|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
A court in Zimbabwe has
ordered the government to grant an operating
license to the nation's only independent daily newspaper, shut down by
officials in September.
Judge Michael Majuru, president of Zimbabwe's Administrative Court in
Harare, issued Friday's ruling, saying it was a "unanimous decision." Judge
Majuru said the court agreed with lawyers for The Daily News who argued
Zimbabwe's state-run media commission was biased and, in its words,
The judge gave the government until November 30 to set up a new
commission and issue the paper a license.
The commission says it will appeal Friday's court ruling to Zimbabwe's
The Daily News is a frequent and fierce critic of President Robert
Mugabe. The government has called the publication a mouthpiece for the
Six weeks ago, the Zimbabwe government closed the offices of The Daily
News for operating illegally. Under stringent media laws, all publications
must register with the state-run commission and apply for a license.
The Daily News initially refused to register to protest the law. At
the time of its closure, the paper was challenging the legal requirement in
After the government raided the newspaper's offices and shut it down,
the paper applied for a license, but it was denied. The Daily News then
appealed the denial in the administrative court.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and
Zambia ups its exports of white maize
October 24, 2003
Lusaka - Zambia's state Food Reserve Agency would export 24 100 tons
of white maize to Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana, the country's junior
agriculture minister said yesterday.
Minister Chance Kabaghe said private companies would export an
additional 60 000 tons of maize to the Democratic Republic of Congo in
Zambia, which more than doubled its maize harvest this season after a
food shortage, would export 15 000 tons of maize to Zimbabwe, another 5 000
tons to Botswana and 4 100 tons to Namibia.
Export permits had been issued to the Food Reserve Agency to export
the maize at between $150 and $160 a ton, and the agency was buying maize
from Zambian farmers at $120 a ton, Kabaghe said.
money earned from maize exports would be put into a fund for
agriculture loans to small-scale farmers.
"We are competing with Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa ... We do
not want to overprice our maize and end up with no market," he said.
South African white maize gained R12.60 to R892.60 ($128) a ton in
morning trade yesterday, up from $122 a ton at the midday close last Friday.
White maize gained despite weekend rains that have lifted prospects
for another good harvest in South Africa.
Zambia produced 1.4 million tons of maize in 2002/03, more than double
the previous 600 000-ton crop
From The Times (UK), 24 October
Zimbabwe land grab policy is 'a failure'
By Jan Raath in Harare
The Zimbabwe Government
proclaimed President Mugabe’s "revolutionary land
reform programme" an outstanding success yesterday, but simultaneously
published statistics showing completely the opposite. A commission set up by
Mr Mugabe to review his regime’s four-year campaign to appropriate
white-owned farms showed that just over a third of the 350,000 officially
resettled families had actually moved on to the land allocated to them.
Instead of the 300,000 peasant families said to have been given new land for
small-scale farming, the commission found that only 123,000 had been
resettled. The commission’s statistics for the creation of new black
commercial farmers - in reality, nearly all ruling party officials, judges,
civil servants, police, soldiers and air force officers - indicate an even
greater failure. Mr Mugabe has claimed that 50,000 families in this category
were resettled, but the report says that only 4,800 have moved on to the
property allocated to them. That "implied a considerable amount of land
lying fallow or unused", said the report, in what white farm union officials
described as a "dramatic understatement".
Mr Mugabe presented the report to Kofi Annan, the
Secretary-General, recently in an apparent attempt to persuade the UN to
rescue Zimbabwe’s agriculture from catastrophe. The statistics
notwithstanding, the report insists that the programme is "an overwhelming
success". It blames any shortcomings on "a relentless foreign media campaign
of vilification and the imposition of sanctions by the UK and its European
partners, the white Commonwealth and the USA". In fact, the only Western
"sanctions" imposed on Zimbabwe are those that bar Mr Mugabe and members of
his ruling elite from visiting certain countries, and holding assets there.
The report follows a similiar investigation by a minister in Mr Mugabe’s
office whose details of rampant abuse by senior ruling party officials were
leaked to the press in February. That report listed 30 senior ruling party
and state officials who had occupied more than one farm in violation of Mr
Mugabe’s "one-man, one-farm" dictum, and noted that the list was "not
exhaustive". It also reported that, in two districts alone, Zanu PF thugs
had driven resettled peasants off 11 farms. The new commission said that
earlier reports would not be published, and that the abuses uncovered were
being dealt with "by a special government task force".
Statistics on the output of the 25 million acres (10.1
million hectares) of
appropriated land, once some of the most highly productive farmland in the
world, is scant. But commercial agriculture has collapsed since the land
seizures began. Tobacco production - in a country that was once the world’s
largest tobacco exporter - plummeted this year to 80,000 tonnes, from
237,000 tonnes in 2000. Wheat output has fallen from 283,000 tonnes in 2000
to 60,000 tonnes this year. The commercial farms’ cattle herd has fallen
from 1.2 million head then to 150,000 now. "Nobody can farm any more," said
Doug Taylor-Freeme, president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union. "Commercial
farmers can’t because they have no land, and new farmers can’t because they
have no inputs, no finance and no title deeds. "There is no production, no
confidence. Agriculture is becoming irrelevant in Zimbabwe. We are in
From The Times (UK), 24 October
Tables are turned on Mugabe 'war veterans'
From Jan Raath in Beatrice
camping by the highway south of Harare make up one of the
lasting images of President Mugabe’s land grab, which has made about one
million farm workers and their families homeless. Tattered clothing and
blankets hang on barbed wire fences, runny-nosed children squat round a
small fire and men without shoes talk quietly around an anthill. But these
are not farm workers. They are war veterans, members of the rabble militia
which has terrorised thousands of white farming families and their workers
since February 2000 and the start of Mr Mugabe’s third chimurenga, or war of
liberation. Vodka Moyo, spokesman for the group, said the police came three
weeks ago. "They destroyed our houses," he said. "No letter, no warning." A
woman in a blue dress added: "They took our grain." They were kicked out of
nearby Eden farm to make way for Tichaona Jokonya, Zimbabwe’s former
Ambassador to the United Nations and now the head of the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority, who already has at least two other farms, according to
Agriculture Ministry sources.
In September last year, Mr Mugabe announced to the UN
General Assembly that
"Zimbabwe has concluded the fast-track land reform programme" that was to
"transfer land to the hitherto landless black majority". A year later
thousands of them are again landless, violently evicted by the new brigand
ruling class that includes some of Mr Mugabe’s closest aides and family
members. Mr Moyo’s original group of 78 families moved on to Eden farm, near
Beatrice, about 50km (33 miles) south of Harare, in 2000 after an earlier
group of war veterans hounded an Afrikaner cattle rancher off the property.
Over the next three years they cultivated the land with hoes, producing just
enough to feed themselves. On the other side of the main road is Greenlands
farm, where, three weeks ago, another 68 families of "new farmers" were
evicted by police. "They have gone back now," Mr Moyo said. "They are
The makeshift camp is just out of
sight of Mr Jokonya’s ostentatious new
home, which includes a squash court. It was built on a hill, the top of
which was levelled for him by a bulldozer belonging to the state District
Development Fund, which is meant to provide infrastructure for poor rural
areas. Building supplies were delivered by lorries marked "Ministry of
Public Construction". Over the past three months there has been a growing
stream of reports of evictions of ruling party peasants resettled by the
Government. Late in August, 5,000 people who occupied 11 prime irrigation
properties on the shores of Lake Manyame, west of Harare, were driven off by
police. Among those who took over the land was Mr Mugabe’s elder sister,
Sabina, who has two other farms, two of her sons and Winnie Mugabe, a widow
of one of the President’s nephews. John Worsley-Worswick, co-ordinator of
Justice for Agriculture, the commercial farmers’ lobby group, said: "It’s
happening all over the place. They used the war vets to clear the way, now
the cheffes (party chiefs) come in through the back door."
Black commercial farmers are equally at risk. In December
last year Charles
Kuhuni, a major in the Zimbabwean army, arrived at Peter and Everjoyce
Gotora’s farm, Talana, also in Beatrice. He told them he would shoot them if
they did not leave. They fled. This year a messenger with a court order for
Major Kuhuni’s eviction was chased off by his hired mob of 66 ruling party
youth militia. Late last month after a ten-hour showdown with armed riot
police, he moved out. But he returned as soon as the police had left. Police
refuse to go back. Major Kuhuni already has a farm 70 miles east of Harare,
allocated to him by the Government. "I cannot possibly understand why a man
who has already been allocated a farm wants to dispossess us, as fellow
black people, of a farm we legally bought and which is not under acquisition
by the Government," Mrs Gotora said. The removal of the remaining estimated
1,000 white farmers clinging tenuously to their properties, has accelerated
dramatically. Since Mr Mugabe’s "happy announcement" to the UN last year,
1,873 farms have been listed for state seizure. Last Friday, Patrick
Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, and his wife, Monica, forced Richard and
Cally Yates out of their tobacco farm in Headlands, 60 miles east of Harare.
From Business Day (SA), 24 October
Finance minister says current
budget had underestimated steep rise in
The Zimbabwe government has revised downwards its
annual estimate for
economic decline from the initial 7% projected in the 2003 budget, to 14% by
year end, reflecting the reduced output from the production sector and the
poor performance of the agricultural sector. Over the same period, the
country's balance of payments position has worsened and the country's
foreign currency deficit now stands at Z$309m, mostly as a result of
government's skewed exchange policy and a sharp decline in exports, against
a gradual rise in non-productive imports such as luxury vehicles. In his
address to business leaders and legislators at a pre-budget seminar held
yesterday, the acting minister of finance and economic development, Patrick
Chinamasa revealed that the current budget had underestimated the steep rise
in inflation, which reached a record 455,6% last month. He said the balance
of payments deficit was about 23,5% of the country's Gross Domestic Product
(GDP), against initial estimates that it would be 1,5%.
"Our budget and policies were done with inaccurate assumptions
predictions particularly those referring to the GDP, inflation, interest
rates, the budget deficit, money supply growth and the balance of payments.
For example, when we did the current budget, the exchange rate was fixed at
one US dollar to 55 Zimbabwe dollars, but we were forced to introduce a dual
exchange rate system in February so that government dealings would be done
at $1:Z$55, but the rest at $1:Z$824," said Chinamasa, who is also the
minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs. He admitted that the
much-lauded National Economic Revival Programme had failed to achieve its
objectives, particularly those linked to exports and foreign currency
generation. Chinamasa revealed that the Z$600bn supplementary budget
approved by Parliament in August had been necessitated by hyperinflation and
a public service job evaluation exercise that had cost the state Z$300bn.
Economists who participated in the formulation of the budget, said key areas
to tackle were inflation, policy inconsistencies, the lack of urgency in
addressing macro-economic imbalances and its misplaced priorities of
During the meeting, Chinamasa drew jeers of
disapproval from MDC legislators
and business leaders when he suggested that the government, in future,
wished to review the budget half-yearly, instead of quarterly. "We would
like to see a half-yearly review of the budget instead of the current
quarterly system, because the finance minister does not have the capacity to
review and compile data on the implementation of the budget every quarter."
An economist who spoke during the same meeting said government's targets in
the 2003 budget had largely been driven by political rationale, instead of
economic facts. In announcing the 2003 budget, the finance minister, Herbert
Murerwa indicated that government intended to drive inflation downwards to
96%, from approximately 200% in January 2003.
Govt/former farmers head for showdown
Blessing Zulu / Augustine Mukaro
THE government and former commercial farmers are headed for another
showdown, this time over the issue of compensation, the Zimbabwe Independent
has learnt. And there is wide disagreement over the verdict of the Utete
report that 1 323 white farmers remain on the land.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made last month said farmers should come and
collect their compensation money. He accused them of sabotaging agriculture
by refusing to collect their compensation so that they could demonise the
government. Made said those farmers who delayed collecting their money
risked losing it as government would use the money to buy inputs for this
However, Justice for Agriculture
spokesperson Ben Freeth said the minister
was playing to the gallery.
"The minister is playing media politics," said Ben Freeth.
"The ministry is
not following the laid down procedure. They are just coming up with figures.
This is done arbitrarily without consulting the farmer," he said.
Freeth said not a single member of his organisation had been consulted by
the government on the possible value of his property.
Commercial Farmers Union vice-president Stoff Hawgood said
the money farmers
were being offered was a pittance.
who went to the ministry said the figures they were offered
were not realistic," Hawgood said.
According to the CFU's information
brochure, compensation had been paid out
in only 134 cases where farms have been ceded to government.
"No other compensation has been
forthcoming. A provision of $4,5 billion has
been included in the 2003 government budget for compensation for acquired
properties. At the current property valuations, this amount is sufficient to
cover the purchase price of roughly 30 farms," the CFU said.
Freeth said the supplementary budget
announced on August 21 was silent on
the issue of compensation.
Commercial farmers also pointed out that the money set
aside for agriculture
development and compensation demonstrated government's lack of commitment.
Commercial farmers lost close to $50 billion in movable assets and property
when they were forced off their farms during the fast track land reform
Meanwhile commercial farmers'
organisations have dismissed claims in the
Utete Land Audit Report that 1 323 white farmers were still on the land.
JAG said the situation on the ground indicated that between 500 to 600
farmers were still on their properties while less than 200 of them were
still involved in production.
"Though it is very difficult to ascertain the exact
number of farmers on the
farms, an estimated 500 to 600 white commercial farmers are understood to be
either involved in production or still hanging on at the farms," JAG said.
JAG said evictions were still going on so that surveys to establish the
number and activities of the farmers were changing on a daily basis.
Chihuri promises to probe assault
POLICE commissioner Augustine Chihuri has assured Harare lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa that her claims of assault by a policeman last week would be
Chihuri also assured her that the police would investigate the two
car-jacking attempts on her.
Chihuri called her and gave her an assurance that he would
launch a full investigation to bring the culprit to book.
"The commissioner called
me on Tuesday and gave me an assurance that he
would get to the bottom of both car-jacking incidents as well as thoroughly
investigate the police officer who assaulted me," said Mtetwa.
But Mtetwa said the police
had not made any progress nor shown any interest
in either case so far.
"I have told them that I have photographs (of her injuries) as
well as two
medical reports but they haven't shown any interest in them," said Mtetwa.
"Nobody has recorded any statement from me."
legal fraternity both at home and abroad reacted furiously last week to
the assault on Mtetwa at Borrowdale police station by a police officer
identified as Mutumwa. The lawyer had just survived a second car-jacking
attempt in a fortnight when, instead of assisting in tracking down the
car-jackers, policemen who attended the scene arrested her before
Mutumwa allegedly assaulted her.
African Commission to discuss Zimbabwe human rights report
THE draft report of the fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe by the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights will be discussed at the
commission's 34th session in Banjul, Gambia, next month.
A special team of the commission, led by Jainaba Johm of Gambia, prepared
the report on Zimbabwe after a fact-finding visit in June last year. The
team came to Zimbabwe after a request was sent to the commission by the
Human Rights Forum in 2001.
The delegation met with
opposi-tion Movement for Democratic Cha-nge
officials, president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe Sternford Moyo, police
commissioner Augu-stine Chihuri and civic society heads.
It also met Vice-President Joseph Msika,
Speaker of Parliament Em-merson
Mnangagwa, Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo and Information minister
At the end of the
visit, Johm said her team had accumulated 20kg of
documents from evidence given by many people regarding the human rights
situation in the country.
A draft agenda of the 34th session includes Zimbabwe under
item 11 and
delegates will discuss the draft report and decide whether to adopt it.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa on Tuesday said government would send a
delegation to Banjul to present the country's case.
"I have already signed cabinet authority for a three-member
represent Zimbabwe and put across our case," said Chinamasa.
He said the permanent secretary in his ministry David
Mangota would lead the
Civic society organisations are also
expected to send a team of human rights
lawyers to Banjul to defend the communication sent to the commissioners in
Zimbabwe's human rights record by Amnesty International and Human
Rights Watch have been rejected by African states who accuse the two of
Analysts have said a negative report from the commission would
for Zimbabwe ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm)
in Abuja in December.
In August, the Zimbabwe
Independent reported that the report should have
been released at the 33rd session of the commission in Niamey, Niger, in May
but the commissioners claimed there was not enough time to consider it.
There were fears
among local civic society organisations that African
leaders wanted to suppress the report in order not to dent the image of
President Robert Mugabe ahead of the Chogm meeting.
Policeman interrogated over leaked information
A JUNIOR policeman attached to the Media Africa Group (MAG) in Bulawayo is
in trouble with his superiors over allegations that he leaked sensitive
information to the newspapers, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
MAG are publishers of the Week-end Tribune and the Business Tribune.
Trouble for the police constable, Felilizwe Phakathi,
started two weeks ago
when the Weekend Tribune carried a story alleging that senior police
officers in the province were buying expensive cars for themselves while
lower-ranking officers needed new uniforms.
story is said to have incensed the officer commanding Bulawayo,
Mfandaidza, who is alleged to have personally written to MAG Bulawayo editor
Miriam Madziwa complaining over the story.
Phakathi is a
journalism student at Business Environment Services, a college
in the city, and was cleared by his superiors for internship with the
Police sources said a docket had been opened charging
Phakathi under the
Police Act for leaking sensitive information to the press.
Things worsened for the policeman last week when the Weekend
a story stating that the Nkomo family wanted an inquest into the death of
Mama Mafuyane, wife of the late Vice- President Joshua Nkomo.
The story quoted police sources claiming that the case was to
be taken to
the courts in the near future. The story further alleged that President
Mugabe was expected to testify in the case since he was one of the last
people to see Mama Mafuyane alive.
Phakathi was again suspected as the source and interrogated.
Contacted for comment on
the matter, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said
if any serving policeman flouted the Police Code of
Conduct he was liable to be charged under the Police Act.
Zanu PF youths invade Hippo Pools
In a move likely to dent the country's tourism prospects, Zanu PF youths
from Shamva this week invaded Hippo Pools Wilderness Camp forcing booked
clients to vacate the resort in the middle of the night.
Information to hand shows that on Monday, Zanu PF youths from the Shamva
area invaded the camp situated in Umfurudzi Safari Area which falls under
government's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management.
The matter has since been reported to National Parks headquarters in Harare.
According to a letter written to National
Parks directors Vitalis Chadenga,
Brigadier Epmarcus Ka-nhanga and Shamva police, Zanu PF youths aggressively
took over the camp and forced an estimated 34 clients to leave immediately.
"Fourteen of the clients
were children who were highly traumatised," the
clients were told to immediately leave and one claims to have left
behind equipment worth over a million dollars. The invaders also helped
themselves to food and drinks valued at $500 000 bought for the clients.
They had also taken possession of two shotguns that were being used by night
The owner of the camp Ian Jarvis was forced to hand
over the camp keys
before he was allowed to leave.
that he had been forced out of the camp.
"The invasion has nothing to do with resettlement," Jarvis said.
"We do not own any land but operate
on National Parks' land. We are however
happy that our call for assistance has received tremendous response from the
National Parks and we hope to get back to the camp," he said.
Jarvis said the invasion has disrupted
Wilderness Africa Trust projects
being supported by the camp. The trust was involved in the translocation of
game species from invaded farms.
Umfurudzi Safari Area is a 74 000-hectare game park situated
north of Harare in the Mazowe/Shamva area.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has been engaged in an energetic campaign
persuade international tourists that law and order has been restored in
MDC hires Danish electoral expert
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
hired a prominent Danish electoral expert to bolster his legal team
challenging President Robert Mugabe's disputed re-election last year.
Tsvangirai enlisted the services of Professor Jorgen Elklit, a renowned
elections expert and political scientist, to reinforce his legal heads of
argument in the court petition which opens in the High Court on November 3.
Elklit, a professor of politics at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, has
vast experience in electoral issues. He has dealt with electoral matters in
South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, 15 Asian countries - in particular China
and Nepal - and across Europe, including Bosnia-Herzegovina and Latvia.
In 1993 he served on a panel appointed by South Africa's Goldstone
Commission to probe acts of violence and intimidation in the country's first
multi-racial elections in 1994.
He also worked as
one of five international members on the Independent
Electoral Commission in 1994. Last year President Thabo Mbeki appointed him
to the Electoral Task Team established by cabinet to evaluate the need to
reform the country's electoral system.
Elklit has written a detailed document assessing
the conduct of Zimbabwe's
controversial presidential poll in March last year.
The document, drafted on October 2, is part of Tsvangirai's
legal heads of
argument prepared by his team of lawyers that include veteran South African
lawyer, Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, and local Advocates Adrian de Bourbon and
Happius Zhou. The lawyers filed the heads of argument with the High Court on
Elklit concludes that Mugabe's
re-election was clearly not free and fair. He
cites blatant manipulation of electoral laws, biased administration of the
polls, political violence and intimidation among a range of irregularities.
"The various irregularities and mistakes and the non-compliance with
fundamentals of the Electoral Act undoubtedly had serious material
consequences, which most certainly affected the result of the election," he
Mudzuri denied documents for hearing
Augustine Mukaro/Eric Chiriga
SUSPENDED Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri has been denied access to
vital documents to be used at a hearing into his conduct by the
government-appointed investigation committee.
Mudzuri's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said the committee had denied her client
permission to enter Town House to obtain documents necessary for the hearing
procedures. He is among other things accused of organising a stayaway.
17, when the first hearing was scheduled to take place, the
committee had argued that they had no control over Town House, so we could
access the documents we required," she said.
"The committee later resolved that
we should submit a list of documents that
we required to the Town Clerk. But when we received the documents, all the
critical ones were missing."
Mtetwa said the hearing hit a brick wall this week when the
decided to change the charges levelled against the mayor .
"The committee has set aside summons we have been working with for
six weeks, arguing that they were ambiguous and incorrectly drafted," Mtetwa
"The second summons that the committee
wants to interview Mudzuri on is
nothing but a copy of Minister Ignatius Chombo's letter suspending our
client," she said.
In a related
development, the committee is understood to have recommended
that council terminate Mudzuri's fuel allocation and cellphone allowance.
mayor Sekesai Makwavarara terminated the allowances at the beginning
of October despite a council resolution that Mudzuri should continue to
enjoy such benefits.
Contacted for comment, Mudzuri said the committee had
reasonable doubt that it was not serious about the matter.
"The committee is not serious," Mudzuri said. "How could they
all of a
sudden decide to change the summons we have been working with for the past
six weeks? That's a clear shifting of goal posts intended to delay my case."
A REPORTER with the Zimbabwe Independent, Blessing Zulu, spent a night in
police cells on Wednesday after he was arrested while covering a National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA)-organised demonstration. He was among 159
people rounded up in Africa Unity Square.
Zulu was arrested alongside photographer Newton Spicer and two Herald
staffers, photographer Simon Sithole and Takunda Mawodza, who were quickly
released by the police. The police called in Herald news editor Innocent
Gore who left with the reporters.
once he identified himself as a reporter from the Zimbabwe
Independent there was increased hostility.
"One of the officers beat me with a baton
stick and said if I was pro-whites
I should go to Britain," he said.
"We slept in the corridors of police cells at Harare Central
without blankets and the toilets were blocked," he said.
Zulu was released without charge at 11.00am yesterday after the
of the Independent's lawyer, Chris Mhike, of Atherstone & Cook.
Mhike condemned the arrest as shocking.
ordeal at the hands of the police is a bald and shocking
illustration of the harassment of journalists in this country," Mhike said.
spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said police assaulted and dumped NCA
members on the outskirts of the city.
Chefs protest hunting ban in Gwayi
HUNTING has been banned in the Gwayi Valley Conservancy to stem the plunder
of wildlife amidst protests by ranch owners many of whom hold influential
positions in the ruling party, the Zimbabwe Independent has heard.
The ban on all hunting of game in the area was made by National Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority director-general, Morris Mutsambiwa, last
It comes amidst concerns from conservancy organisations
over the rampant
plunder of wildlife that includes lions and over 300 elephants protected
under a Presidential decree of 1990.
National Parks directive has met with stiff resistance from safari
owners in the area. The operators have already written a letter to the
Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema, complaining bitterly
about the ban.
"It is important to note that resettled farmers did not empower
arbitrarily to carry out sport hunting, they were empowered by National
Parks under SI 26/1998," says the letter. "Similarities between what is
attributed to your office and negative stories doing the rounds on the
Internet are of a disturbing nature," it says.
"The sources of the negative stories are the former white landowners and
they seem to be getting collaboration from your office. Whose interests are
The ban on hunting leaves photographic safaris and game
viewing as the only
activities permitted in the area.
Valley Conservancy borders the Hwange National Park and safari
ranches in the area have been allocated to new farmers under the
government's A2 model.
A list supplied to the Independent with names of A2
beneficiaries in the
area indicates that most of them have links toZanu PF. Theyinclude
theparty's cent-ral committee member AliceNkomo in Lot 3 Dete Valley, the
party's provincial chairman for Matabeleland North, Jacob Mudenda in Sekumi
Estates, Zimbabwe's high commissioner to Zambia Cain Matema in a sub-section
of Lot 3 Dete Valley, and ZBC reporter Prisca Utete who acquired part of
Dr Christopher Zishiri, chief ve-terinary
officer in Matabeleland North, got
Karna Block East. Therest of the beneficiaries are traditional chiefs who
include Chief Mabikwa and Chief Joseph Dingani.
A company registered as Eternity Trading, whose
director is listed as J
Moyo, runs Lot 2 Dete Valley.
Conservancy Trust has also named Matabeleland North governor
Obert Mpofu, in one of its reports, as one of the beneficiaries licensed to
conduct hunts in the area.
According to a small-scale safari operator in the area, the
cease all hunting in the area has incensed the "new farmers", some of whom
are said to be operating with fake hunting quotas.
Hunting quotas are issued at the beginning of each hunting
outline the type and number of animals a safari operator can hunt in a
"There has been systematic hunting using fake
quotas and in some instances,
some of the quotas signed by National Parks were blank while some of the
quotas had no client information and in some instances some quotas do not
state on what farm the hunt was taking place," said a conservationist
monitoring the region.
Utete glosses over irregularities in land reform
THE much-anticipated Presidential Land Review Committee report, details of
which were carried in the Zimbabwe Independent last week, has proved to be a
poorly disguised effort to cover up the disastrous consequences of
government’s chaotic land reform programme.
The voluminous document, produced by former secretary to the president and
cabinet Charles Utete and a team of officials and made public yesterday,
attempts to whitewash the anarchy behind land redistribution. It tries to
give glitter to the outcome of a process that has spawned hunger and
When it was appointed in May, the committee’s terms of reference included
the need to assess progress in the implementation of the programme as a
whole and the extent to which policy objectives were achieved, and suggest
measures necessary to address any shortcomings.
It was also expected to “outline any on-going challenges and constraints in
the implementation of the programme in order to successfully address the
more fundamental agrarian reform agenda and recommend policy interventions”.
In its executive summary, the report says “ministers and government
officials wholly supported the programme, stated it to have been
successfully implemented in the face of formidable odds”.
It however admits there were numerous obstacles that hindered the
implementation process, including “resource constraints, the legal
framework, bureaucracy, and related operational difficulties”.
But poor planning and the chaotic environment within which the programme was
implemented are smoothed over. Lawlessness and violence are ignored. In its
entirety the report says beneficiaries of the programme “expressed
happiness” over land redistribution.
It claims some people became “instant millionaires” as a result of the
exercise but ignores hundreds of thousands of people displaced and millions
starving due to the programme. Systematic decimation of wildlife and looting
on farms is also overlooked.
The report points out that “representatives of farmers’ unions, the
financial services sector, and agro-business, generally saw land reform as
vital for the country’s political stability and economic development, while
however insisting that agriculture be placed on a properly planned and
But these views are mentioned in passing apparently because they conflicted
with the mindset and objective of the committee, which could not hide its
political prejudice and professional paucity.
Land reform is firmly situated in a context of a contrived bilateral dispute
between Britain and Zimbabwe. The false fight is then exaggerated to justify
a number of official assertions about land redistribution, for instance that
it was an “overwhelming success”, which have no basis in reality on the
“Land occupations by impatient landless people; absence of international
support for land reform notwithstanding government’s desire to engage the
former colonial power and the international community; the rejection of the
2000 draft constitution partly as a result of the British-influenced
political opposition; and the continued legal challenges by white commercial
farmers” are cited as justifications for fast track.
The attitude of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government is also
given as another reason. This explanation ties in with President Robert
Mugabe’s pronouncements in December last year and April this year when he
confirmed that the programme was nothing short of a vindictive exercise.
The report, stuffed with Zanu PF propaganda, ignores the fact that farm
invasions that first started in Nyamandlovu — and not in Svosve as widely
claimed — in 1998 were politically-instigated following Mugabe’s meeting
with European Union commissioner for development, Joao Pinheiro, in January
the same year ahead of a Land Donors’ Conference on September 9/11.
Addressing the donors’ conference, Mugabe confirmed this when he tried to
use the invasions as a bargaining tool. “If we delay in resolving the land
needs of our people they will resettle themselves,” he said. “It has
happened before and may happen again.”
Utete’s report attempts to use this to justify the chaotic seizure of farms
two years after the conference following the shock defeat of Mugabe’s regime
in a constitutional referendum.
“This (Mugabe’s remark) was not a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Utete’s report
claims, “but a description of reality of what had already happened.”
However, subsequent events proved that people were not as agitated over land
as the politically-incited invasions made it appear.
During the constitutional commission’s evidence-gathering process, people
said they were more concerned about how state power was distributed and
exercised by Mugabe and his court. They were also worried about misrule and
economic mismanagement, as well as the untold misery visited upon them by
the current regime. The commission’s reports confirm this.
The land issue was only later smuggled into the draft and dramatised by Zanu
PF when it amended the document to place the responsibility of compensation
for acquired farms on Britain.
Instead of providing a technical review of the programme, the report is
saturated with Zanu PF mantras and lacks analytical depth. It ignores the
link between land reform and economic decline. However, a report presented
by Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) vice-president Doug Taylor-Freeme during
the organisation’s congress in August says there is a clear correlation
between economic meltdown and land reform.
“The mess that the country and economy is in at present is largely the
imprint left after resettlement policies put in place failed on all fronts,”
Taylor-Freeme said. “Food and foreign currency shortages are the more
immediate effects of a commercial farm sub-sector hamstrung by inappropriate
policies and actions.”
While the Utete report skates over the destruction of commercial agriculture
and the plunder of billions of dollars’ worth of equipment by the ruling
elite, CFU vice-president for regions, Mac Crawford’s report in August said
equipment stolen and vandalised was worth $75 billion.
“Widespread theft and damage of irrigation equipment and stationary engines
used for water supplies is still taking place,” Crawford said.
He said lawless confusion was still widespread across the farming zones. “We
continue to see illegal evictions of farmers persisting unabated with
horticultural farms being targeted in the latest wave of evictions with poor
police if any, response,” Crawford said. “As a result crops already in the
ground are being affected and often destroyed or lost.”
Compared to Taylor-Freeme’s document, the Utete report makes strange
claims about the country’s multi-layered crisis. It suggests the land reform
programme did not itself precipitate economic deterioration because it was
implemented amid “poor performance and decline in the national economy”.
Sanctions against Mugabe and his ministers are blamed for lack of foreign
currency and not the drying up of exports, especially agricultural products.
“Simultaneously with the imposition of what were euphemistically termed
‘smart sanctions’ against certain prominent persons in the public and
private life of Zimbabwe,” it says, “was the drying up of foreign currency
inflows relating to foreign direct investment, official development
assistance, and certain trade and other concessions.”
The report glosses over the issue of multiple-farm ownership which Mugabe
had led the public to believe was the central focus of the investigation. A
task force will look into that, it says, thus sweeping the issue under the
government’s copious political carpet.
The report by Land Reform minister Florence Bhuka, which reveals
irregularities and farm seizures by Mugabe’s ministers and other top
officials, will not be published, Utete’s report says, because government is
already dealing with the issues raised.
No serious remedial measures are recommended besides the enlargement of
government by creating two ministries for land and agriculture, among other
bureaucratic changes. It proposes the setting up of marketing, research and
agricultural development systems to replace those methodically destroyed
over the past three years.
The report justifies the fast-track resettlement exercise, which it claims
was an “overwhelming success”, on the basis of stale Zanu PF mantras. It
names foreign powers and the media as major challenges to the exercise, not
lack of resources or inadequate planning.
“Not least of these was a hostile external environment characterised by a
relentless foreign media campaign of vilification of the government and the
programme and the imposition of sanctions against the country by the UK and
its European partners, the so-called white Commonwealth…and the USA,” the
Utete’s report claims that while Zimbabwe adhered to the Abuja Agreement,
Britain reneged on its obligations, making the bargain worthless.
“The above factors combined with the need for economic and social
imperatives for poverty alleviation and economic development gave the
government no choice but to implement fast-track land reform,” the report
says in its explanation as to why an arbitrary programme was chosen instead
of a more systematic investment-backed programme, which the UNDP and other
donors were advocating.
Justice not served by court system
JUSTICE delayed is justice denied, it is said. And in the case of Zimbabwe’
s recent electoral record that has certainly proved to be the case. The
courts have dragged their heels in hearing cases that are of an urgent
nature: the balance of political power depends upon their outcome.
Following the June 2000 parliamentary poll, the MDC submitted that in 39 of
the 62 seats which Zanu PF won there had been either gross irregularities in
the conduct of the poll or coercion of voters.
The MDC challenged these outcomes in the High Court. By this week only 13 of
those cases have been heard. Of those heard, seven saw rulings in favour of
the MDC. Zanu PF has appealed against these rulings which has had the effect
of suspending the judgements. Zanu PF MPs therefore continue to sit for the
seven seats which the High Court has found were secured through improper
means. That includes Makoni East where former CIO officer Shadreck Chipanga
had been declared the winner until this week’s verdict. Chipanga denies any
corrupt or illegal practices.
Not a single appeal has been heard, thus leaving Zanu PF with its booty of
possibly stolen seats three years after the poll. While 20 appointed members
of the House of Assembly would still provide the government with a built-in
majority, the MDC’s attainment of a majority of the elected seats would have
given it the satisfaction of knowing it was the real winner of the 2000
Indeed, with the court verdicts so far, it was the winner of the 2000 poll.
But the popular will has been thwarted by a court system that instead of
fulfilling its obligation to uphold democratic rights has frustrated them.
In a sense the judiciary now stands between the MDC and its electoral
entitlement. Meanwhile, a ruling party that is unable to maintain itself in
office except by coercion and manipulation clings to power with devastating
impact upon the nation’s fortunes.
Precisely the same problem besets the outcome of the presidential poll. The
MDC will argue in its 170-page High Court petition when the hearing opens on
November 3 that there was state-directed violence, illegal intervention by
military officers, ballot-rigging and other irregularities. The election did
not accord with provisions of either the constitution or the Electoral Act,
it will be shown.
Appointment of members of the Electoral Supervisory Commission was not
gazetted, as is required by law, and ministers were able to appoint staff to
the ESC irrespective of whether it had requested them to do so. Further,
arbitrary amendments to the Electoral Act in the days before the poll
contravened a constitutional requirement that only parliament can make
On Wednesday, a High Court judge ruled that neither the Registrar-General
who is responsible for running elections nor the Minister of Justice whose
job it is to prepare Statutory Instruments and other orders under the
Presidential Powers Act should be cited as respondents in the case.
The glaring irregularities in the conduct of the March 2002 presidential
poll were cited in an urgent application to the Supreme Court on the eve of
the poll. But Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku reserved judgement. The
following month he ruled that MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai had no locus
standi in the matter, thus relieving the court of the responsibility of
hearing the case.
Justice Sandura, in a minority opinion, argued that as a candidate,
Tsvangirai obviously did have locus standi.
At the time new judges were appointed in 2001, ministers boasted that they
would be more responsive to the state’s needs.
The government has certainly benefited in electoral terms from political
violence and partisan conduct which has gone unchallenged because of delays
in court hearings. The present parliament is now half way through its
political lifespan. President Mugabe is well into his third term.
While the country has the fastest shrinking GDP in the world and record
levels of poverty and unemployment, citizens are unable to exercise their
constitutional right to freedom of assembly and expression. Gatherings of
more than two people deemed political are barred, unwarranted force is used
against any group of people assembling, as we saw on Wednesday, and
newspapers are closed under legislation that is clearly unconstitutional.
The case for independent courts and judges willing to uphold clearly
laid-down rights is thus incontrovertible, the correlation between justice
and governance unarguable.
When a future generation of Zimbabweans look back on these dark times, they
will surely query whether justice was in fact done.
Land audit committee’s data proves govt’s failure
ALMOST all, other than government itself, have long been aware that the
state’s programme of land reform has been a near-total failure. Although
President Robert Mugabe and his land programme puppet, the Minister of
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Joseph Made continue with their
endless claims of immense success, empowerment of the masses, and of
imminent economic growth, founded upon that programme, most know the
contrary to be the case.
For years the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) has drawn attention to the
growing catastrophe, and has made good faith offers of cooperative
assistance to transform the programme into one that would be just, equitable
and able to attain the government’s declared objectives. All its
representations and offers were, however, contemptuously rejected, and the
minister (aided and abetted by his colleague, the Minister of Fiction, Fable
and Myth) strove vigorously to disparage the CFU, its members, and its
Equally cavalierly were the state’s reactions and responses to any and all
other criticisms of the programme and of the modalities of its
implementation, be those criticisms from the international community,
opposition politicians, the independent media, economists, or others. All
criticisms, and all well-intentioned representations, were immediately
refuted and dismissed. Concurrently, completely false details of alleged
programme successes were widely disseminated and the centre of considerable
propaganda. These ranged from contentions that over 300 000 had been
successfully settled on the land, that all — inclusive of white commercial
farmers — were entitled to one farm, and that none could be possessed of
more than one, to recurrent promises of provision of non-existent
agricultural inputs, and to repeatedly unfulfilled assurances of imminent
Zimbabwean self-sufficiency in food production.
However, it is an old maxim that eventually “the truth will out”, and that
is clearly occurring now insofar as the Zimbabwean land programme is
concerned. The first tentative indications were already apparent when the
vast crops, which Made claimed to have seen “with my own eyes”, did not
materialise, and Zimbabwe was confronted with a massive food shortage. In
2003 that shortage recurred, and government had no difficulty in attributing
it to drought conditions in the 2002 – 2003 agricultural season. However, it
has been unable to explain how drought impacted upon crops that had not been
And now even more irrefutable evidence has been forthcoming. The
Presidential Land Review Committee, chaired by the former permanent
secretary to the president and cabinet, Dr Charles Utete, has released its
first report on the extensive land audit conducted by it, and its findings
are most illuminating, and should occasion tremendous embarrassment to the
president, his cabinet, the politburo, the central committee and, in
particular, to Made.
Whilst government had stated, when it first embarked upon the land
programme, that it intended to acquire a total of 5 million hectares in the
first 10 years of the programme, it in fact acquired in excess of 11 million
hectares. It had also stated that everyone, including the white commercial
farmers, would be entitled to one farm, but none would be entitled to more
than one. However, in practice, 3 500 white commercial farmers were totally
displaced and deprived of all opportunity of farming, whilst only 1 323 were
left with that opportunity, over a total area of 1 175 607 hectares,
representing approximately 3% of all land in Zimbabwe (and, since the report
was compiled, many of them have also had their lands designated and have
Of the 11 million hectares compulsorily acquired by the state, only 6 429
844 hectares have been allocated, leaving government possessed of
approximately 4 570 000 hectares of land not redistributed, over and above
almost 6 000 000 hectares acquired by government, and not resettled, during
the first 15 years of Independence. Between the land previously held by it,
and that acquired under the programme (up to the time of compilation of the
Land Audit Committee Report and therefore not including the very substantial
further lands since designated), government has effectively only allocated
about 26% of such land. Clearly, therefore, the predominant motivation of
forced land acquisition has been racial victimisation and political
machinations, and not genuine empowerment of the population.
This is further evidenced by the fact that whilst government has, for some
time, contended that more than 300 000 have been resettled on the land, the
Land Audit Committee established that land had been allocated to only 134
452. Of that number, only 93 800 had taken up their allocation, with almost
41 000 still to do so. Thus, less than 70% have taken up the land allocated
to them, and it is well known that many of them have not as yet been able to
farm their allocated lands, for they have not had the resources to acquire
essential inputs, and promises of provision of those resources have yet to
be fulfilled. In addition, most of the inputs do not exist, so even an
availability of financial resources will not address the problem.
The Land Audit Committee identified that 34,2% of the land allocated was
made available under the A2 model to 7 260 aspirant farmers, whilst 65,8% of
the land allocated went to intending model A1 farmers. In area terms, this
represented 2 198 814 hectares to A2 farmers, and 4 231 080 hectares to
intending A1 farmers. On average, the latter received 33,27 hectares, whilst
the former averaged 302,87 hectares. In reality, many of the A2 recipients
received more than that, for they were allocated more than one farm, despite
the declared policy to the contrary.
Government has not yet had the courage to disclose the entirety of the
contents of the Land Audit Committee’s report, which inevitably prompts
suspicions that there are even more incriminating facts proving the
programme, and the manner of its implementation, to be the principal cause
of the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, of the immense poverty prevailing
for most of the populace, and of Zimbabwe’s inability to feed itself,
despite its previously proven capacity to produce not only sufficient to
meet all the country’s requirements, but also to provide much of those of
neighbouring countries. Nevertheless, the extent of the report’s contents
that have become available evidences that the committee should be commended
for its courageous disclosure of realities, instead of it being an accessory
to the regular “cover-ups” of government ineptitude.
If government were possessed of a like spirit of courageousness to admit to
the facts, and if it then acted constructively thereon, Zimbabwean
agriculture could be restored to its former position of the foundation of
the Zimbabwean economy. To do so would require that much of the actions
under the land reform programme be reversed, and that the programme be
transformed to accord with that agreed at the 1998 Harare Donors Conference,
and again agreed at Abuja. It necessitates that government cease its false
claims that non-compliance with those agreements was due to the
international community reneging upon its undertakings, whereas the truth is
incontestably that those undertakings would have been met had not the
government with unlimited duplicity failed to honour its obligations under
It also requires that government abandon its confrontational stance against
the unjustly displaced white commercial farmers and instead cultivates a
regime of collaboration, cooperation, constructive interaction and dialogue
with them and with the international community, concurrently with determined
efforts to restore law and order in rural areas and to eliminate corruption
associated with the land reform programme. In addition, government must
belatedly accept that no transformation of agriculture can be successfully
achieved unless newly settled farmers are given effective title and
continuing tenure over the lands to be farmed by them. Only ownership by way
of registered title or by very extended transferable leases of at least 49
years duration (if not of effect for 99 years) can provide farmers with
necessary collateral to access working capital, and to motivate them fully
to maximise the productivity of the land.
But, a positive and sound approach to land reform can bring agriculture back
to being the economy’s mainstay, fuelling recovery and growth.
Delusional Huni turns to myth-weaving
THE Sunday Mail’s Munyaradzi Huni cannot be accused of lacking
imagination. Every week he writes one far-fetched story after another
designed to show that the government is not responsible for the chronic mess
the country now finds itself in. It’s all a plot by external forces —
usually the British — working with the MDC to discredit Zimbabwe.
We appreciate it is the role of an apologist to be dishonest about the
causes of national failure. But who buys this deceit? Do you ever hear
people standing in line for a taxi saying: “It’s all a British plot”? Or:
“Poor President Mugabe. He tries to make things better for us but then these
counter-revolutionaries thwart him”?
Last weekend Huni was suggesting in all seriousness that British High
Commissioner Sir Brian Donnelly was paying indigenous businessmen to import
fuel. And as a result there was a shortage of fuel!
Get it? Nor do we!
Deregulation should have eliminated queues, Huni says. But now there
are transport problems. And it’s all the fault of the British who have
bought-off fuel dealers, who we always thought had close links to Zanu PF!
He seems unaware that it is not the business of indigenous fuel
dealers to supply government and public transporters. That is the function
He refers to civil servants who have been “infiltrated” so they sell
Noczim fuel above the gazetted prices. But he doesn’t say which government
employees are involved — after a week of “investigation”.
All players in this “act of sabotage” remained mum, we are
conveniently told. Huni puts “act of sabotage” in quotation marks although
the quotation is entirely his!
He is hopelessly confused about prices. He still thinks the gazetted
price is $1 170 for petrol and $1 060 for diesel.
A “political analyst” from the University of Zimbabwe, who is
understandably shy about disclosing his identity given the intellectual
paucity of his views, believes “the enemies” are fighting “to bring the
economy to its knees”.
Deploying inspectors throughout the provinces to monitor civil
servants was a “first step towards ensuring the enemy did not infiltrate the
No doubt these civil servants will be wearing badges saying: “I have
been infiltrated. I am a British agent. Please arrest me.”
But what we don’t understand is why Huni carries an “enemy-among-us”
story on the front page of the Sunday Mail when on the op/ed pages of the
paper he says the enemy has been defeated and is on the run.
The closure of the Daily News was another sign that the government was
once again victorious, we were told. The opposition’s chief mouthpiece had
been dealt a fatal blow.
“Yes, the British had the BBC, the CNN, Reuters and so on to tell
their lie, but there was need for a local that would seem to be telling the
Zimbabwean lie from a Zimbabwean point of view,” Huni wrote. “The local was
needed for believability and so the Daily News was formed. The MDC had
finally got its mouthpiece and it was show time.”
It is Huni whose “believability” is at risk if he churns out such
falsehoods as the British started the Daily News in order to help the MDC.
The Daily News was launched at the end of March 1999 while the MDC was
formed in September 1999. The Sunday Mail’s political editor doesn’t seem to
know that. And he should tell us what the “Zimbabwe Lawyers Association” is.
“The government saw that Mr (sic) Donnelly was getting out ofhand and
they put him under 24-hour surveillance,” Huni says. “Since then things have
never been the same again.”
How effective is government surveillance if Donnelly can meet with
indigenous fuel dealers on the outskirts of the city and plot to cause a
“Munyaradzi” means “the one who consoles the bereaved, the one who
cheers up or raises the spirits of those who are depressed”.
Living up to his name, Munyaradzi concluded his op/ed piece thus: “Now
Mr Donnelly and his friends have put their tails between their legs and on
the other hand the government is making progress towards the addressing of
the social, economic and political situation in the country.”
So while Donnelly and other running dogs tuck their tails between
their legs, Huni will be wagging his as he is patted on the head for another
entirely delusional piece of journalism aimed at cheering up the
not-so-bright party faithful.
Just who is doing the patting became clear in this week’s Under the
Surface column. It was a robust defence of the Minister of Information’s
intervention in the soccer sector.
Last week Sport minister Aeneas Chigwedere was complaining bitterly
that Jonathan Moyo had usurped his authority in football matters. Worse,
orders had been given for Chigwedere’s views to be ignored by the Herald and
He got his reply on Sunday from the usual bow-wow. Moyo’s favourite
poodle barked furiously at the hapless Chigwedere.
“Well, well, well, what a revelation it was. Don’t write the truth.
Don’t give the other side a chance to talk. Don’t criticise the minister,”
the Under the Surface columnist wrote without the slightest hint of irony,
“even if he was not there when the Warriors were stranded, even if he failed
to raise any money for the Warriors, even if he has promised to come up with
his trust a few weeks before the finals in Tunisia.”
The last point was a response to Chigwedere’s question about who the
patron of the Warriors Trust was.
“That person is also contributing to this mess (at Zifa),” he was
quoted as saying last week. Chigwedere said what was needed was for Vincent
Pamire “to follow the law and not try to invent the law in order to suit his
Moyo was backing Pamire, Chigwedere claimed.
Whatever the polluted politics at the root of the Zifa rot, surely
even Chigwedere can see how things are done nowadays. Every ministry is run
from the Office of the President, including Sport. And if Chigwedere hasn’t
realised that the law is invented according to individual ambitions he has
evidently lost touch with the government of which he is supposedly a part!
It must be obvious to everybody that Chigwedere has been asleep on the
job. It is inevitable that while he slumbered predators should move in on
his belongings. Next they will be writing history books!
The government has identified soccer as a major distraction from
social realities. It is to Zanu PF what bread and circuses were to ancient
Rome. Only we don’t get the bread!
Wayne Bvudzijena has said that if any wrong-doing by police can be
established in the case of Beatrice Mtetwa’s recent ordeal, they will
prosecute those involved, according to radio reports.
Mtetwa, the victim of a hijacking, was beaten up by a police officer
at Borrowdale police station after being arrested at the scene of the crime.
We are pleased to have Bvudzijena’s assurance. At first he said he
didn’t know anything about the case. But will this case be investigated with
the same diligence as that of Job Sikhala? Let’s hope not.
Readers may recall that President Obasanjo, following talks with
President Mugabe earlier this year, was persuaded to write to John Howard
telling him that investigations into the torture of Sikhala were under way.
This was used to show law and order had been restored in Zimbabwe. Now we
Still on the subject of law and order, we were encouraged to see that
Tafataona Mahoso was subjected to a grilling in the Administrative Court
last week. One reason he refused to register the Daily News was because it
had a convicted criminal on its staff, he claimed. He was referring to the
case of Chengetai Zvauya who had been found guilty of criminal defamation in
a case relating to the report of the constitutional commission in 2000.
But wasn’t he aware, the ANZ’s counsel shot back, that the case was
still under appeal? Mahoso didn’t seem to know. Was he an expert on the law?
So should he be judging others?
The point? That all he had to do was stick to the law, not decide
things on the basis of his prejudice towards the independent press.
In this connection, we were intrigued to see a report in the Herald
on Monday in which ZUJ vice-president Isidore Guvamombe accused Misa of
going on a two-week tour of southern Africa without including any ANZ
In a letter to Misa which did not carry a ZUJ letterhead, Guvamombe
accused Misa of wining and dining while ignoring the plight of ANZ
“How on earth do you cash in on the plight of journalists at ANZ
through allocating yourselves huge allowances and hotel bills instead of
practically involving them?” he wanted to know.
In fact the Misa mission to regional states was to brief them on the
status of press freedom in Zimbabwe following the closure of the Daily News.
There were only three people in each group. And they were away for less than
a week. But what interests us is what prompted Guvamombe to write to Misa
when only a couple of weeks earlier he had been privately telling them what
great work they were doing, according to Misa staff.
He now warned that ZUJ was “carefully monitoring” Misa’s “mercenary
attitude and hotel politics which were meant to enrich individuals who
pretended to be champions of media freedom, democracy and accountability”.
Now who does that sound like? If ZUJ has now become the weapon of
certain politicians pursuing a vendetta against the independent press we
would like to know if all ZUJ members agree with this stance. Because
frankly it is unconscionable that threatening letters like this using
identical language to ministerial demagogues should be sent on behalf of ZUJ
as a whole by pathetic little worms who actually don’t give a damn about ANZ
Posted recently on the Chronicle website was this funny little piece
by Mthulisi Mafa spotted by an eagle-eyed Muckraker reader.
“Germany is a country that most Zimbabweans have less interest in
setting their foot on and little is known by many about this European
nation. The little that most of us know about Germany, we owe it largely to
the thick European history that up to now I still do not understand why we
spent most of our valuable time learning at the expense of our own history.
Germany is famous for having been ruled by the world’s most famous despot
Adolph Hitler and it is the home of the poshy automobile Berlin Motorways
Our reader wonders how much of this sort of writing goes unnoticed in
the Chronicle. And we wonder how BMW (Bayerische Motorwerke) will respond to
the rebranding of their models!
Finally, we all had a good chuckle over Stan Mudenge’s proposal to
join the Portuguese Commonwealth. Stan, who occasionally reverts to his role
as an historian, reminded army staff officers this week that Zimbabwe became
a Portuguese colony in the 17th century after Munhumutapa Mavhura Mhande
agreed to pay tribute to the Portuguese crown. He thus became a puppet of
On the basis of these shady dynastic dealings in the north-east of the
country nearly four hundred years ago, Stan now suggests Zimbabwe should
join the Lusophone community. In other words we are to resubmit ourselves to
Portuguese puppetry as retaliation for humiliation at the hands of the
Abuja will be avenged by the fond embrace of Portugal’s conquistadors!
Meanwhile, Muckraker can’t wait to see who will put himself up as
Mugabe’s candidate for Commonwealth secretary-general against Don McK-innon.
Former foreign ministers of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Malaysia have been
mentioned. But none appears prepared to announce his candidacy. Is no one
brave enough to receive the kiss of death?
The guys had a mission
THE president and his
"wives" and thugs maintain that the MDC, Whites, the
British, the US and NGOs are all at fault for the sinking economy. If that
is the case, what has the president done in the past 23 years? What
contribution has he and his ministers (who are by the way our servants)
I know, first
they went with their begging bowl overseas and then promptly
stole, raped and looted. The servants had no time for the people of
Zimbabwe, they were on a mission and even accomplished it by leaving the
the people of Zimbabwe jumped on their bandwagon and became as greedy as
the servants. You see, they didn't want to be alone in corruption. They made
sure that people also became corrupted so they wouldn't feel guilty.
any one of you out there has a heart you would put an end to this
that has hit the country. But again, do you want to?
friends, my father and mother have taught me well and I am proud of being
a common man trying to put food on my family table. I know through prayers
change will come and I hope the new government will bring the thugs to book.
God Bless Zimbabwe.
Number of people settled a betrayal
SO finally the land audit committee's findings are now known? I am happy
that the land reform has ended but feel betrayed by the number of people who
were finally resettled.
A figure of 300 000 families had been tossed around by ministers.
Yes, some of us gave them the benefit of the doubt that
they would be able
to resettle 300 000 families, but here you are. Their own statistics,
gathered by their own team, have revealed that less than half of the
intended beneficiaries have benefited.
What have you to say
for yourselves ministers? Well, in any major exercise
like this one, there are bound to be hiccups. But your case is not helped by
the fact that in the shadows there are special people who got more than one
farm. Who are they? We have not been told.
Why are they being kept a secret? Maybe the
government is guarding against
the possibility of litigation against the government? Yes, it might sound
reasonable. So could we go a step further and wait until President Robert
Mugabe starts dealing with them? We would want to see what he will be doing.
President Mugabe could be trying to make
the land reform look successful.
Yes, there are several quarters that were not happy with the land reform
programme and could have put spanners in the works, but was that not
anticipated? I would assume that in the planning process this could have
been anticipated and government could have lowered its figures.
So now the optics do not look good. Supposing that
indeed the forces that
were derailing the land reform were effective, it becomes difficult for us
now to believe the government because they should have known and likewise
lowered people's expectations. Of course, there were those who would have
pointed fingers and criticised the land reform for being able to serve only
134 000 families. But the government would have created credibility for
itself by sticking to more realistic figures.
initial pressure that would have been exerted on them to justify
allocation for only 134 000 families could have been absorbed and taken just
like any other pressure that was present on their 300 000 figure.
So, should we think that the other 150 000 beneficiaries were
for the extra farms that would be needed by the government's special
President Mugabe should not try to distract
people's attention but should
immediately unravel the mystery of persons with multiple farms. Also, he
should deal with the corruption that was perpetrated by senior government
officials who were supposed to be exemplary.
SINCE the closure of the Daily News, routine reports that cannot find a
place in the weekly papers are not finding their way into the public domain.
As a result the public is not as informed as it should be about reactions to
events here. I am therefore this week devoting some space to filling that
gap, at the same time revealing something of the international consensus
that is emerging on Zimbabwe's persistent abuse of human rights and
violation of its international commitments.
The South African Communist Party is a key partner of the ANC, together with
Cosatu, in South Africa's governing tripartite alliance. Despite the
occasional dispute, SACP members are influential at all levels of the South
African government and in parliament and the trade unions. Their views on
the situation in Zimbabwe are therefore of importance. Below is the party's
response to the arrest of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union members who tried
to demonstrate recently against economic conditions:
"The authorities in Harare need to know
that there is widespread outrage in
South Africa about the detention of trade unionists, the closure of
newspapers, and the brutal harassment of civilians, including very worrying
reports about the systematic rape of women and girls by rampaging youth
"The priority task within Zimbabwe is
the fostering of a climate of
tolerance and respect for the law, a climate that will support rapid
progress in the bilateral talks between Zanu PF and the MDC. This is a
challenge thatconfronts all Zimbabweans, but it is a particular
responsibility of those in authority."
At the same time
the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions had
this to say on the situation in Zimbabwe:
"The ICFTU has lodged a protest with the
International Labour Organisation
over the wave of anti-union arrests and violent assaults being carried out
in Zimbabwe by the country's government…The government's action is the
latest in a string of attacks on the trade union movement, and takes place
as the ZCTU and its affiliates were about to undertake a series of peaceful
protests against spiralling transport and fuel costs, tax hikes, a drastic
shortage of cash and ongoing violations of trade union and human rights by
"Zimbabwe is a
country in deepcrisis, and the actions of President Mugabe's
government are those of a desperate regime. Only when human and trade union
rights are fully respected, and the people of Zimbabwe can live in
conditions of full respect for democracy, can the enormous task ofrebuilding
the country's economy really begin", said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder.
The ICFTU represents 158 million workers in 231 affiliated organisations
Also attracting international attention this week - and
deservedly so - was
the brutal assault by a police officer on prominent lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa.
The New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights has called for a full
independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged
beating which Mtetewa says occurred at Borrowdale police station.
"All persons responsible for serious human rights
abuses must be held
accountable, including members of the security forces," said Neil Hicks,
Director of the Lawyers Committee's Human Rights Defenders Project. "A
prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the alleged assault on
Beatrice Mtetwa must be carried out, and those responsible should be
"Mtetwa, who is an outspoken advocate
for greater respect for basic rights
and has represented many individuals targeted by the government, filed a
sworn statement on October 15, saying that a police officer beat her
severely -at times in plain sight of other officers who did nothing to stop
the blows. She reports that she summoned the police after an attempted
car-jacking on October 12. But rather than pursue the thieves, the police
allegedly detained her, claiming that she was driving while intoxicated.
Mtetwa demanded the administration of a breathalyser and blood test, but no
tests were carried out. Instead, she alleges, a police officer beat her in
the back of a police vehicle and the beating continued, in plain sight of
other officers, when they arrived at the Borrowdale police station. She
subsequently received medical treatment for the injuries sustained to her
head, face, arms, back and thighs. She later identified the police officer
who beat her and filed a complaint against him with the commanding officer
at Borrowdale police station.
attack is part of apattern," Hicks said, "where-by lawyers in
Zimbabwe who pro-vide legal representation to government critics, members of
the political opposition, or other individuals who are unpopular with the
authorities are targeted for abuse.
"Earlier this year," Hicks noted, "Ms Mtetwa
represented Andrew Meldrum, the
Guardian journalist who was illegally deported from Zimbabwe despite a court
order. In March of this year, Gugulethu Moyo, attorney for the now-banned
Daily News, Zimbabwe's last independent daily newspaper, was also physically
assaulted at a police station. In addition to these serious physical
attacks, lawyers in Zimbabwe are routinely threatened and verbally insulted,
as well as being denied access to their clients or otherwise obstructed.
"These are serious
allegations of police brutality and they ought to be
investigated seriously," said Hicks. "We are concerned that this action was
meant not just to intimidate Mtetwa, but to send a message to all
Zimbabweans who might be inclined to stand up for their rights."
He continued: "Attacking such
a high profile figure - and getting away with
it - suggests that no one is safe from these sorts of brutal acts."
That is the conclusion now
being drawn by everybody. Ministers have been
vocal recently in claiming that Zimbabwe is a country in which the rule of
law is observed. At least, that has been their pretext for closing down
newspapers. But it is repeatedly said that people seeking the protection of
the police quickly become their victims. That is a recipe for a complete
collapse of confidence in the force, something we would assume the police
wish to avoid.
has thus become emblematic. It is obvious the rule of law is
upheld only when it suits those in power. Ordinary people don't enjoy its
protection. And defenders of civic rights can expect to become its targets.
What sort of law is that?
Zimbabwe's drums of war
By Delight Magora
BORN on April 18, 1980 and never smelt gunfire. Never had to go 10 days
without a morsel in chapping mouth while running away from white soldiers
and equally dreading an encounter with the black comrades that may result in
you feasting on your own ears and for being a sellout. Never felt UDI and
the threat never to be free in a thousand years.
Never been bogged down by having your father, grandfather, uncle and brother
indiscriminately called "boy". Never had to live in a reserve. Never felt
the pain of watching plush living through the pained eye of the housemaid's
son. Never been so close yet so far from a good education deprived you
because of skin pigmentation. Opportunity robbed from your fate by thieving
Never had to be scolded
simply for being black. Never been hurled in the
courts for belonging to a political party whose members think in a way that
threatens law and order which only exists as defined and lived by a few
elitist group of numbskulls who believe themselves to be next to God and
second Emmanuels with their father's given right to tyranise the guiltless
in the name of civilisation.
Never had 230 volts of electricity greeting your
genitals for being caught
boarding a bus with a brand new pair of jeans since it becomes obvious they
are destined for the terrorists as uniform. Never had to ululate and cheer
as your aunt is bludgeoned to a texture-less pulp of bloodied flesh and
bones for being a witch. Never had to be called back to the home you cannot
return to as your father loses his mind after "they" burnt down the village
and forced him to walk through the whole village naked because he did not
have any beasts for the comrades to slaughter. Never, never, never
But wait comrade; you forget I have seen and have
experienced. I have seen
my neighbours having their property tossed out of their own home after being
labelled "madzakustaku" in the early eighties. And I, all of three years old
being "Kadzakustaku" and being threatened with horrible punishments if I did
not divulge my neighbours' hideout.
I have seen and I have experienced being woken up at 4am at 10 years old to
join the already two-kilometre long bread queue. I have experienced the
five-hour wait to be served only to be told that without four eggs for every
loaf no bread purchases were possible. I have indeed seen the young pregnant
school teacher hammered to death with a shovel for voting no.
I have seen the guiltless rural nurse raped by a gang of deranged
of the Third Chimurenga who believe everyone who does not support the party
in power is a white puppet, a condom of the white man and a justified target
of any act of pure unadulterated evil. I have seen the moral decadence of
the state soldier who forces the drunkard to rape the prostitute without a
condom in the public beer hall with hundreds of revelers forced to cheer on.
More alarmingly I have seen countless friends and
neighbours being brutally
attacked for coming home after seven, wearing anything red or for walking in
pairs. I have seen army tanks being brought into the townships and heavily
armed men going from door-to-door beating everyone senseless because of a
simple demonstration in the neighbourhood. I have seen whole families bashed
for belonging to an unfashionable party.
How dare one fawn upon and call life after 1980 smooth
sailing? War did not
end in 1980 unless you have a very shallow perception of war and have the
same screwed up brain cell that causes some people to believe that they own
a struggle; that the very notion of struggle should be construed to mean
what went on in the 1970s. Without doubt we all have a profound respect for
the real warrior of the liberation. The nameless faceless individual lying
in some shallow grave in Mozambique or Zambia. The guy who dropped out of
school to fight for his beliefs without ever hoping to occupy a seat in
parliament or to be driven in a state Mercedes.
The very same principles of discrimination that treated the average man like
an animal which made most people take up arms are being reintroduced into
our society by the same people who purport to have fought to dislodge these
principles of discrimination. To make it worse my opinion of evil and
instruments of oppression are now being rebranded and being given
nice-sounding accolades like protection of sovereignty, Posa, etc.
The founding murders of the Zimbabwe's future have been lavished
imaginable luxury from the ailing coffers of a bankrupt economy while the
raped taxpayer continues unable to afford a loaf of bread, let alone butter.
What difference is there between someone who sells you out to an enemy bent
on killing you for what seems to be nothing more than sport and someone who
mismanages the economy of close to 15 million innocent victims of arrogance?
Can anyone really distinguish between the hunger suffered
by a group of
villagers in 1976 when they were prevented from farming for sustenance by a
raging war and the hunger of someone who owns 10 hectares of land and is
still unable to afford to put a single meal on the table for days on end?
Indeed the war is still being fought but on a different
battlefield and with
a rather ambiguous enemy. Who really are we to fight to get food? Tony
Blair? George Bush? The Queen? Robert Mugabe? Zanu PF or MDC? Frankly I do
not particularly care. What I am concerned with most is providing for my
family, kith and kin and whoever stops me from doing that is my enemy and
the war is that of survival. It matters not who hinders my life, be it
Blair, Bush, His Excellency or Her Majesty I will battle tooth and nail to
secure the dignity of my peers and their right to eat.
struggle is to make me and mine suffer, then I accept that as an
open declaration of hostilities and you can feel free to label me an enemy
of your struggle. What struggle is it that is fought to inflict pain and
suffering on your own people? My concern begins and ends with the man devoid
of power and wealth. Someone who just wants to see his children grow up
educated and able to fend for themselves and their own families. A person
not particularly concerned about who occupies what seat in which state
may be wondering who or what I am and whom I am affiliated with. Ladies
and gentlemen I am simply that spirit in every individual that refuses to
accept or support slogans. It makes no difference to me what promises and
lies you whisper ever so softly to my ear. All I am concerned with at the
end of the day is results.
Delight Magora is a Harare-based writer.
Zanu PF desperately needs a saviour
By Chido Makunike
CONFUSION reigns over the issue of who will step into President Mugabe's
shoes as head of Zanu PF after he steps aside, despite written down
procedures of what is supposed to happen in such an event. As pressure on
Mugabe to go mounts, maneouvring to be in line to take over from him is
intense in the ruling party.
This is an issue of interest to all Zimbabweans because of the great
possibility that whoever emerges as leader of Zanu PF after Mugabe will also
become president of the country. If the succession is conducted cleanly and
democratically and a popular, well-respected ruling party member heads the
party, it could be rejuvenated from its current doldrums.
That new leader might be able to win a
presidential election against even a
strong Movement for Democratic Change candidate, despite the significant
recent electoral gains of the main opposition party. The widespread
antipathy to Zanu PF is concentrated in the person of Robert Mugabe and the
destruction he has left in his wake, more than it is to the party itself.
Despite years of corruption, national decline and increasing repression,
there remains residual goodwill towards it as a movement that could be
harnessed to win over a large part of the electorate were Mugabe no longer
on the scene.
If, as is entirely
possible, Mugabe's successor as ruling party leader is
someone as tired, discredited and washed up as he, that successor could
still work himself to be president of the country. An unpopular Zanu PF
leader could still end up ruling us whether we like it or not, as some
cynics would argue is happening now. So we all have a stake in who takes
over from Mugabe as Zanu PF leader.
It is interesting that within Zanu PF talk of Mugabe's exit
is only from the
viewpoint of when he will be ready to step down. Known pretenders to the
throne cowardly scamper and deny any interest in the position when they are
asked about it. Mugabe so dominates his party and is so feared that there is
virtually no thought of pushing him out as party leader on the grounds of
the disrepute he has brought it into from its previous lofty heights in
Zanu PF is at a
juncture of crisis in its leadership now, but who is
brave/reckless enough to possibly save the party by challenging the
tottering king? No one that I can see! The ruling party has been brought so
low in public opinion and is so inextricably linked with Mugabe's failures
that it could disintegrate into open factions on the fall of Mugabe,
particularly if that coincides with an election in which the opposition is
well prepared, and also if Mugabe's successor as party leader is poorly
chosen. One would have thought the founders of the once mighty Zanu PF would
have the interests of the successful continuity of their creation at heart
more than the fear of Mugabe, but that does not appear to be the case. So a
whole political party will continue to watch its fortunes and prospects
decline out of the fear and idolisation of one man!
I simply cannot imagine a scenario where any
players in the party would rise
to the occasion of saving their party from eventual political obliteration
by scheming to oust an incumbent who seems to put his own ego and personal
interests above those of his party and nation. Mugabe will therefore likely
go if and when he is good and ready, rather than when it is best for Zanu PF
and for Zimbabwe, which would be immediately. Part of the reason that Mugabe
is allowed to get away with being virtual monarch rather than mere party
leader, in addition to control by inducement of fear, is that Zanu PF no
longer has any defining ideology.
formal plan of succession based on party seniority cannot be ignored,
but neither can it be taken as immutable. Scheming could easily take
precedence over procedure, as has been the case in many other cases in the
party's history before and after Independence.
Emerson Mnangagwa would appear
to be Mugabe's preferred successor. They go a
long way back together. He is unlikely to do a "Mwanawasa" on Mugabe like
the current Zambian president, handpicked by his predecessor Frederick
Chiluba has done on his benefactor. Mugabe's secrets and any sins committed
by him are likely to be quite safe with Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa is intimately familiar with Mugabe's
methods of keeping dissenters
and independent thinkers in the party in line, so continuity in this regard
would likely be assured. Mnangagwa, like Mugabe, is more feared than he is
respected and so in this regard party members may hardly notice any change
from a handover from the latter to the former. Some have said Mnangagwa is
about as charismatic as a wet blanket. In Zimbabwean and African politics
lack of charm is not much of a hindrance to attaining power, as there are
more innovative and effective ways of getting it than appealing to the
people's hearts and minds!
often invoke Simba Makoni's name as a possible party
successor to Mugabe. I think this can be ruled out for many reasons. He has
not shown any signs of the ruthlessness that would be required of a Zanu PF
point is that Makoni seems too soft and gentle to keep an unwieldy gang
such as Zanu PF together. Nice guys have no hope of getting very far in Zanu
PF. His reputation for being relatively clean in most respects may have
endeared him to many Zimbabweans who are tired of the crookedness we have
become accustomed to from Zanu PF politicians, but this is precisely what
would make him suspect among many of the party's top guns.
corrupt top barons of the party might settle for him as a
temporary last resort if they were convinced there was no way to avoid an
internationally monitored presidential election in which it would be
difficult to employ the traditional tactics of "winning". Makoni has the
good name and image locally and internationally that few others in Zanu PF
who are talked about as possible future presidents still have.
But even this is a very
long-shot scenario that gives Zanu PF more credit
for self-preserving good sense than they may have or deserve.
It would be fascinating to see if Zanu PF has grown beyond being a preserver
of the Shona elite's interests to having a former member of bitter foe Zapu
and an Ndebele being its leader. The official party dogma is that all these
issues were resolved with the unity accord of 1987, but this remains to be
really tested. Certainly among a bunch of bad apples forming the party's top
leadership John Nkomo is not as bad as some of those pretending to the
throne. Being from a party that was swallowed whole by the ruling party and
being from outside the Shona hegemonic groups, he would have to play his
cards unusually well to land the top post and keep control over many of the
time being under Mugabe the ruling party continues reeling from
events out of its control that threaten to send it into political oblivion
on the same trip that sends Mugabe into an inglorious exit.
Chido Makunike is a
Zimbabwe: betrayal of a people's revolution
By Henning Melber
RE-CAST as political parties, liberation movements in southern Africa have
since taking over power in their respective domains sought to gain
predominant positions in the political arena, as well as within most, if not
all, state and parastatal structures. In these two areas they have largely
prevailed while also securing a power of definition in the political arena
through the shaping or manipulation of public political discourse to suit
Why has the Zanu PF government abandoned democratic principles and/or
practices? Why has it failed in achieving its once-sacrosanct goal of
socio-economic transformation aimed at reducing inherited imbalances in the
distribution of wealth? Why is it violating human rights when it once fought
In examining such
issues, contributors to a just published volume probed
beyond the myths and legends which have long surrounded southern Africa's
liberation movements to take on board the fact that while these
organisations were waging war on systems of institutionalised injustice,
they did not always display a sensitivity to human rights issues and
democratic values. Nor did it prevent them from falling prey to
authoritarian patterns of rule and undemocratic practices towards real or
imagined dissidents within their ranks.
An argument is that the political change which has occurred in
southern African societies shaped by settler colonialism can be
characterised as a transition from controlled change to changed control. A
ruling new political elite has ascended the commanding heights and employed
selective narratives and memories relating to their liberation wars.
They have constructed a new set of traditions to establish an exclusive
post-colonial legitimacy under the sole authority of one particular agency
of social forces. Mystification of the liberators has played an essential
role in this fabrication. They have also developed militant notions of
inclusion or exclusion as key factors in shaping their post-colonial
Early post-independence notions of national reconciliation and slogans like
"unity in diversity" have given way to a politically-correct identity form
defined by those in power along narrow "we-they" or "with-us-against-us"
lines. Simultaneously, the boundaries between party and government have been
blurred and replaced by a growing equation of party and government.
Opposition or dissent has come
increasingly to be considered as hostile and
the dissenter sometimes branded as an "enemy of the people".
In a University of Amsterdam doctoral
thesis of 2001, KP Yap argued on
Zimbabwe that power relations had changed, but "perceptions of power had not
changed. The layers of understanding regarding power relations, framed by
socialisation and memory, continued to operate …the way in which the new
actors executed power in relation to opposition had not (changed), as their
mental framework remained in the colonial setting."
Coinciding with this tendency towards autocratic
rule and the subordination
of the state to the party, a reward system of social and material favours in
return for loyalty has emerged.
term "national interest" has been appropriated and now means solely what
the post-colonial ruling elite decides it means. It is used to justify all
kinds of authoritarian practices while the term "anti-national" or
"unpatriotic" is applied to any group that resists the power of the ruling
elite of the day.
Simultaneous to the above, outside of the inner sanctum of the
arena and within civil society critical voices have emerged, including even
those of some who played roles as active supporters of the liberation
struggle, and others who followed it with great sympathy. A new and sharper
debate has emerged, one which deals increasingly with the post-colonial
content of liberation, questions the validity of the concept of solidarity
based on a shared past, and calls for the end of the cultivation of "heroic
narratives". The much-celebrated attainment of formal independence is no
longer unreservedly equated with liberation, neither with the creation of
lasting democracy. Now, closer scrutiny is paid to both the inherited and
self-developed structural legacies which have imposed limits to the
realising of real social and economic alternatives in the post-colonial era.
One of these involves a growing recognition that armed
operating along military lines in conditions of clandestinity were not
suitable breeding grounds for establishing democratic systems of governance
after independence. Thus it should come as no surprise that aspects of the
colonial system have reproduced themselves in the struggle for its abolition
and subsequently, in the concepts of governance applied in post-colonial
There is a parallel here to
Alexis de Toqueville's celebrated retrospective
on the shortcomings of the French Revolution. It reflected the frustration
provoked by the restoration of old power structures under Louis Napoleon
after his coup d'état in 1851 and provides relevant insights to our southern
African cases. De Toqueville argued that the French revolutionaries in the
process of implementing the structures of the new system retained the
mentalities, habits, even the ideas, of the old state while seeking to
destroy it. And they built on the rubble of the old state to establish the
foundation of the new society.
To understand the revolution and its achievement, he
concluded, one has to
forget about the current society and instead interrogate the buried one.
His conclusion was that the early freedom of the revolution had been
replaced by another form of repression. Revolutionaries in the process of
securing, establishing and consolidating their power bases, had sacrificed
the declared ideals and substantive issues they were fighting for in the
name of revolution.
Melber is research director of the Nordic Africa Institute in
Mail and Guardian
Zimbabwe police release 78 protestors
24 October 2003 16:23
Police in Zimbabwe have
released 78 civil rights protestors arrested earlier
this week for demonstrating for a new Constitution, a rights group official
said on Friday.
Douglas Mwonzora, the vice chairperson of the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) said 77 protestors were released on Thursday after paying
fines, but NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku was only released on Friday.
"He has been charged with conduct likely to lead to riots," said Mwonzora.
He said the NCA chairperson appeared at a court on Friday and was freed
after paying 10 000 Zimbabwe dollars ($12) bail.
On Wednesday at least 100 NCA demonstrators were arrested as they tried to
hold a demonstration in a central Harare park. Some of them claim to have
been beaten while in police custody.
The NCA has since 1999 been campaigning for a new constitution. In 2000 it
successfully lobbied Zimbabweans to reject a proposed constitution drafted
by a state-appointed commission.
The group continues to hold regular demonstrations against the government.
Demonstrations without police permission are illegal under the country's
strict Public Order and Security Act (POSA). – Sapa-AFP
Sunday Times (SA)
Zimbabwe doctors strike
Friday October 24, 2003 17:45 - (SA)
HARARE - Doctors at Zimbabwe's government
hospitals have gone on an
indefinite strike demanding an 8,000 percent pay increase, their union
leader said today.
"The strike started around midday yesterday," Phibion Manyanga, president of
the Hospital Doctors Association, said.
The doctors, who earn a gross monthly salary of 378,000 Zimbabwean dollars
(473 US dollars), are demanding that their new basic salaries be pegged at
30 million dollars (37,500 US dollars), he said.
The strike has affected hospitals in the capital Harare, the cities of
Bulawayo and Masvingo, and the town of Chitungwiza, south of the capital.
Only foreign consultant doctors hired by government from Cuba and the
Democratic Republic of Congo are at work at the affected hospitals.
Manyanga said his association had written to the government on several
occasions asking for a review of their wages, but there had been no positive
"We were patient, we were trying to reach a compromise, but they
(government) closed the door on us and we were left with no option but to go
"We feel for us our patients...but a disgruntled doctor is more dangerous at
work. So it's better to stay at home," he said.
Pay-related national strikes by Zimbabwe's government hospital doctors have
become an almost annual tradition.
In some years, the strikes last for as long as several months.
White Zimbabwe farmers bring welcome cash to Zambia
By Shapi Shacinda
LUSAKA, Oct. 24 — Growing numbers of white farmers have
settled in Zambia
after fleeing Zimbabwe's land seizures, bringing more than $100 million in
investments with them, a Zambia Investments Centre official said on Friday.
Zambia is emerging from a severe food shortage that affected more
than 14 million people at its peak earlier this year. The impoverished
country has put agriculture at the top of its agenda, seeking to boost
output and farming skills.
''Zimbabwe investors in farming have collectively invested a total of
$107.6 million from 1993, of which $46.3 million has been invested from the
year 2002 to September 2003,'' said Richard Chavula, the acting Director of
Operations of Zambia's official investment promotion agency.
Many white commercial farmers have left Zimbabwe since the government
began a programme of seizing land for redistribution to landless blacks,
often accompanied by violent farm occupations.
Government officials say some Zimbabwean farmers have bought Zambian
farms for as much as $1 million.
Chivula said Zimbabwean farmers would bring in much-needed expertise
and help boost production, especially in tobacco. He estimated Zimbabwean
investment would raise tobacco production from the current 4 million kg per
year to 20 million kg within five years.
Chavula said no virgin land had been allocated to the farmers, who
are buying or leasing farms from Zambian farmers.
But farmers were free to apply for state land, he said, adding 70
percent of Zambia's arable land was not being used and was available for
acquisition by local or foreign investors.
Chavula said 10 farmers settled in Zambia between 1993 and 2002,
while 31 farmers moved in between 2002 and September this year after their
Zimbabwean farms were seized.
In March, the ZIC said it had received 125 applications from Zimbabwe
farmers seeking to settle in Zambia. The white farmers have also fled to
other nearby countries, notably Mozambique, and helped shore up their rural
Give a man a fish...
24/10/2003 14:52 - (SA)
Chiredzi/Zaka, Zimbabwe - A huddle of children line up to wave
to a convoy
of aid vehicles bumping along a dusty track. In one corner of Zaka, a poor
remote part of southeastern Zimbabwe, 32 000 people survive without the
barest necessities of life.
There's no public transport - apart from donkey-drawn carts - no piped
water, and the nearest light bulb used to be 6km away.
Crop-raising is fraught with risk: hippopotamuses from a nearby dam are
hungry too. And there's no money to build fences to protect precious yields.
But aid organisations and donor support have brought a glimmer of hope to
this impoverished area. A fishing co-operative in Zaka communal lands feeds
hundreds with a valuable source of protein and provides employment for a
Villagers living near the Tavatose Fishing Cooperative, built on Manjirenji
Dam have seen their lives revolutionised.
"Today we are lucky. We have electricity in our warehouses and lights in our
cottages," said Timothy Mangwayana, a member of the co-operative. "Now we
are able to keep fish in good quality and sell it at a good price."
The co-operative - a hot six-hour drive from Zimbabwe's capital Harare - was
begun 17 years ago. Workers then raised the fish and sold it dry: there was
no means of preserving it.
But support from the French government has enabled the co-operative to
install solar panels to run deep freezes to preserve their catches.
The success of the feeding scheme and the fish project here are only too
evident - there are no signs of starvation, no obviously hungry children.
Ester Shayamano, an agricultural official who has come to visit the project,
said she too used to supplement her income by reselling fish she bought at
She said the supplementary feeding programme, as well as fish from the dam,
mean that people here look surprisingly healthy, despite the shortages of
food currently ravaging the country.
Encouraged, the French government is to pump another €600 000 (about R5m) to
projects like these in the region, said French Ambassador Didier Ferrand.
"You have the expertise, we have the resources. We can work together," he
said at a commissioning ceremony.
Three hours' drive away, the French tricolor flag painted on a sign
announces that country's support for the Chieha Sustainable Water
It is the only splash of colour in the dry, barren and dusty Sangwe communal
lands of Chiredzi district, near Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique.
At a site 100m from the Save River, Gladman Chibememe kneels down to open a
red tap set in the ground. It releases water stored in a reservoir and water
"These are the holy waters," he says, smacking his lips.
With water from the borehole - drilled within the last year with aid from
donors - the members of the project plan to start growing vegetables and to
start an orchard.