|Posted October 19, 2005|
andra Nyaira was on a career high when she left Zimbabwe three years ago. For her work as political editor of the country’s leading independent newspaper the Daily News, she had earned a prestigious Courage in Journalism Award from the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation. After traveling to the United States to receive the prize, Nyaira attended the journalism master’s program at City University in London on a scholarship.
Nyaira expected to be back at her job in Zimbabwe in a year. She has yet to return.
President Robert Mugabe’s government, after several unsuccessful attempts to muzzle the Daily News, finally succeeded in closing the popular daily in 2003 amid an escalating crackdown on the independent media. Family and colleagues warned Nyaira, who had already been arrested once on criminal defamation charges, that it would be foolhardy to return home.
Now Nyaira lives in Somerset, England, eking out a living doing odd jobs. She wonders at age 30 whether the career at which she excelled—the one for which she once risked her freedom—will be open to her again.
“We’re rotting away here,” said Nyaira, referring to her exiled Zimbabwean colleagues.
At least 90 Zimbabwean journalists, including many of the nation’s most prominent reporters, now live in exile in South Africa, other African nations, the United Kingdom, and the United States, making it one of the largest groups of exiled journalists in the world, an analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. CPJ traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa, and to London, conducting 34 interviews with exiled Zimbabwean journalists, analysts, and human rights advocates.
Some of these exiled journalists left as a direct result of political persecution, others because the government’s crackdown virtually erased opportunities in the independent press. Authorities have routinely detained and harassed journalists in the past five years to quash reporting on human rights, economic woes, and political opposition to the regime, CPJ research has found. Repressive legislation such as the 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act criminalizes journalism without a government license.
The crackdown has taken a devastating toll on Zimbabwe’s independent media. Once home to a robust press corps, Zimbabwe today has no independent daily newspapers, no private radio news coverage, and just two prominent independent weeklies. Journalists remaining in Zimbabwe are either without jobs in their profession, or they work under threat of laws that, among other things, set prison terms of up to 20 years for publishing false information deemed prejudicial to the state.
Zimbabwean citizens are denied access to diverse, questioning voices at a time when the Mugabe administration, emboldened by this year’s election victory, wields power more aggressively than ever. For instance, the government’s “Operation Murambatsvina”—or “Drive Out Trash”—has destroyed the homes and livelihoods of an estimated 700,000 Zimbabweans. Done under the guise of urban renewal, the demolitions are aimed at breaking strongholds of political opposition, critics say.
pread as far as New Zealand, the exiled journalists have made their homes among the estimated three to four million members of the Zimbabwean diaspora. Unemployment, political violence, and human rights abuses have fueled a steady stream of emigration from Zimbabwe since the late 1990s, according to a study released this year by the International Organization for Migration. The survey of 1,000 Zimbabwean expatriates in South Africa and the United Kingdom found that most are professionals, whose absence creates “concerns for the longer-term future of Zimbabwe.” Zimbabwe’s exiled media reflect similar patterns.
Journalists such as Urginia Mauluka, a former Daily News photographer beaten and detained while covering an opposition political rally in 2001, initially left for temporary respite only to delay their return as press conditions deteriorated. Others such as Abel Mutasakani, who left for South Africa in 2004, decided that only by leaving their country could they honestly report on events in Zimbabwe. And some such as Magugu Nyathi, whose newspaper, The Tribune, was shut in 2003, saw no job prospects at home.
“As professionals we said ‘How do we continue?’” recalled Mutsakani, who served briefly as managing editor of the Daily News until authorities shut the paper. “I felt we had a choice. We could sit back in Zimbabwe, but that would be tantamount to surrender,” Mutsakani said. Instead, he and several colleagues went to South Africa and started the Web publication, ZimOnline.
But some did not have the luxury of planning an exit. In February, three Zimbabwe correspondents for foreign media outlets—Angus Shaw of The Associated Press, Bryan Latham of Bloomberg News, and Jaan Raath of The Times of London—faced imminent arrest after being accused of spying and publishing information detrimental to the state. They left behind their homes, families, and decadeslong careers.
Most journalists interviewed by CPJ have found exile a bitter experience, even as they point out that they have greater security than many colleagues back home. To penetrate competitive media job markets abroad, many must secure work permits and prove their qualifications anew. A few have secured jobs with international media outlets, but most make ends meet by working in factories, service jobs, or clerical positions.
“It feels very frustrating. It is very, very difficult for a foreigner to break into mainstream journalism here,” said Conrad Nyamutata, former chief reporter with the Daily News who now lives in Leicester, England. “Very few of us have managed to get work in the field.”
The emotional cost is high as well. Dingilizwe Ntuli, a former correspondent for the Sunday Times, said that adjusting to life in South Africa and leaving his family— including his ailing father who died before Ntuli could see him again—had thrust him into depression.
“When you are forced to leave your country of birth, it is devastating,” said Ntuli, whose first name means “wanderer.” Though he now works again for the Times out of Johannesburg, Ntuli said he was out of the profession and disenchanted with journalism for a long period. “I felt nothing was worth living for. I gave my all to journalism and what happened? I lost my home.”
imbabwean journalists in exile stand out in size and prestige—CPJ interviewed at least four winners of international awards for this report—but their situation is not unique. A crackdown in Eritrea and the threat of imprisonment in Ethiopia spurred flights of more than two dozen journalists to Kenya, Sudan, Europe, and North America. Communities of Burmese and Cuban journalists have been publishing in exile for years, becoming valuable sources of information on their closed societies. The exodus of Zimbabwean journalists has led to the emergence of similar media-in-exile that strive to keep news flowing about their homeland.
Behind the walls of a nondescript office complex on the outskirts of London, Gerry Jackson and her staff at SW Radio are fighting to broadcast within Zimbabwe. Jackson started SW Radio in 2001, after the government closed Capital Radio, her first independent radio venture in Zimbabwe. From London, SW Radio broadcasts programs into Zimbabwe in English and in the Shona and Ndebele languages. “Radio is such a lifeline to people there who feel forgotten,” Jackson said. “It gives them a sense of creating dialogue.”
But the station suffered a major setback this year when the Zimbabwean government succeeded in jamming its shortwave broadcasts. Jackson tried to overcome the obstacle by broadcasting on multiple frequencies, but this costly arrangement proved unsustainable and the station now sends programming online and via medium wave—methods that draw very limited audiences within Zimbabwe, though accessible to the diaspora.
In Johannesburg, working in an office unmarked for security reasons, editors of ZimOnline focus on getting breaking news out of Zimbabwe and into the international community. Launched in South Africa in 2004 by Zimbabwean journalists and lawyers, the site is intended to be a news service for international media to pick up “the real Zimbabwean story,” according to its managing editor, Abel Mutsakani.
“No news groups are allowed in Zimbabwe so news is not coming out from the ground,” said Mutsakani, who relies on an in-country network of sources for information. “We want to tell the story of ordinary people, especially black Zimbabweans, who suffer the most from food shortages and unemployment.”
Zimbabwean law does not explicitly bar foreign publications from circulating without a license. Wilf Mbanga, a cofounder of the Daily News, used that opening to launch The Zimbabwean newspaper this year. From a small cottage in Hythe on the southern coast of England, Mbanga and his wife produce the weekly, which the couple said has a circulation of 30,000 in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and in Zimbabwe. The paper relies on largely unpaid contributions by Zimbabwean journalists in exile, as well as some anonymous reporting in the country.
Mbanga, who left Zimbabwe with his wife and “one suitcase each” in 2003 to take a fellowship in the Netherlands, decided he couldn’t return home after a story he published on the militant activities of youth groups in Zimbabwe landed him the official status of “enemy of the people.”
“While I was in the Netherlands I felt cut off from news at home,” he said. “I realized I would have liked a newspaper with Zimbabwean news available for the diaspora.”
Media-in-exile also include Studio Seven, a radio service on the U.S.-government funded Voice of America in Washington that is staffed mainly by exiled Zimbabwean journalists. An online version of the Daily News is produced out of South Africa, while NewZimbabwe.com, featuring tabloid-style news and commentary online, is produced out of Wales. In August, Zimbabwean journalists in London launched Zimbeat.com, a news, culture, and commentary Web site.
Mugabe’s government has taken notice. The state-owned Herald newspaper has published articles lambasting The Zimbabwean as “a propaganda tool for the former colonial power Britain.”
Despite their growth, the exile media face serious challenges. Reliant on private donations and charitable foundations, with little or no advertising revenue, they struggle to be financially viable. And while these outlets have had success reaching the diaspora, their reach within Zimbabwe is limited to urban and affluent populations.
With shoestring budgets, limited access to government information, and few fact-checking resources, some exile media also struggle to establish credibility. Pervasive anonymity in their reports exacerbates the problem. To protect sources in Zimbabwe and family members back home, many contributors to The Zimbabwean use pseudonyms while ZimOnline does not use bylines at all.
“It is easy for the government to discredit an unknown voice coming from so far away,” said Geoffrey Nyarota, former editor-in-chief of the Daily News, who has been in exile in the United States since December 2002.
Still, the exile media play an important role for the diaspora. Daniel Mololeke, who recently launched an organization of expatriate Zimbabwean journalists called the Media Reference Group, said the exile media maintain unity and build identity in the diaspora. “Media is the glue that holds Zimbabweans living outside their country together,” said Mololeke, a former lawyer and now a columnist for NewZimbabwe.com.
hether Zimbabwean journalists become entrenched in exile appears closely linked to political and economic developments at home. The majority of Zimbabwean exiles interviewed for this report told CPJ it would take not only the end of Mugabe’s rule, but reform of the country’s media laws, and a loosening of the ruling party Zanu-PF’s control for conditions to allow their return. At least some, though, say they would return now if there were job opportunities in journalism.
Nyarota, the former Daily News founder and editor, said the return of exiled journalists is important to the future of democracy in Zimbabwe. Nyarota, who hopes to return home, noted that national elections in 2001, when independent media outlets still dotted Zimbabwe’s media landscape, were far more competitive than this year’s vote, when the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was nearly shut out of press coverage.
Though critics accused the Zanu-PF of manipulating this year’s polls, “cheating was not necessary for them to win,” Nyarota said. The lack of media diversity, he said, ensured the ruling party’s victories.
For now, financial and professional needs are plentiful, both in Zimbabwe and in the exiled community. Scores of journalists in Zimbabwe have been left unemployed in their profession by the closing of media outlets. Some exiled journalists seek funding for new and existing media projects; others need professional work, training, and education.
Nyaira and some of her colleagues started the Association of Zimbabwean Journalists in the United Kingdom as a first step in addressing those needs. “There is no question— eventually people will go back,” she said. “And when we do, there will be a lot of work to do.”
Elisabeth Witchel is journalist assistance coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Gretchen L. Wilson, a freelance journalist based in Johannesburg, contributed to this story.
By Tererai Karimakwenda & Violet Gonda
25 October 2005
Elections in Zimbabwe seem to always bring an escalation of violence,
and it is usually ZANU-PF supporters and state agents attacking opposition
candidates. But the senate elections due next month have brought allegations
of a different type of violence. MDC officials who have decided to contest
the election say they have received threatening telephone calls and we have
reports that some of them went into hiding on Monday after receiving the
threats. All sides of the senate argument believe however that the violence
issue is not being addressed by the top leadership.
Journalist Peta Thornycroft who wrote an article for the Daily
Telegraph newspaper said failure by the executive to deal with several
incidents over the last few months is at the core of the slow disintegration
of the opposition. She said the attempted murder of Guhu and assaults
against other officials in May are issues that are still unresolved.
Thornycroft said those in favour of participating in the senate race and
those against it are both distressed by the violence. But she believes they
are all concerned about the lack of action to resolve it.
MDC youth have been blamed for some of the violence and even national
youth chairman, Kuwadzana MP Nelson Chamisa, has been accused of
involvement. Some reports say he has been phoning candidates and making
threats should they insist on running. But describing himself as a complete
and competent apostle of non-violence Chamisa denied these allegations. He
told us Tuesday that he believes in using persuasion to sway the opinions of
his opponents and that he never made any threats. Asked whether those
running for senate seats would be safe in Harare and other urban areas,
Chamisa said he cannot guarantee their safety because he is not a God and
because many people are angry.
Chamisa named Shakespeare Maya, who is running for the Chitungwiza
seat, and Chamunorwa and Mudzingwa who are after seats in Harare, as
candidates that people are upset with. He said the anger is because they
were not chosen by any electorate to represent those areas and they breached
the constitution. "If I were to guarantee their safety," he said "I would be
exaggerating my generosity".
Thornycroft says there is a strong belief that the violence is being
coordinated in Harare. There are also serious allegations that someone is
sponsoring it financially because it is well organised. She told us that
violence threatens to bring an end to the MDC that was formed in September
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
by Oskar Wermter
Many families have sons and daughters overseas. Many survive because
of the support they get from their children working in foreign countries.
There are now many more people from Zimbabwe in Britain than there ever were
British people in what is now Zimbabwe. Who is conquering whom? Who is
winning? At least in terms of numbers the answer is clear.
Some are prosperous. They have secure jobs and are "legal", especially
all those many working in the medical field, nursing and caring for the
aging populations of the industrialised North. A good number feel settled,
have got used to the high living standards and have no intention of ever
returning "home". A few even go so far as to say, appalled by the daily bad
news from Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular, that they no longer
consider themselves Zimbabweans, "It is no longer my country". But how can
people really cut their roots entirely? If not in life then at least in
death Zimbabweans return home: vast sums are spent on flying their bodies
back to Zimbabwe for burial at home.
Others are clearly home-sick. With every fibre of their being they
long for change in Zimbabwe and are deeply pained by their country's decay.
But they cannot go back, not just yet. Even in the case of parents or
brothers or sisters dying they would not dare to enter the country for fear
of being arrested.
Then there are the many - nobody knows their number - who reside in
Britain "illegally": no residence or work permit; they are being hunted and
if caught face deportation. Companies employing them, often for substandard
wages, face stiff fines and prosecution. They came to Britain as tourists
with short-term visas, and overstayed their welcome. Others had study
permits, which expired after they left college. If they leave to visit their
families back home they cannot re-enter. So they have to stay and cannot go
home even if the husband or wife, a child or parent dies at home.
Some faithfully support wives and children whom they have not seen for
many years and will not be able to see for a long time. Some disappear,
their families in Zimbabwe do not know where they are, there is no contact,
no communication. Marriages and families break up, resulting in poverty and
Some illegals, unable to find work and to pay their bills, throw in
the towel and go back home, defeated and disillusioned, bitter and angry.
Some go home because they are sick, incurably, so as to die at home cared
for by their loved ones with their last precious US dollars and pound
Storming "Fortress Europe"
It is a distressing sight, especially for proud African patriots and
Pan-Africanists, those men and women and children from Africa who risk their
lives trying to cross the Mediterranean to enter Spain or Italy. The Spanish
enclaves Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco are about to raise their barbed wire
fences from three to six metres. But they keep coming. According to experts
up to 18 million people from impoverished African countries are attracted by
Europe's prosperity and ready to storm the old continent's defences.
Is this the answer to Europe's demographic decline? Are these refugees
from Africa's political and economic disaster going to make up for the
children Europe is unable or unwilling to give birth to (many European
countries have birth rates below replacement level)? Is Africa to be written
off as a permanent disaster zone unable to rule herself and develop her
potential? Or does Africa need population experts and radical birth control
measures as a first defensive wall so that those 18 million never
The Mediterranean Sea does not separate Europe and Africa, but is a
link between the two who will have to accept each other as neighbours.
Oskar Wermter SJ
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Posted to the web on: 26 October 2005
CAPE TOWN - What if the mysterious missing mealies do not exist or never get
That is fertiliser company Profert's response to questions raised by the
crop-estimates committee over the discrepancy between the official forecast
of a bumper 12,18-million tons for this year's maize harvest, and the
9,65-million tons that have been delivered so far.
The committee suspects that at least part of the shortfall may be explained
by farmers reacting to low maize prices by feeding some of the crop to
There has also been speculation that the recent introduction of giant
plastic storage bags has allowed farmers to store maize safely and cheaply
in the hope that prices will improve.
Profert's crop estimate for the 2005-06 season is 10,2-million tons, based
on the actual intake between May and September of 9,65-million tons, plus a
forward extrapolation of the past five years' average intake for the rest of
The company, which has been disputing the official estimate of a bumper crop
in an advertising campaign that started last month, warns that inflated crop
expectations have not only depressed prices but could result in too little
maize being planted now to ensure an adequate crop next year.
Director Abie van der Walt says past experience shows that farmers are
reluctant to plant when the maize price is lower than R975 a ton. Maize
futures on Safex, the JSE's agricultural derivatives division, finished
lower yesterday. December white maize was down R23 at R853 a ton, and
December yellow maize dropped R17 to R770 a ton.
"We are of the opinion that prices will surpass (R975 a ton) in the near
future," Van der Walt said. "However, time (to plant) is running out and we
do not expect plantings of more than 2,1-million hectares, or a yield of
6,3-million tons of maize - an alarming scenario."
Profert says it believes that demand for South African maize from southern
African countries, many of which have been crippled by severe drought and
the inefficient use of resources, has also been underestimated.
Zimbabwe used to produce up to 2,5-million tons of maize a year, but Profert
expects its crop to be negligible this year.
The South African Grain Information Service estimates that only 1,7-million
hectares of land will be put under maize in SA this year, which at a yield
of 3,3 tons a hectare would give a harvest of just 5,6-million tons.
Assuming a carryover of 2,8-million tons from this season to the next and
exports of 2-million tons of maize to the subregion next season, Profert
believes SA could experience a shortage of more than 3-million tons of
Issue 12 - October, 2005
Posted on: 10/25/2005
By Olivia Phiri
Zimbabwe Cross Border traders are stripped and violated at
borders every time they leave to trade with other countries such as Zambia,
Mozambique or South Africa as a standard requirement to ensure that they
adhere to the requirement of only having 2 million Zimbabwean Dollars.
This is a sad but harsh reality of the many dilemmas CBT go
through. Tendayi Jiri is 51 years old. She is a single mother of two and
supports her family through the same.
Tendayi complained of the random nudity checks.
'When we give them out passports, the next procedure is going
through a toilet were a female police woman asks you to take off all your
clothes and forces you to insert your finger into your vagina to check if
you are not hiding any other money other than that which is stipulated,'
This is purely an act of human dignity violation and has lead to
many women stopping the business and therefore contributing to the growing
poverty levels in the country.
Another restricting factor to cross border trade are the
currency exchange rate fluctuations and the ever increasing bus fares from
Anilliah Masaraure aged 46 has been a CBT since 1984. through
her business she has managed to support 10 dependants under her roof as a
widow. She travels to Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa.
Anilliah complained over the currency acquirement procedures and
the lack of foreign money in the country.
'I travel to Mozambique to buy Rice and Beans, corruption is
rampant there and it is perpetuated by the immigration officers due to the
stringent money requirements and the absurd laws when applying for a double
entry Visa, they say one has to carry a letter from an Organization, but
they forget that most of us are individuals trying to survive,' narrates
The Immigration Department seems to be on an urgent campaign to
deter the trade. Traders have to have at least 1000 Rands for Visa fees and
one has to apply for traveler's cheques and the Bank charges 500,000
Zimbabwe Dollars for the Bank to process the request when traveling to South
The SASF gathering should ways of facilitating for the change of
such laws that only promote poverty, corruption, fraud and human rights
abuses. The Social forum gathering should from here provide alternatives for
making another world possible.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
We read and hear so much doom and gloom. Please do not get me wrong, there
is a lot of bad here in Zim, e.g. my daughter got burgled, the cops caught
the crooks and got all their stuff back, but she had to give the cops
$100000 to get their stuff back. But then there is a bit of good too.
I am recovering from a 10 hour brain surgery, for an acoustic neuroma,
which I had at the Avenues Clinic, my stay there was for two weeks. We
cannot wish for a better hospital, even the food was better than most
hospitals. Last year whilst in England my appendix burst, so I have first
hand knowledge of health care there and here, and I can truly say we are
not that bad off here.
The nursing staff, from the ICU, to high care, to the ward, was fantastic,
and they were on the ball 24/7, I nicknamed them the Prozac queens, they
would wake you up to give you a sleeping pill. To them this is not just a
job but a calling. Professor Kalangu, the surgeon, and Professor Chinyanga,
the anaesthetist, were in constant touch with my family as the day
progressed. I asked Prof. Kalangu how they manage to operate for so long
and he said every two hours he took a 10 minute break.
The recovery is a long and hard one, it could take up to a year. I am left
with a few side effects to overcome, I have the symptoms of Bell's Palsy,
and I cannot close my left eye, this has left me with a very dry eye.
We have one of the finest Optometrists in the world right here in Harare.
He has managed to sort my eye out by putting an eye bandage, which comes in
the form of a contact lens, which he invented back in 1970 and is being
used worldwide. Mr. Westerhout did the trick in spite of the shortages of
medicine he would of liked to have used.
Last week I had to stay overnight in Harare as he needed to check up on the
lens the following morning. So I stayed at the Bronte, I was very
impressed, it reminded me of the Comores, without the sea of course. One
thing I did notice in Harare was all the smart cars, you don't even see
cars like this in the UK, I felt a bit like the Flintstones driving around.
So we cannot be that bad off here.
A grateful patient.
Dear fellow Zimbabweans
I am also a Zimbabwean, who reads daily what comes out of our fatherland.
Not good reading, I must say. Everyday, we read information that is heart
rending, the suffering of the poor, the heartlessness that is our
But in all this, we hope for a brighter future, we have a choice to pray to
the living God, who is our final refuge. He knows what is going on. He
wants to know if we have character, to withstand the worst that evil can
throw at us. And we have done just that. The poor have been brave to
endure this level of viciousness. They suffer the most, and I pray to God,
the live to see a better day.
Your writings are good to read, I used to read them in the daily news,
which was banned and now I see you continue to write. This is good and
boosts the morale of those back home, who need to be strengthened, not by
guns and force, by words of encouragement. Mr Mugabe will meet his
Waterloo, his nemesis, sooner than we think. The time is coming shortly,
when we shall thank those who have been brave in all the 20 odd years of a
Nothing defeats evil more than good. The people of Zimbabwe, must continue
to do good. Must continue to look and act docile, must meet all brute
force with the courage they have shown so far. It is hard for me to say,
being far away from their troubles. But I know, the chains of injustice
will soon be broken. God loves those who return the other cheek, the Lord
Jesus Christ, said it himself. Zimbabweans are excelling in this regard
even though they seem hopeless, this will win them the day, soon enough.
We Zimbabweans, have been fortunate in having leaders in the opposition,
who abhor violence and have been brave in the face of violence and abuse.
May they continue to give moral courage to Zimbabweans both inside and
outside the country. They must bury differences as soon as possible,
because they are riding high in terms of their political integrity. They
are few countries, where you find people speak with such understanding of
problems, that bedevil our world. When we read what you say, from afar, we
are shown how well disciplined the people of the country have become, in a
world where standards are falling . Zimbabweans, you who manage to
communicate to us your thoughts are a rare breed.
Therefore keep using the high level of discussions, the use of polite
language, and being exemplary in word and deed. Keep attacking the evil in
the country in the press, internet as you have done and the enemy, who is
brutish and beastly in his way, rough, cruel and aggressive in his language
and actions, will fall.
We do not need force of arms, Jericho fell without a sword being thrown
God Bless you, all.
Thank you for the essential reading you suggested we look at. I read the
report and had to print it. I get so fed up here in UK every time they
mention the word 'drought' being a lot of the reason we have food shortages
in Zimbabwe. This detailed report which is non biased hits the nail on the
head like no other. Bravo for making it be known. I hope you have sent a
copy to the UN etc!!!!!
Thank you. Please keep up the well documented information of the land I
love the most!
Re: Mr Chappell,
As a school boy in 1980 I waited to hear what Bob said at Independence and
heard him say "stay, harmonise, peace, accept the hand of reconciliation"
I did a Trade where I paid Apprentice Bonding to keep me in the country.
Later I toured England and U.S.A on a working holiday and I kissed the
dirty tarmac at Harare airport when I came back - I was so glad to be back.
I then went farming. This was when we bought my farm in 1984 with the
Government's approval in a letter of NO INTEREST - IT WAS NOT IN ANY FUTURE
RESETTLEMENT PLANS. Capital gains and transfer taxes were paid to the
I rebuilt the farm from scratch (it had been derelict for 12 years) into a
beef and tobacco farm. I conserved the game and we became part of a
conservancy. I employed 50 workers and I was TOTALLY PATRIOTIC, ZIMBABWE
WAS MY HOME.
My parents family farm was gazetted in 1989. The reason was that it
bordered on communal area. They negotiated with the Government who
indicated that they would buy the property gazetted. My parents then
offered my grandparents properties as well as they bordered the same farm.
The Government accepted, but asked them if they did not want to continue
farming, they said they still intended to farm if the Government wanted
them to. The lands and resettlement then delisted a designated farm away
from any planned resettlement area which my parents then bought through the
Government from a deceased estate on a one man one farm policy. They then
rebuilt the farm as necessary.
I lost my farm, possessions, animals and equipment. My parents lost their
farm and all their savings, etc. We were branded as maBritish and were
told we must bugger off to England even though we are of seven generations
of cattlemen in Africa - the last four generations having lived in
Zimbabwe. The last four generation's first languages were Shona, then
Afrikaans, then the maBritish.
Our seven generations are of the melting pot of Africa. We are now
classified as the "rubbish, racists, thieves, enemies of the state", etc,
We are still in the country as it is our HOME even though we have lost all
we worked for. We have lost friends who have died, we have lost friends
who have left the country, we have lost our community, we have lost our
identity and we have lost our homelands but WE are still HERE.
Mr Chappell, go and buy your farm. YOU WILL LEAVE here as a racist
maBritish with your tail between your legs.
T.M.Lambert (EX Farmer from Featherstone)
Dear Family and Friends,
For six months we have not had a drop of rain in Zimbabwe and now, as we
wait for the first thunderstorm, the atmosphere is exceedingly strained.
Daytime temperatures are way up in the thirties Centigrade and the skies
are mostly clear and still. During the day we battle with flies which seem
to be everywhere and at night the mosquitoes whine and wheedle incessantly.
The mozzies, as we call them, are very bad already, even before the rains
have started, and they are going mostly unchecked as even a simple tin of
insecticide is now over quarter a million of dollars and a luxury that few
people can afford.
In Marondera this week we've gone two days without water, one day without
electricity and every day without petrol and yet, amazingly enough, we
muddle through one day after another. I have found it almost unbearable to
watch and follow Zimbabwe's politics this week as it seems the opposition
have lost their way, forgotten their reason for being and become intent on
squabbling over the chance to get a seat in a Senate which they themselves
said was not wanted and an unacceptable financial burden on a population
stretched way beyond the limits. Night after night state owned television
have announced with growing glee that that "the rift in the MDC is
widening" and have shown opposition party officials issuing opposing
statements and publicly contradicting each other. For six years we have
seen almost no coverage of the opposition party on national television but
this week the film footage has been incessant as the ruling party have
gloated, crowed and chortled at what Mr Mugabe calls "that irrelevant
I pray that by the time you read this letter, the MDC will have come to
their senses. I cannot believe that any one of them has forgotten the
rapes, arson, torture, beating, brutality and murder that have littered our
lives for the past five and a half years. I cannot believe that any of them
are happy and contented that their families are spread out all over the
world, in political and financial exile. I cannot believe that any one of
them will be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel good about
earning a living as a Senator. It will be a living that ordinary people are
dying, literally, to give them. I cannot believe that any of the MDC
leaders, even one of them, think that these elections will be different -
clean, unrigged, free, fair and transparent. Multiple hundreds of
thousands of people are already disenfranchised, either through forced
removal from their homes and constituencies through one government policy
or another or by having been declared aliens in the country of their birth.
On Friday Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede announced on ZBC TV that people
displaced by Operation Murambatsvina would not be eligible to vote unless
they had re-registered in their new constituencies. This announcement was
followed shortly afterwards by an advert advising that voter registration
would close just 48 hours later on Sunday.
And so, while it is agonising to watch the MDC tear themselves apart,
ordinary people are left feeling betrayed and bereft and asking why we have
all endured so much, suffered so much and lost so much. Certainly not to
become part of the gravy train. We are waiting for the rain in Zimbabwe,
and for democracy and an end to oppression, unemployment, hunger and
Until next week, love cathy Copyright cathy buckle 22 October 2005.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from:
Recently returned from the UK, clients of mine, the 'Stewart' family, are
trying to find their family, the Schley family, who were living in
Greystone Park, Borrowdale.
If anyone can advise us of their whereabouts, please get in touch;
or call 495514 or 091 907758
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
ONLY 34 A2 dairy farmers out of a possible 1 000 have applied for loans from
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to boost the country's milk production.
This low application rate comes at a time when there is an acute shortage of
milk and other dairy products, leading to stockists resorting to imports to
The shortages paint a grim picture of the industry as the country which
could end up as a net importer of milk if the situation does not improve.
Statistics made available by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that only 34
farmers have applied for loans under the $300 billion loan facility out of
the potential 1 000 A2 dairy farmers.
It was in this context that the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made, has
launched a scathing attack on new commercial dairy farmers who are not
utilising their land saying they risk losing it.
"I am saying this without fear or favour.
"A massive audit will soon be conducted to assess those dairy farmers who
are not effectively utilising their land and those farms will be taken over
by the Government.
"RBZ has availed financial resources and our various agricultural
sub-divisions are ready to provide technical assistance. So why are they
failing to deliver.
"These people took up production four years ago but milk and dairy
production in the country has continued to decline.
"Of course, we had some hitches here and there but there is nothing on the
ground to show that they are working to come up with innovations to improve
the performance of the industry as is the case with wheat and tobacco
farmers," said Dr Made.
Several dairy farmers around the country have abandoned the industry, opting
for crops such as paprika and soyabeans without authority from the
This has opened up a huge gap in the production of milk and other dairy
products, such as cheese and yoghurt.
New farmers were given dairy farms to rear cows and produce milk during the
fast-track land redistribution exercise.
Although A2 farmers had also accessed loans from the Government to buy dairy
cows from former commercial farmers some had channelled the funds to
non-dairy farming activities.
Farmers who abandoned the industry cited scarcity of inputs such as
stockfeeds, inadequate veterinary services and technical expertise required
in dairy production.
Stockfeeds account for more than half the costs in dairy farming. Apart from
being expensive, they are in short supply following three successive
droughts while there has been a decline in cereal crops, the main
By Studio 7 Staff
25 October 2005
Spokesmen on both sides of the division within the Zimbabwe opposition
Movement for Democratic Change say the party is unified despite the
emergence of two camps, one moving to contest November senate elections, the
other staging a boycott.
There was at least one indication of a widening party rift, though. The
election boycott faction led by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was
operating out of MDC national headquarters in Harare, while the other
faction headed by party Secretary General Welshman Ncube had established
itself in MDC regional offices in Bulawayo.
Mr. Tsvangirai has made the argument since early October that the party
should stay out of elections for the upper house which is being restored
through constitutional amendment legislation passed over MDC objections by
the ruling party. He says the senate's main purpose is to bolster President
Robert Mugabe's grip on power, and moreover that funding the new chamber is
a waste of scarce resources.
Mr. Ncube says the party simply cannot cede electoral territory to the
The crisis in the opposition deepened Monday as nomination papers for
candidates in the name of the MDC were filed in 26 out of 50 elective senate
MDC provincial officials backing Mr. Tsvangirai's stance enforced an
election boycott in 24 other constituencies around the country.
Tsvangirai spokesman William Bango said the national office would not
recognize candidates who registered Monday as opposition candidates. Mr.
Bango said none of the 26 candidates registered by nomination courts in
Harare and the provinces was endorsed by the MDC National Council as the
party's constitution requires.
Mr. Tsvangirai's faction questioned the legitimacy of the candidates who
filed under the MDC banner. Mr. Bango called them "strangers," and said
provincial offices of the main opposition party will not support their
candidacies financially or otherwise.
Tuesday in Harare the faction behind Tsvangirai announced it was expelling
from the party all 26 of those who had registered to seek senate seats.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi filed a report from Harare.
Party Secretary General Welshman Ncube said his faction fielded candidates
without endorsement by the national council because those taking the
opposite position from Mr. Tsvangirai feared for their safety. Mr. Ncube
accused Mr. Tsvangirai of violating the party constitution in overriding a
national council vote Oct. 12 that produced a slim majority in favor of the
party seeking seats in the controversial upper house.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Mr. Ncube.
Reporter Zulu reached Tsvangirai spokesman Bango, who said the embattled MDC
chief shares the view of provincial officials who consider the candidates
In Britain, meanwhile, expatriate MDC branches declared support for the
boycott of the senate election which Mr. Tsvangirai tried unsuccessfully to
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/26/2005 08:58:31
PROFESSOR Welshman Ncube, the secretary general of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) last night signaled a hardening of stance in
opposition to Morgan Tsvangirai's attempts to force a boycott of senatorial
elections next month.
Ncube, who has so far refused to state his position on the elections, said
his duty was to defend the decision of the national council -- whether it
coincided with his views or otherwise.
"The resolution of the national council will be obeyed and implemented by
those provinces that have chosen to abide by the constitution of the party
and there is no doubt they will do their best in their campaign," Ncube told
SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda on the Hot-Seat program.
He spoke as Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, said the MDC leader had
"disowned" the 26 candidates who submitted their papers to the nomination
court and were accepted.
South African President Thabo Mbeki last week tried to intervene in the
dispute when he invited the MDC leaders for talks in South Africa.
Said Ncube: "Mbeki invited us simply to to say there seemed to be two sides
to the MDC conflict, he wanted to hear one side then hear the other side. He
offered to mediate....that was his interest. Mr Tsvangirai was also invited
and regrettably, he didn't think it would serve any purpose."
It is widely accepted that two camps have emerged in the MDC, one aligned
with Ncube (which supports participation in the senate) and another loyal to
Tsvangirai which favours a boycott.
Correspondents in Harare say Tsvangirai's stance is unpopular with foreign
diplomats, and the usually cheery British press has declared common front on
the the former trade union leader.
The Daily Telegraph's former Harare correspondent, David Blair, wrote from
South Africa: "This episode has betrayed all his failings. He decided that
contesting the election would be pointless but lacks the personal authority
or political skill to carry his colleagues. Critics say he emulated the
worst aspects of Mugabe's regime by using violence."
Tsvangirai's camp has been accused of using violence against his opponents,
and an unknown number of youths were arrested in the Midlands on Monday when
they set upon some MDC candidates who were submitting their nomination
The use of violence has invited a rare public rebuke from Tsvangirai's
deputy, Gibson Sibanda.
The MDC national youth chairman and Tsvangirai loyalist, Nelson Chamisa, has
gone on record to deny any hand in the violence. On Tuesday, he described
himself as a "competent and committed apostle of non-violence."
Professor Ncube bemoaned the dearth of open debate in the MDC and the rise
of fundamentalism which he said could cause some permanent damage to the
party's unity if unchecked.
He insisted that he would not be bowing to Tsvangirai's position and
appeared to suggest it was Tsvangirai who had to shift his position.
Said Ncube: "My responsibility and duty is to stand by and defend the
resolution of the national council as secretary general of he MDC.
"I have no opinion on the matter, I will be guided by the national council.
My opinion is wholly irrelevant, I have not articulated it in any fora, and
I will not articulate it now or in future.
"I can tell you there were compelling arguments for non-participation and
equally compelling arguments for participation and what the council had to
do at the end of the day was to make a value judgment as to which tactfully
and strategically would best serve the interests of the party.
"The question for participation and non-participation is one which
reasonable people can legitimately disagree on and therefore, the attempt to
absolutise on position as if it contains the whole truth is extremely
problematic for some of us.
"If you occupy the position I occupy and you articulate an opinion and that
opinion is at variance with the decision that we (national council) have
made, you then have a problem. That is precisely why I have avoided
articulating an opinion. My opinion is the opinion of the national council.
"I want the institutions and structures of the party to be respected. I
would therefore defend the decisions which are made properly within those
structures and institutions. People can attribute whatever opinion they want
to attribute to me, but my position is to remain steadfast that my job is to
defend the decision that is made (by the national council). Whether that
decision coincided with my desire or not is wholly irrelevant, my position
is to defend that position.
"The constitution of the MDC is supreme. The supreme authority, the entire
authority of congress, is rested in the national council. Not one person can
stand in contradiction to the national council. When people act in
compliance with the national council, they are fully respecting the
constitution of the party and indeed the very basic principle of the party
which binds us and keeps us in the same organisation -- which is the
principle of democratic collective decision making, and that is the
foundation of the party.
"I hope between now and that time (elections), the MDC leadership will
rethink seriously and reflect seriously on the things which bind us together
as individuals in the same party and those are the founding values of the
party. As long we can have a re-commitment to those values, then I have no
doubt in my mind that we will find the solution to the problem that we face
at the moment.
"The MDC has potential to resolve these problems and recover from the crisis
provided we all remember the founding principles of the party, namely
respect for the dignity of every individual, renunciation of all forms of
violence as instruments of political organisation, recommitment to the MDC
principle of democratic decision making and respecting those decisions. If
we can rediscover our commitment and our belief in those values, our
problems will disappear I believe."
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/26/2005 08:56:35
NIGERIA and Ghana have rubbished claims that they channeled up to US$500 000
illegal funds to Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The shock claims which are now subject of a police investigation were made
by the controversial St Mary's MP Job Sikhala on Sunday.
Sikhala claimed that the splits which have rocked the MDC in the past week
were not connected to the participation (or boycott) of senatorial elections
but a fight over funds donated by Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo and
Ghanaian leader John Kuffour. He further claimed the MDC received US$2
million in 2002 which caused similar divisions.
But Nigerian officials reacted with anger, instructing the country's
ambassador to Zimbabwe to lodge a complaint over the "ludicrous and false"
Nigerian Foreign Minister Olu Adeniji expressed Nigeria's discomfort with
the reports -- also carried by the state-run Herald newspaper -- to the
Zimbabwean High Commission in Nigeria.
Adeniji said the allegations, which first surfaced in the pages of the
state-run Sunday Mail newspaper last year, were "ludicrous and false,"
adding that Nigeria least expected such "patently untrue publication in the
press of a friendly country for which Nigeria has sacrificed so much."
When the Sunday Mail first reported the claims last year, the paper said
Britain had channeled the money to Nigeria for redirection to the MDC.
Ghana's presidential spokesman, Kwabena Agyepong, said: "This is
preposterous and baseless. This is pure speculation."
The MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube also rubbished the reports Tuesday,
saying: "It's a complete fabrication which only Sikhala himself can explain.
There is no foundation to those claims."
However, Zimbabwean police said Tuesday they had opened a criminal
investigation to discover if the MDC had breached the Political Parties
(Finances) Act which prohibits foreign sponsorship for Zimbabwean political
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said: "We are studying what has been said
seeking an explanation from those involved. If an offence has indeed been
committed, we follow the law and the responsible persons will be
It was not clear if Sikhala, now considered to be an "informant" by police,
would cooperate with the investigation.
October 26, 2005
This is in response to Abednego Nyoni (Letters, October 21 2005). No
matter how much you try to defend him, Robert Mugabe has done more harm to
Africa than any other man (irrespective of race) before him.
He has turned the breadbasket of Africa into a desolate wasteland of
despair, your people are starving and fleeing across their neighbours'
borders to try to make a living for themselves while your president and his
cronies build multimillion- rand homes and spend only on themselves.
I remind you of the events of the not-to-distant past in Haiti under
the autocratic rule of Baby Doc Duvalier. He followed the same path as
Mugabe, and as a result a popular uprising by the people of his nation
Just as he decimated his country with his tinpot dictatorship, your
leader destroys the future of millions of Zimbabweans.
When the Zimbabweans wrest control of their own fate from the hands of
a dictator and his minions, I hope he doesn't expect mercy from them. Are
you ready for when the people of Zimbabwe bounce?