International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: October 7, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Nine white farmers could face up to two years in jail for
refusing to leave their properties to make way for blacks under Zimbabwe's
land redistribution scheme, the state Sunday Mail newspaper reported.
The farmers were ordered to hand over their properties by Sept. 30 and are
scheduled to appear Friday in the district court at Chegutu, 100 kilometers
(60 miles) southwest of Harare, the paper said.
The government insists its program to nationalize white-owned farms was
completed more than a year ago and left about 300 white farmers on the land.
But farmers' groups have since reported continued land seizures and arrests
of defiant owners.
Some 5,000 white-owned farms have been taken over in the often-violent
seizures that began in 2000 and disrupted the agriculture-based economy in
the former regional breadbasket, which now suffers chronic shortages of
food, hard currency and gasoline.
The Sunday Mail said the nine farmers had asked that the new seizures go
straight to appeal in the nation's highest court, the Supreme Court.
But prosecutors argued they should have vacated their properties first.
"The farmers have come to court with dirty hands. They are expected first to
comply with a lawful order and later challenge it," the paper quoted
prosecutor Blackson Matemba saying.
The maximum penalty for defying land handover laws is up to two years in
jail, a fine or both. Previous ownership challenges by whites have failed or
been subjected to protracted legal delays.
The government says the laws are designed to correct colonial-era imbalances
in land ownership
Last month, the government hurried through legislation forcing whites and
foreign interests to hand over 51 percent control of their businesses to
The Indiginization and Economic Empowerment Bill has still to be signed into
law by President Robert Mugabe. New legislation proposing identical measures
for blacks to take over a controlling stake of the nation's mines goes
before the Harare Parliament when it reconvenes Oct. 30.
The central bank has cautioned against hasty seizures as the country faces
its worst economic crisis since independence, with the world's highest
official inflation of nearly 7,000 percent and shelves empty of the corn
meal staple and basic goods.
Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent, and the
International Monetary Funds has forecast it reaching 100,000 percent by the
end of the year.
The Sunday Mail, a government mouthpiece, quoted official statistics that
only 48 of about 80 companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange have
black chief executives.
"If one goes to Japan or China, they are the majority players of their
economies, but when we do it in Africa, people make noise," said
Indigenization and Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana, the Sunday Mail
In separate report, the paper said economic hardship had triggered a sharp
increase in grave robbing - despite centuries-old taboos on the desecration
Ornaments, traditional clay pots, metal plates and flowers have been stolen,
and thieves were removing headstones before concrete foundations hardened -
to make tiles, kitchen units and furniture facings, the paper said.
Mail and Guardian
Emmanuel Goujon | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
06 October 2007 10:27
African diplomats presented a united front on Saturday to
support Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's presence at an upcoming
European Union-Africa summit despite strong European reservations.
"The African Union wants all African countries to take part" in
the summit in Lisbon in December, an official from the pan-African body's
headquarters in Addis Ababa said.
The official, who requested to remain anonymous, contradicted
comments by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who claimed the AU had
offered to talk Mugabe out of travelling to Portugal.
The 83-year-old firebrand Zimbabwean leader has come under a
barrage of international criticism for violating political and human rights
in his country and plunging it into a disastrous economic crisis.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made it clear Mugabe was
not welcome at the summit, but Mugabe has brushed away criticism from his
country's former colonial power and shown no sign of backing down.
"Zimbabwe, in spite of the crisis, is an African country and we
are defending principles here. We have asked Mugabe to talk to his
opposition but the AU respects the principle of non-interference," said one
official from the African Union's Peace and Security Committee.
"We resort to interference only in extreme cases of violence or
"It is not the only country not to respect democracy, look at
Togo, Niger ... Zimbabwe's problem is mainly with London; it's a bilateral
issue and is none of our business. If the Europeans really insist on this
point, the summit risks falling through," the official added.
Originally planned to take place in April 2003, the summit was
repeatedly postponed due to the adamant refusal of several European
countries to host Mugabe over his rights record.
Britain and other European powerhouses have urged the AU to use
its leverage and convince Mugabe to let his country be represented at the
summit by another official, so far in vain.
"On this file, the AU's position is clear and resolute: all
member countries should take part in the Lisbon summit. As Zimbabwe head of
state, Robert Mugabe should take part," another high-ranking AU official
told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.
On Thursday, AU Commission chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare and
the current president of the organisation, Ghanaian President John Kufuor,
had reaffirmed their position to visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"We want the next EU-Africa summit to be a success and herald a
new partnership. All Africans should be invited, this is the basis of this
new partnership," Konare said.
Merkel, who is now in South Africa, lamented the plight of
Zimbabweans but stopped short of backing Brown's tough line.
"The situation is a very difficult one. It's a disastrous one,
which I very clearly stated in our conversation," she said Friday.
She said African countries themselves should be left to decide
who attends the talks in Portugal. -- AFP
*TANONOKA JOSEPH WHANDE
Why do African leaders tip-toe around the rogue Zimbabwean president? It
cannot be the nonsense that Robert Mugabe is viewed as a hero and so they
revere him even when he kills the same people he supposedly 'liberated.'
Heroism is bestowed on dead people after taking into consideration the sum
output of their efforts, behaviour and unselfish, daring servitude to the
people or the nation. Otherwise 'living heroes' have to constantly renew
their status until they die.
Nelson Mandela, the world's most revered statesman, is considered a hero on
all fronts and there is little dispute about that. But to maintain that
'living hero' status, Mandela has to be careful. It only takes one small
mistake for his hero status to evaporate.
Is Mugabe a hero just because he is perceived to have liberated Zimbabwe? If
so, then, does that hero status still stand in light of what has and
continues to happen under his stewardship?
Thousands are believed and known to have died at his hands in the Midlands
and Matebeleland provinces in what he, himself, termed 'a moment of
madness'. There are politically motivated killings blamed on his supporters
and he does not chide them.
Apparently, all these negatives, abuse, mismanagement of the nation's
finances and the economy do not take anything away from a hero.
Mugabe remains a hero for failing to maintain, just to maintain, what our
nation inherited from the white government. He remains a hero after
destroying the nation's agricultural base and presiding over starving people
that he refuses to give food because they are suspected of not supporting
his political party. He remains a hero whose vanity demands that in every
city, town and township be a street named after him. He remains a hero to
African presidents when he sends millions of his people into neighbouring
countries to look for food.
Just how do African presidents define 'hero'? If Mugabe is a hero by any
measure, then Africa, not just Zimbabwe, is doomed. But that shows us that
Africa has never been able to elect the right people into office.
Will we ever get an African president who can distinguish him or herself
apart from the 'presidential' garbage we have seen on the African continent
since the 1950s up to today?
Africa appears to have not even one president with principles anchored in
conviction, reality and belief. Africa's so-called presidents are chancers
who entered politics, not to serve, but to be served and to accumulate
They behave like sheep swayed by a shepherd dog.
And, indeed, it appears to me those collies have a far better sense of
direction than SADC leaders.
Unlike African presidents, those mutts not only know where they should go
but also know the right thing to do with what's entrusted to them. SADC,
like the rest of Africa, urgently needs meaningful leadership.
Africa does not deserve the leadership it has.
Let us start with Joachim Chissano, the former Mozambican president. It
appears to me that Chissano is a bored man. I am almost certain that he did
not buy a pig farm while he was president. Because of boredom, he is
spouting embarrassing garbage about Zimbabwe and, in particular, Robert
Chissano, like the now widely discredited Levy Mwanawasa, urges that Mugabe
be invited to the Portugal summit 'to engage him in an exchange of views',
something he failed to do with Mugabe while he was president. Only last year
Mugabe refused Chissano to be a mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis.
During his presidency, Chissano softly but conspicuously turned away from
Mugabe after discovering that Mugabe was an unreasonable dictator, immune to
any constructive suggestions. Chissano, unlike Samora Machel, went on to
concentrate on rebuilding his nation and he did a splendid job without being
unnecessarily weighed down by Mugabe. Mozambique's revival must be credited
to Chissano after the disastrous start Machel reigned on the country.
But today, Chissano spouts falsehoods about engaging Mugabe in debate,
thereby retarding efforts to reign in the notorious Zimbabwean leader.
Mozambique is on an economic rise and keeping Mugabe in power gives
Mozambique access to markets that would otherwise be filled by Zimbabwe.
Sometime this year, Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa broke with the old tired and
self defeating chorus from unthinking African presidents. He likened
Zimbabwe to the legendary Titanic and raised hopes that African leaders
were, at last, ready to confront Mugabe.
Within a few days of that statement, Mwanawasa had dispatched a high ranking
envoy to mend fences with Mugabe.
Mwanawasa wanted the Zimbabwean issue debated at the Lusaka SADC meeting,
Mugabe did not.
Mugabe, unschooled in verbal decency, berated Mwanawasa in a closed-door
"Mwanawasa, who do you think you are?" Mugabe growled angrily at the hapless
Zambian who immediately retreated into a cowardly posture, telling Mugabe
that he had misunderstood his intentions.
As suddenly as the strike of a match, Mwanawasa's confidence deserted him.
Since that day, he has been behaving in an embarrassing manner. Suddenly,
Mwanawasa said the Zimbabwean situation was being exaggerated and told the
world that he would not attend the Portugal summit if Mugabe were excluded.
He is now Mugabe's tea-boy, fetching the political sticks where ever Mugabe
chooses to throw them.
What a shame, a president, a lawyer and no principles at all.
Addressing American students at an Arkansas university, Mwanawasa said all
the problems the opposition parties face in Zimbabwe were self inflicted.
"Seizures of land from white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe were a bit
harsh," he said. "But opposition forces brought the push by Mugabe upon
themselves." Don't ask me; I have no idea what he meant.
Mwanawasa said western powers must be willing to talk to Mugabe. "Dialogue
is the most important thing...talk to him; give him your message... and you
will find you will be getting better results." This is from a SADC chairman.
He, along with his organization, failed to speak to Mugabe and now invites
foreigners to engage Mugabe in talks. No wonder he won the presidency with
only 29 percent of the Zambian vote!
And Mwanawasa added another untruth, claiming that the issue in Zimbabwe is
over land. It is not and never was. And Mwanawasa knows it.
Several months ago, Ghana's John Kuffour raised the hopes of Zimbabweans
when he stood with Thabo Mbeki outside the presidential offices in South
Africa and pointed out that Mugabe was a problem not to be tolerated.
It now does not appear as if Kuffour remembers that anymore because his
'African Union', like the cowards in SADC, said they would not attend a
summit in Portugal if Mugabe is excluded.
This really is pathetic; African leaders sacrifice their national economies,
potential assistance and possible opening of trade markets for the continued
survival of one of the world's most notorious dictators.
Then there is Mbeki, a very dismal leader indeed.
And where are Wade and Kibaki? Early on, they made noises about the
Zimbabwean tragedy and both seem to have forgotten about it. Early this
week, Wade said he was going to Zimbabwe in two weeks' time to talk to
Mugabe because, he said, it should not be left to Mbeki alone. I wish him
Mugabe's irrelevant recent speech at the UN was more than embarrassing to
himself. He tried to give the world an incorrect recital of history. He
spoke, not of Africa's or Zimbabwe's problems, but of his own desire to
survive. It showed us the helplessness of rage. It was like attending his
Unfortunately for Mugabe, he can never make himself look better by reciting
someone else's shortcomings.
African leaders are an intolerable embarrassment. And I badly want to remind
them that honesty goes deeper than facts.
Honesty is rooted in the soul rather than the world. Africa needs honest
leaders and none of what we have now.
*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer.
Monsters and Critics
Oct 7, 2007, 8:43 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - War veterans in Zimbabwe are planning to stage a
'million man' march through the streets of the capital Harare in support of
President Robert Mugabe, state radio said early Sunday.
Veterans of the 1970s war against white minority rule are among the 83-year
old Mugabe's most loyal supporters.
They have been holding countrywide marches to show solidarity with Mugabes
decision to stand in presidential elections due next year, despite
Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis.
Dozens of war veterans staged the most recent march, which was held in the
south-western town of Gwanda, state radio said.
The radio gave very few details on the planned march.
'Any party member who does not support the revolution will be considered a
sellout,' National War Veterans Association chairman Jabulani Sibanda was
quoted as saying.
Sibanda did not say when the march would take place. Zimbabwe's entire
population numbers less than 12 million.
There is speculation that Mugabe could face surprise opposition to his
candidacy at a congress of his ruling ZANU-PF party later this year.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
7 October 2007, 17:52 GMT + 2
THE former Education Minister, Kader Asmal, has broken ranks with the
government over Zimbabwe.
Business Day newspaper reported how Asmal told a Cape Town book launch this
week that South Africa did not have the appropriate approach to Zimbabwe.
Asmal was speaking at the launch of the book Though the Darkness - A Life in
Zimbabwe by the daughter of former Prime Minister, Sir Garfield Todd.
Asmal said that some of the actions of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe were akin to
those of Cambodian dictator and mass murderer, Pol Pot.
The Business Day report read: "He said the refrain that only Zimbabweans
could decide their future was hollow in the face of an uneven political
playing field and a lack of normality. He described the recent depredations
of Mugabe's security forces in Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Cleanup)
as reminiscent of Cambodia's killing fields."
These are probably the most direct and harshest words said by a senior ANC
politician on the Zimbabwean crisis.
Asmal went so far as to suggest that should President Thabo Mbeki's
stuttering mediation effort fail, the United Nations should become involved.
Asmal interrogated his own failure to speak out on the Zimbabwean crisis
"Why do I speak now? I should have done so in the 1980s when thousands of
people were murdered by the Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland. I did not do so.
Neither did I do so during Operation Murambatsvina, when those who want to
retain power refer to their fellow citizens as 's**ts who have to be removed'."
Asmal's decision to speak to his conscience has blown a breathe of fresh air
through South Africa's tired, stale and apologetic stance on Mugabe.
Mbeki should realise that there are many more who take this view in private,
but fear to do so in public for political reasons. They must speak out now.
Sun, October 7, 2007
Oh yeah, Zimbabwe doesn't have any oil
By MARK BONOKOSKI
The day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United
Nations General Assembly last week, Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe took to
the same podium. But it was as if he were never there.
Despite the presence of a ruthless dictator whose pseudo-democracy has
driven his once-prosperous African nation into ruins and has saddled it with
an inflation rate that defies probability, the world's media continued to
focus for days on Ahmadinejad's rambling and defiant 40-minute speech, and
his vow to ignore any UN-directed measures regarding his country's nuclear
Mugabe was virtually ignored. And so, therefore, was the plight of his
If only Zimbabwe had oil, and a Persian Gulf.
But it has neither.
Over the course of my career in the newspaper game, I have spent upwards of
six months in Zimbabwe -- five of those months when it was known as
Rhodesia, and at the tail end of a civil war to shed itself of Great
Britain, and then another month or so 10 years later when it was about to
enter its 10th year of independence.
But it has never left my monitor.
Back in 1948, author Alan Paton wrote the celebrated novel Cry, the Beloved
County as a protest to shed badly needed light on the social structures in
South Africa that were about to give rise to the evils of apartheid in his
Zimbabwe should have such a book, for never has an African country so rich
of soil and so breathtakingly wondrous been so savagely eviscerated by one
man without the world raising more than a benign eyebrow.
And to think that, once upon a time, Robert Mugabe at least feigned promise.
I received word, a few years back, that Rhodesian-born farmer John Nicholson
had died of a heart attack. The last time I saw him was in 1989. He was in
the back section of Tenegenenge Farm, the 2,000-hectare tobacco plantation
he owned in the Sipilio Valley of northern Zimbabwe, on the lee side of the
Zambezi Mountains, and in the former kill zone of Mugabe's guerrillas who
would leave their bases in Mozambique, travel through the bush at night, and
hit white farmers while they slept.
A decade previous, John Nicholson would have had his FN rifle strapped over
his shoulder, and a side arm in his belt. I was with him then, too, covering
the Rhodesian war and what the media were calling its Last White Christmas.
I slept in Nicholson's home, ate with his young family at their dinner
table, went on patrols with Rhodesia's white-led but black-soldiered
territorial army, saw bodies torn apart by rudimentary land mines, went to
rallies guarded by black private armies, listened on short-wave radio as
Mugabe's guerrillas attacked white-owned farms and slaughtered scores of
black farmhands, and wrote human interest stories about the exodus to South
Africa as the death toll reached 27,000.
But, on this day 10 years later, the "terrorists" in the Sipilio Valley were
long gone, the land was quiet, and John Nicholson was walking through his
But there were already different troubles on the horizon, and the tell-tale
signs were there, not quite dead canaries in the coal mine, but warnings
Zimbabwe was already in a foreign currency crisis, so severe that even light
bulbs had become black market items.
When the war ended, and he was elected Zimbabwe's first black leader, Mugabe
initially abided by the Lancaster House independence agreement with Great
Britain -- no farmer's land would be arbitrarily turned over to the blacks.
Mugabe claimed to understand that farmers like John Nicholson represented
some $525 million (then) in foreign currency, and that his country,
following war sanctions against the previous white-rule government, was in
desperate need of foreign money -- its Third World status already below that
But that was then, not now. Those days, back then, turned out to be the good
Not long after, Mugabe began hauling out the same old polemic that he would
use for the next two decades -- that the neo-colonial West was to blame for
all his woes, and then casting aside any criticism that his own erraticism
had created the majority of his nation's despair ... his decision in 2000 to
seize all the white-owned commercial farms in his country and turn them over
to his political cronies and, when that went straight to hell, his
initiative to solve the problem by simply printing more money.
With the expertise of the white farmer gone, the vast majority of Zimbabwe's
incredibly rich agricultural land now lies fallow. A country that once had
no one going hungry now has starvation, and is dependent on food aid.
Unemployment has pushed beyond 80%.
And, as stated earlier, Zimbabwe now has an inflation rate that defies
probability. The latest numbers had the rate pegged at 7,600%, the highest
in the world. And, it's no typo. Unofficial numbers have it closer to
And to think that the first canary in the coal mine some 18 years ago was
the shortage of light bulbs. Back then, however, I was uncertain if it were
And then Mugabe totally derailed, virtually with the Western world's support
through its apathy for a landlocked African country that was rich only in
soil, not oil.
John Nicholson died on the cusp of his farm being seized, which is probably
all for the better. The devotion of his country, and the country of his
ancestors, would have killed his spirit and, once the spirit dies, the heart
is often quick to follow.
When I left his farm back in April, 1989, and returned to London where I was
Sun Media's European bureau chief, Nicholson reflected on what had
transpired between the years he wore an FN rifle strapped to his shoulder
and the day he could no longer buy ordinary, run-of-the-mill bulbs to light
up his barns.
"I don't blame the ordinary black man for what is happening to this
country," he said. "How can you? The ordinary black man is good people.
"But I do blame the leaders for running this country into the ground. They
were too eager in their transition, and they took over governing before they
had learned the ropes properly," he said. "And now they are paying for it.
In fact, we're all paying for it.
"Who knows how long it will go on before it ends?"
By Stephen Bevan and Special Correspondent in Bulawayo
Last Updated: 10:42am BST 07/10/2007
Mandy Mukwesha remembers with fondness her friend Noel Sakala, the
quiet football-loving teenager who occupied the bed next to her in hospital.
Both aged 17, their lives blighted by kidney disease, and dependent on
regular sessions on a kidney dialysis machine, they gave each other
encouragement and talked about the school work they were missing.
But now Noel is dead - a victim not of the illness for which he could
have been treated, but of the economic crisis that has engulfed Zimbabwe and
has brought its health service to the brink of collapse.
The only two dialysis machines in the state-run Mpilo hospital in
Bulawayo, on which Noel, Mandy and thousands of other kidney patients in
Zimbabwe's second city and the surrounding provinces depended, broke down a
month ago. The hospital says it cannot afford the parts needed to repair
In the capital city, Harare, 10 of the state hospitals' 18 dialysis
machines have broken down, forcing patients to queue round the clock for
treatment. There are reports of patients sleeping in the queues so as not to
miss their session.
In Bulawayo, Mandy's family has been forced to rely on donations from
neighbours to help pay for dialysis at the private hospital where Noel, too,
had been getting treatment.
But when Noel's father died, his insurance company refused to pay for
the boy's treatment and his mother could not afford the replacement kits,
containing an artificial kidney and tubes, required for each dialysis
session. Without treatment, Noel's kidneys could not cope and he died
pitifully, unable to move and covered in bed sores.
Pale and swollen herself from the buildup of fluid and waste that her
own kidneys cannot filter out, Mandy smiled weakly as she recalled Noel as
"a soccer and volleyball enthusiast who loved computers".
Her mother, 41-year old Epiphania Mukwesha, struggled to hold back
tears as she explained: "Noel was in the hospital bed next to Mandy. His
mother couldn't afford the kits, which are imported from South Africa and
cost R200 [£14] each.
"We tried to help by giving him kits when we had extra ones. But the
week before he died we only had one and couldn't spare one for him so he
could not have his dialysis. He died last week."
For now at least, her daughter is alive, although she is having only
one treatment session a week rather than the two or three she needs. Mandy's
father, Abisha, 45, is employed as an toolmaker for the state railway and
his salary, though high by local standards at Z$9million (£10) a month, does
not cover the cost of a single session of -dialysis.
Their neighbours are making up the shortfall, though Mrs Mukwesha
fears that even that won't be enough as Mandy's condition worsens.
"The treatment costs are high: we pay Z$10 million (£11 at the black
market exchange rate) per four-hour session and my daughter has to do one
session a week, but when her condition deteriorates we have to do more
sessions," she said at the family's modest brick house in the densely
populated suburb of Nketa, five miles from the city centre.
But for the hundreds like Noel who cannot afford to keep paying the
high fees charged by private hospitals, there is little hope.
Dr Eric Enwerem, a neurologist in private practice, said: "The deaths
recorded at private hospitals are just the tip of the iceberg. Those who are
poor are just silently succumbing to the kidney disease as they can not
afford the high cost of dialysis treatment."
It is just one grim indicator of the depth of the crisis affecting
Zimbabwe's health service, once one of the best in Africa but now brought to
its knees by the country's economic collapse under Robert Mugabe's
government. Inflation is 6,000 per cent, four out of five people are
unemployed and there is a critical shortage of foreign currency.
Much of the equipment in state hospitals has broken down, drugs are
scarce and many doctors and nurses have fled to South Africa, Europe or
America. The bitter irony for renal patients is that 54 new dialysis
machines donated by the Swedish government three years ago have long been
gathering dust in storage rooms, since the government said it did not have
the expertise to maintain them nor the foreign currency to buy spare parts.
Zimbabwe's health minister, David Parirenyatwa, said last week his
ministry was doing "everything possible" to have the Bulawayo machines
He also claimed that an agreement had been reached with Sweden over
the donated equipment, which would be installed "soon".
But while the government continues to make promises, Mrs Mukwesha is
forced to watch her daughter's condition -deteriorate.
"It pains me to see my daughter in this condition and I am forced to
fork out huge monies while government should be repairing the dialysis
machines. What do they want us to do under these circumstances?" she asked,
throwing her hands up in despair.
By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 10/08/2007 00:02:46
DAYS after Zimbabwe's central bank governor said low beer prices were
turning the country into "a nation of drunkards", the country's main beer
supplier increased prices by more than 200 percent Friday, sparking uproar
State media, rarely critical of government officials, also took exception,
asking in a report published Saturday if Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono
"appreciates the rights of drinkers".
A 375ml pint of popular local brands Castle, Pilsener and Lion now attracts
a retail price of $165 00, up from Z$50 000, while a 750ml bottle costs
Z$330 000, up from Z$100 000.
Gono used his mid-term monetary policy on Monday last week to call for the
removal of government price controls on beer, saying husbands were coming
home drunk to their families.
Gono said: "We are creating a nation of drunkards because beer is so cheap.
By doing what we did to beer (imposing price controls), we are causing
disharmony in families because husbands are coming home drunk every day.
"Decision makers are now making drunken decisions. Clear beer has been made
so cheap that people are now substituting water for beer.
"Streets kids are now drinking from the Meikles Hotel where they disturb
peace and at times attack our tourists. I am not against beer drinkers but
surely the commodity has been ridiculously priced cheaply."
His words appear to have been taken to heart. Delta Beverages, the main beer
supplier, took note of the governor's words and moved swiftly to announce
the sharp price increases.
For many beer drinkers, the governor's statement was the trigger for the
price hikes, the Chronicle said.
The paper, published in the second largest city of Bulawayo, said "imbibers
were left wondering whether the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr
Gono, appreciates the rights of drinkers."
The paper gave voice to "outraged drinkers" who also accused the RBZ
governor of being severely critical of drinkers.
"I don't think the governor drinks, because if he was one of us, he wouldn't
let beer be increased by such a big margin," one drinker, "seating outside a
night club", told the paper.
Dlodlo added: "We are not saying it shouldn't have gone up, but the way he
attacked drinkers was even worse than what he says when he talks about
The governor's comments were self-defeating, another reader averred,
"because by advocating for a price increase Gono was, in a way, contributing
Thamsanqa Ncube said: "Although Dr Gono felt that by increasing the price of
beer he will bring sanity at homes as men, especially, will not be going out
regularly, the opposite is true because men will rather spend money on beer
than buy relish.
"The increase will kill the social lives of many people. If men cannot get
beer then their next target are women. I feel sorry for married women."
Struggling Zimbabweans got a rare treat in July when they found
across-the-board price slashes ordered by President Robert Mugabe also
applied to beer.
Although beer quickly disappeared from retail outlets, it has still been
available in hotels and bars - sometimes costing just Z$70,000 per pint, the
equivalent to less than 20 US cents at the black market rate.
In some outlets, a pint is selling for up to Z$280,000, still less than
£0.50 at black market prices. Bar patrons say the new prices are too high.
From The Nyasa Times (Malawi), 5 October
UK's Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) has detained Zimbabwean opposition
MDC member, Amos Chifamba pending for his imminent removal from UK to Malawi
and has attracted frantic efforts by MDC members in UK to stop the
deportation. Chifamba, was detained by Immigration authorities when he went
to report on Monday at Sheffield. BIA has been rounding up on those who have
been refused asylum in the UK, with the intention of deporting them. The
Zimbabwean came to the UK on a Malawian passport and sought asylum after
showing the authorities his Zimbabwean passport and his metal national ID to
prove that he was Zimbabwean and had only used the Malawian passport to get
into the UK. According to Munetsi Jangwa, chairman for South Yorkshire MDC
(Movement for Democratic Change) UK, Chifamba is the chairperson of the
South Yorkshire youth branch. He is described as "an effective member" of
Jangwa said they are fearing that if Chifamba is deported to Malawi, his
life will be in danger as the Malawian authorities will hand him over to
Zimbabwe's notorious security forces given the fact that there is working
cooperation by the two countries. Recently, the UK government also deported
a hunger-striking Zimbabwean woman who travelled to the UK on Malawi
passport. Her Malawian account upon deportation has not been traced. Jangwa
is urging Zimbabweans to download and complete the petition on:
www.changezimbabwe.com, which will be sent to Home Office and the Kenyan
Airways to demand the cancellation of Chifamba's removal. The Zimbabwean has
been booked for forced removal with the Kenya Airways KQ101 this coming
Sunday at 8pm.
Jangwa said: "We are now getting seriously worried about the British
government's double-faced approach to us, promising us one thing and doing
another. We are very certain, and the British courts have supported our
position, that if he is deported to Malawi, he will definitely be handed
over to Zimbabwe and face the Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organization
goons who will torture him to death." He said MDC UK was worried that their
member's deportation was being "fast-tracked." "The Immigration officials do
not even want to talk to us, so we are urging people to download and sign
petition which will be put on changezimbabwe.com. We have children of Zanu
PF cronies going to school here on dubious scholarships, depriving the rest
of Zimbabweans education in Zimbabwe, but they are targeting the democracy
activists." According to current practice Zimbabweans are not supposed to be
deported if there is a fear that he or she might be tortured or killed.
Jangwa said the MDC UK was also trying to get legal representation for
Chifamba through the Zimbabwe Association. He also appealed for National
Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaign (NCADC) a voluntary organization,
which provides practical help and advice to people facing deportation to
launch and run anti-deportation campaign. A Home Office spokesman said: "We
don't comment on individual cases."
We were happy to be joined at the
Vigil by a Buddhist monk and a number of
other supporters of a big demonstration in Trafalgar Square against the
oppression in Burma. They immediately recognized the similarities between
Burma and Zimbabwe: the hated, long-lasting tyrannies, the poverty and
corruption and torture. The reality of the situation in Zimbabwe was
brought home to us by Agnes Zengeya, the death of whose brother we mourned.
A 35 year old school sports master, he died for the lack of a hospital drip.
Another of our supporters, Fungayi, reported that his elderly, frail mother
in Mubare had been forcibly conscripted to walk to the airport to greet
Mugabe. He also said he'd been told that schoolchildren were now being
conscripted to join the police and taught Zanu-PF slogans - not a good omen
for free and fair elections.
Apart from the passionate dancing and singing and drumming led by Jenatry,
Patson and Dumi, we had the excitement of someone stealing one of our
posters. The poster "Mugabe Monster" was taken by a suspected Zanu-PF man
passing by and when several of our supporters caught up with him it had been
dumped (appropriately) into a dustbin. A policeman who happened to be there
asked whether we wished to prosecute the thief but supporters said no. On
further reflection we think we should have had the police take his name and
address with a view to establishing his status here so that we can try to
ensure that he is returned to Zimbabwe.
Next Saturday marks our 5th anniversary and we are pleased that Kate Hoey
MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, will join us.
She has been such an encouragement over the years. Kate has agreed to
receive our petition calling on EU governments to suspend government to
government aid to SADC countries until they honour their human rights
commitments to Zimbabwe by condemning Mugabe's abuses instead of applauding
him. We are not talking here about humanitarian or food aid but the money,
for instance, which paid for the Robert Mugabe Highway in Malawi. We want
this SADC money diverted instead to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.
The petition has been signed by thousands of passers-by. It is a real
petition with physical signatures not a one-click internet petition. Kate is
to pass the petition on to Gordon Brown and we will be sending copies to all
EU and SADC governments.
After next week's Vigil we are having a wake to mark the 5th anniversary at
RampART, a former school building which has been squatted by a local group
to use as a creative centre and social space. We are grateful to them for
allowing us to use the premises for free. Thanks to Gugu Ndhlovu-Tutani and
Agnes Zengeya and their team of cooks and cleaners who will be missing the
Vigil on the auspicious day to prepare the venue and the food for the
evening. Jeff Sango and his team have been working hard to provide the wake
with drinks - no wake is complete without them. Thanks to Walter Semwayo
who is providing music equipment and transport and also to our security team
of Arnold Kuwewa, Moses Kandiyawo and Bie Tapa. We will also need extra
help to manage the big crowd expected at the Vigil - Dumi Tutani, Chipo
Chaya and Luka Phiri will be in charge of this.
While we were writing this we had good news from our partners in RoHR
(Restoration of Human Rights) Zimbabwe. They held a rally in Harare today
and it was attended by 10,000 people.
Buhle Maphosa, Deputy Secretary of the Women's Wing of MDC UK, brought three
of her children to the Vigil. She was able to bring them to the UK from
Zimbabwe two weeks ago. They enjoyed playing with Ian and Francesca who
seem to have become the Vigil children's entertainers. Buhle's daughter, 11
year old Thobeka, took a turn at leading the singing in a beautiful high
voice. Other good news was that supporter Yvonne Fombe now has a baby
daughter - another Cockney-Zimbabwean.
For this week's Vigil pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 101 signed the register. Supporters from Banbury, Bedford,
Birmingham, Colchester, Corby, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool,
Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Romford, Southampton, Southend,
Tunbridge Wells, Wolverhampton and many from London and environs.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
- Monday, 8th October 2007 - Central London Zimbabwe Forum. The
speaker is Innocent of the Tolerance Zimbabwe Society (TZS). TZS is a group
that wants to promote political and cultural tolerance in Zimbabwe and to
contribute to achieving democracy. We will be meeting in the downstairs
function room of the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N
6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John
Adam Street (near our usual venue the Theodore Bullfrog). Several of us will
be going to meet the management of RampART to finalise arrangements for
Saturday's social event. Apologies from the Vigil to the Forum team for
taking away some of their regulars.
- Saturday, 13th October, 2 - 6 pm. Zimbabwe Vigil's 5th Anniversary
followed by a social event at RampART Creative Centre and Social Space,
15-17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
There is an old Chinese proverb that says that 'over a long distance, you
learn about the strength of your horse; over a long time, you learn about
the character of your friend. Loosely translated it means over time your
strength or resolve will determine whether you will stand the test of time.
Opposition Politics in Zimbabwe have come full circle from the politics of
confrontation, division and now engagement constructive or otherwise. With
the recent climb down by the opposition over Constitutional amendment number
18 to the total dismay of other players like the National Constitutional
assembly and the Save Zimbabwe project it appears the opposition in Zimbabwe
in its current composition will not succeed in unseating a Zanu PF
government next year or in the future.
A cursory analysis of the strategies employed by the opposition in Zimbabwe
against the government now and in the past reveals major tactical errors.
The opposition used the politics of confrontation when at the time
engagement was more plausible, divisive politics further exacerbated their
strategies rendering them weak and hence less effective to carry out the
mandate confided in them by Zimbabweans in and outside Zimbabwe. Today they
have espoused the politics of engagement when confrontation or a hybrid of
both confrontation and engagement would have been appropriate. This approach
has significantly reduced their esteem in the minds and eyes of right
thinking progressive Zimbabweans and the International community. Yes, some
would argue that either way the Opposition had little choice in the matter
and hence the attempt to salvage whatever concession by supporting this bill
was more appropriate, unfortunately politics is not that simple.
In politics permanent interests take precedence over permanent friends. To
illustrate my point one has to look at the resurgence of politicians like
Mnangangwa to mainstream Zanu pf Politics as a case in point. It is in
this spirit that as Zimbabweans in and outside can not be seen to leave the
destiny of Zimbabwe in the hands of a few individuals who themselves seem
radar less. Zimbabwe's situation is not only unique but is fraught with
complicated historical and modern problems. Zimbabwe under the government of
Zanu PF represents a challenge to the efforts of the pioneer column in
1890. The Zanu pf government has in all essence reversed the work began by
the pioneer column led by Cecil John Rhodes and his British South African
Company in 1890.
This force saw the annexation of Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) by a force ( Later
christened the British South African Police ) consisting of some 480 men
together with all the various mining rights and prospects. The Pioneer
column was set up to set up to exploit the provisions of a treaty of 1888,
the so-called Rudd Concession between Cecil John Rhodes's, British South
African company on behalf of Queen Victoria and the sovereign power in the
region at the time which was the Matebele King Lobengula. The Pioneer Corps
was officially disbanded on the 1st of October 1890 with the formation of
the BSAP Police. Each member was granted land on which to farm. As we all
know the rest is history.
In the modern context the impact of challenging this historical injustice
has got us where we are today. The challenge that is presented to us as a
generation is generational intervention. The complicated but yet unique
situation in Zimbabwe requires more than just politics of the podium. The
politics of Zimbabwe require an all encompassing approach by all progressive
thinking Zimbabweans who think outside the box. The Zimbabwe problem ca not
be resolved at party politics level. The Zimbabwean problem demands a United
Peoples Patriotic Front. We need to arrive in our lives to a point of
personal resolve. Before we are political party members we are first and
foremost Zimbabweans. The outcome of the Zimbabwean project will serve as a
precedent of what happens in South Africa and other African countries with
regard to the land issue and the politics of food that go with it.
It is in this spirit that I am particularly wary of the status quo where we
have mortgaged the solution to the Zimbabwean problem on a few individuals
and a single fragmented opposition party. It is important that the people of
Zimbabwe come out of their comfort zones and begin to formulate an all
encompassing people's solution to our problems. Charity begins at home. We
can not be seen to be outsourcing the solution to the Zimbabwe problem. "Ask
not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country",
to borrow a popular American idiom. Zimbabwe more now than ever requires in
place before the next plebiscite a new people driven patriotic front to
serve as a vehicle to our salvation.
Lloyd Msipa is a Lawyer resident in the United Kingdom and can be contacted
Monday 08 October 2007
JOHANNESBURG - The United States-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network
(FEWSNET) says up to 40 percent of Zimbabwe's rural population will need
urgent food aid between October and next March to avert starvation.
The famine early warning body, which has previously said more than 4.1
million Zimbabweans or over a third of the population would need food aid
this year, warned in its latest report that the food security situation in
Zimbabwe would worsen between October 2007 and February 2008 when the early
harvest becomes available.
It warned of massive food insecurity in the south and west of the country as
well as in urban areas during the next six months unless the government
improved its maize import plan and there is a lot of movement on
humanitarian food aid programmes announced recently.
"While the risk of widespread starvation would be ameliorated under this
scenario, food insecurity would remain widespread, affecting over 10 percent
of the rural population between October and December 2007, and up to 40
percent of the rural population between January and March 2008, based on
data available from the June 2007 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment
Committee assessment," said FEWSNET.
One million urban residents are also estimated to need assistance over the
next six months.
Once southern Africa's breadbasket, Zimbabwe has grappled severe food
shortages over the past seven years due to persistent drought and a chaotic
land reform programme that saw President Robert Mugabe's government seize
white farms, that produced the bulk of the country's food needs, for
redistribution to landless blacks.
The Harare authorities say they will this year import 400 000 tonnes of
maize from Malawi and a further 200 000 tonnes from Tanzania to cover the
But a serious shortage of foreign currency is hampering efforts to import
food, forcing the Zimbabwean government to resort to barter trade to secure
maize supplies from Malawi.
The cash-strapped Zimbabwean government is said to be exporting several
tonnes of sugar to Malawi in exchange for maize. - ZimOnline
Monday 08 October 2007
By Prince Nyathi
HARARE - The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says the
government should postpone public examinations that are scheduled to begin
today to give teachers' and students enough time to prepare for the exams.
PTUZ national co-ordinator Osward Madziwa said they had advised the
government to postpone the examinations by a month following a spate of
strikes by teachers this year over poor pay and working conditions.
"As you know, teachers went on strike in February for two weeks and this
most recent strike was for three weeks, so this means both teachers and the
students need more time to prepare for the examinations," said Madziwa.
Zimbabwean teachers had until last week been on a three-week strike
demanding higher pay. The strike paralysed operations resulting in virtually
no learning taking place at most schools around the country.
The strike ended last week after the government awarded teachers a 420
percent salary hike that will see most teachers earning about Z$14 million a
month, up from the Z$2.9 million they used to earn before the increment.
Grade Seven public examinations were scheduled to start today while Ordinary
Level students will sit for their first exams next week.
The PTUZ official said proceeding with the exams would give a "false"
picture of students' capabilities given the wide disruptions in the teaching
Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere could not be reached for comment on the
Tendai Chikowore, the president of the larger pro-government Zimbabwe
Teachers' Union (ZIMTA), could also not be reached for comment at the
Zimbabwe's education system, once the envy of the southern African region,
has virtually collapsed because of massive under-funding and mismanagement.
The government, that is also battling an unprecedented economic crisis, has
struggled to pay teachers handsomely resulting in the majority of qualified
teachers fleeing into neighbouring countries in search of better
opportunities. - ZimOnline
Monday 08 October 2007
By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - Mozambique has scrapped visas for Zimbabweans wishing to visit that
country amid fears that the move will open the floodgates for thousands of
Zimbabweans fleeing economic hardships in the southern African country.
The agreement was signed last Wednesday between Mozambique's Interior
Minister Jose Pacherco and his Zimbabwean counterpart Kembo Mohadi,
according to a statement released to the media.
A journalist with Radio Mozambique said the authorities in Maputo had
deliberately delayed signing the agreement fearing that it could open
floodgates to thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing hardships at home.
"There were genuine fears that Zimbabweans now finding it hard to enter
South Africa would flee to Manica Province which is very accessible to
"The (Mozambican) government is already fighting an increasing number of
Zimbabweans crossing into the province illegally," said the journalist who
refused to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the Press.
Pacherco however dismissed fears of a flood of Zimbabweans into the country
"We believe fears that Zimbabweans would come to seek refuge here in
increasing numbers are misplaced. This agreement will instead help reduce
the number of people entering both countries illegally. It will open us to
greater economic growth and development, he said in the statement.
At least three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the country's 12 million
population, are living outside the country after fleeing increasing economic
hardships at home.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has manifested
itself in rampant poverty, widespread unemployment and shortages of almost
every survival basic commodity. - ZimOnline
LONDON - 8 October 2007
The Archbishop of Harare has issued an urgent appeal for help as Zimbabwe
faces a spiralling food crisis. It is estimated that one in three people
will soon be in need of food aid following a disastrous harvest.
CAFOD launched a £4million appeal on Friday for Zimbabwe. The aid agency
will run an emergency response programme providing over 120,000 people in
some of the worst affected areas with food supplies and seeds and tools.
In his appeal the Archbishop of Harare, Robert Ndlovu, said: "The people of
Zimbabwe are suffering. Our once bountiful nation is unable to feed its
people and the coming months will bring yet deeper hunger and desperation
"Now the Zimbabwean people stand at the edge of a precipice. Our country is
in deep crisis. Our harvest has failed, through a combination of severe
drought, HIV and AIDS and the consequences of economic decline.
"We have already lost too many of our children, friends, brothers and
sisters to hunger and disease. Many more have fled the country, fleeing from
lives that have become unbearable through poverty and hunger.
"Now the Zimbabwean people stand at the edge of a precipice. Our country is
in deep crisis. Our harvest has failed, through a combination of severe
drought, HIV and AIDS and the consequences of economic decline.
"By March one in three people in Zimbabwe will have no food. Many will run
out very soon. Our brothers and sisters face a struggle for survival at a
time when many have nothing left, their possessions sold and their health
"On behalf of my Zimbabwean brothers and sisters living in hunger, I appeal
to their fellow Christian brothers and sisters to walk alongside them during
this difficult time in faith and Christian charity.
"Our message of hope remains: 'God is always on the side of the Oppressed.'"
CAFOD director Chris Bain said: "CAFOD is one of the few aid agencies that
is still able to reach people directly in Zimbabwe. The country is facing an
immense crisis but unless we act quickly, the situation will spiral
downwards and we will start to see loss of life on a large scale.
"In response to this crisis, CAFOD has decided that all money raised from
Friday's Fast Day will now go to helping the most vulnerable people in
Zimbabwe. "CAFOD is asking its supporters to respond generously to the
To donate now to CAFOD's Zimbabwe appeal, please visit
© Independent Catholic News 2007