Staying awake in Zimbabwe by Judi McLeod,
October 18, 2004
The Underground Weather
Report, dispatched to the outside world from email@example.com. org over the weekend is
worthy of world note.
"Harare has been gray and overcast for the last
five days, but the sun broke through the clouds as Morgan Tsvangirai was
acquitted in the High Court.
"And now the sky grows dark again and
thunder is rumbling around reminding us that we are not yet free. Join hands
in chasing this regime out."
In what is regarded as a surprise move,
Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai was acquitted on treason charges last
From the little people, there was jubilation, dancing in the
street and even a public show of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change
Party) open hand salute.
Tsvangirai's wife, Susan hugged and kissed
him. Defense attorney George Bizos, who also defended Nelson Mandela in 1963
and is credited with saving Mandela from execution, stood with tears of joy
streaming down his face.
Since his tantalizingly narrow, March 2002
election victory, Robert Mugabe has made a monopoly of power, guaranteeing
that judges loyal to his party preside over the courts, shutting down the
country's independent press and silencing dissent with a security law that
restricts freedom of speech and association.
"It is important that we
are not lulled into any sense that the judiciary is impartial and
accountable," warns news@zvakwanaja in its
weekend communiquZ. "The acquittal was orchestrated by the regime to make
our country seem law abiding and democratic. The regime is desperate to be
seen (as) upstanding and to win favour with Southern African Development
Communnity, (SADC), the African Union, (AU) and the international community
ahead of next year's elections."
The people of Zimbabwe look to much
from the MDC. "All of Zvakwana hopes that the MDC will find some new energy
and go all out to help us get a better life in Zimbabwe. We do not want
fighter planes circling the skies or hundreds of black boots on the streets;
we want jobs, food, good education and health care."
Zimbabwe is owed
more by the international community, and particularly by
Treason charges against Tsvangirai stemmed from state
accusations that Tsvangirai plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe with the
help of a Canadian-based political consultant, Ari Ben
Attorney Bizos made mincemeat of Menashe's testimony at trial.
Judge Paddington Garwe said the state failed to prove that Tsvangirai ever
asked Ben Menashe to help assassinate Mugabe. Judge Garwe said Menashe was
not a reliable witness, has accepted money from the state and that his
testimony was not supported any independent credible witnesses. He also said
that it was clear that Menashe wanted to entrap Tsvangirai.
no mention of the RCMP report requested by Canada's Minister of Foreign
Affairs to investigate the plot.
Not only is Ben Menashe still conducting
business in the City of Montreal, according to the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation (CBC), "Ottawa has known for years about Ben Menashe's trips to
Zimbabwe's capital and his association with Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe came alive in joyful celebrations of all shapes and sizes on Friday
night, when justice paid a rare visit to a country that lost its
"The regime can only stomp out a few fires, but they cannot
dampen the spirit of change that Zimbabweans are seeking," says news@azvakwanaja.
Canada Free Press
founding editor Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years
experience in the media. A former Toronto Sun and Kingston Whig Standard
columnist, she has also appeared on Newsmax.com, the Drudge Report,
Foxnews.com, and World Net Daily. Judi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zimbabwe paceman Henry Olonga feels the controversy surrounding the team
will not be ended by the ICC's decision to clear them of racism. Olonga
retired from the international arena in 2003 claiming his position had
become untenable as his opinions were so opposed to those of the
An ICC probe found "absolutely no evidence of racism,"
by the ZCU.
But Olonga said: "There will still be questions on the
conduct of the hearing and if it was the right conclusion."
Olonga, who was full of praise for England's Stephen Harmison who chose not
to tour Zimbabwe, admitted the trip presented major obstacles to governing
"The ICC were in a very difficult position if the ZCU were
found guilty of racism not only on the rebel players but in selection in
general," he said on BBC Radio Five Live.
"It's a way out for
the ICC in one way, they've washed their hands of it."
From: Michael Laban Date: Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:35:02 a.m
Africa/Harare Subject: Friday the
Laban's Occasional Newsletter - After 15 October 2004
What used to be a
bulletin of discussions, resolutions, events and happenings pertaining to
Ward 7 (Avondale, Alex Park, Strathaven, KG6 Barracks,
I almost made it into the Daily Mirror on Saturday. There on page 2,
the article headed "Mirror Staffers Arrested". The last sentence says,
"Angus Shaw, a freelance photographer, was also arrested." I know the
next sentence was going to say "former-Councillor Laban was also illegally
detained for the day, along with about 12 old women who were holding a
prayer vigil." Apparently it is against the law to take pictures, or to pray.
Perhaps some background is needed.
I went down town on Friday. Like
thousands of others, and it would appear hundreds of thousands of police. I
was stopped at the intersection of Second Street and Samora Machel and told I
could not go up Samora Machel to the High Court, nor could I even
continue to walk along that side of the street. After some discussion a
man in civilian clothes came up and asked what I wanted. I told him the same
story, and he said I could not go up. I asked who he was, and if he was a
policeman. He said he was not, so I said, since we were both civilians, I
would just stand and chat with him. He then turned to the riot policewoman
beside him and said, "Put cuffs on him". I decided that he really did not
want to have a conversation, and also that he was a lair when he said
he was not a policeman, and I crossed the street where I found a friend to
talk with (from the MDC District Executive) as we walked along.
many more people in my strolling after that. Former Councillors L.
P. Mushonga, K. Nemachena, N. Bangajena, and then Ian Makoni and
Eddie Cross. Eddie Cross told me that the police had taken him around the
corner and "given him some whacks", and he limped a bit. I enjoyed the fly
past and looked at the police horses, but the police to a man (or person) did
not know why they were there. They all just knew it as "an event", and I
had to explain to all of them that it was Morgan Tsvangirai's treason
Finally, I met Dale Dore. I took a picture of him (my
second picture, the first was of the National Gallery) and we sat down to
discuss Council, and specific issues around it. Then the police came
along and said, "Come with us". There were four of them. I asked why, and was
told that, "I would be told", and "don't make me use my baton on you". I
asked if I was under arrest, and again told, "you will be told". So I walked
across Kwame Nkruma to a police Land Rover, and everyone started issuing
orders. "Get in the back", "just wait for instructions", "show us what is in
your bag", "do you have a camera?" So I opened my bag and showed them
everything, including an apple. Now the one yells, "Are you trying to make
us look stupid, I said camera and you show me an apple!" "No", I respond
truthfully, (they do not need help being made to look stupid) "I was told
to show you what is in the bag, and here it is, an apple". After a
bit more of this, I get into the back, still asking if I am under arrest,
and not bein g told.
At Harare Central, my ID particulars are
taken by the riot police in the Land Rover. In the car park, my ID
particulars are again taken, and again I ask if I am under arrest, and
what charges and if I am detained. Again, "You will be told."
officer from Police Intelligence branch in a brightly coloured tie takes
me to his office, and seems unconcerned that I am talking on my
cell phone while we go upstairs. He takes my ID particulars, and will not
tell me if I am under arrest. He asks for my story. I explain the City
Council and show him my picture on his wall (Mayor and Councillors are up
almost as often as President Mugabe). He asks about the camera, and I
finally discover the reason for being taken in - "suspected journalist".
Well, I am not a reporter, I do theatre lights, but that does not seem to
I am then taken across to Law and Order. Al this time I have
still been talking on my phone, and sending and receiving text messages,
and Dale has rung up to say the result is out, Tsvangirai has been
acquitted. So I tell everyone.
At Law and Order I am taken to one room
with lots of people sitting on the floor (Angus Shaw, the women, etc.) and my
ID particulars are taken again. I show the camera again and it is given back
to again. I ask if I am under arrest and I am told, "you will be told",
again. I am then taken to another office where a man behind the desk is
talking on two telephones and listening to the police radio. And my phone
rings again. He gets very agitated, and screams at me to turn my phone
off, so I do. He asks who I am, looks at my ID, his phones ring some more,
and I am ushered out, never to see him again!
Back in the room with all
the people I am told to sit. Not on the benches - they are for officers - but
on the floor. I say I am not going to sit on the floor. I am not under
arrest; I am not accused of any crime that I know of, so why should I sit
on the floor. So I stand. Several police officers tell me to sit. The
people on the floor tell me to sit, because I will not win. I
explain that we will win (meaning the longer struggle), and that I am not
compelled to follow orders from people who are acting unlawfully. After a
short while, I am told by one place officer to take the chair from that
wall, but I must sit at the other wall. So I do it.
hours (around 1400), a more senior officer comes in and reviews everyone by
the notes written on pieces of paper. Most of it is in Shona, so I pick
up only bits of it. Everyone remains sitting on the floor, and passes
their IDs without standing up - sliding across the floor on bottoms if
When he gets to me, I stand up, walk across the room, give him
my ID, and return to my chair. He tells me to sit down - unnerved by the
whole thing. He asks me why I am here. I ask him to tell me, and ask if I
am under arrest, and for what reason I am being detained. I explain that
I have been asking since being picked up if I am under arrest, and that
unless I am being charged with something I am being kept illegally, and I
will sue for false arrest. He now has to think a bit, then declares that I
am being held for "participating in an unlawful demonstration," that threats
to sue him will not intimidate him from doing his job, I will be told how
they will proceed at the end of the day. That is the end of my
While he is dealing with Angus Shaw, there is a great deal of
commotion outside. Someone is shouting for Angus Shaw, the door is slammed
shut, she is yelling "Is Angus Shaw in there?" the police are yelling
"NO", I am yelling, "Yes, he's in here," and the police are cautioning Shaw
that he is not to say anything or make a sound. I am saying that it is
only polite - someone calls for your name, you should answer them. There
is a lot more rushing about, doors slamming, people going back and forth, and
then the woman, who I now know is Beatrice Mthetwa, is standing outside the
closed door, dictating in a loud, clear and precise voice, the details of an
urgent court application for Shaw's release, "unlawful and unjustified
detention". A real performance from a fighter.
After this, the two
Daily Mirror reporters are led in, and Tichaona Chifambe just takes a chair
and sit beside me on the "non-police officer" side of the room. We chat a
bit. I read the Economist and give my apple to one of the old women.
People go in and out to the toilet. It is all very boring. The big
threat is that it will be very bring for the whole weekend, since it is
Finally, about 1600, I am taken out and put into a senior
officers office. I stand around for a bit, and am then told to wait in
another office with two others. For much of the time we are left alone in the
office, looking out the window at the bus terminus outside (through the
panes of glass that are still there, and not the broken ones that are
covered by bits of cardboard) and free, if I felt like being a snoop (or
a good journalist), to read the notices on the walls, look in the
officers diaries and address books, and all the papers left on the desks.
It all seems a strange way to conduct business to me.
Then I am taken
back in to the first office and meet the senior officer (another one). He
tells me to take the film out of the camera, leave it here and go home
with the camera. But I cannot have the film. It is against the law
to take pictures of police officers. I have to explain, again, what a
disposable camera is. That there is no separate film. I cannot take it
out. He is perplexed, like all the other officers before him (I did not think
disposable cameras were so rare!) and eventually we agree to leave the
camera there, and I can come back on Monday.
Now I am left
standing in the hallway waiting for an officer to escort me out, while
everyone delegates the job to someone below them. The officer
I threatened to sue goes back into the senior officers room to check that
I am really being let go, and finally a junior leads me away to the front
door. It is pouring with rain but a friend, who takes me and my bicycle
home, rescues me and life continues.
To me, it is very evident. The
police are seriously over-stretched, and under funded. They have no
lights and no windowpanes. They lack paper. But most of all they lack
legitimacy, and any pretense of law and order. They only manage to do the
poor job they do by intimidation and threats. They constantly maintain
that your rights have been forfeit when you get into a police station.
And faced with someone like me who maintains that you cannot take a
Zimbabweans rights away, they are at a serious disadvantage. However I
must say that I found their threats to be very intimidating. I did not want
to stay in for the weekend. I did not want to be there for another hour.
I fully understand why the two Daily Mirror staff signed admissions of
guilt - even though they had press cards.
So what is to be done? The
police have taken it upon themselves to be investigators, judges, and
executioners. ? They picked my up unlawfully - I was not charged, nor
informed of the reasons even for my "investigation"). ? I was
not tried, not even by a police kangaroo court. I never met my accusers - "I
was seen taking pictures", no evidence was presented - the pictures are still
undeveloped, and I never put my case forward because I was never really
told what law I had violated. ? I was punished by the police. I was
deprived of my liberty for most of a day. There are many more who have
suffered corporal punishment at the hands of the police, such as Eddie
Cross the same day. Worse punishments have been given, if any of the
stories are to be believed.
A big part of me would like to sue for false
arrest (or whatever it is). If the police are not brought to task,
nothing will change, and they will continue to give unsatisfactory
service to the people of Zimbabwe. Service that we are paying for directly,
with taxes, and indirectly, with the loss of investment, flight of
skills, rise of corruption and other crime, and all the counter-development
aspects that come with a break down of law and order. And the downward
spiral will continue. As long as the police are allowed to use unlawful
means, they will lose the respect that should be theirs as the legitimate
enforcers of law and order. And when they lose that respect, they will have
to resort to further unlawful means. Hence the downward spiral.
I lack the resources to sue the police. No lawyer, nor funds to pay for one.
In addition, there is the part of me that is afraid to do what I know is
right. Much advice is that by the time it gets to court, it will be to
late. But will it ever be to late? When there is a new regime, will that
not be too late already? Just as Zanu PF kept the Rhodesian Front's Law
and Order Maintenance Act, will there not be a temptation to keep "things
that work" along into a new order? Should we not start building democracy
at the grass roots now, or afterwards? Is the struggle for democracy, or
for a new order?
The other most annoying advice from almost everyone is
to stay low and mind my own business. Try other means. I even had one man
in the Reps bar ask why those women were praying in public? He prays for
change, but does so in private. Basically those women are silly for annoying
the current regime. What he was saying, to put it another way, is that we
must censor ourselves, and keep one step ahead of the regime in
suppressing ourselves. And even before praying in public is made illegal
we should ban ourselves from doing it. This is the same as the graffiti
advice "Help the police. Stay home and beat yourself up".
Anyways, I was
out for the weekend. I did lights for the Bulawayo show
"Dance Spectacular", which was very good, and on Sunday helped move in
for "Jesus Christ Superstar" which opens on Wednesday at Reps. And I know I
am going to enjoy every performance of
RETIRED TEACHERS RECALLED TO THE CLASSROOM Tue 19 October
HARARE - The Zimbabwean government yesterday began
recalling retired teachers back to service and was recruiting unemployed
high school and university graduates to man classrooms as the country's more
than 80 000 teachers went on strike for more pay.
authorities battled to avert a costly disruption of public examinations
because of the job action, the police raided the Harare offices of the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, which is spearheading the
Thousands of primary and high school pupils began writing
their public examinations yesterday.
Secretary general of the
teachers' union Raymond Majongwe said the police seized various documents
but did not arrest anyone when they raided the union's offices in Harare's
Milton Park suburb.
Majongwe, who told ZimOnline his union had
written to President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, pleading for a
salary increment as a last resort, vowed teachers would not go back to work
unless their salaries were increased from Z$670 000 for the least paid to
According to the Zimbabwe Consumer Council, an
average family of six (mother, father and four children) requires $1 494 700
per month to survive.
Majongwe said: "We wrote letters to Mrs
Mugabe and to the President himself. We never got a response. We are just
asking that an ordinary teacher be paid a new salary of $1.4 million per
month including a 50 percent transport allowance."
Majongwe said, he had received a letter from the government threatening him
with jail if the teachers' strike went ahead.
Recalled to help keep
the creaking education system running were former education administration
officers, school heads and university lecturers.
Worst hit by
the strike were the country's southern Matabeleland provinces where the
government had to hire people to invigilate pupils who were writing their
final primary school examinations.
In Harare some teachers turned
up for work but many who reported for work yesterday said they would not do
The education sector, which together with health, was the
pride of the government's achievements since independence 24 years ago is in
a state of virtual collapse after years of under-funding, corruption and
Strikes by teachers for better pay
packets and working conditions have become an annual ritual as has become
strikes by nurses and doctors also for the same reasons. - ZimOnline
Student leader battles for life after savage attack Tue 19
HARARE - Zimbabwe National Students Union president
Philani Zamchiya was yesterday battling for his life at Harare's Avenues
Clinic after he was kidnapped and severely attacked last Thursday by
suspected members of the government's secret service agents.
Zamchiya, 24, could hardly talk or lift himself up from his hospital bed
when this reporter visited him at the privately-run Avenues Clinic. But a
nurse at the hospital told ZimOnline the student leader's condition had
improved since his admission on Thursday night.
She said: "His
condition is stable now, although he is still in great pain and we are
closely monitoring him."
According to Zamchiya's colleagues at the
students' union, he was walking home from the union's offices in Harare at
around 7pm, when a Mazda B2200 truck suddenly pulled up by the
Several men, who identified themselves as plain clothes
policemen, alighted from the vehicle, bundled the young student leader into
their truck and sped off. Members of the government's dreaded secret
service, the Central Intelligence Organisation, often pass themselves off as
plain clothes policemen.
The secret service agents accused
Zamchiya of mobilising students and youths to demonstrate at the High Court
against President Robert Mugabe during delivery of judgment in opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's treason case that was taking place the following
"They savagely beat him up. They claimed that they had
information that Zamchiya was organising to bring Harare to a standstill. He
had to jump off the moving truck for his safety," one of Zamchiya's
The student leader blacked out after jumping from
the truck and a passerby took him to hospital at around 10pm.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on the
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party, churches, local and international human rights groups have in
the past accused the government of using the police and soldiers to harass
and torture its political opponents.
On the next day on Friday,
after Zamchiya's ordeal, police and soldiers teargassed and beat up hundreds
of MDC supporters who were celebrating in central Harare the acquittal of
their leader on charges that he had plotted to assassinate Mugabe ahead of
the 2002 presidential election. - ZimOnline
Frail-looking Kuruneri remanded to next month Tue 19
October 2004 HARARE - Finance and Economic Development Minister
Christopher Kuruneri was yesterday remanded in jail to November, when he
will face trial for allegedly breaching Zimbabwe's foreign currency and
Pale and frail-looking, Kuruneri, who
was clad in a navy blue suit, could only wave wearily to friends and
relatives in the public gallery when magistrate Omega Mugumbate told him to
return to court on November 1.
Kuruneri, who has been in jail since
April, is accused of possessing a Canadian passport in contravention of
Zimbabwe's Citizenship Act which bars Zimbabweans from holding passports of
The most senior member of government to be nabbed in
an anti-corruption crackdown launched by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe five
months ago, Kuruneri is also accused of siphoning out of the country 5.2
million rands, 34 371 pounds, 30 000 euros and US$582 611. 99.
The Finance Minister denies the charges saying the foreign currency he is
accused of having illegally taken out of Zimbabwe and used to buy properties
in South Africa was acquired through consultancy work done outside the
Kuruneri also claims that a Canadian passport seized by
police from his home did not belong to him but to his son, Christopher
The Finance Minister, who may not be able to present the
government's next national budget in Parliament next month if he is not
released from jail, is also the ruling ZANU PF Member of Parliament for
Mazowe West constituency. - ZimOnline
Masvingo Member of Parliament, Walter Muzembi says some Zanu PF members in
Masvingo want him dead.
Muzembi surprised mourners gathered at
the funeral of the late freelance photographer, Lucky Hakata at Grenville
cemetery in Harare on Saturday when he said the Pajero that Hakata was
travelling in with four others had been shot at by Zanu PF members opposed
to his election.
Hakata, a Harare-based sports photographer was
travelling in the car, owned by Muzembi, to Harare when it rolled over
several times at the 109 km peg between Featherstone and Munyati on Thursday
afternoon and died on the spot.
His body was taken to
Chivhu hospital for a post mortem. The others in the car sustained serious
injuries and were admitted at Chivhu hospital.
his words, Muzembi, whose election surprised many people as he was on
suspension from the ruling party, said the people who fired shots at his
Pajero thought that he (Muzembi) was in the car as it was the same vehicle
that he had been using during his campaign in Masvingo
"The people who shot at my car wanted to kill me.
Hakata was sitting in the back seat of the car where I used to sit during my
campaigns. I am very sorry for the Hakata family for what happened," said
Muzembi, who offered to foot the bill including buying the
A policeman from Chivhu who attended the burial of
Hakata confirmed that Muzembi's car had been shot several
Muzembi's public announcement was filmed by a Zimbabwe
Television crew which covered Hakata's burial but the clip was not screened
when the story was aired on Saturday night.
South constituency fell vacant after the death two months ago of Zanu PF
long standing member and former cabinet minister Eddison
The two Zanu PF factions in Masvingo, the one loyal
to the late vice President Simon Muzenda and the one loyal to the late
Zvobgo had been vying for the Masvingo South seat when it fell vacant
following Zvobgo's death.
The Masvingo Zanu PF provincial
executive, led by Daniel Shumba announced that Muzembi, who belongs to the
Zvobgo faction, had been elected unopposed after all those within the party
who had been contesting stepped down.
It is not clear
whether they were coerced into stepping down or did so of their own
volition. Attempts to get a comment from Zanu PF were in vain.
Johannesburg - South
African organisations have welcomed last Friday' s acquittal of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
but said it is too early to celebrate as Tsvangirai and a number of MDC
leaders and members were facing trumped up charges in the Zimbabwean
Amnesty International South Africa chairperson, Samkelo
Mokhine said: "We are happy but we don't think that this signals a change
for the better in the judiciary in Zimbabwe. It's too early to read too much
into that judgment."
He said they would be fully satisfied
that the pro-Zanu PF judiciary had changed if it freed Tsvangirai on his
second treason charge and all the MDC leaders and members who were appearing
in court on fabricated charges.
Congress of South Africa Trade
Unions (COSATU) spokesperson, Moloto Mothato told the South African press
that Tsvangirai's acquittal was "a welcome move."
welcome the judgment and we think that in itself, it strengthens (what) the
progressive democractic organisations are striving for . the democratisation
of Zimbabwe," said Mathato.
He expressed optimism that the rule
of law, the right to assemble and freedom of speech would be
Mothato said there had been concern that opposition
organisations and unions that have been vocal against President Robert
Mugabe and his policies had been silenced through
Mothato said this was evident in Tsvangirai's
treason trial where he was framed.
Democratic Alliance welcomed the acquittal. However, President Thabo Mbeki's
African National Congress refused to comment on the judgment until it had
been fully briefed about the verdict.
October 18, 2004 Posted to the web October 18,
THE shortage of diesel is hampering refuse collection
in most parts of Harare and Chitungwiza.
As a result, residents have
resorted to indiscriminate dumping of refuse.
Mounds of uncollected
refuse could be seen at the hectic "Siya-So" informal industries in Mbare
and by roadsides in Chitungwiza.
Several proprietors of businesses at
"Siya-so" expressed fears of a disease outbreak.
it's now raining, a health threat is looming if council does not address
this issue urgently," said a motor mechanic, who preferred
Harare public relations manager Mr Leslie Gwindi, while
acknowledging that refuse was not being collected in some areas, blamed the
situation on the council's failure to get a front-end loader in addition to
the erratic fuel supplies.
"The problem was that we had no front-end
loader. We have since managed to get one which is working in Mbare right now
and there should be people working there throughout the weekend to clear out
the mess," said Mr Gwindi.
In Dzivaresekwa, where refuse has not been
collected for nearly six weeks, residents are left with no choice but to
dump it wherever is convenient for them.
Private companies are
servicing some areas of Harare.
A member of Chitungwiza's health
committee reported to council recently that indiscriminate dumping of refuse
was rampant in the country's third most populated town.
council to urgently clear the sites where refuse was dumped to avert "a
possible disaster" before the onset of the rainy season.
Chitungwiza town clerk Mr Conrad Mutubuki told council recently that the
shortage of diesel had forced the local authority to reduce refuse
collection from twice a week to once.
However, with the size of
Chitungwiza's population, a once weekly collection would be far outstripped
by the rate at which refuse accumulates.
In an interview last week,
Chitungwiza mayor Mr Misheck Shoko revealed that council had received diesel
and petrol stocks which were expected to alleviate the
"This has been a major problem, but I can tell you that we
have just received petrol and diesel supplies. In fact, I have seen some
trucks collecting refuse around Makoni shopping centre," said Mr
ANALYSIS October 18, 2004 Posted to the web October 18,
Sifelani Tsiko Harare
TEACHING was once the most
sought-after profession through which scholars enjoyed respect, support and
a highly-glorified social status.
But over the years, the teaching
profession has evolved, changing into one which an analyst says is an
"undervalued, under-appreciated and underpaid" profession.
often said that teaching is the most essential job which makes other
But what has happened to all the respect, pride
and esteem that the profession had in the past?
"Gone are the days
when teachers in a village could have chickens slaughtered for them as a
result of that esteem and the high knowledge they held over others," says
Professor Fred Zindi, an educationist at the University of
"A teacher in the past was seen as a person who could afford a
car and a decent house. Now, all that is gone. Owning a house and a car is
now a dream that might never come true for many teachers today."
the past, says Prof Zindi, the literacy rate in the country was very low and
whoever could read and write was highly respected and seen as the beacon of
"Human beings are the only species on earth which read books
and do calculations. No other animals have that gift.
"And with time,
more and more people began to read and write. Those with that knowledge
became common and so the respect and reverence given to teachers in the past
began to depreciate in value," he says, explaining some of the reasons that
have seen the teaching profession losing its lustre.
opportunities also widened soon after independence in 1980 and more people
were able to take up jobs in the financial, agricultural, architectural,
engineering, legal, business and other lucrative sectors which were
previously a preserve for whites.
"Teaching is now seen as a very common
profession which has become easily accessible," Prof Zindi says. "It no
longer carries the same status that it used to have in the
Instead, he says, there is now a tendency for society to glorify
the so-called "dealers" who flaunt their wealth by showing off their posh
cars, the latest trendy dressing, their plush mansions and other material
symbols of wealth.
"So-called dealers make quick money and have
things to show off to the same teachers who would have taught
"They all seem to be better than the teachers and tend to look down
upon teachers. This takes away all the pride teachers used to have," he
"Teachers are working for 30 days for next to nothing."
teacher in Harare says some students even drive cars to school while they
have to contend with using public transport to the schools they
"I've nothing," she says.
"Some kids drive to school and I
can't even afford to buy a bicycle. This erodes confidence and respect for
teachers both in schools and in society at large."
She says some
teachers, even though it's illegal, now borrow money from students to see
them through until the month-end.
"We can't cope with the rising cost of
living because of our poor salaries," she says.
"There is now an
entrenched view in our society that teaching is less prestigious and less
This poses serious challenges to Zimbabwe, especially on how
the country is going to recommend its best and brightest students to
consider taking up a teaching career.
Teacher retention is another
"How can we relieve teacher burn-out and feelings of
intellectual isolation so widespread among teachers in Zimbabwe?" asks one
"At some point, I believe Zimbabwe will go through a
phase, like the one being experienced in rich countries - the shortage of
teachers and nurses.
"Right now, the demand for teachers and nurses is so
high in these countries because of the issues and concerns that were not
addressed in the past."
Prof Zindi says the economic challenges being
experienced in the country have also worsened the plight of the
Poor remuneration, a high workload, lack of accommodation, lack
of learning materials and other incentives have resulted in a flight of
teachers from the profession to other attractive jobs in the financial
sector here at home or to other menial but much higher paying jobs
Stories abound of teachers selling sweets, scones, fish and other
things just to augment their meagre earnings.
They also have to do
part-time jobs, like offering extra lessons after school and during school
holidays, and this compromises the teacher's time, commitment and
preparedness in the classroom, resulting in a fall in the quality of
"Respect can only be restored if teachers are highly
remunerated and have all the privileges of society that a person with a
certain level of education enjoys," Prof Zindi says.
like people in other professions, have the potential to climb up to
positions such as that of secretary-general of the United Nations, yes, just
like UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was a teacher or President Mugabe was a
teacher," he says.
He says there are many people who have risen to
influential positions in society, but teaching acted as a foundation and
eventual launch pad.
Zimbabwe has more than 100 000 teachers, and
teachers' unions are still battling for better salaries and working
The Government has tried to address some of their concerns,
but unions say the issues are not being taken seriously.
October 18, 2004 Posted to the web October 18,
THE Forestry Commission last week launched the Tobacco
Wood Energy Programme (TWEP) aimed at providing alternative source of energy
to new tobacco farmers during a field day held at Chapepa farm in
This development comes at a time when there is rampant destruction
of forests by newly resettled farmers who are mostly dependent on woodlands
as a source of energy to cure their tobacco.
Speaking during the
launch, the Governor and Resident Minister of Mashonaland West Province Mr
Nelson Samukange said it was imperative to encourage new tobacco farmers to
establish the wood lots to avoid further destruction of forests.
wood lots mature after five years.
"Presently, most tobacco farmers are
mostly dependent on natural woodlands as a source of energy. This programme
seeks to avail an alternative wood energy source by promoting the
establishments of wood lots by all new farmers growing tobacco," said the
Since many farmers have taken up to tobacco farming as a result
of the land reform programme, there was a shift from using coal which was
traditionally used by former large commercial farmers.
The shift, the
Governor said, was due to high prices of coal which new farmers could not
He noted that unless concerted measures were put in place to curb
further destruction of forests, the trend would continue for sometime as
long as new farmers have no alternative.
Mr Samukange pointed out
that Zimbabwe was a signatory to international multilateral environment
agreements such as Convention of Desertification, thus activities towards
bio-diversity loss should be minimal.
The Governor urged all stakeholders
to take a leading role if the problem was to be put under
"The Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB), apart from seeking
markets, should co-ordinate the various stakeholders and advocate for
standards and review the production policy.
"The farmers through the
Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association (ZTAG) and other arms of government
like Tobacco Research Board, Forestry Commission, Arex and the Department of
Natural Resources should strive for high level of collaboration to promote
this programme," he said.
Speaking during the same occasion, the
president of ZTGA Mr Julius Ngorima said farmers should start to plant
genetically improved exotic trees such as eucalyptus, which grows faster
than indigenous ones.
Mr Ngorima expressed concern over veld fires, which
are impacting negatively on the forests.
The occasion was attended by
representatives from Arex, Department of Environment and Zimbabwe Farmers
Forestry Commission, since the inception of agrarian reform
in 2000, has put in place measures to conserve the forests as well as to
re-green the affected areas.
It also deployed forestry management
committees in all provinces, which are conducting awareness campaign to
educate people to manage the existing indigenous woodlands for future
generation especially in newly resettled areas.
[ This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations]
ADDIS ABABA, 18 Oct 2004
(IRIN) - African governance has been "polluted by western intrusion," James
Wolfensohn, the head of the World Bank, said on Friday. Speaking at the
United Nations African Development Forum in the Ethiopian capital, Addis
Ababa, he told politicians and delegates they must tap their own traditional
systems and values.
"Before colonialism it is clear that this continent
had a remarkable concept of management," Wolfensohn said. "There was long
before colonialism a sense of values, a sense of sharing, a sense of
community and a sense of participation."
He added: "It was a system
of people coming together for a common purpose. Now we have to find our way
back. Governance is not something that is strange to Africa, it is something
that has to be rediscovered in Africa."
In a wide-ranging speech,
Wolfensohn told the week-long conference focusing on governance that the
world's attention had been diverted to issues of terrorism and Iraq. He said
the "shadow of Iraq, the shadow of terrorism, the shadow of political
uncertainty" posed major hurdles to growth in Africa.
"The impact of
this is important because it has diverted the attention of the world to
questions of military expenditure as distinct from development," Wolfensohn
noted. "The single statistic that tells it all is that in this last year the
world spent US $900 billion on military expenditure and $50 to $60 billion
only on development. As we come to Africa we come to the recognition that
the largest problem on the fundamental issue that we all need to face is the
issue of equity and poverty. If we do not address [it] then there is no
chance of peace," he said.
"If the fight against poverty is won it will
remove the fundamental base from the problems of injustice and the problems
of terror," Wolfensohn added. He noted that Africa was the "most vulnerable"
continent with regard to achieving the 2015 global anti-poverty targets
known as the Millennium Development Goals.
In Africa, Wolfensohn
said, 314 million people now lived under the international poverty line of
$1 a day, compared to 160 million in 1981. Africa's share of global GDP -
which he said was $40 trillion - was just one percent at $400 billion, he
Wolfensohn said that AIDS was the biggest threat to governance on
the continent. "You have to deal with the questions of AIDS because it is a
challenge that would bring down any government," he said, adding that
corruption, capacity building and legal and financial reforms were also
"All too many of the corrupt governments can be found in sub-Saharan
Africa and this is a tragedy," he said. "People lose their enthusiasm, they
lose their sense of purpose if they find that the results of the nation's
hard work is being distorted and going to the wrong places. This issue of
corruption is the single worse cancer that there is," he
16, 2004 Posted to the web October 18, 2004
THEY wake up early in the morning everyday headed for the
city centre - just like any other formally employed person - where they mix
and mingle all day long. They come in all age groups - young and old - and
can easily be identified bytheir expensive designer wear.
them, one wonders where and how they get that kind of money to buy Porsches,
Mercs, Beemers, and their matching designer clothes - some in red T-shirts
and red shoes laced with patched designer jeans while others prefer yellow
or baby blue.
Just mingling apparently doing "nothing", the next question
will be, how in Zimbabwe are they managing to survive especially looking
that good? Simple, wheeling and dealing in Harare!
A new breed of
dealers has emerged in the capital city - illegal money changers, genuine
and fake cellphone dealers, formal and informal retailers are some of the
businesses thriving in the city.
Some have criminal records while others
deal ethically and legally.
Ximex Mall has become a hub for most of these
dealers who spend hours seemingly doing nothing, only to return home with a
fat wallet. Because of their colourful designer clothes many people now
refer to them, as "Coloureds" even though most of them prefer to be called
"bawlers", a term whose origins remains unclear.
However, not all
those who wear such designer clothes are dealers. Some just move with the
But just like some members of the Apostolic church who
have been harassed after being mistaken for the foreign currency dealers who
dress like them, they are in danger of being mistaken for
While there is nothing wrong with that kind of dressing or
"dealing" in the legal sense, the dress code has become synonymous with many
illegal dealers who make quick and easy money and can therefore afford the
The most popular hangouts for Harare's dealers are Ximex
Mall, Union Flea Market and of late the extensively refurbished Gulf
shopping complex next to Market Square.
"I see these guys everyday,
same faces, hanging around this place (Union Flea Market) but honestly I do
not have a clue of what they will be doing," confessed a 33-year old Harare
man, Mr Witness Binde.
They park their cars at the same rendezvous
"offices" everyday where their partners come to discuss business. It would
seem they owe the City Council millions in uncollected revenue for free
office space in the CBD!
This breed of dealers comes from several
nationalities - among them Nigerians, Congolese - but mostly Zimbabweans who
are "living large" from the proceeds of dealing.
"I repair cellphones
and I also buy and sell cellphones and accessories and if there is no
business I come out of my office to chat with my friends.
"I have run my
shop for the last three years but I have never been arrested because there
is nothing illegal about my business.
"I have heard people talk about
changing foreign currency here (Ximex Mall), but I do not know how far true
that is. I only get to know of foreign currency dealers when police conduct
their raids," said one of the dealers at Ximex Mall.
It seems this
new breed of dealers continues to grow, and when the economy takes a
downward turn, they become even more prosperous. During the days of cash
shortage, they had it in abundance and when foreign currency was still
scarce, these dealers had thousands of US dollars and British pounds, some
of it fake.
While entreprenuership and innovative approaches to the
unemployment crisis are to be applauded it seems some of these dealers have
become a menace to the economy.
Worse still, they provide a ready
market for stolen goods like cellphones and computers as they buy these
goods - no questions asked - for resale to a desperate and unsuspecting
Many cellphone thieves have connections among the dealers some of
whom operate cellphone repair shops to camouflage their shady
In Harare, one can buy a Nokia 3510 cellphone for only $800
000 from these dealers. The same phone goes for about $3,5 million in
You can buy any time of cellphone and
accessories at giveaway prices from Harare's dealers. But, there is a catch
- there are no guarantees, and, in most cases, no certificates to prove
ownership. In other words, you buy at your own risk.
Police have in
some cases conducted raids at the Ximex Mall, Union Avenue Flea Market in a
bid to monitor exactly what goes on there and curb illegal
"Quite often police have conducted raids which have seen
most of them being arrested.
"It is always advisable that whatever
business one is involved in, they should ensure that they are in line with
the rules and regulations of this country," said police spokesperson Supt
The dealers are also known to deal in foreign currency,
which is illegal under the Exchange Control Act, and in some cases some have
been arrested for engaging in illegal gambling.
"To keep the
situation under control, police send out a surveillance team sometimes
disguised to keep an eye on the activities," Supt Mandipaka said.
scenes as the one often at Ximex Mall have become a norm in many other
In Gweru, the Chicken Inn area is crowded with this breed of
dealers while in Masvingo they usually hang around Liquids Bar and in Kwekwe
they are found at the glamorous King Solomon's nightclub.
October 17, 2004 Posted to the web October 18,
THE crusades by the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ignatious Chombo, against
local authorities in opposition strongholds is the stuff that depressing
politics is made of.
While it may sound like everyday language, the
consistency the minister has shown in dealing heavy-handedly with local
governments has undermined the democratisation process where it matters the
most in Zimbabwe .
Perhaps with deliberate and malicious intent, Chombo
has begun a redefinition of what it means to be a locally elected
politician. He has, albeit with the acquiescence of the executive,
trivialised local government elections, local political institutions and
community-based organisations beyond the pale.
He has shown that
local elections are secondary to the national ones not only in relation to
the practice of power, but more so in terms of their relevance to the
bringing of freedom to the doorstep of the people of Zimbabwe.
capital of Harare, there is a subtle if sometimes non-existent discontent
with the Chombo sanctioned remnants at Town House. The water crisis, for all
its health hazards as well as its continuity, is being articulated in the
most political of fashions. The government and its media have placed the
blame on the opposition councillors while the opposition, in turn, has
blamed blatant government interference in the activities of council as the
reason why the capital city is in its current state.
What one might
however disagree with is the reaction to these machinations by Chombo and
officials in the ministry as well as the council. It is the familiar feeling
of anguish, hopelessness that pervades many a Harare resident when they wake
up in the morning to the stark realisation that there is no water to take a
bath/shower and any other such uses that we make of water every morning.
Beyond that, it is acquiescence, and the shrugging of shoulders.
explain this acquiescence, it it is convenient and preferable simply to
point a finger at the repressive laws and brutality of the police but that
is patently inadequate. Chombo functions on the basis of the politicisation
of local government institutions and issues. At every turn in his political
manoevering, he waits to utilise the Urban Councils Act to undermine the
opposition led councils strictly for the purpose of the reclaiming political
ground lost by Zanu PF.
An example of this type of political trickery
has been the manner in which he is dealing with the Bulawayo City Council's
position on starving residents in the City of Kings. Chombo conveniently
ignores the actual issue of the dying and starving, and pursues the mayor
The opposition councillors on the other hand, react in kind.
They react with a simultaneous politicisation of local council issues. They
got into office by correctly claiming the failure of Zanu PF but have since
proven inept at de-politicising their electoral victories in order to garner
support among the residents.
One might argue, that everything in
Zimbabwe is political and therefore the councillors were not naive or
simplistic in attacking Chombo from a politicised view. True, this argument
would sustain a conversation but I hazard to add, would come nowhere near
sustaining a continually politically conscious urban populace.
perhaps should be addressed is the meaning of "local issues" and as a
consequence, the significance of local government in the context of
Zimbabwe's dictatorship. local issues related mainly to the provision of
amenities within a specific community. These services will include running
(and clean) water provision, health services, education and management
This goes both for the rural and the urban
communities that comprise Zimbabwe. These issues have direct relevance to
people's lives and essentially, are life and death matters. They do not in
any way pre-suppose a distant governing authority that is run solely on the
basis of the number of council meetings held or the type of offices that an
authority is housed in. Local issues are "living" or "organic" issues that
are articulated everyday in the locality in which they are residing. In
other words, local issues, because they relate to the day-to-day events of
people's lives, are the bedrock of mass mobilisation.
running the Harare council into the ground, should have created fertile
ground for discontent within the capital. On the contrary however, he has
successfully managed, at least for now, to create a comfortable victory for
himself. Because the elected councillors reacted in an "political" sense, by
correctly accusing the government of usurping the people's will, they lost
out on the meaning of continued engagement with the local issues affecting
To clarify, the engagement with local issues does not mean
council resolutions and availability of funds only from rates or central
government. It means continued mobilisation of residents on the basis of the
evident discontent over the manner in which services are being
To centre on power institutions is to miss the mark widely. A
city council exists in so far as it regulates the city, but the issues that
are affecting residents exist with them and they must be moved to act upon
issues that are being ignored.
When there have been the organisation
of demonstrations, issues of mass action, the central focus has been
targeting institutions of authority in the country and articulation of a
good governance agenda. The brave men and women who have been organising
these demonstrations have to include as part of their grievances, local
Moreover, they need to decentralise these demonstrations to
places such as residential areas, where even though they will get less press
coverage, they will etch themselves into the local psyche for working on
more immediate concerns.
It is from there that there will be a
renewal of the popular support against the government and the likes of
The former MDC councilors for Harare should now be directly
involved in challenging Chombo on the basis of community mobilisation in
their wards, and the creation of alternative means of dealing with the
problems bedeviling the residents.
October 18, 2004 Posted to the web October 18,
ZIMBABWE'S performance on the export market continues
to show a decline despite a number of incentives put in place by Government
to boost the sector.
The country's trade promotion body ZimTrade says
the manufacturing sector has not been doing particularly well.
export market has continued to show a decline particularly in the
"Capacity is still there however for the
short-term," ZimTrade manager, Information Services Mr Chris Tsimba
However there are other macroeconomic challenges that hinder the
manufacturing sector from realising its full potential and operate at
"Examples are hyperinflation, the non availability
of foreign currency at affordable prices and general decline in domestic
disposable incomes that have all impacted negatively resulting in
manufacturing generally operating below capacity," Mr Tsimba
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently said the export sector was
suffering under the pressures of rising production costs and foreign
Foreign currency is required to source raw
materials, chemicals, machinery and equipment and other essential inputs
such as fuel and electricity.
Exports represent a major source of foreign
currency earnings for the country.
The recently unveiled Industrial
Development Policy prioritises a comprehensive national export
ZimTrade is expected to play a key role in the strategy
espoused in the policy.
Its role is to spearhead the opening up of
new export markets and consolidate existing markets.
the central bank show that export earnings declined from US$2,4 billion in
1996 to around US$850 million last year in nominal terms.
have said that exporters are not fully taking advantage of the various
incentives in place.
Exporters have been urged to develop an export
culture, which takes advantage of opportunities in the sub-region and other
international trading blocs.
Government also recently unveiled the
productive sector facility, which is designed to boost production in the
The need for value addition has also been
Zimbabwe's manufactured exports only account for about 20
percent of total exports with the bulk being primary
Meanwhile, ZimTrade's says it has been involved in a number of
export promotion activities.
"We assisted companies to attend the
following trade fairs; Malawi International Trade Fair, Luanda International
Trade Fair, Angola and Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair, Tanzania," Mr
Zimbabwean companies also participated at SAITEX
multi-sectoral trade fair in South Africa.
Mr Tsimba added that
ZimTrade also has a number of promotional activities lined up from October
to December 2004.
"There will be a Hortifair in Amsterdam, Holland and
this is the only European Union specialised international trade fair for cut
flowers and we also have a selling mission to Lubumbashi coming up," he
In addition ZimTrade is co-ordinating preparations for Zimbabwe's
participation at Exposition Aichi 2005, Japan.