|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
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100 years of Jewish history up in smoke
‘Miracle’ saves torahs
By Ronit Loewenstern
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe -- More than 100 years of Jewish history went up in smoke yesterday (October 4 2003) when the historic Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation synagogue burnt to the ground.
Although priceless sidurim, Hagadot and other Jewish books and relics were destroyed, no one was hurt in the blaze. Even so, said a tearful Beilah Bloch, it was a "miracle that our torahs were saved". Had it not been for the quick thinking of congregants, Rodney Lepar and Raymond Roth, six old torahs and numerous smaller ones would have perished as well. Also saved was the Arc curtain made in 1725.
According to eyewitnesses, Mr Lepar and Mr Roth were looking in through a window of the burning building when they each "saw" a torah near the Arc. Although each saw a different coloured one through the flames that was the ‘sign’ Rodney needed. Despite protests from firemen and heedless of the burning beams and thick smoke, he ran into the building. The steel doors of the Arc were locked by a strong padlock, yet Mr Lepar some how managed to kick them in, away from the concrete pillars. He then grabbed anything he could lay his hands on and passed them out of the building.
Damage estimated in the millions (Zimbabwe $) came on the eve of Yom Kippur, as the congregation was making ready to gather with their new rabbi, Rabbi Nathan Asmouch, newly arrived from Israel. He ran three kilometres from his home, as it was Shabbat, to be with the grieving community. Most poignant of all was Rev Laizer Abrahamson, who this year celebrated his 104th birthday, (born April 2 1899). After the flames were doused, with water dripping from the rafters, he only stand and stare, walking stick in hand, Yarmuckah askew as he wiped tears away.
The Bulawayo Hebrew Community, which now numbers only about 170 souls – down from more than 3000 at its zenith in the 1960s – has a long and proud history. The ‘shul’ as the city’s landmark is known, began in a canvass tent in 1894 and grew over the years into a magnificent stained-glass structure. Its inaugural meeting of 21 pioneers in then Rhodesia was held shortly after Bulawayo was proclaimed a town. Emanuel Basch, Bulawayo Mayor and Congregation President, laid the foundation stone on May 17 1910 and the building was consecrated in April 1911. Years later, this synagogue was not big enough to contain the growing community and overflow services were held in nearby buildings. So in 1945 Leonora Granger, a well-known local architect, drew up plans for a more ‘modern’ building. By the 1960s the building consisted to two facades – the front a magnificent Cape Dutch style originally designed through a competition and the stylish red brick and stained glass modernist Granger side – Both are now gone.
The small-standing community is justly proud of its record – not a day missed in its history whereby a minyan was not formed, then and now. Said the rabbi in 1929, Rev M I Cohen, "Since the beginning (1898) we have never held a single meeting outside our own buildings."
Despite the tragedy, by Sunday morning, the congregation was flat-out cleaning the torahs, their silver templates, washing the white Yom Kippur clothes and gathering their strength from each other. Services would now be held in make shift premises. Said David Lasker, "The façade can be saved." Perhaps the community can build again.
NB: Anyone willing to assist by donation or kind word can contact the Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation President, Alan Feigenbaum, on this email address.
Moyo, architect of the notorious press-gag laws, also
Seven, a Voice of America programme broadcast to Zimbabwe on shortwave.
"Studio Seven will die," Moyo said. "It faces death. They think we are
sleeping. We want to see where you are going with Studio Seven."
The government two years ago quashed attempts to establish independent
radio and television stations.
Observers say Moyo's attack appears to mark the start of a new
campaign to destroy possibly the rest of the independent press that
maintains critical coverage of the corrupt and repressive rule under Mugabe.
Gugulethu Moyo, lawyer for Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, which
owns The Daily News, said the company had registered the newspaper's
website - www.daily-news.co.za - from a South African address, to ensure it
didn't violate the ban which outlaws it from publishing in Zimbabwe.
The website, with the words "The Daily News will be back", does not
yet publish news bulletins, but operates as an interactive chat page. - Sapa
Daily News readies for fight
05/10/2003 16:16 - (SA)
Bulawayo - The publishers of Zimbabwe's independent Daily News
up for a protracted court battle to get the publication back on the streets,
its editor said on Sunday.
The Daily News was forced to shut down on September 12, a day after it lost
a Supreme Court challenge requiring media organisations and journalists to
register with a government-appointed body.
Nqobile Nyathi, the editor of what was Zimbabwe's most popular daily
newspaper, said they intended fighting for the right to publish.
Nyathi said they were counting on the publishing company's chairperson,
business mogul Strive Masiyiwa - who was often referred to as the "Bill
Gates of Africa" - to keep the momentum going.
"The chairperson has said he is behind the paper, however long it takes",
"He has assured people that he is in it for the long haul."
A member of staff said, "Our chairperson has a lot of experience in
challenging the system. He wants to use the same experience to fight the
Aippa (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act)."
Vandalism plunges Hatfield residents into darkness
OVER 25 Hatfield residents in Harare are living in the darkness following
vandalism of electrical transmitters in the area recently.
On Tuesday afternoon last week eight suspected thieves allegedly dug a
175-meter cable worth over 415 million that was put underground at a place
near Hatfield Primary School where they had pretended as Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority employees.
According to the police, a suspicious member of the public later informed
"Unfortunately the suspects who were all dressed in blue overalls had
escaped by the time they arrived," said police spokesperson Superintent
He said security agents from Zesa managed to recover the cable that had been
hidden near a nearby river.
Supt Mandipaka urged members of the public to report to the police anyone
tampering or stealing cables.
He said no arrests were made and they were still investigating.
Zesa Harare area manager Mr Steven Pieron said the reason for hiding the
cables underground was to prevent thieves from stealing the cables.
He said the live wires that were left by the thieves when they cut the
cables, were dangerous.
"Even three phase motors can be burnt, damaging all household electrical
gadgets," he said.
Mr Pieron said the Harare International Airport was currently operating
without its normal feed since the electrical cables were stolen.
He said this was the second time that the cables had been stolen.
In July this year, thousands of people in Harare went for weeks without
electricity following increased vandalism of electrical transmitters.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
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Mr Kinnaird has opened a very lively can of worms.
The people who are still on the farms are there for any number of reasons,
and some of us cannot fathom why, except perhaps as a special form of
punishment in itself. But if we do not keep watch out, we would be
deluded, as our day can come at any time.
The rule of law is indeed all we have, and it is astounding that so many
farmers believe that they must operate outside the legal framework, still,
here, and now. It is interesting, but futile to wonder why.
Is it because they do not trust the lawyers as well? Do they think that
they "know better?" Can they not be bothered to fill in "more forms"? Do
they not believe in the written word? All this and much more, and Mr
Kinnaird is absolutely correct, there are farmers complaining, not doing
anything to help themselves, and what is most destructive, criticising and
attacking those who are really "there for them". But there are so many who
are living in their private hells of misery, as the situation grinds on and
on, nobody can judge what they should be doing, or feeling.
Mr Kinnaird, thank you for standing up and saying what you believe. But
the farmers, being resourceful and resilient, have moved on, so many of
them, making new lives, starting new ventures, here, and elsewhere,
adapting to smaller farms, turning the shocking situation to best
advantage. We speedily learned that nobody else was actually going to do
anything for us. And it shouldn't be any other way really.
Ann Hein.. Messages are my own personal opinions.
Letter 2: Re Open Letters Forum No. 154 dated 30 September
Well Well it looks as though John Kinnaird has stirred up a hornets nest
It would appear as if all the farmers out there cannot stand anyone who may
say something which may, or may not, apply to them personally. People, read
between the lines and take inspiration or motivation where appropriate. I
just happen to agree with John's sentiments, but they apply not only to the
farming community, but also to the business & professional community as
well. All Zimbabweans have been guilty of looking after their own rear end
to the detriment of not only themselves but Zimbabwe as a whole. Not only
have WE (and in this I include myself) allowed Bob and his henchmen to S_it
on us, we have allowed them to rub it in. Way back in the beginning, we as
a Nation (individuals, business owners, farmers etc) should have stood up
and protested with one voice. We did not! The amazing thing is Zimbabweans
continue to try and fight this MONSTER as individuals, thanking God for
being left undisturbed to go about making a honest living, complaining when
interfered with, or whispering about the latest excesses of the State.
For better or for worse I chose to pack up and leave, and in doing so left
behind a dream and 2/3 of what we ever owned. This choice was personal and
one made to secure personal future and mental health. Those who chose to
remain must ensure accountability if they expect a future in Zimbabwe. This
involves completing Loss Documents and assisting JAG in bringing about
compensation. Business owners and Commerce must stop supping with the Devil
and choose the moral high ground instead of going about business as usual.
Furthermore individuals like John Kinnaird must continue to light a fire
under complacent Zimbabweans as it is only by provoking reaction that
reaction occurs. Collective action by all Zimbabweans is needed.
Letter 3: A New Beginning
A NEW BEGINNING
I would like to offer my views on how agriculture should proceed and
develop in a post Zanu PF environment. The rigid two-tier system that has
existed to date should in the future become a more convergent and
Commercial agriculture is a system of land ownership and use based on
freehold title, coupled to market forces and depends on profit for its
Communal agriculture on the other hand is more a social system with land as
a component. Profit is not essential for the system to survive. Both
systems originated under white rule and both systems served a political
purpose. On transition to black rule no substantive changes were made, the
status quo in a different way also served the interests of the new
As an agricultural system all empirical evidence comes down heavily in
favour of commercial agriculture. Production per unit of land or livestock
is much greater in the commercial sector. This discrepancy can more easily
be explained by studying the difference between the systems rather than
blaming land quality or location. Because of its need for profit
commercial agriculture responds more quickly and positively to the market.
A recent example of this agility was the move out of maize and cotton into
horticulture floriculture and irrigated tobacco. The former two crops are
sold into northern hemisphere markets, where standards of quality and
delivery are very high. But if these standards were met, profits far in
excess of those obtainable from maize or cotton could be achieved. In the
case of irrigated tobacco, when grown in addition to the dry land crop the
benefits of scale plus the reduced risk of loss from drought resulted in a
higher return on existing investments and increased profitability.
The communal system does not have the capacity or financial flexibility to
respond in the same way. Another factor to be brought into the comparison
is the unsustainably high cost of environmental damage that prevails when
land is not owned by an individual who can be called to account for damage
At this point in our analysis it is timely to make the point that the
biggest and most long lasting benefit to the communal people would be the
direct and indirect benefits that would flow from the expansion and
prosperity of the industrial and commercial sectors of the economy. As
things stand at the moment only the very brightest stand a chance of
escaping from peasant agriculture to a better life.
In the not too distant future we must all hope the new democratically
elected government will take its agricultural decisions in the long-term
interests of all the people of Zimbabwe.
The Reconstruction of Commercial Agriculture
I am of the view that there was nothing wrong (with one notable exception)
with the principal or practice of large-scale commercial farming as it was
conducted before Mr Mugabe embarked on his politically inspired smash and
grab raid. The notable exception being the almost total exclusion of black
people from this vital sector of the economy. This deliberate separation
of the two systems was a political strategy. Envy and resentment was kept
alive and used as a vote-winning tactic. Only rich black businessmen could
afford to enter the white citadel of large-scale commercial farming.
There were not entry points into large scale commercial farming for young
qualified blacks to start at the bottom and end up as land owning
This anomaly should be addressed. In the interests of all the people of
Zimbabwe large scale commercial farming should be re-built and returned to
its pre-eminent position in the Zimbabwean economy. Unless there is an
adequate and reliable flow of food to the market at affordable prices the
large majority of Zimbabweans will remain hungry and poor.
The burgeoning younger generation will be seeking employment and
entrepreneurial opportunity in industry and commerce not agriculture.
This needed growth in industry and commerce can only take place in the
presence of food security and other requisites supplied or received by
large-scale commercial agriculture.
To start this recovery process we suggest all farmers who have been
illegally evicted from their land should be encouraged to return.
Dispossessed farmers represent a large reservoir of experience and ability.
Two prior requirements would have to be in place before this return could
take place in an orderly and peaceful manner:
1. The comprehensive return of law and order, including the removal of
illegal settlers. 2. Immediate and adequate financial support from the
international donor community.
Thereby enabling viable businesses to resume production and employment.
Some mandatory cropping directives may need to be applied in the initial
stages. The rationale behind this suggestion being, that for the first one
or two season's food production would take priority over profitability.
Those farms not taken back and occupied would need to be taken in hand by
an arm of government. These farms could be made available for lease
leading to eventual purchase by suitably qualified and motivated black
people who wish to become fulltime professional large-scale commercial
farmers. This course of action should go a long way towards reducing white
It would serve another purpose, that being the prevention of unclaimed
farms turning into illegal squatter settlements.
An additional important consideration is that for a commercial farming
business to be successful year on year the business must be capable of
remaining above a critical financial mass in bad years as well as in good.
In a poor season the business must have the momentum to pull through to the
next season without having to sell assets or take on unmanageable debt. The
last mentioned point makes the case against dividing up existing commercial
farms into smaller commercial units. It would also be disproportionately
expensive to equip each of these reduced units with electricity, water,
buildings, roads, etc. Small areas of land can support successful farming
businesses where suitable soils can be irrigated enabling the production of
high value crops.
There is much we can learn by making a careful study of how agriculturally
successful countries go about their farming.
Conversely we should study how the agriculturally unsuccessful go about
There are universal rules that apply to husbandry and business, if
disregarded failure will follow. Witness Zanu PF.
Improving Life in The Communal Lands Here I feel much less confident on
what I have to say.
The TTL's came into being in 1898. Since then they have expanded and
adapted until they are what we see today. Family life and tribal tradition
are still strong cohesive factors and must be respected. Any attempt to
change the order of things in the Communal Lands must be a bottom up
process. Advice, change or investment offered must first meet with the
approval of those involved. The universal rejection of the VIDCO's and
WADCO's illustrates the point very well. Bearing the foregoing points in
mind. The alleviation of poverty and despair is an obligation a
democratically elected government cannot ignore.
The communal people need assistance to break away from the maize and cattle
syndrome, which has held them in cycle of chronic poverty.
It is my observation that the most restrictive difficulties faced by the
communal land people do not revolve around land. They are:
1. A lack of water for small-scale irrigation projects.
2. A lack of purchasing and marketing structures that would enable and
assist communal land producers to access foreign markets with high value
horticultural and orchard products.
3. A lack of technical and managerial advisory services needed when growing
high value crops.
4. A lack of financial services from a residential bank.
5. A lack of access to email and Internet services.
6. A lack of well-maintained road networks.
As stated before the greatest boon to the communal land people would flow
from the expansion and prosperity of commerce and industry.
The granting of title would be part of evolutionary change as and when it
It is very dangerous for an outsider to comment about change to a way of
life that in ethos and structure has not changed much since its inception.
A great deal in the communal way of life is good and deeply ingrained, but
it must be recognised that communal people deserve a better material
standard of living.
A land use and conservation board would greatly assist government in
implementing change in both commercial and communal areas.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE
URGENT APPEAL - October 6, 2003
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Unwanted Goods
As most of us are de-cluttering or moving, no doubt there is lots of junk
that needs a home.
I have spoken to Athol Evans (old folk and nursing home). Most of the
people in that complex are going nowhere as they have nowhere to go.
Please they need all your junk. They sell everything they can lay their
hands on to make money and keep their costs down
To give you an idea of what they can get rid of:-
Half writing pads Single golf clubs Electrical goods - broken or still in
working order Furniture - full suites, individual tables - anything Books
and magazines Old clothes sunglasses shoes etc.
They would rather you bring them everything and they will throw out what
can't be sold.
Please phone MAUREEN JENKINS before 12:30 on 571980 - 4 or 573969 to warn
her you will be dropping stuff off. Could you also pass this email on.
Remember these folk are staying in Zim as they have nowhere to go. Some of
the elderly have already had their family leave and will not be seeing them
Thanks Maureen Meikle
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
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I have also followed the response to Mr Kinnaird's letter.
It is very sad to notice how it has now developed into a blaming session.
When the going was good the Townies and Farmers never had a problem as they
needed each other and one could not do without the other. Why blame each
other for what they could or should have done? It creates more division
and honestly what happened happened and no amount of mud slinging is going
to reverse the situation. Everybody did the best they could or thought was
the best thing to do at the time. There was a lot of help offered to us
farmers from the townies. If some townies did not offer help do not blame
all of them. If some farmers did the wrong thing do not blame all of them.
Every society have the big mouths who do nothing but are first to start
blaming this or that when they see the gap. As for the farmers who are
still on their farms, stop accusing them of all sorts of things if you do
not have proof. Everybody is suffering, townies, ex farmers all of us,
please stop blaming each other and look to the future and what we can do to
survive and if you see no future just go and find a better place.
Ex Doma Farmer`s wife.
I read John Kinnaird's letter with interest [ouch] and the subsequent
furor. Perhaps if we stopped sniping at him and did some sniping at the
cause of our agony, like Vanessa Nicole did, even if it was a parting shot
on her way to Australia, we would be better off. She verbally attacked the
minister for defence, Sidney Sekeremai, as he stood up to make a speech at
a prize giving at The Republic Cup [a horse race] in August. The whole
episode was video taped by international reporters and reported outside the
country and on ZBC. This is according to the Parade Magazine, page 7, dated
September 2003. The CFU was the most powerful and wealthy union in the
country in 2000, but the habit of 'don't rock the boat' still pertained and
they rolled over for the terrorists. It is not only the farmers who have
lost everything, us ordinary townies have lost the ability to earn a
living, not to mention the poor pensioners, some of whom get less than Z$10
000 per month, or 10 loaves of bread.
I am a farmer, now in Harare catching up on contentious JAG correspondence,
for what it is worth. I do not know John Kinnaird, where he comes from, or
what he does best. I do know that I agree with him that he has caused
offence amongst many of us. Let us assume the known facts that (a) we are
all dismantled (b) we had no options about this and (c) the method and
justification, in anybody's language, has been deemed criminal, covetous,
destructive, deceitful and greedy not to mention chaotic and disorderly by
our ruling elements, the likes of whom also have an unenviable track record
on this continent. Serviced by the motto "Where there's chaos there's
cash". A hundred years ago man in Africa was able to explore, exploit (in a
constructive way) create and develop, despite the rinderpest, mosquitoes,
lions, tigers, and ox wagon hazards. Yes, man fought on during the 100
years and has created for the vast majority on this continent something
better than he was used to before. It was the inevitable helping hand; it
had to happen. In some respects it may be argued that Africa was lucky
enough to be educated by seafaring European nations; languages for one:
rather than other historically developed nations. Those Africans who have
been educated elsewhere other than America and Europe, might agree. And
judging by the flood of Africans trying to pour into America and Europe,
their gratitude for being relieved of the responsibility of living in
Africa seems evident. So, Europeans have done a job, a good job. We are
not about to lay down our lives in the face of outnumbering goofed-up
"party politicals" or "thugs", words which can readily be interpreted as
savages or murderers, given an axe or an iron bar. And yes, compiling
Affidavits, issuing writs, challenging thieves and criminals with summonses
in a state where nationalisation, laws and policing are aimed at ridding
the highly productive one percent white man from the twenty percent
commercial rural area, is not an issue. The courts are not partial enough
nor the prisons numerous enough. Zimbabwe has reverted to type; has it not
happened elsewhere in Africa? Sure all farmers will be looking at (hoping
for) real money compensation for farms, hitherto stolen, but recorded as
per the Database, and consequential loss claims, but most get-up-and-go
families will by then have left the country or continent and be carving out
the new life. The unfortunate downside for this regime's behaviour and
others in Africa is that it backfires against blacks worldwide and black
administrations on this continent. The damage control and repair time for
which is unlikely to be short. Somebody mentioned John Kinnaird in the
leadership context. I would follow him: out of curiosity.
Dear JAG Subscribers
I have been following with great interest the exchange of letters in the
JAG Forum. I live in the Caribbean but I have family in Zimbabwe. So
while I am an interested observer, I am not as objective I would like to
From what I can determine, there is tremendous division between the
different correspondents. From my ignorant perspective, most seem to fall
into three categories:
There are those that are displaced because they have lost their farms;
those that are fortunate because they still have their farms; and those
that do not farm but live in the towns.
Amongst each of these groups, people have been victimized to one extent or
another. Clearly, emotions are running high in Zimbabwe. I could not even
begin to describe the range of emotions expressed in the letters I read. I
imagine the Jewish communities in Germany prior to the Second World War
experienced similar emotions. Many probably considered themselves
fortunate that they had escaped persecution while those that had been
victimized accused them of collaboration.
Putting aside all the emotions and historical speculation, I would think
that the following questions should be seriously considered by all members
of the JAG forum and whites in Zimbabwe:
Is it the government's intention to appropriate all white-owned farms? Is
it the government's intention to stop at farms or will white-owned
businesses also be appropriated? What can be done to stop the
appropriations and to hand the properties back to their rightful owners?
Hitler achieved his objectives with eradicating the Jews because he was
dealing with a divided people. As a divided people, individuals were
focused on their personal situation and not on the collective well-being of
their race in Germany. Had the Jews formed a cohesive body of resistance,
they might have stood a better chance of protecting themselves.
Hitler also achieved his objectives because he hid much of the horror
taking place. People refused to believe that acts of such barbarity could
take place in Germany. He controlled the media and he had his Brown Shirt
Storm Troopers and Gestapo to intimidate and persecute.
I see many similarities between Germany and Zimbabwe. We have seen that
the existing government is capable of similar acts of barbarity. All you
need to do is look at Matabeleland in the early 80's, the Green Bombers,
so-called War Veterans, even the police have been used to violate the law.
Using food as an instrument to starve political opponents is a very sick
way to holding onto power. Instead of surrounding the victims with barbed
wire, they need to prove political alliance. Cheaper and much more
History has a way of repeating itself, and I would urge you all to heed the
lessons. You cannot depend on the law to protect you. You also cannot
assume they will stop at farms.
So what can you do? I would suggest a number of things:
Collect as many stories as possible explaining the human tragedy -- both
black and white. Compile a database of farms and show before and after
pictures. Get names, photos and biographies of those who have illegally
taken over the farms. Get names, ranks, photos of police officers that have
taken no action to uphold the law Get names and photos of perpetrators of
Place this information on a website, develop an email list, and focus on
reaching as many people as possible. There are many people from Zimbabwe
in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. Each person has a number of friends,
who in turn have friends, and so on. With a concerted effort the database
could become quite sizable.
Every single person in this database could be a voice to defend the rights
of the people in Zimbabwe and to urge their governments to force change in
Zimbabwe. This could be accomplished by directing email to members of
parliament, senators, congressmen, etc. With the US Presidential election
coming up, and with media awareness campaigns, it could be made into a
What JAG is doing is the first step. This effort is focused on
documentation to be used in meting out justice. The website is
professional and factual. It will provide the information for after the
change. But first you have to effect change. However, this is not going to
happen unless you touch the hearts of those that could help. Non-profit
organizations know this and use very effective imagery in their advertising
to create compassion. To achieve similar results, the website should show
corruption and suffering in Zimbabwe. Remember, people make stories and
like to read stories.
This website could be used as a weapon to effect change. Information is
the ammunition. And it would be a warning that there will be a day of
reckoning. They will know that the eyes of the world will be on them.
So please, avoid the recriminations amongst each other. They achieve
nothing. Focus on a strategic objective and make it happen.
Look forward to your response.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - October 6, 2003
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the
~ Dolly Parton ~
We have been in town for a year now, having to leave our farm, so not quite
sure what to call ourselves, ex farmer, ex farmers wife, townie, but l like
to call myself a Zimbabwean that hopes to be able stay in our country that
we love. I would like to share with you this quote and hopefully it can be
put to some use.
"All the strength you need to achieve anything is within you. Don't wait
for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light
the bloody thing yourself"
Sara Henderson (Businesswoman of the Year 1988 - Australia)
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH: (& MAN)
Matopos Research station is celebrating its Centenary this year -
coinciding with 150 years after Mr. Rhodes' birth. An article in the
Bulawayo Chronicle indicates that Mr. Rhodes who was born at Bishops
Stortford, Hertfordshire, put a directive in his will that an Experiment
Farm be set up on West Acre Creek - this was done in 1903 - a year after
his death in 1902.
In 1921 a portion of West Acre Creek was set aside for the establishment of
an Agricultural College. This idea was abandoned later on.
In 1923 a secondary school was established.
In 1929 the school was closed and a School of Agriculture set up.
In 1932 the Agricultural School was closed and a Prep. school started which
is still in existence today.
Today 28 000 ha is leased from the Rhodes Matopos Estate to the Research
Station which has about 260 staff carrying out research on livestock, range
and pastures, and crop production.
*Over a hundred years ago Mr. Rhodes appears to have had a PASSION to see
agriculture progress in this country - did he perhaps think back to the
fields of Hertfordshire and the cultural practices farmers employed in his
*Today - a hundred years on, it seems that the Honourable Minister of
Agriculture is carrying out an agricultural experiment on a truly grand
scale - utilizing about 10 million Hectares of commercial agricultural
land; not a paltry 28 000 Ha. (The bigger the sample the more likely the
results will be an ACCURATE REPRESENTATION according to professional
Statisticians) The Honourable Minister has had some outstanding support for
the experiment - National Hero the late Mr. Hunzvi was a great supporter
and there are many more such as Mr. Cloete, Mr. Freeme or Mr. Hawgood. Like
all good experiments there was a need for a small portion of the land to be
left as is - referred to as the "control section." Quite early on a task
force was set up to monitor the "control section" and highly respected and
influential agriculturalists were consulted accordingly. Mr. Swanepoel was
"Co-Chairman NECF Land Task Force."(15.3.2001.)
*Articles in the Chronicle and the Herald abound, reporting that the land
reform continues to be a "resounding success" indicating that the effects
of these respected agriculturalists' actions will be felt by the country
for many years to come. It seems that MAN today still has a great PASSION
for agricultural experiment, and the recording and analyzing of the causes
and effects in this experiment will make an invaluable reference book, to
be cherished by many Zimbabweans in the future.
*It is most fortunate that agriculturalists will not have to wait a hundred
years to see if this great experiment bears any resemblance to Mr. Rhodes'
legacy to agriculture in this country. They wait in eager anticipation for
Fresh Price Controls Could Lead to Further Shortages, Analysts
Integrated Regional Information Networks
October 6, 2003
Posted to the web October 6, 2003
Economists warned of fresh shortages of basic commodities and an expanding
parallel market as the Zimbabwean government announced plans for new price
controls across all sectors of production, to take effect within the next
The government last week announced the introduction of a new price control
structure, which includes fuel, to curb what it termed a "price increase
madness" by producers, wholesalers and retailers.
Eric Bloch, a Bulawayo-based economist, told IRIN the latest price control
regime would precipitate a shortage of basic commodities on a larger scale
than experienced before, because only a few producers are able to supply the
market at controlled prices and the majority may stop production.
"Should such measures be implemented, the country will experience the worst
bout of goods shortages and even higher prices in the black market. As it
is, we are operating in a high inflationary environment which has no
prospects of improvement," said Bloch.
Wellington Chibebe, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), called on the government to abandon price controls, to
promote the revival of the manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors. He
said further price controls would force manufacturers to reduce production,
while those who chose to continue would be forced to try and recover their
production costs by supplying the parallel market.
"The introduction of the fresh price controls is most ill-advised, and
detrimental to the interests of the worker, who is the producer and consumer
of the basic commodities. The prospects are [that] more workers will be
retrenched, since most companies are likely to close. The chain reaction
will be felt first in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail businesses,
before going down to the man in the street. No-one will be able to afford
the black market prices that will be triggered by the imposition of such
controls," said Chibebe.
By constantly reviewing price controls, he added, the government was putting
the jobs of more workers on the line - a situation that worsens the high
"Price controls are a threat to the workers, and good for those in the
business of profiteering. It is ironic that each time government announces
price controls, it claims to be doing so to protect the workers from the
high cost of living. If they have ever gone down to assessing the real
effects of such measures, they would, by now, know that it does not only
throw workers out of jobs and promote the black market, it also kills the
economy in a literal sense," said Chibebe.
Commodity prices in Zimbabwe increased almost fortnightly in the past two
months as manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers took advantage of a lull
in the monitoring of price controls, blamed on a shortage of fuel that
grounded price control inspection teams, to raise their prices to what they
said were viable levels.
Retailers who spoke to IRIN said once manufacturers raised their prices, the
rest of the sectors in the chain had to do the same to recover costs and
"It's a do-or-die situation, because business is about viability - either we
increase our prices in line with the rest, or close our shops," said one
Property owners also increased monthly rentals, while a number were already
quoting their rates in foreign currency to protect themselves against
In its monthly economic highlights last month, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) expressed concern at the declining level of formal employment, which
had fallen from a peak of 1.4 million in 1998 to below 1.2 million by the
end of 2001, in tandem with industrial production. Employment levels had
dropped across all the major sectors, such as mining, manufacturing,
construction and tourism.
"New projects have been suspended due to lack of materials and prohibitive
costs, while viability problems have seen a number of concerns closing
shop," the bank said.
Inflation now stands at 426,6 percent, with analysts predicting a climb to
500 percent by year-end.
Since the government announced its intention of imposing fresh price
controls last week, all the basic commodities that had returned to shop
shelves at exorbitant rates had disappeared, only to resurface at even
higher prices in the parallel market.
Financial Mail (SA)
03 October 2003
IN AND OUT OF LOVE
Mugabe's actions spoil domestic and international peace moves
Nigeria and SA are no longer singing the same
tune. Their arrangement
to harmonise their approach to the Zimbabwe crisis has been breached with
Nigeria's decision to bar President Robert Mugabe from December's
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Abuja.
The move comes as talks between Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been jeopardised by the
government's closure of the Daily News, the country's only independent daily
The Nigerian government, headed
by Olusegun Obasanjo, announced three
weeks ago that Mugabe would not be invited to CHOGM because Zimbabwe was
still suspended from the councils of the 54-member grouping .
President Thabo Mbeki reacted with
surprise and consternation. The
suspension was "invalid", he told parliament, because it should have been
lifted after 12 months.
Obasanjo, Mbeki and Australian Prime Minister John Howard comprise a
troika of "club" leaders tasked by their colleagues to address issues
arising from last year's presidential election in Zimbabwe, which
Commonwealth observers found seriously flawed.
Following his visit to Pretoria and
Harare in February, Obasanjo wrote
to Howard telling him that the situation in Zimbabwe had improved. Law and
order had been restored, he said, the land issue resolved, and human rights
But he now appears to think differently. It is clear Mugabe has done
nothing to address the issues of electoral conduct and governance raised by
the troika in their statement of March 2002 suspending Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth. Zanu-PF militias operate with impunity and the military
continues to be involved in running polls.
Furthermore, Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon, with whom
the Zimbabwe was asked to engage, has been prevented from visiting Harare.
SA officials, after roundly abusing Howard , have now
Nigeria's position. But Mbeki's attempts to shield Mugabe from the
consequences of his misrule have taken a serious knock.
Mbeki, with the support of Obasanjo and regional leaders, had
persuaded the US and Britain to adopt a less strident stance on Zimbabwe in
return for which he would press Mugabe on interparty dialogue and revocation
of repressive media legislation.
Last month the Daily News fell
foul of the registration requirements
of the Access to Information & Protection of Privacy Act, resulting in its
Mugabe's assault on the media has upset talks between Zanu-PF and the
MDC. They had made significant progress on constitutional issues, including
fresh elections. The government team was headed by justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa and the MDC by its secretary-general Welshman Ncube, both experts
in constitutional law. The exchanges had been expected to take on a formal
character towards the end of September. At the same time, church leaders
have been hosting confidence-building talks between the two sides.
MDC MPs, as a gesture of goodwill, had abandoned their
walking out during Mugabe's address at the opening of parliament and last
week joined Zanu-PF in paying tribute to the late vice-president Simon
Muzenda. But they now say their efforts have been trampled on with the
silencing of the Daily News .
The postponement of the
move to formal talks is a setback for SA's
high commissioner, Jeremiah Ndou. He had delayed his return to Pretoria at
the conclusion of his term in June to mediate in the negotiations.
Leading figures close to
Mugabe, such as information minister Jonathan
Moyo, are thought to oppose talks with the MDC, because they threaten their
positions as unelected MPs and doorkeepers to power. The state-owned media
have been crudely manipulated by those opposed to the talks.
Last weekend Zanu-PF disbanded
its unofficial succession committee,
comprising politburo members, on the grounds that it was unauthorised by
Mugabe and that it had generated too much resentment in vetting candidates.
Nigeria is understood to have
made it clear to both Pretoria and
Harare that they can assist Zimbabwe at Abuja only if there is meaningful
movement in the interparty dialogue. There will have to be a "sea change" in
Zimbabwe before an invitation is forthcoming, Obasanjo said last weekend.
But with the MDC
breathing fire over the fate of the Daily News and
Mugabe playing off factions in his party against each other, the prospects
for progress by December look bleak.
.. Wetherell is editor of the
Olonga’s plea to England: Boycott tour of Zimbabwe
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
LONDON, OCTOBER 5: Former Zimbabwe
Test star Henry Olonga has made a
dramatic plea for England to pull out of their planned tour to Zimbabwe next
In a statement here today, Olonga said an ECB boycott would send the
right message to the rest of the world that England, at least, were not
prepared to tolerate the tyranny of Robert Mugabe’s regime.
His statement will increase pressure
on the ECB following the threat
by former chairman Lord MacLaurin to withdraw Vodafone’s œ3-million a year
sponsorship if England go ahead with the tour.
The 37-year-old pace bowler Olonga whose black arm-band protest during
this year’s World Cup led to his flight to start a new life in England said
“I want England to pull out, but I say it with all the respect I can muster
because I am a foreigner in this hospitable country.
“I believe England will regret it for years if they fail to make a
stand. When historians look back on this era, I hope there is no need for
any of us to show remorse for our actions or lack of action over this
It would be unwise, he claimed, for the ECB to adopt a “wait and see”
policy, hoping the Mugabe Government would collapse and save them from
having to make a decision.
“The honourable way would be to take a stance against this oppressive
regime now,” he said.
Olonga gave unequivocal support to the Vodafone chairman’s claim that
it would be ’abhorrent’ for England to play Zimbabwe while the Mugabe regime
remains in power.
Mugabe faces fight over envoy
By John Kerin and The Times
October 07, 2003
AUSTRALIA would defend Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon from any
Zimbabwe-inspired plot to oust him over his tough stand against the rogue
regime, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said last night.
A report in London's The Times newspaper suggested Zimbabwe and other
African members of the Commonwealth were attempting to unseat Mr McKinnon at
this year's heads of government meeting in Nigeria because of his perceived
bias against the regime.
Mr McKinnon, 64, a respected former New Zealand foreign minister, is coming
to the end of his four-year tenure - but it had been assumed that he would
automatically be voted in for a second term by the 54 heads of government
when they meet in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, in early December.
But Mr Mugabe and other African leaders have been working to have him
replaced after his intervention earlier this year which led to Zimbabwe's
one-year suspension from the Commonwealth being extended.
Mr Mugabe is known to be furious that he is being excluded from the
gathering in Nigeria and blames Mr McKinnon. "There was a lot of antagonism
(towards Mr McKinnon) after the suspension was extended," one source said.
"Mugabe is very angry about not going to Abuja," they added.
According to diplomatic sources, Harare has enlisted the support of most of
the other 16 African members and is attempting to win backing from states in
the developing world by proposing that Mr McKinnon be replaced by an Asian
candidate, possibly from Sri Lanka.
But a spokesman for Mr Downer said Australia would defend Mr McKinnon's
position, lobbying Commonwealth members for him to have another term.
"If there were any move against Mr McKinnon Australia will support his
continuing in the job," a spokesman for Mr Downer said last night. "Our
position on Zimbabwe remains unchanged. It should remain suspended until it
is able to satisfy the Commonwealth that the dire political and humanitarian
situation in Zimbabwe has improved," he said.
In spite of widespread criticism of the Mugabe regime, which is accused of
using violence to intimidate the opposition, silence the independent press
and emasculate the judiciary, African nations have remained largely
uncritical and rallied to its side. In contrast, Britain, Canada and
Australia have been critical of the leadership in Harare.
Mr Downer last week released an Australian-prepared report suggesting
Zimbabwe remain suspended because it had failed to meet any of the
Commonwealth targets to improve its situation.
The report was released at a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group in New York, which was also attended by Botswana, Malta, India,
Bangladesh, Samoa and Nigeria.
Fire rages through Zim park
06/10/2003 19:00 - (SA)
Harare - A raging bush fire, probably started by animal
devastated vast tracts of Zimbabwe's Matopos National Park, which includes a
World Heritage Site, state radio reported on Monday.
The report said that three quarters of the central part of the 43
000-hectare park "has been engulfed by a raging veld fire, which displaced
hundreds of wild animals."
The Matobo Hills, from which the park gets its name, were this year declared
a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
The radio described the fire as "an act of arson" probably caused by
poachers or by reckless villagers.
Hunters here sometimes set fire to the bush in order to flush out wild
animals, while subsistance farmers start fires to clear bush for crops.
The park, which is located about 50km south of the Bulawayo, is the site of
ancient rock paintings made by the area's first inhabitants.
It is also home to many animal species, including the increasingly rare
Tourists will stay away until Mugabe goes
THE dulcet tones of Zimbabwe's Ruvhuvhuto Sisters were heard at
several glittering banquets in SA last month, inviting visitors to "Come to
Victoria Falls Down In Zimbabwe". The musical fare heralded the Zimbabwe
government's new initiative to persuade South Africans and, later, the rest
of the world to return to the country's tourist hotspots.
The campaign is spearheaded by Zimbabwe's ever-creative information
minister, Jonathan Moyo, who, ironically, has played no small part in
tarnishing Zimbabwe's image abroad, leading to the decline in tourist
The problem is not the merit of Victoria Falls as a tourism drawcard.
Over the past three years the problem has been, and still is, the erratic
and violent actions of a government desperate to hold on to power.
In 1999, tourism was one of the three top foreign currency earners,
accounting for 12,4% of Zimbabwe's gross domestic product and 8,5% of
employment. Since 2000, this figure has shrunk about 15%. In the first half
of last year alone, tourism revenue dropped 44% over the same period in 2001
and tourist arrivals fell 48%.
The tourism ministry's various attempts to rescue the industry have
been scuttled by President Robert Mugabe's statements and actions. The
latest effort is partly premised on the fact that the government believes
visitors will return now that the land programme has ended.
However, the land programme is far from over. In September alone, the
government listed several hundred more farms for seizure. And even as the
Zimbabwe campaign team dazzled South African audiences in September, a less
attractive scene played itself out in the country's wildlife areas and game
So-called war veterans and youth militia have, in the past few weeks,
invaded lodges and game parks. High-ranking government officials (and even
an employee of the state broadcaster) have been given land in the renowned
Gwayi Valley Conservancy in south-western Zimbabwe which is being used for
illegal hunting and carved up into farmland (the area contains several
hundred elephants protected under a decree Mugabe signed in 1991).
Heritage sites, wildlife, ecotourism and the safari industry are,
along with the more obvious attractions such as Victoria Falls, key to the
success of tourism. But the fight to preserve wildlife stocks and some
ecosystems is steadily being lost.
As a result of the land resettlement programme, and of drought and
starvation, as much as 80% of wildlife on commercial game farms has been
poached. Huge tracts of land on conservancies have been slashed and burned,
resulting in widespread deforestation and erosion. Some rare species are
being threatened with extinction.
The move to relocate new farmers to these areas is, however, contrary
to the government's classification of the land now used as conservancies as
being unsuitable for agriculture without extensive irrigation because of
they are in drought-prone, lowrainfall, semiarid areas.
It has been shown statistically that in these areas, only one crop of
dry-land maize can be reaped over a period of five years. Cattle farming has
also proved to be significantly less lucrative than managing and conserving
game for tourism and hunting.
Also affected by problems in these areas is Zimbabwe's highly
successful Campfire (Communal Areas Management Programme for Resources)
programme which shared the commercial gains of hunting and tourism with
communities around game areas. There are also concerns about whether, as
things stand, Zimbabwe should be part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier
The industry braced itself recently when the government said in order
to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, all buffalo on private land
would be culled. However, sanity has prevailed and the government, private
sector and donors are looking at new fencing and relocation initiatives to
For all its flaws, the new initiative may force Zimbabwe to take a
closer look at what is affecting tourism and to find longterm solutions. But
tourists will not return in numbers until Mugabe goes; he is inextricably
part of the perception problems.
Filling hotels is, however, only part of the solution. More important
is acting now against the long-term destruction of future tourist
attractions, to preserve them for the future.
Games is Director of Africa @ Work, a company focusing on Africa.
Oct 06 2003 07:10:01:000AM Business Day 1st Edition
06 October 2003
Zim's malaria rings SA alarms
06/10/2003 09:42 - (SA)
Johannesburg - Health authorities in Zimbabwe have announced
that 786 people
have died of malaria in the nine months to the end of September.
Dr Andrew Jamieson, medical director of SAA-Netcare Travel Clinics said:
"The malaria situation in Zimbabwe poses a direct threat to South Africa."
SAA-Netcare Travel Clinics is a joint venture between South African Airways
and JSE-listed Netcare and delivers a consulting and treatment service to
the travel and tourist industry.
Jamieson said: "Many of the major malaria areas in Zimbabwe are close to our
northern borders, which could result in an increased incidence of malaria in
"Without adequate and timeous treatment, more and more Zimbabweans will
become infected with the malaria parasite and the resulting spread of the
disease poses a mammoth challenge and may prove impossible to curtail,
either demographically or geographically," he said.
The Zimbabwe government has pledged Z$4bn (about R34.1m) of the Z$10bn
required for a comprehensive anti-malaria programme.
The Global Health Fund (GHF) has donated $4.7m (about R32.7m) and a
consignment of trucks, motorcycles and spray pumps for use in the programme
was scheduled to arrive Zimbabwe soon.
The malaria season in Zimbabwe starts with the arrival of the October rains
each year, and goes through to May the following year.