08 October 2007, 19:23 CET
(LONDON) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Monday that neither he nor any
other senior British government minister will attend a Europe-Africa summit
if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is there.
Previously Brown had said he would boycott the December summit between the
European Union and Africa in Portugal if Mugabe turned up, but it has been
unclear if Britain could be represented at a lower level.
"I will not attend. No senior government minister will attend," he told his
monthly press conference in Downing Street. "We are not prepared to sit down
at the same table as President Mugabe.
"We are not prepared to give any suggestion to anybody... that we condone an
abuse of human rights in his country, the poverty and deprivation of his
people and his unacceptable behaviour as president," he added.
A senior government official told AFP later that Brown's comment referred to
the highest level members of the cabinet -- secretaries of state.
That ruled out either Foreign Secretary David Miliband or International
Development Secretary Douglas Alexander attending the summit, he said.
Asked whether junior ministers of state such as Europe minister Jim Murphy
or Africa minister Mark Malloch Brown could attend, he said: "Either would
The summit was originally planned for April 2003, but has been repeatedly
postponed due to the adamant refusal of several European countries --
including former colonial power Britain -- to meet Mugabe over his rights
Britain and other European powerhouses have urged the African Union to use
its leverage and convince Mugabe to let his country be represented at the
summit by another official, so far in vain.
A senior British diplomatic official, speaking on condition of anonymity
last month, said London still wanted Harare to attend, but Mugabe's
insistence on being in Portugal was the stumbling block.
He said it was a matter for the African Union and the Southern African
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.
10.08.07, 1:10 PM ET
LISBON (Thomson Financial) - European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso
said today that a long-planned EU-African summit should take place with all
African countries, and not be derailed by a row between Zimbabwe and
Speaking on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers meeting here, Barroso
said the December summit in Lisbon was 'not a meeting with just one country'
but a 'meeting between the whole European Union and the whole of Africa'.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirmed earlier Monday that neither he
nor any other senior government minister would attend the summit if
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe turned up.
But Barroso said: 'That would not be fair, nor right, and that would not
serve European interests if, because of a political regime or a specific
dictator, we could not have a meeting at this level with Africa as a whole,'
according to the Lusa news agency.
Africa 'was and should continue to be a priority for the European Union,' he
'For this reason, we hope this summit will take place and hope that there we
can discuss human rights issues honestly with our African friends,' he said.
Questioned about who would represent Britain at the meeting, Barroso said it
was up to each individual country to decide who it sent.
'In terms of the European Commission, I myself intend to go because we are
placing the greatest importance on this summit and we want it to translate
into concrete progress,' he said.
'In terms of its political significance, we must discuss concrete issues,
such as emigration from Africa towards Europe, the consequences of climate
change in Africa, and energy issues.'
Tuesday 09 October 2007
By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Monday bragged about how his
government was able to evade Western sanctions and trade restrictions to
import badly needed agricultural including from American firms.
The United States, EU, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand have cut
direct aid to Harare and imposed smart sanctions against Mugabe and his top
officials who they accuse of violating political and human rights and
plunging Zimbabwe it into a disastrous economic crisis.
While the sanctions only target Mugabe and his top officials, the US
government through its Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act also
bans American firms from dealing with the Harare government.
Addressing guests at a ceremony to distribute tractors and other
farming equipment sourced by the government, Mugabe said his government had
used "its friends" to circumvent US restrictions and import equipment from
"We have bought tractors, some of them from the United States of
America despite the tight sanctions imposed on us," a confident Mugabe told
the gathering of mainly supporters of his government.
He added: "They imposed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery
Act which bans all American firms from trading with us in any way. But we
have our own way of dealing with that issue. We can use our friends to buy
from America and forward the goods to us."
Mugabe blames the spectacular collapse of Zimbabwe's once thriving
economy on Western sanctions he says are hurting the common man more than
the intended members of the ruling class.
Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's breadbasket, has battled chronic food
shortages and an economic crisis that critics blame on repression and wrong
policies by Mugabe such as his chaotic and often violent seizure of farmland
from whites to give to landless blacks.
Mugabe denies he is to blame for the hunger that has stalked Zimbabwe
since he launched his farm redistribution programme in 2000, choosing
instead to attribute food shortages mostly to erratic rains.
The veteran leader, who is battling for his political life as pressure
mounts at home and abroad for him to step down, used Monday's ceremony to
call for unity among Zimbabwe's main political rivals to revive the
country's moribund agricultural sector.
He said: "Let's work together, all of us. We all need food whether we
belong to ZANU PF or the MDC (main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
"We eat the same food, so let's unite for one goal. When these
tractors are distributed, we won't consider whether one is a member of ZANU
PF or the MDC. The issue of food affects everyone."
Analysts say Zimbabwe faces a poor harvest again in the coming farming
season even if the country receives adequate rains because of a shortage of
fertilizer, seeds and other farm inputs. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 09 October 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean theatre producer Cont Mhlanga is bracing for a
fresh confrontation with President Robert Mugabe's government over a
controversial play that is set to premiere in Bulawayo this weekend.
The play entitled "Overthrown," is a gripping story of Zimbabwe's
eight-year political and economic crisis that Western governments and the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party blame on
repression and bad management by President Robert Mugabe.
The story begins with dead bodies lying in a mortuary. The bodies
suddenly come alive and accuse the President of being the author of their
misery. The ghosts eventually decide to walk to State House to assassinate
The play, written by Stanley Makuwe and directed by Mhlanga, is
scheduled to run at Amakhosi Theatre in Bulawayo from the 12th to the 13 of
The provocative play has already triggered shrills of protests from
state agents and other government supporters with for example, the
state-controlled Bulawayo daily, The Chronicle newspaper, allegedly refusing
to carry adverts publicising the play.
Mhlanga claimed that editors at the Chronicle had refused to carry
adverts and any promotional material for the play in a move he said was
tantamount to curtailing free expression.
"The Chronicle which is the only daily paper in the Bulawayo region
has informed us that they are not allowed by their superiors to publish
adverts for the play. This is a blatant attempt to curtail freedom of
expression," said Mhlanga.
The editor of the Chronicle, Brezhnev Malaba, could not be reached for
comment on the matter last night.
This is not the first time that Mhlanga has had brushes with the
Zimbabwean government. Two months ago, state security agents violently
stopped the premiere of Mhlanga's political satire, The Good President.
The police said the organisers had not sought permission to stage the
play as required under the country's Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Under the tough Act, Zimbabweans must first seek permission from the police
before sitting down in groups of more than three people to discuss politics.
An increasingly paranoid Zimbabwean government has over the past seven
years used the tough security laws to ban cultural works that they say are
meant to stir the people to rise against the government. - ZimOnline
Mon 16 Jul 2007 13:15:16 BST
By Robert Evans
GENEVA, July 16 (Reuters) - Children in Gaza and Zimbabwe desperately need
help to ensure they have food, clean water and schooling, and international
aid is running short, a senior United Nations official said on Monday.
Dan Toole, director of emergency programmes for the UNICEF children's
agency, said a shortage of donor cash was having a dramatic effect in the
territories, which both face international disapproval because of their
"Isolation, both externally and internally imposed, combined with
underfunding for humanitarian aid, is denying children the basic goods and
services that would normally be taken for granted," Toole told a Geneva news
"The children of Gaza and Zimbabwe deserve better. They have the right to go
to school and be educated, drink clean water and go to bed without being
hungry," he said.
Aid funding for UNICEF programmes in the whole of the Palestinian
territories, including the West Bank as well as Gaza, is running at only 36
percent of needs for this year, while for Zimbabwe it is at 29 pct.
The two areas were typical of UNICEF's "forgotten emergencies" where funds
are very short for initiatives to help children, Toole said, describing
Iraq, southern Sudan, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire and Pakistan as similarly
Toole said conditions for young people were "nothing short of unbearable" in
the Gaza Strip, which was taken over by the Hamas Islamist group last month
after bloody clashes with the Fatah movement of Palestinian President
The vast majority of all Gazans rely on humanitarian aid, but relief efforts
have been largely thwarted by the region's isolation, despite a welcome move
by Israel to ease barriers to the delivery of goods, he said.
In Zimbabwe, where inflation is running at over 4,500 percent and
unemployment at 70 percent, "quality health care and schools have all but
collapsed," he said.
Price controls recently imposed by the administration of President Robert
Mugabe "have resulted in serious shortages of basic goods across the
country, including sugar, meat, flour, milk, bread and fuel," hitting
children especially hard.
"Malnutrition is growing as parents struggle to feed their families," Toole
By Patience Rusere
08 October 2007
Police in the eastern Zimbabwean city of Mutare on Monday beat and set dogs
on dozens of people lined up to buy sugar, witnesses and other sources said.
Reports conflicted as to how many people were bitten by the police dogs, as
many of those said to have come under attack by the police fled the scene.
Spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of the Mutare branch of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change's Morgan Tsvangirai faction said his organization has
identified 10 people who were bitten and has helped them obtain medical
Eyewitnesses said about 45 police officers descended on shoppers, beating
them with batons and setting the dogs on them. After dispersing those who
had been queuing, witnesses said, the police and their families reportedly
started buying the sugar.
In another episode reflecting desperation for food in the country,
Muchauraya said a young child was killed last week in a stampede at a SPAR
supermarket in Mutare.
No details or comment from police in Mutare on the police action against the
shoppers Monday could be obtained, as calls were not going through the
Sakubva resident Chipo Mwatsa, one of those bitten by the police dogs, told
reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that she and others
were quietly queuing for sugar thus the police onslaught was entirely
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
8 October 2007
Posted to the web 8 October 2007
A South African recruitment drive for teachers, combined with an exodus of
education professionals escaping Zimbabwe's seven-year recession, is
creating staff shortages so severe that some schools are closing.
At least four schools have closed and several more are facing the same
situation. The students are being transferred at a time when they are
preparing to write their year-end examinations, placing even greater
pressure on the recipient schools.
Teacher's salaries have not kept pace with Zimbabwe's official inflation
rate of more than 6,000 percent, while neighbouring South Africa has
embarked on a recruitment drive for teachers in the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) to bolster their own teacher numbers.
Firoz Patel, director-general for planning and monitoring in South Africa's
education department, has reportedly said they were seeking to recruit at
least 4,000 mathematics and science teachers from the region by April 2008.
The department had already recruited 1,500 teachers, who were being deployed
to posts in remote areas, often shunned by local teachers.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), the biggest grouping of
educators in the country, said this week that 15,200 teachers had migrated
to neighbouring states, such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and
Swaziland, since the beginning of 2007.
Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of PTUZ, confirmed that the mass exodus
of teachers was forcing schools to close, while many institutions were
operating with a skeleton teaching staff.
"There are two schools in Matabeleland North [Province] which have shut down
as a result of teacher shortages, while in Matabeleland South [Province]
there are reports that one headmaster was forced to close down the school
after all the teachers left," Majongwe told IRIN. He said 8,000 teachers had
left Zimbabwe after the first term, while another 7,200 left after the
"There has been a mass exodus of teachers ... the situation this term is
worse because, in the last two weeks alone, hundreds of teachers resigned en
masse and the figures of teachers who have now left the country could be
double those of the beginning of the year. We are still compiling the
statistics," Majongwe said.
There has been a mass exodus of teachers ... the situation this term is
worse because, in the last two weeks alone, hundreds of teachers resigned en
Last week, Inyathi High School in Matabeleland South Province transferred
its students to nearby Gloag High School after all the science teachers
resigned, while Lumene Primary School, in the same district, failed to open
for the third term when none of the teachers arrived for duty. Other schools
that have failed to open in Matabeleland South are Chibila Primary in Binga,
Sizinda and Gundwane Primary School.
Zipora Mudenda, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and
Culture, confirmed that teachers had resigned but said she was unaware of
any schools closing as a result of staff shortages.
"As far as we are concerned all schools have been operational, and if there
are such cases of schools not being opened or closing down, this has not
been brought to our attention - and in such cases the education directors
are supposed to staff those schools with relief teachers," Mudenda said.
She conceded there was a brain drain affecting the education profession, and
said the ministry was implementing a skills-retention fund in a bid to
retain teachers, but the initiative was dismissed by the PTUZ.
"The government has not done anything to retain teachers. The retention fee
of Z$200,000 (US$0.40 at the parallel market rate of Z$500,000 to US$1) a
month is a joke, and teachers will continue to leave until government gets
serious," Majongwe told IRIN.
Final year exams
The staffing shortages at schools have become a serious concern for the
parents of school-going children, who are about to start writing their final
"Since the beginning of the term the students have not been learning
anything due to a shortage of teachers, and the situation is made worse by
the fact that the government has embarked on an exercise to recruit
untrained teachers to fill the gaps," Martha Tshuma told IRIN. Her child
attends Sobukhazi Secondary School in the high-density suburb of Mzilikazi
in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo.
Right now all our teachers at school are temporary teachers, and they do not
seem to be in charge, as they are confused by a lot of things in our syllabi
Students in many schools in and around Bulawayo, interviewed by IRIN, said
most teachers at their schools were untrained relief teachers. "Right now
all teachers at school are temporary teachers, and they do not seem to be in
charge, as they are confused by a lot of things in our syllabi," said a
final-year student who declined to be named.
Majongwe said the government was using relief teachers, but this was not a
solution and was compromising education standards in a country once widely
regarded as setting some of the best educational standards in Africa after
Zimbabwe won its independence from Britain in 1980.
Last week 25 teachers resigned from Kuwadzana High School in the capital,
Harare, while at Mzilikazi High School, in Bulawayo, 20 teachers resigned,
Hyperinflation has played havoc with teachers' salaries of about Z$5 million
(US$10) per month. A promise by the ZANU-PF government that salaries would
increase to Z$15 million (US$30) has been dismissed as nothing more than a
perpetuation of poverty wages.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
By Jonga Kandemiiri
08 October 2007
Zimbabwe seventh graders started writing examinations on Monday, but the
exercise was marred by widespread teacher absenteeism as members of the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe remained on strike for a third week.
Some pupils also failed to show up for exams as they assumed these were
canceled due to the strike. In some schools, solders were drafted to monitor
The PTUZ last week wrote to the government urging it to postpone exams by
one month to give students time to prepare.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association President Tendai Chikowore said all members of
the union had returned to work and that the situation in their schools was
Progressive Teachers Union President Takavafira Zhou told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri that the union is sorry students must take exams for which they
are not fully prepared, but that teachers are obliged fight for their
Mon 8 Oct 2007, 15:47 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday said
his government's drive to give farm equipment to resettled black farmers
would raise agricultural production and prove critics of his controversial
land redistribution wrong.
The southern African country, once one of the most prosperous agricultural
producers on the continent, has had severe food shortages since 2000 when
Mugabe seized thousands of white-owned commercial farms and gave the land to
Critics say those now tilling the farms lack proper skills and funding and
have exacerbated the country's economic crisis.
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over thousands of tractors and animal-drawn
farm tools to the new farmers, Mugabe acknowledged Zimbabwe is struggling to
feed itself but said the government assistance would make a difference.
"We have become the laughing stock because of hunger ... we need to put our
detractors to shame," Mugabe, who blames the country's deep economic crisis
on a combination of Western sabotage, sanctions and drought, said at the
ceremony in Harare.
"Without doubt, the equipment and implements ... will further increase the
capacity of our farmers in a way that should realistically move us closer to
government's vision of a Zimbabwe that is more than self-sufficient in food
Mugabe, who accuses Western governments opposed to his land policies of
crushing Zimbabwe's economy in order to oust him, said increased food
production would also help tame rampant inflation, officially running at
about 6,600 percent.
Zimbabwe's inflation, the highest in the world, has been accompanied by
soaring poverty, unemployment of about 80 percent and chronic shortages of
food, fuel and hard currency. Thousands leave every day in search of work in
Mugabe, who denies widespread charges he has mismanaged the economy and
repressed political opponents, also reached out to opposition groups, whom
he has frequently accused of being puppets of former colonial power Britain.
The veteran Zimbabwean leader's ruling ZANU-PF is in negotiations with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, to reach an
agreement to end the political crisis and smooth the way for elections in
South Africa is mediating the talks.
"We all need to eat, whether you are ZANU-PF or MDC ... let's unite," Mugabe
said. "We will not discriminate along party lines. Every farmer has the
right to a tractor to produce. Let's be together."
Oct 08 2007 10:06 PM
Harare - Zimbabwe has handed out 50 000 ox-drawn ploughs to communal farmers
to lift agricultural output but still needs donkeys and ox to complete the
mission, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said.Mugabe remained largely
jovial throughout his televised speech marking the presentation of the
second phase of a mechanisation programme which is supposed to help
turnaround the troubled southern African country's agricultural
fortunes.Mugabe's "mechanisation programme", an effort to empower new
farmers with state-of-the-art tractors and combine harvesters and other
mechanised farming equipment, was greeted overwhelmingly by supporters and
farmers alike. He said: "As farmers you also have to grow food for the
nation and not for your stomachs so that as a country we have enough to feed
ourselves and surplus for export so that we can earn foreign currency for
use in our businesses. This programme is meant to increase production in
farms." Mugabe also urged farmers to work harder and transform Zimbabwe
into a land of plenty so that the country does not remain the laughing stock
it has become.Under the "mechanisation programme" that started a few months
ago, Zimbabwe has imported close to 1 000 tractors, 50 000 animal-drawn
ploughs, 70 000 animal-drawn harrows,1 000 animal-drawn planters and several
combine harvesters which will be handed out to farmers in due
course."Although hoes are good and we need them at our homesteads from time
to time, the time has now come for much more sophisticated machinery so that
we can increase volumes of the crop that we grow," he added.Mugabe also
warned businesses to desist from overpricing saying he is willing to fight
them.He jokingly said that although he is 84 years old, he still can pack a
mean jab while warning defiant firms that they might not be in the fight for
long.In June, he ordered a blanket 50% price cut of all goods, an
announcement which triggered massive shortages of basics.Mugabe says the
"mechanisation programme" will benefit every Zimbabwean but his critics say
his confidantes in government and Zanu-PF will benefit the most.The aged
leader sanctioned wanton invasion of white-owned farms several years ago for
redistribution to landless blacks.However, the controversial land reform
programme ended up benefiting Mugabe's henchman and allies at the expense of
ordinary people. And as a result of the farm invasions, agriculture has been
run down.Now, a third of the country's population is said to be facing
possible starvation according to the World Food Programme. The country is in
its eighth year of economic crisis characterised by high inflation now close
to 7 000%. - Fin24
SW Radio Africa (London)
8 October 2007
Posted to the web 8 October 2007
Confusion surrounds the situation regarding teachers in the country after
the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) made a deal with the government
last Thursday and ordered striking teachers back to work. As of Monday, some
teachers from ZIMTA said they were not returning to their posts until the
agreed Z$ 14 million for September was in their accounts.
The other union, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, blasted ZIMTA
for making last week's deal, saying the money offered was still below the
poverty datum line. As Grade 7 students showed up to write their external
examinations on Monday, it was not clear whether there would be enough
invigilators to man the exams. Not enough information was available from
around the country to indicate otherwise.
PTUZ National Coordinator Oswald Madziva told Newsreel on Monday that they
had advised their members to go to work, not because they had accepted the
deal, but because they wanted the teachers at a central place so they could
consult them on the way forward. Madziva said they had also sent text
messages to members seeking their opinion, and were currently collecting
more information from all their branches and a clearer picture is due to
emerge by Tuesday afternoon.
Madziva explained that they had urged government to be sensitive to the
needs of students and postpone the Grade 7 exams. He said teachers had been
on strike for 3 weeks in February and another 3 weeks in September which
means students have missed a total of 6 weeks of lesson time this year. The
students have also been affected by the mass exodus of teachers from
Zimbabwe, and replacements are difficult to find. Power cuts and shortages
of paraffin and candles in the country also cut down their study time.
Madziva said PTUZ had no contact with officials from ZIMTA because the 2
unions differed on principles and the way forward for education in Zimbabwe.
A PTUZ statement on Monday described ZIMTA as "largely a pro-government
Meanwhile lecturers from the National University of Science and Technology
(NUST) are reported to have rejected their union leaders for being lenient
on the government and negotiating for a minimum salary of $35 million which
the lecturers refused to accept.
The University Educators and Teachers Association at the institution passed
a vote of no confidence on their union leadership and have given a notice to
go on strike if their demands for salary and living conditions are not
Mon 8 Oct 2007, 14:44 GMT
(Updates with details)
By John Irish
DUBAI, Oct 8 (Reuters) - A company run by a member of Qatar's ruling family
is investing around $1.5 billion in Zimbabwe, to build an oil refinery and a
hotel, and says it is not concerned about the country's political and
Venessia Petroleum plans to build a 120,000 barrels-per-day refinery in
Harare, while a sister company will develop a five-star hotel in the
Zimbabwean capital, the company's general manager Jawhar Zaidi said on
President Robert Mugabe, shunned by the West over policies such as the
seizure of white-owned farms to resettle black people, is courting Asian and
Muslim governments to invest in his country, where the economy is on the
brink of collapse.
"We have been in the region for a while and we're not worried about the
political situation," Zaidi told Reuters by telephone from Doha.
Consultants would start designing the refinery, costing as much as $1.5
billion, by the end of the year once a feasibility study was completed, he
"We would look to import crude from Qatar or another Middle Eastern
country," Zaidi said. Qatar has the world's third largest natural gas
reserves and is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Venessia Petroleum is chaired by Abdulaziz Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor al-Thani,
a member of Qatar's ruling family, Zaidi said.
The company, which operates overseas as Venessia General Trading, was set up
as part of the government's plans to help develop Qatar's energy sector,
according to Venessia's Web site.
Venessia General Trading is investing in hotels and oil storage facilities
in the southern African country of Malawi, Zaidi said.
The company has permission to build a five-star hotel in Harare for about
$136 million, he said.
The Zimbabwe government has proposed a bill to transfer majority ownership
of foreign companies to Zimbabweans. If it becomes law, it will force mining
and banking firms to give at least 51 percent control to Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world at an annual 6,600
The government has in the past two years signed deals with countries such as
China and Iran to invest in areas including mining, agriculture and
Monsters and Critics
Oct 8, 2007, 16:00 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Monday slammed what he called
shameless and relentless efforts by his opponents to undermine the country's
economy, as he handed out agricultural equipment to new farmers.
The farm equipment handed out included hundreds of combine harvesters,
tractors, ploughs and harrows.
The distribution of equipment is the second allocation Mugabe's
cash-strapped government has made under the country's farm mechanization
The programme is meant to boost agricultural production that has plummeted
in the wake of a controversial seven-year-long campaign of white land
Monday's commissioning ceremony came as an international famine watchdog
said 40 per cent of rural Zimbabweans would require food aid between January
and March, when the next harvest is due.
The US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network said in its latest report
that up to a million people living in towns and cities would also require
food aid in the next six months.
In a speech carried live on state radio, Mugabe repeated his accusation that
smart sanctions imposed on his government by Western powers were meant to
cause chaos and disorder in the country's economy.
He said other methods of sabotage being used were what he termed
inexplicable increases in prices of commodities by businesses and
State-ordered price slashes in late June quickly emptied local supermarkets.
Some goods are slowly creeping back onto shop shelves, many of them imported
and at prices few can afford.
Self-sufficiency, Mugabe said, would prove to be an invincible weapon.
'It is the best weapon of defending ourselves. It is also the best weapon of
ensuring our own development,' he said.
He called on every sector in the farming industry to increase production.
'We want more maize production,' he said. Zimbabwe is critically short of
the staple maize crop.
The country is also expected to harvest only around a third of its wheat
requirements this month, exacerbating already-chronic bread shortages.
The poor wheat harvest has been blamed on shortages of electricity needed to
drive irrigation schemes.
Mugabe said his government was making efforts to secure more power and
water. 'We should be doing better from now on,' he said.
The equipment handed out included 1,200 tractors, 50 combine harvesters,
1,600 ploughs and harrows, as well as tens of thousands of animal-drawn
implements to be used by peasant farmers.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Bulawayo, 8th October 2007
I do not like crystal balls - they are notoriously unreliable and can be
misleading. But I felt that we must do some thinking about what lies ahead
of us and what we all have to do to get through the next 9 months. First of
all a time table.
I think that the deal being negotiated with Zanu PF under SADC tutelage will
be complete by the end of October. It then has to go the SADC leadership for
endorsement and confirmation from Mr. Mugabe that the deal is acceptable.
Once that is done it will have to go through an acceptance and
implementation phase in Zimbabwe including a Parliamentary process. This
cannot take less than 6 weeks and that takes us into December. Nothing much
will happen until we get the silly season behind us and that takes us into
The deal will try to create reasonable conditions for two things - a
political campaign between political parties in Zimbabwe and the subsequent
conduct of a poll of all registered voters. The critical thing is how do you
do this and in my view the conditions required simply cannot be created in
three months. I therefore think that June 2008 will be the earliest that the
actual poll can take place.
What everyone has to understand is that this is the only show in town. There
is no other route back to sanity and we are stuck with this process even if
we do not think it will work or we think it is a set up and we are the fall
I think about the present situation and wonder if we will ever get to
December, let alone March or June! Just today I had to buy 40 litres of fuel
for my vehicle so that I can go up to Harare on Wednesday for a policy
workshop. 40 litres cost me Z$28 million. While I was there - buying diesel
from a young couple who were pastors at a Community Church in Chipinge and
are now trying to make a living trading fuel from their home in Bulawayo, I
bought some beef from another young man - also from Chipinge who had
slaughtered three cattle and was selling the product in one kilo lots out of
their kitchen. He was going to then buy fuel and head back to Chipinge.
Just look at these exchange rates - April 21 950 to US$1; May 29 167 to
US$1; June 175 000 to US$1; July - no trade (price controls); August 192 300
to US$1; September 350 000 to US$1; October the 8th 585 000 to US$1. That is
the devaluation of the local currency on the open market in 6 months. The
dollar has devalued to 27 times its value in April 2007. Prices are again
moving by the day and there is no end in sight. If my estimate of present
inflation is right - about 20 000 percent per annum, we can see how rapidly
the local currency is depreciating and there is no hope of the State every
keeping up with the pace of change.
The DMB - operating under price control is paying its suppliers 38 000
dollars a litre for fresh whole milk delivered to its dairies. That is 45
Rand cents a litre or 6 US cents a litre. Quick way to go bust! So we have a
critical shortage of milk and all milk based products. The official price of
maize meal - and we consume 3000 tonnes a day, is Z$13 800 a kilogram or
Z$14 million dollars a tonne. The free market price is R3 500 a tonne or
Z$300 million a tonne - a direct subsidy by the State of Z$340 trillion
dollars a year.
That is one parastatal on its own. Add to that the railways, ZESA and a
myriad of other State controlled institutions and you know why the Reserve
Bank must print money - trillions of dollars of new money every day. Money
supply according to outdated statistics provided by the Reserve Bank is now
over 18 000 percent up year on year - close to the estimated inflation
Bus fares are now Z$300 000 a day for most workers - they earn much less
than this, on top of this they must search for food and other basics every
day and pay through the nose for everything when they find it. Add to this
miserable scenario the shortages of water and electricity black outs for
half the day every day and you can easily understand why 4 million people
have fled the country to South Africa and thousands more decamp every day. I
have seen estimates of our population that put it as low as 8 million people
left in the country. I think that is low, but it is certainly not the 12
million estimate I see used by the media every day.
We entered the hyperinflation League of Nations in March 2007. Only 21
countries have been through such conditions in the past 100 years. The
duration of such conditions ranged from 2 months to 48 months. They all
recovered from this nightmare in a comparatively short time by adopting a
fairly standard series of reforms and these were either adopted by the party
in power and implemented (Mozambique) or they were implemented by a new
government once the old regime had been overthrown or voted out of office
My own guess is that Zanu PF is now incapable of making the painful changes
that are required to get things right again. The man in charge is beyond it
all and the succession struggle is tearing Zanu PF apart. Zanu PF is
committed to the course they have set and they have no alternative strategy.
Their most recent grand recovery plan is simply not worth the paper it was
written on. Therefore I think we are stuck with hyperinflation until the
elections. That will mean that Zimbabwe will have to cope with these
horrendous conditions for another 9 months, at the very least.
How do we cope? Individually we will simply have to go on making a plan and
getting by on a daily basis. In our business lives those of us who want to
be here and ready to take advantage of the turn around must also strategize
and ensure that our business survives. Operate on a cash basis and watch the
fundamentals every day. Do not give in to the intimidation or price controls
and resist the so-called "indigenisation".
If the SADC process is the only game in town, then the MDC remains the only
organisation that can unseat Zanu PF in the coming election. I think we are
going to get a shot at that for the first time under reasonable conditions.
You should play your part in that process - we need your help and
cooperation. We must restore the political structures destroyed by the State
across the country, campaign for the hearts and minds of the voters and
prepare to effect the turn around that we are all looking for after the
election has done its thing.
I can tell you that the leadership of the MDC is doing their bit - we are
working around the clock and making sacrifices to get things moving on the
ground. We are taking risks on a daily basis and in some instances putting
our lives and freedom on the line. What are you doing? No point in moaning
and complaining - our future has always been in our own hands, this time we
at least have some external assistance and support - even if it is
conditional and half hearted.
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is increasingly worried
over the water situation in Harare. This follows reports by residents in
Belvedere that they have gone for a week without water. Residents complain
that they have failed to do their daily chores as a result of the situation.
The situation is even more appalling for families with infants. Children
have had to go to school without bathing as the little water available is
reserved for cooking. CHRA fears that the water situation is slowly
deteriorating as has happened in Mabvuku and Tafara. In this area residents
have not received running water for 6 months.
CHRA ward five member, Mr Dullab is coordinating petitions to the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA) over the water situation in the area. Other
areas in Harare like Budiriro, Dzivarasekwa, Glen View and Kambuzuma have
also complained on the water situation with residents going for days without
water. When it does come it has no pressure and is muddy. Ironically,
residents received ballooned bills of between 5 million and 25 million
Zimbabwe dollars. ZINWA hiked its rates backdated to August 1 2007 after it
forwarded to cost of reticulation to residents. CHRA has condemned these
increases as unjustified as there is no corresponding increase in the
quality of water service provided.
Water problems in Harare surfaced when the Zimbabwe Government ordered ZINWA
to takeover sewer and water administration from the City of Harare. The
water authority has failed to provide adequate and clean water supplies.
CHRA continues to lobby government and Parliament to rescind on its decision
as there is amply evidence that ZINWA has failed. There is enough evidence
that ZINWA cannot run water affairs in Zimbabwe, it has no financial and
technical capacity. Various sections of the Zimbabwean society,
parliamentary committees and civic bodies continue to expose the incapacity
of ZINWA to run water affairs.
Farai Barnabas Mangodza
Chief Executive Officer
Comment from Business Day (SA), 8 October
The man of the moment in Harare's power elite, the minister of
indigenisation and empowerment, recently thundered in Zimbabwe's parliament:
"When you are carrying out a revolution, you do not do it in half steps."
The minister, Paul Mangwana, was speaking during the debate on the
controversial Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill, which requires
foreign-owned companies to cede at least 51% of their shareholdings to
indigenous Zimbabweans. He fulminated about destroying colonialism and
continuing the struggle. There are some concerns, even among those
supporting the legislation, about the wide powers the act would give the
minister, put into the job by President Robert Mugabe. Mangwana is not a man
known for restraint. As acting minister of information, he presided over
legislation that prevented independent broadcasters from operating in
As social welfare minister, he accused nongovernmental organisations of
being British agents working for regime change, the result of which was
legislation, which never became law, that made it illegal for hundreds of
humanitarian organisations to operate independently in Zimbabwe. The
indigenisation bill may suffer the same fate. Many suggest that the
legislation is another intimidation tactic to show who is boss, in which
case Mugabe's work may already be done. But if it does become law, there are
fears about how it will be implemented. Past experience shows the
heavy-handed and often brutish implementation of new populist laws. Many
South African companies have shareholdings of less than 51% in Zimbabwean
companies and are probably breathing easy. But they should not relax their
guard. This is not a government that respects its own undertakings.
I was discussing the issue with a Nigerian banker the other day. He told me
about a similar experience in his country. In the mid-1970s, the new
military government of Murtala Muhammed introduced an Indigenisation Decree,
which ordered the control of the economy by Nigerians. The decree listed
three categories of ownership - 60% foreign ownership was allowed in
businesses with a high technology and skills component, notably the oil
industry; 51% local ownership was ordered for a mid-tier of business,
including banking and construction; and 100% ownership was decreed in
smaller businesses such as retail. Many multinationals, notably
international banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank and Barclays,
pulled out. This economic policy, along with political instability and poor
governance, led to serious economic decline. New business owners had little
to celebrate. A decade later the decree was repealed. Now, economic
liberalisation, coupled with better governance and private sector-friendly
policies, have made Nigeria a rapidly growing economy in which foreign-owned
multinationals profit alongside strong locally owned companies. But it was a
long wait - and many would argue an unnecessary one. More than one
generation was lost to these political shenanigans. Zimbabwean business
people maintain that at this stage, creating jobs is more important than who
Despite the fact the indigenisation bill has sailed through parliament and
the senate on a tide of emotion, the details remain murky. Old Mutual, for
example, is 100% foreign-owned but holds significant stakes in many local
companies through the investment of managed pension fund money. Foreign
banks are mostly holding indigenous capital and are the institutions to
which local capital flees when the domestic banks look shaky. These are
choices consumers make, not the foreign banks. In trades done on the stock
exchange, the use of nominees means brokers do not always know who they are
investing for. And so on. Should Mugabe give the law his nod, it will be a
victory only for short-term populist expedience but a long-term disaster for
economic recovery. A priority for most Zimbabweans right now is simply
having a job. All the rest is "just grammar", as Nigerians would say.
Afrique en ligne
Harare, Zimbabwe - Britain announced Sunday it was giving eight
million pounds sterling to Zimbabwe for food aid for an estimated four
million people facing starvation.
In a statement, the British Embassy in Zimbabwe said the money would
be given to the World Food Programme (WFP) to buy and distribute food to
starving people in the country.
Drought and poor agricultural policies have led to frequent food
shortages in Zimbabwe, with the authorities saying the country this year
needed to import at least one million tonnes of food to avert hunger.
The government has already started importing maize, Zimbabwe's staple
food, from neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.
The British Embassy said it would work with other international aid
agencies, in addition to the WFP, to avert starvation in Zimbabwe.
"Our eight million sterling pound contribution will go a long way to
reduce hunger and vulnerability in Zimbabwe and will be spent on much needed
food aid through the World Food Programme," it said.
"We are working closely with other donors to further strengthen WFP's
monitoring systems to ensure that food aid reaches everyone who needs it,"
the embassy added.
Harare - 08/10/2007
It was after the Canadian farmer had been missing for a few days that his neighbours became concerned.
Later, they found what was left of him.
Tied to a lonely tree under the bright Zimbabwean sun, he had been forced to drink sulphuric acid.
This brutality, horrific as it maybe, is not unique in a country quite literally tearing itself apart.
The ‘lucky’ ones are those such as Althea Human, who manage to get out of the country with their lives –along with an estimated 4000 people who are crossing the border to South Africa every day-.
Althea sits across from me, a pretty, brown haired young woman with haunted eyes. Born in Harare in 1984 her eyes seem to see the sun warming the beautiful country she remembers.
“I had a great childhood growing up on the farm doing all sorts of crazy things,” she says reminiscing about happier days.
However, life in Zimbabwe is no longer the same and she’s not willing to take the risk. After all what sort of a life would it be now?
Her brother, Marius, who’s still in Zimbabwe, refusing to leave the only home he’s ever known, painted a bleak picture when his sister asked why he wasn’t emailing.
“I live in Zim, there is no zesa (electricity) and when we have zesa there is no net to mail.”
Marius says power is only running for 10-15 hours a week, due to bills outstanding with South Africa and Zambia. Water runs once every two days, and you really can watch the price of bread rise while waiting in the shopping line.
Once known as the bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe is bordering on mass starvation after 95% crop failure; supplies of staples such as maize meal are running low.
If food can be found, it takes bags full of money to buy even a loaf of bread due to hyper-inflation where the black market value of 1 million Zimbabwean dollars is US$5.50.
In June this year Mugabe accused businesses of working with Britain by raising prices in an attempt to destabilise the economy.
To punish them, President Robert Mugabe ordered all prices to be cut in half.
Many importers can no longer afford to do business as they lose money the minute they sell goods; meaning even less food on shelves.
Any retailers who ignored the direction could be imprisoned and Mugabe threatened to forcefully nationalise factories that stopped producing, even although he didn’t have the manpower to run them.
An African correspondent who prefers not to be named, since it's getting increasingly difficult for independent journalists to get access to the country, says “ 7000 have already been charged for contravening the directive about prices.”
“We are saying to all factory owners ‘you must produce’,” said Mugabe. “If you don’t produce, we certainly will seize the factories.”
The New Zealand Herald reported that one Zimbabwean landlord now asks tenants to pay him in sugar, oil, flour and salt.
“Instead of giving me cash, which loses value while I hold it,” said Norah Mutasa told the paper.
The story of Zimbabwe’s fall from grace is a complicated one.
Once called Rhodesia, after British imperialist and business man Cecil Rhodes, it was under partial British rule from 1888 to independence in 1980.
Like much of the rest of Africa, Zimbabwe suffers from a heritage of colonialism and vast inequality between the indigenous black Africans and their former European masters.
This lead, as it often has, to war in the 1970’s and it was during the years of guerrilla war that the young hero Robert Mugabe, a leader of one on the patriotic movements was first noticed.
In 1978 a power sharing deal was brokered with the white government of Prime Minister Ian Smith. His regime was near the brink of collapse after years of war and international sanctions.
Through the deal Zimbabwe got its first black Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who was widely regarded as a sell-out.
The power was still not fully in the hands of the majority, however, and the guerrilla war continued until a mediated peace was arrived at two years later.
In the free elections of February 1980, Mugabe and his Zimbabwean African National Union party, ZANU, won a landslide victory.
He has won ‘re-election’ ever since, and plans to stand again next year.
The validity of most of the elections, however, especially that in 2002, has been questioned by international organizations after reports of intimidation and opposition votes being destroyed or lost.
At first Mugabe’s rule seemed nothing more than nationalistic, but, it was soon understood that he had a vendetta against white Zimbabweans.
He was also under a lot of pressure from the majority of poor black Zimbabweans to provide them with some way to support themselves and their families.
Many agree that land reforms were the correct way to right this imbalance, but the way they were implemented was where it went wrong.
“In the beginning Mugabe wanted to negotiate, he said give us two farms and teach the black people how to run it,” says Althea as she remembers the storm clouds brewing.
She lived on a massive plantation made up of five farms put together, “one cattle, one coffee, one sheep and macadamias”. It covered 3000 hectares and employed around 1500 workers.
“So originally the whites were like ‘okay we’ll give a certain amount’, then Mugabe said ‘no’.
“He wanted more, say give us four farms and you have one. “So the whites said no, we’ve been on these farms for centuries; my great-great grandfather was one of the voortrekkers who went up and got deeds in 1903.”
It was in 2000 after the farmers stood their ground, that it started to get nasty.
Gangs of ‘war vets’ made up of mostly 18-21 year olds would roam the countryside and attack the people who worked for white farmers.
Mugabe had promised to pay them and look after their families.
“Some are younger than I was, they weren’t even sperm at the time of the independence war,” say Althea.
At first the ‘war vets’ were in relatively small groups and only armed with sticks.
They were often beaten off by the farm workers, each of whom had something to defend, such as a hut on the property for his family with toilets and electricity.
Soon the ‘war vets’ began to bus into areas in larger numbers armed with AK-47s. Any who resisted were shot.
Black workers were forced to flee, almost 1 million are estimated to have lost their jobs.
Many fled to the outskirts of the big cities where they joined vast shanty towns such as, Chitungwiza –Harare’s biggest township-, which Mugabe had bulldozed in June 2005 after claiming it was ‘illegal’ housing.
In reality he was trying to destroy support for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, MDC.
The destruction of Chitungwiza and other townships, has led Amnesty International to estimate there are almost 700,000 internally displaced people in Zimbabwe, many struggling to survive.
The farms in the meantime fell into disarray.
If white farmer still refused to leave, Mugabe’s thugs turned up at his house.
“Like Martin, they came to his house, killed his dogs and burnt him alive in the house; he had sent family to Harare,” says Althea, almost emotionless as if death has become so much a part of life it was no longer shocking.
Farms were turned into fortresses, defended by whoever was at home; people who had grown up hunting.
“My dad and 2 brothers would take turns, like at war, and sit up at night when the blacks would come and take shots at the house.
“So all the men would have little radios on channel 12 so they could call each other if they had trouble, then come to that person’s house and take shots at war vets; not at them, but to scare them.”
“I remember one holiday we went home from boarding school and say 500 of them surrounded the house.
“It was so scary, the dogs were going mental, so they threw stuff at the dogs to try and kill them.
“We started shooting to scare them, get them to run off.”
But, it wasn’t only in the countryside that the situation was grim.
“I visited friend in Chinoyi, the men had gone out; stuff wasn’t as bad there.
“About 40 blacks came and burnt and ransacked the cars.”
“There were just three of us women so we thought, ‘okay’, ‘hide don’t let them know we’re in house’, so we took panel out of the roof and hid in there.
“They came in, but we were in roof.
“We were stuck in there for about 8 hours, praying they wouldn’t burn house.
“It was so fucking scary, you don’t know if that’s last day,” she says, then amazingly she laughs, warm, slightly shaky, laughter.
When asked how she can laugh, Althea explains that it’s all that has got her through.
“I came to a crossroads, either I live life to fullest and make best of it, or I wallow in the past and get stuck in this rut and feel like crap; I decided I didn’t want to wallow in the rut,” says Althea her strength returning.
From 2002 there has been a mass exodus.
“Even if farmers couldn’t sell their farm they went to town and sold goods, clothes furniture.
“Or they just they put everything in cars organised a place in UK and left.”
Althea’s father managed to sell four of the farms to large foreign owned ‘tea estates’.
“Eventually they took our last farm in November 2005.
“We were losing cattle and coffee, you can’t maintain the farm.
“They drove up to our house and gave us letter giving us five days to move out, if we didn’t…, so we packed all stuff and moved to the city.”
“Then they sued us for our own furniture,” she says still laughing with disbelief.
That was in November 2005, since then the situation in Zimbabwe has gone from bad to worse.
The whites that are left live in shared flats in the cities like Harare or Bulawayo.
Farms that were once lush and well maintained, a rare sight in a hot dry country, have fallen into disrepair under owners who have no training in how to run them.
This causing the huge food shortage.
“The government is now hiring whites to run farms, my brother is breeding ostriches,” says a smiling Althea, the irony of the situation not lost on her.
Zimbabwean Sunday newspaper, The Standard, reported in September that disgruntled cane cutters say they were better off under their previous employers, the white commercial farmers.
"We are living in poverty since these war veterans took over the farms," said Justin Chauke, who works for a war veteran known as Comrade Satan. "They pay us a meagre $200,000 a month –about $1-, and we do not know how they expect us to survive."
Chauke said: "This is tantamount to slavery. We have nowhere to go since some of us are not educated. Our former employers, though white, paid us handsomely and we and our families could afford a decent life."
As the old saying goes, ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’; this adage has been strikingly true with regard to 83 year-old Mugabe.
When asked about the situation in Zimbabwe today, the former United Nations Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury talked of Mugabe as a megalomaniac and said really there is very little that can be done, as he is beyond reason.
The UN also, cannot agree of a course of action.
The irony in Africa is that Mugabe still has support from many of Africa’s leaders, who frown upon current sanctions.
“He is still regarded as one of the leading liberation heroes of Africa,” said the African correspondent.
However, some of his closest friends and supporters are beginning to lose faith.
Prominent Zimbabwean academic and long time Mugabe supporter Ibbo Mandaza believes that for the good of the country Mugabe must go.
“We cannot even begin thinking of resolving the economic crisis here as long as he remains in power.
“He must quit for his own good and that of the country.”
However, Rhetoric like this may be little more than pipe dreaming.
The African correspondent believes it is “only the Zimbabweans’ resilience and the occasionally heavy-handedness from the security forces that prevents the country from descending into anarchy.”
“On the bright side, Zimbabweans in general still have one of the highest levels of education in Africa, a pride in their country and a work ethic which makes them highly valued in neighbouring South Africa.”
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC –who was beaten almost to death in 2007 -is currently in Australia trying to garner support for change.
“I believe that this Zimbabwean situation has assumed almost that international crisis stage.
“Therefore the role of international community is very, very important.”
Tsvangirai like many other members of the opposition has been badly beaten up many times by Mugabe’s cronies who know no other way to react.
Zimbabwe’s motto is "Unity, Freedom, Work". Right now it looks like it’s going to take a lot of work to get Zimbabwean’s free of Mugabe’s rule so they can unite and save their dying land.
Especially from an international community who have suddenly decided that it is not their place to get involved; possibly because Zimbabwe doesn’t have huge oil reserves.
“Hopefully he’ll die in the next few years and I can go home,” says Althea.
My father, himself born in Zimbabwe, agrees.
He said half jokingly that someone should just shoot Mugabe because it would make things a whole lot easier.
This is an extreme position, but perhaps an extreme situation breeds such a response.
The BBC reported that Morgan Tsvangirai is more positive.
"The people of Zimbabwe are resilient ... and have a shared commitment to see the dictatorship go," he added.
"The people will always prevail. No dictatorship is permanent."
Simba Makoni, the former minister of Finance and Economic Development, whom
many hope will stand for the Presidency at the next elections, has described
leaders within the ranks of the ruling party as dictators and selfish
individuals bent on serving their interests first instead of those of the
people of Zimbabwe.
He also described the land reform programme, which the country embarked on
in 2000, as a complete failure.
Makoni, who is a member of the Zanu (PF) Central Committee and Politburo
socked party leaders from Manicaland Province and traditional leaders when
he castigated the haphazard manner in which the land reform programme was
Makoni was invited to speak on behalf of Lands minister, Didymus Mutasa, at
a recent function organised by the governor of Manicaland, Tinaye Chigudu,
at his farm in Makoni District.
Before launching his blistering attack, Makoni requested permission to speak
on his own behalf instead of representing Mutasa.
"What I am going to say here is not what he was going to say but these are
my own words which must not be linked to him," said Makoni.
"Why is it that after the country embarked on the land reform programme
there has been hunger in the country? Let us not blame it on droughts but on
our greedy leadership. It is very embarrassing for a country like Zimbabwe
to go and beg for food from countries like Malawi, but it is now happening."
Makoni said infrastructure did not just come from heaven. Some people would
have worked tirelessly to build such houses but some Zimbabweans only wanted
to get such huge investments for free, he said amid a deafening silence.
He also described the leadership as lazy, greedy and corrupt.
"I am happy for Minister Mutasa's failure to grace this important occasion
because it gave me a rare opportunity to say what I feel about my country,"
he said. - CAJ News
Ronald Suresh Roberts, Business in Africa
The word 'Zimbabwe' is the Pavlovian Bell of the white South African mind.
Once the word rings out, all remnants of liberal good sense retreat,
replaced by salvation and loud barking. Consider Helen Suzman, interviewed
by the London Weekend Telegraph under the headline 'Democracy?' "It was
better under apartheid," says Suzman. You might think, reading this, that
Suzman was talking about South Africa and seeking a return to its apartheid
past. But you would be wrong on both counts. Despite the headline, Suzman
was not seeking a return to the apartheid past and her thoughts were
dominated by Robert Mugabe rather than South Africa. "For all my criticism
of the current (South African) system, it doesn't mean that I would like to
return to the old one. I don't think we will ever go the way of Zimbabwe,
but people are entitled to be concerned. I am hopeful about any future for
whites in this country - but not entirely optimistic."
The headline was flatly contradicted by the quoted content of the interview.
Something more than incompetence was at work here: the headline felt right,
despite its obvious contradiction of the interview, because Zimbabwe indeed
operates in the colonial subconscious as an alter ego for South Africa
itself. Most South African discourse on Zimbabwe is less about Zimbabwe than
it is about South African and colonial whites granting themselves permission
to indulge in dystopian nightmares that are starkly at odds with the new
South African realities. Zimbabwe ceases to exist as a country with a people
and a politics of its own. It becomes a prism through which apartheid
liberals project their deepest and darkest - especially darkest - South
In 2004 the Democratic Alliance (DA) erected a giant billboard in
Johannesburg's northern suburbs with a double portrait of Thabo Mbeki and
Mugabe. Once the line between the distinct realities of Zimbabwe and South
Africa is racially blurred in this way, the absurd becomes conceivable. The
swart gevaar campaign of the DA in 2004, based upon the plainly spurious
suggestion that the ANC would use a two-thirds majority to amend the
Constitution, was not really catching fire. It had to be sexed up, as by
Tony Leon's statement, a few weeks before polling day, headlined 'Tony Leon:
Zimbabwe: politically motivated genocide.' The text then read: "After much
careful consideration and analysis of the available evidence, including the
recent revelations on BBC television of government sponsored murder and
torture training camps, we believe that there is now a possibility that the
Mugabe regime may begin to engage in the systematic murder and torture of
its political opponents in the run-up to the next election in Zimbabwe. It
is thus not impossible that there may be a politically motivated genocide in
In a more subtle but equally insidious register is Helen Suzman's comment:
"This (South African) spends like a drunken sailor," Suzman told the
Telegraph. Suzman simply could not make such a statement about 'South
African' public finances without shifting, through a kind of racial alchemy,
to reliance upon the facts of Zimbabwe. Whatever else the sins of the
democratic government of Thabo Mbeki and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel,
they are hardly offences of wild spending, as the country's steadily rising
credit rating since 1994 attests. Only through the racial blurring that
creates a unitary Mugabe-Mbeki composite character can such a thing even
seem plausible. Suzman subconsciously slips into a mindset that the openly
racist Dan Roodt deliberately cultivates. Roodt's two essays, collected in
The Scourge of the ANC, repeatedly discuss a composite character: a 'Mbeki'
who is actually shadowed by and merged with Mugabe. Roodt prefers not to
deal with Mbeki himself. When Tony Leon referred to Haitian democrat Jean
Bertrand Aristide as the "Mugabe of the Caribbean", he was deliberately
performing a similar racial and ideological trick.
The dyspeptic Mail & Guardian columnist, Robert Kirby, regularly wrote of a
fictionalized character called "Thabob Mugabeki", a troll who occasionally
darts out from under his presidential bridge "to frighten passing Europeans"
and whose subjects are accustomed to being "clubbed to death for not
starving quickly enough". Such a composite figure operates, in all
seriousness, throughout the white South African discourse of Zimbabwe. The
name itself, Mugabeki, decorates the racist blogosphere while RW Johnson
identifies something he terms "Mugabe-Mbeki speak". Rhoda Kadalie claims to
have discovered for South Africans what she calls "our own internal
Zimbabwe". William Gumede, in his usual self-contradictory style, has
suggested that: "Although the ANC in South Africa and Zanu-PF are light
years apart, the spectre of 'Zanufication' haunts South Africa." And, of
course, Zwelinzima Vavi: "we may be on our way to the Zimbabwean crisis in
the long run."
Having mentioned Mugabe earlier in one of his paragraphs, Roodt indulges in
the suggestion that Mbeki is no 'statesman' but rather a "petty African
terrorist and schemer". In a trope inter-changeable with Suzman's Telegraph
interview, Roodt writes: "Like his friends and comrade, Robert Mugabe, Thabo
Mbeki intensely dislikes white people and regularly lurched into tirades
against him." Roodt bluntly states his thesis:
"The future of South Africa will not be so much different to contemporary
Suzman "became powerfully animated" when the talk turned to Zimbabwe.
According to the Telegraph, Suzman "gestured fiercely with the manicured
middle finger of her right hand" and said: "Mugabe has done that to the
whites, and I think that is exactly what Mbeki admires about him. Don't
think for a moment that Mbeki is not anti-white - he is, most definitely.
His speeches all have anti-white themes and he continues to convince
everyone that there are two types of South African - the poor black and the
rich white." This, of course, blatantly misrepresents Mbeki's 'two nations'
theme, which was intended as a move towards one nation by dismantling a
divisive past, rather than as a means for giving the vulgar middle finger to
To the unsubstantiated bogey of an 'anti-white' Mbeki, Suzman added: "Mugabe
had destroyed that country while South Africa has stood by and done
All such chatter is less about the real problems of Zimbabwe than about the
conscious and subconscious ears, resentments, jealousies and desires for
historical vindication of white South Africa. The quest is not to solve
Zimbabwe's problems but the fear of racial 'contagion' by them. The war
against such realities necessarily relies upon the liberal's traditional
weapon of stereotype. As Ken Owen has noted, "Zimbabwe has become a pretext
for renewed demands for President Thabo Mbeki to 'do something', failing
which he is to be denounced as unfit to govern."
Owen concluded that Suzman and her successors 'display a more venomous and
more reckless passion towards Mugabe's oppression that they did towards
Or Israel. Owen also pointed out that Suzman, a longtime fundraiser for
Israel, wanted an outcry against Zimbabwean land-seizures but not against
"Israel's seizure of East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank". Indeed,
Suzman supported the Goethe Institute's silencing of Intelligence Minister,
Ronnie Kasrils, after he had been invited by NGOs to speak on Israel. The
Goethe Institute initially consented and then revoked the platform. Suzman
supported this censorship because the Institute should not be used "as a
venue for Ronnie Kasrils to make his outrageous assertions about Israel".
Moreover, while Kasrils had a right to differ with a South African
government position that was more quiet and diplomatic towards Israel than
was his own, "he should not make statements thereon". So Mbeki's quiet
diplomacy on Zimbabwe was bad, but on Israel was good - and how dare Kasrils
defy the later, although Suzman herself defied the former?
One could with equal absurdity argue that anti-black hatred is 'fostered' by
Suzman's pronouncements against Mugabe. If you doubt the last assertion
simply consider the experience of Christan Lamb, who arrived in Johannesburg
to promote her book, House of Stone: The true story of a family divided in
war-torn Zimbabwe, an unsparing critique of the human toll that Mugabe's
policies have taken upon Zimbabwe. But Lamb was unpleasantly surprised. She
discovered at first hand that the discourse of Zimbabwe in South Africa has
less to do with the problems of Zimbabwe than with the quest for vindication
of the old displaced settler elite that "took the gap" to apartheid South
Africa after white supremacy lost the war there in 1980: "Within a day in
Johannesburg, I experienced at first hand the difficulties of engaging with
Zimbabwe. I was due to address a lunch about my new book on the country,
when the man next to me said: 'Rhodesia used to be a wonderful place - they
didn't let blacks walk on the pavements'. During the entire discussion not a
single person referred to the neighboring country as Zimbabwe, its name for
the past 26 years. They insisted on calling it Rhodesia."
Zimbabwe presents, especially among those for whom it remains 'Rhodesia',
the most neurotic form of mother-country confusion. To salve this neurosis
the settler press needs to use each episode in today's Zimbabwean woes in
order to drive home the good news that: "Racism is not the only evil in the
Every twist and turn of the Zimbabwean saga indeed provides a convenient
opportunity to say to Mbeki: 'Just Shut Up' about apartheid and
post-apartheid racism. "In his weekly African National Congress newsletter
yesterday, Mbeki said South Africans should use next week's annual Human
Rights Day to address the continuing scourge of racism in the country. He
made no mention of Zimbabwe," wrote Business Day.
The soul such commentators want to save is the white one that felt apartheid
was not all that bad and Ian Smith was slightly right. This very same
soul-saving of the guilty apartheid soul through blaming Mbeki for
Zimbabwe - is at work in Helen Suzman's letter, published alongside Business
Day's editorial on the same day, pitching apartheid Prime Minister John
Vorster as the man to be emulated. Mbeki ought to threaten "to instruct
Eskom to turn off the lights in that wretched country, following the example
of John Vorster when Ian Smith went ahead with his unilateral declaration of
independence," Suzman wrote. She was saving her own soul. Zimbabwe was
merely the means. "World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz told this newspaper
that the world was looking to South Africa for leadership on the crisis in
Zimbabwe," wrote a sonorous Sunday Times editorial headlined: 'Mbeki has
lost the plot.'
The world (or at least Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya) was apparently
not looking to Wolfowitz, the foremost ideological architect of the George W
Bush regime change in Iraq, for accountability in that bloody mess.
Wolfowitz apparently hasn't lost the plot.
* This is an edited extract of Ronald Suresh Robert's book, Fit to Govern:
The Native Intelligence of Thabo Mbeki
Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI)
In democratic polities, voting is the supreme act of citizen participation.
In fact, voting is one of the 'procedural minimum' of democracy. Granted
there are numerous ways and methods of participation but voting is easily
the most visible and in all likelihood, the most effective method of
'speaking truth to power.' In Zimbabwe, the fundamental battle cry for all
nationalist and liberation movements was: "One man, one vote." The
nationalist demand was for voting as an inalienable right. In his Voting for
Democracy: Electoral Politics in Zimbabwe (1992, 6), Jonathan Moyo made an
acute observation: "The right to vote has a historical significance in
Zimbabwe which dates back to the struggle against colonialism for
Independence. How that right is being exercised in post-colonial Zimbabwe is
a matter which should not be taken for granted."
There are numerous electoral systems in our global community and where
voting is concerned, some systems require adult citizens to register (as in
the USA) while in others (e.g. many European countries) citizens do not have
to register or may do so in a simple, convenient, almost automatic way. In
the former category, the requirements for voter registration (e.g. residency
laws) and ponderous registration procedures present serious obstacles to the
prospective voter. Zimbabwe falls in this category.
In conducting this study, we did not take anything for granted and we
approached it with an open mind.
In Zimbabwe, voter registration constitutes the most crucial component and
qualifier for participation in elections. Registration is entirely
voluntary. The Zimbabwe government allows its citizens to register or check
their registration status each time there are planned elections and this
normally kicks off about nine months prior the elections. Zimbabweans who
turn 18 can also register since they would have become eligible. The
government also provides time for inspecting the voters' register.
Researches have consistently shown that while a majority of Zimbabweans
express much enthusiasm and desire to vote, fewer take the necessary and
required step towards voting, i.e. registration and fewer still actually
turn out to vote?
Since the turn of the millennium, elections in Zimbabwe have proved to be
highly contestable political activities and their outcomes equally
controversial. This has escalated political conflict and tension in society
while the government elected via these elections suffers from legitimacy
questions. This survey study sought answers to a whole range of
elections-related issues and sought to do by asking the voters themselves.
Below, we tender the survey findings. On the whole, rural Zimbabweans are
more upbeat about elections than their urban counterparts.
See full document
October 9, 2007
Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket and a controversial,
hardline figure within the game, has been refused a visa by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office (FCO), according to the International Cricket Council
(ICC). He will not be allowed into London to give evidence to the tribunal
hearing at which Darrell Hair is suing the governing body for racial
discrimination. Instead, he will be cross-examined by video link.
An ICC spokesman said that no reason had been given and the FCO would not
comment on individual cases, but it can be surmised that this is in
connection with the recently stated strong stance taken over Zimbabwe by
Gordon Brown. Chingoka, 53, was granted only a five-day visa to visit
Britain earlier this year, having been refused an entry visa on account of
his association with Robert Mugabe. It was feared at the time that this
might jeopardise the appointment of David Morgan as ICC President-elect.
Chingoka was the first black Zimbabwean to make his name within cricket and
was educated at a private multi-racial school in the country. In 2005 some
high-profile Zimbabwean cricketers rebelled against his politicised
standpoint. Chingoka is considered an important witness at Hair's hearing as
he was a member of the three-man subcommittee that recommended to the ICC
Board that Hair be demoted as an international umpire after he accused
Pakistan of ball-tampering in the final Test at the Brit Oval in 2006.
The tribunal heard Morgan's witness statement on the sixth day of the
hearing. The chairman of the ECB at the time the Oval Test was awarded to
England, Morgan said that initially he did not support the subcommittee's
resolution that Hair be demoted. "However, I was in the minority and
ultimately supported it," he said.
By Carole Gombakomba
08 October 2007
Zimbabwean human rights groups say that while documented cases of abuses
have declined since July, the situation in the country is nevertheless
worrisome given that politically related violence and other abuses tend to
rise in electoral periods.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said some 547 people were the victims of
human rights violations in August compared with 1,219 reported cases in
The report said the country's political environment is "largely defined
by.torture, intimidation and politically motivated violence" against rights
The report highlighted other violations including abduction or kidnapping,
assaults, restriction of freedom of expression or movement, political
discrimination, victimization, unlawful arrests and detention.
The Forum said that in August, about 30 members of the Zimbabwe National
Army circulated in the Harare high-density suburb of Dzivarasekwa beating up
women and children who were selling various wares. In an unrelated incident
on August 8, more than 70 uniformed soldiers "ran amok in Esigodini in
Matebeleland South, where they assaulted villagers (and) looted the village
headman's shop" in what was seen as retaliation for a scuffle involving army
officers and local villagers.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project, a member group of the Human Rights Forum, issued
its own rights report for August, listing cases of murder, assault and
political intolerance. The Peace Project report said the state price-cutting
blitz since July has been marked by corruption, looting and harassment by
soldiers and police officers.
The Peace Project said agricultural "inputs and food continue to be
distributed along partisan lines" excluding those known to oppose the ruling
The report also alleged that officials from the Office of the Registrar
General carrying out a mobile voter registration exercise that ended in
mid-August seemed to be under the control of politicians"as they failed to
professionally manage the process."
Zimbabwe Peace Project National Director Jestina Mukoko reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the rights abuse trend
suggests trouble ahead as the country prepares for national elections in
By Blessing Zulu
08 October 2007
A showdown was looming in the Zimbabwean cabinet Tuesday between President
Robert Mugabe and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono over legislation,
already passed by parliament and awaiting the president's signature, that
would allow the government to take a 51% stake in any company not controlled
Gono is warning that the so-called Indigenization and Economic Empowerment
Bill would further cripple the economy - but Mr. Mugabe is expected to sign
Party insiders say political expediency is at war with sustainable economic
policies, as ZANU-PF hawks Indigenization Minister Paul Mangwana, Mines
Minister Amos Midzi, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and others argue
that the indigenization program, seemingly a populist initiative, will be a
plus for ZANU-PF in 2008 elections.
Lined up against them are Gono, retired General Solomon Mujuru and
technocrats such as former finance minister Simba Makoni, who argue that the
indigenization program could put the last nail in the coffin of Zimbabwe's
Gono last week accused unnamed senior officials of "positioning themselves
to muscle into certain mining, manufacturing, financial and other entities
that are currently performing well and contributing to the foreign currency
inflows of the country."
He warned that he will resist moves to "forcibly push the envelop of
indigenization into the delicate area of banking and finance."
But Magwana says there is no turning back on indigenization.
Chief Economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic Development
Research Institute of Zimbabwe told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe that divisions over indigenization reflect an economic impasse.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
08 October 2007
Zimbabwean state prosecutors on Monday withdrew all charges against 30 of
the 31 opposition activists who were arrested in March and held for months
on an assortment of charges including their alleged involvement in a spate
of firebomb attacks.
Harare Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini discharged the officials and members
of the Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, after
the prosecutor indicated the state was withdrawing charges including
banditry and sabotage. The prosecution indicated, however, that it might
issue summonses in the case later.
The activists include Glenview member of parliament Paul Madzore and
Tsvangirai advisor Ian Makone. Still facing charges is activist Ishmael
Kauzani, against whom, the prosecutor said, the evidence was strong enough
to proceed with his case.
Many of those whose cases were dismissed Monday were arrested on March 28 of
this year when police raided the Harare headquarters of the MDC faction.
Some spent four months in remand prison where they were denied medical
Lawyer Alec Muchadehama, counsel for the accused, told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabw that the state's decision to
withdraw the cases indicated that the charges against them were empty to
SW Radio Africa (London)
8 October 2007
Posted to the web 8 October 2007
The National Spokesperson for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
Madock Chivasa was remanded out of custody by a Masvingo magistrate on
Monday. Also released were Youth Forum coordinator Wellington Zindove.
Chivasa told Newsreel he is being charged for what authorities have termed
criminal nuisance following his remarks that the police force were Robert
Mugabe's dogs. Police claim this statement undermined their authority.
The case will be heard again in court on the 21st October while Chivasa paid
Z$10 million dollars bail to secure his freedom. He is required to report
twice every Friday at Avondale police station. This means visiting the
police station in the morning and in the evening in one day. The NCA who are
fighting for a new constitution say they note with great concern that their
spokesperson was arrested and detained for 6 days for merely addressing a
public meeting that had been sanctioned by the police.
Zanu PF youths allegedly bussed into the city by Masvingo South MP Walter
Mzembi disrupted the meeting, and instead of arresting the violent youths
police picked up known government critics among them Zindove and student
leader Edison Hlatshwayo. Hlatshwayo remains in custody after the magistrate
said he had several other cases pending in the courts. Chivasa meanwhile
says they were denied food and legal representation during their detention,
a deliberate ploy to try and sap their morale.
Mon 8 Oct 2007, 18:20 GMT
HARARE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe police have arrested a U.S citizen on
charges of smuggling and illegal possession of arms and ammunition, state
radio reported on Monday.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said the man was arrested at Victoria
Falls airport on Friday when he tried to board a plane with two pistols and
300 rounds of ammunition.
Police and officials at the U.S. embassy in Harare were not immediately for
comment, but ZBC said the American was expected to be charged in court in
the northwestern town of Hwange in the coming days.
The man arrived in Harare on Sept. 21 and had been travelling around the
country, the radio said.
The Zimbabwean government is battling a severe economic crisis many which
critics blame on President Robert Mugabe's policies.
But Mugabe, 83, and Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain says
the crisis -- which has left the southern African state with the world's
highest inflation rate of 6,600 percent -- is a result of sabotage and
economic sanctions by Western powers, including the United States, who are
trying to oust him.
October 08, 2007 Edition 1
Cape Town - There was nothing worse for an economy than when a piece of
property could be taken away from an investor, Reserve Bank governor Tito
Mboweni said at the weekend in a thinly veiled criticism of Zimbabwe land
Addressing the Cape Town Club ahead of this week's monetary policy committee
(MPC) decision on the repo rate, the governor steered clear of commenting on
a possible change to the rate, but painted a picture of the ingredients of a
nation state that provided the underpinnings of stability.
Referring to the Washington consensus, Mboweni referred to "policy positions
that have proven themselves to work". He emphasised that South Africa had
demonstrated which policy positions did so. "We know what works and doesn't
Referring to property rights, he said: "If people are convinced that they
have got their private property rights secured, they will invest because
they know that their investment will not be taken away. We know that if
there is a disciplined fiscal policy regime, investors will respect it."
Equally, investors' confidence was built by a prudent monetary policy
If one focused on microeconomic reform, trade liberalisation, support for
industries and labour market policies, "we know that will give confidence to
people". if one enjoyed the rule of law and could enforce the laws, it
Asked directly about whether he spoke to his colleague in Zimbabwe, central
bank governor Gideon Gono, Mboweni said Gono did indeed phone him. "I think
my colleague in Zimbabwe is in a very difficult situation. He has tried to
maintain the highest standards of a central bank. He has indicated from time
to time where he disagrees with the government. It has been very brave on
Appearing to back Gono's warnings about recent legislation that will take
majority stakes in Zimbabwean companies out of foreign investors' hands,
Mboweni said it was critical for citizens of any country to tackle
legislatures if they did not pass good laws. It was too late to complain
once the legislation was in place.
"There is nothing as bad for the economy as some thinking . you have a piece
of property. [You] plant avocado trees and tomorrow someone would come and
take them. That is a bad idea. I would not invest in a situation where it is
uncertain whether this investment belongs to me."
Turning again to Gono, he said the Zimbabwe central bank had conducted
itself most honourably in upholding the conditions of its account with the
SA Reserve Bank. The account was "fully paid up" at the start of every
"We have never had a situation where we had to remind them that they owe
us," said Mboweni, noting that "good people showed themselves in action and
not words", another clear reference to Gono.
Mboweni took pains to congratulate US President George W Bush on his actions
during the subprime mortgage crisis. Bush was motivating a bill before
congress to provide some tax deductions as an intervention to avert a
financial meltdown. "For someone who is not taken seriously, he has shown
commendable political leadership."
Mboweni noted that "the dust appears to have settled" in international
financial markets as the Reserve Bank prepared for the MPC meeting on
Thursday. He said South African money markets were "relatively unaffected"
by the subprime matter.
Nevertheless, after trading below R6.80 a dollar in July, the rand
depreciated to more than R7.60 in mid-August. Domestic bond yields retreated
and the JSE's all share index fell quickly from almost 30 000 points in July
to below 26 000 in August.
As calm returned, Mboweni noted, the rand appreciated to below R7 a dollar
and the all share ratcheted up gains above 30 000, "surpassing the records
reached before the crisis". Government bond yields firmed.
Saying former foreign minister Pik Botha would have referred to recent
events as "just a picnic", he added that there did not appear to be any
evidence "at this stage" that the turbulence in international financial
markets would have marked effects on the domestic growth outlook, although
this "will depend to some extent on the impact on US growth performance".
But he warned that the world's markets might not yet be out of the woods,
noting that global private banks were exposed to the subprime market to the
tune of $1.5 trillion (R10.2 trillion) to $2 trillion. Initially the
developments in the financial markets appeared to be limited to a liquidity
problem. They later turned out to be credit problem as well. "The big
question now is to what extent these developments will affect the real
"It seems logical that the US economy will bear the brunt of the subprime
crisis. The tightening of lending standards and therefore the restrictions
of credit extension to weaker households could exacerbate the housing
downturn in the US even further."
But as the International Monetary Fund had noted, most of the world was
likely to "emerge relatively unscathed". The recent shifts away from the US
as the key driver of global growth, together with the better balance
achieved during the last two years, represented significant support for the
"As for emerging markets, lower external debt, better reserve levels and
more prudent fiscal management, leading to much more improved fundamentals,
have undoubtedly already delivered dividends," said Mboweni.
8th Oct 2007 01:09 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
NOW, I was walking along, minding my business when..a young man sitting on
the pavement between Nelson Mandela Avenue and Sam Nujoma Street , accosted
"Accosted" may sound a bit like what someone has called "terminological
inexactitude", because he was sitting down and was by no means threatening
In fact, he was practically deferential, addressing me with the respectful
I responded by stopping in my tracks, between these two thoroughfares in
Harare, named after two distinguished sons of Africa, whose countries are
enjoying a life of super-abundance unheard of and unknown in Zimbabwe for
donkeys' years, although we have been independent for more years than either
South Africa and Namibia.
To dwell on that particular conundrum might take more space than that is
Let us just say that in terms of the blessings and bounties of independence,
we have been grossly short-changed, if we compare ourselves with the two
It turned out that what this young man wanted from me was nothing as
extraordinary as offering to sell me a new brand of condom or a new formula
on how to get rid of a corrupt, incompetent and self-absorbed government -
without shedding blood or hiring mercenaries.
"Your shoes, Mudhara?" he said. "I can make them look better."
"My shoes? What's wrong with them?" In the crisis mould in which we have
been ensconced since 2000, frayed nerves are more the norm than the
"I can make them look better, that's all."
Curiosity, it is said, killed the cat. Curiosity has also killed many
journalists. Like the cat, the journalist cannot help being curious: how can
you come across The Big Story if you are not curious?
But in Zimbabwe today, you are better off ensuring you keep your money and
your life where they will be safe than taking any chances, even if you might
win the equivalent of the Pulitzer for your newspaper and yourself.
So, I walked on, satisfied that I had not committed one of those sins for
which you might not have a perfect response, if, at the Pearly Gates, they
asked you: "Why didn't you help an obviously helpless, desperate soul?"
There was more temptation to come. Along The First Street Mall on the same
day, I met a distant relative who gave me this tale of woe: her bank had no
"What do you mean? They said your account was overdrawn or what?" I asked,
knowing I sounded really mean.
"No," she said. "They don't have any money to give to their clients. They
have run out of money."
How does a bank run out of money? I ask you. Money is their business. How
can they be a bank if they have no money? Then I remembered where I was,
which country I was in: This is Zimbabwe - anything can and does happen.
It's a Barnum and Bailey world - a world of make-belief, a circus, as phoney
as it can be.
In this vale of tears, the government has announced it has a new economic
blueprint in the works: since 1980, there have been many five-year, two-year
and even one-year economic plans. Some of them must have worked, for the
country didn't exactly go bankrupt.
But the operative word here is "development". Not many of these plans have
led to the physical or even spiritual development of the country - at large.
A few individuals have developed, in terms of pot bellies mostly, if you
want to be thoroughly unpleasant, and in the number of farms, houses, cars
and mistresses - if you want to be thoroughly obnoxious.
Off-hand, I can tell you about Zimcord, in the very early days of
independence. It must have achieved some development, particularly in terms
of expanding education to the remotest parts of the country.
Other subsequent plans followed - The First and then The Second Five-Year
National Development, then came Zimprest, the acronym for a programme which
included "social transformation" among its objectives.
That, if you can remember, in this welter of "plans" and "programmes", came
after the most famous or notorious of the lot - the Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme (Esap).
Esap was authored by the International Monetary Fund, although the
government insisted it had a "home-grown" element. The truth was that Esap
was so intrinsically capitalist in organic terms it went right up the
socialist nose of President Robert Mugabe who, as we now know, is besotted
with the "unorthodox" method of running the economy of the country.
To many cynics, this translates into how the liberation movements ran their
camps in Mozambique , Zambia or Angola. Fortunately for Namibia and South
Africa, neither Swapo nor the ANC decided to transplant the crude liberation
camp economic blueprints of the struggle to their civilian-run governments
Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe , announced his
monetary policy last week. It had the momentous significance of being made
after one of the most disastrous policy flip-flops of this government - the
price blitz and the abrupt about-face which followed.
To his credit, Gono had opposed the price blitz from the beginning. Many of
his critics who have tended to give him the benefit of the doubt in some of
his weird monetary aberrations - particularly on the devaluation the
Zimdollar - wondered why he didn't resign in the wake of this public rebuff
from the government.
Many of them now wonder if Gono is aware that his failure to jump ship then
could prove his final undoing on The Day of Reckoning.
This will be when Zimbabweans must decide what to do with the people who
destroyed their dream of a country flowing with milk and honey, instead of
this one in which the stench of rotting corpses and garbage and the noxious
fumes of burning dumpsites is overwhelming.
Many people still wonder at the amazing gutlessness of the captains of
commerce and industry in allowing the government to go off scot-free after
the disaster wreaked on the nation by the price blitz.
How many businesses were closed? How many lives and livelihoods were
Above all, what price is Zimbabwe likely to pay in terms of a slowdown in
foreign direct investment as a result of this single act of economic
We now know that the government is more concerned with political posturing
than with presenting to the world the image of a cool, calm and collected
regime which is mindful of its ultimate responsibility - ensuring that its
citizens gain the maximum material and spiritual benefits from its mode of
For instance, the amount of time expended on the summit in Portugal in
December and whether or not Mugabe will be invited is totally
disproportionate to the probable benefits to the people, in terms of whether
they will have more reliable water and power supplies, for instance.
It is hardly likely to improve the clout of the Zimdollar in relation to the
major currencies of the world, nor will it have an impact on the muck of
hyper-inflation in which most of us are drowning today.
Next year, a few months after the Portugal summit has come and gone,
Zimbabweans may be confronted with their sternest political test yet - to
decide in what we have been promised by President Thabo Mbeki and other
leaders in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) will be a free
and fair election, whether to say a permanent farewell to people who have
turned our country into a circus.
It's become a nation whose leaders love the sound of their own voices more
than they do the wails of little children trying, in vain, to suck milk out
of the sausage-skin breast of their sick, malnourished mother.
It is by no means an exaggeration to say that if they are held at all and
have all the hallmarks of freedom and fairness that other Sadc leaders,
including Mbeki, have allowed in their own countries, the 2008 presidential
and parliamentary elections will end in favour of the people - the people
who have endured so much pain and suffering under Zanu PF.
SW Radio Africa (London)
8 October 2007
Posted to the web 8 October 2007
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in the United States on the first leg of a
two-nation tour of North America to appraise party supporters and
pro-democracy groups on the progress made so far at the SADC led mediation
Rocked by a backlash from its supporters and its partners from the civil
society for supporting constitutional amendment bill number 18, the MDC
leadership has been jolted into action to explain why it voted with Zanu-PF
in Parliament a month ago.
Following a nervy and tense period that saw the MDC's major allies labelling
them 'sell-outs', the party was quick to issue an apology for not updating
key stakeholders and its supporters on the mediation talks led by South
African President Thabo Mbeki.
Elton Mangoma, the acting treasurer-general told civil leaders during an all
stakeholders' constitutional conference in Bulawayo last week that the
opposition was gravely concerned by the shaky alliance that now existed
between the MDC and civil society.
'We accept the blunder that was made by the MDC on the Constitutional
Amendment Bill and we therefore apologise for that,' Mangoma said.
As a follow-up, the party dispatched its entire cabinet last week to meet
with Mbeki's mediation team and explain the need to either open up the
talks, or alternatively give regular media briefings.
Hebson Makuvise, the MDC chief representative in the UK told Newsreel on
Monday that Tsvangirai had several engagements in the United States and
would fly to Canada for further consultations with both party activists and
'It is very important for the party to remain steadfast and focussed on the
important job that lies ahead. Free and fair presidential and parliamentary
elections are within the country's grasp and we don't want to be caught off
guard. It is important therefore that Tsvangirai briefs all key stakeholders
and this is the first of many trips planned,' Makuvise said.
For those who dont know what VoIP is -
VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over
the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is
converted to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the destination.
VoIP can allow you to make a call directly from a computer, a special VoIP
phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. In addition,
wireless "hot spots" in locations such as airports, parks, and cafes allow
you to connect to the Internet and may enable you to use VoIP service
Why use VoIP - lowers cost and puts the control of telephone call on ethe
Letter to Potraz
POSTAL & TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATORY AUTHORITY (POTRAZ)
Harare , Zimbabwe.
Dear sir / madam ,
I write this letter to seek clarification on your organization's stance on
What is the current status and what efforts are being made by your
organization to make VoIP a reality in Zimbabwe?
Am not sure if you are fully aware of the implications of not legalizing
VoIP has in Zimbabwe. As things stand now Zimbabwe is losing a lot of
potential VoIP traffic to neighboring South Africa for terminating calls
into the region and beyond.
Will touch on a few
a.. Generating forex - 80 % of companies in the US alone have call centers
(inbound and outbound) located off shore. Presently most of these call
centers are in India , Malaysia , Singapore and now Kenya and South Africa.
All this is possible because of VoIP.A caller in the US calls a local US
number that is routed over the Internet to a call center AOL , Cisco , Avaya
, Lucent , Chase Bank all have a call centers in Cape Town just to mention
a few Its an advantage for the companies as they cut off their payroll costs
and advantageous to the local (off shore) countries who are always paid in
hard currency for the services rendered.
a.. We whim and cry about the failure by indigenous Zimbabweans to come up
with tangible and practical solutions that will create employment and
generate forex in an effort to address the economic woes that haunt
Zimbabwe - and there you have an organization that will NOT implement VoIP?
b.. Calls centers do a variety of things including what I have listed
a.. Place outbound calls
b.. Take sales orders
c.. Provide customer service
d.. Provide technical support
e.. Generate and qualify inbound leads
f.. Process applications
g.. Schedule appointments
h.. Respond to and manage email
i.. Provide live web chat support
a.. A typical call center looks like this.
b.. 40 call agents. This literally 40 people waiting to answer the phone
and attend to specific customer problems. Also this call centers normally
operate 24/7 .So give and take you have a turn around shift of about a 100
people in one call center just setup for one company. There are hundred of
thousands companies abroad seeking to OUT SOURCE call centers to English
speaking countries !! Zimbabwe is by design inherently the best candidate
for this kind of deployment based on the education level of the country.
a.. Allowing VoIP implementation will mean companies will be able to setup
up Call Centers, create employment, generate forex .So do the Math. If
Zimbabwe can have 100 call centers with with staffing of about 100 people
per call center we are looking at a take of employment figure of
100,000.Hosting a call center is unlike say chemical manufacturing where raw
materials have to be sourced always in hard currency. Service by call center
consists of in bound calls that hit the call center gateway. The agent
answers checks the info online via a computer and then takes the next call.
a.. Setting up a call center requires Internet Connection, computers for
agents, Call Center software and of course trained call agents.
a.. Outbound call centers - In this setup the call center is setup to dial
out as opposed to receiving calls.This is very much used by telemarketers
who want to sell their products and service by placing hundreds of calls
from their desktop using VoIP.
a.. Call Terminations and routing - Presently South Africa point is the
core transit point for both voice and data from the west to the east.
Terminating Void calls simply means
a.. Zimbabwe will host voice gateways and switches to process calls
(billions) from one side of the world to the other.
a.. Virtual numbers - Void makes it possible for people to have a
telephone number literally from any part of the world.Since the inception of
VoIP a decade ago , its has been possible for say myself living in New York
to have a London telephone number. So if I have lots of clients or family in
the UK but I live in the US - all I need is a UK Virtual number. My contacts
will call me on the UK number that will be routed over the internet (VoIP)
and will ring my specified destination in the US. So what? All it means that
my contacts in the UK are making a local call to a London number (cost) that
however rings my US number. The call has 3 legs. First leg is UK call to my
London number (local call), second leg is the call traversing the internet
to the US (www), the third and last leg is the US gateway ringing my local
New York number (local call).Now how can it be useful for Zimbabwe?
Easy.POTRAZ must come up with VoIP number to be allocated VoIP Providers.
Say Potraz may allocate 087 XXX XXX for VoIP numbers.Potraz can generate
hard currency. How? OK there are about 2 million Zimbabweans living in the
UK and US and Canada and SA etc.Of those in the UK and Americas 95 % are
internet savvy. So If I was Potraz I would sell these virtual numbers to
DIASPORIANS who want to lower the cost of keeping in touch with family back
in Zimbabwe? How? Say I buy a virtual number from a licensed VoIP provider
and my Zimbabwe number is say 087 300 3456.Now - my Zimbabwe contacts ,
business , and friends all have to dial my ZIm number (local call ) and that
call will be ring me in New York J So are we really serious that we have no
forex generation plans ? OK do the math. Multiply 1,000,000 virtual numbers
by just a setup up fee if $ 50 and a monthly service fee of $20.00 for say
1000 minutes. Do the Math 1,000,000 x $ 50 = $ 50,000,000 J almost what we
owe Mozambique for electricity and a monthly guaranteed revenue of about $
20,000,000 (USD) Damn maybe I should join PTC!
a.. Of course one needs high speed , reliable internet connections and
reliable back up power (Zesa).
a.. Creating competition - such aggressive technologies help in
cultivating competition. And the customer is always the winner. Too many
regulations stifle innovation and creativity. Naturally - established Telco
operators don't want VoIP in Zimbabwe as this will bring to their door step
a.. "African regulators have been reluctant to legalize VoIP, based on a
largely misguided attempt to protect the revenue base of the incumbent
fixed-line, and in some cases, mobile telcos, according to a report
commissioned by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The
report is titled " - An overview of VoIP regulation in Africa: policy
responses and proposals.
a.. Case in point already is an issue where Econet sued some company in
Harare for diverting its international traffic.I am not a legal expert but I
can tell you that those guys simply routed calls over the net and saved the
country of the scarce forex.If POTRAZ continues to ignore the VoIP calls
hundreds of "illegal" VoIP operators are springing up. So POTRAZ must move
and be decisive about this. By passing national operators is very easy - one
only requires a Linux box Asterisk, internet connection, SIM card and a
GSM/VoIP gateway. These entire one can but online and be routing calls from
US to Zimbabwe minus (Econet, Telone, and Telecel).
a.. My point is if VoIP is NOT enabled - creative people will be forced to
by pass the system. By passing the system is NOT what we preach and
encourage - but when I am left with no options to put forward a business
plan that will create employment in my country and generate fore for my
country - I might be left with very few options other that to mass deploy
"unauthorized" toll by pass for less than $ 200 cost wise.
If POTRAZ lacks technical expertise on how to go about this there hundreds
of Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe and abroad who know this VoIP inside out.
a.. This same VoIP technology is at use for IPTV - TV services delivered
over IP networks. Presently some of us watch ZBC/TV for free on the
internet - like a delayed broadcast. Now legalizing VoIP will set a proper
implementation tone where local providers like Newsnet or Radio from
Zimbabwe can charge a modest fee like $ 5.00 per month for accessing
programs. For instance Zimbabwe PSL soccer could generate interesting
revenues from the Diaspora. Bear in mind that the bulk of the revenue
generators are based outside Zimbabwe and as such are their income is an
independent variable of the state of the Zimbabwe economy. In a nutshell
enable VoIP technologies. Allow those who can create and provide services
for those in Diaspora and those at home. If indeed there is a genuine forex
in Zim , then it will be interesting in Potraz has a the big picture of
a.. SA 2010 - while everyone is busy preparing hotels and stadiums does
any one out there see an opportunity of Zimbabwe setting up world class call
centers based in Harare and Bulawayo to address all travel , safety , match
plans etc ? Hello ? A call center can be any where in the world the TOLL
FREE number assigned to it can be UK , US , France , Brazil number BUT the
call will be answered across the border in Zimbabwe about games info in SA.
Any one understands this ?
a.. POTRAZ your website does not reflect the crucial role you play in
regulating Telecoms and Internet .ALL the links don't work .Do something.
a.. Open up VoIP and stop being forex cry babies.
I await your questions and comments.
Robert Ndlovu (IT & Telecoms Consultant)
+ 1 408 480 8471
07 October 2007
Your Excellency; Mr. R.G Mugabe
Salutation; President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
the Chancellor of NUST
We, the students at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST)
would like to express our great concern on the state of Education in the
country. On the 12th of October 2007, you will be capping half baked
Graduands at the 13th Graduation Ceremony at NUST whom only attended
Lectures for less than 30% of their stipulated learning time. This was
because your Government's failure to address the multi-faceted
socio-economic and political crisis bedeviling our beloved Zimbabwe.
The learning environment is not conducive as students endure days without
meals, high tuition fees, accommodation shortage, lecturers exodus, shortage
of books and learning equipment. We would like to remind you that Library at
NUST is still under construction and the university is 25% complete 17 years
after its establishment. 2007 will be remembered as the year when students
just went for exams without learning as Lecturers were on strike.
We gravely concerned by your governments' treatment on student activists and
human rights defenders. Thousands of students are either expelled,suspended,
arbitrarily arrested, detained tortured or killed for demanding better
Education. Your Government has surpassed the fascist Smith regime in
violating human rights. This shocks us especially considering that your
Government came on the premise of liberating its people.
The country is at the cross roads.
Students' Union President
National University of Science and Technology
Robert Mugabe continues to keep the opposition off balance and divided, and
himself in power
PATRICIA TREBLE | October 8, 2007 |
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has a standard polemic when he talks about his
country's travails: blaming Western neo-colonial policies for the problems.
He was expected to trot out those clichés once again in his address to the
UN General Assembly on Wednesday, ignoring how his regime's erratic policies
have plunged his formerly well-off nation into despair. But he has a lot to
Zimbabwe's economy began imploding after Mugabe seized white-owned
commercial farms in 2000. His solution was to print money. The latest
inflation rate is 6,593 per cent, while the unofficial number tops 10,000
per cent. Stores were stripped of basic necessities after the government
introduced comically low price controls. Prime agricultural land handed out
to Mugabe cronies lies fallow, with predictions that more than a third of
the country will face food shortages. And even with 80 per cent
unemployment, the government is pressing ahead with a law forcing the few
firms still operating to transfer 51 per cent control to blacks.
Recent reports say that the 83-year-old president has made a few political
concessions to placate Zimbabwe's increasily concerned neighbours. The
nation's political parties, in talks mediated by South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki, have apparently agreed to create a truly independent electoral
commission for next year's elections. There is even a report that the deal
will allow everyone born in Zimbabwe to cast a ballot. If true, suffrage
would extend to the three million-plus citizens, many from the educated
middle class, who crossed crocodile-infested rivers to work illegally in
South Africa. But analysts worry that whatever the final deal looks like, it
will amount to little more than another way for Mugabe to keep the
opposition off balance and divided, and himself in power.
1. Estimated population in 2000: between 12.5 and 13 million
2. Current estimates indicate the population could be as low as 8 million
1. The world’s fastest shrinking economy
2. 1996 GDP growth of 10%; 200 GDP expected to decline by 12 per cent.
3. GDP shrank by 42% between 1998 and 2006
4. Exports: R 50 billion in 1997, R 9 billion in 2007
5. World's highest rate of inflation: 20% in 1997 now in excess of 5 000%, (The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe calculates the rate of inflation for June 2007 as more than 13 000% for an urban family of six). Private sector estimates put inflation at 22 000 per cent in October 2007.
6. World Bank: "The Zimbabwean economic meltdown is
the worst outside a
7. Fifth on the World Failed States Index after Somalia, North Korea etc.
8. Zimbabwe ranks last of 130 countries on the Fraser Institute’s Annual Economic Freedom of the World Report.
9. Zimbabwe is ranked 151 out of 177 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index
10. The Zimbabwe dollar was devalued in August 2006 by 60%, three zeros were removed from the currency and the new official exchange rate to the US$ was set at 250:1. The parallel market exchange rate has gone up from Z$1 500 in August 2006 to its current (mid-October 2007) rate of about Z$500 000.
11. During October 2007, the parallel market exchange
rate for one US$ reached Z$500 000.
Annual inflation rates in Zimbabwe
Industrial productivity is now below 30% of capacity
More than 5 000 executives, businessmen and managers have been arrested and fined for defying a government edict in June to slash all prices by around 50%.
In 1980 there were 102 diesel locomotive in operation on the National Railways; today there are just 11.
1. Up to 70% of commercial agriculture has been destroyed
2. Large-scale commercial maize (corn) production now accounts for less than 5% of the country’s total maize production.
3. Only an estimated 10% of the country's winter wheat crop had been planted due to shortages of fuel and fertilizer
4. National cereal production is down 44% on 2006.
5. The maize harvest estimate is 799 000 tonnes (46% down on 2006)
6. 2.1 million people (urban and rural) will require food aid from July 2007
7. 4.1 million people (urban and rural) will require food aid from January 2008
An estimated 150 000 former farm labourers are in need of food aid because they lost their livelihoods following the chaotic and violent take-over of the commercial farms
Zimbabwe has been named as one of the Global Hunger Hotspots by the World Food Programme.
1. Zimbabwe’s tourism industry was one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the country with an annual average growth rate of 18.5% (tourist arrivals) from 1989 to 1998.
2. Tourism receipts increased by an average annual growth rate of 25% over the same period. In 1998, the industry was estimated to be employing 180 000 people, both directly and indirectly.
3. Zimbabwe's revenues from tourism fell from US$700m (£375m) in 1999, to just US$60m in 2004.
Over 85% unemployment. The disruption of the business sector through chaotic price controls will further escalate unemployment levels.
Emigration / Brain Drain / Refugee Crisis
1. 75% of Zimbabweans with a job are employed outside their country.
2. 25% of all Zimbabweans are in political or
economic exile – the biggest proportional mass movement of a population in
peacetime ever in
3. Brain drain: In 2005, a study by the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) reported that close to 500 000 of Zimbabwe's "professional cream" had left in recent years to work abroad. However, the study noted that the figure could be a "gross under-estimation" of the real number of Zimbabwean workers in the diaspora.
4. Between 3,5 and 4,5 million Zimbabweans exiles are estimated to be in South Africa where the majority struggle to survive and send money and food home.
5. In July it was estimated that between 3 000 and 4 000 Zimbabweans are crossing into South Africa every day. This represents at least 100 000 people a month, far more than official South African estimates of 20 000 per month. Forced migration is accelerating at present (October 2007).
6. The International Organisation for Migration, which opened an office to assist deported Zimbabwean refugees on the northern side of the border, says the organisation is handling on average 17 000 deportees every month. It is estimates that more than 86 000 illegal immigrants were forcibly repatriated between January and May this year alone. (It is important to note that the figure of 17 000 per month excludes those refugees who have managed to evade the South African authorities).
7. The Registrar-General’s Office announced recently that the cost of an ordinary Zimbabwean passport has been hiked 29 990% to Z$150 000 from Z$500. A passport processed within 24 hours costs Z$1 million.
1. 45% of the population is malnourished, one of the highest rates in the world
2. At the end of 2006, the average minimum wage of
Zimbabwean workers was
only 16.6% of the Poverty Datum Line calculated at December 2006 levels
3. Four out of five Zimbabweans now live below the breadline.
1. Official statistics estimate that HIV/AIDS is
present in 24.6% of the adult population (2001), putting the country in the top
tier of all countries. That’s close to 1 in 4 people in Zimbabwe living with
2. However, HIV infection rates may be as high as 40% given that the population was an estimated 12.5 million in 2000, but more than 5 million Zimbabweans have fled the country.
3. Tuberculosis is common in all developing countries. However, Zimbabwe has a prevalence of over 100 cases per 100 000 population, the highest WHO risk category. In 1980 TB had virtually been eradicated in Zimbabwe.
4. Life expectancy for women is just 34 years
5. Life expectancy for men is just 37 years
6. Zimbabwe now has the highest number of orphans per capita in the world – in excess of 1.6 million.
7. AIDS-related deaths orphan another 350 children every single day.
8. Two thirds of female-headed households care for orphans and vulnerable children.
9. The healthcare sector is in virtual collapse. Estimated that over 40,000 Zimbabwe Nurses are working outside the country.
10. Number of doctors per 10 000 people: 1 (World
Health Organisation statistic 2006)
11. According to health ministry statistics in Zimbabwe, fewer than one in four posts for doctors is occupied
12. Four out of five of the district hospitals that serve rural areas have no doctors
13. Average deaths per week: 3 500. (This statistic may be much higher as deaths in rural areas are increasingly not reported and people either cannot afford the bus fare to take family members to hospital or see no point in doing so since hospitals and clinics have largely run out of drugs.)
14. British Medical Journal ranks Zimbabwe as worst in the world in terms of Health and placing Zimbabwe at bottom of WHO list of 191 nations.
Over 20 000 documented murders by the Zimbabwe government during the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland of the mid 1980s
1 in 10 people in Matabeleland over the age of 30 are survivors of torture
1 in 10 Zimbabweans now need psychological help
Tens of thousands of people of Malawian extraction, mainly farm workers have been forced out of the country
Internationally recorded human rights abuses (15 000 in eight years) up by 50% over last year
The victimisation of MDC leaders and activists has been ongoing and has intensified since 11 March 2007, with provincial and local activists affiliated to the MDC being specifically targeted. Victims of torture are being detained, denied access to medical attention and access to their lawyers because of their political affiliation and are afraid to seek medical attention for fear of further beatings.
By the end of September, as many as 500 MDC members had been seriously beaten up and tortured or, with the number of total individuals exceeding 900, since March 11th 2007.
1. Operation Murambatsvina (2005), the government’s ruthless programme to destroy largely informal urban homes and force people into the rural areas rendered more than 700 000 people left homeless or jobless.
2.4 million poor people were affected. (Statistics from UN report)
Operation Murambatsvina also resulted in the destruction of at least 32 500 small and micro-businesses across the country, creating a loss of livelihood for more than 96 600 people (mostly women).
1. Located 16 km north of Harare, Mugabe’s 25 en suite bedroom mansion is the size of a medium-sized hotel.
2. Building the mansion has cost in excess of US$ 26 million in a country where most people earn less than the equivalent of eleven dollars a month.
3. More than 2 000 bags of cement meant for the victims of Operation Murambatsvina were diverted to ongoing building operations at the Mugabe mansion.
4. This is the third luxury residence that Mugabe has built and the fifth he has owned since he came to power.
5. In 2003, Mugabe and his wife Grace also took over the magnificent Iron Mask farm in the Mazowe area from elderly white commercial farmers. The owners were given 48 hours to leave the property after a visit by Grace Mugabe, accompanied by police, soldiers and youth militia.
1. Over 80% of the wildlife on commercial farms and conservancies has been destroyed
2. The total losses of wildlife on private game ranches is estimated to be over 90%, a total of about 560 000 animals.
3. Prior to the so-called land reform programme, there were 15 conservancies. Today there are only two left of any consequence.
4. Poaching is endemic in the national parks.
5. The decimation of the gene pools of wildlife and domestic animals will impact on the country for generations.