BY WILF MBANGA
LONDON - After years of breaking its own laws, corrupting its judiciary and
flagrantly ignoring orders from its Supreme Court, the Zimbabwe government
is now cocking a snook at the world by tearing up international agreements
and destroying property rights.
The latest pronouncements by state security minister, Didymus Mutasa - who
is also in charge of land redistribution - have set alarm bells ringing in
South Africa, which has vast commercial interests in Zimbabwe.
Mutasa said the government would henceforth disregard bilateral agreements
protecting foreign-owned property to ensure that 'every black Zimbabwean has
land by the onset of the rainy season' (November).
His statements were backed up by justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, who
said the commercial farms seized by government over the past four years were
now state property after the government cancelled private title to the
properties in terms of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.17).
The South Africans have also been horrified by the Mugabe regime's recent
demand for US$16.6million in unpaid taxes from SA-owned platinum miner
Zimplats. The company maintains it was granted tax concessions by the
government in an original mining agreement and through subsequent assurances
by the ministry of mines.
The Mugabe regime's increasing disregard for the rule of law has given
renewed urgency to South Africa's ongoing attempts to sign a bilateral
investor protection agreement with its northern neighbour. The protection
agreement is also understood to be one of the critical conditions for the
massive loan agreement requested by Mugabe two months ago.
The other condition - talks with the opposition MDC - has also been flouted
by Mugabe's intransigence.
South African investments in almost every sector of the Zimbabwean economy
are massive, and feature primarily banking and insurance, mining, commercial
farming and tourism.
Meanwhile, the farmers' lobby group Justice for Agriculture has said it is
preparing a case to be taken to the African Commission on Human and People's
Rights (ACHPR), the Gambia-based continental human rights watchdog. (See
story p 3)
Zimbabwe's malfunctioning judiciary is now notorious, especially after
judges recently refused to submit themselves to scrutiny following
allegations that their rulings have been compromised by 'pressure' and
'inducements' from government officials seeking favourable judgments.
The country's slide into utter lawlessness has been accentuated this week by
the behaviour of Chinamasa in taking a second wife, although he is already
married under the civil law Marriage Act, which prohibits polygamy, and the
seizure of Peter Purcell-Gilpin's Helensvale Estate by the husband of High
Court Judge Annie-Marie Gowora. (see stories P2)
However, despite South Africa's alarm, it seems to be quietly following in
Mugabe's footsteps. Press reports say authorities are on the verge of
recommending the expropriation of five more white-owned commercial farms,
bringing to six the number of SA properties earmarked for seizure in this
Provincial Land Restitution Commissioner Blessing Mphela has said final
notices would be served on land-owners soon to relay the opinion of the
Commission on Restitution of Land Rights that further negotiations would be
If landowners continued contesting the process after receiving the notice, a
recommendation for expropriation would be made to the Minister of Land
Fri 7 October 2005
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has ordered 25 of the few white
commercial farmers still remaining in the country to vacate their land by
the end of this month, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said in a
statement on Thursday.
The largely white-membership CFU said State Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa, who is also in charge of land redistribution and the Ministers of
Agriculture and Justice, Joseph Made and Patrick Chinamasa respectively,
told farmers in Makoni district in Manicaland province that only 15 of the
40 white farmers there would be permitted to continue farming.
"In Makoni district (Headlands, Rusape and Nyazura), there are
presently 40 farmers. After a visit to the area on 24 September by
Ministers Mutasa, Made and Chinamasa, the farmers were told that only 15 of
them would be permitted to continue farming, and the other 25 must cease
farming operations and vacate their farms," the CFU statement reads in part.
The farmers' representative body spoke as top government politicians
and supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party have in the
last five weeks intensified efforts to seize land from the few white farmers
across the country.
About 90 percent of the more than 4 000 white large-scale producing
white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe before 2000 were dispossessed of land
over the past five years under the government's chaotic and often violent
land redistribution exercise.
Mutasa, who was quoted by local newspapers as having called white
farmers filthy, refused to discuss the fresh farm evictions when contacted
But Mutasa two months ago said he was resuming the farm seizure
programme, which the government had publicly said was finished, because he
wanted to ensure every black Zimbabwean owned land by the onset of the next
rainy season around November.
The CFU said several of its members have in the last few weeks
reported being ordered to cease farming and vacate their properties.
In Bindura in ZANU PF's stronghold Mashonaland Central Province, two
farmers there have been given up to October 30 to stop farming and leave. In
Chipinge district in eastern Zimbabwe, a total of five farmers were in the
last two weeks forced off their properties.
The farmers and their families, who were given hours to pack and go,
were forced to leave behind farm equipment and even personal household
property all worth billions of dollars. Some of the farmers and their
managers were severely assaulted, according to the CFU.
But in Mashonaland East governor, Ray Kaukonde, has ordered a stop to
farm invasions and there is peace and quiet on farms there, the CFU said.
The farm seizures, which Mugabe says were necessary to correct an
unjust colonial land tenure system that bequeathed 75 percent of the best
arable land to minority whites while blacks were cramped on poor soils, have
destabilised the agricultural sector causing severe food shortages
Zimbabwe, also grappling a severe economic crisis, has survived on
food handouts from the international community since the farm seizures began
five years ago and this year requires more than a million tonnes of food aid
or a third of its 12 million people could starve.
But Mugabe denies his farm seizure programme worsened Zimbabwe's
economic and food crisis, instead blaming food shortages on poor weather and
economic problems on sabotage by Western governments opposed to his land
reform policies. - ZimOnline
Thu 6 October 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe faces an unprecedented energy disaster by 2007 as
the government dithers on a US$600 million project to increase generation
capacity at the country's biggest Hwange Thermal Power Station.
According to a confidential document of the government's power utility
ZESA Holdings (Private) Limited company that was obtained by ZimOnline,
crisis-hit Zimbabwe will run a 630MW shortfall in electricity in two years
The country at present consumes 2 100MW about 30 percent of which is
imported from the Southern African Power Pool comprising neighbouring
countries such as South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia.
The document dated August 12, 2005 which was prepared by the power
firm for the government says by 2007 the regional power pool would have run
out of excess power for export.
But ZESA ominously warns that the project to increase power output at
Hwange, which the power firm says is behind schedule by 18 months, can only
be completed by 2009 or early 2010.
The state energy firm says delays have been chiefly because of failure
by the Harare administration to satisfy conditions set by Chinese financiers
roped in to bankroll the massive power generation project.
For example, the Zimbabwe government which has agreed to give up 49
percent of its shareholding in the Zimbabwe Power Company, a wholly-owned
subsidiary of ZESA, to CATIC of China has failed to raise the 15 percent
down-payment or equivalent security to unlock the financing package.
"This investment requirement has not been fulfilled by the Zimbabwe
government and has been outstanding since December 16, 2003. This delay in
granting the requisite concessions has also delayed the expansion of the
project by eighteen (18) months," the ZESA document reads in part.
Detailed geological surveys to determine the quality of coal and
extent of reserves critical in the designing of the power station has also
not been done, more than a year since the work to extend generation at
Hwange should have begun.
"This expansion project will not be complete until end of 2009 or
early 2010 . meanwhile, the Southern Africa Power Pool will have run out of
excess export power, from which Zimbabwe is getting about 30% of its
national energy requirements," according to ZESA.
It was not possible to immediately get comment on the matter from
Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya. - ZimOnline
BY STANFORD MUKASA
WASHINGTON - Simmering disputes within the ruling Zanu (PF) on how to deal
with the present crisis have resulted in some secret contacts with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as party heavies desperately seek an
agreement on the way out of the mess they have created.
The official line is that MDC must join Zanu (PF). Nobody in his right mind
can believe that MDC will willingly accept this proposal. It may well be
that Zanu (PF) is trying to sweeten its proposal by talking of a power
sharing arrangement, whereby MDC would be a junior partner in a government
of national unity. This proposal has traditionally enjoyed the support of
the United States, Britain and South Africa, but is untenable now, given
There are, however, certain factions - a parallel political market if you
like - within the ruling party who are reportedly prepared to offer a more
substantive role for the MDC in a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. But the opposition
movement must be careful not to enter into some internal settlement just for
the sake of expediency.
The winds of change are approaching Zimbabwe with the force of a hurricane.
Reports indicate that the succession problem for Mugabe, who is now 81 years
old, will not be resolved any time soon, if at all. Mugabe, like the late
Banda in Malawi, has dominated politics for so long.
Some factions realize that in the subsequent power struggle they could lose
out. They are also painfully aware that Zanu (PF) has lost the support of
the majority of Zimbabweans and that Mugabe is now ruling by sheer force.
Whatever proposals they may make for an accommodation with the MDC, these
factions in Zanu (PF) know that free and fair elections are the
non-negotiable condition for a lasting solution to the country's problems.
Like it was for the Afrikaner business sector in apartheid South Africa, the
writing is on the wall if Zanu (PF) business leaders do not accept political
reforms that will lead to free and fair elections. And in any such free and
fair elections Zanu (PF) has no chance in hell of winning. Yet, still they
hope to reorganize and remain in power in post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.
It is reported that they plan to replace Mugabe with Simba Makoni instead of
Joyce Mujuru. In this way the party hopes to field a candidate who will
command respect from the opposition civic society and the masses. But below
Simba Makoni they will retain Mnangagwa as prime minister. This, in effect,
will give him executive powers similar to those Mugabe had when he was prime
minister and Rev. Canaan Banana was president. Mujuru and John Nkomo would,
under this plan, remain vice presidents.
Nobody in the civil society movement will be fooled by this cheap tactic of
using Makoni as a cover, just to put a human face on Zanu (PF), when Mujuru,
Nkomo, and Mnangagwa have all been Mugabe's faithful companions and partners
in all the crimes against humanity.
Making Makoni president while retaining Mugabe's cronies is like a wolf in
sheep's clothing in a futile bid to convince Zimbabweans that Zanu (PF) is
under new management! What a joke. No one will fall for that trick.
Makoni has remained quiet during some of the most inhumane and brutal
treatment of Zimbabweans by Mugabe. He has no record of standing up for
human rights, nor of condemning the Mugabe regime for the crimes against the
people of Zimbabwe. He was finance minister but, unlike the late Edison
Zvobgo, Makoni never even once stood up to condemn Mugabe.
We understand that Makoni's wife was either a member of MDC or sympathetic
to the MDC. This may have made Makoni a moderate in Zanu (PF). But in the
eyes of Zimbabweans Makoni belongs to the party and must also share the
responsibility of Zanu (PF)'s crimes.
To its credit, MDC has resisted efforts to swallow it by ZANU(PF).. But MDC
must do more. A new emerging leadership within the party, Roy Bennett, Grace
Kwinjeh and Nelson Chamisa and many others have all opposed MDC's
participation in the Senate elections. Bennett went as far as calling on MDC
to withdraw its MPs from Parliament. MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirayi, has
come up with a tough statement opposing MDC's participation in the Senate.
Tsvangirayi has also suggested a review of the continued involvement by the
MDC in Parliament.
MASVINGO - White Zimbabweans who do not agree with the 17th Amendment of the
constitution should leave the country, President Robert Mugabe declared at
Speaking at a memorial service for the late retired air Marshall Josiah
Tungamirai here, Mugabe referred to the whites as 'boers' and warned them
not to resist land invasions as they would be defeated. Zimbabwe has one of
the largest, best-equipped armies in Africa thanks to Mugabe's regular
spending sprees on Chinese weaponry.
Wearing an olive-green safari suit, instead of usual Saville Row suit,
Mugabe warned the British not to interfere in the land issue or they would
be repelled. Britain has spent £44 million on various resettlement projects
since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. It suspended further funding when the
government became intransigent about the transparency of the resettlement
programme and it became apparent that the landless peasants were not
benefiting from land acquisitions.
In a combative harangue against the MDC he said they should 'not start a
fire because it would consume them'. In countless cases during the past five
years the MDC has been on the receiving end of Zanu (PF) violence. In the
past, always preceding elections of some form, Mugabe has incited his
followers with anti-opposition rhetoric that normally results in a orgy of
violence. Senate elections are scheduled for November.
According to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) 50 farmers have been
assaulted in the past two weeks, mainly in the Eastern Highlands. Two men
arrested by police for beating one farmer so severely that he was taken to
hospital were released this week and returned to reoccupy their victim's
land, the CFU said.
The Government of Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Regional and International
Instruments guaranteeing the rule of law and independence of the judiciary
such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter)
and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
Article 26 of the African Charter, compels State parties to the Charter to
guarantee the independence of the Courts and allow the establishment and
improvement of appropriate national institutions entrusted with the
promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the
Article 7 of the African Charter provides that every individual shall have
the right to have her/his cause heard which includes the right to an appeal
to competent national organs against acts of violating her/his fundamental
rights as recognized and guaranteed by conventions, laws, regulations and
customs in force; the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a
competent court or tribunal; the right to defense, including the right to be
defended by counsel of her/his choice; and the right to be tried within a
reasonable time by an impartial court or tribunal.
It must be noted with grave concern that Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(No.17) has the following implications:
The Amendment effectively removes the fundamental rights to property, secure
protection of the law and freedom of movement from the people of Zimbabwe.
In attacking the right to freedom of movement directly, the amendment also
indirectly but significantly attacks the rights to freedom of association
and freedom of expression in that the right to travel out of the country
will be taken away if one is seen to have associated with real or imaginary
government opponents and uttered statements which in the minds of the
Executive are against "national interests".
National interests are not defined but left to the discretion of the
frightened and paranoid State officials who see every one from Zimbabwe who
has a different opinion to theirs as wrong and therefore an agent of Bush or
The Amendment is a direct affront on basic human rights norms and standards
and is a dereliction of the obligations of the State under section 1 of the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (to which it is a State party)
to recognise the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in the Charter and to
undertake to adopt legislative and other measures to give effect to them.
The African Charter guarantees all the rights which the State has removed by
way of the Amendment.
The amendment ousts the jurisdiction of the Courts to deal with pending and
future cases involving property disputes in particular land. This reminds
the writer of the decrees that Nigeria passed during the military
dictatorship which ousted the jurisdiction of the courts which the African
Commission ruled in numerous cases as constituting "an attack of
incalculable proportions on article 7 of the African Charter. An attack of
this sort on the jurisdiction of the courts is especially invidious, because
while it is a violation of human rights in itself, it permits other
violations of rights to go unredressed."
The African Commission has also previously ruled that the ousting of the
jurisdiction of the courts threatens the independence of the judiciary and
violates article 26 of the African Charter.
The Amendment effectively usurps the authority of the courts of Zimbabwe by
denying the people of Zimbabwe recourse to the law in challenging State
action which violates fundamental human rights. This puts paid to the
principle of separation of powers, by allowing the Executive to initiate,
implement and adjudicate upon its own actions ensuring that the State will
not be scrutinised nor its actions reviewed by an independent and impartial
The amendment will result in the complete removal of the functions of the
Judiciary and denial of any form of protection whatsoever for the people who
rely on the courts for protection in certain cases. Zimbabwe has effectively
kissed goodbye to the principle of separation of powers which is the bedrock
upon which modern society is founded. Does anyone still doubt that we are in
a defacto dictatorship?
The SADC, AU and UN and appropriate organs under them need to take immediate
action to encourage the President of Zimbabwe to enter into dialogue with
his political opponents, captains of industry and civil society so that
Zimbabweans can find a lasting solution to the problems bedevilling the
It must be emphasized that this tendency of passing repressive pieces of
legislation to deal with legitimate concerns about issues of governance
which the apartheid regime in South Africa and Ian Smith did and has now
been perfected by a black government masquerading as a pan-Africanist state
can not result in sustainable peace and development in Zimbabwe. We need a
change in direction if we are to survive as a country.
Fri 7 October 2005
HARARE - Imagine this: Zimbabwe's inflation drops to a single
digit figure, foreign reserves improve to six months import cover, while
arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are cleared as Harare moves
to reclaim its seat among the community of nations.
This is the dream of every Zimbabwean - whether pro-President
Robert Mugabe or opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai - to wake up one
morning to the news that their crisis-sapped country is back among the big
guys on Africa's economic landscape.
But in the short to medium term this might as well remain just
that - a mere pipe dream - according to economic experts. They said that
chances of Zimbabwe registering major successes on the economic front under
the current environment were as remote as communist Cuba restoring
diplomatic relations with the United States by next year.
The analysts said stabilisation prospects were getting slimmer
by the day and warned that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon
Gono had his work cut out, with very little room to manouvre ahead of his
third quarter monetary policy review at the end of this month.
The central bank chief, tasked by Mugabe to resuscitate Zimbabwe's
comatose economy, is expected to inform an anxious nation on what measures
the RBZ wants to introduce to boost export competitiveness and rein in the
twin problems of inflation and a runaway parallel market for foreign
But according to one economist with a Harare-based commercial
bank, the policy options for the governor are rather limited and whatever he
would come up with would be torn between pleasing the IMF, pandering to the
whims of a besieged government approaching crucial elections and ensuring
industrial peace among a restive civil service clamouring for a review of
their salaries and working conditions.
"This is probably the most challenging period in the past 22
months that the governor has been in office, given that all indications
point to a worsening of our situation. His must be the most difficult of
jobs because he should try to make sense of an untenable situation," said
the economist, who requested anonymity citing professional reasons.
The IMF this week painted a gloomy picture of Zimbabwe's
economic prospects, arguing that the southern African country would continue
to experience triple-digit inflation, further output declines, and increased
Annualised inflation was pegged at 265.1 percent in August and
is projected to shoot to more than 400 percent by year-end, to keep Zimbabwe
among the countries with the highest such rates in the world.
Poverty levels are estimated at more than 80 percent for a
country that used to produce enough food to feed the rest of southern Africa
before the mainstay agricultural sector was destroyed under Mugabe's chaotic
and often violent land redistribution programme.
The IMF warned that food security was an urgent issue, given the
sharp fall in agricultural production. More than four million Zimbabweans
are in urgent need of food assistance before the next harvest expected
around April 2006.
Other forces expected to pile the pressure on Gono's review
statement and projections for the future are the budgetary requirements for
the forthcoming Senate elections and growing clamours for a civil service
salary review before the end of the year.
Elections to select members of the Senate are expected before
the end of November but it was not clear if the poll was adequately budgeted
for in light of rising costs of goods and services.
Funding requirements for the agricultural sector are also
expected to demand a lot of attention from the governor, as would debt
repayments to the IMF.
Zimbabwe now owes the IMF US$160 million after making two
surprise payments amounting to US$135 million in the past two months. The
Bretton Woods institution's board of directors, which has threatened to
expel the country over its arrears, meets again around March to review
"All of these costs would put pressure on the government and it
would be interesting see how Mr. Gono would address these issues," said
Harare-based consultant economist John Robertson.
The RBZ's support for farmers and other quasi-fiscal activities
in which it has dished out billions of dollars to various interest groups
have been blamed for the country's high money supply growth, which jumped
from 219.1 percent in June to 259.9 percent in July.
"Some of these quasi-fiscal activities have recently been
reduced or discontinued. In particular, the authorities have indicated that
all official foreign exchange transactions are now conducted at a unified
tender rate, tobacco and gold price supports have been discontinued, and
producer price support for cotton will be discontinued, effective January
2006," said the IMF in a report on Zimbabwe released this week.
But according to analysts, the biggest challenge for Gono as he
prepares his monetary policy review statement would be how to tackle the
tricky issue of the exchange rate.
The country's exchange rate regime remains highly restricted, a
situation that has created a thriving parallel market for hard cash. One
United States greenback is trading at around 80 000 local dollars on the
parallel market against the official rate of around 26 000 Zimbabwe dollars
to the US unit.
The IMF noted that although the exchange rate had been allowed
to depreciate over the past few months, the change had not been enough to
wipe out the premium caused by the disparity between the official market and
the illegal parallel market.
The proportion of bids met at the government's forex auction
market had progressively declined to about 10 percent and had been reflected
in acute shortages of basic goods, particularly fuel and food.
According to the analysts, the only one sure way out of a very
difficult situation for Gono was to simply return the economy back to market
forces - a solution the top banker would probably agree with but one his
political principals are certainly not prepared to countenance at this
hour. - ZimOnline
BY MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
HARARE - While it remains our strategy and ultimate goal to assume power
through the ballot box and other democratic means, our experiences with
elections, both local and national, are instructive and significantly
The Mugabe regime decided as far back as last year to screw up the
Parliamentary election in order to rally a two-thirds Parliamentary
majority, regardless of the national sentiment and the outcome of the actual
voting patterns on the ground. In other words, like the 2002 Presidential
election, the result of the March 2005 poll was pre-determined. Mugabe made
no secret of this, in his public pronouncements at rallies and public
Between 2000 and 2005, the regime failed to tamper with the Lancaster House
Constitution because the MDC enjoyed a blocking representation in
Parliament. An attempt was made to persuade the MDC into working with Zanu
(PF) to amend the Constitution at the end of 2004. Unsure of how we were
going to react, the project was abandoned.
Zanu (PF) then decided to use its Parliamentary majority to push through a
raft of legislation including the enactment of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Act which created a highly partisan ZEC that proceeded to claim
to run the March 2005 election, and as is now the case, with disastrous
Far from resolving the national crisis, the electoral route has become a
weapon used for driving our people apart and for deepening our mistrust in
the conduct of the Robert Mugabe dictatorship.
Our people have totally lost faith and confidence in elections. Elections
have brought no meaningful change to their lifestyles. Against this
background, Zimbabweans are cagey about the proposed Senate elections. The
Senate, as a national institution, is being forced upon the nation against
our advice and despite our spirited resistance in and outside Parliament.
The idea came out of a piecemeal Constitutional change, Amendment No.17. We
have argued, together with the entire civil society in Zimbabwe, that our
country needs a comprehensive Constitutional review process, which is
people-driven and publicly accepted. Zanu (PF) is against that approach,
sadly, for selfish reasons.
Zanu (PF) can proceed with the Senatorial plebiscite, as they have indicated
they wish to do, but that action shall fail to deal with the question of
legitimacy and the crisis of governance before us. With a Senate, Zimbabwe
will continue to strengthen its pariah status at home and abroad, with a
coterie of ambitious politicians carrying the useless title of senator.
Because of the unresolved disputes in 2000, in 2002 and after March 31 and
our desire to end the national crisis, taking part in this flawed and
opportunistic exercise presents us as a party that is out of touch with the
grim reality on the ground. We shall be subjecting our people to a process
that provides no value addition to their political fortunes, pressing them
to pretend to make choices and informed decisions in a matter that fails to
raise their political destiny in any meaningful way.
We shall be asking our people to follow the Zanu (PF) succession agenda, a
political experiment that has cost our nation its esteem and driven us to
the most agonizing level since time immemorial. We shall be asking the
people to resign to their fate. I raise this point because we are told that
the proposed Senate is a once-off, one term institution. Of what public
benefit, economic or political, is this set-up going to give us as an
embattled nation? What is in for the ordinary person, without food and
without a job?
Talking of benefits, may I remind Zimbabwe that although the proposed Senate
shall have fewer members than the current Parliament, the election shall
cost us trillions of dollars more than the amount we spent in March 2005
because of our substantially weaker currency and galloping inflation?
Further, we will need the same numbers of ballot papers, polling stations,
polling agents, election officials, election materials, campaign materials,
fuels, imported ink, Chinese-made ballot boxes, vehicles and all other
necessities that come with a real political contest. Surely, can we afford
this luxurious expenditure at a time when we have no food, no fuel, no
foreign currency and no jobs? Is creating 65 jobs for senior citizens and
greedy politicians an emergency in Zimbabwe today?
From the MDC, my position as President remains unchanged. We are in local
government, supposedly in charge of lives of 80 percent of the country's
prime productive minds. But have we ever been given a chance to exercise our
duties and responsibilities without Zanu (PF) meddling?
Harare is in state of chaos because Zanu (PF) refused to accept democracy.
The same can be said of Bulawayo, Mutare, Chegutu, Chitungwiza, and all the
other towns and cities in our hands. Zanu (PF) is not interested in
co-existence. Zanu (PF) is intolerant. Zanu (PF) does not accept our
presence and shall never respect our political space and political autonomy,
hence the appointment of so-called governors and resident ministers whose
mandate is to fight the MDC at a local level.
Our presence in Parliament is merely symbolic. Despite our protests, Zanu
(PF) has pushed some of the most draconian pieces of legislation in Zimbabwe
during the past five years. MDC legislators are to debate, raise matters of
reason, caution and advise Parliament, but that translates to nothing as
Zanu (PF) simply abuses its inflated majority to do as it wishes. What then
is the point?
The Zimbabwean struggle needs a radical paradigm shift. Parliament cannot be
the main arena of our struggle. Our experience in Parliament since 2000
shows that the struggle resides outside Zanu (PF)-dominated institutions.
POSA, AIPPA, the NGO Bill, Amendment No 17 and many other repressive laws
were shoved down our throats in broad daylight. We have lost acres and acres
of political space through legislation, imposed onto the people while we sit
there in Parliament. Someone must explain to me that Zimbabwe shall be a
different place as soon as we take up seats in the so-called Senate?
We must be serious with ourselves if we hope to make an impact in our desire
to bring about far-reaching democratic change in this country. Playing the
Zanu (PF) game means more suffering and greater uncertainty about the
future. Instead of wasting time with the Senate proposal, which we
vehemently opposed during its passage in Parliament, perhaps it is time to
take a fresh look at our continued presence in that often-abused
- Morgan Tsvangirai, President, Movement for Democratic Change
10/6/2005 8:55:33 AM (GMT +2)
I COULD not believe my ears when I watched a television news broadcast
during which a ruling party official was shown breathing fire and brimstone
against the Bulawayo City Council for what he termed its failure to manage
the water shortages that have hit Zimbabwe's second largest city in recent
Faced with dwindling volumes in its four supply dams, the local
authority introduced water rationing in July. The situation is so dire that
the council has resorted to using bowsers to ferry water to some
high-density suburbs. Naturally, some households have not been getting
enough water and complaints have been voiced.
It was these complaints that the said official from the ruling party's
Bulawayo province seized upon as a pretext to attack the City Fathers for
being caught flat-footed after failing to foresee the problems and putting
contingencies in place. He delivered his punch line when he suggested that
the Bulawayo Metropolitan Governor, Cain Mathema, should intervene to put
Under normal circumstances, I would compliment this politician for
showing such concern about problems affecting ordinary people and being
ready to suggest ways of helping them out of their predicament. But the
circumstances in which he made these comments, are, to say the least,
hypocritical and dishonest.
He took a cheap shot at the Bulawayo City Council when he knows fully
well that the local authority's hands are tied on this matter. His criticism
and that emanating from the mouth of anyone in officialdom cannot be taken
seriously by anyone who knows the background to why the city's water
problems have not been addressed all these years.
These problems, which affect the rest of drought-prone Matabeleland,
are perennial and the only way to address them once and for all is to draw
water from the Zambezi River to cater for the needs of both urban and rural
populations. In post-independence parlance, this should have meant urgently
implementing the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) under which a
pipeline would carry water to the proposed Shangani Dam and then on to
Bulawayo and other centres.
But as is well known, this project has been on the 'verge' of
implementation for the last 10 years since the government took it over - or
as cynics prefer to say 'hijacked' it - from the Bulawayo City Council.
Prior to this, the local authority and people of Bulawayo had come together
to do something for themselves after being frustrated by state inertia since
independence. This determination seemed to galvanise the government into
action and it soon announced its assumption of responsibility for the
funding and speedy implementation and completion of the scheme.
What followed has to be one of the worst cases of carrot-dangling in
history. Despite regular announcements, especially before elections and
other periods when politicians needed to court voters from the arid region
for support, that implementation was 'imminent', the project has remained a
'pipe dream'. Short of playing God and altering rainfall patterns, what else
can the Bulawayo City Council be expected to do?
It is in the context of this background that the sanctimonious
criticism of the Bulawayo City Fathers by ruling party and government
officials should be viewed. In my humble opinion, the hammering of the
municipal authorities is analogous to setting a snare for someone and then
laughing hilariously when they get mired in the trap. These attacks can only
be viewed as a gimmick to drive a wedge between the council and the
residents in a city that has repeatedly spurned the ruling party at the
polls. Anyone genuinely interested in the welfare of the residents of
Bulawayo should be asking the powers- that- be why promises to build the
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Pipeline have not been kept for more than a
Suggesting that the issue of Bulawayo's water problems should be
referred to Mathema is an all too convenient cop-out that betrays a total
lack of seriousness and concern. But alas, making illogical statements for
the sake of being seen to be doing something has become the modus operandi
of many politicians in the confused atmosphere prevailing in Zimbabwe today.
As a minister in the self same government that is accused of deliberately
hindering progress with regard to the MZWP, it is obvious that there is
nothing Mathema can do to ease the water shortages in Bulawayo.
Mathema was in fact, quoted by a Sunday paper last weekend lashing out
at non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for sinking boreholes in some
remote areas of Matabeleland in an effort to ease shortages for rural
communities. He told a Matabeleland North Development Committee meeting that
the NGOS should instead be building roads.
"Why don't we have tarred roads in the province? Why should the NGOs
not come and construct roads? Why should they put more emphasis on hand
pumps and boreholes?" the paper quoted Mathema as asking.
The fact that a governor should be asking questions about the absence
of tarred roads when he should be answering them demonstrates to what extent
those in power have perfected the art of passing the buck. It is
preposterous that on top of this dereliction of duty they feel incensed and
outdone when NGOs step in to cater for the welfare of neglected communities.
At the Matabeleland North Development meeting referred to above, when
Mathema criticised NGOs for sinking boreholes, he fumed: "There are no
hand-pumps in Europe. We want metered water. Boreholes must go." Well, for a
start, Cde governor, sir, beggars cannot be choosers! The reason why there
are no pumps in Europe is probably because they have well-developed water
reticulation systems to cater for their populations. As the Zimbabwean
government has not developed such infrastructure, why should NGOs be
prevented from availing borehole water to needy communities?
10/6/2005 9:13:04 AM (GMT +2)
Regional unions call for joint action against Chinese imports
MORE than 35 Zimbabwean textile firms have folded during the past
three years as they fail to weather the competition brought about by an
influx of cheap textile products from Asian traders.
Players in the industry said the influx of Chinese textiles into the
country has had a devastating effect on local textile firms'
It has also been established that the deluge of cheap textiles has not
only had an impact on Zimbabwe alone but has led to job losses in South
Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia.
A Parliamentary portfolio committee on industry and international
trade, which is currently lobbying the government to stem the influx of the
cheap products, revealed that about 35 textiles firms around the country had
gone into liquidation, throwing thousands of workers onto the streets.
The chairman of the portfolio committee, Timothy Mukahlera, who is the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Member of Parliament for
Gweru Urban, said cheap imports have adversely affected the textile
industry. Mukahlera said government should immediately ban cheap Chinese
"About 35 companies have gone into liquidation because of the influx
of these cheap products from Asia and the Far East. We cannot just allow
goods into the country just because they are cheap. Whoever wants to trade
must bring quality goods," said Mukahlera.
"We will benefit in the short term, but long term there are no
benefits at all, these people have destroyed our industry and they must be
stopped," he said.
Analysts said the situation had put the increasingly-isolated Harare
government in a policy dilemma. The government has launched an all out
campaign to lure Asian investors into the country at the same time cementing
ties with China.
"Government priority should be to make sure that they somehow find a
way to block these products. We are losing jobs because of these cheap
products," Mukahlera said.
David Whitehead Textiles chief executive David Chimanye, who is also
chairman of the Zimbabwe Textiles Manufacturers Association, said Zimbabwe
had laid open its market to what other countries in the region are fighting
hard to avoid.
"If we value add our products we will beat this whole thing about
Asian imports but the problem is we have opened ourselves to what South
Africa is fighting. We do not want to lose more jobs, unemployment is high
enough," Chimanye said.
Unions from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and
Zambia, which recently met to find solutions to the flood of cheap Chinese
products, are calling for joint action against the challenge posed by China.
"We have identified the challenge of Chinese imports flooding into
global and local markets as a fundamental challenge for the industry, its
workers and their jobs," said the unions in a joint statement.
South Africa is believed to have lost 55 000 jobs in the industry
since 2003 and is losing 2 000 jobs every month while losses in other
countries are equally devastating, the unions said.
Analysts said local companies are failing to compete with the Chinese
exports because of government subsidies, an artificially weak currency and
the absence of independent trade unions in China, which depresses working
conditions and keeps costs down.
"We call on retailers in developed economies to source a great
quantity of goods from Southern African countries and from workplaces that
respect labour rights," said the unions.
10/6/2005 9:03:25 AM (GMT +2)
A CABINET minister has sharply criticised statements attributed to
Transport and Communications Minister Chris Mushohwe threatening white-owned
businesses with farm-style seizures.
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu, said the
Zimbabwean government had no intention of taking over private industries.
"There is no such feeling in government. It has never been discussed.
If ever such an announcement were to be made, it would have to be made by my
office. It didn't, and it won't. There is no such feeling in government. It
has never been discussed. Even if I was advised by any of my colleagues to
do that (take over white-run firms), I would not support it," Mpofu said.
Mushohwe reportedly told the annual congress of the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) last month that unless white businesspeople agreed
to cede some ownership in their companies to black Zimbabweans, government
would take over their companies.
"Most of these companies do not want to give us equity. We might
decide to take over these companies just like we did during the land-reform
exercise," Mushohwe was quoted as telling the industrialists.
The threats were not the first to be made against white and
foreign-run businesses. At the height of the farm occupations by the
landless in 2000, self-styled war veterans, with the public backing of
senior government officials, threatened to take over white-run businesses
accusing them of funding the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The
disruptions were strongly criticised by then Industry and Commerce Minister
Nkosana Moyo, who was to later resign.
Mushohwe's threats against private business are only the latest knock
to already rock-bottom investor confidence. ZANU PF recently pushed through
amendments to the constitution, which analysts say virtually outlaw private
title to farmland by banning all legal challenges to land seizures by the
state. Critics expect investors, especially in agriculture, to hold back on
any plans they might have had prior to the amendments.
A string of listed firms, including the country's largest sugar
producer, Hippo Valley, have lost large estates to government's land reforms
and will not be able to recover the land after President Robert Mugabe
signed the amendments into law.
Land previously protected by bilateral investment agreements with
foreign governments has also been targeted, a shift from earlier government
policy to leave such land untouched.
10/6/2005 9:05:10 AM (GMT +2)
ZANU PF's vexatious succession politics, currently being played out at
provincial levels, have seen the eruption of a bitter battle for supremacy
in the once stable Midlands province where presidential aspirant Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Rugare Gumbo are reportedly at each other's throat ahead of
the 2008 presidential election.
Well-placed ZANU PF insiders said Mnangagwa, the party's secretary for
legal affairs, who is also the minister of rural housing and amenities, and
Gumbo, the minister of economic affairs, have clashed several times over who
should steer the party policies in the province.
The same sources said an undeclared wasr was raging in the Midlands
province following the emergence of two rival camps led by the two veteran
ZANU PF politicians.
Gumbo is the Member of Parliament for Mberengwa West, which he
controversially contested and finally won after a re-run of the primary
elections while Mnangagwa narrowly lost the Kwekwe central seat to the MDC
Sources from the Midlands province allege that Gumbo, who is emerging
as the "anointed leader" of the province following Mnangagwa's eventful but
ultimately unsuccessful bid for the vice presidency last year, has strong
links to a powerful ZANU PF clique controlled by retired soldier Solomon
Mnangagwa and Gumbo refused to disccuss the cause of their differences
when contacted for comment yesterday.
"I do not give interviews," said Mnangagwa.
"I have no comment to make about that issue," Gumbo said, before
switching off his phone.
Gumbo's strong links to the Mujuru camp, which thwarted Mnangagwa's
bid for the vice-presidency last December has, however, not earned him any
favours with the people of Midlands, the sources said.
The increasingly influential Mujuru camp facilitated the appointment
of Gumbo, who has successfully bounced back from relative obscurity, to a
full Cabinet post, sources said. Gumbo was previously a deputy minister of
"Mnangagwa is battling to regain lost territory in the province and on
the other hand Gumbo has become the favourite of Mugabe," said the sources.
The sources said Gumbo's faction comprises deputy minister of health
Edwin Muguti, Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa and air vice-marshal Henry
Muchena, among others.
Mnangagwa's band of sympathisers, which was attenuated by a witch-hunt
for party officials who openly threw their weight behind his bid and
attended a fateful meeting in Tsholotsho, is reported to include former
public service minister July Moyo, party director Frederick Shava and
tourism minister Francis Nhema.
The Mnangagwa camp suffered a major set back following the resignation
from ZANU PF of Pearson Mbalekwa, a former Member of Parliament for
"Mnangagwa had control of the province for a long time and now Gumbo
has come onto the scene and tilted the scales," said the sources.
Sharp differences have surfaced along tribal lines between the
Mnangagwa and the Mujuru camps as ZANU PF politicians position themselves to
take over from President Robert Mugabe, who has indicated his desire to
retire in 2008.
BY TRUDY STEVENSON
Your Honour the Mayor
Re: Proposed visit by Sekesai Makwavarara
As Parliamentary Spokesperson on Local Government and Housing for the
Movement for Democratic Change and Member of Parliament for Harare North, I
write to advise you that any official reception of Ms Makwavarara by the
City of Moscow would be problematic to the vast majority of residents of
Harare, the city she purports to represent.
Ms Makwavarara was originally elected as a Councillor for Mabvuku Ward on an
MDC ticket. She subsequently crossed the floor to join the ruling party,
ZanuPF, without the mandate of the electorate, and proceeded to work with
that party to help dissolve the democratically-elected Council, of which 44
of the 45 seats were initially held by MDC.
She acted as Mayor when the elected Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was
suspended and then dismissed, and retained her elevated status, avoiding
elections and committee meetings, until eventually Council could no longer
function. At this point the Minister dissolved Council and appointed a
Commission to run the affairs of our city, with Makwavarara as Chairperson
of that commission.
This commission's legitimate term of office expired on 9 June this year. The
Minister extended its life, ignoring an earlier Supreme Court ruling that a
local authority commission's life cannot be extended beyond the initial 6
months. This matter is currently on appeal before the Supreme Court.
Apart from the questionable legitimacy of Ms Makwavarara and her commission's
tenure of office, I must bring to your attention the fact that the City of
Harare is virtually bankrupt, so that any expenditure on trips outside the
country for whatever reason cannot be condoned. The Town Clerk stated
recently that the city cannot function because it has no fuel, no foreign
exchange to buy spare parts to repair vehicles including ambulances, fire
engines and refuse removal trucks, no foreign exchange to purchase chemicals
to purify our water and repair the water and sewerage infrastructure - etc.,
On top of this, Ms Makwavarara herself launched the vile "Operation
Murambatsvina - Drive Out the Filth" - which was eventually extended
nation-wide and resulted in destruction of the homes of at least 700,000
people who were left to sleep in the open in the depths of winter, the
destruction of the livelihoods of some 2,5 million people in the informal
sectors whose businesses were bulldozed, set on fire, etc and goods seized,
and all the concomitant effects of this war against the majority poor
citizens of Harare and elsewhere. These citizens are still reeling from the
effects of this so-called Operation, and it will take us many years to fully
recover from this man-made disaster.
In the circumstances, I trust that you will appreciate the inadvisability of
receiving Ms Makwavarara and her delegation officially as Mayor of Moscow.
Trudy Stevenson MP
Parliamentary Spokesperson for Local Government and Housing, Movement for
Thu 6 October 2005
HARARE - The controversy surrounding the demotion of President Robert
Mugabe's top bodyguard, Winston Changara, deepened with fresh revelations on
Thursday that he was relieved of his duties after Mugabe's wife Grace
allegedly complained that the security man had indecently assaulted her.
Sources told ZimOnline that Grace told Mugabe about three weeks before
she was due to accompany the President on a trip to China last July that she
was not going to board the same plane with Changara allegedly because the
policeman had made advances on her and had also indecently assaulted her.
It was not possible to get comment on the matter last night from
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba while the teetotaler Changara declined to
talk about the issue referring ZimOnline to his superiors in the police.
"Iwe mupfana (young man) those matters you want me to talk about are
serious. It is better you talk to my police bosses," Changara said when
contacted by phone from Johannesburg.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on
the matter while Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, who on Tuesday this
week told ZimOnline that Changara was absent from his guard duties because
he was sick, refused to discuss the matter last night.
Mohadi said: "I have no further comments to make on Changara whatever
new developments there are."
But our sources at Police General Headquarters in Harare said Mugabe
had taken time to act on his wife's claims of harassment by Changara
apparently because he had ordered a probe into the allegations against his
long-time and trusted bodyguard.
Things however came to a head before the probe ordered by Mugabe could
be completed when a few days before departure to China, Grace confronted her
husband again and insisted to him that she would not travel to Beijing if
Changara was going to be part of the delegation.
According to the same sources, Changara was then replaced as chief
bodyguard to Mugabe by one Chief Superintendent Makanda who at the time was
commander of police in Harare district.
Makanda is now with the police's close protection unit that was headed
by Changara but is now being led by one Senior Assistant Commissioner Barare
since the demotion of Changara.
Makanda is also going to be upgraded to an Assistant Commissioner next
month in keeping with security regulations that Mugabe's top personal
bodyguard be of the rank of assistant commissioner or above, our sources
According to the same sources Changara, who is now serving under the
dreaded Police Commissioner's Pool, has been advised to resign from the
force for his own good.
However the sources said Changara might not resign, adding that the
disgraced policeman was adamant that Grace was influenced to lie against him
by some unnamed politicians who felt he had become too powerful because of
his closeness to Mugabe.
The commissioner's pool is an internal facility normally reserved for
senior police officers who either break the force's rules or who are
perceived to be sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Many condemned to the pool have been frustrated into quitting the
police force altogether because of the harsh conditions there. An officer
placed in the pool is immediately stripped of benefits such as the privilege
to have a police vehicle for personal use, telephones or even an office.
While in the pool, the disgraced senior officers are made to perform
menial tasks such as cleaning toilets and often under the supervision of
junior officers. - ZimOnline
HARARE, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government has started to
translocate more than 200 black rhinos after poachers have killed several of
the animals of endangered species at Gourlays Farm in Matabeleland North.
Secretary for Environment and Tourism Margaret Sangarwe was quoted by The
Herald newspaper as saying on Wednesday that in the past few days, the Parks
and Wildlife Management Authority has translocated 35 black rhinos and is
working out modalities to move the remainder.
This follows the arrest of a poacher in neighboring Botswana who was selling
a rhino horn believed to have been removed from an animal killed in the
Parks wardens also found two black rhinos with wire snares and now believe
that some locals could be working in cahoots with foreigners.
Sangarwe said a directive had since been issued to the authority to move in
fast and rescue the black rhinos before they are poached out.
"We want them removed from closer to our borders as soon as possible to curb
poaching of one of the most endangered species in the country. There is
urgent need to place them in areas where they can easily be monitored and
are secured," Sangarwe said.
The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said all animals still belong to
the government and the settlers' responsibility was to strengthen the Parks
Authority's efforts to protect those animals from poaching.
It said the animals can be translocated to animal-depleted areas or any
other conducive areas if need arises.
The southern African country has a population of 550 black rhinos and 230
Source: Xinhua News Agency - CEIS