Tue 30 Oct 2007, 18:43 GMT
HARARE, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe named a new board on Tuesday to consider
an application to reopen the country's largest private newspaper, four years
after it was banned.
The government said it was replacing a commission which had rejected a
licence application for Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe's (ANZ) Daily News
and Daily News on Sunday, which have been critical of President Robert
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court ruled in 2003 the company was publishing its two
titles outside the law because it refused to register them under tough media
laws introduced following Mugabe's controversial re-election.
In May this year a High Court judge ordered the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) to consider a fresh application for the newspaper, and on
Tuesday the government said it had named a new board to handle the
"I now direct (that) this reconstituted MIC board deals with the aforesaid
application of the ANZ, paying particular attention to the law and
parameters set by all court rulings on the matter," Information and
Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said.
However previous commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso -- whom the newspaper
accused of bias -- retained his position.
Critics say Mugabe's government has stifled democracy through its crackdown
on private media, while the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has demanded the repeal of stiff media laws before next year's
The Daily News -- which began publishing in 1999 -- was critical of Mugabe's
government and had seen its readership rising sharply as the country's
economic and political crisis deepened.
Mugabe's government, which denies mismanaging the economy, frequently
accused the newspaper of being an opposition mouthpiece.
Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:46pm GMT
LISBON (Reuters) - The European Union will send invitations this week to
leaders of all African Union nations, including Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, to
attend an EU-Africa summit in December, EU president Portugal said on
Past efforts to hold such a meeting have foundered over whether to invite
Mugabe, accused of human rights abuses. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has
threatened to boycott the long-delayed event if the veteran leader comes.
"Invitations will be sent to all leaders of the African Union," Pedro
Courela, an assistant to Portugal's secretary of state for foreign affairs,
"It should be we, the EU, sending out the invitations later. But this is
something we still have to decide with the African Union," he added.
Courela was speaking by telephone from an EU meeting with the African Union
in Ghana's capital Accra to prepare for the December 8-9 Lisbon summit.
Some Nordic countries and the Czech Republic are also expected to take a
hard line if Mugabe attends.
African leaders see the Zimbabwean president as an independence hero but
western critics accuse him of ruining the economy, rigging elections and
violently suppressing the opposition. The EU has imposed sanctions on his
government, including a visa ban on top officials.
Mugabe, 83, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies he has
wrecked the economy with policies such as seizing white-owned farms for
blacks with little experience, blaming Western pressure for hyperinflation
Portuguese diplomats have justified holding the first EU-Africa summit in
seven years to counter China's growing investments and influence over the
"The Chinese don't ask questions in Africa and we cannot ignore their
growing influence," said a diplomat close the EU presidency, who asked not
to be named.
The 27-member EU is Africa's largest trading partner with trade totalling
more than 200 billion euros (140 billion pounds) last year. China was third
in 2006 with 43 billion euros in trade.
THE HAGUE, Oct 30 (AFP)
The Netherlands said Tuesday it would be opposed to the presence of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe at the EU-Africa summit in December in Lisbon, the
Dutch foreign ministry told AFP.
"Mr. Mugabe's presence at the Europe-Africa summit would not be totally
desirable," Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Bart Rijs said.
"We approached Portugal, currently holding the EU presidency, in order to
find a solution. If it turns out that a representative from Zimbabwe will be
present, then the European Union must address at length the subject of the
situation of human rights" in the country with him, he added.
Asked about an eventual boycott by The Netherlands at the summit if Mugabe
is invited by Portugal, Rijs refused to clarify, saying that it "will then
be time to formulate our point of view."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated last week that his country
would not participate in the summit if Mugabe came.
"We cannot sit down at the same table as President Mugabe," he said,
accusing the regime of human rights violations. "We're not prepared to give
any credence or credibility to someone who has so ruthlessly destroyed human
rights in his country."
A number of European countries have refused to meet Mugabe because of the
human rights abuses.
Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado, whose country currently has the EU's
rotating presidency, said that the guest list would be finalized by the end
If Mugabe did attend the summit, it would be in breach of an EU travel ban.
Collecting water from the well
The gallows humour of the notice draws laughter from villagers, who used to depend on the shopping centre, popularly known as a growth point because it served a number of villages in the surrounding area, but is now an indicator of rural economic decline.
Eight years ago the business centre was a hive of activity, where villagers bought groceries and farming inputs, negating the need to travel to towns and cities. These days, just two of more than 20 shops are open.
Munetsi Goronga, 55, owner of the hardware shop, set up a business to supply building materials to villagers, who previously had to travel to Gweru to buy them.
"Business was relatively good in the first three years but started going down fast after that, with the recent price blitz putting the last nail in the coffin," Goronga, who also used to run a small maize mill at the centre, told IRIN.
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government introduced price controls in June, forcing businesses to reduce their prices by half in an attempt to rein in hyperinflation of more than 6,000 percent - the highest in the world - but the consequences for businesses in both urban and rural areas were dire.
"I had three shop assistants but I was forced to offload them because, in addition to selling at a loss, the hardware products could not be obtained easily from wholesalers," said Goronga, who now lives in the backyard of his shop with his family.
The government crackdown was accompanied by accusations that businesses were fomenting discontent ahead of next year's scheduled parliamentary and presidential elections, though businesses said economic decline was obvious for a long time.
"Evidence was there for everyone who is in business. Over the years, less and less people were coming to buy because their incomes were being eroded by inflation. Construction in rural areas was becoming more of a luxury than a necessity, with those intending to build new houses instead opting for the old-fashioned mud-and-pole structures," Goronga said.
From good times to bad
At one store still open at the centre, a shop assistant sat patiently behind the counter, reminiscing about "the good old days", when the shelves were filled with an array of commodities.
"It is such a sad scenario," Margaret Muzvidziwa, 36, told IRIN. "Once upon a time you would find everything from margarine to needles but, as you can see, what is only left are small packets of salt, tea, and tomatoes that we grow in our garden."
Imagine - one cannot even find a cigarette, let alone matches to light
it with. I won't even mention beer, with villagers now resorting more and more
to drinking the home made brew
"It used to be such a joy and a source of pride being a shop assistant at this growth point. During weekends and on holidays the place would be full, but the business centre has been reduced to ruins as the economic decline worsens. Imagine - one cannot even find a cigarette, let alone the matches with which to light it. I won't even mention beer, with villagers now resorting more and more to drinking the home-made brew," Muzvidziwa said.
Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist and past chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), said the decline of facilities in rural areas was a result of "government's ill-placed policies and the general downturn of the economy".
"During the early years of independence the government seemed to be doing everything right, particularly by setting up growth centres as a means of bringing urban facilities to rural communities.
"There was reason to be optimistic, because some enterprising businesspeople were setting up manufacturing firms there, electricity was installed and people did not miss the towns and cities," Makwiramiti told IRIN.
But rural areas were now sliding back to the situation experienced before Zimbabwe won its independence from Britain in 1980, he said, because of a "retrogressive economy and the clear lack of interest to empower rural people through the sustenance of existing infrastructure or the installation of new facilities".
In neighbouring Chirumanzu district, the story is the same: whole shopping centres have closed down, which means villagers are faced with longer walks to the mill to have their maize - when it is available - ground into maizemeal, the staple food.
"It takes a whole day to get to the grinding mill but our problems don't end there because, in most cases, there is no electricity, meaning that we must wait until power is restored, mostly on empty stomachs," John Mariga, 30, of Grand Resettlement Area, in the same district, told IRIN.
Resettlement areas cover 10 percent of the country and are a product of the post-independence period, targeted at relieving population pressure in communal lands. People residing in these areas have no title to the land.
International donor agencies have calculated that more than a third of Zimbabwe's population, or 4.1 million people, require emergency food assistance.
The government has declared the approaching growing season "The Mother of All Farming Seasons", but Mariga is apprehensive because agricultural inputs are hard to source.
"We never used to bother about the availability of fertiliser, seed and chemicals because we would get them at our shopping centre. Even if one were to travel to the nearest town, the problem is that there are no buses, the bridges have been washed away and the roads are in bad shape," Mariga said.
Acute shortages of kerosene, a fuel widely used for lanterns in the absence of electricity, is having a serious impact on the ability of high school children to study for their year-end examinations.
A local shop owner in Masvingo Province, Elisha Mhazo, told IRIN the last time he had stocks of kerosene was in June, while a candle sells for about Z$200,000 (US$0.16 cents at the parallel market exchange rate of Z$1.2 million to US$1), a price many rural people cannot afford.
Fungai Chidyawada, 17, a final-year student at Madamombe High School in Chivi, about 50km south of the Masvingo provincial capital of Masvingo, routinely walks the 30km roundtrip to school with her classmates in the hope that electricity will be available.
There is no paraffin at the local shops. In order to revise my
schoolwork in preparation for the exams I have to return to school in the
evening, where there is electricity
"At times we get to school and sleep there, waiting for electricity to be switched on, to no avail. The power utility does not stick to its switching-on schedules," she told IRIN. The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has instituted electricity rationing for consumers, as the government electricity parastatal does not have the foreign currency to maintain or repair power stations.
"My family last had paraffin for lighting at home five months ago," Chidyawada told IRIN. She said her parents could not afford candles as an alternative, and anyway, "candles do not last more than one night."
Chidyawada's classmate, Maureen Chibga, told IRIN, "We cannot study by firelight," but admitted that walking to and from school was often too tiring, and the only option left was to use the light of the fire.
Wood, the only reliable source of fuel, is also becoming scarce because villagers have used it extensively ever since a government rural electrification programme foundered many years ago due to financial constraints and escalating costs.
The night-time walk by girls to and from school is a source of concern for parents, and "There is the added danger of these teenage girls being molested by boys in the absence of teachers to supervise their studies," local headman Ocean Mudzivo told IRIN.
"All parents pray that the students do not misbehave during the time they are supposed to be studying, otherwise we will end up with a lot of teenage pregnancies instead of better pass rates," Mudzivo said.
Rural electrification project founders
The Expanded Rural Electrification Programme, launched in 2002, sought to reach all rural schools, health centres, government extension offices and traditional chiefs' homesteads to promote the use of electricity, curb deforestation and spur rural economic development.
While commissioning a solar panel grid in rural eastern Zimbabwe in July this year, Energy and Power Development minister Mike Nyambuya spoke of "considerable progress", although high inflation, foreign currency shortages, high interest rates, price escalations, waning donor support and negative perceptions of land reform have hobbled the initiative.
In 2000 the government launched its fast-track land reform programme, which expropriated white-owned commercial farmland for redistribution to landless blacks, and heralded the onset of an economic meltdown, but has not alleviated overcrowding in rural areas.
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 October 2007
Posted to the web 30 October 2007
A severe shortage of bearers cheques has hit the country and the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is reported to be drafting plans to introduce a new
currency. Bearers cheques are currently the only legal tender in Zimbabwe.
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa spoke to sources within the RBZ who
said the plan is to bring in the new notes once a substantial amount of the
current bearers cheques have been removed from circulation. Muchemwa said
this is an attempt by the RBZ to lower the exchange rate and to limit
hoarding. The exchange rate for US$1 surpassed the Z$1million mark in mid
Muchemwa explained that for 2 weeks now account holders have been finding it
difficult to withdraw their hard earned money at the banks because they run
out of notes as early as 10:00 am. This has made planning very difficult for
people whose salaries are deposited automatically. Long winding queues can
now be seen at most banks, including Stanbic, Stanchart, Zimbank, Barclays
and all building societies.
Zimbabweans joke that they are "queue people" a funny way of dealing with
the daily grind of spending hours in a queue. But the bank queues are now as
long as queues for basic commodities which continue to be very scarce and
Economic experts have insisted that the introduction of a new currency will
not solve anything unless there are wholesale changes in the general
political and economic climate. Businesses are closing weekly and investors
have looked away from Zimbabwe, due to disruptive government policies,
corruption and mismanagement. Instead of permanent solutions, economy
experts say the government keeps implementing stop-gap measures and leaping
from one crisis to another.
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 October 2007
Posted to the web 30 October 2007
Zimbabwean companies face severe punishment if they use the foreign currency
black market to finance imports, state media reported on Tuesday.
In its latest bid to tame the world's highest inflation rate, the government
will now require companies to provide proof of their import costs before
they set their prices, the official Herald newspaper quoted an official of
National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC).
"Companies and individuals caught violating price management legislation
will face the full wrath of the law," the NIPC chairman Goodwills
Masimirembwa told the Herald.
He added: "We will demand to see foreign currency invoices converted at the
official exchange rate to determine the selling price. The commission is,
therefore, warning that law enforcement agencies will demand documentation
on the imported goods. Those found not complying will be dealt with
The state-controlled NICP is closely linked to Mugabe's office. It's latest
statement flies in the face of the policies of central bank governor Gideon
Gono who warned against any new price control measures last week and said
there should be no repeat of the "anarchy" triggered by the price freeze.
Food shortages have worsened since Robert Mugabe's government ordered
businesses to roll back prices to mid-June levels. The move triggered panic
buying and emptied shop shelves. Price controls led to a slowdown in
inflation in August but the official figure shot to a record 7,900 percent
Economist John Robertson says Mugabe's policies of forcing the economy to
"bend to his muscle" will not work.
He said: "Its unfortunate that Mugabe thinks that using force and printing
more money will bring the desired effects.
"For starters it is impractical for companies to acquire foreign currency on
the formal market because it's just not there. Businesses therefore rely on
the black market and they have many more costs to consider in transport and
administration, so they can't be taken to be investigated for every little
thing they do. The new measures will only push the basics out of the shops
Government has only allowed retailers to set prices at 20 percent above the
wholesale price, and the pricing commission has said it would allow firms
only to calculate import costs by using the official exchange rate.
The official rate is Z$30,000 to the U.S dollar. But the local unit trades
at an estimated 30 times weaker on the black market, where most firms source
their foreign currency due to shortages on the formal market.
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 October 2007
Posted to the web 30 October 2007
The SADC led mediation talks on Zimbabwe, already behind schedule on several
fronts, have missed Tuesday's key deadline for agreement on a broad
framework for free and fair elections.
Despite worries that failure to meet Tuesday's deadline will be another step
down the slippery slope for the mediation talks, there are reports the
negotiating teams have assembled in Pretoria to thrash out the remaining
The talks are set to resume Wednesday and it is expected that all the
remaining issues will be tabled for discussion. Issues still to be tackled
are the roles of the police, military and the CIO during the elections, and
the contentious issue of when to introduce the country's new constitution.
Both sides have agreed on a new constitution but are divided over when to
introduce it. Zanu-PF wants to introduce it after the elections, while the
MDC insist it has to come before.
The MDC's head of foreign Affairs, Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, said
while negotiators have missed their 30th October deadline, it was not a
matter of sticking to deadlines on such crucial talks.
'It is more of a matter in ensuring that agreed positions are understood by
all sides and that they will not be revisited. In the course of discussions
it has become apparent that they cannot be rushed to meet today's (Tuesday)
deadline,' Mukonoweshuro said.
Reports indicate that a settlement was within President Thabo Mbeki's grasp
between the fiercely antagonistic opposing parties. Analysts have warned
both sides not to let this opportunity pass because they won't get another
one like it in the near future.
Tuesday had been earmarked as the end of six months of talks aimed at
producing an agreement on the crisis rocking the country. According to the
MDC more than 3000 of its supporters have been on the receiving end of
intimidation and violence by Zanu-PF supporters.
The current talks constitute the most comprehensive and sustained attempt to
reduce tensions between Zanu-PF and opposition parties and resolve the issue
of free and fair elections. It is hoped the talks are set to move into high
gear, as all sides are now eager to come up with some kind of conclusion.
Sokwanele Report : 30 October2007
Those who have not been exposed to Zimbabwe's hyperinflation may find it
difficult to comprehend the intensity of the suffering it causes to the
country's citizens. What difference does it make to people's everyday lives?
To say that inflation has become a matter of life and death for many, may
sound like an exaggeration to readers outside Zimbabwe. But that is the
tragic reality as this real life story illustrates. Inflation is a direct
cause of incredible stress and hardship.
The names in this article have been changed to protect the identity of our
interviewee and people around him, but all the other details are exactly as
provided to our reporter.
Mr Bernard Keswa is 85 years of age. The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
employed Mr Keswa for most of his working life. His pension from the NRZ
amounts to a paltry 33,000 Zimbabwe dollars plus some loose change. This
income will not even buy him the lowest denomination postage stamp available
To get the measure of this sum, consider that a pound sterling now equates
to something in excess of a million Zimbabwe dollars. In other words our
85-year-old pensioner receives the equivalent of a tiny fraction of one
pound a month to live on. Of course it is ludicrous. In fact it is an insult
to Mr Keswa, a man who has worked hard all his life, deprived now of a
dignified old age. 33,000 Zimbabwe dollars will not even provide a single
one-way ride into town in an emergency taxi (public transport). (At the time
of speaking to Mr Keswa an emergency taxi trip cost 150,000 dollars, but the
fare increases almost daily).
The old Rhodesian Railways (precursor to the NRZ) was one of the country's
major employers and a rock-solid financial institution under colonial rule.
It provided financial security to employees and pensioners alike and was
much respected for that. But uncontrolled inflation and gross mismanagement
of the national economy over nearly a decade have eroded pensions (and not
just of railway employees) to the point at which they are now effectively
worthless. Mr Keswa is a tragic example of this trend: he is only one among
hundreds of thousands. And remember, there is no social security network in
Zimbabwe to provide even the basics like food, shelter, medicine, water and
Out of his paltry 33,000 Zimbabwe dollars, Mr Bernard Keswa is expected to
feed, educate, clothe, and accommodate his four grand-children
(Beatrice, Brian, Belinda and Beater ) whose parents died of
AIDS in 2005. Imagine the stress that comes with the responsibility of
feeding four vulnerable children on an income that will not buy a postage
As a diabetic, Mr Keswa also has to provide himself with a special diet.
This is an extremely difficult task: due to the current food shortages in
Zimbabwe Mr Keswa can no longer even afford a simple ordinary breakfast. It
is impossible for him to find food like the brown rice that forms part of a
special diet for diabetics, and even if he could, he wouldn't be able to
afford to buy it.
Mr Keswa said that finding flour or bread is like looking for snowballs in
the Sahara. To eke out his meager supplies during the times he has no
alternative sources of food or support, Mr Keswa mixes small amounts of
mealie-meal, sugar and water into a stiff paste. He then rolls the paste
into small balls and boils them in water. The cooked product is called
"maqhebelengwana", and is usually eaten accompanied by a cup of tea, but Mr
Keswa says it has been a long time since he has had tealeaves and sugar in
Mr Keswa owns a four-roomed house in Luveve, a high-density suburb on the
western side of Bulawayo. He bought the house during the "good old days"
when the NRZ floated a rent-to-buy scheme for its workers. Now two rooms
leased to a well-mannered couple provide Mr Keswa with a modest monthly
rental that does no more than pay for electricity, water and city council
rates. But at least he has a roof over his head: many poverty-stricken
pensioners had their fragile homes destroyed by the government during
Operation Murambatsvina. Mr Keswa, as hard as it may be to believe it, is
The reality is that the Roman Catholic Church is Mr Keswa's salvation.
Through its philanthropic programme called the St Vincent's Society for the
Very Poor [SVP], a society that looks after the most needy in the community,
Mr Keswa receives regular handouts of sugar beans and mealie meal. Though
the handouts arrive with long intervals between them (these were never
intended to provide more than a food supplement for the very poor) they go a
long way towards keeping extreme hunger from his door.
The SVP has, until recently when certain members of the Luveve Community
took over, also been providing the funds to educate Mr Keswa's four
grand-children. And the church has managed to provide him with clothes to
wear for a number of years.
Help Age Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation that assists the elderly,
has given Mr Keswa supplements of sorghum, grain and bulgar. These have been
an essential part of his diabetic diet.
Mr Keswa's story highlights the charitable spirit of the community he lives
in because, with their help, he has over the past five years been able to
find ways of coping with his special dietary requirements despite the
extreme difficulties presented by hyper-inflation and poverty.
Mr Keswa makes sadza made from ground sorghum (mhunga). This mhunga, or milo
as it is also called, is brown in colour and is a delicacy for Shona
traditionalists. (It is served in wooden utensils during holy ceremonies
(zvirango zvinoera)). Mhunga's metabolisable energy content is about 5-10%
lower than maize, but it has a protein content that is 10-12% higher.
Mr Kaswa takes an extra precaution of his own: including garlic onion in
vegetables and other dishes is now an ingrained habit because, as he says,
"It keeps me away from Dr Gloria's vital medical check ups. It also saves me
the humiliation of having to kneel down before my benefactors begging for
money to pay for Dr Gloria's check ups".
The responsibility Mr Keswa has for his four young grandchildren means that
he is keenly aware that he has to do all he can to stay healthy. Without
him, they become mere numbers in the nation's growing AIDS-orphan
As if all this was not enough, Mr Keswa also has heart problems, resulting
in the occasional serious heart murmur. For someone living altogether on
charity and, as the church would say, by the grace of God, it is nothing
short of a miracle that to date he has managed to buy the prescribed drugs
which come at a cost of 7.4 million Zimbabwean dollars. (Remember, his
railway pension is 33,000 dollars).
In April this year 85-year-old Mr Keswa suffered a mild stroke that badly
affected his speech and left his mouth looking twisted. All of his dining,
bedroom and lounge furniture was sold to pay the doctor's consultation fees,
hospital bedding, medicine and physiotherapy costs.
Within inflation-ravaged Zimbabwe Mr Keswa is one of the fortunate few whom
friends, the church and other charitable bodies have kept alive. The
government which has created the conditions leading to his sorry
predicament, provides him with nothing whatsoever for his old age.
Were there even a semblance of democracy and free choice in Zimbabwe, it
goes without saying that this government would have been shown the door
many, many years ago.
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 October 2007
Posted to the web 30 October 2007
The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) has requested the army
and police to take over the marking of primary and secondary school
examinations, citing lack of funds to pay teachers.
Officials at Zimsec have indicated that most teachers are likely to boycott
the marking exercise after many expressed that the allowances offered are
too small. It is now understood that some military personnel have been
undergoing training in examination marking as part of government's strategy
to counter an anticipated marking boycott by teachers.
According to figures presented by Zimsec director Happy Ndanga to parliament
the organisation needs more than Z$500 billion for the marking exercise.
This is against the backdrop of a bid placed by the examinations council
where it sought to be granted Z$1,5 trillion for its 2007 budget.
According to press reports Ndanga recently told the parliamentary portfolio
committee on education that their funding was "just a little over 50
percent" of their needs.
Ndanga said: "We cannot run an examination at 50 percent capacity. It must
be 100 percent. On the marking requirements, we need to pay examiners
reasonable rates. We can only pay them reasonable rates if we are given the
money to do so."
A senior teacher and examiner told Newsreel that fears were rife that most
teachers would spurn the marking exercise.
"We are aware that soldiers are considered as the only viable option in the
face of recent developments that saw teachers joining in strike action
organised by the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe," said the teacher, who refused to be named.
He added, "It will however be a joke because some of these soldiers barely
made it to grade seven. On the other hand, the examination results look set
to be delayed for the third year running again. It all goes to say that
Zimsec has failed and they should have left our system in the hands of the
Cambridge examination board."
May you please assist us by publishing the Global march for us we are trying to encourage our people to work on how we can meet the MDG goal number 2 by 20 15,by doing this we join the rest of the World in campaigning for the return of all children back to school
Thank you in Advance
Pastor Elfas Zadzagomo
New Hope FoundationSee attached document
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 October 2007
Posted to the web 30 October 2007
The saga over the dissolution of the women's executive led by Lucia
Matibenga looks set to be the subject of a make or break crisis meeting this
week. Party president Morgan Tsvangirai is alleged to be facing a potential
revolt over the manner in which Matibenga was dismissed from the assembly,
and the subsequent meeting held in Bulawayo to replace her with Theresa
Makone. Sources in the party hinted that Tsvangirai could be forced into
reversing the dissolution of the Matibenga led executive, given the
over-whelming tide of support for the former trade unionist. Senior
officials have been meeting Tsvangirai privately and explaining the
consequences of the decision by the management committee.
Newsreel has it on good authority that the MDC leader is leaning towards
reinstating Matibenga but a lot depends on the crisis meeting scheduled for
this week. It was not clear which body between the National Council,
National Executive and Management Committee was going to meet, but one of
these has been tasked to resolve the mess. It now turns out two women's
congresses were held in Bulawayo at the weekend. One at the Emakandeni Hall
reinstated Matibenga while another allegedly held at Vice President
Thokozani Khupe's restaurant put Makone in charge. On Monday Makone denied
this, insisting they met at the party's Bulawayo office before going for
lunch at Khupe's restaurant.
Meanwhile party officials have dismissed press reports that the MDC under
Tsvangirai will split into two groups, insisting they had the internal
mechanisms to deal with the problem even if it meant expelling members who
were causing the problems. 'We want to create a political culture that goes
beyond removing Zanu PF and Mugabe. We want a new Zimbabwe that respects
laws and peoples rights and do away with these personality cults that
dominate our politics,' the official said.
On Tuesday senior official Sekai Holland issued a statement saying male
chauvinism was at the heart of problems in the MDC. She said despite pledges
for a 'devolution of power' Tsvangirai was presiding over the
marginalisation of women in the party. Holland said initially there were 10
women in senior positions as proposed by the Women's Assembly after the
March 2006 Congress and this was to ensure the MDC met its one-third quota
of women. However the scrapping of deputy secretary portfolios had removed
'4 articulate, solid professional women,' leaving 2 out of 15 shadow
ministers in the MDC who are female.
Tsvangirai has so far argued the re-structuring was meant to strengthen the
party ahead of elections next year. Political commentator Dr John Makumbe
told Newsreel it was possible the MDC leader knew more than he was telling
the public but the problem with Matibenga's ouster was that there was
already a preferred replacement in Makone. This he says is what has
complicated matters not to mention the 'mysterious' manner of her election.
He said the crisis was being fuelled by a tendency in the party leadership
to respect personal friendships over party procedure. Makumbe said
Tsvangirai had to show leadership strength and nullify both congresses that
took place at the weekend and order a fresh start to the process.
By Grace Kwinjeh
Last updated: 10/31/2007 05:48:52
"I APPEAL to my fellow war veterans not to let your suffering be used by selfish and greedy politicians who caused your suffering. This will not benefit you at the end of the day. Comrades, you should stand up and be a watchdog of the government. If you do not, you will have fought for nothing," freedom fighter and former independent MP Margaret Dongo.
But after first being elected as an MP in 1990, Dongo almost didn't make it back into office. She lost in the 1995 elections as an independent candidate after rampant voter fraud in her district was engineered to ensure her defeat.
When she set a nationwide precedent by taking the government to court, many called Dongo "mentally unbalanced" and said she was simply carrying a grudge against President Robert Mugabe.
(Extract from The Republic of Dongo: Parliamentarian Margaret Dongo, By Joyce Jenje-Makwenda, Zimbabwe)
HISTORY has a way of repeating itself in mysterious ways. The Secretary General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Tendai Biti, recently signed a letter dissolving the Women's Assembly of the party.
The same heroic Biti 12 years ago, joined other activists in fighting Zanu PF's intransigence, when the party fired vocal politician Margaret Dongo from its ranks. With the support of pro-democracy activists, Dongo challenged Zanu PF in the Harare South constituency and the courts and won.
Activists united in Harare South to campaign for Dongo for many reasons, with the main one being she had been a voice of reason within the Zanu PF structure, saying things "Mugabe's wives" (her crude description of Mugabe loyalists)could not say.
"I'm saying this because I was in that parliament. I endured a lot of hardship under a one-party monopoly. You stand up and try to reason with him, and one tells you, ‘You are a bitch, go and cook in your house.’ Or tells you to sit down, that you are a minority..." said Dongo in an interview with Frontline World.
Thus she became a symbol of defiance against a system many feared and at the time thought was invincible, as has been the case with most post-colonial African states. She lit a candle of hope that the one party system could be challenged and dismantled, bringing the possibility of new political organisations with a different value system to that of Zanu PF.
I want to posit here that the Harare South battle should therefore be viewed in the context that it was an extension of the whole process that led to the formation of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) in 1998 and subsequently the MDC in 1999.
It is, however, important to rewind this particular tape a little bit to understand the dynamics that played themselves out at the time within Zanu PF and their relevance to the political discourse today, within the MDC. I will use various theoretical positions and traditions to explain Dongo's battle in view of what Lucia Matibenga is up and against in the MDC vis-à-vis the question of intra-party democracy and women's empowerment as a pre-requisite of good governance.
Writing in the Financial Gazette of 11 October, journalist Clemence Manyukwe gave an account of some of the victims of Zanu PF's internal dictatorship, among them Dzikamai Mavhaire and his famous "The President must go" speech, Frederick Shava, and Edgar Tekere. While all these have since been neutralised or silenced, none made a mark in our collective conscience the way Dongo did.
The battle in Harare South was important and still has a relevance to us today especially for those whose political activism was then propelled by Dongo's victory. What was the principle behind the overwhelming support for Dongo's battle against the Zanu PF 'chefs'?
It was a brutal and lonely fight for Dongo. Zanu PF put all its resources in campaigning for Vivian Mwashita who had been Dongo's best friend. They had the control of the media, government resources, top politicians went into Harare South to de-campaign Dongo. Senior Zanu PF female politicians for their own political survival took sides with the men.
It is against this background that Matibenga's battle in the MDC is important for us activists who were inspired and greatly influenced by Dongo in our political activism. The above scenario is repeating itself in a rather bitter manner. Reading Biti's statement after the High Court ruling on Matibenga's challenge of her committee’s dissolution, in which he claimed “victory” and “vindication”, my heart sank. The statement represented several tragedies and dangers for those of us who have been engaged in the protracted struggle for democracy.
While our interpretation of the judgement passed by the High Court is that only the Women's Congress can dissolve its leadership, the MDC leadership seems to have their own.
The first concern is to do with moral leadership, what lessons can the MDC learn from the “struggles within the struggle” during the war of liberation as documented by the late Masipula Sithole? Sithole does not rule out the possibility of conflict in political organisations, however what matters is how the leadership responds and handles the conflict. The 70's “struggle within the struggle” claimed lives, one of them the highly esteemed politician Herbert Chitepo. How were these developments a precursor of the kind of party Zanu PF is today? Dictatorship? Violence?
"The Zimbabwe liberation movement has been torn apart by tribalism and regionalism, but rarely will this be admitted in public by the leadership and organisations in question, preferring distant Marxist ideological explanations. Those who may be tempted to think ideology is the answer to tribalism and regionalism will do well to remember that in both 'bourgeois' and 'proletariat' societies, national cohesiveness and consciousness are achieved through power sharing and management of representative institutional structures," wrote Sithole.
In a prophetic letter after the assassination of Chitepo, his brother Ndabaningi said: "I cannot be indifferent to the death of a man such as Chitepo for political expediency. It is immoral and wrong. I am in this struggle because of moral quality otherwise I would have nothing to do with it."
Is there a moral value in Matibenga's struggle within the MDC? The late Sithole answers this by saying: "In the long run, morally right actions will triumph over politically expedient actions. Just watch and see."
Indeed we have not only watched but many of us are victims of that Zanu PF system of dictatorship and tyranny which birthed itself during our liberation struggle.
Still on the leadership question, writing after being sacked as South Africa's Deputy Minister of Health, Nozizwe Madlala–Routledge said in an article entitled ‘Seeking servants of the people: “When we choose leaders, we need not give up our own power by putting them on pedestals that distance them from those that they lead. We need not accord them hero worship or fear them so much that we cannot tell them what we think or feel, that we can only tell them what they want to hear. We need not allow them to think they have the last word and that they may not be challenged. True leadership is about giving people the feeling that they can be heard, regardless of who they are and how junior they may be."
The uneasy feeling one gets in supporting Matibenga's cause is of being at war with the leadership with the consequence of serious political backlash. I want to argue further that the MDC is faced with these problems because of the failure to dismantle the exhausted patriarchal model of liberation as espoused by Horace Campbell and others; a model whose main characteristics are sexism, dictatorship and cronyism.
In the same the way the nationalists integrated themselves into the colonial systems, the MDC and other social liberation movements such as the Movement for Multi-party Democracy in Zambia have become hybrids of these models.
Of this system, Campbell says, "instead of liberation becoming the foundation of a new social order, the militarist and masculinist leadership turned the victory of the people into a never ending nightmare of direct and structural violence."
The failure to break from colonial and nationalist politics can be described as another instance of what Frantz Fanon called “false decolonization” or “political decadence”. Fanon said: "In its beginnings, the national bourgeoisie of the colonial country identifies itself with the decadence of the West. We need not think that it is jumping ahead; it is in fact beginning at the end."
Fanon goes further to say, (and this explains the prevailing status of the MDC): "It is already senile before it has come to know the petulance, the fearlessness, or the will to succeed of youth."
And so Biti goes further to state in his statement: "Contrary to the opinions of others, the decision was not based on patriarchy, chauvinism or contempt of the feminist movement."
What Biti seems not to understand is that the authority he has to actually write this statement derives itself from patriarchal privilege, one that he and his cohorts do not have the ideological sophistication to articulate in order to dismantle it. That is the tragedy. Thus the commission investigating the conduct of the women's assembly for instance is made up of three men in a party that is blessed with so many well meaning and capable women. Biti sees nothing wrong with this. Not to mention again that the National Executive and National Council of the party were never informed of this decision.
In fact, like Dongo and Mwashita in Zanu PF then, MDC women are placed in the ridiculous situation of acting like wives in a polygamous union. Those in such unions will tell you that when you “talk too much'” you are denied conjugal rights and other benefits until you behave. And so measures are put in place in the MDC system to regulate the behaviour of leaders especially how women respond to patriarchy and chauvinism.
Even more telling is the fact that their opinions are regarded as those of “others; they are not part and parcel of the party's common vision and understanding, of what constitutes intra-party democracy on the one hand the emancipation of women on the other.
The fact is that the 'feminist movement' is just another and not part and parcel of the revolution as advanced by great revolutionaries like Oliver Tambo or Thomas Sankara who said: "May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half of the people are held in silence.” Or Samora Machel who said: "The idea that we can wait until later to emancipate women is wrong, because it means leaving reactionary ideas to grow so that they are harder to fight later."
The great pan-Africans proposed a liberation model that sought to restore the black woman of her dignity so viciously stripped of her by the settler colonialists. Their concept of revolution was not just political, for instance placing certain men in power, it was also social, meaning a total break-down of all institutions of power and oppression.
Just to advance my thesis further on the relationship between intra-party democracy, women's emancipation and good governance, I will use the example of Mozambique's FRELIMO which has produced not just some of the greatest women in Africa, let’s take Graca Machel, but one of the best governments too. Fresh from winning the inaugural US$5 million Mo Ibrahim Award for African Leadership, former President Joaquim Chissano, denounced autocratic rule saying it has no room on the African continent anymore.
For the MDC women I will leave them with the advise of the late nationalist Oliver Tambo to ANC women in 1981: "Women in the ANC should stop behaving like there was no place for them above the level of certain categories of involvement. They have a duty to liberate us men from antique concepts and attitudes about the place and role of women in society and the development and direction of our revolutionary struggle."
And so I will conclude by saying the fact that today when we speak out we are 'othered', called 'whores' and have to defend what we stand for gives us an insight into the 'New Zimbabwe' we are fighting for.
Grace Kwinjeh is an activist and member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). She can be contacted on e-mail: email@example.com
By Blessing Zulu
Last updated: 10/30/2007 10:08:57
THE year is March 2008, President Robert Mugabe has called for a national
election, and people have not been told about the location of polling
stations except the day -- Saturday.
When people wake up to go and cast their votes, they are told people in
Harare have already cast their votes at the Zanu PF headquarters and Gumba's
Supermarket and President Mugabe has won a landslide victory. Imagine if the
same scenario is replicated throughout the country.
What is the likely reaction from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of one faction of
the MDC? What will be the reaction of the international community? I will
not answer these questions, as I do not have the spiritual powers of Rotina
Mavhunga, the diesel mystic.
I am now convinced that the circus that happened at the so called Women's
Congress in Bulawayo demonstrates that Mugabe's government can run an
election better than the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai. It is now clear that
Tsvangirai has been busy missing the point and scoring own goals repeatedly.
Tsvangirai is quick to say there is nothing special about Lucia Matibenga,
but surely this is not about Matibenga but about the rule of law and abiding
by the party constitution. A few months ago, he whipped his Members of
Parliament to endorse the controversial Amendment Number 18 Bill, whether
this was good or bad only history will tell. But I think history will judge
him harshly. The decision has riled Tsvangirai's strategic allies in the
It must be emphasised that Zimbabweans have suffered enough -- our inflation
is the highest in the world at nearly 8 000%, life expectancy is below 35
years and unemployment about 85%.
We pray to the almighty everyday that in future we must not have a leader
who abuses the people and the constitution like Mugabe, but with the
behaviour of the opposition, our prayers are not being answered. We are
tired of being tired.
Whenever there is change it must have substance and the unfortunate events
unfolding in the MDC are proof that the opposition and the ruling party are
conspiring to disappoint the people of Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai must be the last court of appeal in the MDC, but for him to
ignore his National Council and National Executive and unilaterally fire
elected officers using his kitchen cabinet in Thokozani Khupe's restaurant
is rather disturbing.
It is not surprising that the media and groups normally sympathetic to
Tsvangirai have lost confidence in his leadership abilities. People do not
have electricity, food, clean water, medicine and other basic essentials yet
the MDC is again focusing on internal problems.
The MDC has its roots in labour and mostly the poor. It is unfortunate
therefore, that Tsvangirai has allowed the haves and have-more to elbow out
the poor and the workers. Theresa Makone, whose husband Ian Makone is
Tsvangirai advisor and funder, has become the chef in Tsvangirai's kitchen
cabinet and is giving Tsvangirai the wrong advice.
What is baffling is the fact that Theresa Makone has not done anything in
Mashonaland East where she was the chairwoman. The MDC as we all know does
not have a single seat in Mashonaland East and does not seem to be making
any progress in this province. Where then is Tsvangirai getting the
impression that she is the Messiah for the women?
Tsvangirai is surrounded by lawyers such as Tendai Biti, his secretary
general, but for a whole secretary general to endorse such an illegal move
is baffling. From this circus it is clear that Tsvangirai and Biti have now
become a liability to the party and are a danger not only to the nation but
It is a national disgrace that even the most senior leaders in the party are
being kept in the dark about the goings on. But typical of Zanu PF, they do
not have the guts to go public, and the people can only here through hearsay
what is happening in the party. Real democrats must never allow the devil to
run away with the pulpit. The truth shall set us free. In this regard I say
hats off to Grace Kwinjeh for standing firm.
What guarantee do we have that these individuals will respect Zimbabwe's
constitution once in government? Can anyone ever control them if they are in
power and have the state resources at their disposal? These are the
questions that the nation failed to ask Mugabe in the 80's and we are paying
dearly. Not challenging our leaders and asking tough questions is now the
conventional wisdom for Zimbabweans across the political divide.
The wisdom, or lack of the same, says if it’s Mugabe or Tsvangirai you
should hedge, flee, dodge and spin at all costs, don't criticize.
After the split with the Welshman Ncube faction and the public sympathy that
he got from most people, Tsvangirai now has an unhealthy disregard for
democracy and the party's constitution enhancing the prospects of
Tsvangirai must show his respect for the people and democracy by reversing
this very unpopular decision to use the kitchen cabinet to smoke Matibenga
out of the party. If this is not done as of yesterday, the party will
resemble the last 30 minutes of the Titanic, there will be so many jumping
There is no denying the fact that Matibenga has grassroots support and
kicking her out unceremoniously is likely to shake the resolve of many party
supporters, they may not join Arthur Mutambara or Mugabe, but they will not
The MDC as we knew it was a broad based democratic movement, but is now
dead. It’s now just a political party seeking power. This was supposed to be
a watershed election for Mugabe but again Tsvangirai has made another
Blessing Zulu is a former political reporter with the Zimbabwe Independent
and is now based in Washington DC. He can be contacted at
From The Herald, 30 October
By Daniel Nemukuyu
Former NMB Bank deputy managing director James Mushore, who was arrested in
Harare last week after being on the police wanted list for three years,
yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts facing six counts of
flouting Exchange Control Regulations and one count of breaching immigration
laws. Mushore, who has been living with his family in the United Kingdom
since 2004, is accused of instructing his subordinates to export US$2 460
470, £285 000, R3 million, 30 000 euros, and 800 000 pula to a London bank
without the Reserve Bank’s approval. The State further alleges that Mushore
illegally dealt in foreign currency amounting to £2 861 864,28 and US$216
524,20. Mushore is also being charged with violating the immigration laws by
leaving Zimbabwe for Zambia through an undesignated point in Kariba.
On Sunday, Mushore was released from police custody following a High Court
order by Justice Felistus Chatukuta, but was yesterday summoned to court for
initial remand. Mushore (50), who was represented by Mr Innocent Chagonda of
Atherstone and Cook, mounted a bail application before magistrate Ms Olivia
Mariga, who remanded him in custody to today pending a ruling. Prosecutor Mr
Obi Mabahwana opposed bail on the grounds that Mushore left the country
illegally through an undesignated point in Kariba on his way to Zambia,
where he boarded a flight to the UK. Mr Mabahwana called the investigating
officer, Superintendent Edward Marodza, who testified that Mushore’s
passport was not stamped on his exit. Supt Marodza further told the court
that Mushore had given "false" information about his residential address
during his stay in Zimbabwe. "Mushore told the police that he was to reside
at number 27 Hobbleton Avenue in Glen Lorne, but a follow-up at the said
house revealed that Mr John Bredenkamp was the owner of the house.
In cross-examination, Mr Chagonda dismissed the "fictitious" address
allegations as "nonsensical and misleading". "The allegation that Mushore
gave a false address to the police at the airport is, with greatest respect,
nonsensical and misleading. That is the address he used even before he left
for the United Kingdom and it (the property) is registered in his name. We
can tender the title deeds of the house as exhibit in this court to prove
that the house is his and he had plans to stay there during his stay in
Zimbabwe. Mr Mushore was to stay at the house and whoever was occupying his
house was to accommodate him during the stay. Mr Bredenkamp was only using
the house, but it is still registered in Mushore’s name," said Mr Chagonda.
Mushore was arrested in Harare on Wednesday last week. During his stay in
Zimbabwe, Mr Chagonda said, he communicated with the Attorney-General’s
Office. The court heard that in April last year and January this year, chief
law officer Mr Joseph Jagada wrote letters to the defence lawyers seeking a
"convenient date" for the court case. It was submitted that in the two
letters, Mr Jagada insisted that the matter did not warrant placement of the
accused person on remand. The court further heard that NMB Bank had since
been convicted and fined as a company and that the same charges were being
preferred against Mushore, except for the immigration count. According to Mr
Mabahwana, between July 23 and October 28 2003, Mushore directed the then
general manager (treasury), Mr Learnmore Chatima, and senior manager Simon
Ngirande to export foreign currency from Zimbabwe. On July 23 and 24 2003,
Mushore allegedly caused the exportation of US$880 470 and £125 000 to
London Trust Bank. It is further alleged that Mushore caused the release of
more than US$1 580 000, £160 000, R3 million, 800 000 pula, and 30 000 euros
between September 24 and October 28 2003. The State alleges that his vehicle
was later recovered in the resort town.
From Business in Africa (SA), 30 October
By Sherilee Bridge
Zimbabwe's mining industry has taken another blow with news that the
Zimbabwean government has suspended the issuing of exclusive prospecting
orders last week. According to the Zimbabwe Independent, hundreds of
applications submitted by prospective mine developers as far back as 2003
have not been processed. Not only has this brought exploration work in the
country to a standstill, it is depriving the country of foreign direct
investment in the form of exploration money. "Speculation is now rife that
government wants the mining sector to be indigenised before opening it up to
more players," said the report in the Zimbabwe Independent. The
Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill, which forces foreign companies to sell
51% of its shareholding to locals, is now awaiting President Robert Mugabe's
approval after it sailed through Zimbabwe's Lower and Upper Houses of
parliament. Already its introduction has created investment uncertainty and
resulted in several of that country's largest investors, particularly in the
platinum industry, holding off on new investment there. Now exploration
companies may be turned away from the country and like other commodities
producers, could seek a home in less restrictive, more investor-friendly
neighbouring countries like Mozambique, Namibia and Madagascar. The United
Nation's World Investment Report, released earlier this month, said foreign
direct investment in Zimbabwe slumped by 61% in 2006. South African
Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) estimated in a 2006 report on
Zimbabwe that about 27 of South Africa's biggest listed companies have
operations in that country.
"Long-standing business ties have not been severed by the current economic
problems, although many companies have preferred to 'ringfence' their
Zimbabwe operations, keeping financials separate from the overall group
operations, as a way of riding out the storm," SAIIA said in its report
titled A Nation in Turmoil: The Experience of South African Firms Doing
Business in Zimbabwe. "Although most companies have limited contact with
head office in South Africa, they believe that if they were faced with a
real problem the parent company would intervene to help them," the SAIIA
said. "However, the fact that Zimbabwe has not signed the trade and
investment protection agreement drawn up with South Africa makes companies
feel more exposed to the vagaries of Zimbabwe's economic policy,
particularly as regards property and nationalisation of assets," the report
Zimbabwe is South Africa's most important trading partner in Africa and one
of the 15 countries, globally, with which South Africa exchanges the highest
volume of trade. China has become a major trading partner to Zimbabwe,
second only to South Africa and China is also the largest investor in
incremental investment in Zimbabwe. Earlier this month firms from Qatar and
the Ukraine announced deals totalling more than US$200 million in Zimbabwe's
infrastructure " further proof that Zimbabwe is determined to sever ties
with the US and European Union in the wake of previous year's sanctions and
build stronger ties with the Middle and Far East. And while reports out of
Zimbabwe indicated that there have been some deals concluded under the
Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill, these have been low key and said to
involve much smaller companies. Sam Chikowore, the operations director of
exploration firm Exporien Mining, told Zimbabwe Independent that the mining
sector has been neglected compared to other sectors such as agriculture.
Confiming that no new prospecting orders were being issued despite the
industry's representation to the relevant ministries and the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, Chikowore said Zimbabwe's government should put in place
mechanisms to safeguard the sector to ensure that players develop the mines
before they offload it.
Action by Churches Together International (ACT)
Date: 30 Oct 2007
GENEVA, October 30, 2007--Action by Churches Together (ACT) International
has issued a $3.6 million appeal to respond, over the next twelve months, to
the growing humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
An inflation rate exceeding 7,000 percent has had a devastating impact on
the general population, but especially so on vulnerable people already
struggling to make ends meet.
The ACT members implementing the alliance’s response, Christian Care (CCARE)
and Lutheran Development Service (LDS), report that factors that have
hastened the country's economic decline include the HIV and AIDS pandemic,
the impact that restructuring the agricultural sector has had on the overall
food security, and a massive unemployment rate, with some 80 percent of the
population considered to be living under the poverty line.
In addition, 2007 saw one of the worst harvests in recent times, with the
year officially designated as “Drought Year” by the government.
The two ACT members aim at making food immediately available to families
that have been identified as being particularly vulnerable in the Chivi,
Mwenezi, Zvishavane, Mberengwa, Gwanda and Beitbridge districts. In total,
close to 51,000 people will receive food aid, if the appeal is fully funded.
The households being assisted include those headed up by women, children and
elderly persons, as well as widows and widowers, people suffering from
terminal illnesses or are physically challenged. Also considered vulnerable,
are households living with orphans and other vulnerable children, and
families with very little agricultural means to support and sustain
ACT member CCARE celebrated its 40th year of service recently, while LDS has
been active in the country for more than two decades.
Action by Churches Together (ACT) International is a global alliance of
churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities
in emergencies worldwide.
Church World Service (CWS)
Date: 29 Oct 2007
Appeal Number: 641-W
Appeal Amount: $200,000
SITUATION: Ongoing humanitarian problems in Zimbabwe continue to prompt
concern and needed responses by the international community to help
alleviate serious food shortages. These shortages are affecting a large
segment of the population of the southern African nation.
RESPONSE: Church World Service is supporting efforts of partner agencies and
fellow Action by Churches Together (ACT) International members Christian
Care (CCARE) and Lutheran Development Services (LDS).
This appeal is *two-pronged- as it seeks to make food immediately available
to vulnerable households at the same time building their capacity to
resuscitate their crop farming activities in a sustainable manner. The scope
of the program activities include:
- Food distribution to vulnerable households;
- HIV and AIDS mitigation initiatives which include home based care (HBC),
provision of psycho-social support and supplementary feeding;
- Distribution of crop inputs and farmer training on conservation farming;
- Establishment of nutrition gardens and training on garden management;
- Distribution of small livestock for both food and income generation;
- Community training.
The emergency component of the program will be implemented over a period of
five months from November 2007 to April 2008 while the recovery component
will be implemented over a period of twelve months starting in November
The focus will be on the southern Zimbabwe districts of Chivi, Mwenezi,
Zvishavane, Mberengwa, Gwanda and Beitbridge, rural areas affected by
drought and populated by subsistence farmers. General economic decline,
inadequacy of rainfall and infertile soils in the districts have resulted in
poor crop harvests, which affect the food security situation in the areas.
The CWS-supported efforts focus on poor and vulnerable households.
Among the components of the response:
Food Aid: Efforts will be made to stave off severe malnourishment for 51,434
people who are the inhabitants of the targeted areas. The food basket per
person will include 10kg of maize meal, 300ml of cooking oil and 1kg of
beans per person per month. In addition, HIV- and AIDS-symptomatic persons
will each receive 10 kg of corn Soya blend per month.
Crop Input Distribution: Crop inputs comprising seed and fertilizers will be
distributed to 6,484 households. A seed pack will include 10 kgs of open
pollinated varieties (OPV) -- maize enough for one acre for both consumption
and seed production and 5kg to 10kgs of millet and sorghum seed per
household. The project will proffer adequate training to ensure that farmers
utilize techniques for seed production.
Community-based Gardens: Eight community gardens will be established in
twelve months under the program. The project will provide all fencing
material requirements to protect the gardens from destruction of crops by
animals. Live fencing will also be established for all the gardens for
sustainability. Fencing materials will include barbed wire, pig netting wire
as well as treated poles. The produce from gardens will be a major source of
nutritious food for those infected with HIV and battling AIDS.
Small Livestock Distribution: Small livestock comprising rabbits and guinea
fowls will be distributed to vulnerable households on the principle of pass
on the gift. That will be done as means of livelihood as well as creating a
source of meat for the poor house holds in the project areas. The
implementing organizations will source the birds and animals for
HIV and AIDS Mitigation Initiatives: This component will be comprised of
activities which seek to alleviate the impact of the HIV and AIDS by
proffering adequate training to both primary and secondary caregivers,
providing requisite home based care kits, education that mitigates
stigmatization through awareness as well as providing psycho-social support
to the infected and affected households.
The program will also focus on the care and support for the orphaned and
vulnerable children in the program area. It will provide supplementary
feeding for HIV and AIDS-symptomatic persons. This part of the program will
lessen the burden of the poverty-stricken affected households by providing
supplementary vitamin and protein fortified corn-soya blend (CSB) at a
ration of 10kg per person per month. A total of 2,962 beneficiaries are set
to benefit from the program.
The total budget amount is $3,347,900. That includes $1,642,027 in direct
food assistance; $465,336 for home-based care; $249,328 in food security
(seeds and plantings) costs.
Contributions to support this emergency appeal may be sent to your
denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515.
Please designate: Zimbabwe Food Aid (Appeal # 641-W).
For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is
responding -- or to make a credit card contribution -- please visit the
Church World Service Website at www.churchworldservice.org or phone (800)
CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151;
Executive Director: Donna Derr, firstname.lastname@example.org
CWS / ERP web site: www.cwserp.org