PRESS RELEASE - Washington, D.C., October 26, 2007 – On Wednesday, October
31, the Voice of America (VOA) will broadcast a special television program
featuring exclusive reports from inside Zimbabwe, including footage of
protesters being beaten and arrested by police for opposing the government
of President Robert Mugabe.
This special 30-minute VOA TV broadcast, "Zimbabwe: A Country In Crisis," is
an expanded edition of the weekday Perspectives program. It provides a rare
look at Zimbabwe under President Mugabe's rule.
Segments of the program include exclusive VOA interviews and video coverage
detailing the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy and society.
The broadcast will also include comments from Zimbabwe's ambassador to the
United States, Machivenyika Mapuranga.
Perspectives is VOA TV to Africa's daily English-language television program
for viewers in sub-Saharan Africa. This Monday through Friday six-minute
program, broadcast at 1800 UTC, is hosted by Ndimyake Mwakalyelye. It
presents a unique perspective on issues affecting people on the African
For more information about this special broadcast or Perspectives, please
visit our website at www.VOANews.com/english/Africa/Perspectives.cfm, or
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Iternational Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: October 27, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has criticized recent
price hikes as "daylight robbery," contradicting his central bank chief's
call for the easing of controls.
The official daily Herald reported Saturday that Mugabe told his party's
central committee that his patience was being "stretched to the limit" and
said manufacturers had a "political agenda" when they raised prices.
In a bid to fight Zimbabwe's record inflation rate, the 83-year-old
president imposed sweeping price slashes in June and then a six-month price
freeze that resulted in widespread shortages of basics like bread, flour,
cooking oil, margarine, meat and even shoes.
In the past month, some goods have crept back onto shop shelves in small
quantities and at high prices.
Justifying the prices, storeowners point to the sharp fall in the Zimbabwe
dollar, which now trades at up to 1 million per US$1.
"Perhaps on our side, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission and
related authorities should get their act together and stop the daylight
robbery of our people," Mugabe told a meeting of his party's central
His comments came just days after his central bank chief Gideon Gono struck
a conciliatory note, arguing that consumers should not expect prices to
remain fixed and that producers needed a "modicum of price adjustments."
Prices immediately jumped, including that of the Herald, which was more than
Meanwhile, the head of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission has
warned his inspectors will soon descend on businesses flouting price
controls, the Herald said in a separate report.
"The commission is strengthening its enforcement compliance team and will
not hesitate to deal with errant manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers,"
Godwills Masimirembwa said.
More than 7,000 storeowners and manufacturers were arrested in the wake of
the June price clampdown. This has failed to tame inflation, which is still
around 7,000 percent, according to official figures, but as high as 25,000
according to unofficial estimates.
Sat 27 Oct 2007, 11:06 GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe accused the main
opposition party on Saturday of making false allegations of government
violence to derail reconciliation talks.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling ZANU-PF party are in
talks mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki as part of regional
efforts to end Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis and promote political
"From out of the blue, his (Tsvangirai's) party is making unsubstantiated
reports of growing and sustained politically motivated violence being
perpetrated against its supporters," he told members of the ZANU-PF central
committee, according to the official Herald newspaper.
"It is, therefore, unacceptable that in light of the positive strides we
have made, others like Morgan Tsvangirai, who is always the joker, find it
necessary to frustrate this fledgling process."
The MDC, led by Tsvangirai, said last week the government was heightening a
violent crackdown against its supporters but said it would not walk away
from the talks.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi met MDC
officials who chronicled cases of alleged politically motivated violence by
the police, army, intelligence services and Mugabe's supporters.
Mohadi promised to investigate the claims.
"Let it be known that we will not take kindly to 'cry wolf' boys,
desperately pretending to be politicians and seeking to embellish their
faltering ambitions through falsehoods," Mugabe said.
Mugabe has in the past accused the MDC of being puppets of his critics in
Britain and the United States. Zimbabwe is due to hold parliamentary and
presidential elections next year.
Former colonial ruler Britain and the U.S. have led a campaign to isolate
Mugabe over charges of human rights abuses and rigging elections, charges
the Zimbabwe leader denies.
Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence in 1980, says Western powers are
punishing his government for seizing white-owned farms to resettle blacks
and that this had sparked an economic crisis that has left Zimbabweans
grappling with the world's highest inflation rate.
In March, police were alleged to have beaten opposition and civic group
leaders, including Tsvangirai, in custody after they attempted to hold a
banned prayer rally in Harare.
The government accused the MDC of starting a terror campaign via a spate of
petrol bombings against police and ZANU-PF targets. Although dozens of MDC
members were detained for months, they were released without charge.
By Kholwani Nyathi
SHURUGWI — A land war has erupted in the Midlands where 22 newly
resettled farmers were left homeless after a long simmering land dispute
erupted into an orgy of violence that lasted for two days, The Standard has
Two elderly men, who were reportedly at the forefront of plans to
evict the new farmers ‘who had invaded their pastures at Tokwe resettlement
area near Mvuma, are nursing severe wounds after they were stabbed during
Sixty three villagers appeared in court in connection with the
disturbances. They were on Monday granted free bail when they appeared
before Gweru provincial magistrate, Rossa Takuva facing charges of public
violence and malicious injury to property.
The case will be heard in court on Wednesday.
According to court records, there are 22 complaints in the case and
the value of the property destroyed is estimated at more than $600 million.
Villagers told The Standard, the dispute escalated into pitched
battles on 14 October when the two men were allegedly stabbed by a village
head in the area who accused them of mobilising people to attack the
The villagers accuse the village head at the resettlement area,
bordering villages under the jurisdiction of chiefs Nhema and Chirumhanzu
respectively, of resettling people in areas designated for pastures.
Farmers who were resettled at Rustcave Farm in the 1980s accuse
village heads installed by Chief Nhema last year of resettling 22 families
on land reserved for grazing.
One of the victims, Fanani Juru, who was stabbed in the stomach, said
trouble started on when they called a meeting to discuss ways of resolving
"The village heads were allocating people land in an area reserved for
pastures and this caused a lot of friction in the village," Juru said. "At
the village meeting we resolved to go and ask our headman, Samson Madamombe,
why he was not attending our meetings."
He met Madamombe that same night on his way from a beer drink. Juru
was accused of mobilising villagers to attack the new settlers. He alleged
that without warning Madamombe who was leading "a mob" attacked him with a
"I bled profusely and when I was taken to Chitori Clinic the nurses
refused to treat me without a police report," he said. "I finally went to
Mvuma where I was briefly admitted."
That same night, his neighbours raided the new farmers in retaliation,
leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Kidwell Muchemedzi, whose
three huts were razed to the ground, said although the dispute had been
raging on for a long time, he did not anticipate their neighbours would
resort to such a drastic action.
"It was getting dark and I was having supper with my family in the
open," he said. "All of a sudden we saw that Madamombe’s hut on fire and
before long the mob had entered our yard.
"I took my family away because I realized that they meant business.
They destroyed one of the huts and left to attack my neighbours." The
attackers returned the following morning and destroyed the remaining huts.
Efforts to get a comment from Madamombe were fruitless as he was said
to be away from home when The Standard visited the area. Chief Nhema was
also not immediately available for comment.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
A Chinhoyi man alleges his life is now in danger after he told
President Robert Mugabe that Security Minister Didymus Mutasa performed
bizarre rituals in a bid to succeed the President.
Jeremiah Mambo Jenami, a farmer in Chinhoyi who worked with the
controversial spirit medium Nomatter Tagarira, told The Standard he sent a
dossier to Mugabe that contained startling details about how Mutasa
performed rituals in the Maningwa hills.
Details of Mutasa’s alleged involvement in the rituals are said to
have angered Mugabe, who according to press reports, is considering
replacing the Minister with Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The spirit medium is languishing in remand prison after she was denied
bail. The State successfully argued that she was well connected to
politicians who could assist her to avoid trial. When she was arrested,
police revealed that she had been holed up at a house of an unnamed senior
Jenami said from the date he was invited by Mugabe to explain what was
going on in the Maningwa hills and "the subsequent follow up phone call from
Minister Mutasa complaining about my brief to the President", he has not
He says he has been harassed by armed police and his family, workers
and business associates have not been spared.
Jenami has since issued a notice of intention to sue the Police
Commissioner on the basis that he has been severely prejudiced by the
actions of the police.
"I am now being persistently framed and charged for the so-called
treason," said Jenami in the notice to sue, "on the allegation that I wanted
to kill the President of Zimbabwe.
"Needless to say the allegations are baseless as (they) are simply
calculated to divert attention of the President from the core business of
oil discoveries and Minister Mutasa’s request to be cleansed to enable him
to become the next Head of State of Zimbabwe."
The Standard is in possession of a copy of Jenami’s affidavit.
Mutasa yesterday told this reporter that he does not talk to The
"The Standard is out to make money. I have told you before not to call
me. Do not waste my time…" Then the line was cut.
A second call to Mutasa was answered but the line went silent.
Jenami says, in the affidavit, he was part of the team that allegedly
performed bizarre rituals held at Mutasa’s residence in Rusape.
For example, he says, he was "tasked to put traditional snuff in four
corners (thus mativi mana enyika) within his residence."
Jenami said as he did so, other rituals were taking place.
"Since the yard is too big, Minister Mutasa thought I would take a
long time to return – but I was very fast. So much that upon my return I
came across Honourable Minister Mutasa deeply engaged in rituals. By then
his whole body was covered in a blue cloth."
Jenami says the spirit medium also instructed that a similar blue
cloth be put on his shoulder.
He described how "a thick male voice" allegedly told Mutasa that his
request to be the next head of State, after President RG Mugabe, had been
Jenami said he was then tasked to lead Mutasa to Garoi Mountain, said
to be sacred.
"Then after entering the cave Minister Mutasa was to sit on the sacred
chief’s chair and write down all his wishes and the set-up of his structures
and then pray with those things written down, while still seated in the
After the rituals were over, Jenami said in the affidavit, Mutasa took
them to his farm where he showered them with presents.
He identified these as a black cow that was given to the spirit
medium, one sheep with a black head, one ewe white in colour, a female goat
and two 50kg of sugar beans and ground nuts. He also allegedly gave them two
50kg of rice.
Jenami says back in Harare, they had tea in Mutasa’s office where farm
offer letters were signed. One was for "Zunde raMambo Dombo" and "one for
home yaChangamire Dombo".
In court, Tagarira is being accused of unlawfully getting a farm house
and a farm from government after making false claims of diesel flowing in
the Maningwa Hills.
Jenami claims relations between Mutasa and the spirit medium soon
soured prompting Mutasa to make an unceremonious departure from the hills.
Disappointed by Mutasa’ conduct, Jenami alleged that the spirit medium then
claimed that the Minister had failed to deliver walking sticks and five
pieces of gold to President Mugabe, as was required.
That same week, all the ZRP officers who were guarding the spirit
medium and the oil hill day and night were withdrawn. The second week,
Jenami said they were summoned to State House to give a report to Mugabe
about what was happening at the hill.
He said in the affidavit: "My personal briefing to the President was
based on what I went through and saw happening in Maningwa".
The documents show that they were lodged with the Ministry of Home
Affairs, the Attorney-General’s Office and the Police General Headquarters
on 17 October 2007.
BY OUR STAFF
AN MDC Women’s congress is set for today in Bulawayo, amid charges
that some of the delegates were not aware of its venue by late yesterday.
Lucia Matibenga, whose fate is to be decided by today’s congress,
alleged there was a conspiracy to ensure some delegates would not make it to
By 5PM she was still in Harare trying to organise transport to
She said they were just told to go to Bulawayo where they would be
informed about the venue.
"This is not confusion, it’s conspiracy," she said. "The strategy is
to ensure that some people considered to have opposing views do not make it
in time for the congress."
Matibenga sought the relief of the High Court after her executive was
dissolved by the standing committee of the party chaired by president Morgan
Tsvangirai. She was informed new elections would be held at today’s
She, however, appealed against the decision pointing out the standing
committee had powers to do so.
She then took the matter to the High Court which decided, by the
consent of both parties, that the question of the validity of the
dissolution of her executive be decided by the congress.
This means that the matter will be tabled for discussion today by the
delegates. If they decide that the executive is dissolved there is a chance
that elections for a new executive might go ahead.
Matibenga said she was concerned that all the delegates, especially
those from outlying areas, would not arrive in time for the congress.
"At this short notice, we have been trying to inform everyone who
should attend that they have to go to Bulawayo. Congress is not just for the
elite, it’s for everyone. That is why we are saying that there should have
been a longer notice period so that everyone would take part."
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa could not reached for comment
yesterday. The party’s organising secretary, Elias Mudzuri, was unreachable.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
THE Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform (ZLP) has denounced pro-President
Robert Mugabe marches spearheaded by war veterans’ leaders Jabulani Sibanda
and Joseph Chinotimba.
In a hard-hitting statement, the National Council of the ZLP said the
marches were aimed at preventing any challenge to Mugabe’s leadership at the
forthcoming extraordinary Zanu PF congress set for 12-14 December.
"To the delegates, the strong message is ‘confirm Mugabe or else’,"
said the organisation led by Femias Chakabuda.
ZLP, an organisation formed by "genuine" former freedom fighters, said
war veterans’ organisations must be non-partisan in order to give them the
independence to view political, economic and social issues objectively.
"Genuine war veterans should not be afraid to criticize their
leadership for fear of losing their statutory pensions because what is
statutory carries a legal tag which cannot be withdrawn with the stroke of a
They said congresses were supposed to be platforms for exercising
democracy and giving equal opportunity to all aspiring candidates to contest
various positions openly and fairly, without intimidation.
"However, when Jabulani Sibanda, the self-styled leader of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) brands as
sell-outs those who do not support Mugabe’s candidature, he and his group
negate the principle of democracy, which was enunciated by the original Zapu
and Zanu in their policy statements in the 1960s."
The organisation said war veterans fought for democracy and
Independence through liberation movements or political parties.
"They did not make sacrifices for political parties or individual
leaders. Their allegiance and loyalty must be to Zimbabwe and its people
regardless of political affiliation, ethnic group, race, creed or gender."
Sibanda has been leading marches across the country where war veterans
have been speaking strongly against any challenge to Mugabe’s leadership.
The war veterans say Mugabe is the sole candidate of the ruling party in the
2008 Presidential election.
ZLP said it was also disgusted by the selective application of the law
"War veterans, women, youths and any group of people can demonstrate
in support of the government or Zanu PF anywhere, at any time. However, if
any other group of people tries to demonstrate against government policies,
it will be violently and brutally dispersed and/or arrested by the police
who religiously apply the notorious Public Order and Security Act (POSA)."
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
HUBERT Nyanhongo, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications,
has threatened to repossess houses at Hopley Farm from beneficiaries
opposing his candidature in next year’s elections, infuriated residents told
Hopley is home to thousands of families uprooted by the
government-sponsored Operation Murambatsvina in May 2005. The houses were
built under Operation Garikai.
Two weeks ago, the residents said, Nyanhongo called a meeting and
singled out former government social welfare officer, Ezekiel Mpande as his
"enemy" and ordered him out of Hopley in view of everybody at the meeting.
"He (Nyanhongo) ordered Mpande and his wife to stand up for everyone
to see before he was ordered to get his belongings and leave the sprawling
settlement," said one of the residents.
But Nyanhongo denied ever threatening Mpande.
Mpande’s wife, Beauty, who was allocated a house at the settlement —
was ordered publicly not to accommodate her husband again or risk losing her
The deputy minister ordered the youth militia to beat up Mpande if he
is seen at the settlement again.
"We were told to beat up Mpande if he sets foot here," said one of the
youths. "I don’t think he will come back because he knows how youths here
Mpande, who has since gone into hiding, confirmed his banishment from
"It was an embarrassing and torturous moment," Mpande said. "I
actually fear for my life."
He claims that he is being victimized for calling for equitable
distribution of food at Hopley, where MDC supporters were being denied
Other MDC supporters said they now feared for their lives as next year’s
elections draw nearer.
Nyanhongo yesterday professed ignorance of developments at Hopley and
denied ever threatening Mpande.
"I am in Sudan at the moment. I don’t know what is happening in
Zimbabwe," he said.
Reminded that the incident took place two weeks ago, Nyanhongo said:
"I don’t know anything. Talk to the Ministry of Social Welfare. They might
know what happened."
The Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Nicholas
Goche, could not be reached for comment.
The victimization of opposition political supporters in the country
goes against the spirit of South African-mediated talks between the MDC and
the ruling Zanu PF party. Analysts warned the persecution of MDC supporters
would jeopardize the talks.
Last week the MDC complained to Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi,
about increased cases of harassment and violence against its supporters by
State security agents.
BY OUR STAFF
POLICE are continuing investigations into reports of abuse of rural
girls taking part in the Miss Rural pageant.
Police chief superintendent Oliver Mandipaka told this paper yesterday
that investigations were still underway.
He however denied reports that the chief executive officer of Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority, Karikoga Kaseke, had handed over to the police two abused
rural girls who ran away from Sipho Ncube Mazibuko, the organiser of the
Miss Rural pageant.
"I am not aware of what you are talking about and who told you that?"
said Mandipaka. "No girls were bought to us. We only said the abuse of the
rural girls should stop and that the police are investigating the case
Miss Rural pageant, which attracted heavy criticised after The
Standard exposed the abuse of the contestants at a night club in Masvingo
three weeks ago, was scheduled to be held at Masvingo polytechnic yesterday.
There were however doubts that it would be held amid reports that sponsors
were pulling out of the show.
At the time of going to press it was not clear if organisers had gone
ahead with the pageant. Susan Jason, a businesswoman who was appointed
patron a few weeks ago, has distanced herself from Miss Rural.
Mazibuko, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, has been
under pressure during the past two weeks to stop the pageant.
Bertha Mpundi’s mother died in
2004, three years after her father had died. Always in the top three in her
class, according to her headmaster, Bertha had been unable to pay fees since
her mother died.
In a recent publication by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef)
entitled Zimbabwe: A Collection of Life Stories Bertha is quoted saying:
"With no one to pay for me the school had no choice but to send me home. It
was an awful, awful day. School was the one thing that kept my mind off my
For three years Bertha stayed at home, crying herself to sleep every
night, yearning to go back to school and wishing her parents were alive to
make her dream come true.
Then early this year, Santa Claus knocked on Bertha’s door a little
too soon. Bertha is now a beneficiary of the British Department of
International Development (DFID) block grant scheme, which is being
implemented through Unicef.
The educational scheme provides building material (that communities
can be funded to build their own school), textbooks and school fees.
Bertha is back in school and continues to top her class.
Memory Gunara is also featured in Unicef’s recent publication. Before
benefiting from DFID’s school fees grant, she used to be afraid to go to
school because she hated the embarrassment of being sent home for
"For the past five years," she is quoted saying, "I was afraid of
coming to school during the first week. Our names would be called out during
assembly time and we would be told to go and get school fees. My grandmother
rarely had the money and I would stay at home till I could pay. Now I am in!
My grandmother cried when I told her."
Then there is Lorraine Mudarara, who is 13 years old and in Grade VI
at Munyeri Primary school in Buhera. Lorraine’s parents are dead. She was
left in the care of her aunt who was verbally abusive.
For two years Lorraine missed school because her aunt said she had no
money for her fees and told her to wait to be married since she was a girl.
"I pleaded with her to send me to school but she refused. I lost two
years. I would cry every time I saw other children in their school uniform,"
"Sometimes my friends would try to play with me after school but I
would just start to cry when they talked about their day at school. I would
think about how lucky they were. I used to imagine I would spend the rest of
my life working my aunt’s garden."
After deciding that she could not take any more of her aunt’s cruelty,
Lorraine ran away to her grandmother’s village and told her she wanted to go
back to school.
Too old to offer any solution, her grandmother simply told her that
God would provide. A few days after this, Lorraine was back in
school, thanks to Unicef’s "Be in School" campaign.
When she went back to school, Lorraine was given a test to see which
grade she would fit in, having missed two years of school. She was placed in
The three girls’ stories in A Collection of Life Stories by Unicef are
just a few of the many stories of hardship that orphans and vulnerable
children face in this harsh economic environment.
According to a survey conducted by Unicef and the Ministry of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare 13% of the 10-14-year-old children not
attending classes had lost both parents and were even less
likely to attend school.
About 12.3 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa are orphans who have
lost one or both parents to HIV and Aids and it is estimated that by 2010
more than 18 million children in the region will have lost one or both
parents to the disease, according to Unicef.
In Zimbabwe more than one million children are orphans who will face
limited opportunities in life as a result of this.
By Davison Maruziva
WASHINGTON — Zimbabwe deserves to be among the best and fastest
growing economies in Africa, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has
Abdoulaye Bio-Tchane, the Fund’s Director of the African Department,
made the remarks at last week’s 2007 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and
the International Monetary Fund in Washington.
"I think, the most important comment," Bio-Tchane told The Standard,
"is that Zimbawe deserves better than it is having today.
"This is not the case, and that is really the most important thing for
me, and I will continue calling for a different set of policies. We need a
comprehensive policy package in place."
At the beginning of October, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, Dr Gideon Gono, said in 2005 and under very difficult
circumstances, Zimbabwe cleared its US$210 million arrears to the Fund
"after being assured" that such clearance was going to lead to restoration
of the country’s voting rights at the Fund, access to technical assistance,
and international finance.
"The funds," Gono suggested, trying to build up his case, "were
diverted from fertiliser needs of agriculture, the raw material needs of
industry, fuel, maize and medical drugs needed for our hospitals, as an act
of sacrifice and as a goodwill gesture.
"What happened thereafter will remain a piece of historical economic
injustice . . . There is also consensus among some IMF, World Bank, ADB
(African Development Bank) economists in their private discussions with us
that if other developing countries were assessed through the same criterion
and treated in the same manner that Zimbabwe is assessed and treated today,
these multi-lateral institutions would not be working or lending support to
half of the countries that they are currently working in and supporting."
But Bio-Tchane said the restoration of Zimbabwe’s voting rights at the
IMF was a decision of the Board. "It has been recommended by staff," he
said, "and the Board did not decide on it."
All the countries receiving financing from the Fund were required to
meet a number of conditions. "They have met all those conditions, and that
is why they have received that financing. So I think that statement is
certainly an exaggeration by Governor Gono."
Bio-Tchane said the IMF was "quite concerned" about what was going on
in Zimbabwe. "We have discussed that several times, including in South
Africa, including recently, when we had a meeting with the African Caucus in
"What we are already seeing is that, yes the trade pattern is clearly
being affected by what is going on. You have more than two million
Zimbabweans currently living in other Southern African countries, including
He said what the IMF were advising the authorities in Zimbabwe to do
was to tackle the current problems by putting in place a comprehensive
package of policies, exchange rate policies and obviously measures on the
structural side, including liberalisation of the exchange rates,
liberalisation of prices, but also addressing property rights issues.
"So I think the situation is dramatic. It is of great concern not just
to us but to many friends of Zimbabwe. The encouraging thing is that we know
the solution. So, when the political situation will be sufficiently
addressed — and I hope it will happen soon — the players will clearly be
able to address it.
"We know the problems; we also know the solutions, and therefore, I
think it is up to the authorities to move on that."
Asked about the outcome of the talks with both the Fund and World Bank
officials, Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Finance, who attended the
Annual Meetings, said "they have gone well", declining to elaborate.
That perhaps was, in fact, an indication of how well the talks did not
go. While the Bretton Woods Institutions agreed to remove Liberia’s arrears
and debt to the two institutions, in recognition that "this is a
post-conflict state moving towards democracy" Zimbabwe came out of the talks
Mumbengegwi would have been the first to crow about it, if there had
been any concessions made on Zimbabwe.
Officials of the two institutions told The Standard that Zimbabwe had
squandered an opportunity for a rescue package. For example, the officials
said, when he met the World Bank’s Vice-President, Obiageli Katryn
Ezekwesili, Mumbengegwi demanded support but when asked about Zimbabwe’s
proposals the Minister was unable to offer any.
Zimbabwe’s problems in clearing its arrears with the Fund, the World
Bank and the African Development Bank can be found in the country’s decision
to pay its trading partners such as China and Iran, among others, with
tobacco and minerals.
The move meant the country would not be able to generate foreign
currency to meet its other international obligations. Failure to settle its
debts has locked Zimbabwe out of lines of credit or Balance of Payment
World Bank Group President, Robert Zoellick, announced a US$3.5
billion fund for the International Development Association, whose mission is
to reduce poverty by providing interest-free loans to poorest countries.
Unfortunately Zimbabwe will not be able to benefit from this facility for
three simple reasons: its barter trade arrangement with countries like China
and Iran; failure to clear its arrears; and an ineptly argued case before
the IMF/World Bank.
There appeared to be goodwill and sympathy for Zimbabwe’s plight, but
as is all too familiar, the opportunity went begging.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
SENIOR government officials on Thursday snubbed a function where
residents of Chegutu expressed gratitude to Britain for funding construction
of a clinic in the town.
Health Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa, Dr Ignatious Chombo, the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, and
Webster Shamu, the Minister of State Policy Implementation had been invited
to a handover ceremony of Chinengundu Maternity Clinic to Chegutu
municipality by the British Embassy.
But all of them gave various reasons for not attending the function.
In diplomatic and political circles the snub by government was
interpreted as a sign of the deepening political rift between Harare and
The latest diplomatic row emanates from attempts by British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown to scuttle President Robert Mugabe’s attendance at the
EU-Africa Summit set for December in Lisbon, Portugal.
There was, however, a sigh of relief at the high table when Senate
President, Edna Madzongwe, arrived when the function had already started.
Madzongwe said Zimbabwe and Britain might have political differences
but the country cherished the United Kingdom’s help to disadvantaged
"I wish this working relationship will continue to grow," Madzongwe
said. "MaBritish madzisahwira edu ava. Tinomborwa asi ndizvo zvinoita
madzisahwira (The British are our friends. At times we fight but they remain
Despite the animosity between the two countries, Britain has continued
to assist disadvantaged sections of the community in Zimbabwe.
Chief Shadreck Nyaude of Chegutu, who also attended the function,
expressed gratitude, saying expectant mothers were having a difficult time
in the town because of shortage of health facilities.
"Vane moyo wakanaka chose nekuti chipatara ichi chichabatsira vanhu
vazhinji vari kutambura muno. (The British are kind-hearted because this
clinic will help a lot people here)," he said.
The British Embassy pumped in $30 billion for the construction of
Chinengundu Maternity Clinic, a health centre that will provide specialist
maternity services to an estimated 20 000 mothers and children in the town.
Construction of the clinic started a decade ago but the municipality
ran out of funds after a donor who was financing the project pulled out.
Two years ago, the British Embassy provided funding for construction
materials, beds, linen, and an incubator, among other equipment.
Dr Andrew Pocock, the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, said his country
will continue to assist disadvantaged members of society.
"I think this contribution will make a difference to the people of
Chegutu," Pocock said. "The idea is to make life easier to expectant
Acting District Medical Officer, Dr Munyaradzi Mupawaenda, said the
clinic would serve about 20 000 mothers and children and would relieve
pressure on other council health facilities in the town.
He said complicated cases of deliveries were being referred either to
Chinhoyi or Harare because the local health centres had no modern
"At the moment we have two health facilities which provide maternity
services," he said, "and we are hopeful that the opening of a new centre
will ease pressure on the other centres."
The clinic is expected to be open to the public at the end of this
Mupawaenda said like most areas in the country health centres in the
district were facing a critical shortage of personnel, equipment and drugs.
Zimbabwe’s health delivery services has virtually collapsed during the
past seven years as the country’s economy has been in free-fall, which has
seen inflation reaching 8 000%.
The country’s health institutions have been left with skeleton
personnel as doctors and nurses are leaving the country for greener pastures
abroad, citing poor working conditions and salaries.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO – The government has deployed Central Intelligence
Organisation operatives at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)
stations, The Standard has learnt.
The deployment comes amid intensifying power outages across the
country, which are outside the Zesa load-shedding schedule.
Recently parts of Harare went without electricity for close to a
fortnight after the power utility failed to repair a damaged high voltage
cable on time.
But authoritative sources told The Standard that the deployment of CIO
operatives, which has unsettled workers at the power stations, started at
the beginning of this month following concerns raised by several ministers
over the blackouts.
"The working conditions are not conducive anymore," said an engineer
who requested anonymity, "because since the beginning of this month we have
been having different CIO agents who do not have clear job descriptions at
our work places.
"They must be spying on our operations, especially at sub-stations
because they are not even qualified to do the kind of work that we are
Earlier this year, the government deployed soldiers at the Hwange
Colliery Company to monitor operations at the mine following accusations
that the coal mining giant was deliberately cutting down on coal allocations
for electricity generation.
Zesa spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira, refused to comment.
Mozambique recently reduced its power supplies to the country from 300
megawatts to 195 megawatts because of a US$35 million debt.
Zimbabwe imports 40% of its power needs from the DRC, Mozambique and
BY WALTER MARWIZI
BEATRICE Mtetwa, the President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, has
sued the police and the Ministry of Home Affairs for the beatings she
endured in May at the hands of gun-toting and truncheon-wielding officers.
Her lawyer, Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa & Nyambirai, last week lodged an
$80 billion lawsuit against Superintendent Tendere of Harare Central Police
Station, the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of Home Affairs.
Tendere is being sued in his individual capacity. Court documents show
that he was in charge of police when lawyers intended to register their
concerns over the arrest of human rights lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Andrew
Makoni in Harare at the High Court on 8 May.
Tendere is said to have ordered the lawyers to disperse before
instructing police under his control to assault Mtetwa and the other
Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer, was shoved into the back of a police
truck together with three other lawyers, Chris Mhike, Colin Kahuni and
Terence Fitzpatrick. The lawyers were dumped in a bushy area in Eastlea
where Mtetwa and her colleagues were ordered to "lie prone on the ground
whilst the said members of the ZRP violently assaulted her on the back,
shoulders and buttocks.
"As a direct result of the assault, the Plaintiff sustained serious
injuries on her shoulders, back and buttocks in respect of which she is
claiming damages," reads the summons sent to the defendants.
Nkomo noted that as a result of the defendants’ unlawful action,
Mtetwa needed to be compensated:
"Eighty billion dollars being damages for unlawful arrest, pain and
suffering, contumelia and medical expenses being delictual damages suffered
by the Plaintiff after an unlawful assault perpetrated upon her human person
by uniformed members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police at Harare on the 8th
May 2007, and 2nd and 3rd defendants are vicariously liable for the delict
It was not clear if the defendants had filed opposing papers by the
time of going to press.
Meanwhile, the High Court on Friday overturned a ban and restrictions
imposed by police on a birthday party for St Mary’s legislator Job Sikhala.
Sikhala was forced to approach the High Court for relief on Thursday
after a Chief Superintendent T A Chagwedera, the Officer Commanding
Chitungwiza, issued a restrictive order for the celebrations to be held in
In the order Chagwedera said the "celebrations should not be converted
into a political meeting" and that they "should be held in one day and not
two days as indicated".
Another condition was that Sikhala should "co-operate with government
security agents, uniformed and non-uniformed and furnish them with whatever
they may wish to know regarding the proceedings of the celebrations".
The police chief also notified Sikhala that he could not hold the
celebrations at Chaminuka grounds today for the reasons that police were
committed elsewhere and therefore could not provide officers who could
Sikhala’s intention was to hold a prayer meeting at Jabula church
yesterday and then an open party today at Chaminuka grounds.
In his application Sikhala, who was represented by Nkomo, said it was
his "constitutional right to assemble, associate and express myself, and so
is the right of my guests". He also said police had no authority to ban
birthday parties without any justification.
Sikhala said if the ban was not reversed he would also suffer
financial losses. He provided the court with receipts of a band that he had
paid $150 million to perform and the sound system that cost $40 million. He
said he also bought food for the guests. He said other guests were on their
way from Britain and it would not be fair to cancel the event.
BY OUR STAFF
ZIMBABWEAN writer, Shimmer Chinodya has won the Noma Award for
Publishing in Africa in 2007 for his novel Strife.
"The brilliance of this powerful and haunting story, in notably
innovative form, brings a new dimension to African writing," the Noma Award
for Publishing in Africa Jury’s citation reads. "The novelist reverses the
traditional relationship between family and nation, concentrating on the
social energies in an African family, rather than the individual or the
"Powerful and haunting, with memorable portraits of individuals, the
story is driven by a deep and distinctive sense of the tragic. The novelist’s
psychological sensitivity illuminates the dominant themes of disease and
death; and the constant tension between the pull of the past and the
aspiration of modernity is expressed in a prose that makes everything
original and new, recasting old themes."
Chinodya has published eight novels, children’s books, educational
texts, radio and film scripts, and has contributed to numerous anthologies.
He has won many awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
(Africa region). He seeks primarily to present an African worldview, but
wants his literature to speak to the world as a whole. He describes his
works as "experiments on the effects of time and change on humans, and human
relationships tangled in the eternal quest for happiness and fulfilment".
The Noma Award, under the auspices of UNESCO, will be presented to
Chinodya at a special ceremony details of which will be announced later.
Strife was published in 2006 by Weaver Press, Zimbabwe.
By Ndamu Sandu
TROUBLED Air Zimbabwe is courting a banished airline among the list of
seven carriers to fill the void left by British Airways as well as cushion
the parastatal in the event it fails an international safety audit.
BA is pulling out of the Harare-London route this week while Air
Zimbabwe is due to be audited by the International Air Transport Association
(IATA) on safety.
The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is mandatory for airlines to
continue their membership of the organisation.
IATA’s auditing standard focuses on key aspects of airline and its
support operations including: corporate organisation and management; flight
operations; operational control or flight dispatch; ground handling;
engineering and maintenance; cabin operations; cargo operations and
Peter Chikumba, Air Zimbabwe’s group CEO told a parliamentary
portfolio committee on Monday the airline had communicated to seven
airlines, "which we feel will be sympathetic". He said Air Zimbabwe was in
discussions with Ethiopian Airline, Kenya Airways and TAAG Angola. A team
from the national airline would fly to Angola next week to negotiate a lease
The inclusion of the Angolan airline will cause consternation as the
carrier was this year banned from flying to Europe for safety reasons. But
Luanda shot back saying the decision was groundless and threatened to use
the "principle of reciprocity" by banning European airlines from flying into
This year a Boeing 737 operated by TAAG Angola crashed in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chitungwiza Senator Forbes Magadu questioned the motive behind
partnering airlines with questionable aircrafts, referring to TAAG Angola.
Chikumba said that in "terms of their (TAAG) operations, they have
difficulties which they are trying to correct". He said they had Boeing 777
planes which were hardly six months old.
Chikumba, who assumed the throne at the national carrier was confident
Air Zimbabwe, would pass the audit.
He said Air Zimbabwe had last year received a pre-audit visit from
IATA while the actual audit billed for last week had been deferred to
What if Air Zimbabwe fails the audit?
"If Air Zimbabwe fails the audit, it means there will be no airlines
between Zimbabwe and UK," he said adding that Air Zimbabwe was accelerating
negotiations with airlines "which we feel will be sympathetic".
Chikumba told the lawmakers that Air Zimbabwe wanted to negotiate with
Virgin Atlantic but are failing to find a go-between to link them up with
Sir Richard Branson.
By Pindai Dube
BULAWAYO —Thomas Meikles (TM) Stores Group, which is part of the
Meikles Africa Group of Companies, has retrenched more than 300 of its
workers due to continuous unavailability of the goods on the market
Standardbusiness has established.
TM Stores Group runs most of Zimbabwe’s department stores namely TM
Supermarkets, Meikles, Barbours, Greatermans and Clicks franchise.
The controversial government price cuts in June emptied stores of
goods, leaving most of them on the brink of collapse because they are
failing to restock.
Most companies were forced to downsize operations as they were not
making profits against operational costs.
It emerged that due to the continuous unavailability of goods on the
market, the country’s largest supermarket chain group, TM Stores Group has
been forced to slash its workforce to avoid continuous losses through salary
payments to staff that was not doing any work.
TM Stores’ Group retail director, David Mills confirmed that the
supermarket group had retrenched scores of its workers while at the same
time revoked contracts of its relief workers.
"Several workers were retrenched although I don’t have any exact
figure at the moment," Mills said. "There is nothing coming from our supply
"Manufacturers are no longer making any goods because of the low June
prices imposed by the government. Even several contracts workers did not
have their contract renewed."
Mills said he hoped the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) would fulfill
its promise of revive the retail industry before Christmas.
RBZ governor, Gideon Gono recently condemned the price cuts operation
noting that it was incumbent on the authorities to understand that
manufacturers would not be prepared to produce goods that end up being sold
at less than the cost price.
The central bank governor claimed that measures were being put in
place with manufacturers and Zimbabweans could expect to see a return to
normalcy before the end of October.
Meanwhile, in a cautionary statement released on Tuesday Meikles
Africa Group, Kingdom Financial Holdings and Tanganda Tea Company, who are
set to merge to form Meikles Africa Limited Group agreed some of the
exchange share ratios, moving the deal closer to finalisation.
Economic analysts said the intended merger comes in the wake of the
Zanu PF government’s intention to legislate a compulsory 51% indigenous
shareholding in all foreign-owned companies based in Zimbabwe through the
controversial Indigenization Bill which passed through parliament in
September and now awaits President Mugabe’s signature.
BY OUR STAFF
MEMBERS of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) might not be ready to
sign a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union (EU) but have
expressed willingness to assent to some aspects of the pact in line with
international standards, a trade expert said last week.
ESA is a 16-member grouping, including Zimbabwe that is negotiating
for reciprocal Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU.
Masiiwa Rusare, director at the Trades and Development Studies Centre
(Trade Centre), an independent research and training organisation, said
although there were joint texts on development issues and market access,
there were areas that needed to be ironed out.
"There are prospects," he said, "that by December 2007 they (ESA and
EU) will sign on things they have agreed."
These EPAs have to be concluded by no later than the beginning of
2008. The agreement covers trade issues in six areas: fisheries; services;
agriculture; market access; development; and trade related issues.
Rusare said there was no progress on services and trade related issues
as the ESA region argues that it is not yet ready to open up the sectors.
The EPA is being introduced to replace non-reciprocal preferential
African, Caribbean and Pacific countries used to enjoy unilateral
trade preferences with the EU for almost three decades under the Lomé
Conventions. The Fourth Lomé Convention was replaced by the Cotonou
Partnership Agreement in 2000, which extends these unilateral trade
preferences to the end of 2007.
It is tempting to conclude that the Movement for Democratic Change is
thoroughly infiltrated. The basis for this theory is that at each crucial
moment in the history of this country, the opposition somehow gets
distracted and misses the bigger picture.
The latest crisis to hit the MDC is that the party hierarchy has
dissolved the Women’s Assembly, disregarding its constitution.
These charges come at a time when the opposition should be readying
itself for what must — barring a miracle — be an assured victory.
The ruling party has agreed to an election in March next year. The
question that most have asked is why any party would agree to an election at
which defeat is certain.
Shortages of basic commodities persist. However, where the basics are
to be found, it is generally agreed that the majority of Zimbabweans can not
There is a crippling fuel crisis such that it is difficult to predict
whether the bus fare one pays in the morning can hold until the end of the
day. Such is the volatility of the spiralling prices.
Effects of the unavailability of fuel have resulted in industries
being unable to operate and function properly, resulting in companies
drastically reducing production and laying off workers.
The effect of the government’s June price blitz has generally left
most businesses on the brink of collapse and unable to restock. The
domino-effect can be seen across the economy.
Enter the power cuts, which at any given moment render 50% of the
country without electricity and the impact is evident upon industries,
hospitals, schools — just about everyone is affected.
The shortage of electricity has not only negatively impacted on
companies, health facilities and educational institutions and households, it
has had a disastrous effect on the water supply. The results have been
scores of people becoming ill because of lack of treated water.
The list of what’s gone wrong by far dwarves whatever the government
thinks it has done well. And that is the reason any rational person asks why
a party, especially one in power would agree to an election when it has is a
record of uninterrupted failure, particularly this year.
What is increasingly plausible is that a ruling party that agrees to
practically sign its own death warrant can only make such an undertaking if
it has an ace up its sleeve. In this particular case it must be the
government’s ability to wreak havoc on the MDC, possibly through the kind of
advice availed to the leadership in the opposition.
But blame for the current crisis which the opposition is facing, going
into a crucial election, can not be attributed entirely on the State’s
machinations. The opposition is playing a contributory role in the whole
fiasco. They are demonstrating their inability to learn from previous
mistakes or to identify an enemy within, that is determined to derail their
regime change project.
Campaigners for a democratic change, who paid the supreme sacrifice,
must be turning in their graves when they see what is happening. They laid
down their lives in support of people they believed were whole heartedly
committed to the struggle to bring democracy to this country. The reality is
a great betrayal.
In 2005, just before the Senate elections, the opposition MDC dealt
itself a serious blow when it split. Now as the country prepares for what
must be watershed harmonised Presidential and Parliamentary elections, the
MDC finds itself in a major crisis, one reminiscent of October 2005. This is
more than mere coincidence. This is the work of an enemy within and the
opposition is aiding and abetting its own defeat.
sundayopinion by Bill Saidi
SOON citizens with prickly consciences will be peppered with questions
about the forthcoming elections.
Should they take part? What guarantee do you have that Zanu PF will
The conscientious citizen will weigh the options: not taking part must
presuppose there is a Plan B; if it has no provision for preventing the
victory of the ruling party, then it is a dud.
Taking part must entail vigorous preparations, to ensure the largest
number of voters turn out at the polls.
Only in such a scenario can the opposition stand a chance of beating
Zanu PF, hands down — it’s the only way to win.
Most of the election arsenal against Zanu PF has been provided by the
party itself: the economy is a prime example.
The splits within the party are self-inflicted. There may be attempts
to blame this on Gordon Brown, Tony Blair or even Harold Wilson — Zanu PF’s
capacity for creating scapegoats is unparalleled.
As of now, the party has been shorn of all its dignity. The internal
squabbling is not unlike a beer hall brawl.
At the recent politburo meeting in Harare last week every effort was
made to present a picture of unity. There was no indication that President
Robert Mugabe had earned the opprobrium of his colleagues by enlisting the
dubious talents of Jabulani Sibanda to stage nationwide pro-Mugabe
Sibanda, a discredited war veteran, is using the former fighters as
cannon fodder for Mugabe’s bid for an umpteenth term as president.
To most clinical analysts, there is something utterly undignified in
Mugabe’s use of Sibanda.
If Mugabe is ready to chuck his dignity overboard, then we must assume
he is at the end of his political tether.
For the same reason, relating to dignity, all men and women of
conscience must determine that 2008 presents them with an opportunity to
retrieve their dignity from many years of political abuse by Zanu PF.
In Africa and the world, they have been pilloried as thoroughly
spineless, people who won a 15-year struggle against a small band of heavily
armed white supremacists, but cannot now say Boo! to an 83-year-old despot
who has brought shame upon their country.
The fight for dignity is bolstered by the humiliation of living
without water and electricity for days and weeks on end: all this, not
because they have refused to pay their taxes or their electricity and water
bills, but because of the inefficiency and corruption of a system over which
Mugabe has presided for 27 years.
Under this cronyism, most people enjoying his favours are living,
literally, off the fat of the land: most have two or three farms, the most
productive properties previously owned by white commercial farmers.
They have the most sophisticated farm implements to work with and are
provided with such inputs as fertilizer and other chemicals at the press of
Zanu PF has a record of political dishonesty which must persuade
mature voters in 2008 to make the courageous decision to reject the party
once and for all.
If voters hoping for a change of government had set great store in
Zanu PF itself rejecting Mugabe’s attempts to prolong his torture of this
land beyond 2008, they must now realise that the party is putty in his
Some optimists are still hopeful that the Zanu PF congress called for
December will unanimously reject Mugabe. If that were to happen, it could
herald a new era for the ruling party.
It would be the first time since Independence that his colleagues in
the leadership have said No to Mugabe on an issue of principle.
The principle here is that, with Mugabe at the helm, Zanu PF has no
guaranteed future as a viable political party. Its record of success is so
patchy, it is a travesty of logic that it has won every presidential and
parliamentary election since 1980.
It is unreasonable to believe that most of the men and women sitting
with Mugabe at the politburo meeting in Harare last week believe firmly that
Mugabe is right when he blames everyone and everything else, except himself,
for the pathetic state of the country.
The congress in December may endorse Mugabe but only after the people
who genuinely believe he has done enough damage to this country are seduced
in the horse-trading that must precede his endorsement.
Assuming the congress is conducted without the customary stage-managed
tomfoolery, a decision to start on a new slate could be accepted by the
A new candidate for president could be named and Mugabe could be
consigned to the role of "elder statesman" of the party.
This would be a huge gamble. The way ordinary voters feel about Zanu
PF today, even the party supporters would not hesitate to ditch the party
Most permutations so far do not feature a deal between the MDC and
Zanu PF on a more or less permanent resolution of the political and economic
Morgan Tsvangirai has been robustly positive in his rejection of a
government of national unity. But it’s early days yet: some Sadc leaders
would probably not countenance Mugabe’s humiliation - ending up with
nothing, as Kenneth Kaunda, Hastings Banda, Frederick Chiluba and Bakili
There is always the excuse that Zimbabwe must not be plunged into
turmoil after an election. There are Sadc leaders who would prefer no change
at all in Zimnbabwe.
They seem convinced that a non-Zanu PF government would bring the
British back into the colonial saddle: after Zimbabwe, which of its
neighbours would be the next?
In many respects, it is this which should motivate Zimbabweans to
regain their dignity: to show they are not puppets of Mugabe or the British.
THERE are very few
African political activists who have been publicly consistent in their
criticism of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF of Zimbabwe. I am one of
them but will also be quick to point out that those of us who do so are not
That is not because Africans do not care about what is happening in
Zimbabwe but because the external dimension and internal dynamics of the
struggle have both combined to work in Mugabe’s favour. My position is made
more difficult by the fact that I have been Secretary-General of the Pan
African Movement (until early last year when I took a sabbatical, and joined
the UN Millennium Campaign as Deputy Director for Africa, which not many
seemed to have noticed!). Mugabe is indeed one of the most respected and
admired leaders in the Pan African Movement so how can I be criticising one
of our icons?
Readers who routinely send me texts or email messages: "well said"
"aluta continua comrade", "give it to them man", "Aaaaaamen brotha", etc
have been outraged by my stand on Zimbabwe/Mugabe.
One close comrade, a well respected academic lawyer, even wrote to me,
stating categorically that I should add a disclaimer at the bottom of my
columns and even suggested it thus: "the views expressed are my personal
views not necessarily the view of the Global Pan African Movement." Both
legally and politically he is correct but I was puzzled that he never felt
it necessary to give me this legal advice until Mugabe became an issue, in a
column that has been running for more than a decade!
One of my critics (a brother who is a veteran of Black Struggles in
the Diaspora) even went as far as to suggest that my columns are
syndicatedly written by the
MI5 and CIA! My response to many of such lurid accusations is that if
the CIA and MI5 could recruit me without my knowledge then we have to give
them credit for good judgement!
But seriously I have not been surprised by the hostile reactions.
Mugabe evokes extremes of passions with no one being neutral. He is regarded
by many Africans and Pan Africanists as the liberator, the icon of
anti-imperialism, the bold and courageous African leader who is able to look
at imperialists in the face and say: "To hell with you." In a historical
period when Western arrogance and US hegemonic unilateralism is making many
people angry and eliciting powerlessness and hopelessness many are willing
to embrace anyone who dares to stand up against the West, especially the US.
It is the same sentiments that made many admire Saddam Hussein
regardless of his atrocities against his own people (as agent of the US for
many years) or be happy at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran today in his
vitriolic attacks on the US or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. These people are
seen as leaders who refuse to bend to the wishes of Washington.
Even other leaders especially from the poorer countries of the world
(who may not do it themselves) are silently applauding these leaders. Many
who are not sympathetic to Socialism admire Castro/Cubans nonetheless for
standing against the US and defying it for almost five decades, yet less
than 100 kilometres from the coast of Florida!
In the case of Mugabe there is also the legitimacy deriving from a
genuine liberation struggle that many saw as being ambushed by the Lancaster
Housecompromise. Therefore they see Mugabe as returning to the unfinished
agenda deffered from the negotiated settlement that led to Independence in
Many are stuck in 1980 and Chimurenga without judging Mugabe/Zanu PF
for its almost three decades of monopoly of power in the country.
When you point this out a lot of apologetics come out saying the
Lancaster House agreement prevented any radical solution. But Lancaster
House was only for 10 years why did Mugabe not restart the Chimurenga in
1990 instead of being forced to do so in the late 1990s by war veterans? But
seeking answers to these questions is like arguing with Jehovah’s witnesses!
What also strengthens the pro-Mugabe lobby is the evident hypocrisy of
the West in dealing with the country. Why is Mugabe singled out? Where were
they in the mid —1980s when Matabeleland and the Midlands were being wasted
in Zanu PF’s drive for one-party state? Would they be making so much noise
if Mugabe did not attack and repossessed land from the white settlers whose
ancestors (with British imperial force) grabbed these lands from black
people? Is Mugabe being punished as a warning to the ANC in neighbouring
South Africa not to even dare address the land inequality in that country?
It is the historic wrong against blacks in Zimbabwe that makes many
Africans generally sympathetic to Mugabe even if they will disagree with
some of his methods. The pressures from the West who are silent about
similar or worse excesses of human rights, government authoritarianism and
dictatorial leadership by other African leaders but chose to make Mugabe a
scapegoat, work for Mugabe apologists.
That is why the current debate sparked by Britain’s Gordon Brown on
the forthcoming Africa-EU dialogue scheduled for Portugal later this year
can only make Mugabe’s position more formidable. Britain is the least
qualified country to grandstand anyone on Zimbabwe.
Brown cannot be threatening the rest of Europe with boycott because of
one man and one country. If the dialogue is indeed between Africa and Europe
why should one side be laying down the terms?
Why do European leaders think they are the only ones with a public to
respond to? African leaders must not accept this. If they do, they would
have proven to their people that they are spineless poodles of whose only
question when asked to jump by he West is not why but how high?
However rejecting European leaders’ arrogance and hypocrisies should
not mean that we should endorse the excesses and Mugabe’s prolonged one-man
rule. Even if one has political and ideological suspicions of the opposition
it does not justify the attacks on them. In any case our solidarity should
be with the people of Zimbabwe who may be Zanu PF loyalists, MDC supporters
or even neither. As citizens they deserve to demand that their government be
held accountable to
A disproportionate focus on the West’s agenda is making us compromise
our duty to express this solidarity much more boldly.
Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is the UN Millenium Campaign deputy director and
a respected political commentator.
sundayview by Mandla Dube
The government has recently announced that there will be harmonised
elections in March 2008 to elect a Parliament, Senate and president.
Parliament will increase from 150 to 210 MPs while the Senate will
balloon to 93 from 66. This is well beyond the capacity and requirements of
a country with an official government inflation rate of 7 000% or an
unofficial rate of 13 000%.
Having worked on elections in the various Southern Africa Development
Community states, namely Mozambique, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe, I
am sufficiently experienced to share a few comments with regards to the
March 2008 elections in Zimbabwe.
Sad as it is, the existing Zimbabwe government has no capacity or
intention to conduct a credible election in March 2008. President Robert
Mugabe is not ready to vote himself out of power or talk himself out of
office. South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki has not been successful as yet in his
SADC-mandated role to mediate between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
A credible and accessible electoral roll is the cornerstone of a
democratic election but Zimbabwe’s roll is in a shambles. Only the
Registrar-General’s office, under the watchful eye of Tobaiwa Mudede, knows
who is still on it. Everywhere else in the world, the roll is a public
document. Not in Zimbabwe.
Electoral campaigns anywhere require travel, mass media access, a
credible and independent judiciary, just laws and non-partial public
authorities. But in Zimbabwe there is no fuel and that which is available is
for the ruling elite.
Media access is only guaranteed to the ruling party, which also
appoints key figures in the judiciary, police force, army and intelligence.
All party appointees owe their allegiance to the ruling party through
Zimbabwe’s media laws are in the league of the most repressive. The
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Public Order
Security Act infringe on basic human rights around movement, assembly and
association. These laws make it virtually impossible for any other political
contestant to meaningfully engage and access the mass media.
The State-controlled electronic and print mass media are gagged from
giving balanced coverage before, during and after the elections. In the last
elections they would not accept advertisements from opposition political
parties and voter education material from non-governmental organisations.
Elections in Zimbabwe are a game in which one team has the players,
linesmen, referee and support staff. Winning under such terms requires a
While opposition parties are yet to launch their campaigns and or
publicly declare participation, Zanu PF launched their campaign on 11 March
2007 when they brutalised such figures as MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai, Grace
Kwinjeh, Sekai Holland and far too many more. MDC activist Gift Tandare was
murdered. A former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings cameraman, Edward
Chikomba, believed to have sent the gruesome footage to the world press, was
New Zealanders will hear firsthand testimony of Sekai Holland’s
gruesome experiences when she tours under the auspices of Save Zimbabwe
Campaign next month. She is undergoing deep tissue therapy and treatment in
Sydney for more than 80 injuries and broken bones.
Back home, repression and violence have escalated according to
Zimbabwe’s Human Rights Forum who document cases. These attacks have been
carried out by youth militias, war veterans, police and the army whose
leaders have recently been rewarded with plush four-wheel drive vehicles.
Since 1985 those charged with electoral violence have been guaranteed
presidential amnesties and some rewarded with overseas appointments or
Mother Nature for some reason also tends to make life easier for
Mugabe’s party when elections come. Often there is famine and the ruling
party has intercepted food to deliver to voters as a political tool.
The most obvious non-violent course of action post elections is
through the courts. As the MDC found in 2002 cases are routinely not heard,
contending parties are not given access to key evidence and there are no
judges available and so the cases are postponed until they become academic
exercises. In rare glimpses of court hearings, the judiciary has no latitude
to find otherwise than in favour of the State.
The ruling party appointed commission to suit the interests of its
paymaster will decide constituency boundaries. People in certain rural areas
are rewarded with a high number of constituencies while the more critical
urban population are given smaller numbers.
The Registrar-General’s office decides the number and location of
polling stations. In previous elections, notably in 2002 this tactic was
used effectively to make sure that urban registered voters could not cast
their vote. A High court order to extend the polls was simply ignored.
The 2005 Operation Murambatsvina is likely to disenfranchise nearly a
million eligible urban voters who were forcibly displaced and are unlikely
to be allowed to reregister.
What then is different from 2008? So far nothing. With the failure of
the SADC to mediate effective change, the election outcome may as well be
lying in someone’s drawer ready for release in March.
How then can progressive forces within and outside Zimbabwe make 2008
a watershed election?
Discard the electoral roll and use the national identity card vote for
One-day election. An extended one-day only poll would maximise the
meagre resources and take away challenges around overnight security of
ballot boxes. The obvious way to achieve this is to increase the number of
polling stations nationwide and use clinics, service centres, schools,
boreholes or water points, chief’s homesteads as polling centres. Let there
be a record number of polling stations in Zimbabwe so that no one has to
walk more than 5km to access democracy.
Results processing should be done at each polling station and made
public to everyone present. They can be broadcast to a national live command
One constituency concept. Every eligible Zimbabwean within the country
casts his/her ballot at the nearest polling station. There they will vote
and hand over their ID for 24 hours to eliminate double or triple voting. In
2000, I like many Zimbabweans did not know the candidates. We entrusted the
party we chose to give us credible candidates. In a land with no resources
such as Zimbabwe, it is easier and practical to cast a vote for the MDC,
Zanu PF or any other party rather than for individual candidates.
Diaspora vote. Those Zimbabweans living in neighbouring Botswana,
Mozambique, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia could vote at border posts
unless the UN can facilitate a better process. Voting tallies should be made
public. The Diaspora vote will only be credible if the Zimbabwe Embassies
are not involved, thereby preventing Zanu PF involvement in transmitting the
The Diaspora vote is estimated to be about 4 million. Denying suffrage
to such a huge constituency is a major travesty of justice. These are the
Zimbabweans whose remittances have kept the nation afloat.
In the meantime, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have to collectively
demand their vote. We do not owe that vote to Zanu PF or any political party
but to the nation, Zimbabwe. Let us mobilise.
The closest to a free, fair and credible election was in 1980 when
many Zimbabwean ID-carrying persons, 18 years and over, cast their ballots
at the nearest possible polling station. Twenty-eight years later, Zimbabwe
would be wise to unwind the clock and run the election on similar terms.
• Mandla Akhe Dube is a Zimbabwean journalist.
Media attack on Pius Ncube an affront to Christianity
THE Book of Jeremiah tells the story of two prophets; one true one and
the other a false one. The true one spoke what God told him while the false
one spoke what the people wanted to hear: Jeremiah 28:1-13. Even as I write
we have many like Hananiah the false prophet among us in the mould of Andrew
Wutaunashe, Noah Pashapa, Nolbert Kunonga and Obadiah Musindo.
The same book also points out "the prophets’ prophesy lies in my name.
I have not sent them. . .. Jeremiah 14:14 and also says they strengthen the
hands of evildoers so that no one turns from the wickedness, they are like
Sodom to me, Jeremiah 23: 14(6).
There was a time when Pius Ncube stood alone like a voice crying in
the wilderness against the abuse of power by the government. Like Elijah he
could claim; "I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me
too." 1 Kings 19:14c.
One can still hear echoes of the good Archbishop’s strong statements
against the excesses of the Gukurahundi, the so called Murambatsvina and
other satanic acts of the government. Even the prayer for Mugabe’s death was
in order as it tallies with a biblical principle that it is better that one
man dies than that a whole nation should perish: John 11:49-81. Think now
how many people have died since Pius Ncube expressed this wish as a result
directly or indirectly of Mugabe’s continued existence.
Now, the man of God has a case. Like everyone else he has every right
to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. The Herald however treats him
as guilty before being proven guilty. Vengeful newspaper men singing their
master’s tune have put their souls on the block for pieces of rusting
silver — for it is a mean thing to pour scorn on a man of God.
Supposing it is true that indeed the man of God stumbled, would it
negate what he said anyway? Would that exonerate the government’s gross
violation of human rights? Would it erase the memories of the battered face
of Morgan Tsvangirai proudly displayed on the front pages of The Herald or
would it wipe away the memory of Mugabe’s undiplomatic and unsavoury
boasting of his cowboy police’s Genghis Khan Methods? Certainly not.
The church is both an organism and an organisation. As an organism it
has a role to play which is not dictated by the government nor even by its
own membership but by God. The organisational part is the one that is human
and it may not be perfect. So when a man of God speaks ex cathedra it is not
the man but his office that speaks. The medium does not change the message
and neither does it affect the consecration. So Mugabe and his newsroom
trumpeters cannot hide behind Ncube’s alleged imperfections. They should
repent of their sins or face the consequences.
Now, the catholic bishops have stood behind one of their number. It
must be borne in mind that they are not alone for behind them lie a vast
number of Catholics both locally and internationally. Even the Holy Father
has not condemned him. If Mugabe is indeed a Catholic as he claims to be
then, as a layman, he should learn to respect his Archbishop — if not his
person then his office.
I wonder if The Herald expects the CBCZ to echo the government and
Zanu PF’s sub-judicial statements. This is like the tail wishing to wag the
However, I do not take this as an attack upon Pius Ncube but as
blatant disrespect of the whole institution of Catholicism as represented by
its hierarchy. This should come as a shock to Catholics within the
government and its Goebellian media plus its Gestapo organisations. It is
high time Catholics publicly expressed their displeasure at the attack upon
But is this a Catholic struggle alone? No — I see it as an attack on
and disrespect for the Church and Christianity as a whole. If the church is
now forced or expected to forego its prophetic role then it is banned as an
effective institution in the country. All churches should therefore strongly
condemn this onslaught upon their members. Today, it is Ncube and the
Catholics tomorrow it may be you and your church. What does ‘Hananiah’ and
others have to say?
Harare parents ripped-off by Ministry of Education
I am writing first as a parent and then as a concerned citizen of
Sometime in July this year something very disturbing happened in most
government schools in Harare. I could not highlight this in the press at
that time because I wanted to have my evidence right. Our primary school
children were ordered by the Ministry of Education to bring $20 000 each
towards national youth games in Chinhoyi. A rough survey I carried out
revealed that on average, each school raised 20 million dollars. Multiply
this by the number of schools in Harare and Chitungwiza, your guess is as
good as mine.
Teaching children the virtues of charity is not bad; the question is,
to who is one donating and for what cause? Admittedly, $20 000 is nothing
nowadays, but accumulatively, this is morally unacceptable. Can they not see
that people are struggling to have just one meal on the table a day? Has the
government sunken so low as to see nothing wrong with begging from
housemaids and street vendors whom they also repeatedly and unashamedly
Harare parents remained mum on this but I could not, simply because I
think this was the highest order of moral bankruptcy any sitting government
can display. Money for youth games here vakomana! Who needs youth games in
Harare today? To serve whose interests — the politicians?
We paid — I paid — we had no choice. How could I explain to my Grade
One child that it’s the State not citizens who should foot the bill for the
youth games? I felt powerless but nauseated. I am an SDA member with three
children at primary school and four orphaned dependents also attending
primary school here in Mbare, Majubheki, then a faceless someone orders me
to pay $140 000 towards meaningless games. Is that the nation’s priority as
of now? When I try to bring two bags of maize from the rural home to feed
these seven innocent souls, they harass and detain me at GMB-manned
road-blocks. Chibage changu chandakarimira ivo vana ava (My own maize which
I produced for my children)! So how am I supposed to feed them? Shops in the
city have no maize-meal — Asi moti tisauye nechibage (Then they say we
cannot bring the maize into the city). What kind of reasoning is this for a
government? When I cry out like I am doing right now, I am labelled
unpatriotic. So who is supposed to speak about my problems if I cannot
articulate them myself?
Schools don’t have books, teachers buy stationery for their work and
when we, as SDA, try to raise levies, the same authorities dilly-dally in
approving the recommendations. Now, which one is important to me as a
parent — $40 000 meant for text books, teachers’ stationery, classroom
furniture or $140 000 meant for youth games. Who will account for every cent
of this money?
Mudenge utterances at UNESCO expose shocking hypocrisy
THE Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Stan Mudenge’s
utterances at the 34th Session of the General Conference at UNESCO
Headquarters in Paris are quite shocking and expose the worst kind of
hypocrisy that characterises our political leadership.
Why does the Minister see the speck in other people’s eyes when he can’t
realise the log that is in his own eye? Mudenge on several occasions has
failed to speak on behalf of suffering students of Zimbabwe, yet he sees it
fit now to condemn the Australian deportations and raise questions of human
Where has Mudenge been, when students have been brutally attacked by
the overzealous police force, CIO and Green Bombers? What of the so many
students that have been either suspended or expelled by Vice-Chancellors and
principals around Zimbabwe, for daring to stand up for their rights?
The Minister should be reminded of the hundreds of students who were
forced out of school due to the ever-rising tuition fees as well as the
accommodation crisis that has rocked tertiary institutions, the most severe
being that at the University of Zimbabwe where students continue to find
sanctuary in beer halls, waiting rooms at the railway station and
All these students had come to colleges of their choice but the
insensitive government of the day decided otherwise and these students have
suffered due to their fathers’ sins of having been born to poor peasants and
Students Executive Council President
University of Zimbabwe
A pity for the torturer
A MAN in uniform who beats people who cannot defend themselves is a
torturer. Pity the poor torturer. He may have a wife and six children at
home but do they know he bashes and beats people at work everyday? He knows,
if they do not, that he has sold his soul to the devil, because he would not
continue to torture people unless he got some perverted pleasure from it.
He gets up in the morning, just like a normal man. He kisses his wife
with the mouth that later in the day will spew obscenities and hate at other
He holds his children with the hands that later in the day will bruise
and cut and break the bones of other men’s children.
And then at the end of the day he returns home to greet his wife and
children with blood-stained hands. And tomorrow it will start again. So pity
the poor torturer —for God knows what he does and he will be tormented for
Zinwa a ploy to feed government coffers
REMEMBER a couple of years
ago the Manyame Water Authority was trying to extort money from the public
who were fortunate enough to have their own boreholes and the public ignored them?
That was just another one of the machinations of this power
hungry lot who are already struggling to keep the coffers full to pay civil
Now the Zimbabwe Water Authority is also just another way for
the government to get their hands on money of the already over taxed and
underpaid people in the country. It is time that they woke up to the fact
that the public is not stupid even though they think we are.
The writing is already on the wall for this lot and they just
have to remove the blinkers from their eyes and read it or do they need
Daniel to rise from his grave to come and interpret.
We blame other countries for the mess here but we should look in
our own back yard.
White farmer Wayne Deegan and his young family fled the murderous regime of
Robert Mugabe to find refuge in Ireland. Sinead Ryan reports on the personal
toll of an African tragedy
By Sinead Ryan
Friday October 26 2007
For Wayne Deegan Ireland isn't really home. His wife Orla might be from
Templeogue, but neither of them really planned to live here. Their children
were born on the opposite side of the world and they feel displaced, removed
from the place they call home.
But when that place has been denounced as the most corrupt country on the
planet, a place where the inflation rate runs at 6,000pc, interest rates at
800pc and where you have to bring a wheelbarrow full of cash just to go
grocery shopping, Ireland is by far the better option.
The Deegans knew they had had enough by 2000. They now live in Rathfarnham
with their children (Zach, 14, and Niamh, 11). Wayne knew it would be easier
to get work here.
"The catalyst was the day my friend Martin Olds was murdered," says Wayne.
Olds, a white farmer, was attacked by a 14-vehicle convoy of 70 insurgents
armed with AK-47s and machetes. After defending himself for three hours, he
was killed as he left his home on 18 April, 2000. No arrests were ever made.
"We came here with €150, five suitcases and two children," says Wayne.
"Everything else was left behind. I started labouring and working as a
doorman the minute we got here." Wayne now works as a fireplace fitter. His
children found the transition, "a little difficult, but they're very settled
now. My wife and I both work and it's a great feeling knowing that we're not
going to be hijacked or have to sleep with a revolver by the bed as I did
Life under a despot is cruel, and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe is crueller than
most. Zimbabwe today is on the verge of famine. The UN has warned that half
of the 12m population is in danger of starvation. To date, Mugabe has
refused all aid: "Why do they want to choke us with their food? We have
enough," he has said.
His senior minister, Didymus Mutasa, has even implied such a cull, in
opposition areas particularly, would not be undesirable. "We would be better
off with only six million people -- our people," he claimed. Thousands of
white business people in Zimbabwe are on the receiving end of new
legislation which forces them to hand over 51pc of business interests to
blacks. Paul Mangwana, the 'black empowerment', minister was reported as
justifying the action by saying: "If a white person wants to start a
business, he should partner with indigenous persons."
It is said that the worst thing to happen to Africa was the arrival of the
white man. The second worst was his departure. Today, after Mugabe's "land
redistribution" purge, Zimbabwe has the dubious distinction of being the
world's fastest sinking economy -- the standard of living halved since
independence in 1980.
The Aids epidemic has wreaked havoc on the country. Life expectancy is just
33 years, down from 60 in 1980. It is estimated that 40pc of the population
have Mukondombera -- the local Shona term for HIV. For many years a taboo
subject, Minister for Health Herbert Ushewekunze ordered that there be no
publicity of the disease, much less advice on treatment, before ultimately
(and ironically) succumbing to it himself. Robert Mugabe has uncommonly
lived the equivalent of almost three lives already. At 83, he rules with an
iron fist, while overseeing the construction of his latest palace -- the
largest private dwelling ever in Africa: 24 bedrooms over 3 storeys on four
acres set in a lush 50-acre garden.
Almost half of white Zimbabweans have dual nationality but since 2002 Mugabe
has made it illegal to hold dual passports and banned long-term residents
from voting, a decision which affected whites in the main who were forced to
repudiate even a notional second nationality in order to exercise their
mandate. Such is the perilous state of the economy that prices for everyday
goods double every four months but the Reserve Bank is unable to circulate
more banknotes as it doesn't have the foreign currency to pay for printing
them. Author Peter Godwin left Zimbabwe for Manhattan. His book, When a
Crocodile Eats the Sun, details the demise of Africa's bread-basket into
Africa's basket case. For most of the 20th century whites dominated
Zimbabwean agricultural land, despite being just 1pc of the population.
After independence, the new president Mugabe initially encouraged white
farmers to remain -- they brought expertise and modern farming methods,
accounting largely for the country's success.
He even appointed a white Minister for Agriculture to begin voluntary land
redistribution -- by 2000, 40pc of farms had been bought from whites at
market rates and transferred into black hands. His interest, at first, waned
but became militant when some farmers refused to sell. Godwin calls it the
"boiled frog syndrome" -- a frog heated slowly in water doesn't notice until
he is boiled alive.
Born during the Rhodesian war, Wayne has known political instability all his
life. He says the latest insurgency was different. "We were used to violence
and took whatever measures necessary to counter it. You could be fair game
at any time."
In Ireland, Wayne finds Irish people have been extremely accepting of him,
but suffer misconceptions about him and the other "Zimbos" -- a community of
about 10 families living in Dublin. "We've all been displaced -- it's not
the same as emigrating by choice, but there is an assumption here that we
whites 'colonised' Zim."
He acknowledges the analogy some Irish make with the British colonisation
here, but he is adamant that it isn't the same. "The land wasn't being used.
The whites put it to use -- we didn't take it from the indigenous
Wayne loves our easygoing ways and doesn't think he will return to Zimbabwe.
"I don't consider Ireland home, because we've been displaced ... but it's
home for now."
- Sinead Ryan