The ZIMBABWE Situation
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MDC statement on the current crisis

MDC Information Department
4th Floor, Harvest House, Nelson Mandela/Angwa
Cell: 011 765 574/091 267 229 Fax: 770 708

19 October 2005


The current crisis in the MDC is the culmination of sad events in the party
since the beginning of the year.

The first incident occurred when a certain section of the party sponsored
some unruly youths to engage in violent activities against senior national
and provincial executive members of the party. An inquiry was conducted and
it revealed the close involvement of the president’s office culminating in
National Council taking a resolution to expel these youths from the party.
The National Council also resolved to dismiss Washington Gaga and Nhamo
Musekiwa, who were working as bodyguards in the president’s office, after
they were found to have been responsible for coordinating the violent
activities of these youths. In clear violation of the Council’s resolution,
the president went on to reengage these two officers. The Council had also
resolved that some of the officers in the president’s office who had been
implicated in the violence should be investigated and to date this has not
taken place and the mastermind of the violence seem to have been protected
by the president.

Prior to the National Council meeting held on 12 October 2005 the president
announced that the decision on whether the MDC should participate in the
Senate election would be made at the next National Council meeting. At this
meeting, the Council decided by a majority of 33 to 31, with two spoilt
papers, to participate in the election but the president refused to accept
the outcome of this democratic vote, even though he, himself had immediately
prior to the vote being taken, implored all members of the council to accept
and defend whatever outcome would come out of the voting process.

After the meeting, the president addressed a press conference at which he
misrepresented the outcome of the Council meeting by saying that there had
been an equal number of votes on either side and that there was a deadlock;
he had to use his casting vote in favour of a boycott of the Senate
elections. ( It should be noted that even if there had been an equality of
votes, the president does not have a casting vote as section 5.4.9 of the
constitution provides: “ All decisions of the National Council ….. shall be
by simple majority provided that in the event of an equality of the motion
shall be lost.”)

Subsequently, the president has continued to take action which is in
conflict with the decision taken by the National Council. This action
includes the following:
¨      Writing to all party provincial chairpersons instructing them to
ignore a letter written by the party’s deputy secretary general instructing
provinces to start selecting candidates for the upcoming senate election.
¨      Writing to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission misrepresenting the
party by saying that it had resolved not to participate in the Senate
elections and calling upon the Commission to register as independents anyone
from the party purporting to stand in the name of the party.
¨      Addressing meetings around the country to tell people that the MDC
was not participating in the Senate election.

The president himself uttered threats and allowed other office bearers to
utter threats against a number of party office bearers who had opposed his
view that the MDC should not participate in the Senate elections. The
president also issued disparaging statements against members of the National
Council who had voted in favour of participation.

By his actions, the president has willfully violated the Constitution of the
MDC and breached its provisions. Although the President of the MDC is
mandated by clause 6.1.2 of the MDC Constitution to act as party
spokesperson on major policy issues, and participation in Senate election is
such a policy issue, the proviso makes it crystal clear that, when
exercising this power, he may not do anything “contrary to the Party’s
principle of open, transparent and democratic decision making.”

By acting as above, the president violated the under listed sections of the
constitution as provided below:

4.4 Every member shall have the duty:
(a) To accept and conform to the constitution…

6.1.1 It shall be the duty of the president
(a) To uphold and defend the Party Constitution;

(d) To promote the principles of democratic discourse and participation and
equality of all members within the party;

6.1.2 The president;
shall in general act as a spokesperson on major policy issues and shall be
the principal public representative of the party, provided that nothing in
this section shall be construed as empowering the president to act or do
anything contrary to the party’s principle of open, transparent and
democratic decision making.

Codes of Conduct

9.1 All office bearers shall comply with the Code of Conduct for all Office
Bearers of the party.

Code of Conduct for all Office Bearers of the Party

2. Such members shall conduct themselves with the highest standards of
personal integrity and honour and shall not involve themselves in
dishonorable conduct.

The MDC was founded on principles which include democracy, freedom,
transparency and justice. The party is determined to uphold these principles
and values and will not allow one person or a group of persons to destroy

Gibson Sibanda
MDC Vice President

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Many still homeless in Zimbabwe

Man cooking on a fire
Some displaced people say they have nowhere to go
Many thousands of Zimbabweans whose houses were destroyed earlier this year remain in rural areas without proper homes, say a group of church leaders.

Speaking in Johannesburg about Zimbabwe's Operation Murambatsvina, priests from various churches said evictions were still continuing.

The government crackdown targets informal traders and buildings the authorities deem illegal.

The Archbishop of Bulawayo warned that some 200,000 were threatened by hunger.

A United Nations envoy said 700,000 people were affected by Operation Murambatsvina.

Archbishop Pius Ncube said that according to his estimate, about 200,000 people would die by early next year because they no longer had money to buy food, and because the population was affected by HIV-Aids.

"Hunger is due to the Zimbabwe government refusing food aid," Archbishop Ncube added.

"Even if there are good rains this year, the government is so bankrupt that it has very little to spend on seed, and there is no fertiliser."

"Eighty percent of those displaced people who were sent to rural areas have not yet acquired any permanent settlement," said Pastor Albert Chatido, the logistical co-ordinator of church aid efforts in Bulawayo.

"They are dwelling with relatives or in the headman's homestead. NGOs are only allowed to supply food to a certain area."


Pastor Ray Motsi, chairman of the Combined Churches of Bulawayo, said that "out of the 700,000 the UN was talking about, between 300,000 and 400,000 have been displaced to rural areas".

Archbishop Pius Ncube in a Good Friday procession
Hunger is due to the Zimbabwe government refusing food aid
Archbishop Pius Ncube

"The tragedy is that many had no rural background and made their way back."

However, Shari Eppel, human rights advisor to Archbishop Ncube said that while the UN figures on displacement were credible, there were no reliable figures on how many had ended up in the rural areas.

"Where people are now we just don't know," she told the BBC News website.

Church leaders say it is not possible to get an accurate number of the number of people forcibly displaced to the rural areas, since they are widely dispersed.

A survey published in a report by the Solidarity Peace Trust - a South African-based group working in Zimbabwe - suggests that of the people whose homes were destroyed in Bulawayo's Killarney squatter camp, 70% said they had nowhere else to go.

Pastor Chatido said between 500 and 1,000 people were still living in the open in various parts of Bulawayo.

He said that a group of people of Malawian descent, interviewed by the BBC News website in August, were still living in the bush in the Bulawayo suburb of Cowdray Park.

"One of them died recently," Pastor Chatido said.

More demolitions

He added that demolitions were continuing in Killarney, after people rebuilt the shelters that had earlier been demolished.

Villagers carry blankets and food
People have become dependent on aid from churches

"Killarney Village 2 was recently squashed for the third time," he said.

In Killarney Village 3, Pastor Chatido said informal settlement dwellers had come up with a novel way of beating the demolitions: "They take down their corrugated sheets in the morning, and then reconstruct their shelters in the evening."

In Victoria Falls, Pastor Chatido said people were living 15 in a small house, after the destruction of outbuildings forced people to share the available accommodation.

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Archbishop Predicts Zimbabwe Catastrophe

The Guardian

Wednesday October 19, 2005 7:16 PM

AP Photo JOH101


Associated Press Writer

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - A Zimbabwean archbishop said Wednesday he
feared 200,000 of his countrymen could die by early next year because of
food shortages he blamed on his government, and called for President Robert
Mugabe's ouster.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, a frequent critic of Mugabe, spoke at
a news conference called to show a new film on ``Operation Murambatsvina,''
a widely condemned government campaign that critics charge has left tens of
thousands of Zimbabweans trapped in a spiral of poverty, hunger and

``I think Mugabe should just be banished, like what happened to Charles
Taylor. He should just be banished from Zimbabwe,'' said Ncube, referring to
the former Liberian president forced into exile in Nigeria.

``Let the man get banished if you don't want Zimbabweans to die,'' said
Ncube, responding to questions about what the international community could
do to help Zimbabwe.

The archbishop said food security in Zimbabwe was so precarious that unless
there is a dramatic change, malnutrition could contribute to the premature
deaths of 200,000 people by February.

Ncube said it was a personal estimate and based on his belief of the effect
of severe food shortages on a population ravaged by HIV/AIDS and extreme
poverty at a time of hyperinflation and near 80 percent unemployment. He
said 700 people a day already were dying of AIDS in Zimbabwe and the death
rate would increase with malnutrition.

Bishop Rubin Phillip, the Anglican bishop of KwaZulu Natal Province in South
Africa and the co-chairman of the Solidarity Peace Trust, a group of church
leaders committed to human rights and democracy, said Zimbabweans ``were
living lives of desperation with no glimmer of hope.''

He said the Solidarity Peace Trust has documented that hundreds of thousands
of people have been ``cruelly and deliberately deprived of houses and
livelihood by the government of Zimbabwe.''

In May, the government without warning began burning or destroying informal
settlements and the kiosks of vendors. The United Nations said at least
700,000 people lost their homes or livelihoods in the campaign it called a
violation of international law. The clerics say dozens of people, including
newborn babies, died as a result of exposure.

``You can see what kind of people we are dealing with here, murderers. I
will not mince my words,'' said Ncube.

The new film, titled ``Hide and Seek,'' shows Mugabe saying the operation
was a cleanup campaign that would move people out of unpleasant informal
settlements into new and better homes built by the government.

It then interviews Zimbabweans who lost their homes in the campaign and four
months later are still living in the open or in makeshift shacks of sticks
and plastic sheeting and cooking over open fires. The clerics estimate tens
of thousands of people have simply been dumped in rural areas where they are
unknown and unwanted. Nearly all have no jobs, no money.

``The amount of suffering is beyond imagination,'' said Ncube.

The Rev. Ray Motsi, the president of the National Pastors Conference in
Zimbabwe, said people who initially found refuge in churches were dislodged
by armed police in the middle of the night and forced on trucks that took
them to rural areas.

``They had done nothing but commit the crime of poverty,'' said Motsi.

Ncube said the government of Zimbabwe was only interested in cover up, lies
and in making promises it has no intention of delivering.

``Mugabe is the kind of character that even if 50 percent of Zimbabweans
died he would not care,'' he said.

The clerics said the government has refused food aid and restricted the work
of international organizations and churches that seek to distribute food,
meaning that international relief was limited and spotty.

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Silent Spring

This is a harsh time of the year in southern Africa. We have had 7 months of
dry weather and the hot season is upon us with temperatures in the 30's and
sometimes low 40's. It is also absolutely dry - rivers have stopped flowing
and pools are drying out, the grazing is almost exhausted and the colors of
the open veld are stark and vivid. The yellow/white of the remaining grass,
the early green flush of the figs and the pod mahogany, the startling pastel
colors of the mountain acacia and Msasa.

But it is always a time of great expectation. All of creation knows that
soon the storm clouds will arrive and with them the first rains and that
unmistakable scent of the wet African earth. The birds know it and are
nesting, the migrants have arrived from their European and Central African
winter sojourns and the swallows are back.

Normally the countryside is alive with activity - tractors crawling across
the dry lands with clouds of red and gray dust billowing up behind, oxen
straining their harness in front of steel ploughs and harrows. In many
parts, man is speeding up the whole process with his usual impatience and
the irrigation lines are out and the sprays fly into the wind and bring
fourth the first early seedlings. The flowering shrubs throw off the burden
of winter and burst out in their new costumes of purple and red, white and
yellow, defying the realities of the winter world they have just been

In the days of the civil war in Zimbabwe, I always took comfort in the
subtle shift in human activity that took place in the spring. Somehow if we
went out and ploughed our lands and brought in all that we would need for
the summer rains, seed, fertilizer, herbicides, insect sprays, fuel and oil,
we knew that we had committed ourselves to another season, another year.
This year it is quite different, this year the spring is silent, almost
eerily so.

The farms are abandoned, homesteads which once rang with the games of
children home from school at the weekend, are derelict and occupied in many
cases by miserable squatters. Some are occupied by families whose real lives
are in the cities nearby and they come out at the weekend to uneasily sit
where they do not belong and enjoy the use of things that are actually the
property of others. They ride guiltily through the weed-encrusted fields and
past the broken down sheds and cattle kraals. The spirits of those who are
buried there and whose lives are bound up in the springs of the past make
for uneasy companions.

But it is not only on the farms that this spring has died before it began -
in the peasant farming districts, the specter of another hungry season is
upon the communities that live there. The majority of the young people -
especially the men folk, have left for Egoli or Gaborone, London and New
York. Those that are left have nothing to live on except from what comes in
from the outside. Perhaps strutting, threatening Party men in trucks and
Mercedes cars. Perhaps World Vision or Save the Children. Perhaps the World
Food programme or the USAID. Sometimes help comes in the form of a letter
with some greasy pounds inside or a mysterious deposit in a Post Office
account of which they were alerted by a phone call or a message from the
local store.

But they are exhausted before they even begin. Their cattle are thin, the
grazing and water sparse. Seed and other essential inputs are either not
available or are too expensive and there are now so many demands on their
limited resources that they have to spend their money wisely, dollar by
dollar. The other problem is that each family has new burdens - the children
of other families left behind when both parents died or left the country.
Sick relatives from the urban areas told by the last hospital or doctor they
saw to "go home " - better to die there where your relatives do not have to
rent a truck to carry your body home. Many of the actual breadwinners are in
fact sick with many ailments - tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria and various
forms of carcinoma. All made more deadly by HIV and Aids.

We know what this failure to prepare for the summer means - it means there
is no commitment to this season, to next year. Our streets are unusually
quiet, people do not have the fuel to use their cars and transport is just
prohibitively expensive. Factories are closing their doors and sending their
staff home without pay, customers walk through the stores looking at the
prices and wondering just what they can afford to buy. The sight of people
leaving empty handed or with tiny parcels of essential foods is
heartbreaking - you want to step in and take over and allow them to use your
debit card to fill their baskets.

This is a nation that is dying on its feet, exhausted after a long trek
through a winter of hardship and struggle. A nation that cannot smell the
scent of early rains and now thinks that even if it does rain, it is simply
too late. The Bible says that a nation without vision dies. We have no
vision of the future, just of survival like shipwrecked passengers hanging
onto flotsam in the open sea.

Watching Mugabe rant and rave at the FAO Conference in Rome brought into my
mind an image of the passengers in the sea watching as the Captain of this
ship, who was criminally responsible for its capsize, sails past in a life
boat. The image extends to Mugabe making a speech to the sailors in the boat
with him. While this is going on a pleasure cruiser sails past us both - the
passengers in the water and Mugabe in his lifeboat and this cruiser called
the UN Fair and Ample Oligarchy is jammed with overweight slugs that clap
and cheer the silly old man in his Captains uniform.

As this circus of clown and congregation sails out of sight, we the poor
passengers are left with nothing but the sea and endless waves and the
sharks. Our only hope is to either drift ashore or be rescued by another
vessel. This is our silent spring, but tonight there is a beautiful full
moon and one of my succulents has given birth to a spectacular single flower
that will bloom overnight and be dead in the morning.

The one thing we cannot afford at this time is a fight for a better place in
the water. Rather we should be caring for each other and helping each other
to believe that there is a future and that when we finally get back to
sanity, we will be able to live again. I am reminded of a shepherd who
wrote, "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil, His rod and His staff will guide". Perhaps next spring will be

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 19th October 2005

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ICTU-AFRO condemns harassment of Zim workers


          October 19 2005 at 11:53AM

      Nairobi - The African branch of a leading world trade union group on
Wednesday condemned Zimbabwe's alleged use of "government terror and
repression" against its members in the crisis-wracked nation.

      The Nairobi-based International Confederation of Free Trade
Unions-African Regional Organisation (ICTU-AFRO) demanded an end to what it
said were arrests and harassment of Zimbabwean workers and union leaders by

      "We are concerned that the trade union leaders and activists are hit
by the full power of government terror and repression," it said in a
statement, referring to arrests of members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) in Harare.

      "Trade union leaders of our affiliate in Zimbabwe, the ZCTU, have been
victims of constant terror and aggression," it said.

      "The government must cease using highhanded tactics against workers
and trade union leaders," it said. "It is despicable that in Zimbabwe trade
unions trying to do their job to represent the interests of workers are
being persecuted."

      ICTU-AFRO referred to arrests of union leaders at a peaceful
demonstration in Harare called to protest high fuel and food shortages, high
prices and taxation and the detention of a high school teacher who it said
had been accused of teaching "opposition politics."

      Zimbabwe is currently in the grips of economic and social crisis
blamed by many on the policies of President Robert Mugabe's government.

      Food and fuel are scarce commodities and earlier Wednesday an
outspoken Zimbabwean cleric warned that some 200 000 of his countrymen could
starve to death in the coming months due to rampant inflation, drought and
bad policies.

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Arrested labour leader handcuffed and moved to Harare on public bus

      By Violet Gonda
      19 October 2005

      The General Secretary of the Commercial Workers Union and leader of
the MDC Women's Assembly Lucia Matibenga was arrested Wednesday on unknown
grounds by police in Gweru. Matibenga had been ordered to report to the
police station there in the morning, but was later handcuffed and put on a
Harare bound public bus with 2 police escorts.

      Matibenga said she had been told that there was an outstanding warrant
of arrest but Gweru police refused to show it to her. They then took her in
handcuffs and put her on a public bus. Te police told her they did not have
fuel or a vehicle to transport her to Harare Central Police Station.

      Speaking to us on the bus, the labour leader who holds a lot of
influence in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the MDC said this is
part of the harassment of ZCTU officials by agents planted by the

      She believes her arrest is connected to the ongoing problems with the
Commercial Workers' Union of Zimbabwe. The General Secretary said: "In May,
state sponsored people invaded our union offices trying to remove, to oust
myself and my executive which runs the union. And we challenged that in
court, and we successfully did so, and now we are back at the union working.
But they continue to use their friends and relatives in the police force to
harass us so that we don't concentrate on our work."

      State agents have in the past seized equipment from the ZCTU offices
claiming that officials had externalised foreign currency. They have also
disrupted Union meetings by physically attacking top officials including
Matibenga herself. Some officials and workers in the Transport Union,
Leather Union and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists have been at the
forefront of these attacks. These unions were voted out of the ZCTU in a
vote of no confidence as the government campaign to disrupt the union

      The ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo and secretary general Wellington
Chibhebhe have also been under attack during a government campaign to
replace them with a pair more sympathetic to the government.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zesa Earns Us$8,5m From Tobacco

The Herald (Harare)

October 19, 2005
Posted to the web October 19, 2005


ZESA Holdings, one of the country's largest tobacco contractors in the past
season, has earned itself US$8,5 million from the golden leaf.

The power utility diversified into tobacco contract farming with the aim of
boosting its foreign currency coffers to meet its ballooning electricity
import bill.

Zesa Holdings has the distinction of being the only contractor active in
tobacco whose core business is not farming oriented. Other contractors have
an established track record as buyers, processors or sellers of the golden

The power utility sold a total of 4,548 million kilogrammes valued at
US$8,504 million, which translates to an average price of US$1,86 per kg.

This is significantly higher than the average US$1,60 per kg obtained at the
auction floors.

A total of 28,3 million kg of tobacco went under the hammer at the three
auction floors, equating to about a third of the 74 million kg sold during
the 2005 selling season.

At 4,5 million kg, Zesa Holdings accounted for more than a sixth of the
total tobacco sold on the auction floors and under the contract system.

As a contractor, the power utility assumes the dual role of auction floor
and merchant, buying the crop and then exporting it.

Now in its second season, the contract growing system is a concept borrowed
from Brazil to boost production, which has taken a slump in recent years.

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Bulawayo: Zanu PF hydro-politics at work

New Zimbabwe

By Oscar Nkala
Last updated: 10/19/2005 13:55:33
IT WAS good to hear President Robert Mugabe promising Zanu PF supporters in
Bulawayo that his bankrupt and embittered government was doing everything to
help the city through its water crisis.

That Zanu PF supporters and aspiring senators clapped and ululated was most
expected of the blind followers of a long lost and probably senile
ex-revolutionary. I will not dwell on the merits of the water for Bulawayo
promise, but rather on its nonsensical value.

It is nonsensical that a man who has been president of Zimbabwe for the last
twenty five years needs a drought in 2005 to remind him that drought in
Matabeleland is not a calamity but a perpetual condition. It is equally
nauseating of the supposed veteran president to say his government, bloated
to the seams with proven incompetents and 97% disability cases, is doing
something about the situation in Bulawayo when all it has is a long list of
things it should have done but chose not to.

It is sad to note that the issue of Bulawayo's water security has become one
of hydro-politics in Zanu PF. Each time the country approaches a crucial
election, the people of the city are asked to vote for the promise of a
pipeline that will never come. A good look at the government and Zanu PF's
track record in addressing the issue of water security in the arid
south-western provinces reveals loads of empty promises and outright lies.

The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, long envisaged as the final solution
to the western region's water crisis, has simply fizzled into the air. Zanu
PF leaders like taking Mugabe's cue of talking like the legendary water
magician of an era gone by. Like the old magician, Mugabe wants Bulawayans
to believe that his pre-election tours in the city can end its water woes.

What he is unaware of is that Bulawayans are now wise enough to know that
any Zanu PF-led mention of water security plans for Bulawayo ends up with
the introduction of party candidates for this or that election. In simple
terms, the residents now know that the water crisis is now a campaign issue.
The reason why it cannot be done once and for all is that Zanu PF might lose
a crucial campaign issue. Apart from the political benefits of perpetuating
the crisis, government officials like Bulawayo governor and resident
minister, Cain Mathema, have lied through their teeth in a bid to blame the
crisis on the MDC-led council and not the government's lack of a sustainable
water security plan for the arid region where Bulawayo lies.

Mathema seems to be the only stranger in the city for he does not know that
the city has never been out of the water crisis. Together with other
small-minded Zanu PF officials in the city, Mathema made wild claims that
the MDC run city council had failed to give government adequate notice of
the impending water crisis. Mathema knew he was lying. The same minister,
who is believed to have been a key player in a failed attempt to coax the
government to dissolve the Bulawayo City Council and install a Zanu PF
commission like they did for Harare, also has problems with non-governmental
organizations drilling boreholes for the city's desperate residents. Why
should this irresponsible governor speak out against aid given to a people
government cannot care for?

Mathema and the president of his party must learn that government does not
need reminding or notification about the Bulawayo water crisis. Such
behaviour serves to confirm a theory that Zanu PF is suffocating
Matabeleland just because it voted for the opposition MDC. Because of the
deliberate neglect of development across Matabeleland, many people would
also take Zanu PF jingle-master, Tafataona Mahoso's statements on
secessionist fears as a revelation and foundation of the party's
retrogressive policy towards Matabeleland.

Denying a licence to The Weekly Times, a newspaper that was supposed to be
based in Bulawayo, Mahoso is alleged to have cited fears it would fuel
secessionist thinking in the region. I am convinced that Mahoso's thoughts
form the basis of Zanu PF's common policy towards a region that has never
voted voluntarily for it since 1980. Denying people water or newspapers
cannot stop or fuel secession if the political causes are there.

Which brings me to Dumiso Dabengwa!

At this critical time in the Bulawayo water situation, DD is the man we all
expected to hear from more often since the last time we heard he was
chairman of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT). From his
appointment as 'life' chairman of the public trust, DD has, like Joshua
Nkomo in his last days, evolved from a public figure into a purveyor and
beneficiary of Zanu PF hegemonic interests in the region. I make no
apologies for this observation. The problem with DD is that like all failed
Zanu PF politicians, he lacks honesty. Between 1998 and 2001, we read so
many statements attributed to DD and promising a very speedy implementation
of the MZWP. DD was even joined Vice-President Joyce Mujuru, then minister
of Water Resources, in announcing the allocation of millions of dollars
worth of sponsorship for one phase or the other of the project.

In a naked bid to help Zanu PF garner votes, the cash-strapped Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ) joined the sinister charade, claiming it had the necessary
funds ready to start the project. No matter how misleading the official
statements can be, the truth is that there is no work on the pipeline. The
'something' that government or rather Zanu PF claims to be doing is to try
and get Dumiso Dabengwa elected as one of the Bulawayo senators "so that the
MZWP can be speeded up," (I can see it on the apologist The Chronicle!!).

Whether he becomes one of the country's geriatric senators or not, DD should
be made to account for the collapse of the MZWT. Allegations of dictatorship
and corruption against DD are not unusual for a Zanu PF officer given the
chronic nature of both pandemics in the party. But it is the alleged use of
public trust funds to entertain a secretary-cum-mistress on long foreign
trips (Canada and Germany) which don't make him a good senatorial candidate.

The closure of the MZWT offices in August 2003 followed the exposure of
financial impropriety and general abuse of power. DD responded by sacking
the entire staff and leaving the questionable secretary who continued
earning one of the most "out-of this-world" salaries in Bulawayo at the
time. The scandalous nature of senator Dabengwa's tenure at MZWT was
confirmed by his failure to submit to an audit of the MZWT accounts even as
Arnold Payne, an illustrious water rights campaigner took him to court and
won a judgment compelling DD to avail the MZWT statement of accounts.

That remains undone and those who noticed the anomaly should have missed a
heartbeat when DD announced again last month that the MZWT would not be
releasing any public statements relating to how it conducts its business.
The absurdity of such an announcement was as clear as the muddy water MZWT
was set up bring to Bulawayo. If the MZWT was a public trust and DD was its
chairman, and not the chairman and the members as he seems to be thinking,
why would the real public let him get away with a blanket ban on statements,
the principal method of communication for any trust that works normally? So
many residents of the city are shareholders of MZWT and they have a right to
know what happened to their monies especially now as it becomes clear that
it was not used to bring any water from the Zambezi. As a senior member of
Zanu PF, DD's business at MZWT was to make sure that the overall dream of
water security failed as it runs counter to Zanu PF thinking. It could also
have been designed to make sure that all the donations end up in Zanu PF
campaign coffers.

By continually refusing to publicise the MZWT statement of accounts, DD
confirms suspicions that the coffers are empty and the project is dead. In
simple terms, the city of Bulawayo is suffering because Zanu PF fears
self-sufficiency would encourage secessionist thinking in Matabeleland. Yes,
that may happen since the people were never happy with Zanu PF rule at any
time in history and probably will never be. Gukurahundi did not help matters

But keeping people thirsty is one way of encouraging an even more radical
solution than such small talk as mere secession. Until government abandons
hydro-politics to take up the real development challenges as opposed to the
short-term politics of survival, the thirsty and underdeveloped southwest
will continue to suffer. Even as politicians re-read 2001 speeches
identifying America and Britain as Zimbabwe's enemies, the hungry and
thirsty certainly know that their real enemies are those that won't give
them water sufficiency. Like all hungry and subdued souls, they are very
Oscar Nkala is a Zimbabwean journalist and can be e-mailed at:

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Catholic archbishop wants Mugabe banished from Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Wed 19 October 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube has called
for President Robert Mugabe to be banished from the country the same way
Charles Taylor was banned from Liberia to pave way for a resolution of the
southern African country's crisis.

      Ncube was speaking at the launch today in Johannesburg of a film
produced by Solidarity Peace Trust detailing the plight of tens of thousands
of Zimbabweans whose shantytown homes and informal businesses were destroyed
by the government in a controversial campaign four months ago to clean up
urban areas.

      Solidarity, co-chaired by Ncube and South African bishop Rubin Philip,
is a grouping of pro-human rights and democracy church leaders from Zimbabwe
and South Africa. Ncube, a radical critic of Mugabe who at one time said he
was praying to God to take away the Zimbabwean leader, said more than 200
000 people could starve to death unless Mugabe was removed to pave way for
food aid into the country.

      Ncube, who said the figure of 200 000 people facing starvation was his
own estimation, said: "Unless and until Mugabe is banished in Zimbabwe like
Charles Taylor of Liberia, more than 200 000 people are going to die of

      "There is no way you can talk sense to Mugabe because he is a
professional liar. He is only interested in insulting (Tony) Blair and
(George W.) Bush instead of realising his failure to manage the country.

      "The government has not done anything to follow up on the uprooted
people. Moreover Mugabe, seeing how bad the situation is, he is refusing
food aid from non-governmental organisations to the people."

      According to the United Nations, at least 700 000 people were cast
onto the streets without food or water when the government without prior
warning destroyed city backyard cottages, shantytown homes and informal
businesses in or near urban areas.

      Another 2.4 million people were also affected in the demolition
campaign that the UN says may have violated international law but which
Mugabe says was necessary to smash crime and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's

      The Zimbabwean leader also insists the campaign was meant to replace
slum accommodation with proper housing under a new house building campaign
codenamed Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.

      But Harare Reverend Nicholas Mukaronda told the audience at the film
launch that the cash strapped government was failing to build the houses for
the thousands of displaced people.

      He said: "People are living in holes, Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle
is nothing but a mere cover up. Of the three hundred thousand houses the
government has promised, only 700 have been built and only 200 of these
houses are inhabitable."

      In the new film titled "Hide and Seek," Mugabe is shown saying the
home demolition campaign was meant to move people out of unpleasant informal
settlements into new and better homes built by the government.

      It then shows ordinary people whose homes were destroyed but who are
still living in the open or in makeshift shacks of sticks and plastic
sheeting and cooking over open fires four months after the government
promised to build them better homes.

      According to Philip, Solidarity was calling on the international
community to do more to take care of the people of Zimbabwe and force
Mugabe's government to take care of its people. - ZimOnline

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