toilet paper; and where
value, can only be obtained in the black market, foodstuff and
had to follow the likes of petroleum products into that market.
result, an irate food manufacturing sector went up in arms and private
companies and multinationals, including Unilever, simply shut down
production lines, making a bad situation worse. Two weeks after, a flustered
Mugabe had to step back a little, allowing prices to be raised 20
Collapsed Banking System
Of course, banks are no longer
operating the way banks are known to in other
normal economic climes. The
situation with them has returned to more or less
that of ancient times when
financial transactions are done in barter form.
With the people no longer
trusting financial institutions in the country to
perform their primary
duties, 80 percent of the money in circulation is kept
in bedrooms. The
savings culture has become almost extinct. And since banks
have no money to
give to depositors generally, depositors have learnt to
keep their millions
in the house. After all, to even buy lunch for a family
of four, one may
need about half a million Zimbabwean dollars.
Towards the end of last
year, the Consumer Council had come up with a grim
research result, which
indicated that a family of five actually needed
61,100 Z-dollars to survive
for one month. However, the latest figures from
the council's eggheads
showed that it would take 8.5 million Z-dollars for
the same family to feed
for that period of time. With the median salary per
month being five million
dollars, that means an average family of four could
not hope to survive
right now in Zimbabwe unless it can live on two round
meals (straight one
course meals without frills or attachments) per day.
If African governments are full of policy makers that would
make Adam Smith
to look like a fraud, Zimbabwe seems to possess more than
its fare share
operating in the same corridors of power with Mugabe. Perhaps
this is only a
dictatorship phenomenon. In this, the Governor of the Reserve
Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, and the finance minister, Sam Mumbengegwi,
their places in the dictator's policy making team.
September 6, a little over a month ago, the two conspired to put Zimbabwe
the news once again for all the wrong reasons: As the first country in
history of Kinesianism to have concocted a supplementary budget that is
bigger than the original budget it is supplementing. Rather than get
Zimbabwe automatically listed in the Guinness World Book of Records and
superlatives, the act only shed more light on the kind of people that have
been at the helms of the poor Southern African country's economy and why the
country is at this sorry pass despite all the promise it showed at
The Supplementary Budget for 2007, went a whole 800
percent over the main
budget, released nine months earlier in December 2006
housekeeping economics would know not engage in this kind of
the economic cooks of Zimbabwe were no voodoo geeks just
dabbling in fiscal
occultism, then they should have known through the simple
revision of their
Economics 101 at college that budgets are not just drawn,
but made to be
fiscal tools grounded in policy frameworks and that in this
supplementary budgets cannot - in strict, sound, economic terms -
their own policy framework - other than that of which it was
In The Beginning
If as the cliché
goes, Rome was not built in a day, then the case here can
easily be the
reverse of Rome: The House of Zimbabwe was not destroyed in a
Zimbabwe'a social strata was built on blood letting. Way back to the
eighties when Rhodesia was being taken away from the colonial clutches of
Britain, Mugabe was a hero of independence. And because of the lopsided
colonial administration by Britain, which gave whites in Rhodesia all the
choice lands and the top grade real estates, and limited the real owners of
the land to small bad patches, at independence; Mugabe started reversing the
act by asking black families to go and seize lands. That is instead of
adopting a policy of equitable redistribution.
But the whites too
were Zimbabwean citizens. So when they were being kicked
out, they had
nowhere to go. They resisted this whole process. They were
Africans and did
not want to leave. Bloodshed between the people started
when black families
moved into the white lands and refused to leave.
However, the rapid-fire
implosion process that is now ongoing, really began
in 2000 when Mugabe took
the populist step of reclaiming farmlands from the
white landowning elite,
resulting in economic collapse. The land was not
given to the poor masses
but transferred to his cronies who knew next to
nothing about farming.
Irrigation systems crumbled and cereal production
fell by 66 per cent by
2002. What used to be the bread basket of Southern
Africa soon became a net
importer of grains. To keep the country afloat
Mugabe began printing money
without the corresponding increase in value and
Waiting for Death to Do Them Part
With the most fearless of
the citizens having tried in vain, all the people
of Zimbabwe can do to get
rid of the 27-year dictatorship, whose head is a
sprightly 83, is to wait
for divine intervention in the form death to put
them out of their misery.
But while they wait, and Africa and the world
waits too, the country
gradually degenerates into dangerous refugee
proportions. And if by any dint
of bad luck for the continent, but a good
one for the despot, he gets
blessed with even longer life, then the country,
Africa and the world can
expect another decade of this misrule. By then, the
number of Zimbabweans
forced to live in exile in South Africa (currently the
number is estimated
to be about two million), would have doubled, in the
process slowing down a
regional power that the world and Africa once looked
up to for
Under the prevailing circumstances, head or tail, the people
of Zimbabwe are
The fate of Zimbabwe - AIDS Treatment only if you belong to the approved
October 15th, 2007 by Peter
Few people outside Zimbabwe realise the implications
of the AIDS pandemic in Zimbabwe for its people. On October 13, 2007 an
excellent mini-documentary was published by the BBC’s Unreported World on
UBTV. This followed an undercover visit to Zimbabwe by two journalists.
(Western media, including the BBC, are banned from entering Zimbabwe by Mugabe
– and all media within Zimbabwe is state controlled and censored.)
report refers to Mugabe’s “reign of terror” on his own people and says that a
“major tragedy is unfolding”. Those of us who care have been trying to bring
this to the attention of the world for years.
The same report quotes from a
United Nations estimate that “1.3 million children in Zimbabwe have been
orphaned by AIDS”. Zimbabwe previously had a total population of some 12
million – but over 4 million have already left the country as political or
economic refugees. Imagine a country with a resident population of 8 million
including 1.3 million children orphaned by AIDS!
In some areas “more than 50
percent of all families are orphaned” because, as is the case with food aid,
Zimbabwe’s HIV and AIDS infected people are only given access to treatment if
they are card carrying members of Mugabe’s political party, Zanu-PF. These
children live in an area that has traditionally supported the opposition to
Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. The BBC report calls it “gerrymandering” by Mugabe and his
state thugs, especially in the police and army. But surely it is much more that
that? How about genocide? These people also happen to belong to the “wrong”
tribe – they’re Ndebele, instead of Shona (Mugabe’s tribe).
And let us not
forget that life expectancy in Zimbabwe has fallen from one of the best in
Africa during the Rhodesian civil war days of the 1970s, to the lowest in the
entire world now – 34 years for women and 37 years for men (United Nations
Meanwhile millions are suffering from malnutrition and face
starvation as the last of the commercial farmers are forced from their land under Mugabe’s Zanu-PF “land-redistribution” laws that has
destroyed Zimbabwe’s once hugely successful agricultural industry see my post
last week “Zimbabwe farmers face up to 2 years in prison for growing crops on their
land”. The country now has 80 percent
unemployment and the highest inflation in the world.
Zimbabwe has 27 years of
Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Marxist rule to thank for all this.
Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia
from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of
terrorists. Davies’ novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on
his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of
how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.
Gvt set on breaking
perceived enemies ahead of polls
15th Oct 2007 09:08 GMT
By Trust Matsilele
The Zimbabwe government is doing all in its power to break
of the state, especially those in the Non Governmental
who have strongly criticised the marriage between the
opposition MDC and
Zanu PF on the 18th Amendment Bill.
Political scientists say the move is
meant disenfranchise operations of the
NGOs thereby giving Zanu PF the
smooth passage to rig the forthcoming
The Governor of
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Dr Gideon Gono recently when
monetary policy called for more strict ways of monitoring of
The National Constitutional Assembly National spokesperson
questioned the logic behind this move, saying the only
that could be derived from the move is that the
government is out to
jeopardize the work of NGOs.
"The most obvious
interpretation of this arrangement is certain: by having
access to the
financial transactions of civic society, especially as we head
elections next year, the Zimbabwean authorities can with greater
be in a position to undermine the work of organisations," said
The Governor said monetary systems of NGOs would be strictly
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe where all Foreign Currency
Accounts (FCA) of
NGOs will be centrally managed by the central
"There will now be strict monitoring of financing situations of
The Zanu PF government, which went on honeymoon
recently after oppositioN
MDC parliamentarians backed its controversial 18th
Amendment Bill, received
strong attacks from leading civic societies for
betraying the populace by
underestimating the magnitude of the crisis in
Zimbabwe to one that can be
solved by merely amending the constitution.
What a price to
restore our dignity?
15th Oct 2007 09:30 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
A FEW short years
after the calamity of 2000, during which a number of black
and white people
were killed, a journalist working for an independent
newspaper in Harare was
reported to have relocated to Johannesburg in South
on a newspaper in The Golden City? Not a chance: she landed a job as
in a posh suburb outside the city.
Before 2000, she would have harrumphed at
the prospect of actually accepting
such a menial job: "It's infra
In Latin, that is infra dignitatem: beneath one's dignity. Today,
of Zimbabweans, both at home and abroad, are pursuing occupations
beneath their dignity.
In fact, only a few citizens have the
temerity to even walk tall, whether
they are in Nelson Mandela Avenue in
Harare , Elof Street in Jo'burg, Bond
Street in London or Fifth Avenue in
The Big Apple, hawking ties.
A few politicians, it could be true, may
possess the false bravado to walk
tall - in public, at least. After all,
people in their peculiar calling
thrive on mendacity.
So, even as
mendicants - begging the European Union to let their beleaguered
attend this high profile summit in Portugal in December - they will
put up a
Yet they can hardly disguise the plaintive tone in their
plea: the former
president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, says he intends to
raise Robert Mugabe's
presence at the EU-AU summit at a proposed meeting
with the British prime
minister, Gordon Brown.
Suddenly, this is a
lead story in the government's loudest mouthpiece, The
Herald. Mr Brown is
not heard from: does he have time to meet this
ex-president, kicked out of
power, after 27 years of undistinguished
one-party rule, in a free and fair
Obviously, the government media believe all Kaunda has to do is
to wave his
magic white handkerchief and Voila! Mr Brown will be mesmerized
pleading with the rest of the EU leaders to sit down with Mugabe, a man
once called members of the British cabinet, including Mr Brown, a bunch
There is something utterly undignified about this:
disguise it as anything
else, but the truth is that, on behalf of the people
of Zimbabwe, shorn of
their dignity already, the government is begging for
their man to go to
Much more odious than this, however, is
the robbery of their dignity through
the humiliation of having to beg for
foreign currency, fuel, power, maize,
wheat and diplomatic support to be
allowed to enter the hallowed halls
during which international conferences
Before 2000, Zimbabwe would have been routinely invited to such
summits. It had its dignity intact then, a respected,
self-respecting member of the international
It could even afford to make its excuses for not being attend
this or that
conference - "because our president has a packed
Today, they are searching all international diaries every day
- from Teheran
to Timbuktu - for conferences to which they might persuade an
ally to have
the president invited, even if it is on a subject as esoteric
a birth control programme for whales.
Apart from the
calamitous events of 2000, there was Mugabe's decision to
tough it out over
his term as president.
Instead of calmly announcing he would retire when
his term expired in 2008,
what does the man do? He pretends his party is so
in love with him as
president they won't let him go - not just
Then there is the ultimate indignity of recruiting a disgraced
veterans' leader to head "trumped up" solidarity marches around
ostensibly as a loud endorsement of his candidature in
This might ensure that, instead of leaving office in a blaze of
Mugabe will slink off like a vanquished combatant, to the boos and
the victor's supporters - Joice Mujuru's, Emmerson Mnangagwa's or
Or, most likely and most painfully for him and Zanu
PF and their friends in
Sadc, Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC.
has paid s steep price in allowing Mugabe a free hand in quitting
Commonwealth, alienating most of the European Union, the United States
number of Asian nations with their own political clout outside the
How much are the citizens willing to pay to reverse these losses, to
Mugabe to eat crow and declare publicly that he has ruined the country
his one-man style of leadership, repudiated even by his erstwhile
the People's Republic of China?
There has been no one-man
rule in that country since the passing into
history of The Great
Even Mugabe must know by now that, even conceding that the
sanctions may have hurt more people than just his closest cronies
families, none of this would have happened if he had been more
his response to the challenges.
It seems to many of his
critics that his major handicap was to take every
challenge as a personal
His intemperate reaction to criticisms from Tony Blair and John
examples of extremism considered totally disproportionate for
aspiring remotely for statesmanship.
who endured such horrors as Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina,
there can be no
price too high to be paid to return the country to the glory
Before Mugabe entered this period which some of his critics have
own "moments of madness", Zimbabweans were received everywhere
they went as
people with quiet dignity, hard-working almost to the point of
workaholics, and endowed with a politeness that was entirely
sincere and deep-seated.
Before desperation drove some
of them to flee their motherland in search of
employment elsewhere, they
were sought after even by the developed nations
because of their
well-deserved reputation of an almost religious attachment
Everywhere they went, they conducted themselves with the quiet
people with little time for tomfoolery. Whatever fortune they
from their hard labour.
Later, after 2000, deprived of
their dignity, forced to live by their wits,
both at home sand abroad, they
acquired a reputation of being cunning,
ruthless even when there was no
adversity, for being all too willing and
ready to profit from the
foolishness, gullibility and carelessness of
What will it
take for them to restore their dignity?
More to the point, how much are
they willing to sacrifice to erase the dark
past and replace it with what
most of the world saw as a golden opportunity
for an African country,
emerging from 15 years of bloodshed, to chart a new
course for a non-racial
nation where the worth of a citizen was measured,
not in terms of their
colour or their political affiliation, but how they
were willing to help
their country prosper in peace and tranquility?
Recently, Joseph Msika,
one of the vice-presidents, warned "white racists"
against resisting change.
Amazingly, he is blissfully aware who the culprits
resisting change really
The world has passed the transition from the Stone Age of the
state to a pluralistic dispensation in which every citizen has the
inalienable right to decide who should run their country and how they should
Zimbabweans must know that clinging to the racist
stereotypes which led to
the war of liberation in which 30 000 died is as
dangerous as the xenophobia
which led to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 in
which nearly a million
In the new millennium, the dignity
of the person is paramount: there can be
no harmony or peace if those
favoured with positions of power arrogate to
themselves the sole right to
decide the fate of the majority.
Such an injury to the dignity of the
majority can only result in
conflagration as bloody as that of the
UK relief agency launches Zimbabwe emergency appeal
15 Oct 2007
UK relief and development agency Tearfund is launching
an emergency appeal
to support Zimbabwe churches bringing help to the
poorest families affected
by Zimbabwe's spiralling crisis.
gone without food for weeks with even basic items unavailable in
World Food Programme has warned that over three million people
are at risk
of severe food shortages.
"People are living on nothing more than cups of
tea with the last of their
maize meal now gone," says Peter Grant,
Tearfund's International Director.
"Churches are working tirelessly to
bridge the gap, meeting the acute need.
Despite the spiralling economic
crisis they are bringing relief and hope.
But they urgently need our help
for this work to continue. That's why
Tearfund is appealing."
crisis in Bulawayo has seen people scavenging for filthy water from hand
pits and broken pipes. Of the five reservoirs that supply Zimbabwe's
largest city, four are now decommissioned having run dry.
already provided funding for Churches in Bulawayo who are
managing 20 water
distribution tanks. More tanks are needed to supply
essential clean water when the mains supply is cut to just
a few hours a
week. "This is a desperate situation," says Mannymore, a
church pastor in
Bulawayo's western suburbs. "They need water. We have taken
responsibility of the government, making sure there is enough food and
water. But it's very difficult.
"We are thirsty for everything now.
When people hear about maize meal the
whole community will come to the
place. The situation is terrible. There is
no food - just no
Tearfund partners with churches and Christian agencies in
through a strong network of volunteers that are in close
communities. This enables food aid to get to families and
desperately need help, often in remote areas, regardless of
tribal or religious affiliations.
Margaret (74) lives in a
sun-parched rural district about 70kms south of
Bulawayo. The riverbeds are
completely dry after the rains failed last year.
She cares for four
grandchildren, orphaned when her two sons died from Aids
The grandchildren's mothers fled to South Africa in their
four million Zimbabweans have left the country, the vast
the Limpopo River in a steady yet precarious exodus to
Margaret says that her husband raises a little money from fixing
utensils only to find nothing to buy in the store 5kms away. "I
angry. I don't have any soap to wash the children before school
and we don't
even have any food. We have been surviving on melons for two
months, we have
nothing else." One of her children, Thandolwenkosi (6), is
signs of chronic malnutrition. "She was supposed to go to
school today but
she is too hungry to go," Margaret explains. "I feel that
death is looming
for us if we don't get food."
The economic crisis
situation in Zimbabwe is affecting everyone with extreme
reported at over 7000% and unemployment exceeding 80%. Basic
as public transport, medical care and education have become
Lines of vehicles wait for days, in queues a mile long, for
fuel tankers to
cross the border from Botswana. What remains of Zimbabwe's
infrastructure has suffered systematic neglect over the last three
"The churches that we work with remain an apolitical voice in
standing against the injustice," adds Peter Grant. "We support
committed to fighting the poverty that is no longer affecting only the
poorest in society. Zimbabwe doesn't have to be like this."
is appealing to the British public and churches to support relief
must be increased to avoid an intensifying food and water crisis
put lives at risk.
Cape Town cops disperse Zim asylum
Mail and Guardian
Cape Town, South Africa
Police dispersed a group of Zimbabwean asylum
the Department of Home Affairs refugee offices in Cape Town
The group of about 100 Zimbabweans were protesting
department's reluctance to issue them with refugee-status
Police confronted the demonstrators shortly after
toyi-toying outside the offices, ordering them to disperse as
they did not
have a permit.
The group's leader, Braam
Hanekom, said the group wanted to
highlight the service problems being
encountered by the 2 000 Zimbabwean
asylum seekers in Cape
"The majority of the refugees have been battling to
documents for more than 10 years and this is despite the fact that they
genuine asylum seekers escaping from persecution back
Hanekom said the group would now apply for permission
The crowd dispersed without any incident.
Zim says no to licences for foreign
Mail and Guardian
15 October 2007
Zimbabwe will not allow foreigners to own broadcasting
but could relax rules and licence locals who have been battling to
stringent requirements, the information minister said on
"On the issue of ownership we cannot compromise,"
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told a committee of
"Why should a foreigner want to own a voice in
government policy on broadcasting seeks to achieve strategic
goals. We seek
to expose those we perceive as adversaries and win over those
we see as
"Broadcasting seeks to build
national cohesion, consensus and
defence, especially this time when the
country's sovereignty is being
challenged by our erstwhile
Zimbabwe passed tough media laws in 2002,
including the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which has
been invoked to
expel foreign correspondents, shut down four newspapers and
once-vibrant independent press.
laws passed in 2003 have protected the monopoly of
state television and
radio, which echo the voice of veteran President Robert
Although the law allows private companies to
operate radio and
television stations, prospective broadcasters have been
stringent licensing requirements, including a clause that
funding for local media companies.
Ndlovu said the government was considering relaxing the laws in
potential local broadcasters.
"We will continue inviting
applications and if they continue to
fail and they are capable Zimbabweans,
we will consider softening the
licensing criteria," he
Last month, lawmakers from Zimbabwe's main opposition
compromise with the government on constitutional reforms to allow
legislative and presidential polls next year but called for a revamp
country's media laws.
In pictures: Hardship in Zimbabwe
|15 October 2007, 13:27 GMT 14:27
Zimbabwe's most needy families are helped by NGOs and
churches to survive. But the spiralling crisis means they now are also
struggling to provide relief.
The economic collapse intensifies the hardship many
families face. Joseph is suffering from chronic diarrhoea after drinking
contaminated water. He is too weak to work.
Water supplies in the second city, Bulawayo, only run for
a few hours a week. Communities rely on the church to distribute water. "We are
thirsty for everything now," a pastor says.
Margaret, 74 lives in a rural district. The riverbeds are
dry after the rains failed last year. She cares for her four grandchildren,
orphaned by Aids.
Her husband earns a little money from fixing things. But
there is nothing to buy at their nearest store. Margaret says: "I don't have any
soap to wash the children before school."
"And we don't even have any food. We have been surviving
on melons for two months, we have nothing else," Margaret admits. "Death is
looming for us if we don't get food."
A pastor explains that currently, he is holding four or
five funerals a week for those dying among his own congregation or their
"Because of HIV, a lack of food and water, people become
so vulnerable," he says.
UK relief and development agency Tearfund is appealing
for support for churches in Zimbabwe to help them continue their work. [Pictures
by Marcus Perkins, www.tearfund.org]
Teachers Vote With Their Feet
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
qualified teaching staff leave their jobs and flood out of the country,
schools are filling up with untrained teachers.
By Yamikani Mwando in
Bulawayo (AR No. 138, 15-Oct-07)
Zimbabwe's schoolteachers once belonged
to the elite who could afford houses
and cars, but increasing numbers are
now joining the exodus of economic
migrants, leaving pupils in the hands of
In the Eighties, when the country was still in
euphoric mood after achieving
independence, teachers looked forward to a
life of plenty. Today, however,
they say they have been turned into paupers
by the deepening economic
crisis. Like most Zimbabweans - especially others
working in the large
public sector - teachers have found their salaries
eroded almost to nothing
by spiralling inflation, currently estimated at
over 6,600 per cent year on
Teaching staff in state schools
earn a little over three million Zimbabwe
dollars (ZWD) a month, which works
out at about 100 US dollars at the
official exchange rate and but only six
dollars on the parallel market,
which is a better reflection of consumer
Such is the level of anger at low wages in the education sector
the militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, PTUZ, went on
September to press for higher pay, it was joined by the Zimbabwe
Association, ZIMTA, which is seen as more closely aligned with the
PTUZ general secretary Raymond Majongwe said it was the
action this year, which was prompted by the government's
to address teachers' concerns.
Three weeks after
the strike began, however, the ZIMT - which conducted its
separately from the PTUZ - announced on October 4 that it had
settlement with a pay offer of 14 million ZWD a month. This was
the official poverty line - set at 16.7 million ZWD as of
August - which had
been used as a negotiating measure, and also fell short
of the 18 million
ZWD which the PTUZ was seeking.
On October 10, the PTUZ leadership passed
a resolution that its members
should return to work while the union decided
what to do next. This did not
amount to an acceptance of the pay
Whatever the outcome of the PTUZ's deliberations, the government
to offer teachers a significant better deal in the near future.
the mass outflow of teachers to neighbouring states is likely to
Zimbabwean teachers are held in high regard in the region, and
there is high
demand for them in South Africa's expanding education system,
as well as in
Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, and also in Mozambique, where
rising demand for English-speaking educationists. Further afield,
found teaching work in Britain and even Australia.
says more than 5,000 teachers resign every month in frustration
According to Majongwe, many accept manual jobs if they cannot
placements. "They find themselves as farm labourers in
and South Africa," he said.
To fill the gap
created by this exodus, the education authorities have hired
relief staff, despite complaints by both parents and qualified
this is compromising children's education.
Unqualified staff have always
been used to plug gaps in school timetables,
but until economic crisis set
in at the end of the Nineties, young people
looked on these temporary stints
as a transitional phase while they looked
for proper jobs.
Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, the education department is now full of
school-leavers desperate to find work as relief teachers.
believes the government is happy to take on more malleable workers
because they are on temporary contracts, are barred from taking
"Because the unqualified teachers are desperate for jobs, they
take up these
posts," he said. "And they cannot complain about conditions
are no jobs in the country. They are happy."
student in Bulawayo preparing for his Advanced Level exams, the final
qualification, said, "We are being taught by people with mere
Levels, when we were told previously that we needed someone with a
university degree to teach us. But people with university degrees no longer
want to work here any more, because of poor salaries."
teacher in a Bulawayo secondary school admitted he had little
option but to
take this low-paid job, even though he sympathised with the
"Give me any job and I will take it, but because there aren't
any, this is
what I will do in the mean time," he said.
his union plans to work with parents and pupils to lobby the
ministry to stop recruiting untrained teachers. However, he fears
it will be
a futile exercise, because having this cheap and undemanding
labour force on
hand allows the government to resist pay demands from the
Yamikani Mwando is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.
Bitter Infighting Brings Down MDC-UK National Executive
15 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
The entire national executive of the
MDC-UK, led by former trade unionist
Ephraim Tapa, has been dissolved and a
co-ordinating committee led by John
Nyamande has been installed in its
Tapa's fragile administration was undermined by a bitter power
the personal animosity between members of his executive
the operations of the party in the UK to a
This forced the standing committee of the MDC to send national
Lovemore Moyo to the UK to try and resolve the crisis. But on
Northampton, 33 out of 37 branches that attended the meeting
felt the executive needed to be dissolved because the working
of its leaders had been grounded from the start by acrimonious
Moyo's first task on Saturday was to meet separately with the
elected women's and youth wing members, before meeting the rest of
group, comprising four members each from the 41 branches in the UK and
The national chairman told newsreel on Monday he was
satisfied he did a
fairly good job because he gave all stakeholders an
opportunity to express
their views and chart the way forward. He said
according to his own
analysis, the problems in the executive were not major
but minor issues such
as lack of communication, which inevitably led to back
'I told them to bury their differences and move forward.
However a decision
was made and was made after consultations with all
stakeholders. 33 branches
favoured the dissolution of the executive while 4
wanted the group to carry
on and be given another chance to iron out their
differences,' Moyo said.
Tension prevailed before, during and after the
meeting as several groups
engaged themselves in verbal duels and scuffles.
The MDC's chief of security
in the UK, Taurai Chamboko had to intervene to
prevent any untoward
The chairman of the incoming
co-ordinating committee John Nyamande said his
first task would be to
regroup all the branches and pick up from where
Tapa's executive left off,
adding that his other major task would be uniting
the fractured province.
Nyamande's committee will serve for six months
before an extra-ordinary
congress is convened to elect substantive office
think of a more appropriate time than now to call upon all members
MDC in the UK to heal the rift that opened between us in the last
months and confront the major tasks that lie ahead of us including
for our right to vote next year,' Nyamande said.
The national executive
of the MDC-UK split into two camps after months of
between chairman Ephraim Tapa and secretary Julius
Mutyambizi on one side
and Jaison Matewu and Matthew Nyashanu, the UK
spokesman on the other
Police Ban Another Play in Bulawayo
SW Radio Africa
15 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
A new play that was due to open in
Bulawayo on Friday was banned by the
police as Robert Mugabe arrived in the
town to cap graduating university
The play, a satire titled
"Overthrown", is the latest production by Amakhosi
Theatre's producer and
director Cont Mhlanga, who told Newsreel the
production had been approved by
the state Censorship Board. Mhlanga
explained that he sent 6 copies of the
script to the Board a month ago, even
though he was not under any obligation
to do so. But this did not stop the
police ordering artists and guests to
disperse just before the performance.
The reason was stated simply as
"instruction from their bosses" to stop the
play. Mhlanga said the police
official warned that riot police were at
Mzilikazi Station ready to deal
with anyone who defied the order.
Ironically the Minister of
Information and Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was
due at the theatre to meet
the artists and interact with the producers. But
he arrived after the police
had dispersed the crowds and claimed to be
unaware that the play had been
banned. Mhlanga said the moment was
embarrassing because the police had lied
to him that the Minister was
More importantly Mhlanga said
he was angered by the loss of revenue which he
blames on the police, because
people are becoming too scared to attend their
performances. He vowed to sue
the police and the authorities for this
interference. He said: "People are
afraid to come to the theatre now because
they think riot police are going
to turn up. And this is stopping
employment. These are professional actors
who work here and who pay rent.
Now they can't work."
said he was also angry because Minister Ndlovu had agreed to
questions relating to the shrinking democratic space in the
especially when it comes to discussing political issues. Amakhosi
productions have been followed by discussion periods during which
members debate issues addressed in the plays. Mhlanga said he
minister to be there to hear for himself what people have to say.
Minister Ndhlovu ended up meeting privately with the production team and
told them he was against the police shutting down the play. Mhlanga said
was not sure whether this was sincere. "Because after all the Minister is
politician." he added.
Amakhosi have had several plays banned by the
authorities in the last year.
Actors and producers have been arrested and
interrogated by police, using
various excuses to suppress the constitutional
right to freedom of
expression. On one occasion producers were asked to
submit a copy of the
script to the police. It was returned with virtually
every scene cancelled
Mhlanga said he hopes this case
winds up in the courts so that once again it
can clearly be shown that the
government is completely against the
constitutional right to freedom of
Newspaper Comes to Zimbabwe and Vanishes
15 October 2007
Posted to the web 15 October
Zimbabwe's readership market had
a pleasant surprise early this month after
South Africa's Sowetan newspaper
hit the newspaper stands, giving them an
alternative to the state-owned
dailies accused of churning out government
However, they had another surprise this week after failing to find
newspaper on the market, sparking speculation regulators had banned its
distribution on the country's streets. But an official at Munn Marketing,
the company that was distributing the newspaper in Zimbabwe, said they had
temporarily stopped bringing the newspaper from South Africa but could
resume "anytime soon".
"We were testing the market but just keep
watching because the paper might
be back soon," the official
Zimbabweans have had to contend with having only two state-owned
newspapers, the Herald and Chronicle, since the ban of the Daily News
On 11 September 2003, the Supreme Court passed its
"dirty hands" judgment
against Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ)
publishers of the banned
Daily News and Daily News on Sunday, refusing to
hear the company's legal
challenge on the constitutionality of the Access to
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) on the basis that the
had approached it with 'dirty hands' by declining to
apply for registration
as required under the repressive media
This subsequently led to the closure of the publishing company on 12
September 2003 when police, armed with automatic rifles, burst into the
newspapers' offices in central Harare at about 5pm and ordered all staff to
"The matter is still pending before the courts as the ANZ
continues with its
fight to be duly registered and licensed to resume
publication as required
under the restrictive Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) in what can easily pass as one the longest
unresolved court cases in
Zimbabwe's judicial history," said Nyasha Nyakunu,
research and information
officer for the Media Institute of Southern Africa
The Sowetan would have joined South Africa's mainstream
Sunday Times and the Mail & Guardian, which are
distributed in Zimbabwe, are
hot sellers because of their consistent
coverage of Zimbabwe