BY WALTER MARWIZI
THE family of a farm worker, who died in circumstances that have
sucked in a government minister's wife, is demanding 100 cattle and $10
billion in compensation.
Up until Friday evening police were still trying to negotiate with the
family of Fibion Mafukidze to lower their demands and bury their relative.
Mafukidze died shortly after he was assaulted by soldiers based at Eastdale
along the Gutu-Chiredzi road outside Chivhu.
However, the 10 soldiers are free after an "order from above" secured
Selina Mumbengegwi, the Finance Minister's wife, is also a free
Police sources said investigations were launched into circumstances
under which Mumbengegwi was alleged to have "instructed" soldiers to "deal"
with four farm workers she suspected of stealing equipment from her A2 farm
in Gutu district.
Some named politicians are reported to have told police that
Mumbengegwi's wife should not face any charges because "her only crime was
to notify the soldiers that she suspected her workers were stealing from
Police sources, however, fear that the investigations could be
abandoned due to interference from police chiefs and politicians
Military chiefs are said to have ordered the release of the soldiers
saying they had not committed any crime. They reportedly said the accused
soldiers were merely following orders from an officer who was in charge of
One of the 10 officers committed suicide last week upon hearing the
news of Mafukidze's death and the condition of the other farm workers.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Spokesperson Lt Colonel Ben Ncube could not comment
on the case. He was said to be locked in a marathon meeting.
Police sources, however, said Mumbengegwi's wife, disappointed by the
slow pace of police investigations into the theft case she had reported a
few weeks ago, enlisted the help of the soldiers who came and picked up the
The soldiers severely beat up the farm workers. But upon realising
that they were badly injured, Mumbengegwi is said to have taken them to Gutu
Mission Hospital where Mafukidze was pronounced dead on arrival.
Officials at the hospital, as a matter of procedure, referred the
matter to police who then questioned Mumbengegwi and arrested the soldiers.
But their efforts appear to have stalled amid revelations that politicians
and army officials want the case swept under the carpet.
Almost two weeks after the beatings occurred, police are yet to bring
the case to the prosecutors.
Florence Ziyambi, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions,
confirmed the case had not reached her office.
"I cannot comment whether we are going to prosecute the Minister's
wife or not because I am not aware of the case," Ziyambi said. "We can only
follow it up if someone brings it to our attention, for now no comment."
Acting Masvingo Police Spokesperson Tineyi Matake would not comment on
the progress of police investigations into the case. He referred The
Standard to Police General Headquarters where police spokesperson Wayne
Bvudzijena said he was not aware of the case.
Asked if he could check with the Masvingo office and give The Standard
feedback yesterday, he said:
"I can't give you a comment. Where I am, it's impossible for me to do
so. If it was working hours, I would have called Masvingo," he said.
Mumbengegwi could not be reached for comment.
While police refuse to reveal details of the case, sources in Masvingo
told The Standard Mafukidze's family was camped at Mumbengegwi's farm.
According to the sources, they were, however, under pressure from the police
to bury their relative.
"It's three days now and police have been failing to persuade the
family to bury their relative. They are camped at Mumbengegwi's farm. The
Mumbengegwis were reportedly refusing to give in to their demands, arguing
that the minister's wife did not kill Mafukidze.
By Vusumuzi Sifile
IN spite of projections of good rains this coming agricultural season,
hopes of a better harvest next year could all go up in smoke. And the
problem will not be the farmers'. It will be the government's.
Presenting his 2007 mid-term monetary policy statement on Monday,
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono, encouraged farmers to
productively exploit "every inch of arable land".
Gono was optimistic that "lasting growth in the agriculture sector
could be achieved".
But Gono's hopes could all be dashed, and the fault could be the
Farmers are still to get seed and other key inputs for the 2007/2008
farming season which begins this month. Most seed farmers and seed houses
are holding on to seed in protest over "unrealistic government prices".
This time last year, seed houses had 90% of their required stocks.
This year, the few that have seed speak of less than 50% of their required
supplies. And most, if not all, of those meagre stocks have been set aside
for farmers who are participating in the Operation Maguta/Inala programme
and also those who are contracted by Agribank.
Following the introduction of Operation Maguta/Inala, the seed
requirements have risen from 30 000 tonnes to 50 000 tonnes, which means the
current stocks will not be enough for Maguta alone.
Most farmers normally get their seed between July and September, but
right now most are clueless on where they will get seed. Seed farmers and
distributors argue that the current prices, effected last year, are
uneconomic. A tonne of seed maize sells for $4.2 million, but farmers want
not less than $20 million. Transporting one tonne of seed maize costs $6
million. The National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) is still to
announce new prices.
On Wednesday, an official at a leading seed house in Harare told The
Standard that most of their traditional suppliers had not been forthcoming
because of the uncertainty over the price of seed maize.
"It's been some time since we last received supplies," said the
official, who refused to be named. "All the seed we have now was supplied
before the announcement of new pricing regulations."
The official said even if farmers were to release the seed maize
today, it would not be possible to get it onto the market on time.
"When we receive the seed from farmers, we have to grade it, process
it and then distribute it to our various points around the country," the
official said. "This is a very long process and under the current
circumstances, we do not have the capacity to get the seed to farmers on
time for the cropping season."
Analysts have already warned that the next cropping season could be
disastrous if nothing is done urgently.
Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) director Jabulani Gwaringa said on many
occasions they had raised the issue with the authorities but nothing had
"We were expecting that by this time, we would be having 30 000 tonnes
of seed maize," Gwaringa said. "At the beginning of September, most seed,
about 15 000 tonnes, was still with the farmers, not because they don't want
to release it, but because of logistical problems."
Renson Gasela, agriculture spokesman in the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said the delays in the pricing of seed were already
impacting on farmers.
"I have personally looked around and I have failed to get seed,"
Gasela said. "As we speak, it's raining in Gweru and it looks like we are
going to have early rains this year. It is a shame that we have been told
there is enough seed, but three or so weeks before planting, it is not
The delay in announcing new prices, added Gasela, was affecting
"Right now farmers do not know how much money to put aside for seed
and fertilizer. That is the problem when you have people who do not know
anything about agriculture having to make such key decisions."
But Wilson Nyabonda, the president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers'
Union said there were no reasons for farmers to panic as the season had not
"I am aware there are some outstanding issues to be resolved and I
hope they are getting the necessary attention," Nyabonda said. "So far only
about 50% of the seed has come into seed houses."
Daniel Ndlela, an economic analyst, said the current situation was a
recipe for a "disaster".
"By this time, the seed should already be with the manufacturers or
farmers," Ndlela said. "We are going to have very late distribution, and
some areas will not receive any supplies. To avoid such scenarios, the
government should allow industry to supply the product at a price they are
Ndlela believes current uneconomic prices could force most suppliers
to export their seed to neighbouring countries and starve the local market.
On Friday, Minister of Agriculture Rugare Gumbo said he was aware of
the problem, and was currently consulting with stakeholders to resolve it
"We are doing something about it," Gumbo said. "At the moment we are
using the previous year's prices ($4.2 million a tonne)."
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE AND NQOBANI NDLOVU
FEARING a crippling nationwide job action by civil servants, including
teachers, the government last week hastily awarded them over 400% salary
increment, sources have told The Standard.
The increment will see most of the civil servants earning about $14
million, an amount which is below the poverty datum line currently at $16.7
The sources said civil servants will soon demand another increment "in
a month or two" as they grudgingly accepted their new raise.
"The salary averaging $14 million, including transport and housing
allowances is not enough and we made it known to them that within a month or
two civil servants will be calling for another review," said the source, who
is a member of the Apex council, a body that represents all servants in the
Apex council chairperson Tendai Chikowore, who is also Zimbabwe
Teachers' Association (Zimta) national president, could not be reached for
comment last week.
But Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general
Raymond Majongwe confirmed the new salaries for teachers.
Majongwe said the lowest paid teacher would be getting about $14
million inclusive of transport and housing allowances.
"Teachers are not happy with the new salaries. We disapprove and
dissociate ourselves from the agreement between government and Zimta. What
is $14 million when the PDL will be $35 million by December 2007?" asked
The PTUZ has accused Zimta of being "a government hairdresser" and an
enemy of the teachers for pre-maturely calling off the strike.
"We had put the government in a tight corner and were about to agree
to our demands," he said. "We also called off the strike after realising
that our members were victimized by State security agents."
Cecilia Alexander-Khowa, president of the Public Service Association
(PSA) that represents government workers, was not available to comment.
Meanwhile, militant National University of Science and Technology
(NUST) lecturers last week booted out their union leaders from office
accusing them of being "too soft" with government over a pay dispute that
has paralysed operations at the country's second largest university.
The lecturers have been on a go-slow since the beginning of the
semester at the end of last month, pressing for a salary review.
On Wednesday members of the university's Educators and Teachers
Association (NASTED) unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on their
union leadership, which has been negotiating for a minimum salary of $35
The new executive that was voted into office has been mandated to push
for "reasonable" salaries of over $150 million for the lowest paid lecturer.
The old executive was led by Bernard Njekeya, who also represents
lecturers from the country's other state universities in the ongoing
negotiations with the government.
Munyaradzi Murape, the interim NASTED chairman immediately told the
university's administration of the lecturers' intention to go on a full
blown strike after 14 days if their demands are not met.
"The old executive had put laughable demands, which do not represent
the aspirations of our members." Murape said.
"The lecturers believe that they were not fully represented by the
past executive in salary negotiations and are saying that they had not
agreed to the $35 million salaries that were put before the government," he
BY OUR STAFF
THE prosecution of former Mutare area prosecutor, Levison Chikafu, who
is charged with five counts of corruption, is part and parcel of the power
struggles at the Attorney-General's Office, according to the defence
Chikafu, who ma-sterminded the trial of Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, who had been accused of
obstructing the course of justice in a case which involved Security Minister
Didymus Mutasa, is a pawn in the power struggles, says the outline.
"He will contend that the prosecution is part and parcel of the power
struggles playing themselves out in the Attorney-General's Office and that
he is the pawn and scapegoat in such power struggles," reads the defence
Chikafu, who is represented by Beatrice Mtetwa and Harrison Nkomo of
Mtetwa & Nyambirai legal practitioners, denied that he did anything contrary
to or inconsistent with his duties as a state counsel.
He is accused of concealing a court record and corruptly facilitating
the release of a suspected stock thief, Maxwell Makumbi, on bail. He is also
accused of destroying several dockets of suspected illegal diamond dealers
resulting in their cases being dropped.
In defence outline, Chikafu said some of the cases in which he is
accused of destroying dockets were finalised and the accused sentenced.
In other cases, he said he did not handle the matters and it was
difficult to imagine how he was connected to them. Chikafu had not been in
his office for four months when he was arrested.
"Accused will also testify that at the time of his arrest, he had not
occupied his office for four months and prosecutors who remained manning the
station actioned the dockets," he said. Other prosecutors had access to the
office while he was away.
On the charge of soliciting and receiving bribes, he said murder
suspects, Terence Katsidzira and Richard Muparutsa, who gave evidence last
week, were facing capital offences and were trying to get bail through
giving manufactured evidence.
Chikafu is also accused of stealing 1 310 litres of petrol on the
pretext that it was to be used by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and
But in his defence, he said the system he used to get fuel was the
same one used by all Ministry of Justice officials and other government
". accused is surprised that he is being prosecuted for what is
widespread practice by CMED (Central Mechanical Equipment Department), a
private company which has made no complaint in casu," reads the defence
BY OUR STAFF
A Harare man, who was arrested and forcibly taken to a psychiatric
unit by the police on suspicion that he was mentally unstable, is suing the
police for $10 billion for gross humiliation and loss of revenue.
Munetsi Masheedze, a vendor, was arrested in 2004 as he was coming out
of Herald House by a detective identified as Thomas Dick, who took Masheedze
to Police General Headquarters.
According to papers lodged with the High Court, Masheedze was forcibly
taken to Parirenyatwa Psychiatric Unit where he was injected with an unknown
"At the hospital, Plaintiff was forcibly administered with a drug on
unfounded grounds that he was insane," read the papers. "As a result of the
drug, he lost consciousness from Friday to Sunday when he found himself in a
Masheedze's lawyer, Tinofara Kudakwashe Hove of T K Hove & Partners
said the police had no right to arrest, detain and commit Masheedze to a
As a result of the arrest and confinement, said Hove, Masheedze
suffered gross humiliation being ferried from one place to another in cuffs
and leg irons. This also disrupted his business activities.
"As a result, plaintiff suffered general damages in the sum of
$10 000 000 000-00 (ten billion dollars)," said Hove.
The lawyer said he would soon apply for a default judgment after
police allegedly ignored High Court summons in August.
Cited as defendants are the Commissioner of Police Augustine Chihuri
and the Ministry of Home Affairs headed by Kembo Mohadi.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment
When Masheedze initially complained about his arrest, the police wrote
to him insisting that he had behaved in an abnormal manner.
In May this year, Senior Assistant Commissioner, a G Moyo, who is
responsible for internal investigations, said the police were allowed under
the Mental Health Act to refer to a doctor any person suspected to be
suffering from mental problems.
"Investigations carried out revealed that on the day in question, you
acted in an abnormal manner resulting in the police and your relatives
believing that you had lost your mind and that you needed medical
attention," said Moyo in a letter dated 7 May 2007.
About the drug that was administered to Masheedze, Moyo said this was
done by a doctor and not the police.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - A local company subcontracted by a Chinese firm to produce
piping material for the Mtshabezi Dam link has failed to provide the
required material, dealing yet another blow to efforts to end the fast
deteriorating Bulawayo water crisis.
A fortnight ago, China International Water and Electrical Corp (CWE),
which won the tender to lay the 33km pipeline from the dam to augment the
city's water supplies, removed its equipment from the site after government
failed to release payments on time.
The project is viewed as the immediate solution to the city's water
crisis, which council says will worsen next month when the fourth supply dam
Authoritative sources told The Standard that Turnall Fibre Cement,
which was subcontracted by the Chinese, has already written to government
advising that it is unable to produce the piping material because of foreign
currency shortages among a myriad of other economic problems.
"Turnall has already written to the government saying that they will
not be able to manufacture the pipes as per contractual requirements," said
"At the same time, there are fears that the company does not have the
capacity to manufacture the pipes as it needs foreign currency to refurbish
its machines so that they meet the requirements for the quality and quantity
of pipes needed for the project."
Turnall managing director, John Jere, could not be reached for comment
but a top official at the company confirmed that they had notified
government of their position.
"We wrote to government in a progress report recently stating that we
are unable to supply the pipes due to problems facing the company. These
include foreign currency and power outages," said the official who requested
to remain anonymous.
Water Resources and Infrastructural Development deputy minister,
Walter Mzembi confirmed the developments but refused to comment further
saying doing so will be "prejudicial to future dealings".
Bulawayo is facing serious water shortages and already there have been
reports of diarrhoea and dysentery outbreaks as residents, who are going for
weeks without water are being forced to draw it from unprotected sources.
Bulawayo has five dams that supply water to the city but three of the
dams have already been decommissioned after they dried up.
The two remaining dams have failed to meet the city's daily water
requirement of 145 000 cubic metres.
The city council is only able to pump out 69 000 cubic metres of water
daily from the available sources. CWE officials were not immediately
available for comment.
BULAWAYO - An "impulsive" but timely apology by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) seems to have saved the uneasy marriage between the
country's largest opposition group and civil society at a crucial moment.
Following the fallout between the MDC and civic groups over
Constitutional Amendment Number 18, there were reports that some activists
were preparing for the launch of a "Third Way" - a euphemism for a political
alternative to the splintered opposition party.
Manoeuvres to form the new party gained momentum last weekend when 26
civic groups led by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the
Crisis Coalition met in Bulawayo to discuss the "great betrayal".
A series of caucus meetings organised by influential civic leaders
ahead of the conference had reportedly agreed that the delegates would only
need to rubberstamp the creation of the political coalition.
The conference - attended by 930 activists - was organised by Bulawayo
Agenda. It was dominated by discussions on the way forward following the MDC's
decision to endorse the amendments as part of its dialogue with Zanu PF.
But Elton Mangoma, the treasurer for the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC
formation appeared to have read the mood well and quickly offered an apology
on behalf of his party for ignoring "our colleagues in the civil society".
"The negotiations between us and Zanu PF where (South African)
President Thabo Mbeki has been mediating are an ongoing process," Mangoma
said, "and we will ensure that from now on we involve everyone in the
His impromptu speech might have pulled the rug from under the feet of
civic leaders who in the end agreed to give MDC another chance - a position
that was reflected in a conciliatory communiqué.
"We regard recent events surrounding the passing of Amendment 18 as a
serious infringement of our principle that a new constitution must be
derived from a people-driven process," read the communiqué.
"We shall, therefore, communicate to political parties involved in
these processes our displeasure at this serious breach of principle and ask
them in both word and actions to retract their position and reaffirm their
commitment to this principle."
More significantly, the groups agreed to form a taskforce to engage
the MDC in dialogue to iron out their differences.
The dialogue would be followed up by a people's convention to consider
the MDC's response to and actions regarding their core principles as civil
society and map a practical way forward.
Political analysts say the position taken by the civil society groups
left their options to sever ties with the MDC open but warned that such a
move would reverse gains made in challenging the ruling Zanu PF's
uninterrupted 27 years at the helm of the country's leadership.
"If we form a political party, we will be bolstering Zanu PF," said
Jethro Mpofu of Bulawayo Dialogue Institute.
"In the interest of Zimbabwe what we need at the moment is unity of
strength because Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara or Lovemore Madhuku cannot
unseat (President) Robert Mugabe on their own."
Since 2000, the MDC has posed the greatest threat to Mugabe's rule but
unending squabbles threaten to reverse the opposition party's gains in next
year's harmonised elections.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the Tsvangirai formation of the MDC,
said his group had never contemplated cutting ties with civil society.
"We totally agree with their demands for a new people-driven
constitution," Chamisa said, "and that there should be a conducive
environment for free and fair elections next year."
"We also respect the role of civil society as a watchdog and to that
end our president met some of the groups last week to hear their concerns."
And the creation of a political party by its closest allies could have
been the final blow.
BY ZVIPO MUZAMBI
Home-based care-givers (HBC) in Zimbabwe are not being given the
recognition they deserve, Standardhealth has heard.
The concern was voiced by donors, practitioners and researchers in the
area of HIV and AIDS, who came together last week to share findings of best
practices documented by Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information
Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) and Health Development Network (HDN), on the
Irish Aid funded Home-based care programmes in Zimbabwe.
Thirty-two-year-old Rudo Maruta has been a voluntary care-giver for
six years, but despite her commitment she is resolute that care-givers are
not given the recognition they deserve.
"Sometimes when you think about it," she said, "it seems like there
can't be any incentive to motivate care-givers and retain them so that the
important work we do continues.
"Maybe by virtue of being volunteers we are telling everyone that we
have nothing to do so we can do anything for free, but really we are
providing a service and helping our clinics and hospitals by relieving them
of the burden of terminally-ill patients."
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said
there was need for laws that outline the role and programme of community
"Care-giver bail out is very important in terms of HBC kits and
re-education," said Parirenyatwa. "The issue of incentives is a crucial one
such that there is need for appropriate incentives for community
According to findings by SAfAIDS and HDN, there is need to come up
with standard terms on conditions of service for HBC volunteers.
SAfAIDS and HDN also say that HBC organisations lack resources to
purchase ARVs for their patients and other drugs necessary for the treatment
of opportunistic infections.
This therefore impacts negatively on their efforts to control and
fight infections. Some of the clinics and hospitals that the organisations
rely on do not have CD4 count equipment, making the job of an HBC giver very
"When we visit the clients they see us as their saviours," said
Munyaradzi, another care-giver. "They expect us to help them but often we
cannot because we are not paid. We are just suffering like the rest of them.
"Sometimes the HBC kits do not have gloves, soap or iodine but we make
do without them. In fact, many of us have no soap so that we can clean
ourselves before and after our visits," he said
BY our staff
SEVERAL health facilities in six provinces will benefit from a
programme being conducted by the Zimbabwe Medical Association (Zima)
Standardhealth can report.
Institutions that are set to benefit from the programme are, Rujeko
polyclinic in Dzivarasekwa, Mufakose polyclinic, Luveve clinic in Bulawayo,
Maranda clinic in Mwenezi district, Mutare provincial clinic, Mbizo 1 in
Kwekwe and Beatrice Hospital in Mashonaland East.
Despite the collapse of the health system in the country, Zima
continues to successfully carry out its quarterly programmes to assist less
privileged members of society. Of these programmes, one was carried out in
Victoria Falls where Zima's annual conference took place.
The previous outreach programme held in June saw a total of 2 700
patients from six selected provinces benefiting.
The outreach programme comes at a time when Zimbabwe is suffering from
the exodus of professional health practitioners as a result of poor
The programme announced last week is the last one for this year. "As
part of Zima's corporate social responsibility," said Dr Shelton Zichawo
Zima treasurer, "we take time to go out into the community to assist less
privileged members of the society."
Zichawo called on all doctors in the country to join Zima and
take part in this social responsibility programme.
"The future of Zima is very bright and we are looking forward to the
New Year. We hope to reach out to more less privileged members of our
society," said Zichawo.
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - About 32 prison officers face eviction from council-owned
residential flats after the local authority snubbed several pleas by
government to spare the Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) employees.
Council took the decision to terminate the lease agreements for the 32
flats at Thokozani Flats near the city centre as far back as 1967 but the
evictions were not effected because of several appeals by the ZPS.
It said the ZPS, which has always been grappling with an acute
shortage of accommodation for its officers - attributed to chronic under
funding by government -must make way for residents who desperately need
Bulawayo has more than 80 000 people on its housing waiting list.
According to a report of the council's Health, Housing and Education
Committee, government entered the fray last month when Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development secretary, Partson Mbiriri, called for a
meeting with council to review the impasse.
Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary, David Mangota,
followed up with a letter pleading with council to reverse its decision.
"The flats in question are extremely strategic to the prison complex
in the city by virtue of their proximity to the complex, the courts that
service the prisons and Bulawayo hospitals, which admit dangerous criminals
when they are sick," Mangota said.
But a full council meeting on Wednesday rejected the pleas maintaining
that its "stand had been clear and consistent over the years on the matter".
Council's director of housing and community services, Isaiah Magagula,
said the ZPS was in the habit of appealing against the local authority's
decision on the matter to delay the evictions.
"But the position has been invariably confirmed particularly given the
gross abuse of the facility that was evident at these premises as revealed
by an earlier audit," Magagula said.
Mbiriri said government was not able to provide alternative
accommodation for the officers because it does not have money to build new
He said funding from the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) and
the National Housing Fund had "dried up".
Bulawayo Council has been at loggerheads with government over moves by
the newly created Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) taking over the
running of its water and sewage systems.
The council argues that the take-over will not only deprive the local
authority of the much needed revenue but is likely to result in poor service
as has been experienced in Harare where the authority is already in control.
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
MASVINGO - Rowdy Zanu PF youths on Thursday disrupted a Youth Forum
public meeting at the Civic Centre leading to bloody clashes during which 15
youths from various civic organisations were arrested as violence escalated
ahead of next year's synchronized polls.
Among those who were arrested are National Constitutional Assembly
spokesperson (NCA), Madock Chivasa, Wellington Zindove, co-ordinator Youth
Forum and Great Zimbabwe University secretary general, Edison Hlatshwayo.
The ruling party allegedly bused about 100 youths, who appeared drunk,
to disrupt the public meeting, organised by Youth Forum in conjunction with
NCA and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu).
In typical selective application of the law, no one from the rowdy
ruling party militia was arrested despite heavy clashes with the youths. The
ruling party militia, led by self-styled youth leader, Flex Masimbi, stormed
into the meeting when the second speaker, Zinasu vice-president, Gideon
Chitanga, was addressing the youths on their role in next year's elections.
Chitanga made reference to President Robert Mugabe's misrule which led
to the militia, already planted in the hall, to interject accusing Chitanga
of insulting the president who they said was a good leader. The militia
stood up and charged towards Chitanga but other participants intervened.
Skirmishes broke out when the youths tried to get back into the hall to
proceed with the meeting. The Zanu PF militia manhandled Chitanga. The
Zinasu vice-president was saved by his colleagues.
Armed with stones and logs, the Zanu PF militia charged towards the
participants, including university female students, who also fought back,
leading to bloody clashes. The police reacted and quelled the chaos but only
arrested the youths from the civic organisations.
Commenting on the arrests, Chitanga said the way the police handled
the clashes showed their partisan nature.
Few of the youths were released from police cells without a charge on
Friday morning. Chivasa and other student leaders remain in Masvingo Central
police station. Police spokesperson, Superintendent Andrew Phiri, declined
to comment on the matter, saying he was attending a pass-out parade.
The whereabouts of other students are not known and efforts by their
lawyer, Philip Shumba of Mwonzora and Associates, to facilitate their
release were fruitless.
Macdonald Lewanika, director of the Students Solidarity Trust,
confirmed to The Standard that some students were missing after being picked
up by state security agents late at night on Thursday.
BY NDAMU SANDU
REGIONAL power utilities have reduced supplies to Zesa Holdings over
non-payment for a period that stretches for six months, a Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee heard last week.
Zesa group CEO Ben Rafemoyo told the portfolio committee on Mines and
Energy that the parastatal owed regional utilities US$42 million.
"We last paid in March and the total owed to suppliers in the region
is US$42 million," Rafemoyo told the lawmakers. "Government availed US$5
million in July which helped us to continue to plead with our friends."
Justin Mupamhanga, the Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development told the committee that the generation of electricity had been
neglected for a long time with no significant investment.
Mupamhanga said the ministry had early this year drawn up a programme
of action that would maintain availability of electricity through a
sustainable tariff, buying of new spares and the overhaul of units at
"The conglomeration of all these problems has given us to where we
are," he said.
Mupamhanga told the committee that the ministry had targeted imports
of 450MW to bridge the gap caused by the shortfall in local generation
Mupamhanga said: "We haven't been able to pay. As a consequence,
regional suppliers have been progressively reducing the power supplies."
Zesa is getting 100MW from Cahora Bassa and 50MW from Snel in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. Initially Zesa was getting 150 MW from Cabora
Bassa but the supplies were reduced to due to non-payment. Zesa still has to
settle the Cahora Bassa July bill of US$4.7 million.
The reduced supplies from the region will pile pressure on Zesa which
has been failing to produce enough electricity for the country due to poor
capitalisation and obsolete equipment past its lifespan.
Zesa is generating 815MW monthly and adding up imports of 150MW, the
country is getting 965MW against a demand of 1 850MW. This gives a shortfall
of 885MW and Rafemoyo told the committee that at any given day half of the
country has no supplies.
He said the small thermal power stations were not generating as they
were not getting any coal supplies.
Rafemoyo told the committee ageing plant at Hwange badly needed
overhaul because, "it's no longer an issue of maintenance".
He said the Zesa-Nampower deal will result in the overhaul of units at
Hwange. Under the deal Namibian power utility will provide US$40 million
while Zesa will provide $120 billion. Zesa will sell 150MW to Nampower for
five years at an agreed price. The proceeds from the sale will be used to
By Pindai Dube
BULAWAYO - In a bid to end the string of crashes involving trains on
the country's railway lines the National Railways Zimbabwe (NRZ) has
imported 12 000 tonnes of rail from China to replace 134 kilometres of
damaged rail countrywide.
In recent years the NRZ has found it difficult to import spare parts
and maintenance equipment for its railway system, which contributed to some
of the worst accidents seen in the country.
However speaking to Standardbusiness last week during a tour by
journalists of the damaged section of the rail along the Bulawayo-Victoria
Falls line in Nyamandlovu, Wilas Mapfinya, NRZ Plant and Renewal engineer
said the parastatal had imported 12 000 tonnes of rail from a Chinese
company, Wuhan Railway Company, in 2005 at a cost of US$10.7 million.
Mapfinya said the damaged line was about 134 kilometres country wide
and this year alone they were looking forward to cover about 36 kilometres.
The rail replacement project, which started last week, will require
three months on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls line which is prone to accidents
that have claimed many lives in the past five years.
"We have started laying the rail and the exercise will run for three
months. The laying of the rail is an extensive job which is done in the
morning because low temperatures are required" said Mike van Aswagen, NRZ
Bulawayo District Engineer.
After the completion of Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route maintenance work
would be shifted to Matinhidza area near Mutare.
The 43-year-old Bulawayo-Victoria railway line has been under the
spotlight since February 2003 when 46 people perished in the Dete train
Last year, seven people were killed with several injured after the NRZ
trains collided in the Diba-mgombe area near Victoria Falls.
Apart from Matabeleland North route, NRZ trains have been involved in
accidents that killed hundreds of the people in recent years.
BY OUR STAFF
THE new economic blue-print, Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy
(ZEDS) will suffer the fate of its predecessor policies if it does not
embrace the views of people, stakeholders warned last week.
ZEDS is a five-year medium term strategy to stabilise the economy and
will run from 2009 up to 2013.
In her brief to stakeholders, Judith Kateera, Secretary for Economic
Development said the Ministry was formulating a successor plan to the
National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP). NEDPP was launched
last year and promised Zimbabweans heaven on earth such as the mobilisation
of US$2.5 billion in three months.
The programme ends in December with nothing tangible to show for it.
Kateera said a transitional plan will run from January to December
next year, while ZEDS will take off in 2009.
Kateera said the blue-print, which is a bottom up approach, will
facilitate broad based wealth creation oriented towards poverty reduction
and the integration of previously marginalised groups.
But stakeholders that included provincial governors, Senators, MPs and
chiefs were not convinced that the economic blue-print will succeed.
"We are talking of a bottom up approach and already it is a top down
approach," said Matabeleland South provincial governor Angeline Masuku.
"Zimbabwe is not in hotels and conference centres.
"We love a situation whereby brainstorming is done under an
environment that will give us a clear picture of how we are failing and what
can we do together."
Responding to Masuku, Sylvester Nguni, Economic Development Minister
said last week's indaba was the beginning of a series of meetings.
"Actual consultation, you will see it happening in Bulilima," he said.
MDC legislator Timothy Mubawu was not convinced that ZEDS will succeed
considering the failure of previous programmes.
"What gives me the confidence that ZEDS will deliver?" asked the
Dr Jesimen Chipika, ZEDS technical adviser said there was a weak link
between economic programmes and national budgets. She said from now onwards,
the programmes should be funded from the budgets.
Chipika said ZEDS was a national programme with input from all
stakeholders, adding that the nation had learnt from Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme that did not take input from all stakeholders.
BY NDAMU SANDU
IT was back to the good old days when Father Christmas would dole out
sweets and toys to children in the streets. During those days children would
mob him with the knowledge that they would not go home empty- handed.
Father Christmas was in town on Monday at the Harare International
Conference Centre doling out, not sweets and toys, but cheap funds for
agriculture, water treatment and supply, and funds to ensure availability of
Presenting his Mid-Year Policy Review statement Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono, was in Father Christmas' mood
launching a Basic Commodity Supply-Side Intervention Facility (BACOSSI), a
cheap fund for primary, secondary and tertiary producers and suppliers of
BACOSSI is administered through banks and attracts an interest rate of
25% per annum. The facility is a nine-month window reviewable and renewable
through a 90-day instrument based on performance.
But Gono cautioned that there would be a balance between the need to
have cheaper goods on the market and the risk that such cheap goods will
lead to unsustainable pressure on consumption patterns.
"The unintended consequences of this policy directive," Gono said,
"have been to create more drunkards on the road, strained family relations
at home, and in some cases, produced more drunk decision makers."
Gono said the monetary authorities had also set aside $1 trillion to
support "productive programmes by women and the youths co-ordinated through
the offices of provincial governors".
"Through active participation of women and youths in the mainstream
economy," Gono said, "not only will this lead to an increase in goods and
services in our markets, but also employment creation."
And when you thought that Gono's purse had lessened, hold your breath:
$14.25 trillion for Zimbabwe National Water Authority and local authorities.
Gono said water woes experienced by urban areas had led to outbreaks
of water-borne diseases.
Economic commentators say dishing out cheap funds is not the solution
to the country's problems.
"When you give people money you have printed, said Dr. Daniel Ndlela
an economic consultant, "you are causing implosion in a hyperinflationary
Economic consultant John Robertson agrees: "There is not enough money
to sustain this and we have to print."
"It defeats all the hopes that inflation will be beaten."
Gono took a potshot at the proposed indigenisation legislation
insisting a fine balance had to be struck between the objectives of
indigenisation and the need to attract foreign investment.
"Of particular concern to us as monetary authorities," Gono said,
"would be any attempts to forcibly push the envelope of indigenisation into
the delicate area of banking and finance."
Gono's remarks came barely a week after Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana said foreign banks unwilling to comply
with indigenisation law could pack and go.
Analysts say Gono's advice on "grab and take" indigenisation law will
add a new twist to the Indigenisation Bill which sailed through Parliament
and Senate and now awaits President Robert Mugabe's assent to become law.
Analysts say policy contradictions between Mangwana and Gono reflect
on the crisis of a government that has no clue on policies.
"If there was clue, they would sing the same hymn," Ndlela said.
He added: "He (Gono) is saying no country at the turn of the
millennium can take on international banks and remain a normal country."
ONE of the reasons Zimbabwe has failed to meet its domestic
requirements for food has been a combination of poor planning and
unavailability of agricultural inputs. It appears a re-enactment is
inevitable this coming season.
Last week weather experts predicted a good rainy season, but with only
weeks to go before the 2007/2008 farming season, farmers are concerned they
do not have all the resources they need to take advantage of the expected
Since the advent of the disastrous 2000 farm invasions the story of
the country's agricultural sector has been one of missed opportunities.
What the government says and wants to achieve and what it eventually
accomplishes are two different things. It is as if all its plans are cursed.
The curse is one of failure to plan and what is remarkable is that
this can go on recurring for eight straight years. The government likes to
blame drought and other external factors, but the major cause of the country's
failure to produce enough food is an inability to ensure everything is in
place before farming operations start.
Farmers complain that seed and other key inputs such as fertilisers
are not readily available, already setting the stage for failure. The
government never learns.
As a result of this perennial bungling, the country could end up
importing food to meet domestic consumption requirements, even though it can
ill-afford the scarce foreign currency.
Measures announced by the central bank last week were informed by the
need to avoid food imports. But the extent to which the measures can
stimulate production without the necessary inputs remains questionable.
There are other factors that have worked successfully against efforts
to boost agricultural production in recent years. Among them is giving land
to people without an interest in farming. The same people without an
interest in farming have resources heaped on them, even though their record
of production would disqualify them from accessing any support intended to
beef up farm output. The problem has been that the people who least deserve
assistance have been the major beneficiaries of the various incentives
availed by the government.
During 1980/1981, a simple but deliberate scheme supported by the
international community ensured that villagers were each given 25kg of maize
seed. The results are well documented. The problem today is there has been a
deliberate shift to support people who declared, upon offer of A2 farms,
that they had the resources to work the land.
The government should have run two parallel schemes. One for communal
and A1 resettled farmers and the other for the A2 settlers. The extent of
food shortages would not have been as acute as it is.
In order to ensure that those with most support from the government
made maximum use of their farms, there should have been insistence on
employing agricultural graduates. Regular visits to farms would have ensured
the farms were under supervision of capable managers.
If the land redistribution programme had been fair and transparent and
all the graduates of agricultural institutions in the country were offered
land or employed as farm managers, Zimbabwe would today be a success story.
After the chaotic land reform exercise tobacco production fell
five-fold to 50 million kg. This year it rose by 22 million kg. At this
growth rate, and given the level of bungling, it could take up to a decade
before production in this sector reaches pre-farm invasion levels.
The fuel facility announced last week is enough for more than one
month. There-in lies the problem with fire-fighting management. There is no
serious attempt to address once and for all the needs of the various
sectors. It is as if someone benefits from the continued crisis management.
sundayopinion by Bill Saidi
ONE day last week, I paid a sentimental journey to the cocktail bar in
Highfield, at Machipisa.
No, not for the booze. I have been on the wagon for almost 25 years,
after almost a lifetime of imbibing everything you care to name, including
stuff which was guaranteed to burn a hole in your skull, your gut and other
vital body parts.
Yes, I miss it once in a while, but it's one of the vices I am happy I
quit when I had the chance. If I hadn't . . .
The cocktail bar in Highfield: I visited it after reading something
called 50 years of Journalism, being a thick volume about a conference held
recently in South Africa, at which many learned people ventilated the
subject of journalism in Africa since the independence of Ghana in 1957.
Kelvin Mlenga is quoted as having said something to the effect that a
government newspaper propagating government propaganda was no newspaper at
all . . . or words to that effect.
He said that in 1965 in Lusaka, the year the government of Zambia,
after only one year of independence, took over one of the gutsiest,
best-selling independent newspapers in the country, The Central African
Mail, later rechristened The Zambia Mail, a confirmed government mouthpiece,
as namby-pamby as The Herald.
But first an enlightenment on jumpology, a word invented by Kelvin for
a story relating to the first days of the opening of the cocktail bar in
Highfield way back before we even dreamed we would call the suburb "our
The newly-opened cocktail bar was a sort of highlight and baptism of
the first days of the "freedom to quaff European bottled beer" granted to
the African people by the colonial government.
Until then all we could be trusted with, without turning into
homicidal maniacs, was Kaffir beer - KB, until some bleeding heart liberal
thought this was so disgustingly racist they changed it to African beer or
just Seven Days, this being the time it took for it to ferment.
Perhaps we shouldn't have celebrated so lavishly, the opening of the
cocktail bar in Highfield. But we did, and someone either jumped off the
first floor to the ground, or was pushed - it was never established which.
Kelvin thought up the word Jumpology - a game in which the boozers
dared each other to jump off the first floor, then walk off into the sunset
(or the moonset?), unscathed.
It was a great "human interest" story with all the ingredients to warm
the cockles of many sober or otherwise readers' hearts.
Kelvin was the consummate journalist, full of humour, even the
ghoulish kind. He worked right next to Nathan Shamuyarira, whose capacity
for real humour - and I had first hand experience of this - was not worth
writing home about. But Lawrence Vambe, as editor-in-chief of African
Newspapers was Mr Humour himself.
Kelvin had enough humour for The African Daily News to fairly pulsate
with laughter every day; it would be guaranteed to make you chuckle with
I was among many who admired Kelvin's grasp of the English language.
As the end of federation approached, most of the journalists at African
Newspapers who originated from Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia received a
sort of unspoken call to return to their roots.
Kelvin, born in Selukwe and a Kutama old boy, returned to Zambia when
it was still Northern Rhodesia, a British protectorate. He joined Richard
Hall, the feisty editor of the radical pro-nationalist weekly paper.
I joined them as production editor in 1963, with federation due to be
buried a few months later. It was Kelvin who called me to Lusaka and I found
two people we had worked with on African Daily News, Tim Nyahunzvi and
The camaraderie was a tremendous spur for us to give it our best shot.
And we did, until after independence. From the beginning, there had been a
whiff of xenophobia, generated by the presence at the top of the newspaper
of people they called in Chewa "vakusidwa".
After Richard Hall left, Kelvin became editor. I doubt that he
suspected the government would drive him out on the nebulous grounds that he
was an "alien". But they did and like most African governments felt no
qualms whatsoever. At that time, it had been arranged for me to go to the US
for advanced journalism training: I was told bluntly that the training would
be useful for me "when you return to your country after its independence".
The arrangement was terminated immediately.
Kelvin told me, on leaving, not to act out of emotion and resign -
unless I had somewhere else to go to work. So, I stuck it out until I was
fired, primarily because the new editor, an Englishman, saw me as a "Mlenga"
What a loss to journalism! Mlenga was a paragon of the independence of
the media, yet he was hounded out of the job because it was known that he
would not paddle the government's boat to the demise of independent thought.
Young journalists in Zambia owe a lot to people like Mlenga, as much
as young Zimbabwean journalists owe to both Mlenga and a colleague of his at
African Newspapers, Willie Dzawanda Musarurwa.
In their unique way, the two symbolized a kind of "jumpology" in
journalism, the readiness to take the ultimate risk.
sundayview by Judith
LOOKOUT "Mafela" Khalisabantu Vumindaba Masuku was buried at the
revered Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo on Saturday 12 April 1986. Tens of
thousands of people converged to pay their last respects. The main orator
was, of course, Dr Joshua Nkomo.
Those who rule our country know inside themselves that Lookout played
a very big part in winning our struggle. And yet they let him die in prison.
I say he died in prison because he died on that bed on which he was
detained. It was not possible for him to leave that bed and it was not
possible for you to see him. Therefore, I say he died in prison.
Why should men like Lookout and Dumiso, after being found innocent of
any wrongdoing by the highest court in this land remain detained? When we
ask we get the same answer from the Minister as we used to get from the
Mafela, Lookout, after all his sacrifices, died a pauper in our own
hands. We cannot blame colonialism and imperialism for this tragedy. We who
fought against these things now practise them. Why? Why? Why?
We are enveloped in the politics of hate. The amount of hate that is
being preached today in this country is frightful. What Zimbabwe fought for
was peace, progress, love, respect, justice, equality, not the opposite. And
one of the worst evils we see today is corruption. The country bleeds today
because of corruption.
It is appropriate that the site chosen for Lookout's grave lies near a
memorial to those who fought against Hitler. Lookout fought against fascism,
oppression, tribalism and corruption. Any failure to dedicate ourselves to
the ideals of Masuku will be a betrayal of him and of all those freedom
fighters whose graves are not known.
Our country cannot progress on fear and false accusations which are
founded simply on the love of power. There is something radically wrong with
our country today and we are moving, fast, towards destruction. There is
confusion and corruption and, let us be clear about it, we are seeing racism
in reverse under false mirror of correcting imbalances from the past. In the
process we are creating worse things. We have created fear in the minds of
some in our country. We have made them feel unwanted, unsafe.
Young men and women are on the streets of our cities. There is
terrible unemployment. Life has become harsher than ever before. People are
referred to as squatters. I hate the word. I do not hate the person. When
people were moved under imperialism certain facilities like water were
provided. But under us? Nothing!
You cannot build a country by firing people's homes. No country can
live by slogans, pasi (down with) this and pasi that. When you are ruling
you should never say pasi to anyone. If there is something wrong with
someone you must try to uplift him, not oppress him. We cannot condemn other
people and then do things even worse than they did.
Lookout was a brave man. He led the first group of guerrillas who
returned home at ceasefire. Lookout, lying quietly here in his coffin,
fought to the last minute of his life for justice. It is his commitment to
fair play that earned him his incarceration.
Some of you are tempted to give away your principles in order to
conform. Even the preachers are frightened to speak freely and they have to
hide behind the name of Jesus. The fear that pervades the rulers has come
down to the people and to the workers. There is too much conformity. People
work and then they shut up. We cannot go on this way. People must be freed
to be able to speak. We invite the clergy to be outspoken. Tell us when we
When Lookout was in Parirenyatwa he requested to be able to say
goodbye to his friend Dumiso. The request was refused. "No!" By our own
He is not being buried in Heroes' Acre. But they can't take away his
status as a hero. You don't give a man the status of a hero. All you can do
is recognise it. It is his. Yes, he can be forgotten temporarily by the
State. But the young people who do research will one day unveil what Lookout
The day after the funeral I wrote a letter to Byron Hove, who was
increasingly in trouble with his party, Zanu PF.
Over the years it has become almost customary for me to send you a
message from time to time. Here is another small message of friendship.
Yesterday I attended the funeral of Lookout Masuku in Bulawayo. As the
scores of thousands of Zimbabweans present were told by Nkomo, you don't
give a man the status of a hero, you can only recognise it. Yes, a man may
be temporarily and even deliberately forgotten by a state, or by a party, or
perhaps even by people who he regarded as friends, but eventually the truth
tends to break through.
We all walk roads which are very rough from time to time. Lookout's
road was perhaps one of the roughest ever. Yours is rough too, but I'm
afraid it's all part of the cost of having been given the privilege of
loving and trying to serve Zimbabwe.
Yesterday, thinking of Lookout, I tried to find the origin of the
saying "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance". I think it must have
been drawn from the following.
"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal
vigilance: which condition, if he break, servitude is at once the
consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." This comes from a
speech John Philpot Curran, an Irish judge who lived 1750 - 1817, made on
the night of the election of a Lord Mayor of Dublin.
Good luck, Byron, and look carefully after yourself.
Without knowing it, Lookout had left me a wonderful gift. I had once
given him a lift from Harare to Bulawayo and, passing through the area
between Gweru and Shangani, I had remarked that this was a boring stretch of
the journey. Lookout had reacted with horror and surprise. "How can you say
that? Just look at all of Lobengula's cattle!"
Ever since, passing through that area, I thought of Lookout, unleashed
my imagination and watched thousands upon thousands of cattle undulating
across the beautiful land.
To my total surprise, Edward Ndlovu was released from Chikurubi
Maximum Prison on Tuesday 29 April 1986. He walked into my office with all
his belongings in three plastic carrier bags, grinned hugely and said: "Here's
my shopping!" We rushed home so he could telephone Mary and have a hot bath,
always the first thing required, if possible, when you leave prison.
I had a dinner planned for that evening. Guests included Ann and Roger
Martin, Britain's deputy high commissioner; Jenny Hyland, secretary to
Dzingai Mutumbuka, the Minister of Education; Julia Wood from the
Attorney-General's office; and Bryant and Elizabeth Elliot. I offered to
cancel, but Edward was very game for it to go ahead. I warned him that
everything he said would probably go straight round the diplomatic circuit,
the ministries of Education and Justice and then, through Dzingai, round the
Cabinet and the Politburo. Edward was delighted.
Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.
sundaytalk with Trevor
THE same Parliament would elect a consensus Prime Minister to lead a
consensus government of all national talents from 2008 to 2010 when a
general election would be due following the expiry of the tenure of the
current Parliament. The two year period before the general election would
thus be the transitional period for implementing the much needed far
reaching political, constitutional and economic reforms that would renew and
regenerate Zimbabwe while bringing it back into the community of nations.
The Second Opportunity
If for whatever reasons the first opportunity does not materialize, I
see a second opportunity coming in three months at the Zanu PF special
congress in December.
The second opportunity would be a variation of the first. After facing
sustained opposition from the ruling party faction led by Retired Major
General Solomon Mujuru, Mugabe has over the last few months been renewing
his relationship with his former minister for national security, and now
minister of rural housing and social amenities, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who
leads a competing faction.
Although he was humiliated and sidelined ahead of the Zanu PF last
congress in 2004 after losing the party's vice-presidency to Joice
Mujuru-wife to Solomon Mujuru-Mnangagwa has been slowly recovering and
reemerging as a power base again this time by lending his faction's support
to Mugabe's reelection bid.
On his part, Mugabe has been encouraging Mnangagwa by once again
making indications that he is his chosen successor. An obvious reason for
this is the presumption that, because he was security minister during the
Gukurahundi massacres, Mnangagwa has common prosecution fears over
allegations of crimes against humanity and would thus protect Mugabe as a
matter of self interest.
The growing talk within the Mnangagwa camp, and also from intelligence
sources in Zimbabwe, is that Mugabe has called for a special congress of his
party in December, which was not due until 2009, in order to publicly use it
to anoint Mnangagwa as his successor.
What remains unclear is whether Mugabe would allow Mnangagwa to take
over the party leadership in December and move on to be the Zanu PF
presidential candidate should elections be held in 2008 or whether Mugabe
would still insist on running for reelection with a promise that Mnangagwa
would takeover a year or two after the 2008 elections should Mugabe win.
However, what is clear is that Mnangagwa's camp prefers the latter not least
because it does not trust Mugabe would give up power after the elections
should he win.
The fact that the Mnangagwa camp does not trust Mugabe, who
unceremoniously ditched it in 2004 in favour of Joice Mujuru, means that
Mugabe will go to the special congress in December without assured political
This creates an opportunity for change through a "soft surprise" at
the special congress as happened in December 2006 when delegates
"surprisingly" rejected Mugabe's bid to postpone presidential elections to
2010 in the hope of remaining in office as executive president until then
elected by Parliament without facing the electorate.
What this means is that at the December special congress, Mugabe will
be manifestly opposed by the Mujuru faction and latently opposed by the
Mnangagwa faction. Such a political climate could pave way for a dark horse
to emerge as a compromise candidate. It is hard to say who that candidate
could be at the moment although Simba Makoni's name keeps coming up.
Alternatively, the same political scenario engendered by manifest opposition
to Mugabe from the Mujuru camp and latent opposition from the Mnangagwa
faction could cause Mugabe to accept the first opportunity described above.
But the possibility of a "soft surprise" development at the special
Zanu PF congress in December would obviously need to be socially-engineered
taking advantage of clear and present political dynamics on the ground ahead
of the congress. My view is that progressive forces in and outside Zimbabwe
could play a pivotal role to encourage if not to engineer that development
by working with strategic Zanu PF elements. That would be far better than
simply mourning about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and denouncing
Mugabe for wanting to remain in office for life.
The Third Opportunity
In addition to an opportunity of the possibility of a "soft surprise"
at the special Zanu PF congress in December, that could see the emergence of
a compromise candidate to replace Mugabe, there is also a third opportunity
that would be in the form of a "hard surprise" through a palace coup led by
the Mujuru camp.
In recent months, the Mujuru camp has been making it clear to anyone
who cares to listen that they want Mugabe out. Early this year when the Zanu
PF central committee was reported to have endorsed Mugabe's reelection bid,
the Mujuru camp started openly calling for a special congress at the end of
the year to settle the leadership question in the ruling party.
The fact that Mugabe has now called for that special congress can
indeed be seen as a victory for the Mujuru camp because it has all along
since March this year badly needed the special congress. Already, the Mujuru
camp is very busy on the ground organizing the ten Zanu PF provinces and
asking them to identify individuals they think could be presidential
candidates to replace Mugabe. This is being done openly.
It seems that the plan is to use the special congress in December to
achieve two objectives:
First to. challenge and even humiliate Mugabe by making it clear that
he is not the sole Zanu PF presidential candidate as several provinces would
come up with competing names.
Second to. force a nomination election by secret even open ballot
which the Mujuru camp believes would be won by either Joice Mujuru or Simba
Strategists in Mujuru's camp believe that, should it become clear that
such a nomination election is imminent, Mugabe would not want to be part of
it as the writing would then be on the wall about his assured defeat.
THE FOURTH OPPORTUNITY
The above three opportunities are all available to the ruling party
and thus dependent on what happens within it. Yet the Zimbabwean crisis is
national in scope and options to its resolution are not limited to
developments within the ruling part.
It should stand to reason that Zanu PF's continued failure thus far to
resolve the crisis creates an opportunity for the opposition. Unfortunately,
the Zimbabwean opposition has not been able to exploit that opportunity due
a range of structural and leadership weaknesses that are now well known and
do not need to be repeated save to point out that as currently constituted
the opposition does not have a chance in heaven to move Zimbabwe forward.
What is notable is that the three opportunities that are available
within Zanu PF are potent material for a new progressive opposition with
nationalist and democratic roots.
Rather than standing by and watching events unfold in Zanu PF, I
believe progressive forces in Zimbabwe have an historic opportunity to forge
a Third Way that would bring together elements from the ruling party, the
two formations of the MDC, other opposition groups, civic society
organizations, churches, labour unions, student movements and the business
community to form Everyone's party to dislodge Zanu PF.
Mugabe, and indeed Zanu PF, continues to define the opposition as the
MDC. A major if not only reason why Mugabe continues to be determined to
stand for reelection against all odds is that he believes he cannot lose to
the MDC. He has not factored the possibility of facing a united front of
progressive forces against which he and Zanu PF cannot win. (to be
When the nation's highest office authors the
"BASH them," the highest authority in the land told the forces of law
and order, and that is what they are doing. Meet one of their victims: she
is a widowed grandmother in her early fifties, without any political
ambitions. She is solely preoccupied with feeding and keeping her family
alive. Some weeks ago she was about to board a commuter bus in town to go
back to her high-density suburb when the police was chasing some NCA
Since she was talking to one of them, she was detained like the rest.
At the central police station they were taken to a secluded spot and
systematically, cruelly beaten up. She passed out and woke up in hospital.
She underwent an operation and, though now back home, is still not fully
recovered. She hobbles about her house and yard, but has not ventured any
This was not just a freak accident or the result of some
"over-enthusiasm". This revealed the attitude of the authorities towards the
common people. Anyone is a potential enemy. They have no respect for the
people, no concern for their welfare, no sense of responsibility for the
common good. Even after almost three decades they have not unlearned the
violence and aggression which became ingrained habits in the bush war,
instead they are passing them on to the new generation.
We are told that there are some quite "decent" people in the ruling
party who would never do a thing like that. Yes, but they let others do it
in their name. If they are really so "decent" then they should distance
themselves from such inhumanity, go and apologize to this grandmother who
may be a fellow church member, and pay compensation (not that money can
really make up for the deep humiliation and trauma she has suffered!).
The Catholic Bishops are well aware of the situation: "In Zimbabwe
today, there are Christians on all sides of the conflict; and there are many
Christians sitting on the fence . . .They are all baptised, sit and pray and
sing together in the same church . . .While the next day, outside the
church, a few steps away, Christian state agents, policemen and soldiers
assault and beat paeaceful, unarmed demonstrators and torture detainees.
This is the unacceptable reality on the ground, which shows much disrespect
for human life and falls far below the dignity of both the perpetrator and
the victim" (ZCBC, Easter Pastoral Letter, 'God Hears the Cry of the
Oppressed', n. 3).
There is a fundamental flaw in our republic, some basic fault of
design. We need to go back to the drawing board. For the State "the common
good of its people is the whole meaning of its existence," the Bishops said
on the eve of Independence 1980. The primacy of the common good over all
other considerations of power and sectional interests has never been
realised in this country.
Things went wrong right at the start. "Soon after Independence, the
power and wealth of the tiny white Rhodesian elite was appropriated by an
equally exclusive black elite, some of whom have governed the country for
the past 27 years through political patronage. Black Zimbabweans today fight
for the same basic rights they fought for during the liberation struggle"
(ZCBC, Easter 2007, n.18).
Sometimes we see on ZTV historical film clips of Rhodesian policemen
with Alsatians chasing and beating Blacks. Ask that grandmother whether she
sees any difference between being beaten by a Rhodesian or a Zimbabwean
Was not this what so deeply humiliated the people as owners of the
land that they were not given this respect by the settlers? Was not this
what exasperated them to such an extent that they opted for armed
resistance? And what they craved has still not been achieved if you ask that
woman in her pain!
If police are cruelly beating up harmless passers-by (or even
democratic activists) as a matter of intimidation and terror, that has
nothing to do with foreign "imperialism". This is your responsibility and
nobody else's. There is something terribly wrong and sick in this society,
there is a cancer that has to be removed. And only you can do that.
Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
United approach the only way to unseat Zanu PF
THANK you for a newspaper which tells it like it is. I always make
sure I read it every Sunday.
Allow me to respond to Tarinda Dziva of Mutare, who advised your
readers to "leave Tsvangirai alone" and accuses your newspaper of taking a
position to publish letters demonising their dear president.
I have written several letters trying to show their president and
those surrounding him of the need for a united front to confront this
monster called Zanu PF during next year's harmonised elections.
Having been detained at Connemara Prison from 1978 until Independence
because I was a member of PF Zapu, I can claim to be an experienced
politician. I joined the MDC at its formation and went on to win during a
controversial by-election. PF Zapu was able to frustrate Zanu PF since 1980
and the same strategy is required from the MDC today.
The reason why Zanu PF has never enjoyed support in Matabeleland is
because the people there are united. Morgan Tsvangirai should be spending
his energy on courting supporters of Zanu PF, UPP and PF Zapu so that they
join the MDC.
People must stop shouting at Welshman Ncube, Arthur Mutambara and
others. They should read Mutambara's recent interview with Constantine
Chimakure in the Zimbabwe Independent to find how Tsvangirai sometimes
disappoints some of us in politics.
Next year we will have MDC councillors, drawn from both urban and
rural areas, MPs and senators but without a president. Denouncing each other
at rallies will finally stop people from voting the opposition.
Let's devote all our strategies to removing Zanu PF during next year's
elections. Together we can do it.
Zinwa's latest tariff hikes unjustified
THE Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) is dismayed at the
recent rate increases by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa). The
water tariffs have been increased from $3 596,20 per cubic metre to $23
765,63 backdated to 1 August 2007. The increases have resulted in residents
receiving ballooned bills. The authority claims that it has passed the cost
of water treatment to the consumer to ensure viability.
CHRA offices were this month inundated with calls from residents who
had received bills ranging between $4 million and $20 million. CHRA inquired
with Zinwa and they claim that residents are either leaving their taps
leaking leading to high bills or there are typing errors. Residents however
maintain that Zinwa officials do not read meters but estimate figures.
The association is concerned at the state of water services delivery
by Zinwa. The water authority has failed to provide adequate and clean water
supplies to most parts of Harare. Residents in Mabvuku have gone for several
months without tap water while other areas are reeling under heavy water
cuts. In Bulawayo the situation is even more desperate with residents
experiencing one week water cuts.
The water situation in Harare has led to disease outbreaks like
cholera and dysentery. There is no hope that the situation will improve as
Zinwa has no capacity to deliver quality water services. Zinwa does not have
the technical and financial capacity to provide the service. The tariff
increases are therefore unjustified considering that residents have not been
receiving constant clean water supplies.
The association will be holding capacity building workshops which will
cover various thematic areas. The problem of water will also be covered
under these thematic areas. Residents will discuss and find options on how
to respond to the water crisis. There have been delegations representing
various Harare districts that have approached Zinwa. The authority claims
that they have capacity to provide adequate treated water. CHRA continues to
fight and advocate for quality municipal and other services in the City of
Harare. Residents remain the major stakeholders in the fight for
accountable, transparent and effective local government.
Farai Barnabas Mangodza
CHRA Chief Executive Officer
Real strategies not bombast
EVERYDAY we are bombarded by Zanu PF
politicians about Zimbabwe being a sovereign state that will never be a
colony again. At the same time there is this constant whining about how
illegal sanctions imposed by the former colonisers are hurting ordinary
Zimbabweans who, increasingly, are realising man cannot live on sovereingty
More importantly, Zanu PF must convince us now before next year's
elections that they have real strategies, not just bombast, to counter those
sanctions, otherwise they should just pack their bags and do the honourable
thing - go!