Mugabe accused of erasing MDC voters from roll By Peta
Thornycroft in Harare and David Blair, Africa Correspondent (Filed:
The opposition in Zimbabwe yesterday accused President Robert
Mugabe's regime of manipulating the electoral roll, saying almost 70,000
names had vanished from voting lists in Harare and Bulawayo.
cities are strongholds of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
which won all 27 of their parliamentary seats in the last election in 2000.
The party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, accused the regime of a "scandalous"
attempt to prevent his supporters from voting in the general election due
He demanded an independent audit of the electoral roll and
said: "I have also instructed our legal team to consider legal action to
protect the interests of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who will
effectively be disenfranchised through the scandalous conduct of the
registrar general's office."
Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar general,
gave the MDC a copy of the latest electoral roll two weeks ago. Comparison
with the lists used for the presidential polls two years ago disclosed a
dramatic decline in registered voters in opposition heartlands.
Harare 878,715 voters were registered in 2002. Since then 46,780 names have
disappeared, reducing the total to 831,935.
Harare's population, like
that of every other African capital, is growing strongly. The last official
census showed it was up by 30 per cent, or 424,670 people, between 1992 and
Mr Tsvangirai said manipulation was the only possible explanation
for the falling number of voters, which would allow the regime to damage his
party's chances by reducing the number of parliamentary seats in the
In Bulawayo, the country's second city, 22,689 voters have
disappeared. The roll had 361,790 voters for the presidential polls but this
has dropped to 339,101. The MDC won all eight of the city's seats in the
Mr Mudede, who compiles the electoral roll, makes no
secret of his support for Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. He benefited from the
seizure of white-owned land when he was given a farm in Nyabira district
before the last presidential election.
His conduct of that election
was heavily criticised by Commonwealth election observers. "Thousands of
citizens were disenfranchised as a result of the lack of transparency in the
registration process and the wide discretionary powers of the registrar
general in deciding who is included or omitted from the register," they
Mr Mudede was not available for comment yesterday. An official
at his office said: "We cannot respond until we receive an official
The foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, yesterday accused unnamed
western countries of "plotting" to discredit the elections "in which they
want to inject their own ideas and preoccupations".
Zimbabwe purges farms again By Jan
Raath in Nyabira
SMOKE rose above the savannah along
a 15-mile stretch of the road, testament to the brutal conclusion to
President Robert Mugabe's resettlement programme. The homes
that lay smouldering across the cattle country in Nyabira district, 25 miles
north of Harare, had housed peasant farmers, formerly the foot soldiers who
had invaded white-owned land during the President's "revolutionary land
Now they too have been evicted by
paramilitary police who burnt down the farms that Mr Mugabe had ordered them
to invade in 2000.
"Police came here and told me go
away," said Edgar Pfupajena. "I thought they were joking. Then they burnt
everything. We have been here for nearly five years. The President resettled
Amnesty Internationl estimated that 60,000 people were
driven from "resettlement areas" last month alone.
Bvudzijena, a police spokesman, said evictions were being carried out
"around the country" to "regularise resettlement patterns in the farming
areas". He said some of the occupiers had "illegally settled
John Nkomo, the minister responsible for
land resettlement, referred questions to local officials, who would not
However, there is little doubt in the minds of those
forced off the farms about the reason for their removal. Many have said in
legal affidavits that their evictions were preceded by visits from ruling
party "cheffes" - Mr Mugabe's nephew, Leo, has been
The evictions have turned upside-down Mr Mugabe's
emotive banner of "land to the people" when mobs of ruling party supporters
began terrorising white farmers, thousands of whom fled.
The agricultural sector lies crippled and the country is expected to suffer
a third successive year of famine.
Munyaradzi Bidi, national
director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, said that five years
after the lawless invasions began "the land imbalance is still
"Peasants still don't have access to land and it's
still in the hands of a small group of people, only this time it's greedy
senior ruling party and military officers," he said.
new evictions have not only ignored all due process - without legal notice,
court orders, or court messengers to effect them - they even violate the
Rural Land Occupiers (Prevention of Eviction) Act passed by Mr Mugabe's
Government specifically to stop white landowners evicting the settlers.
Those evicted from the farmland have been left without water or sanitation
and have little food.
"It's a humanitarian crisis," Obert
Chinhamo, Amnesty International's development officer, said. "No one is
going to their assistance. The organisations that usually help people like
this are too scared to do anything because they might be closed down by the
Government or arrested."
Charitable assistance is
possible only with the approval of local government authorities, Mr Chinhamo
said. "There is no way the Government is going to give permission for you to
support people they are evicting."
The original farm
invaders had been stalwarts of the ruling Zanu-PF party. In the past, any
grievance would have been taken directly to party officials for
consultation. Now, however, settlers are turning to lawyers and human rights
groups for help.
About 20 High Court orders have been won
ordering police and the Minister of Home Affairs to leave the settlers
Police have so far not stopped settlers returning to
their plots, but authorities in one district said they intend to challenge
the court orders.
"These are the people who made Zanu-PF
win both elections since 2000," Mr Chinhamo said. "All of them feel cheated
and betrayed by the Government. The land programme was an election
Letter Health needs of Zimbabweans are poorly
recognised in UK EDITOR-In 2002 Zimbabweans were the second largest group of
asylum seekers coming to the United Kingdom, 7695 asylum applications having
been made,1 and they constitute one of the largest migrant groups of English
speaking peoples from a developing country for 25 years. The lack of
language barriers may help this community to use the NHS more effectively
than earlier migrants, but they may face discrimination nevertheless. What
is known, and what needs to be known about the healthcare needs of
We found that most published work focuses on HIV and sexual
health. The prevalence of HIV seropositivity in Zimbabwe is estimated to be
25%. The proportion of all reported HIV cases in the United Kingdom acquired
in Africa (90% heterosexually) is over 20% and growing.2 Several factors may
pose problems when treating Zimbabweans with HIV: patients may present late3
and they are highly mobile (partly because of the government's policy of
dispersal for asylum seekers), making follow up and contact tracing
difficult. These problems are not confined to Zimbabweans. Coinfection with
tuberculosis is a major concern, raising the question of whether Zimbabwean
babies should be vaccinated with BCG.
In some towns the incidence of
HIV has risen considerably. Many primary care trusts, local genitourinary
services, and individual general practices are struggling to cope with
increasing demand (our two practices in Luton together serve over a hundred
HIV positive patients).
However, an inordinate focus on HIV may divert
attention from other health needs of Zimbabweans. Anxiety, depression, and
mental distress are to be expected among a population that has suffered
rapid impoverishment and family separation. People have more mundane health
problems, such as hypertension and diabetes. These have often been poorly
controlled, and Zimbabweans may overlook these if health professionals are
preoccupied with the risks of HIV. Only by integrating primary and
specialist care can earlier diagnoses and improved access be delivered-and
the public health interests of the whole population be
EDITORIAL October 21, 2004 Posted to the web October 21,
THE City of Harare today starts a two-day conference
aimed at attracting investment.
Particular focus is on the city's
infrastructural development, which has been slowly collapsing over the
Key stakeholders - who include leaders in industry, banking,
commerce, Cabinet ministers and representatives from some southern African
countries - are expected to attend the conference.
The decision to
convene the investment conference comes at a time when the capital city is
in urgent and desperate need to overhaul and develop its antiquated
Indeed, much of the city's infrastructure - waterworks
system, sewer reticulation, street lighting and roads, among others - is in
need of urgent and serious attention.
It is a fact that some of
Harare's infrastructure is more than 50 years old and cannot continue to
hold anymore, where the city has been expanding over the
During the investment conference, the city will seek to find the
solutions by exchanging ideas with stakeholders.
It will also want to
identify partners and possibly obtain pledges towards the development of
We understand the city invited guests from such countries
as South Africa in order to draw important lessons from their experiences in
the management and development of cities.
Harare, as the capital
city, must provide efficient services. The provision of safe drinking water,
sewerage reticulation, roads and electricity are the starting point in
attracting investment and should, therefore, not be found
Investors can only be attracted to other areas if they are
first satisfied with the infrastructure and management of the city,
especially in the delivery of services.
Cities throughout the world
have developed their infrastructure and come up with investment
Shanghai in China is a case in point. It has developed
superior infrastructure in comparison to other Chinese cities and has
attracted the attention of international companies.
special development zones, which are the equivalent of our own export
processing zones, have become central to many foreign companies'
This is because they allow companies to import, process,
and export with fewer taxes and less red tape than other places in
The zones have helped foreign firms integrate China into their
global supply chains.
Harare has the potential to follow the Shanghai
route and grow into one of the biggest and modern cities in
However, it is disappointing that the city has not been able to
market itself good enough to attract foreign investors.
and cities like Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Marondera and Chegutu have actually
fared much better as they have aggressively marketed themselves as potential
There is no single pamphlet about Harare and
what it can offer to investors, yet urban centres like Bulawayo and
Marondera have produced investment leaflets.
Harare has not taken
advantage to market the potentially available land for development after the
Government recently acquired scores of farms around the city and its
surrounding areas of Ruwa, Chitungwiza and Norton.
The farms are
available to be developed for industrial, commercial and residential
There is also the Sunway City Industrial Park, the largest
export processing zone in Harare, which has not generated the expected
interest from investors.
We believe Harare's water woes can be a
thing of the past if the planned massive Kunzvi Dam in Mashonaland East is
developed. But this project is one key area which has also failed to attract
investors for a long time.
It is, however, our strong belief that there
are many business partners out there willing to work towards the development
Zimbabwe says West trying to subvert its
President Robert Mugabe's government accused its
Western critics on Thursday of plotting to influence Zimbabwe's
parliamentary elections next March, and said it would not take democracy
lessons from "hypocrites."
"Those who failed to teach us democracy
or practice democracy when they had over 100 years of ruling us are now
pretending to be masters and be teachers," Foreign Affairs Minister Stan
"We reject their teachings," he added.
Zimbabwe's government has been in the international spotlight over the last
four years over its controversial seizures of white-owned farms for landless
blacks and Mugabe's disputed re-election in March 2002.
said some Western ambassadors in Harare were unhappy with electoral
guidelines recently adopted by the 14-nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC) and had approached diplomats from SADC states to write new
rules for Zimbabwe.
Mudenge told a news conference after meeting
SADC ambassadors that Zimbabwe would not tolerate attempts by the West to
interfere in its domestic affairs or regional relations, and would act
against its opponents.
Some Western ambassadors, whom he did not
name, had come up with the idea of additional regulations for Zimbabwean
elections in addition to the SADC guidelines as part of an effort to
influence March polls, Mudenge said.
"We find it very odd that they
should be involving themselves in matters of SADC, which is a grouping of
independent African countries designing their destiny and their future away
from colonial control," he said.
Mudenge said contrary to media
reports that the SADC guidelines adopted at a summit in Mauritius in August
were mainly targeted at Zimbabwe, Mugabe's government was actively involved
in their creation and adoption.
"Any assumption that they were
being designed for Zimbabwe are false. We are very comfortable with the
guidelines as they emerged. We have incorporated them in the new (electoral)
bill before parliament," Mudenge said.
Mudenge said although
diplomats from SADC had assured him that they would not cooperate in a
Western scheme to undermine Mugabe's government, Zimbabwe would take action
against anyone who took part in clandestine activities against
"They should not be abused to take on agendas of foreign
countries, of foreign organisations," he said.
government has branded the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) a puppet of the West, accused Western ambassadors of "threatening SADC
states if they do not cooperate in prejudging and preempting the outcome of
"These are the same countries who dare to lecture
us about levelling the playfield, free and fair elections, equal access to
the media between (ruling party) ZANU-PF and the MDC, the same countries who
are broadcasting to us hostile anti ZANU-PF, anti-government, pro-MDC
propaganda," he said.
"Hypocrites. We will not accept, we will not
tolerate that kind of posture. We will react," he added, saying Zimbabwe
might bar any diplomat it finds involved in undercover activities from
observing the March elections.
There is no Road to Damascus conversion here
October 22, 2004
By Peter Fabricius
We would all
love to believe that either Zimbabwean Judge President Paddington Garwe or
the country's President Robert Mugabe experienced a Damascene moment last
week. But perhaps it is too soon to proclaim peace in our time.
The putative conversion experience was Garwe's decision to acquit Movement
for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai on treason charges. This is
being widely hailed as either an heroic defence of judicial independence by
Garwe or a sudden discovery of the rule of law by Mugabe. Logically it
cannot be both.
Though the Zimbabwe government's public response
was at first ambivalent, Mugabe's propagandist Jonathan Moyo then, of
course, hailed the decision as proof of the judicial independence which the
country had enjoyed all along and therefore a sharp rebuke to those who had
ever doubted it.
There is also much speculation that President
Mbeki must have put pressure on Mugabe, though his government has remained
Perhaps the case against Tsvangirai was too weak even for
Garwe to stomach. But Garwe's track record of Mugabe-friendly judgments -
for which he has been rewarded with a stolen farm which could easily be
taken back -- do not suggest a heroic temperament. It seems more likely
that he was given the nod from State House.
And given Mugabe's
own track record of complete contempt for the law, whenever it clashed with
his own survival strategy, it is hard to imagine that he gave the nod
because he had suddenly become a liberal democrat.
It is surely
more logical to see the move as part of a more refined phase of that
survival strategy - very likely related to the legislative elections due by
The Southern African Development Community (SADC)
adopted a set of guidelines for the conduct of elections at its summit this
year with which Zimbabwe's electoral system is almost entirely at
Apparently as a result - and maybe because of - regional
pressure, Mugabe has begun to tinker with his electoral laws, including
legislation to establish an ostensibly independent electoral
His tinkering so far falls well short of the
guidelines, not only on how the actual elections should be conducted, but
more especially on ensuring free and impartial electioneering for all
parties, including equal access to the state's propaganda machinery. Mugabe
has not, so far, touched the latter. But presumably even the indulgent SADC
would not have condoned executing or imprisoning the leader of the
opposition just before elections.
Of course, Mugabe could still
punish Tsvangirai on a pending second treason charge. But he is probably
calculating that he has already inflicted enough damage on him and his party
to beat them even in a relatively free and fair election. Polls indicate
that he is way ahead. He may now be gambling on the big stakes of winning
both the elections - and regional and perhaps even wider approval. The
latter would mean a return of international institutions such as the IMF
which could rescue the nosediving economy.
It is the degree of
freedom and fairness of the election that is critical. Although the past
five years of persecution of the MDC have already skewed the pitch
irreparably, South Africa and the region must surely insist at least that
from now on it is levelled. And that must include a truly independent -
meaning bipartisan - election commission and the scrapping of extra-judicial
security and media laws.
The danger is that if SADC swallows a
half-free election, the wider world - weary of the vexing and divisive
Zimbabwe issue - might do so too, because it is increasingly looking to SADC
for guidance on how to interpret the elections, as Mugabe is unlikely to
allow in non-African election observers.
It would be a terrible
injustice if the world allowed Mugabe to get away with a strategy of beating
the hell out of the MDC for five years and then righteously putting away his
sjambok for the last few weeks before the poll.
Please send any
classified adverts for publication in this newsletter to: JAG Job
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SOUTH African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
has pounced upon the acquittal of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai as evidence of a healthy Zimbabwean
Speaking in The Hague this week, Dlamini-Zuma said of
the Zimbabwe High Court decision to acquit him on charges of treason: "...
it must indicate to everybody that there is a rule of law in Zimbabwe. There
is a justice system that operates freely."
Every other analyst
has come to a different conclusion, most seeing the hand of President Robert
Mugabe in the verdict. Tsvangirai was acquitted, they suggest, to conform
with the Southern African Development Community's electoral guidelines - and
because the case against Tsvangirai was so feeble.
Dlamini-Zuma's overly-generous interpretation of this event? And many will
remember that it was the same minister who leapt to Mugabe's defence when he
was floating the idea of registering journalists - hardly the stuff of
Surely the South African government is not reduced
to clutching at straws to justify its strange silence on its miscreant
If so, Dlamini-Zuma's comments are a depressing
signal. They suggest that the failure of silent diplomacy - indeed, Mugabe
has made South Africa's hand-wringing on this issue look like weakness - is
not going to be replaced by anything with more substance.
of which raises once again the question that arises around South Africa's
handling of the Zimbabwean crisis: on what is South Africa's policy
Those who would suggest it is a matter of blind and
unquestioning loyalty to a former comrade in the struggle against white
dominance, will feel more than ever that their cynicism is
Staff Reporter Last updated: 10/22/2004 08:01:44 A POPULAR late night
radio and television preacher has been busted stealing WINE in Ruwa, just
Pastor Gift Mabhaudhi who presents the Radio Zimbabwe
(formerly Radio 2) programme "Zvidzidzo ZveBhaibheri" was spotted guzzling
from bottles of wine inside TM Supermarket, before taking two unopened wines
and trying to leave without paying.
Shop security held him and called
the police who took Mabhaudi to the police station where he paid a Zim$25
000 (about £2) admission of guilt fine.
Police say Mabhaudhi, 52, was
spotted drinking from wine bottles and putting them back on the shelf. He
then took two 200-millilitre bottles of Meadows Estate Chenin Blanc wine,
with a street value of Zim$17 360 (about £1.50).
Mandipaka said Mabhaudhi was apprehended outside the shop after paying for a
few other items, but not the alcohol.
"I am stressed and I am willing to
be arrested. Please do not do this. I am really sorry," Mabhaudhi pleaded
with the supermarket manager, according to the official Herald
The preacher's son described his father as "emotionally
unhinged" and "incoherent", and said he had taken to drinking alcohol
against the customs of his chruch -- the Reformed Church in
October 21, 2004 Posted to the web October 21,
Police have stepped up their preparations for next
year's parliamentary elections with senior officers meeting in Harare
yesterday to devise strategies to ensure the polls are
Opening the meeting, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said
the challenge to make the forthcoming elections a success calls for
proactive and pre-emptive activities on criminal elements.
speech read on his behalf at the one-day Election Tactical Plan Framework
Workshop, Cde Chihuri said the 2005 parliamentary elections posed a
challenge to all police officers and beckons the need for well-thought-out
tactical plans to counter enemies of the State, whose fortunes thrive on
bashing the image of the country.
The main aim of the workshop was to
discuss several issues, including ensuring that there would be no violence
during the elections and adherence to the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) principles and guidelines governing democratic
Other issues discussed were the need for police officers to be
conversant with their obligations under the new electoral laws, which
include security arrangements, the role of police in election
administration, incident reports and investigations, the nature of
politically motivated crimes and police presence during election
Cde Chihuri said the birth of foreign-funded opposition
political parties in the country has seen the polarisation of society
resulting in political crimes.
"A more strategic and robust approach
on how provinces, districts and stations will plan, organise, monitor,
control and co-ordinate issues pertaining to phases before, during and after
elections is desirable," said Cde Chihuri in the speech read on his behalf
by Secretary of Home Affairs Mr Melusi Matshiya.
He said the policing
environment must be properly analysed and matched by the judicious
deployment of resources in various policing jurisdictions.
experience since 2000 indicate that the youths are a crucial component in
the campaign machinery of political parties in Zimbabwe," said Cde
"However, they have been used as cheap cannon fodder in
political violence. It is, therefore, necessary for all commanders to
closely monitor their activities since they are easily swayed to commit
crimes of a violent nature."
He said the police force appreciates the
right of citizens to freedom of movement but would not tolerate the bussing
of people to other constituencies.
The Police Commissioner said
previous experience had shown that the bussing of party supporters created
unnecessary tension that eventually undermined peace and stability in some
He said once this was noticed during the campaign period,
the police would be obliged to encourage politicians to restrict their
activities to their constituencies.
"A reasonable number of people
can travel to campaign to locals of a particular area, but the tendency to
transport a whole rally in the bus to go and campaign in other
constituencies will be totally unacceptable since criminal elements will
easily find cover from such large numbers," he said.
He said the
consensus in Government was that there must be zero tolerance to political
violence in the forthcoming elections.
"His Excellency the President
feels very strongly about the issue and does not brook any form of violence
"The President stated in no uncertain terms in July this
year, that elections will be conducted in a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere
with the view to shame detractors who have made it their God-sent assignment
to lecture Third World countries on democracy and human rights while their
history and current practices are littered with flagrant human rights
abuses, violation of international law and the degradation of the human
Cde Chihuri said the Sadc Heads of State and Governments
Summit held in Mauritius in August was instrumental in the signing of the
Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections to which
Zimbabwe is a signatory.
He said it was crucial that all police
personnel under the command of senior police officers were aware of their
obligations under the new laws and acquaint themselves with these
principles, which include full participation of citizens in the political
process, freedom of association, political tolerance, voter education and
regular elections as provided for by the national constitution.
principles include acceptance of the election results by political parties
proclaimed to have been free and fair by the competent national electoral
authorities in accordance with the law of the land and equal opportunity to
exercise the right to vote and be voted for, among others.
was attended by senior police officers commanding all the provinces in the
Cde Chihuri said in pursuit of a peaceful election, commanders
must be honest and factual in their reporting of incidents.
end, I will not tolerate indecision, a laissez-fare (permissive) attitude,
sloppiness or malpractices on the part of the commanders in enforcing the
law and maintaining peace," he said.
He urged them to pass on the
information to their junior police, saying that he would not entertain any
deterioration in any situation.
COLUMN October 21, 2004 Posted to the web October 21,
WHEN Homelink was first introduced, recipients of
money from abroad had a choice of receiving their money in either local or
foreign currency. Now, however, money is only paid out to recipients in
Many people both at home and abroad were surprised that
there was an option to be paid in foreign currency. "Has Zimbabwe got
sufficient foreign currency to be able to do that?" one surprised Zimbabwean
living in the United Kingdom asked a member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
team that visited that country earlier in the year.
Generally if you
send money to a person in another country you take it for granted that he or
she will be paid in the currency of that country. After all it is not much
use to them in any other currency if they are to spend it there.
only legal tender in Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe dollars. If you want to pay school
fees, hospital charges or funeral expenses or to buy food, you need to have
the local currency to do this. Foreign currency is no use to you, normally
speaking, except when you travel or wish to pay for something you are
purchasing outside the country.
Nevertheless, given that foreign currency
for travel and individual purchases outside the country was not readily
available at the foreign currency auction when Homelink was launched, the
Reserve Bank decided to allow recipients of money from abroad to opt for
foreign currency payments if they wished.
If they had no immediate
use for the foreign currency, they could keep it in a foreign currency
account or at home for when they needed it. If they wanted to convert it
into Zimbabwe dollars at a later stage they could do so at a bank, although
they would then have to pay commission.
Where money transfer agencies
disbursed money in foreign currency, none of this money would of course
reach the foreign currency auction. However, because local purchases and
payments for local services have to be paid for in Zimbabwean currency, it
was believed that most people would opt to receive their money in Zimbabwe
dollars, even if they had the option to receive it in foreign
On the other hand those who had a genuine need for foreign
currency for holidays outside the country or to pay for goods or services
outside the country could receive their money in foreign currency and use it
for that when they needed to.
At first this arrangement worked as
expected. The majority of recipients of funds from abroad opted to be paid
in Zimbabwe dollars, while a minority chose to be paid in foreign
However, after a while many recipients of payments from abroad
discovered they could receive their money in foreign currency and sell it
illegally at a premium on the black market. This of course helped fuel the
black market trade in foreign currency and undermined the value of Homelink
as a means of mobilising foreign currency for the foreign currency
Money sent from abroad was, by fuelling the black market, having
a negative rather than a positive effect on the country's economy. It was
hardly surprising, therefore, that the privilege of being able to choose to
receive payments in foreign rather than local currency was eventually
To compensate those who had legitimate reasons for wanting
payment in foreign currency, such as for travel or holidays abroad or to
make purchases from other countries, the Reserve Bank introduced the Tuesday
foreign currency auction for individuals and small businesses requiring US$5
000 or less.
Any individual or small business can put in a bid at the
Tuesday auction through banks that are authorised dealers. Prior Reserve
Bank Exchange Control approval is required, as is the case with the main
auctions. The approval is valid for 21 working days.
No more than
US$5 000 can be bid for per bidder per month. Higher bids have to be made at
the main auctions. Foreign currency is allocated at each bidder's bid rate,
starting from the highest bid rate accepted until the amount available at
the auction is exhausted.
The auctions began on August 17 with US$250 000
being auctioned. The bulk of the money allocated was for holiday travel
allowances, followed by education, air fares, subscriptions and household
The Tuesday auctions are now well established. Ten of these
mini-auctions have been held so far, the most recent being on Tuesday this
week. They are intended to cater for needs not catered for in the main
auctions, such as holiday travel and the needs of cross-border traders.
Harare - Zimbabwe's foreign minister on Thursday accused Western
countries of "plotting" to discredit next year's parliamentary elections,
producing a document he said was prepared by diplomats criticising
preparations for the vote.
"They are devising a scheme to measure the
forthcoming general elections in Zimbabwe, in which they want to inject
their own ideas and preoccupations," Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge told a
"How can we have free and fair elections when they are
already planning and plotting?" he asked, referring to the March elections
to parliament that President Robert Mugabe's ruling party hopes will produce
a stronger majority.
Mudenge distributed a three-page document that
did not carry a letterhead and which criticised recently adopted electoral
guidelines for southern Africa, saying they failed "to go far enough to
fully cover the minimum standards required for genuine, democratic
Zimbabwe has pledged to adhere to the guidelines adopted by
leaders of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) that
call for access to the media, freedom from police harassment and
international supervision of the vote, among other
Pre-judge the elections
Without naming countries,
Mudenge said the diplomats were "already planning to pre-judge the
elections. ... They are trying to write another report on the forthcoming
general elections before the elections are held."
ambassadors are unhappy about these guidelines. They have made a critique
with nine points against the SADC guidelines," Mudenge said.
"I want to
state categorically, we reject their rejection of the SADC guidelines, the
guidelines will remain our guidelines.
"They are ours, we are proud of
them, we devised them for ourselves. We do not want anybody to interfere in
the evolution or the implementation of these guidelines," Mudenge
Zimbabwe accused the Commonwealth of producing a report on the
country's 2002 presidential elections well before polling took
The report resulted in Zimbabwe being suspended from the
Commonwealth on grounds of unfair elections and human rights abuses.
Rigging on - Tsvangirai Dumisani Muleya THE
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has expressed fears that Zanu PF could
have started rigging next year's election using the latest "fictitious"
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said the voters'
roll showed significant reductions or marginal increases of registered
voters in urban constituencies between 2000 and 2004 and dramatic increases
in rural areas.
As a result, Harare and Bulawayo could lose seats
during the ongoing delimitation exercise, he said. The two biggest cities,
which are controlled by the MDC, lost constituencies during the demarcation
of boundaries in 2000.
The voters' roll shows that in May 2000
Bulawayo had a total of 357 281 registered voters and eight constituencies,
but now it has 339 101 voters. This indicates a loss of 18 180
With the number of registered voters estimated at 5,6 million
nationwide, on average each of the 120 constituencies should have 47 000
Bulawayo is therefore likely to have seven seats, instead of
The city is controlled by the MDC. Zanu PF does not have even a
council ward in Bulawayo.
Harare had 795 059 registered voters in
2000 and now has 831 935, an increase of 36 876. However, during
delimitation Harare, which has 19 seats, could lose one or two
Tsvangirai said this was surprising given that the
2002 population census showed a population increase, particularly in Harare,
than in rural areas. He said the present voters' roll should be audited to
prevent electoral fraud.
"This confirms our view that the voters'
roll is deeply flawed and is used to commit electoral fraud," he
"There has been political violence and intimidation but the
manipulation of the voters' roll has been the most common instrument of
While registered voters decreased in urban
constituencies, they dramatically increased in rural provinces. The MDC won
nearly all urban seats in 2000 and liquidated Zanu PF. The ruling party was
banished to the rural areas.
Manicaland, which is largely rural, has
registered the highest increase of registered voters. It had 577 398 voters
in 2000 but now has 684 155, an increase of 106 757. The province, which has
14 constituencies, might gain one seat.
Zanu PF currently has six
MPs while the MDC has seven and Zanu (Ndonga) has one. However, Zanu PF is
hoping to retain most of its former rural seats.
Zanu PF's purported stronghold, has gained significantly. It had 418 277
registered voters in 2000 but now has 490 222. Mashonaland East had 506 817
voters in 2000 and now has 605 390, Mashonaland West had 502 964 voters and
now has 593 021.
Voters increased in Masvingo from 593 778 to 676
686, Matabeleland North from 317 405 to 341 228, Matabeleland South from 319
015 to 340 709 and Midlands from 658 422 to 746 046.
that Matabeleland South might lose a seat while Mashonaland West could gain
one during the drawing up of constituency boundaries.
The MDC has also
expressed concern about the composition of the Delimitation Commission sworn
in by President Robert Mugabe last month. It said the commission was
dominated by Zanu PF functionaries and could be used for
"In these circumstances, I demand an immediate
independent audit of the voters' roll to rectify the grave anomalies prior
to the delimitation work," Tsvangirai said. "I have instructed my legal team
to consider legal action on the issue."
Irate depositors take over NDH Shakeman Mugari A
GROUP of depositors led by Harare lawyer Edwin Manikai this week took over
National Discount House (NDH) after the firm failed to meet its obligations
There was however dissatisfaction among depositors who said
they had taken over a "shell". They said there was no value in NDH, which
was exposed to the troubled ENG and then experienced a huge run on
The Zimbabwe Independent understands the depositors have
asked two senior managers who were also directors - chief operating officer
Never Mhlanga and group chief executive Ernest Matienga - to step
The depositors said after NDH was given money from the Reserve
Bank's Troubled Banks Fund, its senior managers used depositors' funds to
repay the loan. They said NDH acted "criminally" by continuing to write
business when it knew it was in the red.
"I do know for a fact
that until very recently," an investor said this week, "dealers employed by
NDH were instructed without due warning to investors to continue receiving
investments and strike agreements on rates during a period when the
principals must have been well aware that company liabilities exceeded
assets by a huge margin. That is a criminal act, actionable in
Another investor took a swipe at the Reserve Bank for not
taking action against the NDH management to protect the investing
"Through its intelligence network the Reserve Bank is clearly
aware of what has been going on at National Discount House yet to the best
of my knowledge, it has done nothing to either draw public attention to the
situation or to bring an aberrant executive to account," he
NDH, which donated $800 million to zanu pf last year, was
expected to be taken over by First Banking Corporation Holdings. First Bank
is controlled by Zanu PF.
The irate depositors led by Manikai
took over the running of the company after it failed to pay their
maturities. The depositors have since formed a committee to oversee the
operations of the company. Manikai is the chairman of the
The committee took the unprecedented decision after NDH
admitted in numerous meetings that it was unable to pay its maturities.
Fearing for their investments, the depositors turned their investments into
equity, thus effectively taking over the company.
An NDH official
confirmed the company had been taken over by the depositors. "Technically
yes, the committee of depositors now controls the company," said the
The company received $20 billion in liquidity support from
the Reserve Bank which the directors allegedly repaid using investors'
funds. Some shareholders and depositors are understood to be pushing for the
prosecution of the two directors.
NDH's woes have been worsened
by capital flight. Figures in possession of the Independent show that the
bank lost more than $12 billion in the first week of last month as panicky
depositors took away their investments following press reports that all was
not well at the firm.
Sources say the company lost more than $25
billion in one month.
Harare MDC councillors to resume duties Augustine
Mukaro DISMISSED Harare MDC councillors have resolved to resume their duties
in a parallel process to acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara's operations, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.
Over 40 Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) councillors who were either fired by government or resigned to
protest Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo's interference in council
affairs said they were still answerable to ratepayers and therefore should
continue to execute their duties.
"We want to retain our
relevance to the wards," councillor Last Maengahama
"Councillors will not attend the official business of the
local authority at Town House but will continue with all their social
responsibilities. In fact 99% of a councillor's job is done outside Town
Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) chairman Mike
Davies told the Independent that they were working with councillors in
efforts to reach out to the communities who voted them into
"We are facilitating councillors as community leaders to
interact with their electorate and other leaders in their communities,"
"It's a continuation of our capacity-building and
development as we prepare for a democratically-elected council," he
"When elections come at whatever stage committed and
knowledgeable councillors should be elected into office. Being elected a
councillor should not be seen as a form of employment."
rendered Harare council redundant when he fired the first
democratically-elected executive mayor Engineer Elias Mudzuri and 19 of his
councillors. The remaining councillors failed to hold meetings on several
occasions because they could not constitute a quorum.
proceeded to bestow the authority to run the city on governor Witness
Mangwende before appointing the James Kurasha committee to take charge of
ANZ case taken to AU Commission Godfrey
Marawanyika THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is taking the Zimbabwe
government to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in Gambia
over the closure of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday.
case will be heard in the first instance on preliminary issues of
admissibility during the forthcoming African Commission Session scheduled
for the last week of November in Dakar, Senegal.
Michelo Hansungule of the Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at
the University of Pretoria, South Africa, said lawyers would argue the case
before the commissioners.
"Cases from national jurisdictions of
states parties to the African Charter brought to the African Commission are
not appeals but in the nature of matters of first instance," Hansungule
said. "Submissions on admissibility have already been drafted and filed with
the commission. During its session, we will be arguing the case viva voce
before the commissioners," he said.
The Daily News and Daily News on
Sunday were closed last year following a Supreme Court ruling on September
11 that they could not continue publishing without accreditation by the
Media and Information Commission.
Hansungule said their arguments
regarding admissibility had already been submitted to the African Commission
"This constitutes the first stage under the procedure
governing the operations of the African Commission. After the commission has
made a ruling on the matter, we will be called upon to submit on merits," he
"It is then that we shall submit our arguments on the merits of our
complaint. Nevertheless, we have already finished preparing the merits of
the complaint and are ready to submit anytime we are
He said they had taken the issue to the commission since
his clients were strong believers in the fundamental right of every
Zimbabwean citizen to have his or her dispute heard and determined by an
independent judiciary. He said the appellants also believed judges and
lawyers should be allowed to practise freely without
"We strongly believe that our clients (ANZ) were denied
their basic and fundamental right to have their dispute with the executive
branch of government in Zimbabwe concerning the constitutionality of the
Aippa law heard and determined by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe sitting as a
Constitutional Court," he said.
"It is our strong contention that
the decision of the Constitutional Court to deny our clients the right to be
heard on the grounds that they had 'dirty hands' whilst at the same time
entertaining the state evidently clashed in the face of the golden principle
of equality of treatment before the law."
'Zim must re-open dialogue with donors' Staff
Writer ZIMBABWE should re-open dialogue with bilateral and multilateral
donors to assist the country's economic recovery, outgoing United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Victor Angelo has
In an interview this week, Angelo said Zimbabwe had the potential
to recover but badly needed new money.
"The country is in a much
better position than most African countries to meet the UN Millennium
Development Goals," said Angelo.
"I believe that the country will
make it but it has to renew relations with international organisations like
the IMF and the World Bank. The country needs developmental assistance," he
"This can be established through dialogue. Everything depends
on the quality of the dialogue. It is a question of goodwill. Zimbabwe does
not have to agree with donors on everything but there are areas of common
concern," he said.
He said apart from developmental aid, the
country should also position itself as an investment
"It is not just a question of mobilising external
resources and getting developmental aid but investment too. That is more
long-term and important."
He however said it was crucial to sort out
the internal politics first, which have largely remained unattractive to
investors. He said one way of achieving this was a free and fair election
"It would be rewarding if Zimbabwe can organise the
electoral process in a way that is acceptable to all Zimbabweans. The
elections have to meet criteria that were agreed by Sadc states," he
He said a proper assessment was required for Zimbabwe's
humanitarian needs, but that it was up to government to prioritise its
needs. The UNDP has been critical in mobilising humanitarian assistance for
Zimbabwe. This year the assistance shifted from food to health provision and
other social services.
"I believe next year's programme should put
emphasis on HIV/Aids and its social consequences such as vulnerability of
orphans," he said.
"There must also be recovery in the rural areas by
bringing up production through (provision of) inputs. Infrastructure such as
schools and clinics are important in these areas," he said.
this required external support, he added. "The country needs external
resources. They will not come in the way of Zimbabwe if there is no dialogue
with those who provide the resources," he said.
Angelo will next
week take up a new posting in Sierra Leone as a special
the United National secretary-general Kofi Annan responsible for peace
building in the volatile country.
Acquittal to help heal Zim - SA Reuter NKOSAZANA
Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's Foreign minister, said this week she hoped the
acquittal of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, on treason charges last week
would contribute to reconciliation efforts. Zimbabwe's High Court acquitted
Tsvangirai on Friday last week on charges of plotting to assassinate
President Robert Mugabe and seize power ahead of a presidential election in
Dlamini-Zuma said: "First of all I think it must indicate to
everybody that there is a rule of law in Zimbabwe. There is a justice system
that operates freely and so it is indeed a positive thing that he was
"We do hope, yes, this will add to whatever efforts are
there towards reconciliation," she said after a meeting of the European
Union and the South African Development Community in the Netherlands.
Tsvangirai has also said the verdict might boost prospects for "national
However, he still faces a second treason case.The
South African government's policy of "quiet diplomacy" to urge President
Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to
negotiate has met with little success.
40 firms close shop Godfrey Marawanyika ZIMBABWE'S
harsh economic environment led to the closure last year of 40 manufacturing
companies and the loss of close to 4 000 jobs, a report on the state of the
manufacturing sector by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has
The firms closed down largely because of the macroeconomic
instability, which affected viability, depressed domestic sales; the influx
of Chinese merchandise and foreign currency blues.
study, which should be released today, indicates that hardest hit by the
economic meltdown was the furniture industry, which saw 12 companies
The report said 11 companies closed down in the
leather, shoe and allied industries while six closed shop in the textiles,
food and allied industries.
The clothing and electronics sectors
lost four firms and one firm respectively.
The report said the
deteriorating operating environment was a major threat to business
viability. It said during the past four years the crisis had deepened into a
"The rate of company closures that slowed down from a peak
of 400 in 2000, to 150 in 2001, had started increasing again in 2002, to a
level of 250," the report said.
"The economy's resilience came
under test in 2003, which saw the asset price bubble bursting in Q4 (fourth
quarter of) 2003, signaling a major involuntary reshuffling of business
models late into 2003.
"Even then (fourth quarter of 2003), economic
conditions were already limiting for business continuity, with inflation
running at 600% and foreign currency costs at $6 500-$7 000 to the US dollar
for financing imports."
Macroeconomic instability has largely compromised
manufacturing sector performance over the years, with the sector's
contribution towards gross domestic product retreating from 24,1% in 1991 to
14,5% in 1999. Analysts say the sector contracted by a further two-thirds
The situation was worsened by the fixed exchange rate of
$824 against the greenback. This fuelled the parallel market where the local
unit slipped to an all-time low of $7 000-$7 500 to the US
"The foreign exchange rate regime itself became a tax on
exports which were financed by the inflated parallel market exchange rate
and yet remittances were effected at the blended 50:50 ratio with the
official pegged at $824 and government rate of $55," the CZI report
"Key utility costs such as electricity and fuel owing to the
liberalisation of the fuel sector in August 2003, added a huge cost burden
on to the manufacturing sector, hence posing a potential threat to business
viability in the short- to medium-term," it said.
The survey said
figures obtained from National Employment Councils showed that a total of 3
858 employees were retrenched last year, up from 1 187 in 2002, indicating
worsening economic conditions for 2003.
The report said 25 firms could
this year "probably retrench if their viability remains threatened, and the
situation will result in at least 2 575 employees being laid off".
Zimpapers refusing MDC adverts Loughty Dube THE
opposition MDC says it is dismayed by the state-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers
Group (Zimpapers)'s refusal to publish its advertorial material in violation
of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) protocol on
The Chronicle and Sunday News newspapers, part of the six
government mouthpieces under the Zimpapers stable, have in the past two
months refused to publish advertorial and press releases from Bulawayo mayor
Japhet Ndabeni Ncube and MDC MPs in the city.
for Bulawayo, Victor Moyo, said the Chronicle and the Sunday News had turned
down advertorials from Ncube and press releases from his party's
"It is sad that the Chronicle and the Sunday News continue to
turn down our adverts and press releases yet the two papers are supposed to
be part of the public media," Moyo said.
Moyo said the Sunday
News turned down a press release from the mayor responding to allegations in
the same paper alleging that he was making up figures of
malnutrition-related deaths in the city.
"It is sad that these papers
continue attacking us but they do not give us a chance to respond to the
lies they publish about us. This is despite the fact that we are ready to
pay for these advertorials," he said.
Moyo said Bulawayo South MP
David Coltart had adverts on report-back meetings turned down by the state
newspapers in September. Others MPs have also been denied access to the
The MDC has also been denied access to other state
newspapers such the Herald, the Sunday Mail and the Manica
Sadc norms and standards on democratic elections demand that
all parties have equal access to the public media, in particular in the
run-up to elections. However, Zimpapers and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings,
which runs television and radio stations, have sealed access against the
MDC. They currently operate exclusively as government propaganda
mouthpieces, just as they were before independence in
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who rigidly presides over
the state media, has said the MDC will not get access to the public media
because it is allegedly disloyal to Zimbabwe.
Patrick Chinamasa has also repeated the same claim, equating Zimbabwe's main
official opposition party to the stateless al-Qaeda organisation.
Byo council debt hits $34b Staff Writer GOVERNMENT
and residents' debt to the cash-strapped city of Bulawayo has risen by about
$8 billion from $25 billion in one month alone.
Figures released by the
Bulawayo city council's Finance and Development Committee show that as of
July residents and government owed the council a staggering $33,8 billion in
unpaid rates, up from $25,5 billion the previous month.
residents owe council $25,4 billion, while government departments owe a
further $8,4 billion in unpaid rates.
Council says failure by
residents and government departments to service their debts has compromised
service delivery in the city.
Council records indicate residents owe
the largest amount, $12 billion in water bills, while rates and other
supplementary charges make up $8 billion.
The council has embarked on a
water disconnection exercise in a bid to force residents and government
departments to pay up. In the past the move has not yielded the desired
The Ministry of Home Affairs owes council the biggest amount
of $839 million, while the Ministry of Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development owes $749 million.
Government barred the Bulawayo
city council from effecting rate increases during the current financial
year, leaving the municipality in financial dire-straits.
ZRP gobbles 77% Home Affairs budget Staff
Writer THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has gobbled 77% of Home Affairs's
2004 budget vote, confirming its record as the biggest spender in the
A parliamentary committee last week heard that out of the $339
billion allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the ZRP alone had by June
30 used up $263 billion, 77% of the ministry's total allocation. Part of the
ZRP's expenditures are not subject to audit by the Comptroller and
Auditor-General.The ministry comprises five departments - National Museums
and Monuments, National Archives, Immigration Control, Registrar General and
Home Affairs and Defence constitute the largest expense
on Zimbabwe's national budget every year. Defence and Home Affairs
parliamentary portfolio committee chairman Saviour Kasukuwere last week told
a 2005 pre-budget seminar in Mutare that the ZRP needed a supplementary
budget before year-end.
"The ZRP is the biggest spender in the
ministry," Kasukuwere said.
"Out of the $339 billion for the year, ZRP
had spent $263 billion by June 30 2004. This represented 77% expenditure.
The ZRP may not see the year through with no virements."
year the Comptroller and Auditor General's report said the ZRP owed Treasury
a substantial amount of money. The ZRP was accused of ignoring Treasury
instructions and liberally gobbled up public funds.
This comes at a
time when the institution is reportedly undergoing a restructuring exercise
aimed at modernising the poorly equipped force.
Kasukuwere noted that
the law enforcement agency had bought 2 000 bicycles for patrols in town, 20
Truvelo Lider D-cam speed trap cameras, 200 Mazda trucks, 13 command
vehicles for highway patrols and uniforms.
MPs attack Moyo for abusing public media Gift
Phiri INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo this week came under withering
attack from opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MPs in
parliament for abusing public media to further his political
Debating the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
(Aippa) Amendment Bill on Tuesday, MDC MPs said Moyo had become a
"dangerous" politician who should be reined in by both Zanu PF and MDC
They accused Moyo of seeking to entrench his control on
the media for personal political gain. They said he was writing vitriolic
columns in the public media using pseudonyms and stories for Sunday Mail
political editor, Munyaradzi Huni.
"We know the minister wants to
have complete control," charged MDC chief whip and MP for Mutare Central,
Innocent Gonese. "We know it because in the Sunday Mail he calls himself
'Under the Surface'. He also calls himself 'Reward (Lowani) Ndlovu' or
'Mzala Joe' or 'Nathaniel Manheru'. We do not know what he will call himself
next but that does not satisfy him. He even writes stories in the Sunday
Mail under the by-line of Munyaradzi Huni."
Harare South MDC MP
Gabriel Chaibva said: "Since 1988, it is publicly documented that Professor
Moyo is a man who cherished a free press, but he has now made a dramatic
somersault. The man has gone on to trample on views that he previously held.
There can be only one reason why a man wants to hear his own voice. There
can only be one reason why he wants to dance to his own music. He is a
dangerous man. If you support him, you will have facilitated the
reincarnation of the devil himself."
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba
Nyathi said: "It is the process that has been put in place which is
threatening the security of the jobs of journalists and cause them to sing
for their lunch. For that reason, we have ended up with what would easily be
some of the professional men and women being turned into clowns of those
that handle them. Unfortunately, those that handle them are not themselves
The MPs said parliament could not continue giving more
power to an "ambitious man". St Mary's MP Job Sikhala said the amendments
proposed by Moyo were criminal in that no one, including members of the
ruling party, would be spared their effects.
"I can give you a
simple example of being retributive, banning even a newspaper that belongs
to a colleague, banning The Tribune that is owned by a member of his own
party," Sikhala said. "If it was owned by Prof Welshman Ncube, Gabriel
Chaibva or Nelson Chamisa, we could understand, but not banning a newspaper
of your own brother in the same party, who sits in the same caucus. It shows
the man's hunger for power."
The MPs said the provisions of Aippa
belonged in the doctrines of Nazism and Fascism. They called for the repeal
of the whole Act.
"Aippa is a very evil law," said Harare North MP,
Trudy Stevenson. "It does not support good governance, and it is not in
conformity with Sadc principles which despite what the minister believes,
insists on a free and independent press."
They said the proposed
amendments to sections 40 and 83 of Aippa violate international conventions
and national statutes.
The Bill seeks to amend Section 40 of the Act
which requires that some members of the Media and Information Commission
(MIC) be appointed from nominees of an association of journalists and media
Moyo said since an association of media houses did not exist,
the nominations should be received from either of such types of
The MPs said the proposal was absurd in that it sought to
deny the existence of the Advertising Media Association, a body that
represents media houses in the country.
"What Moyo seeks to
achieve is to exclude publishers from taking part in matters that affect
them. For instance, if MIC is to make a decision to penalise an errant
newspaper, it should have representatives from publishers and journalists
for it to be binding," MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube
Section 83 of the Act, which prohibits unaccredited or
suspended journalists from practising, will be amended to provide a penalty
which is presently absent. The Bill proposes that persons who contravene the
section be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment not
exceeding two years or both.
Ncube said Moyo was attempting to
criminalise the journalism profession.
Zim hurtles towards fascist rule Gift
Phiri PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is tightening his grip on Zimbabwe through new
despotic laws that analysts this week said were calculated to cripple civic
society and the opposition.Mugabe's multi-pronged strategy to silence
dissent includes attempts to ban non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
involved in issues of governance and human rights, criminalisation of the
journalism profession and restricting opposition
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)
national director, Alois Chaumba, said four new Bills expected to be pushed
through parliament would effectively put the country under undeclared
martial rule ahead of the critical general election.
Mugabe is trying to put the country under an unofficial emergency rule ahead
of the parliamentary election due in March," Chaumba said. "It would seem
there is a state of siege from the way state apparatus are being used to
deny people their freedoms."
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has
tabled in parliament the NGO Bill, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill,
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill and Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy (Aippa) Amendment Bill.
of the University of Zimbabwe's Institute of Development Studies said the
package of legislation was meant to consolidate Mugabe's
"It is meant to create the impression that the government
is watching its opponents and that it is aware of every move they make. In
fact, this represents a movement towards some kind of new fascism,"
The Aippa amendment will prohibit unaccredited or
suspended journalists from practising. The proposed legislation will also
give the Information minister more powers to appoint a disciplinary
committee to deal with members of the Media and Information Commission. The
minister already wields immense powers under the principal
Government is also making frantic efforts to curtail the
activities of civic
society. The NGO Bill seeks to repeal the Private
Voluntary Organisations Act and establish new legislation that analysts have
condemned as "patently unconstitutional, undemocratic and undesirable in a
The Bill will confer on government broad powers
to close down NGOs perceived to be critical of its policies by imposing
restrictive registration formalities. NGOs dealing with human rights and
governance would be denied access to foreign financial assistance in a bid
to curtail their contacts with international organisations.
found in breach of these regulations would be liable to criminal
prosecution. UZ constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said the NGO law
would criminalise democratic civil society activities.
proposed NGO law will have the effect of criminalising civil society
organisations, especially those working in the field of human rights and
governance by making them liable to prosecution for legitimate and peaceful
activities of promoting human rights in Zimbabwe," said
"There is not much you can gain from legal challenges given
that the government has already shown it will not obey court rulings that do
not fit into its programme," Madhuku said.
Another newly proposed
electoral law, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill has introduced a
number of cosmetic changes to the electoral system, which analysts say do
not comply with the Southern African Democratic Community norms and
standards on elections.
Analysts say the proposed Bill is nothing
more than another cynical attempt by Mugabe to pull the wool over the eyes
of Zimbabweans and the international community.
"Firstly, it is
clear that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill will not alter the
Registrar General's involvement in the electoral process," MDC secretary for
legal affairs, David Coltart said. "It appears the registration of voters
and the running of elections will still be done by the Registrar General's
office. It is no secret that the Registrar General's office, especially
under Tobaiwa Mudede, is a partisan body. For so long as the Registrar
General's office is involved in running the elections they will not be free
and fair. Besides, the chairman of this commission is appointed by
The new Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill is another
proposed law in a cocktail of legal instruments that analysts say if passed
will further curtail most basic freedoms. The Bill will seek to re-enact,
amend or repeal the non-statutory Roman-Dutch criminal law in force and as
modified in Zimbabwe since 1891.
A few crimes have also been
created to bring the criminal law up to date with modern developments, an
example being those concerned with computer crime. Government has recently
been trying to effect legislation that would empower it to snoop on e-mails
and telephones through the proposed Security of Communications Bill.
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai's acquittal on trumped-up charges of high treason has
triggered a heated debate on the political meaning and significance of the
There is a variety and a breath-taking range of
explanations of the judgement and what it means in the current political
scheme of things. Analysts touched on a number of fundamental political
issues such democracy and rule of law, judiciary, elections, and by
implication, economic recovery.
They also examined how
events are likely to pan out in the short to medium-term in reflection of a
case that could easily have had far-reaching political consequences had it
ended with Tsvangirai sentenced to life imprisonment or condemned to the
Some analysts say Tsvangirai's acquittal was to be
expected because there was simply no case to begin with, some say it was
unexpected given the political situation, others say it was a victory for
justice, and others claim it was a triumph for democracy. Some say it opened
a window of opportunity for a negotiated political
Yet others think the ruling vindicated Tsvangirai's
plea of innocence, while it exposed Zanu PF's malicious and dictatorial
prosecution. Others say it showed the civilised face of the raging Zanu PF
regime as opposed to its barbaric political culture, and some say it also
proved Zimbabwe's judiciary and the rule of law are still
Political observers differ on the impact of the ruling
on the political fortunes of the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF. Some say the
ruling was victory for the MDC because Tsvangirai is finally out of danger
and will now concentrate of leading his party without being constrained by
political harassment and fears of a death penalty.
who think like this say the ruling will reinvigorate Tsvangirai and
galvanise MDC from a state of limbo into dynamic political action ahead of
next year's general election. They say the treason case had become a chink
in the MDC' armour as it had disoriented the party into political
MDC deputy leader Gibson Sibanda said
Tsvangirai's acquittal was a blow to the "forces of tyranny". In classical
thought, a tyranny is a thoroughly corrupt and incompetent regime which
rules in its own interest and not those of the people that it purports to
represent. It relies more on coercive power in the absence of the rule of
law than legitimate governance. This absence of the rule of law suggests
government by will of the tyrant.
"His acquittal is a victory
for the people of Zimbabwe and a huge blow to the forces of tyranny,"
Sibanda said. "The ruling sends out a message of hope to all those
struggling for freedom and democracy both inside and outside
Although the MDC leaders feared the worst could
happen, Sibanda said they never doubted Tsvangirai's innocence. "The MDC and
the people of Zimbabwe have never had any doubt about the innocence of
Tsvangirai and have always remained confident that justice would eventually
prevail. People were not fooled by the state's desperate attempt to smear
the image of the MDC and its leadership," he said.
treason charge, and the unrelenting campaign of violence and intimidation
against the MDC exposes clearly the level of panic that the emergence and
growth of the MDC, as the leaders of Zimbabwe's social liberation movement,
has caused within Zanu PF."
While the MDC clearly thought it
was victory for them, some analysts did not think so.
University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and National Constitutional Assembly
chairman Lovemore Madhuku said Tsvangirai's acquittal benefited Zanu PF more
than the MDC.
"It benefits Zanu PF more than the MDC because
the ruling party is now able to lie to the world that there is rule of law
and independence of the judiciary," Madhuku said. "The MDC is now more
likely to contest next year's election, which Zanu PF desperately needs to
see happening to avoid having a farcical poll. It was an attempt at a
sophisticated political approach."
Madhuku said Zanu PF tried
to create a win-win situation by destabilising the MDC during trial and
appearing magnanimous at the end, as well as claiming the case proved the
rule of law and judicial autonomy existed.
He said Zanu PF
would deny that it was authoritarian in the first place to pursue a
political trial which had no chance of succeeding before a competent court
of law and judge by saying it was only following the due
A day before the judgement, government warned the
MDC against violence in the aftermath of the ruling, suggesting Tsvangirai
was going in. It also created drama and a security spectacle to raise
Jet fighters hovered over Harare, soldiers - some
mounting horses paramilitary units and anti-riot police swarmed the city.
Roads leading to the High Court were blocked and people were harassed.
Prison vehicles were put on duty awaiting the ruling.
after the ruling the whole melodrama was deflated. Police looked glum as MDC
officials and supporters celebrated outside the court. The visibly
exasperated security agents, who seemed to be out of their depth about the
political deception around them, later fired tear-gas at celebrating MDC
supporters, while rampaging Zanu PF youths stampeded across the
After the stage show, came in perhaps vintage
Machiavellianism, deception, and threadbare opportunism.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said government was disappointed that a
"guilty man" had been allowed to walk away scot-free.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo waxed lyrical about the rule of law and
independence of the judiciary, diverting attention from the
content of the ruling that exposed an amateurish sting operation by Zanu PF
Few observers of Zimbabwean politics however can doubt
that the judiciary has been politically re-engineered and
A number of independent judges were hounded out of
office and replaced by political appointees who later went on to refuse to
deal with urgent election petitions and allegedly played a collaborative
role in the closure of private newspapers.
In some cases
previous rulings were reversed and political programmes like unlawful land
seizures were legalised, analysts said.
While the MDC was
clumsy in falling into such a juvenile trap, the issue remains that the
wicked plot was cruel and needlessly wasted more than $20 billion of
taxpayers' money. Discredited state witness Ari Ben-Menashe reportedly used
US$2 million ($14 billion) alone.
However, UZ political analyst
John Makumbe said Zanu PF was a major beneficiary of Tsvangirai's acquittal.
"It creates an opportunity for Zanu PF to posture as a democratic regime and
claim that the rule of law is there," he said. "It also helped Zanu PF to
avoid elevating Tsvangirai into a (Nelson) Mandela and setting him on course
Former South African president Mandela was convicted
of treason in 1964 with several other nationalists and sentenced to life in
prison. He spent 27 years in detention but his image grew well beyond the
control of the apartheid regime. Mandela emerged from jail in 1990 as a
towering statesman and cruised to power in 1994.
said Zanu PF did not want a Tsvangirai conviction, especially at a time when
it was battling to "extinguish fires across Africa about its appalling
Government has of late been struggling to
defend itself against an African Union Commission on Human and People's
Rights report and a United Nations Economic Commission for Africa report
which said there were widespread human rights abuses in
However, Makumbe said the treason case also left Zanu
PF further damaged because it confirmed the regime was bent on destroying
opponents, the whole idea of democracy and competitive politics through
"fictitious treason cases", as has always been done since Independence in
The MDC also raised the same point last Friday after
Tsvangirai was set free. "Zanu PF's distorted view of democracy tolerates no
threat to its power, hence attempts to decapitate the opposition by laying
an elaborate trap in order to level charges of treason against the MDC
leader," Sibanda said.
Zanu PF unsuccessfully charged
former PF Zapu leaders Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku, as well as
Ndabaningi Sithole with treason. "This is the third time that Mugabe has
attempted to destroy one of his rivals by putting them on trial to face
trumped-up charges of treason," Sibanda said.
"First, Dr Joshua
Nkomo had to flee in 1983, then Lookout Masuku and Dumiso Dabengwa, then
Ndabaningi Sithole in 1992 and now Morgan Tsvangirai."
said the only way the MDC could benefit from this case was by "raising
fundamental issues which Mugabe cannot really address without effectively
surrendering power," he said. "They must demand a total package of reforms
by premising their grievances around a constitutional overhaul. It's good to
have electoral reforms but that alone cannot change the political landscape
which is what is needed to establish a democratic dispensation."
CHIVI South MP Charles Majange this week identified a
major flaw in the country's lawmaking process by his ruling Zanu PF
In a televised interview with Newsnet on Monday, Majange said
it was important for leaders to go to the people to explain proposed changes
in policy and legislation, instead of MPs encountering Bills at party caucus
Majange was speaking on the sidelines of a Zanu PF
caucus meeting at which President Mugabe warned that legislators who do not
visit their constituencies regularly should not cry foul when they are
rejected by voters in next year's election.
Just five months
before the end of their parliamentary term, Zanu PF legislators are being
reminded of what they should have been doing during the past four
It would be transcending uncharted plains of optimism to
assume that Majange's comment on Monday would result in a sudden policy
change in Zanu PF. It is not the first time that we have heard complaints of
legislation being bulldozed through parliament without national
brainstorming. In fact, the legislature has in the past been accused of
rubberstamping executive fiat.
The fact that the comment is coming
from a Zanu PF MP makes it a serious indictment of the party. The process of
lawmaking has become a preserve of a few hawks seeking to advance personal
agendas in the name of nationalism or patriotism. Lately, there has been a
new form of psychosis among ministers presenting intended laws to parliament
or those speaking on policy issues.
Legislation is being passed to
correct colonial imbalances - 24 years later - and to form a buffer against
imperialist forces embodied by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
as a front for Britain and the United States.
That has become a
major inspiration for pushing through repressive legislation such as the
NGOs Bill or purported amendments to a wicked law like the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa). The raison d étre for
making laws in the interest of the people has been sorely perverted and the
representative role of parliamentarians compromised.
questions in parliament on the opening of airwaves to opposition parties two
weeks ago, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa openly advertised this notion.
He said government was not "stupid" to allow the MDC access to the
state-controlled media. He said doing so would enable the opposition party
to propagate British and American propaganda to "effect an illegal regime
change against a popularly-elected government".
the fact that Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections,
among other provisions, stress the need for political tolerance and bids
member states to allow all political parties equal access to the public
In short, government is not "stupid" to abide by tenets
endorsed by President Mugabe in Grande Baie, Mauritius.
therefore follows that the agitation for legislative amendments, repealing
of laws and promulgation of new legislation, are not coming from
legislators, let alone voters. There is a more compelling need - to
consolidate political hegemony.
As Majange pointed out, there
should be broader consultation before a bill is presented to parliament. The
role of the MP in such a scenario is to explain to the electorate the laws
government is bringing to parliament. The MP's contribution to debate on
legislation should therefore be informed by the popular will and not the
interests of a few ministers.
But our MPs are apparently unaware of
this simple legislative role. The results are obvious. Retrogressive and
tyrannical bills have over the past four years been brought to parliament
where MPs - some of them too ignorant to know what is going on - have voted
them through. This has fuelled authoritarianism - adults nodding through
repressive laws as long as that enables them to secure a vantage position on
the feeding trough!
We have heard Zanu PF MPs in far-flung rural
constituencies complaining that they do not get adequate media coverage. Do
they know that part of the explanation is because they blindly passed Aippa
and the Broadcasting Services Act? The electorate has deliberately been kept
ignorant of laws being passed. This is not surprising.
workshops and seminars, certain MPs have not made any attempt to disguise
their little knowledge of laws and how they affect their
One MP at a parliamentary seminar in Kariba
recently, summed up his role this way: "I have to win the election, that's
first and foremost." He is not alone in this mindset.
therefore not surprising that only a handful of Zanu PF MPs were in the
House on Tuesday when Information minister Jonathan Moyo was trying to
hoodwink the nation that the proposed amendments to Aippa were in the spirit
of the Sadc electoral protocol. Zanu PF MPs do not need to follow debate on
a bill. They will be whipped into line and vote for the legislation when
time is right. They are the vanguard of repression.
THE government in general, and its ministry of propaganda,
misrepresentation and deceit in particular, continues to herald and trumpet
the fantastic success of the land reform programme, the magnitude of
economic turnaround and that that turnaround is founded upon the restoration
of agriculture to the role of foundation and mainstay of the
If only there was a grain of truth in these recurrent,
proudly proclaimed contentions of the government. The widespread scarcity of
all grains, including maize and wheat, unfortunately extends also to grains
Months ago, the ministers of Agriculture and Rural
Development and Social Welfare grandiosely informed the international donor
community that in 2004 Zimbabwe did not need food aid - other than for Aids
orphans and other deprived people. They claimed that the 2004 maize harvest
would be at least 1,8 million tonnes, together with 600 000 tonnes of wheat
and other grains.
This crop would exceed the total of the nation's
needs, and therefore no support was required from the United Nations
Development Programme, the World Food Programme and the many donors that
those bodies interact with. What was not explained, if Zimbabwe were to have
such a bountiful crop, was why food aid was still required from the
international community for the ailing and the under-privileged. Surely, if
Zimbabwe had a surfeit of food, the Ministry of Social Welfare could use
those food resources to care for the needy?
Very soon thereafter,
the minister of propaganda - who doubles up as the minister of fiction,
fable and myth - succeeded in claiming that the maize crop alone would be
2,4 million tonnes. He managed to combine the prior prophecies of output of
all grains into maize only, thereby implying a total grains crop of three
million tonnes - more than ever previously attained.
Since then, the
government as a whole has steadfastly and ad nauseum contended Zimbabwean
self-sufficiency in food in 2004 and 2005, and has recently been
foreshadowing even greater production in the forthcoming season. Although
previously queried in this column, and by many others, is how Zimbabwe could
miraculously produce such vast quantities of maize when, for the 2004
season, there had only been sufficient seed, fertilisers and chemicals for a
crop of about 600 000 tonnes and when prepared lands could, if fully
utilised, only have produced such a crop.
Similarly wild and
hallucinatory projections emanated from the authorities as to the 2004
tobacco crop, with the quantities that could allegedly be produced ranging
from 100 million to 120 million kg. In the end result, total tobacco sales
approximated 65 million kg only!
Having destroyed their already shady
credibility with such spurious forecasts, which had been immediately and
authoritatively countered by those on the ground, including representative
farmer organisations, seed suppliers and fertiliser manufacturers,
Agriculture minister Joseph Made is now making equally far-fetched
prognostications as to crop production in 2005. He studiously ignores the
evidence that he had either misjudged or been misinformed as to the
That evidence includes that Zimbabwe is currently
importing maize from Zambia and wheat from South Africa. Why is it doing so
if Zimbabwe has enjoyed production in excess of needs? Were that so,
Zimbabwe would either be exporting or creating strategic reserves. That
evidence includes substantiated data as to the actual quantities of
agricultural inputs as were used in the 2003/4 season and, therefore, the
maximum possibly attainable outputs.
But no, facts will not be
recognised when they do not accord with governmental perceptions and its
political needs. Instead, the refined propaganda techniques of Goebbels and
Lord Haw-Haw of the 20th century become role models for attempted delusion
of the populace. But those techniques do not succeed when the realities
become evident from rumbling stomachs filled only with hunger
However, that is not deterring ministers from misinforming the
president and others in the political hierarchy as to the actual
circumstances. In endeavours of self-preservation and of politicking ahead
of the forthcoming parliamentary election, the facts are obliterated and
wishful thinking takes over.
Thus, they repeatedly claim that not
only is the land acquisition programme complete - which doesn't reconcile
with the pages of acquisition notices appearing in the state-controlled
newspapers and the Government Gazette every Friday - but that in addition
the newly settled farmers are now established and on the threshold of
all-time record crops.
That the extent of land preparation does not
accord with yield projections, that promised inputs have either not been
forthcoming, or have been provided belatedly, and that commercial farmers
with crops in the ground continue to be evicted and none thereafter tend to
the crops, are all irrelevant.
All of these factors apparently have
no bearing upon the size of crops that the government has decreed will be
produced. After all, who would dare act in conflict with a government
Recently, many ministers and other governmental spokesmen
have stated categorically that the 2004/5 tobacco crop will be at least 160
million kg, which is well in excess of double of that for last season. They
claim that 100 000 hectares of land were prepared for the tobacco crop and,
with a minimum yield of 2 000kg per hectare, the crop should be 200 million
kg but, allowing for contingencies, it will be at least 160 million
But if one drove through Zimbabwe's traditional tobacco-growing
districts during the period of May to September, when seed planting should
have been taking place, not only was it evident that the prepared areas were
far less than the stated 100 000 hectares, but also much of the prepared
land was not, thereafter, planted. The most optimistic forecasts from any,
other than the government and its associated spokesmen, are that the
forthcoming season will at best yield 80 million to 120 million
Tragically, food crops are being subjected to the same
politically driven exaggerations. Foreign currency constrains, belated
importations of seed and other inputs, delays in providingintending farmers
with promised financial assistance and other factors are such that there is
no realistic prospect of Zimbabwe producing sufficient food to sustain
itself next year.
Once again Zimbabwe will be dependent upon food aid
or self-financial imports. Admittedly, the government will ensure that there
is a sufficiency of maize meal until after next year's parliamentary
election, irrespective of the foreign currency costs and the prejudices to
the economy, but thereafter it will be faced with massive
It will either have to swallow its pride and contain its
ego by going once again, cap in hand and on it knees, to beg for food
assistance, or it will have to direct massive amounts of Zimbabwe's very
limited foreign exchange resources from funding other essential imports to
funding food imports.
Because year-on-year inflation, based upon the
consumer price index, has declined very considerably over the last eight
months, the government is claiming a Zimbabwean economic turnaround, and it
claims that that turnaround is attributable to the success of its
agricultural policies. That is the great agriculture lie!
impressive fall in inflation is not to be belittled, for it is a significant
achievement, but it has been achieved by the monetary policies of Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono - albeit very greatly to the prejudice
of exporters and foreign exchange generation - and by somewhat more
effective fiscal policies than previously.
But that fall does not
signify that economic turnaround has been achieved. Businesses continue to
downsize or close, unemployment numbers are still increasing, shortages of
essential imports are pronounced and the economy is still sustaining
So Zimbabwe has yet to achieve economic turnaround.
Agriculture could be the catalyst of the turnaround, but not for so long as
the government continues with its destructive and inept agricultural
policies, and not until the government is prepared to recognise agricultural
Currently Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Nigeria are
welcoming displaced Zimbabwean commercial farmers with open arms - the very
farmers that have been the victims of the Zimbabwean government's bigoted,
misguided, politically and racially motivated policies.
these countries know something Zimbabwe does not! They do not believe the
Zimbabwean great agriculture lie. They recognise fact and seek to benefit
THERE is no mistaking the bitterness in Jonathan Moyo about MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's acquittal by the High Court last week. The
reaction was expected though.
He had hoped by some strange logic
that Tsvangirai would be convicted. We don't know why he was so optimistic
against the facts although we know why a conviction would be good. That
would create the much-prayed-for leadership crisis in the MDC to enable Zanu
PF to win next year's election by default. In other words they don't believe
their own propaganda that the MDC is dead and buried.
The law has
been very unkind with Moyo. Now instead of resting after Tsvangirai should
have been benevolently put out of the way by the courts, he must continue
the propaganda fight until next March.
But surely how did Moyo expect
a conviction from a videotape that was described as incomprehensible at
best? Otherwise it was absolutely useless although government forked out
US$200 000 of the taxpayer's money for it.
The propaganda machine has
been running at full steam since the judgement by Justice Paddington Garwe
last Friday. But the tenor has dramatically changed. The ruling was proof
that democracy was alive in Zimbabwe and that the judiciary was independent,
We are not going to intrude into that debate. The verdict
was simpler: the court found Tsvangirai innocent. From the evidence produced
in court, even a Zanu PF caucus would have found it difficult to convict
Tsvangirai. The judge said as much when he ruled that it was almost
impossible for a reasonable court to find for the state.
short, the state had no case. Its claims were frivolous and vexatious. All
it did was squander national resources on a case that turned out to be a
huge embarrassment. A case that was more costly for democracy than for
Tsvangirai. A case that sought to drive a wedge between Zimbabweans along
Why did a party that boasts of nationalist
credentials rely on a "suspect" white spy for a witness?
government have to waste millions of dollars giving Ari Ben-Menashe
five-star accommodation at the Harare Sheraton at a time thousands of
Zimbabweans were facing starvation and had to survive on the charity of
foreign donors? And Moyo has the cheek to tell us Zimbabweans will have
their chance "to extract their natural justice" against Tsvangirai in next
year's election, according to the Chronicle.
Muckraker has no
doubt that if Moyo himself took a stroll in downtown Harare Zimbabweans
would not wait for March to avenge their dignity, which he has so recklessly
The sense of fear and paranoia was evident for all to see
on judgement day. From Harare to Bulawayo there was an attempt to put on a
brave face by the wanton show of state power against unarmed citizens. The
anti-riot vehicles whose existence the state tried to deny last year were on
red alert in Harare, Chitungwiza, Gweru and Bulawayo.
Bulawayo say the riot police looked ridiculous as people studiously ignored
them and went about their daily business. The judgement was being delivered
in Harare and therefore they had nowhere to sit and listen to the judge. In
the end they were seen chasing away street kids going about their scavenging
In Harare a bunch of police details wielding truncheons
cordoned off the High Court. People couldn't get into the court because it
was full, said a very aggressive, short woman at the corner of Sam Nujoma
and Samora Machel. She asked why we wanted to get into the court, as if that
was the new role of a police constable. While we tried to explain, she was
beckoning some mean-faced colleagues to drive us away.
also Air Force of Zimbabwe jets thundering across the Harare sky, and the
spectacle of mounted police patrolling the streets while members of the
military police helped block traffic into town. It made nonsense of police
assurances the previous day that Zimbabweans should go about their business
as usual as the police would guarantee their safety.
How can it be
business as usual when armed police put up senseless roadblocks that delay
your journey to work by more than 30 minutes and they don't tell you what
they are looking for? And in the process you waste many litres of scarce
petrol while your blood pressure shoots up as people lose their
It was interesting reading Vimbai Chivaura's latest
discovery in the Sunday Mail this week. That Africans don't deserve
so-called "universal rights". He says these belong to the white man. We
suspect this was a broadside at non-governmental organisations that have
been engaged in voter education and the rehabilitation of victims of Zanu PF
We wonder what he has been reading all these years if he
has just discovered The Struggle for Zimbabwe and how charitable King Mutota
was in his day, even if it means quoting the same whites that he is
vilifying. While the poor were well taken care of by the king, Muckraker can
tell Chivaura that life today is a dogfight.
How many "blind
people and street children" do we have on the streets and yet we have all
our land back? Has the good Dr tried to park a vehicle in the city centre
and observe how hungry people suddenly mob him? Or is Chivaura so lost in
his ivory tower at the University of Zimbabwe he can't smell the
overpowering rottenness around him - the corruption, the violence and the
poverty that has reduced most urban Zimbabweans to scavengers?
Livingstone continues to be celebrated in Zimbabwe today as a hero,"
declared Chivaura. "His statue still stands tall at Victoria Falls and
throughout the country 24 years after Independence." Who is "celebrating"
Livingstone and how many statues of his do we have in the
We know Chivaura has some catching up to do since the
debacle at New Ziana. It pays to keep close to the professor at all times.
His colleague Rino Zhuwarara has since parked his trademark rickety bicycle
he used at the UZ in exchange for an executive vehicle as head of Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings, plus a driver and a farm for a good
Similarly, Cde Tafataona Mahoso has since shed all
idealistic pretensions as a socialist after his brief but nasty encounter
with the real struggling masses when he tried to make his way into town on
foot after a "presidential gala" at State House in 2002. He has fully
embraced the 4x4 club of NGOs and capitalists and their ostentatious
Chivaura is singing for a ride on the gravy train
Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa last week had to do
away with diplomatic niceties regarding who can vote and who cannot. He was
quoted in the Herald telling parliament that Zimbabweans abroad would not
vote. His logic was devastatingly simple.
All Zimbabweans outside
the country are MDC, Chinamasa suggested. Answering a question by MDC MP for
Nkayi Abedinico Bhebhe whether government would follow the example of other
countries in the region that are encouraging their nationals to vote,
Chinamasa declared that the MDC had campaigned for the imposition of
sanctions on the country and therefore could not hope to benefit from
Muckraker reckons there can be no better way to score
an own goal. Why does government think it is entitled to receive foreign
currency from Zimbabweans in the diaspora? How is Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor Gideon Gono hoping to promote his Homelink project abroad when
those who are expected to provide the money are being denied their
constitutional right to vote as citizens of Zimbabwe? Why should MDC
supporters help a Zanu PF government oppress its own people? Has Chinamasa
heard of a campaign against "taxation without representation" we
And, with friends like Chinamasa, does Gono need a Blair or a
Asked whether the opposition would be granted access to the
public media, Chinamasa declared: "If the opposition wants to use the public
media to say the government should be removed violently, we will not allow
that, we are not stupid."
Pretty clever. Who said they were? Do
we need a professor of rocket science to tell us who said Zanu PF was stupid
when we have all the evidence from Chinamasa's own response? The story was
headlined "Zimbabweans abroad will not vote".
As if to confirm
our worst fears and expose Zanu PF for what it is, on Page 15 of the same
edition the paper ran a story headlined "Mozambique allows citizens abroad
to vote". It was the same in Malawi. Botswana is pleading with its citizens
abroad to register to vote. All political parties are featured in a song
telling Bastwana why they need to vote. It's only in Zimbabwe where a
government declares war against its citizens abroad and still expects them
to pay tax.
Incidentally, why is it that only MDC MPs ask
questions in parliament? Half the time either Zanu PF MPs are not in the
House, they are jeering at MDC MPs who ask questions or they are attacking
Tony Blair. What is their constituency?
We were left none the
wiser for watching Tazzen Mandizvidza's Media Watch on Monday. Dr Mahoso was
allowed to ramble on about the so-called "anti-Zimbabwe report" presented in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Both didn't appear to have any clue as to what the
report contained. At the end of the programme we still didn't know what the
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa report said about Zimbabwe
that Mahoso and his team of Jonathan Moyo and Paul Mangwana were so keen to
Their embedded reporter Munyaradzi Huni made a splendid job
of keeping us uninformed. Good time away to earn a few imperialist dollars.
What would Zimbabwe do without such sterling reporters?
Ministry of Local Government has released another list of those who have
been allocated stands to build residential accommodation. Despite the small
instalment published in the Herald this week, there are already glaring
A number of those published on Tuesday appear twice.
In fact nine of them appear twice on separate stands. Then there is the
luckiest of them all, Shingirai Wagonekwa, who has been allocated a whole
block of four stands.
It is obvious that the same unprofessional
hands that caused chaos during the land reform programme are at work again
here. We don't want to insinuate any corrupt tendencies, but another Charles
Utete or Flora Bhuka inquiry won't be amiss. Multiple farms and multiple
The most ridiculous spectacle of the week was seeing
Agriculture minister Joseph Made on ZTV frothing at the mouth after his
Tuesday tour of unpatriotic Windmill fertiliser company in Harare. The
company was accused of collaborating with the British government to sabotage
the land reform programme. Their crime was unpardonable: they were demanding
cash upfront for their fertiliser.
We were only amused by Made's
stage-managed anger as he accused Windmill of "holding the country to
ransom" by "hoarding" tonnes of fertiliser and demanding cash
Who is not demanding cash these days when it's so expensive
to secure a loan from banks? That's if there is a bank solid enough to give
you the loan in the first place? Made should be told in no uncertain terms
that not everyone is so lucky as to run a company the way he did Arda and
still be promoted to a minister. Most mortals survive on their jobs on a
performance rating, not because they carry party cards!
event, 18 000 tonnes of fertiliser won't save a disastrous land policy. If
he has been lying to Mugabe, at last the chickens are coming home to
Can somebody tell Carlton Majuru of Live 60 on SFM that he
doesn't have to start every sentence with "Of course"? There is also a huge
difference between a programme being featured every day and one that is
broadcast every other day. Live 60 is broadcast every day.
Pay Homelink proceeds in forex, RBZ told Shakeman
Mugari THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) must immediately revert to the
promised system of paying Homelink proceeds in foreign currency if the
scheme is to survive, a parliamentary portfolio committee on budget, finance
and economic development has said.
Making a presentation during a
three-day pre-budget seminar in Mutare, committee chairman and Mudzi member
of parliament, Ray Kaukonde, said there was an urgent need to start
disbursing Homelink proceeds in foreign currency.
He said the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction system was fuelling the black market
because of its static, unrealistic exchange rate.
Few, if any, people
were using it anymore despite the huge amounts spent advertising
"The Homelink facility is good, but should revert to giving the
funds from abroad in foreign currency," said Kaukonde. "The current system
of giving out money in Zimbabwean dollars is fuelling the parallel
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono made a sudden policy
about-turn when he ordered all money transfer agencies under the Homelink
banner to pay recipients in local currency.
The move has seen
people in the diasopra reverting to the more lucrative black market that
flourished before the new monetary policy was announced by Gono in December
last year. For all practical purposes, Homelink is dead.
the foreign currency exchange rate being offered by the Reserve Bank is far
too low to attract the diaspora market. People abroad are also concerned
with the yawning gap between the central bank's controlled exchange rate and
that on the parallel market.
They said recent remarks by Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa that Zimbabweans abroad would not be allowed to
vote were an own goal by a government eager to be seen as investor-friendly.
Chinamasa last week said Zimbabweans who do not work at any of the country's
diplomatic missions would not be able to vote in the parliamentary election
set for March next year.
On his recent visits to the United
States and the United Kingdom to solicit for foreign currency, Gono was
confronted by angry protestors who demanded the right to vote as one of the
conditions for supporting the Homelink initiative.
rate, which is the benchmark for the Homelink rate, has been stagnant since
April. The fragile Zimdollar has been hovering around $5 616 against the US
dollar. The slow business in Homelink seems to be also impacting on the
foreign currency auctions floors, which have been battling to meet demand
from the market.
RBZ courts donor community Eric Chiriga CONTRARY to
government claims that the country can do without the donor community, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is again pleading that Harare restores
relations with the international donor community.
"Re-engagement of the
international donor community was put in place as a measure to evoke a
positive supply response and reduce inflation," said Simon Nyarota, the
divisional chief for National Development and Economics at the RBZ on
He was speaking at a pre-budget seminar held in
Since December last year, central bank officials have been on
a major drive to re-engage the international community.
ago the acting Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa accompanied RBZ governor
Gideon Gono to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in the
The government has over the past four years insisted that it
can do without international donors such as the World Bank and
Nyarota said the RBZ had set aside $150 billion to finance the
winter wheat programme and had also financed the rehabilitation of
irrigation equipment in a bid to improve food availability in the
"The bank also financed the rehabilitation of irrigation
equipment to the tune of $85 billion through the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority and the Grain Marketing Board. This assistance should
go a long way in enhancing food security," he said.
said they had set aside $200 billion, which is now being disbursed through
the Zimbabwe Development Bank for the rehabilitation of industries and
However, the disbursement of the money has raised
concerns, with an economic analyst saying there is no evidence of increased
productivity in the industrial sectors of the economy.
is bearing fruit for some, particularly the agriculture sector but there is
no persuasive evidence that industrial production capacity has increased and
if the companies can pay back the money," said economic analyst John
Bridge in the air Vincent
Kahiya UNITED Nations Development Programme resident representative Victor
Angelo is leaving Zimbabwe this weekend after a tumultuous tour of duty
during which he was vilified at every turn by an ungrateful host.
stay in Zimbabwe should be a case study on the application of United Nations
diplomacy on rogue regimes presiding over a poverty-stricken population. The
Portuguese-born diplomat soon found himself in a perplexing position and he
had to tread with caution.
His critics in government said he was
bungling because of his interaction with Western donors, NGOs and
dispossessed white commercial farmers. Then there were muffled rebukes by
diplomats who believed Angelo was cosying up to government and mobilising
humanitarian assistance to prop a Zanu PF regime.
accused Angelo this year of "exporting white farmers" it had expelled from
the land and arranging funding for their relocation. Angelo, government
said, should have pre-occupied himself with mobilising resources for its new
He came to Zimbabwe when a crisis was unfolding and he is
leaving before the curtain comes down on Zimbabwe's comedy of
He came to Zimbabwe in 2000 when government was
commercial agriculture with its fast track resettlement
exercise. His office was expected to help Zimbabwe secure funding for
agricultural reform. The international community expected the United
Nations, through the UNDP office in Harare, to come up with workable
resettlement models in place of the haphazard fast track.
UNDP office in Harare tried to be helpful. Towards the end of 2000 UNDP
administrator Mark Malloch Brown came to Zimbabwe to discuss the land reform
programme with government. He said the UNDP was prepared to provide Zimbabwe
with technical assistance, but government would also have to allay donors'
concerns about law and order in the country.
promised to co-operate. At the same time Zimbabwe ran cap in hand to the
UNDP to beg for humanitarian assistance as the chaotic land grab began to
rear its ugly head. Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge in an interview
with Ziana summed up the difficult task newly arrived Angelo had to deal
with in Zimbabwe.
"In my letter I indicated that great need had
arisen from the fact that people were resettled quickly on the land and we
would need assistance and help of the UN agencies because of the... heavy
rains with the risk of malaria and the fact that there are no clinics, no
educational facilities and no clean water."
expected the international community to come in and repair the damage
wrought by a rush of blood to President Mugabe's head. This would be
Angelo's pre-occupation for the next four years in Harare. He had to sate
government's quest to avert a humanitarian crisis while at the same time
addressing the concerns of Western donors who were complaining loudly about
the expropriation of productive commercial farmland.
countries with offices in Harare were looking to the UNDP to talk Mugabe's
government into implementing a less destructive agrarian reform. At meetings
with the UNDP they put forward their terms, which could not be met as
relations continued to deteriorate.
A UN technical team came to
Zimbabwe in 2001 to study the situation and recommend an acceptable agrarian
reform. It produced a report which did not fit in the fast track template.
That route was abandoned.
Efforts to broker a deal between the
government and donors were quickly superseded by an even bigger problem -
Zimbabwe required humanitarian assistance after the poor harvest of 2001 and
the drought of 2002.
Angelo became co-ordinator of that humanitarian
effort. Thousands of tonnes of food were shipped in and distributed through
NGOs and the World Food Programme. This was not without acrimony as politics
of the stomach were a key campaign tool in the 2002 presidential
There were allegations that the government wanted to
control the distribution of food. This was vehemently denied but there were
weekly reports of interference. In October 2002, the World Food Programme
suspended food distribution in Insiza after Zanu PF officials seized food
from aid workers.
Angelo nevertheless leaves the country with his
head high after successfully mobilising international humanitarian support
for Zimbabwe. Angelo, who is taking up a new post in Sierra Leone, captured
his stay in Zimbabwe with this soundbite: "I was trying to build a bridge
which failed to touch the two banks." Building bridges in the
At a farewell luncheon attended by diplomats and government
officials last week, a senior diplomat thought Angelo was too balanced -
meaning he should have leaned more to one side. His bridge could then have
touched one bank but whoever tried to cross it would end up in the water.
The raging river is yet to be forded.