|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where
he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Martin Luther King Jr. -
One of our gym members and an ex Karoi farmer who has fought for life and farm not too long ago was telling me yesterday about his coming face-to-face with the two men who had tried to beat him to death in a chance meeting. The gang-leader had even asked him how he was and what he was doing! To stand in the presence of evil and more so, to stand there unflinching and look at it eye-to-eye ... I can't help but think of the truth in Victor Frankl's account of the evil in the Nazi concentration camps; "that they can take away everything but the last of a man's freedoms; the ability to choose one's attitude in any circumstances, to choose one's own way."
To John and to so, so many Zimbabweans who have made a mockery of the power of evil by just getting up and standing ... standing up for the right to make the choice of good over darkness. By refusing to try to avoid or lessen the fear, the pain, the heartache in pursuit of what is you and yours - despite the consequences.
It is said that evil is darkness - the absence of light. If we fight darkness with dark deeds we are lost, body and soul forever. However, just one tiny little candle in an all encompassing night can be seen from far and wide and the rays from that single candle permeate the darkness and help us to see the way. Without the dark we wouldn't see the light. Without the bad, we wouldn't know the good. Without the loss we wouldn't know the exquisite joy of just having. Without the sadness we wouldn't know the joy. Without the despair, we wouldn't know the importance of hope.
Ingrid Landman, a medical doctor and an inspiration to all her know her and her undying love for and work to keep professionals in this country, last week spoke to the heads of schools and by all accounts moved most to tears and received a standing ovation amongst a highly charged emotional gathering. Is it not because the light in her words re-ignited the light in all who were present? I think so.
At the end of the day, each one of us has to face the Creator. We can hide behind all the material wealth in the world but know that deep in our hearts only we alone are accountable for our spiritual maturity or poverty. Perhaps our angels have to strip us of the material comforts in order that we may uncover the true essence of who and what we really are?
Surely, our sole purpose in this life is to love and be loved ... we can only do this if we love ourselves and all that for which we stand. This relationship that we have with ourselves is the most important one, for every other relationship that we have with another human being is simply a relection of that. The extent to which we can forgive ourselves ... is the extent to which we can forgive anyone else. The extent to which we can unconditionally love ourselves is the extent to which we can unconditionally love another human being. Perhaps this is the truth that true evil will go to any lengths to avoid - the truth of self and of spirtitual evolvement. in Zimbabwe, we have only to look at the dark forces who live their lives as the biggest lie - is it so that they will not have to look at their real reflection in the mirror of life ... at any cost ... perhaps even selling their souls to the devil himself and lashing out at anything or anyone who threatens to expose the rot?
Take away our material valuables, our "necessities" and what we have right now as I write, are millions fellow Zimbabweans here and all over the world shining their lights brightly because we have, by the grace of God, had to walk the journey of loss, of pain, of heart ache, of despair and of uncertainty on a daily basis ....and deep down we know that our light shines because we are only too aware that each moment is an opportunity to reach out and connect from the depths of our hearts to someone else ... and that these moments are only fleeting in the span of a lifetime and so we eagerly look for another candle to light.
Nelson Mandela said that a man should die in the country where he was born .... when he comes home to Johannesburg from flying all over the world, his heart sings when he sees the mine dumps! Because .... it's home. And it certainly wasn't an easy journey for this Saint in the place of his birth! God Bless all Zimbabweans all over the world and every human being who has searched to keep his / her candle alight when all around is darkness. John and Tracey ... your candle lit my way this week!
P.S. When I die please throw my ashes over Kariba at sunset! Until then I have a HUGE wick to burn with so, so many of you out there! Let's celebrate the time we have to shine together!
Zim judge wonders why The Daily News was banned
Harare - A judge
hearing an appeal by Zimbabwe's only private daily
newspaper, shut down by the government, questioned on Friday why the
country's media law was not applied when the paper was refused a licence
last month. Administrative Court Judge Michael Majuru grilled the licensing
commission's head Tafataona Mahoso on the criteria used by the commission in
deciding to refuse The Daily News registration. "This is not a case where
you can come up with reasons of your own ... it has to be reasons laid down
by the law." "The wording of the act is very clear, it tells you when you
can refuse registration," said Majuru. The sections of the media law
referred to by the judge states that the commission may not refuse to
register a mass media house unless it contravenes any provisions of the law
or provides misleading or false information on its application form. Other
grounds that can lead to the rejection of registration include non-payment
of registration fees or if the application is filed by an non-authorised
Mahoso said his commission's decision was influenced by the
Supreme Court ruling which had declared The Daily News illegal because it
was not yet registered by the media commission. Majuru also asked Mahoso why
his commission did not take any steps as provided in the law against The
Daily News for the eight months during which it operated without a licence.
The commission had powers under the law to remind the paper that it was
operating illegally, to issue an order to the paper not to continue
publishing or impose daily penalties for the period the paper contravened
the act. Mahoso, who admitted that his commission did not set up a new
deadline for The Daily News to register, decided not to take action against
the paper because the newspaper had turned to the courts to seek the
nullification of the media law. "Since the matter was now in the court, we
did not feel that we had to act in the first place," he told the court. The
hearing continues on Sunday when the lawyers will sum up their arguments.
The Daily News's
lawyers had argued on the first day of the appeal hearing
that the media commission's refusal to grant the paper a registration
certificate was politically motivated. They accused Mahoso of bias and
hostility against The Daily News. The paper has been off the news stands
since armed police forcibly shut it down last month and confiscated all its
equipment. Police moved onto the paper's premises in the capital on Friday
September 12 after the Supreme Court ruled that the newspaper was operating
illegally because it was not registered with media commission, set up
shortly after President Robert Mugabe was re-elected in disputed elections
in March last year. The paper had earlier decided against registering with
the commission, arguing that obligatory registration was against the
constitution of the southern African country. It subsequently submitted an
application last month, but it was rejected.
From The Sunday Mirror, 19 October
Mugabe wants rejected constitution back
Tawanda Majoni, News Editor
President Robert Mugabe
is insisting on the adoption of the draft
constitution that was rejected in 2000 as a major precondition for his
premature exit from office, the Sunday Mirror has learnt. The severally
amended Lancaster House constitution under which the country is operating
gives Mugabe until 2008 when new presidential elections would be held. A
source privy to the goings on said the president made known this sentiment
on the constitutional process in Zimbabwe following an unofficial meeting
between two high ranking Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and
the Zanu PF national chairman and Special Affairs minister, John Nkomo. MDC
secretary general, Welshman Ncube, and party vice president Gibson
reportedly paid Nkomo a visit immediately after the death of vice president
Simon Muzenda to arrange for their president, Morgan Tsvangirai, to go and
pay his condolences to the Muzenda family. Tsvangirai and Ncube subsequently
visited Muzenda’s Harare home where they expressed their grief following the
death of the former vice president, who has since been declared a national
hero. Their visit to Muzenda’s home was reportedly sanctioned by Mugabe and
cleared by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
"When Sibanda and Ncube met Nkomo, they discussed other issues
matter of condolences. They sounded the minister out on what could possibly
happen to Tsvangirai if he were convicted on charges of treason, asking him
to approach Mugabe to ask for immunity in the event of a conviction. "Nkomo
indicated to them that as Mugabe had already said, the whole issue would be
left to the courts to decide, but he also suggested that the MDC could lobby
the international community, particularly (President) Thabo Mbeki, as the
president and the ruling party (Zanu PF) would not want to be seen to
interfere with the legal process," said the source, on condition of
anonymity. Tsvangirai, Ncube and Renson Gasela, another party executive
member, are facing charges of high treason for allegedly plotting to
assassinate Mugabe with the help of an international political consultancy,
Dickens and Madsen.
The source said Nkomo went on to
brief Mugabe about his meeting with Ncube
and Sibanda. The president is understood to have directed Nkomo to inform
the MDC that he was not happy with their continued "collaboration" with
local whites and Britain in demonising him and pushing for his removal.
During subsequent communication between Ncube and Sibanda on one side and
Nkomo on the other, the minister is said to have told them that in order for
him to take the opposition seriously, it should sever ties with Britain and
transform into a purely "homegrown" party that ought to shun external
manipulation. Mugabe is reported to have also said he wanted the MDC to
adopt the draft constitution that was rejected following the referendum of
February 2000. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Patrick
Chinamasa and Ncube, the source said, were then advised to go back to the
draft and see how best it could be brought back for adoption. "Nkomo also
told the MDC delegation that Mugabe was not averse to leaving office before
the expiry of his term on condition that they accepted the rejected draft,"
said the source, who is also a prominent politician.
Unlike in the previous instance when Mugabe
took advantage of national
occasions to berate the MDC, the president adopted a conciliatory tone at
Muzenda’s burial. Referring to the MDC as "sons of the soil", Mugabe lauded
the presence of some key members of the opposition, such as the opposition’s
national chairman, Isaac Matongo and deputy secretary general, Gift
Chimanikire, and called for unity. "True, there will be differences just
like I would have arguments with my young brother. But we should keep the
arguments within our house, not in (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair’s
house," said Mugabe at the burial. "Mugabe’s insistence on the adoption of
the jettisoned draft fits well in the current political dynamics in
Zimbabwe," said the source. "He wants the MDC to continue playing ball such
that when he goes, it would give him the satisfaction that the prodigal son
eventually came back home. It would also boost his ego." The MDC has already
made a number of symbolic concessions, among them Tsvangirai’s decision to
attend parliament when Mugabe opened parliament early this year, in spite of
his court challenge on Mugabe’s legitimacy.
rejection of the draft constitution, observers say, angered Mugabe and
made him reverse his plan not to seek a new presidential term in the 2002
elections. The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), the MDC and other
civic bodies vigorously campaigned against the draft, charging that the
government and ruling party had ignored fundamental input from the
electorate while turning the Constitutional Commission, that was tasked with
supervising gathering people’s opinions and the referendum itself, into a
partisan body. Even though Mugabe appeared on national television accepting
the results of the referendum, the rejection of the draft was followed by
political chaos. The government was apparently galvanised into adopting an
unplanned fast track land redistribution programme as a populist ploy to win
votes in the parliamentary elections that were held in the same year. Also
following the rejection was a spate of violence, with critics charging that
the government was unleashing soldiers and other state security units to
beat up urban residents in retribution. Urban voters had largely voted
against the draft. Zanu PF countered the rejection of the draft by declaring
that the issue of making a new constitution was no longer a priority, even
though party stalwarts are now warming up to the idea.
Analysts say Mugabe was not amused by the rejection, as he had
wanted to use
the new constitution as a dignified exit, particularly as he felt that by
providing for the compulsory acquisition of land that would be given to
thousands of landless Zimbabweans, they would remember him as a true
liberator. It had taken close to two decades for the government to
meaningfully resettle the land-hungry Zimbabweans. Besides Mugabe, other
stalwarts from the Zanu PF old guard, such as the late Muzenda, wanted to
retire. However, the president is reported to have instructed them to stay
in order for them to help him in staving off the MDC challenge and ensuring
the successful appropriation of land from white commercial farmers. Mugabe’s
government had wanted the new constitution to be in place before the
parliamentary elections. When contacted for comments, Ncube and Patrick
Chinamasa, gave diplomatic denials. Ncube said he had never met Nkomo as
alleged. "If I have met and talked to John Nkomo, it should be within the
realm of business at parliament and not as you are suggesting," said Ncube.
He warned against hastily adopting a new constitution, saying there should
be an interim supreme law that must guide the country to new elections.
Ncube said making a new substantive constitution is a protracted process
that can take years to complete if it is not to be ephemeral. Chinamasa
denied that he had been tasked to look into the draft together with the MDC,
adding that his party and government were not discussing the need for a new
Zimbabwe paper accuses British envoy of sabotage
HARARE, Oct. 19 — Officials in Zimbabwe's stricken fuel industry have
accused Britain's top envoy of trying to sabotage the country's economy
ahead of a top-level Commonwealth summit, Zimbabwe's state-controlled Sunday
Mail paper reported.
''The British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Donnelly is
thwarting efforts by the government to revive the economy in a bid to plunge
the nation into chaos ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government
meeting,'' the Sunday Mail said, quoting unnamed sources in the fuel
British High Commission officials could not be reached for comment on
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has not been invited to the
December Commonwealth summit in Nigeria after being suspended over alleged
irregularities in his 2002 re-election.
The question of how to handle the Zimbabwe crisis has split the
Commonwealth, and is sure to be a hot topic in Nigeria.
Zimbabwe, which gained independence from Britain in 1980, is
wrestling with a crippling economic crisis that critics at home and abroad
blame on misrule during Mugabe's 23-year rule.
Mugabe denies mismanagement and in turn accuses domestic and foreign
opponents of sabotaging the economy to punish his government for the seizure
of white-owned commercial farms for distribution to landless blacks.
Mugabe threatened to expel Donnelly in June, accusing him of
financing opposition protests.
''Mr Donnelly seems to have found traitors in the civil service while
some indigenous (black) businessmen are being used to create problems in the
financial and transport sectors,'' the Sunday Mail said.
Zimbabwe is short of food and has record unemployment and one of the
world's highest inflation rates. A shortage of foreign exchange and a failed
supply deal with Libya have exacerbated chronic fuel shortages dating back
Fuel shortages brought many trains, buses and cars to a halt in
Harare at the weekend.
Industry officials say state-run fuel stations which are meant to
provide public transport operators with discounted fuel have insufficient
stocks, meaning operators have been forced to halt services or go to more
expensive private suppliers.
Zim to get new daily
19/10/2003 19:46 - (SA)
- Zimbabweans are soon to get a new private daily newspaper, a month
after the popular Daily News was shut down, according to adverts in the
private press Sunday.
The Daily Mirror, which was launched in September last year but had only a
short life due to alleged financial constraints, is due to relaunch.
This is according to its sister paper the Sunday Mirror.
The Daily Mirror is "coming back shortly", the paper said, and it advertised
openings for various editorial positions.
Police shut down the Daily News last month.
The best-selling paper, up to now Zimbabwe's only independent daily, is
currently challenging the state media commission's refusal to register it in
The Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mirror are part of a publishing group owned
by businessman Ibbo Mandaza, who is believed to have links with the
'43 people die of malnutrition in Zim city'
October 19 2003 at 03:00PM
- Forty-three people have died from malnutrition in Zimbabwe's
second largest city of Bulawayo in the last two months as food shortages hit
urban areas, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
Quoting a council report, the Standard said the people, mostly
children under the age of five, had died in August and September.
"In some cases, families in Bulawayo say they have resorted to having
porridge with only lemon juice but no sugar or bread," the paper reported.
These are not the first deaths in the city due to food shortages,
blamed here on rising prices for imports and a drop in agricultural
Earlier this year, Bulawayo health officials said 40 people had
already died of malnutrition.
At least 5,5 million Zimbabweans - nearly half the population -
require food aid. The problem affects both Zimbabwe's poorer rural areas and
the urban centres. - Sapa-AFP
Press Freedom Day celebrated
October 19, 2003, 06:22 PM
It has been 26 years since the The World and The weekend World were banned.
Today, South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the
world - guaranteeing freedom of expression and press.
As Press Freedom Day is Celebrated - Journalists are fighting for their
constitutional rights at the Hefer Commission in Bloemfontein. They have
been ordered to reveal their sources and information to the commission.
Ironically, the ruling was made by judge Hefer who in 1998 gave the first
landmark hearing giving the first interpretation of press freedom.
Ranjeni Munsamy, the journalist at the centre of the controversy, - says she
has been threatened and will take the matter to the high court. The SA
National Editors forum says the ruling placed the journalists at risk and
will undo the gains the media have secured in the constitution.
Events across the border are even more distressing. Journalists in Zimbabwe
have been denied the freedom to operate. Forced to work under Draconian
laws - working under the constant threat of being arrested.
The situation became even worse with the banning of The Daily newspaper.
Trevor Ncube, the Mail and Guardian CEO has first hand experience. As
Publisher of two newspapers in Zimbabwe, he has felt the wrath of the
South Africans will watch with interest as the saga unfolds in Bloemfontein.
The outcome could have far reaching implications especially for media