Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe Media Update # 2001/41 Monday 8th
October to Sunday 14th October 2001
CONTENTS 1. Summary 2. Price
Controls 3. MDC Suspensions 4. Political Violence 5. WATCHDOG FOR THE
PUBLIC OVER THE MEDIA- From a subscriber
the reintroduction of price controls on basic commodities dominated the week,
but none of the media has yet provided the public with any coherent breakdown
of the costs involved in producing a loaf of bread, the commodity the public
missed most when it all but disappeared. The government-controlled media -
especially ZBC - continued to allow themselves to be used as a propaganda
tool to persuade their audiences that the opposition MDC was falling apart.
Welshman Ncube's announcement (ZBC, 8pm, 13/10) was swamped by comments from
three Zanu PF officials' attempting to discredit the MDC. And the ongoing
political violence, particularly in the rural areas, was again only given
prominent coverage in the privately owned Press where it continued to be
linked to the Abuja agreement. The state media either ignored the violence or
carried the incidents as denial reports in which ruling party officials were
portrayed as peacemakers appealing for calm and co-existence on the occupied
farms. The Herald (13/10) completely subverted a report of a second attack on
the convoy of the MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, outside Kadoma, using it
instead, as another opportunity for Zanu PF officials to attempt to discredit
2. PRICE CONTROLS
Zimpapers' dailies (The Herald and The
Chronicle) (10/10) proudly announced the return of price controls on basic
commodities in their "exclusive" lead stories, but provided inaccurate prices
for the products to be controlled at their August 2001 levels. ZBC followed
up their colleagues' story in all their main news bulletins that evening
(radio and TV 8pm) with TV's reporter claiming that "most people" saw the
measures as an 'indication that government has the plight of people at
heart'. The report quoted members of the public, ZANU PF officials and war
veterans who praised the government's action. Zanu PF's Stalin Mau Mau was
quoted saying: "All these commodities, the majority of them, are produced
locally, so I strongly think that there is no justification whatsoever to
increase prices by 300% ...You cannot tell me that every business in this
country relies on foreign currency, that is not true at all..." His comment
summed up the dominant theme of the rhetoric from the state-owned media
justifying government's measures. ZBCTV also quoted ZANU PF's Nathan
Shamuyarira echoing Mau Mau's comments and describing price increases as a
'political issue'. In a veiled attempt to appear balanced, ZBCTV also quoted
CZI representatives (10 & 11/10, 8pm), criticizing the government's
move, highlighting the negative economic effects of price controls, and
even carried a brief comment from the MDC. However, praise solicited from
the public and the ruling party swamped the informed observations of
the industrialists. ZTV (11/10 8pm) quoted CZI president, Jacob Dube,
denying government's claim that businesses were profiteering since production
costs "had been verified with government ministries and with the CSO". No
comment was sought from any relevant ministry about why government was
accusing industry of profiteering when it had verified rising production
costs. ZTV and the daily papers failed to provide any clear information
about production costs and a deeper analysis of the underlying factors
responsible for rising prices. The Financial Gazette's article (11/10),
"Price controls will hurt consumers" and The Zimbabwe Mirror's editorial
(12/10) were the first reports to provide readers with this information.
Other publications merely followed up on events at street level and featured
articles defending price controls or criticizing them. Both sections of
the print media included independent comment critical of government's action.
A statement from CZI chief executive, Malvern Rusike for example, was carried
at greater length in The Herald (12/10), than it was in the previous day's
Daily News but was buried in the turn page of its lead story about events on
the ground. Rusike was quoted as saying price controls would cause more "harm
than good," and criticized government's action, saying: "It is futile to
address the symptoms of the economy's problems and avoid the real issue, nor
does it make sense to control the price of the end product, whilst key input
prices are market determined." He was quoted in The Daily News (11/10),
condemning price controls, saying they would result in shortages. CZI's Dube,
expressed similar criticism and was quoted in The Daily News (12/10)
contending that the new bread prices would make the baking industry unviable
and "lead to a closure of bakeries, resulting in massive job
losses." Likewise, The Zimbabwe Independent (12/10), criticized
government's action, saying it would lead to "closures, shortages, job losses
and the mushrooming of a black market for scarce goods." The Financial
Gazette (11/10) warned that price controls would have long-term detrimental
effects. The story on television (10/10) announcing price controls followed
a threat of a prices protest from war veteran Andrew Ndlovu who called on
his colleagues to monitor prices. But trade minister, Herbert Murerwa
denied that the controls were introduced as a result of this threat in The
Herald the next day. He was even reported as saying the controls were
"...agreed to after wide consultations of all stakeholders." Yet, the next
day the same paper carried a statement from the CZI contradicting this claim,
saying the Ministry of Trade "...should have taken the trouble to invite
producers of basic commodities to meetings to discuss the problem of
escalating prices." The paper never investigated this contradiction, and the
other media did not check out who was telling a fib either. ZBC (14/10) and
the next day's Zimpapers' titles, covered an impromptu monitoring exercise
conducted by three ZANU PF MPs. Philip Chiyangwa, Saviour Kasukuwere and
David Chapfika were reported (ZTV and Radio 1/3, 14/10, 8pm) to have
visited bakers and retailers to monitor prices. Television viewers were shown
the three MPs haranguing a Lobels Bakery manager. At no time was the baker
given a chance to air his views, while the legislators, in an
obviously stage-managed drama for TV, were presented as champions of the
people's cause. The news piece was immediately followed by a story on
Bulawayo war veterans threatening business people with an ultimatum to cut
prices. Both stories lacked any reference to balance and went begging for
analysis on the implications of the MPs' 'invasion' of Lobels and the war
veterans' threat to businesses.
3. MDC SUSPENSIONS
Mail (14/10) and The Standard covered the suspension of eight senior MDC
officials linked to the internal strife afflicting the party. While The
Standard reported the story as an announcement, The Sunday Mail included
comment from unnamed sources, criticizing the suspensions as indicative of
"an amorphous party without a cohesive ideology" The MMPZ notes with concern
how both Sunday papers relegated news of the important developments within
the MDC to second place on their front pages ahead of stories that reflected
the editorial philosophies of both papers. In an apparent response to a story
that appeared in The Financial Gazette reporting Britain's concern that
Zimbabwe was not meeting its commitments contained in the Abuja accord, The
Sunday Mail ran as its lead story, "Abuja: UK dragging its feet," an attempt
to inculcate the false impression in the public mind that Britain was not
adhering to its part of the agreement. The Standard, on the other hand,
chose a salacious story about Grace Mugabe's exam results for its lead. While
it can be argued that the Mugabe story was of greater public interest, it
defines the paper's news selection as being one that relegates issues of
national importance to issues that are likely to be more sensational. This
should not, in itself, affect the public's perception of the quality of the
paper's reporting. However, given the government's intolerance of independent
investigation into senior public figures, the paper should be prepared for
the criticism such editorial decisions elicit. The subsequent attack on the
paper by Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, was predictable, but cannot be
defended in light of the fact that Mrs. Mugabe is indeed, a prominent public
figure who has publicly declared her interest in studying and is a subject of
great public interest. The MMPZ also notes how, in the week, the state press
continued its propagandist invective against the MDC. For example, The Herald
(8/10), quoted some unnamed African diplomats condemning the party's
involvement in demonstrations in Australia's capital, Brisbane, as
"disgusting." The following day, the paper followed the issue up with a
front-page article that castigated the party's involvement in
"anti-government" demonstrations in London, Pretoria and Brisbane. Zimbabwe's
High Commissioner to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, denounced the demos as a
failure and an "embarrassment" given that only a "handful" of people had
reportedly participated. ZBC hammered home the same story in its evening
bulletins (ZTV & Radio 1/3, 8/10, 8pm and ZBC Radio 2/4, 9/10, 6am) in
which Moyo, acting as a reporter and commentator, criticized MDC MP
Munyaradzi Gwisai for taking part in the South African demo. He also took the
opportunity to revive an old government allegation that the MDC was
associated with the Democratic Alliance (DA) of South Africa, which ZANU PF
has widely discredited as racist. He said (ZTV & Radio 1/3), "The
development confirms in no uncertain terms that the MDC and the DA are
partners hook line and sinker. Surely the MDC MP for Highfeild Mr. Gwisai
could have profitably spent his weekend visiting his constituency in
Highfield (rather) than demonstrating in Pretoria" No comment was sought from
Gwisai or the Democratic Alliance. Moyo concluded: "We are just wondering
what kind of tactic this is. But of course we have taken up the matter with
the appropriate authorities because protocol demands under the
Vienna convention." ZBC made no effort to explain this mysterious
statement. The MDC's disciplinary action against eight of its senior
officials presented ZBC with another opportunity to advance ZANU PF claims
that the MDC was on the verge of collapse. ZTV (14/10, 8pm), while stating
that it had failed to get a comment from the MDC, quoted ZANU PF officials
Chapfika, Kasukuwere and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who discredited the MDC. Ndlovu
deliberately misinformed ZBC's audiences when he said: "Developments in the
MDC were expected...because the leadership really, from the time they
started, have been in the leadership by imposition. The people have never
elected those people. They have never had any primaries. So if people are
appointed at random they can be removed at random..." Ndlovu was not reminded
about the MDC congress at which its leadership had been elected, nor that he
was appointed to his post of ZANU PF deputy for the commissariat. The
national broadcaster failed to subject his propaganda to interrogation when
he made comments that were clearly false: "If a party does not have a
vision, does not have ideology and doesn't come from the people as a home
grown party...such things are to be expected...this shows that the MDC as a
party is gone. The MDC have had cracks after crack and they cannot mend those
cracks by the way they behave. This is heralding the downfall of the whole
party of MDC" In the three minutes of uninterrupted rambling, he was allowed
to continue unchallenged accusing the MDC leadership of running the party as
if it was a student union or trade union.
In addition to farm violence, conservancies and forestry
estates were also added to the list of victims of lawlessness. The
Zimbabwe Independent reported that Zimbabwe's second largest conservancy,
Bubiana, had been invaded. Quoting the chairperson of the conservancy, the
article revealed rampant poaching of wildlife, including rhinos. The
Financial Gazette also revealed that timber worth $15 million was destroyed
at Border Timbers estates, jeopardizing expansion plans, expert personnel,
foreign investment, and the Abuja pact. Two top board executives corroborated
the story. The two papers used the CFU situation report as the basis for
their stories of an incident at Njiri farm in Chinhoyi, where invaders
slashed 1.5 hectares of tobacco, disrupting farming activities. The Zimbabwe
Independent provided photographic evidence of war veterans cutting down the
crop. However, none of these articles contained any comment from
the government or the police. While it is known that these institutions
are often reluctant to provide comment on activities that are likely to
portray a negative image of the government and its supporters, MMPZ believes
it is essential that media institutions attempt to obtain these opinions for
the sake of balance and credibility. It is also important to tell audiences
of attempts to obtain comment even if unsuccessful, so that readers
understand that the media institution has made the effort. The Financial
Gazette's lead story claiming that the government had abandoned an "Idi
Amin-type" plan to drive white farmers off the land following the signing of
the Abuja agreement, carried the misleading headline that the "plot" had been
"foiled". The article claimed that previously reported incidents of violence
and the arrests of white commercial farmers were part of the plan. But all
the sources used to sustain the story were anonymous, including a "government
spokesman" from the department of information denying the plan. While it
is obviously unrealistic to expect the identification of sources for this
type of story, publishing such serious allegations relying solely on
"intelligence sources" without some further corroboration, exposes the
publication's credibility to criticism. The article acknowledged its failure
to obtain comment from the war veterans. The Daily News carried 15 stories
about political violence in the week. It also carried a number of court
reports related to the topic, including the acquittal of three MDC supporters
charged with violence during the Bindura by-election. The acquitted were
actually the victims of violence. In the same manner, The Daily News
(13/10) reported a Marondera farmer, Iain Kay, who was arrested when he tried
to report disturbances at his farm caused by invaders defying a court order
to stop disrupting farming. Kay recently won a rare and much publicized order
compelling provincial authorities, state agents and the police, including
the Provincial Governor and the Police Commissioner, to stop lawlessness on
the farms. Despite the ruling, the daily reported that invaders were
barring farmers from "normal farming activities." No reason for his arrest
was furnished and the daily reported that it could not get comment from
the police. The Daily News should be credited for being the only paper to
follow up the court order, which was widely covered in both the private and
public press. Zimpapers ignored all these developments. Inter party
political clashes in Epworth were covered in all the dailies. The Daily News
(8/10) led with an eyewitness account of the clashes, blaming the violence on
ZANU PF youths. The report revealed that an attempt by MDC MPs to secure
police protection was unsuccessful. An unnamed female police officer was
quoted saying, "No MDC rally is taking place." The rally was reportedly
relocated to Chitungwiza, where, again, the police barred the rally until an
interdict won by St Mary's MP against such police action, was
produced. The Daily News, The Herald and The Chronicle (13/10) all carried
the attack on the convoy of MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai outside Kadoma.
All the reports relied on a press conference convened by Tsvangirai after
the incident. The week also witnessed the second attack (after Bindura) on
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai's convoy near Kadoma. Zimpapers' dailies
played down the police presence. They took a different angle altogether,
starting by removing the context of Tsvangirai's statements. They then
concentrated on his assertion, nowhere in The Daily News, that the party
might consider boycotting the presidential elections if necessary, to form
the main thrust of their story. The reports played down the attack and, using
the boycott clause, allowed Zanu PF's Nathan Shamuyarira ample space to
discredit the MDC as a failed political force. Unnamed "analysts" were
indirectly quoted "expressing no surprise" as it had become Tsvangirai's
nature to seek "choruses of excuses every time crucial elections approach to
draw sympathy in the event of a defeat." ZBC failed to report the incident
itself and instead, aired denial statements by police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena (ZTV & Radio 2/4, 12/10, 8pm). Bvudzijena stated that a
metallic green Mazda 626 and Tsvangirai's car were attacked but denied that
the attack was politically motivated. In an attempt to give the impression
that the MDC had provoked 'mine workers', Bvudzijena said, "...what we
recovered from the scene itself were three cartridges which were fired most
probably from a 9mm pistol. A metallic green 626 is said to have fled from
that scene and the sequence of events are still to be established as to
whether it was the shooting itself or the firing of the pistol which might
have triggered the stoning of the vehicle" An intriguing question is what
would "mine workers" be doing with a "9mm pistol" or even firing it. There
must have been something seriously irregular about the incident but the
police did not have the curiosity to solve the mystery except to play down
the incident. MDC's version of the incident was briefly referred to by ZTV's
newscaster but was quickly suffocated by Bvudzjena's sound-bite. ZBC
presented government officials as peacemakers doing everything to restore the
rule of law and that any violence was a result of people who were defying
government calls. This was reflected in the coverage of an incident of farm
violence in Trelawney (ZTV, 12/10, 8pm). The reader introduced the news item
thus: "Calls by the government for commercial farmers, farm workers and those
recently resettled to co-exist peacefully on farms earmarked for resettlement
appear to be falling on deaf ears..." In the same report a resettled farmer
and the farm manager were quoted accusing each other of the violence on the
farm. Another farm worker stated that although they supported land reform
they should not be forced to own a piece of land. The reporter did not ask
the farm worker to explain his statement, or to name those who were coercing
the farm workers. In the report Minister Ignatius Chombo was quoted as
having called for peaceful co-existence on farms in "the spirit of the Abuja
agreement", giving the impression that the government was doing all it could
to implement the accord. No comment was sought from government about why
those who were defying its calls were not being arrested. In another
public relations report for the government, Obert Mpofu, the Matabeleland
North governor, was quoted (ZTV, 11/10, 8pm) calling on the people of Nkayi
to stop the "violence". ZBC never reported the violence the governor was
5. WATCHDOG FOR THE PUBLIC OVER THE MEDIA- From a
To me you are the watchdog for the reading public over the
media. Can you assist me with something I am struggling with- I just went
through the weekend papers and today's papers. Can you tell me what the
public interest is on the issue of Grace Mugabe's alleged poor grades in
her studies? In the print version, the story was the lead. From some and
most universities' point of view a student's results are confidential
personal records and an official who releases them could face disciplinary
action. Students who are married to public officials or are public officials
enjoy the same protection. Why does the Sunday News have a headline which
claims Chief Ndiweni gave an ultimatum to Tsvangirai when in the story they
write that he denies doing so? Should a headline not have a relationship of
'truth' with the story? Am I right to say that papers that wrote articles
implicitly or explicitly accepting that the MDC wrangles were over
potentially misled the public because indeed the saga continues with
suspensions of very senior officials (including a spokesman (Learnmore
Jongwe) who will NOT be allowed to speak!) and a commission to look further
into the matter. Is it not the duty of ALL the media to independently
investigate this matter and get to the bottom of it? What exactly is going
on? If the public media has evidence that all is not well how come they have
not presented it either? Media watchdog please help a confused
reader? From MMPZ- thanks for your comments. Section 3 of this week's
Media Update alludes to most of the issues you raise including the question
of Grace Mugabe's grades. We invite our subscribers to submit
their observations on these and other issues to MMPZ. Please keep your
letters brief. Ends The MEDIA UPDATE is produced and circulated by the
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, (MMPZ). Send all queries and comments to
the Project Coordinator, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax:
263 4 703702, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> Previous
copies of MMPZ reports can be accessed at http://www.icon.co.zw/mmpz <http://www.icon.co.zw/mmpz> Please
feel free to circulate this message!
Even Zanu PF companies failed to make it under
10/23/01 7:39:17 AM (GMT +2)
Nungu at large by
The British? Tony Leon of South Africa? The Americans?
Tsvangirai . . . and unpatriotic whites? It’s the born frees? They must be
taught history. No.
They need national service? In times of hardships
and misery, it is always fashionable and self-fulfilling to blame others. As
part of a process of self-denial, some people find comfort in careless
Others turn to outright lies as part of a broad search for
Zimbabwe, it seems, has since passed that stage and slid
into a more serious, subliminal phase where life has assumed a distorted
meaning and people simply pray for the best.
Our civil servants and
national economic planners have exhausted all scenario-building theories and
are now unable to match the textbook with the reality.
We live at a
crucial time as the nation gets exposed to all facets of political games and
experiments. Abuja. Yes. No. Where are we going?
On his return from a
trip to the Far East, one of the many whose benefits remain a mystery,
President Mugabe found Zimbabwe in a state of flux. Price controls were now
in place. Commerce and industry were battling with the state on how the move
could possibly usher in the necessary oxygen to keep companies
After several deadlocks, Mugabe took to the podium and vented
his anger backwards: Esap out, socialism in. To him that is the
Esap, the economic structural adjustment programme, introduced
in 1991, is to many today nothing but history.
It was a relatively
short plan to help Zimbabwe join the community of nations, reduce State
spending, reduce the size of government, abandon a command economy modelled
along the collapsed Eastern European experiments and develop new business
In short, the government was supposed to have no business in
business other than just creating a regulatory, policing and healthy
environment for unfettered capitalism. This was after 10 years of piece-meal
socialism, an ideology which is partly responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic
failures soon after independence.
No black businessman was empowered
by socialism, except Zanu PF companies.
New executives who tried to share
economic power with the mainly white private sector were quickly labelled
uncouth exploiters keen on sapping the sweat and blood of their kith and
Many of the present day successful black business people were forced
by the circumstances to work clandestinely with corrupt politicians and
officials to get import licences. They registered businesses and set
themselves up, but in reality they were fronts for sly government
Senior Zanu PF officials could not come out and practice
capitalism openly because of some party document called the Leadership Code
which was imposed on them in 1984.
The other entities which thrived in
such an environment were Zanu PF companies. By the way one of their crimes
was to reduce one departmental store in Harare’s First Street to a rural
kiosk. There is no other visible sign of Zanu PF mismanagement than what one
sees in this once glittering supermarket.
With Esap, went minimum
wages. They constrained collective bargaining and meaningful trade union
work. Also to go were subsidies, which raised the budget deficit and gave us
a false sense of wealth and comfort.
What the President left out in his
angry outburst at Clement Muchachi’s funeral was a whole historical path
which we followed when the original Esap plan expired in 1995.
government came up with something it called Zimprest, the Zimbabwe Programme
for Economic and Social Transformation.
This second generation set of
reforms, aimed at correcting the deficiencies of Esap, was nursed right
through to the new century.
For the record, the root of our problems can
be traced to that fateful day in November 1997 when a large amount of
unbudgeted money was dished out to ex-combatants.
The dollar collapsed
immediately from $12 to the United States dollar to almost $25 against the
It was then pushed to around $17, but was finally forced to
stay at $39.
Since then, our situation has never stabilised. After
Zimprest, a third baby named the Millennium Economic Recovery Programme
(Merp) came in.
Soon after his appointment, Finance Minister Simba Makoni
found the Merp under a heap of papers.
With a bit of sprucing here and
there, according to Makoni, the home grown plan, cobbled together by his
predecessors, still covered the government’s aims and objectives.
plan was hatched in March 2000 to consolidate fiscal adjustment initiatives,
hasten and complete the privatisation of parastatals, stabilize prices and
lower interest rates. It was essentially a government wish list and dream. It
lacked targets and measurable outcomes against which performance could be
While it was supposed to be a business plan, Merp saw no role
for the private sector or trade unions in dealing with issues affecting the
So, why did Mugabe have to skip these
essential developments and concentrate only on a dead Esap programme? He
still dreams of a socialist paradise, guided by co-operatives and
Zimbabweans must be scared of leaders who still have faith
in such expensive structures. Parastatals are a major drain on resources.
They are infested by mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption, contributing
significantly to the nation’s rising debt. This has been raised in all
parliamentary investigations and reports every year.
stories of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (Zesa), the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), the
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel) were as heart-rending as the
effect the national debt will have on future generations.
never been a political will to follow any economic plan since independence:
Esap, Zimprest, Merp, anything. Why? Our wise old men are only interested in
holding onto power, not the greater good of Zimbabwe.
U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) Integrated Regional Information Network
ZIMBABWE: EU wants clarification on election
JOHANNESBURG, 23 October (IRIN) - The European Union has asked
for clarification from Zimbabwe on whether the government will allow EU
observers to next year's presidential elections, a senior European official told
IRIN on Tuesday.
"We would like an indication of their position. It is
not an ultimatum, but it would be very helpful if we had it by the end of this
week," Roger Moore, the head of the European Commission's southern African desk
He told IRIN that Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge was in
Brussels on Monday on a flying visit to meet with his Belgian counterpart to
discuss good governance issues, before returning to Harare to welcome
Commonwealth ministers due in Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission on the land
crisis this week. Belgium currently holds the EU presidency.
Moore, the EU has chosen to focus on the issue of democracy in Zimbabwe. He said
that more than 200 European observers monitored the country's controversial
parliamentary elections in June last year, and the EU was watching "very
closely" the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential poll, amid widespread concerns
over the potential for voter intimidation and political violence.
told IRIN that discussions on Zimbabwe within the EU had revolved around the
best framework for political dialogue with the government. The Cotonou Agreement
- that links developing countries to the EU - contains fundamental good
governance benchmarks. If they are violated, the agreement has provisions for a
robust response from the EU under Article 96 that could include sanctions.
"If we feel that [the tenets of Cotonou] are being seriously violated
then we have the obligation to start consultations under Article 96," Moore
said, in reference to concerns over the fairness of the upcoming elections.
EU aid, administered by the European Commission, has already been cut
"quite dramatically" over the last few years, Moore added. With all
balance-of-payments support frozen, what is currently funded are education and
health sector programmes to "prevent their total collapse".
[This Item is
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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
A SERIOUS shortage of bread
has hit most parts of Harare as bakeries continue to bake limited supplies of
bread in protest against the gazetted controlled price.
The bakers are
resisting the gazetted price, arguing that it falls below their input costs,
resulting in them losing about $10 for each loaf.
Instead, the bakers
want the government to subsidise wheat and flour. Early yesterday morning,
hundreds of people queued outside a supermarket in Warren Park, where they
waited for several hours to get a loaf of bread each.
interviewed in the suburb said although bread was still being delivered, it
was coming in very limited quantities.
One resident, Andrew
Mashonganyika, said: “If you want bread here you have to wake up very early
in the morning.
“By 7am, there will be no bread and this is why many
people have to queue at this supermarket for it.”
However, a number of
in-store bakeries recorded brisk business as hundreds of consumers turned to
them after failing to get bread from bakeries such as Aroma, Lobels and
Proton, which usually deliver bread to all suburbs.
The big bakeries have
drastically reduced their production levels as they resist the gazetted
A Mabvuku resident said if the situation was not addressed
urgently, people would protest in numbers because bread was a staple food for
many urban families.
The critical shortage of bread comes in the wake
of a looming showdown between the government and bakers who have vowed to
close down their businesses if the government does not review the gazetted
About 50 bakers last week issued a 14-day-ultimatum for the
government to revisit the controlled price or they will close
Thousands of people risk losing their jobs in the bakery industry
once operations close down.
Last week the government re-introduced
price controls on bread, maize meal, cooking oil, margarine, beef, chicken,
soap, salt and fresh milk.
THE crackdown on
newspaper vendors by the police is part of a strategy to ensure the
government’s mouthpieces, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and Zimbabwe
Newspapers, are the only ones Zimbabweans will listen to and read. Only they,
will be allowed to reflect the Zimbabwean reality, according to Zanu
Even Ian Smith was not as vindictive as Zanu PF sometimes shows
itself to be. The suggestion that the police are arresting newspaper vendors
for their own safety is as bizarre as it is absurd.
Why do they not
arrest vendors of cellphone cards and of petrol funnels who also peddle their
wares at busy intersections whenever there is a shortage of fuel?
practice all over the world is that newspaper vendors sell their products on
street corners and at junctions.
This has also been the practice in this
country since the heyday of The Herald and Sunday Mail. That vendors threaten
the safety of motorists is a lie. Newspapers threaten the government’s desire
to cling onto power.
The selling of newspapers has not created a crisis
on the streets. No accidents have been reported. The police could be more
gainfully employed maintaining law and order and enforcing the rule of law on
the farms and in the communal areas where people are being terrorised by
elements of the ruling party.
Obviously, the strategy is not just to
disrupt the sales of newspapers. It seeks to limit the influence of
newspapers in informing Zimbabweans about the unfolding tragedy in their
This is a declaration of a news blackout. By the time the
presidential election is held, the government wants the world to know what is
happening in this country as told by its own propagandists.
origins of this nefarious scheme are found in the arrest and harassment of
Zimbabwean journalists, the bombing of The Daily News printing press
and expulsions of foreign correspondents.
The intention is to silence
alternative voices so that government can begin to take total control of and
guide the thinking of the citizens of Zimbabwe.
What the government is
doing in urban areas is an extension of what the so-called war veterans have
been doing to independent newspapers since last year, when they declared a
“ban” on their distribution in selected rural areas.
the purchase of riot gear and the hiring of Libyan security agents suggest
the government is not preparing for a peaceful
This is confirmed by the deployment of land
invaders onto commercial farms where they have driven off the farmers and
displaced the workers.
In the villages they have unleashed terror squads.
The government is going into a presidential election on a campaign platform
This week a delegation from the Commonwealth is visiting
Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission to establish the extent of the
government’s compliance with the Abuja Agreement.
It is also hoped
that the group will meet and hear evidence from all affected sectors of
society to appreciate what is happening in this country, who is responsible
and what the motivation could be.
It is hoped the delegation will meet
and discuss with the Law Society, the Judiciary and the private
There is a genuine need to avoid trivialisation of the mission, so
that it does not suffer the fate of the summit of the Southern African
Development Community heads of state on the land crisis, held here during
Zimbabwe to suffer severe food shortages say aid
Reuters October 23 2001 at 12:58PM Harare - Aid agencies
on Tuesday warned of severe food shortages in rural Zimbabwe over the coming
months, saying a combination of drought and land invasions had dramatically
reduced crop plantings.
In its latest report, the Zimbabwe Agricultural
Welfare Trust (ZAWT) said 25,000 workers had been evicted from farms over the
past five weeks and many had been forced to camp on roadsides.
a shortfall in food stocks, the ZAWT has called for donations of maize, dried
fish and vegetable seeds. "A massive humanitarian disaster is about to
unfold," it said.
A recent survey by the Commercial Farmers' Union,
grouping some 4,500 mainly white farmers, shows nearly a third of the
country's 12.65 million population has applied for food
Intentions to plant maize in the next cropping season had declined
from 74,000 hectares to 55,000 hectares due to the land invasions and
President Robert Mugabe's plans to seize land from white farmers for landless
blacks, the CFU survey showed.
"It is anticipated that most of this
maize is for on-farm consumption," said the CFU, whose members traditionally
produce about 40 percent of the staple grain.
Humanitarian group World
Vision International (WVI) said on Tuesday some 500,000 people could run out
of food in the country's drought-prone Matabeleland South and Midlands
provinces alone by December.
"Most of the people in these areas are
already scrounging around for food and even those that still have stocks will
definitely run out before the next harvest," said WVI Zimbabwe spokeswoman
A local weekly newspaper reported last week villagers
in Matabeleland South province were eating tree roots to survive. WVI plans
to distribute food from early December in the two provinces.
this year, Finance Minister Simba Makoni acknowledged the country would need
to import food to meet domestic demand, but said there was no provision in
the 2001 budget for imports.
The United States based Famine Early Warning
System Network says Zimbabwe's official maize stocks were 41 percent down at
233,000 tonnes in September from 393,000 in April. Immediate imports of about
200,000 tonnes were necessary to meet domestic consumption needs through to
March 2002. - Reuters
We Should Have Borrowed a Leaf From Nigeria - Zimbabwe
Daily Trust (Abuja)
October 23, 2001 Posted to
the web October 23, 2001
Hon. Paul Mangwana (MP), a young and
articulate minister in President Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe, was
recently in the country to attend the African Parliamentary Union meeting in
Abuja. Owing to the growing currency the Zimbabwean land crisis gained in
recent time, Kevin Ebele Adinnu and Musa Aliyu cornered the Deputy Minister
of Justice (Legal and Parliamentary Affairs) to discuss legal technicalities
on the land issue. Excerpts.
Your Excellency, some time ago Nigeria
presided over a meeting in which an agreement was signed between your country
and the British government over the land distribution disagreement. What
progress has been made after that?
The progress we have made so far is to
make sure we put the legal machineries in place and to entertain the legal
objections which have been raised by the committee of farmers over land
resettlement. The process which is supposed to be taken by the government for
it to acquire land is too long. Initially, they sent a notice to white
committee of farmers and the white farmers have the right to object. And they
can bring the case to the court of Zimbabwe. Now with the Abuja agreement in
place and also the supreme court decision which allows the government, we are
now legally taking the land. In the sense of following the provisions of the
land acquisition act and the court decision. That is what we have
Secondly, we are making sure that there is peaceful co-existence
between the commercial farmers and the people who occupy the land. As you
know we have the law which protects legal occupants from eviction. The land
occupant protection act. So our people are clearly aware of the provisions of
that act. But you know in our situation we have some people who are trying
to take advantage, political opponent, who cause confusion by sending
their party youths to go and attack farm workers and claim that it was
the government supporters.
The British government has said that war
veterans still invade farms to attack white farmers in spite of the
agreement. Is there any truth in that allegation?
It is not true. In
fact no farm invasion has taken place after March 2001.
If you take a
look at our law protecting land occupation it actually gives a date of March
31, 2001. But anybody who invades the land after March 31 would not be
protected by the law. We have made sure that no one invades the land after
March 31. We made that commitment that anyone who invades after that period
will not be protected by the law. So, there is no truth in
You are aware of the accusation.
(Cut in) Yes
we are aware. It's not the first time that section of the British media will
report that. In fact the white farmers do not want to part with the land. It
is not a question of them making allegations they do not want to part with
A major aspect of the agreement which was re-echoed at the
Lancaster conference was the undertaking by Britain to provide fund for
the compensation of the farmers whose land have been redistributed. Have
they made efforts towards providing the fund?
Not as yet. In fact, it
is not a special undertaking. That was the basis in which the Lancaster
agreement was reached. So we can say that they've retreated on the
undertaking. But now we've started negotiating with the UNDP, they are
sending a technical team to look into the implementation of the Abuja
agreement. That is what is happening now.
At one time some people were
saying that your government is doing all these as a political strategy
against next year election and nothing more. So, how do you react to
That is incorrect. In fact, the land redistribution struggle is a
business of the liberation struggle. It is the main reason why we took up
arms against the colonial regime. It is our land. You cannot achieve
sovereignty without ownership of the land. In fact, we made a mistake by
agreeing. We should have taken the Nigerian example where land was
nationalised and now belongs to the state and the federal government. We
didn't take such decision because we tried to follow what was being dictated
to us as international law tenets. But now it is being used against us. You
end up dealing with a piece of land (about 10,000 hectres) instead of the
whole of the land. You cannot assert the sovereignty of the state without the
control of the your own land. Because land is the basic property of a
So it is not the question of electioneering. We can win the
elections without the issue of land being raised. If you take a look at the
history of this land question, in 1980 it was said that we could take the
land on a willing-seller-willing buyer basis. The whites did not even offer
the land on this basis. Then we could not change that constitutional
provision until after 10 years. Then after that in 1992 we passed the land
redistribution law but we were told that we have to pass through the legal
process to make it work. But even then it couldn't work. So when we decided
to make it work there was no election. When the farm invasion by the communal
farmers took place, there was no election then. So, it is not the question of
elections or political gains but the question of feeling. The desire to make
our people own their own land.
Recently your country hailed Nigeria
for the efforts to achieve the Abuja agreement. Britain also did the same,
though this was not the first time such agreement is being reached. How
optimistic are you that the latest accord would achieve something towards the
resolution of the impasse?
Our position is simple. We are indebted to
Nigeria for the efforts it is making to resolve the land issue through
dialogue with our farmer colonial power. But we are going to do our part. We
are going to take the land.
Whether British play their role or not, we
are going to take the land. And we are going to do it by legal means. We are
putting in place a legal machinery to take the land without
Your political opponents in Zimbabwe have said that if they
gain political power, they would reverse the decisions you have made on the
What message do you have for them?
As far as I am
concerned, they are puppets being used by the British to neocolonialise our
country. And every one in our country knows it. So come judgement day we
loose the elections, the people would judge them.
What are the highlights
of events at the African Parliamentary Union conference you are here
Before I speak on that, let me first inform you that we have had a
very important ruling of the supreme court in our favour. The supreme court
has ruled that the question of land is not a legalistic matter. It is
the question of social justice. With the ruling, it means that the issue is
more of political than legal. So, they have given us the go
Were there whites among the judges.
That particular one is
made up of four blacks and one (white) Indian. And the decision was
unanimous. So we are determined to follow legal means to take back the land.
There is no way we can pay for our stolen land to have it back. That will
amount to social injustice.
On the APU, I must express my gratitude to
Nigeria for the warm hospitality to which we have been treated. The
atmosphere has been quite conducive for us to deliberate on critical issues
affecting Africa. We looked at what the parliament can do to ensure that each
government takes the issue of poverty alleviation very serious. We talked of
justifiable allocation of resources so that defence and other related issues
do not get preference over social issues like the education, provision of
social infrastructures, etc.
We also discussed on corruption which has
become quite endemic. How to handle it following the example of Nigeria's
anti-corruption crusade. We also condemned terrorism but at the same time
called for international social justice as the right means of eliminating
terrorism. This means that if we want to eliminate it we must not condone any
form of terrorism by some countries while condemning those by
As part of enhancing cooperation between my country and Nigeria,
I have been able to meet two ministers. One is the minister for cooperation
and integration with whom I discussed how we could enhance cooperation
between business men in both countries. How they can invest and do business
in both countries.
I also met the minister of state for justice and
discussed on Nigeria's anti-corruption law which we are also trying to
introduce in Zimbabwe.
I am very grateful to the Nigerian authorities for
We also talked of technical assistance. With the land issue going
on in Zimbabwe and the legal technicalities involved, we may need a lot of
lawyers to handle this. So, we have asked for Nigeria's assistance and the
minister said Nigeria is willing to assist. So, we shall go back home, look
at the exact areas we need assistance and file in our application.
Mugabe's Socialism Could Actually Work Moneyweb (Johannesburg)
22, 2001 Posted to the web October 23, 2001
Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has finally branded
his policies socialism, although he need not have bothered. Some brands need
no advertising; they just speak for themselves.
Nevertheless, I can't
help but feel sorry for him because he duffed even a simple thing like price
controls. It's not as though there isn't a lot of history to lean on for
solid, practical advice. Even supposed paragons of capitalism like America
have vast ongoing experience with price controls and they have much to offer,
never mind the lessons from the Soviet Union's masterful 70-year experiment
in social engineering.
America has catalogue after catalogue of price
controls designed to fiddle market values for some or other special interest.
It gets away with it because the market is sufficiently free in other aspects
to generate the prosperity required to pay for such foolishness.
number 1, therefore, is: if you aren't awash in prosperity, don't try price
controls, especially not on essential products.
The Northeast Dairy
Compact is a cosy deal designed to help the dairy farmers of Vermont avoid a
grinding commute to city jobs. They cannot produce milk at the market price
for various reasons, so the elected officials from that state cut a deal. In
return for being elected, they siphon subsidies from the federal government
to keep the farmers in clover, so to speak.
The net effect has been to
inflate prices by up to 20 per cent so Vermont's uncompetitive farmers get
the price per gallon of milk they need to stay alive. Nobody seems to mind
too much because milk is hardly critical to the national economy. So price
controls on milk remain and are spreading (careful of that ? price control
sprawl eventually ruins it for the original beneficiaries).
Carter learnt in the late 1970s how price controls on essential items are
seriously career inhibiting.
When fuel prices began to rocket, he hit on
the brainwave of controlling prices, especially for natural gas which was
supposedly in short supply. He set prices at the wellhead for any gas
introduced to the national pipeline infrastructure. But he couldn't match the
price the market was paying (and that he was paying Mexico), so the producers
simply diverted their gas away from the national pipeline to buyers who were
serious. That infuriated Carter who then set prices for all gas produced in
the U.S., whether or not it went into the pipeline.
It was a fatal
miscalculation. The producers simply stopped producing gas altogether,
leaving it in the ground rather than lose money extracting it.
to say, the shortages only got worse and prices increased exponentially.
Everything that Carter did to reduce prices and shortages had the opposite
effect. When Reagan removed the price controls, supplies soared and prices
dropped far and fast.
Rule number 2: if you cap prices of essential
goods, make sure you nationalize every last bit of the supply chain or you
will face an unpatriotic revolt by people going bankrupt.
This rule is
fraught with danger though. Inherent state inefficiency will make the
controlled product hundreds of times more expensive than it would be if it
remains in private hands. There will be an additional perverse effect that
will make things even worse - because the product is subsidized, people will
demand more of it. Probably much more than they need.
For example, here
in the U.S., there is a serious problem with cigarette smuggling.
Arbitrageurs (rednecks who haven't seen the inside of a grade 3 textbook) buy
cigarettes in states with lower sin taxes and then ship them to states with
higher sin taxes and sell them by the pick-up truck full in dark alleys. High
powered speedboats criss-cross the Great Lakes delivering arbitraged jacks to
Canada from the U.S..
Much of the money gained from the higher taxes is
spent trying to catch the moonlighters, while the states with higher taxes
are furious because they are getting much less revenue ? there are suddenly
very few official cigarette sales even though health officials report much
higher smoking statistics. It's lose-lose for everyone except the smugglers
Likewise, if you nationalize the bakeries in Zimbabwe, don't
be surprised to discover trucks and planes of hot loaves of bread making
their way to SA, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. It could be that
Stalin encountered this problem early on (Kulaks are
everywhere), but staved off the Soviet Union's disaster for at least another
50 years by implementing rule 3.
Rule number 3: you must colonize
surrounding territories to maintain a subsidy feedstock.
Union was pretty much bankrupt by the mid 1930s, but war with Germany kept
the evil empire alive thanks to generous aid from the U.S. and Britain.
Stalin realized the aid would not sustain the wealth-sapping machine he
presided over. So he confiscated all the property his army liberated on its
way to Berlin.
The Soviet Union sucked those satellite states dry,
forcing them to under invest in everything (Trabants were being produced on a
1930s assembly line in the late 1980s) so that surpluses could be diverted to
the Nomenklatura and military ambitions. Unfortunately, Stalin's successors
failed to maintain the annexation trend which doomed the whole
Just as a gold mine must replace its reserves on a regular basis,
so centrally commanded economies must supplement the wealth they
destroy, preferably through military conquest.
Rule number 4: peg to
After plundering Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union might have pulled
off another 100 years but for one terrible oversight. The Americans
cancelled the dollar's convertibility with gold. In one stroke, the price
stability that central planners needed was gone. It became hopeless and
chaotic to adjust the Soviet Union's output and prices to larger fluctuations
in the global economy.
Had then party boss Brezhnev forced his
planners to peg the rouble to gold, Russia may have had a chance, but it was
inflation that eventually did the most damage, just as it is going to do in
Zim. If you can't control your currency, then price controls will definitely
not work. It's like sailing into a hurricane without a rudder. Gold is a
reliable rudder in a regime of floating currencies.
Rule number 5:
peasants know better.
Unfortunately, Mugabe's only potential annexation
will be Congo and that could be a worse headache than it's worth.
Consequently, Zimbabwe doesn't have the options to pursue a command economy.
The party could save face by relying on the peasantry.
Union had aggressively nationalized farms and taxed the workers at a rate of
90 per cent. The workers were, however, allowed to keep 100 per cent of
whatever they produced from tiny "subsistence" gardens.
As a result, 27
per cent of the total value of Soviet farm output came from these
"subsistence" plots that accounted for less than 1 per cent of all arable
land. These subsistence farmers, working mostly by hand, produced 40 times
more than the highly mechanized, fertilized and fawned over
The economic lesson is clear, and even peasants
understand it; unless you would rather declare them
ANALYSIS October 23, 2001 Posted to the web October 23,
Between 1979 and 1985, Zimbabwe
experienced a terrible epidemic of skin anthrax.
There were more than
10,000 cases reported within these years, though human anthrax is a rare
Last year, a BBC report cited nine human and 44 cattle deaths in
Mhondoro province. There were also 630 people treated for suspected anthrax
symptoms and four were hospitalised.
People who reported to clinics
complained of stomach pains and diarrhoea, headaches, fever, small skin
lesions and coughs.
Much as these cases came up, anthrax has existed for
centuries. It still occurs naturally in both animals and humans in many parts
of the world, like Asia, southern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of
Grass eating animals, such as cattle, are most often infected
because they can eat spores living in the soil. Animal vaccination - and
destruction of infected herds - has drastically reduced the number of
infected animals. Even so, anthrax spores continue to be found in soil
samples from all over the world.
However, today it is causing more
concern because of the possibility of being used as a biological warfare,
with the onset of United States of America's War on Terrorism in
Several cases have been reported in the USA. In Africa,
Kenyan officials also reported citizens having received mail containing
Anthrax is thought to be the perfect germ for
bio-terrorism because it is contagious and the spores last for a long time.
During World War II, the British army experimented with an explosive shell
filled with anthrax spores. These experiments took place on an island off the
coast of Scotland. Spores persisted in the environment for 36 years. A
massive decontamination effort finally cleared the region in
Because inhalation anthrax is very, very rare --- the last USA case
was in 1978 - officials believe it highly unlikely that the Florida cases
came from a natural source like the environment. State and federal
investigators are conducting a criminal investigation. However, the strain of
anthrax in this outbreak remains highly susceptible to antibiotics,
suggesting that it was not created in a sophisticated bio-weapons laboratory,
Michael Smith, a medical doctor and Senior Medical Editor of WebMD
"Even so, it's not easy to grow deadly anthrax and it's even harder
to make it into a weapon. The spores have to be turned into a microscopically
fine powder - no simple trick. Then the powder must be sprayed over a large
area with a specially adapted device. Even then, the temperature and the
wind must be exactly right to contaminate populated areas," Smith
According to the World Health Organisaton website, anthrax is
caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis.
Anthrax bacteria can
survive in the environment by forming spores. In its most common natural
form, it creates dark sores on the skin, from which it derives its
name--anthrax, which is Greek for coal.
People can catch anthrax from
infected animals or contaminated animal products. Most natural infection
comes from skin contact. You can also get anthrax infection from eating raw
or too-rare meat - but this is uncommon. Even more uncommon - but by far most
deadly - is anthrax caught by inhaling spores. This is because a person has
to inhale several thousand spores before infection can take
According to WHO, there are three types of human
Cutaneous, or skin, anthrax is the most common form. It is
usually contracted when a person with a break in their skin, such as a cut
or abrasion, comes into direct contact with anthrax spores. After a day or
two, it forms a small liquid-filled sac. This sac then becomes a painless
ulcer with an area of black, dead tissue in the middle. Antibiotic treatment
cures this infection. Untreated, it kills about one in five
Another form of anthrax is gastrointestinal, which is caught from
eating mea t from an infected animal. It causes initial symptoms similar to
food poisoning but these can worsen to produce severe abdominal pain,
vomiting of blood and severe diarrhoea. Appropriate medical evaluation and
treatment are essential.
The signs of intestinal infection are nausea,
loss of appetite, and vomiting. This is followed by severe abdominal pain,
vomiting of blood, and severe diarrhea. Untreated intestinal anthrax is
deadly 25 to 60 out of 100 cases of the time.
The most severe form of
human anthrax is called inhalation or pulmonary anthrax. Though the rarest,
it is the form of human anthrax causing the most current concern. This form
of the disease is caused when a person is directly exposed to a large number
of anthrax spores suspended in the air, and breathes them in. The first
symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, fever, muscle aches and
fatigue but this can rapidly progress to severe breathing difficulties and
As early as one day after these symptoms appear - but up to weeks
later - the symptoms suddenly become much more severe, usually with
breathing problems and shock. This form of the disease is often
When anthrax spores get inside the body, they grow rapidly. The
germs themselves can cause dangerous infections. The bacteria produce
anthrax toxin, which helps the bug survive by killing off cells of the
immune system. This toxin is so deadly that it can kill even after infection
is brought under control, the WHO site reveals.
However, all is not
lost because anthrax can be prevented and treated according to WHO
A vaccine against anthrax has been licensed for use in humans.
The vaccine is reported to be 93 per cent effective in protecting against
The anthrax vaccine is manufactured and distributed by BioPort,
Corporation, Lansing, Michigan in USA.
In countries where anthrax is
common and vaccination levels of animal herds are low, humans should avoid
contact with livestock and animal products and avoid eating meat that has not
been properly slaughtered and cooked. Only preventive treatment with
antibiotics can keep an exposed person from developing
"Anthrax responds well to antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics must
be prescribed and taken with medical advice. Nobody should attempt to
use antibiotics or any other drugs to treat or protect themselves without
first getting medical advice," Dr. David Heymann, Executive Director
for Communicable Diseases, WHO Geneva headquarters, said.
an Anthrax Task Force was set up last week, a day after anthrax was reported
in Kenya. The team consists of the former Ebola task force, representatives
from security organizations, WHO, Uganda Posts Limited, Uganda Revenue
Authority, Entebbe International Airport and Mulago Hospital. The Director
General of Health Services, Prof. Francis Omaswa is the Chairman.
Commissioner of Public Health in the Ministry of Health, Paul Kagwa says the
task force is charged with working out strategies on how to contain anthrax
in case it breaks out in Uganda.
It is also responsible for surveillance,
investigating any cases that may be suspicious and informing the public about
the disease. An anthrax unit has been set up at the Central Health Public
Laboratory, Kagwa said.
"Whenever there is a suspicious case we are
supposed to move together, " he said.
Much as anthrax is causing alarm
though it has been around, Ugandans should least worry because the National
Medical Stores have in stock antibiotics, which can treat anthrax for two or
three years, Kagwa said.
23 October 2001 Zimbabwean Pollster Gauges Voter
Opinion Of Presidential Contest (Election To Be Held Before March 17)
(1160) By David Pitts Washington File Staff Writer
-- The first Zimbabwean-based polling organization is to survey the opinions
of Zimbabweans about their upcoming presidential election, which must be held
before March 17, 2002 "I'm currently developing the questionnaire," says
Masipula Sithole, director of The Mass Public Opinion Institute. "It will ask
such questions as: Whom will you vote for in the presidential
election? What is your opinion of the presidential candidates? What issues
are important to you? And, are you in favor of presidential
The election will likely pit incumbent President Robert Mugabe,
the country's leader since independence in 1980 and the head of ZANU-PF
-- which currently holds a parliamentary majority -- against
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
MDC became the main opposition to ZANU-PF after it came from nowhere
to gain 57 seats in the country's parliamentary elections held in
June 2000. Sithole says the results of the Institute's presidential
poll will likely be published "at the end of November or beginning
Sithole feels it is "very important," to scientifically
measure the public's opinion of the upcoming presidential election, and
other issues, since too often the views of the public are neglected,
and even unknown, by the elite. Democracy is not just about the views
of the politicians or the press or business leaders, it also is about
the views of the people, he adds. "Could public opinion be the
missing link in the democracy debate in Zimbabwe and the rest of
Since the Institute was founded in 1999, it already has held
two high-profile surveys of Zimbabwean opinion. A poll taken prior to
a February 2000 referendum on a new constitution proposed by
President Mugabe accurately predicted its rejection by voters. They turned
down the proposed constitution by a margin of 54 to 46 percent. Later
that year, prior to the June parliamentary elections, the Institute,
based on its second survey of public opinion, predicted a win for
the opposition MDC even though the party had been in existence only
since 1999 and ZANU-PF held all but three seats in the then
In the election, MDC won 57 of the 120 seats up for direct
election by voters, a narrow win for ZANU-PF. However, there are 30
additional seats in the country's parliament. The Zimbabwean Constitution
allows the incumbent president to appoint 12 members himself. He
also appoints eight provincial governors. Ten traditional leaders
are elected by the National Council of Chiefs -- making 30 seats in
all that are not allocated through direct election by voters. The
final result gave ZANU-PF a comfortable working majority.
the Institute's prediction of a win for MDC was wrong, Sithole says, "we were
the closest," in terms of predicting the surge of support for MDC based on
polling of voter attitudes. MDC alleged that the ruling ZANU-PF had waged a
campaign of violent intimidation during the election that resulted in 37
deaths and thousands of assaults -- affecting the outcome of the election.
The government has denied that ZANU-PF is responsible for the
Sithole, who is the author of a number of influential books
including, "The Zimbabwe Struggles Within The Struggle," and, "Zimbabwe's
Public Eye: Political Essays," is a well-known political scientist
who teaches at the University of Zimbabwe. He is the brother of the
late Nbabaningi Sithole, whose name became a household word during
the country's struggle for independence. The Institute has a
fulltime staff of eight and hires research assistants to do the survey
work. Just a few weeks ago, the Institute received a major grant from
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and also
is supported by organizations in The Netherlands and Germany. Sithole says
the Institute has just completed a third poll -- on the perceptions and
aspirations of Zimbabwean youth.
Civil society organizations in Zimbabwe
also are involved in preparing for the country's presidential election. One
of the largest is the Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT) one of
36 nongovernmental organizations (NGO) that form the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network. The objective, says Phil Matsheza, executive
director of SAHRIT, "is to increase voter education and other
support activities in advance of the election."
SAHRIT, which is
active in the southern Africa region in general, also has been promoting
human rights education in Zimbabwe, particularly in schools, and also human
rights training for police officers and their commanders. Although "we've
made a lot of progress in developing curricula materials," for human rights
education, currently the program "has been suspended," in the schools,
Matsheza notes. He also says the human rights training program for police
officers will be suspended in December. But the program has "definitely
improved the police force. The number of lawsuits against the police fell by
47 percent from 1997 to 2001," he adds.
Matsheza, who is a war veteran
-- a term used here to mean participation in the armed struggle to achieve
independence -- stresses that a major focus of SAHRIT is monitoring the
country's compliance with international human rights standards as defined by
the various international conventions and other documents that
Zimbabwe has signed. "I believe governments have an obligation to enforce
human rights standards," he says. SAHRIT also is championing
an anti-corruption drive throughout the region. "We are the first NGO
to come up with a protocol against corruption," he says. "It has
been signed by all 14 heads of government of the SADC (Southern
African Development Community) countries." Major funders for SAHRIT are
USAID and donors in Western Europe.
Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia)
became independent in 1980 after an armed struggle against the regime led by
Ian Smith, which unilaterally declared independence (UDI) from Britain in
1965 under white minority rule. The country has a population of 12 million.
About 98 percent of the population is black (71 percent Shona; 16 percent
Ndebele, and other 11 percent.) Whites account for one percent of the
population and one percent are Asian or mixed. The main languages are
English, Shona and Ndebele.
The country has a high literacy rate -
about 80 percent -- and the population is considered well educated by the
standards of the developing world. Political debate in the year leading up to
the presidential election has been dominated by economic matters --
not only the land issue and compliance with the terms of the recent
Abuja Agreement, which was intended to resolve it, but also the
country's high inflation (reaching 83 percent in September), unemployment,
and poverty rates.
Last week, the government introduced price controls
on basic commodities in an apparent move back to a centrally planned
economy. This measure also has stirred considerable debate among
Zimbabweans. When they go to the polls to elect their president within the
next five months, experts say it is likely they will vote for the
candidate whom they believe can best improve the economy.
Washington File is a product of the Office of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov/)
Britain says Zimbabwe hasn't met land
commitments By Dominic Evans
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain says Zimbabwe
has still not delivered on commitments it made to end violent invasions of
white-owned farms by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.
senior British source, speaking before a Commonwealth ministerial visit
to Harare, said there had been a "slight lessening" in violence following
a September 6 accord to end the 18-month land crisis in
"(But) the key elements, ensuring that the government of
Zimbabwe met its commitments, have not yet been delivered," the source
Foreign Office Minister Baroness Valerie Amos will join
ministers from six other Commonwealth states on Thursday for a mission which
aims to set a timetable for compliance with last month's accord, brokered in
the Nigerian capital Abuja.
Zimbabwe agreed under the deal to halt
farm invasions in exchange for British and international funds to finance a
fair and just land reform programme in the former British
"One of the outcomes we want to agree on is a monitoring
process with time-scales attached to it," the source said.
are things the government of Zimbabwe committed to, the UK
government committed to and the international community committed
Zimbabwe's embattled white farmers say the land crisis has
escalated despite the September deal, with settlers taking over 700 more
farms. They have warned that output of key crops could fall by 40 percent
next year, triggering food shortages.
FIRST VISIT IN THREE
The British source said Amos, the first British minister to
visit Zimbabwe in three years, was travelling with "no illusions" and with a
sense of realism. "We never saw Abuja as an end in itself, but part of a
process," the source said.
The ministers, accompanied by
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon, will meet Zimbabwe's opposition,
non-governmental organisations, farmers, and Foreign Minister Stan
Analysts say Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party has turned to
violence against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change as a central
plank of its strategy for presidential elections which must be held by next
They have suggested Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980, brought forward plans to intensify his campaign against
the opposition while international attention was diverted by the September 11
attacks on the United States.
"There's been speculation (the
attacks) have taken our eye off the ball. I don't think that's the case," the
British source said, adding that Zimbabwe's southern African neighbours, the
European Union and the United States were all following events in Zimbabwe
After heated exchanges between London and Harare last year
Britain has sought a lower profile on land reform and stressed the growing
international concern, in an effort to deflect Mugabe's accusations that
London was bullying its former colony.
The European Union offered
on Monday to send observers to monitor the elections and asked for a reply by
next Monday, when EU foreign ministers will discuss the farm
In June, EU foreign ministers expressed deep concern over
human rights violations in Zimbabwe. They called for an end to political
violence, action to protect the freedom of the media and an end to illegal
occupation of properties.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Aid agencies on
Tuesday warned of severe food shortages in rural Zimbabwe over the coming
months, saying a combination of drought and land invasions had dramatically
reduced crop plantings.
In its latest report, the Zimbabwe Agricultural
Welfare Trust (ZAWT) said 25,000 workers had been evicted from farms over the
past five weeks and many had been forced to camp on roadsides.
a shortfall in food stocks, the ZAWT has called for donations of maize, dried
fish and vegetable seeds. "A massive humanitarian disaster is about to
unfold," it said.
A recent survey by the Commercial Farmers' Union,
grouping some 4,500 mainly white farmers, shows nearly a third of the
country's 12.65 million population has applied for food
Intentions to plant maize in the next cropping season had declined
from 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) to 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) due
to the land invasions and President Robert Mugabe's plans to seize land
from white farmers for landless blacks, the CFU survey showed.
anticipated that most of this maize is for on-farm consumption," said the
CFU, whose members traditionally produce about 40 percent of the
Humanitarian group World Vision International (WVI) said
on Tuesday some 500,000 people could run out of food in the country's
drought-prone Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces alone by
"Most of the people in these areas are already scrounging
around for food and even those that still have stocks will definitely run out
before the next harvest," said WVI Zimbabwe spokeswoman Knowledge
A local weekly newspaper reported last week villagers in
Matabeleland South province were eating tree roots to survive.
plans to distribute food from early December in the two
Earlier this year, Finance Minister Simba Makoni acknowledged
the country would need to import food to meet domestic demand, but said there
was no provision in the 2001 budget for imports.
States-based Famine Early Warning System Network says Zimbabwe's official
maize stocks were 41 percent down at 233,000 tonnes in September from 393,000
in April. Immediate imports of about 200,000 tonnes were necessary to meet
domestic consumption needs through to March 2002.
Zimbabwe – Victory March.
WE WILL MARCH ON TOWARDS THAT DAY.
Have you ever been to London and seen the guards at Buckingham Palace?
Well the guards who are on duty are famous the world over for their
incredible discipline in staying absolutely still and expressionless
no matter what happens around them. Even if you scream abuse at them,
sing, dance or strip naked in front of them they will not flinch!
They have a duty to perform and they will carry it out.
In the 18th century or thereabouts there were many wars fought with
two armies of foot soldiers marching in long rows directly towards
each other, directly towards the enemy. As these young men marched,
to the right of them and to the left of them their compatriots or
even their brothers lost their lives, blown up within inches of them,
yet these young men carried on marching. They had a duty to perform
and they carried it out.
In Zimbabwe today we are marching towards a goal and to the left of
us our economy is being blown away and to the right of us our brothers
are being beaten up and murdered and into our faces lies and abuse
are being spat at us. We are hungry and in pain, we are tired and
frightened but though thousands may fall to the left of us and thousands
may fall to the right, we the absolute majority of peace loving, good,
gentle and hardworking Zimbabweans will not falter.
We will march on to that day and we will cast our vote, we will choose
our own president and we will change our country - because it is our
country and we will not give it up to evil.
We have a duty to perform and we will carry it out.
The Speaker of Parliament,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, failed to appear in the High Court yesterday, as
expected, following last week’s request for him to do so by Justice David
Mnangagwa had said he would appear in court.
surrounding the release of George Tanyanyiwa Chikanga, a hard-core criminal
who was released by Mnangagwa, assumed more dramatic proportions yesterday
when the prosecutor, Stephen Musona, told the court that Chikanga had yet
another case pending, that of armed robbery involving $7
Chikanga allegedly committed this offence after his release last
year. Musona said Chikanga’s docket on this matter was now before
the Attorney-General (AG), Andrew Chigovera.
Bartlett’s request to
Mnangagwa to appear before the court followed revelations that the Speaker,
when he was Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, facilitated
the release of Chikanga in March last year in circumstances that Mnangagwa
was expected to explain in court yesterday.
Musona told the judge
yesterday that Mnangagwa was out of the country. He said he did not know when
the Speaker was due back.
The prosecutor said: “Mnangagwa has presented
an affidavit. He is out of the country and we cannot say when he will be
Musona presented to the judge an affidavit by Mnangagwa whose
contents were not revealed in court. However, ZBC/TV last night reported
Mnangagwa as saying in the affidavit that “a genuine error” had been made in
releasing Chikanga, and that he had since recommended to the Ministry of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that the anomaly be
During the proceedings, Bartlett ordered Musona to contact
Mnangagwa through Chigovera, the AG, to ask whether the Speaker stands by the
contents of his affidavit or wishes to give oral evidence in the
He said there was a difference between an affidavit and oral
evidence because the court wanted to put questions to Mnangagwa. Bartlett
said the case would resume as soon as this was established.
then asked Musona to explain how and why about $700 000, which was in
Chikanga’s possession when he was arrested, was deposited in the account of
his mother, Febby Chikanga, where it was now being held, instead of
being surrendered to the State as a court exhibit, which is normal
Musona said the money was being held in Febby Chikanga’s
account at Kingdom Bank after a directive to that effect was received from
“It was an instruction to us to put the money into that
account,” Musona said. “The AG ordered that the money be put into Febby
“Febby Chikanga indicated that her daughter in the
United States of America had sent her money. She simply stated that, but
there was no documentary evidence. It is the State’s position that part of
the money came from the First Bank robbery.”
Last Friday a woman
calling herself Doreen Chikanga, the daughter of Febby Chikanga, phoned from
the United States and ordered the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News, Geoff
Nyarota, to instruct reporters not to “harass my mother”.
already been convicted and Bartlett is only waiting to pass sentence in the
matter. In preparation for passing sentence three weeks ago, Bartlett
established that Chikanga was previously convicted and sentenced to 35 years
in jail on various counts of armed robbery. He, however, only served nine
Bartlett unearthed the scandal in July after he had convicted
Chikanga of armed robbery involving more than $200 000.
robbed First Bank Corporation’s Birmingham branch in Harare on 16 September
The court then heard that Chikanga was released earlier because he
suffered from hypertension.
Bartlett ordered that Chikanga be examined
by a medical doctor to confirm whether this was the cause of his early
release in March last year.
When the case resumed two weeks ago, a
medical report presented before Bartlett showed that Chikanga did not suffer
from any hypertension.
When Chikanga was asked to explain the
circumstances of his early release, his lawyer, Ticharwa Garabga, told the
court that it was his mother who had petitioned Mnangagwa to release her
Febby Chikanga was asked to explain the circumstances. She told
the court that after her son was sentenced to 35 years in jail in 1990, she
wrote six petitions to Mnangagwa pleading for his release because he was only
17 years old when he committed the offence and was the sole breadwinner of
She told the court that after the meeting with Mnangagwa and
her last petition in February last year, Augustine Chikumira, the permanent
secretary in the ministry, then wrote a letter to the prison officials
directing them to release her son. He was released in March
Chikumira died in January this year. In the latest case, the
State alleges that on 16 September 2000, Chikanga, armed with a pistol,
unlawfully and intentionally assaulted First Bank employees, Rungamai Bhebhe,
Pavelot Mukucha, Virginia Ndowora, Pharastein Chinokora, Roggers Shonhiwa and
Joseph Magaya, by using force and violence to induce submission before he
stole $221 000.
The court heard that a search by the police at Chikanga’s
house in Hillside recovered $632 000 and some foreign currency.
There has been considerable debate over next year’s
presidential election amid growing anxiety among Zimbabweans as to when the
crucial polls will be held. According to section 29 of the Constitution,
President Mugabe’s term of office expires at midnight on 31 March 2002 having
started on 1 April 1996. The Presidential tenure is six years. The section says
the term of office of the President shall be six years provided that he or she
shall continue in office until the person elected as the next President assumes
office. Section 28(3)(a) of the Constitution says an election for a new
President shall be held within 90 days before the existing term of office
expires and this means between January and 31 March 2001. There should be a 30
day period from the time the election dates are gazetted and the actual days of
voting. In terms of Section 94(1)(b) of the Electoral Act, the earliest
permissible date for holding the Presidential election is 6 February 2002. The
latest date is 17 March 2002 and the election may not be delayed beyond this
Professor Welshman Ncube, a constitutional lawyer, said
although the Act could be changed, no amendment to it can change the
constitutional amendment that the election must be held between 1 January and 31
March next year. There should be 42 days between the day of gazetting the
election dates and the actual voting of which 21 days would be reserved for the
sitting of the nomination court. The other 21 days are between the voting days
and the closing of the nomination courts to allow candidates to campaign for the
last time. According to the Electoral Act, the Registrar General may, by further
notice published in the Government Gazette, alter any day, time or place fixed
and the day for the elections in terms of the Constitution.
Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK EU pushes Zimbabwe on election
The Belgian Foreign Minister, Louis Michel, has met his
Zimbabwean counterpart, Stan Mudenge, in Brussels to discuss whether European
Union observers will be allowed to witness Zimbabwe's presidential elections
Speaking afterwards, Mr Michel made clear he wanted an
answer by Sunday.
EU foreign ministers are to meet in Luxembourg the
following day, and Mr Michel said that meeting would assume its
responsibilities - correspondents say this is a clear indication the EU might
impose sanctions on President Mugabe's government for failing to address
human rights concerns.