One evening last week I received a desperate call from a ex work
mate of mine who had retired after a life time's service to the
various governments of this country. He had devoted his entire life to
the dedicated service of the people and livestock industry of
When I visited him last month his health was clearly
failing and he could barely get out of his chair to greet us. He was so happy
to see his old friends but when we left there were tears in his eyes
which reflected the desperate situation which people of his generation
are facing in their battle to survive in the harsh inflationary climate
He and his wife can only survive from the small donations
which his children manage to send from overseas. Of their five children only
two are (sometimes) in the same country. Such is the situation in
Zimbabwe today. All families have been forced to seek refuge and security
for their own families in many countries around the world. Although
living so far apart they are still very close. But for those remaining
the distance from their families hurts very deeply, because had there
been responsible governance in Zimbabwe this bombshelling of families
would never have occurred.
My friend's generation were the very people
who should be admired and thanked. They were the people who built most of the
infrastructure of the land of their birth. Whilst we may respect their
arduous and visionary work and show our appreciation it would appear that
there is also a plan to encourage them to "pack up and go", just as there
has been for the white commercial farming, business and industry
How many times has this been stated publicly at burials at
Heroes Acre, and various other State ceremonies? "We will bring the white
man down by removing his power and his wealth".
There seems to be so
much concern over the negative influence of the few remaining white voters,
that even the pensioners appear to be on the political and ethnic cleansing
The phone call from my friend was a desperate call. He can no
longer drive and has to rely on the services of a few good friends.
However, like the true gentleman which he is he does not abuse
anybody's generosity, and always feels he is burdening them. Anyway, his
wife was taken to the doctor by a friend. When she got there she was
told that her (government) medical aid had been stopped and they could
not assist her.
This family depends on their medical aid at this time
of frailty in their aging lives.
Their government pension has not been
paid since January this year. Nor have government paid their medical aid
contributions (which they were not aware of). They have tried working through
all avenues without success, except baseless promises from the relevant
minister. They have now had to appeal to family for contributions to help
with their medical aid payments. If their family are able to assist
they will be lucky.
On the surface it would appear that this cessation
of payments to pensioners by government appears to be only affecting white
people. I have checked with a black friend who is a government pensioner. He
is still receiving a regular pension payment and in fact has had
an increase recently which included a huge amount of back payment.
this just another form of ethnic cleansing against the remaining white
population in Zimbabwe?
The writer, a
Zimbabwean resident, has granted permission to distribute and publish
Business Reporter INNSCOR Africa Limited says the foods sector
(Zimbabwe Division) was severely affected by declining disposable incomes
and price increases during the past year ended 30 June 2004.
emanated mainly from rapidly escalating input costs, which resulted in lower
Innscor realised a growth of 762 percent in turnover and
489 percent in operating profit in historical cost terms.
the group's strategic investment in local wheat and the favourable
productive sector financing enabled its bakery business to produce bread at
more affordable prices and maintain the prices to the consumer.
addition, the fast foods business focused on sourcing key raw materials as
cheaply as possible, with the benefits being passed on to the customers
resulting in significant volume recoveries.
The board declared a
dividend of $15 per share during the period under review, bringing the total
dividend for the year to $22.
The group intends to reconstitute itself
into an integrated model of four distinct operational zones namely:
agro-processing, food manufacture, intellectual property and distribution
"This will allow management to maximise the benefits that can
be derived from all the available synergies existing within the expanded
The group also acquired a 30,63 percent stake
in Colcom holdings limited through the purchase of shares and subsequent to
the year end Innscor acquired a further 12 percent through underwriting
Colcom's rights issue.
HARARE, Sept. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe's poverty
datum line has increased to 1.4 million Zimbabwean dollars (about 250 US
dollars),the New Ziana reported on Sunday.
Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) was quoted as saying that figures for August this
year showed that a family of six now requires 1,400,386 Zimbabwean dollars a
month for basic needs. Previously the same family needed 1.2 million
Zimbabwean dollars (about 214 US dollars).
The CCZ said the
basket figure has increased from the July figure due to increases noted in
food such as margarine, fresh milk, cooking oil, bread, salt, meat among
others. "We have noted that there has been a wave of increases of basic
commodities in July and August 2004 and hope that the increases along with
the recent rise in fuel will not derail the fight against inflation," said
More than 65 percent of Zimbabweans are living below
the poverty datum line. The consumer watchdog said it has noted with
concern, that some retailers were engaged in profiteering.
The government has since identified inflation as the number one public enemy
in the country.
In line with this, the fiscal and monetary
policies during the first half of the year have been targeted at inflation,
to bring it down from over 620 percent at the end of last year to below 200
percent by December this year.
Presenting the mid-term
fiscal policy review statement in July,Acting Minister of Finance and
Economic Development Herbert Murerwa said "while the process of taming
inflation involves much suffering on the part of public, notable benefits
are being achieved on this front."
"This should, however not
lull us into a false sense of security. Much more fiscal consolidation and
monetary policy tightening will be required for us to realize our set
targets," said Murerwa.
However, disposable incomes for low
earners will improve from this month after the government increased tax
bands from 200,000 Zimbabwean dollars (about 35.7 US dollars) to 750,000
Zimbabwean dollars (about 133.7 US dollars). Enditem
Parliament: Zim opposition's last hope September
By Tim Hughes
'What Mugabe can't control he
makes irrelevant," observed a leading Harare economist recently. Perhaps
this explains the claim that its parliament is Zimbabwe's most democratic
But with debate about popular strategies and tactics
for the 2005 parliamentary elections intensifying, the role, effectiveness
and relevance of parliament is under scrutiny. Does parliament
Zimbabwean opposition parties operate under two handicaps:
a tyrannical legislative and security environment, and a loaded constitution
that raises the threshold of victory to 76 out of 120 electoral seats, as 30
MPs are appointed by the executive.
The Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has consequently laid down a gauntlet of sorts by setting
pre-conditions for participation in next year's electoral process. But it is
certain that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF will not entertain the MDC's
Challenged to say whether parliament plays any role other
than constitutionally legitimising an increasingly repressive state, some
opposition MPs point to the space the institution still affords for open and
free debate, for questions, motions, protests, petitions and to hold the
executive to account. Indeed since 1997 the Zimbabwe Parliament has
undergone a series of progressive reforms that have improved the functioning
of the institution as well as public engagement with it. These include
establishment of parliamentary constituency information centres, a
parliamentary outreach programme and proposals to include governance as part
of the school curriculum.
Since 2000, parliamentary portfolio
committee meetings have been open to the public and the cynical practice of
fast-tracking bills through parliament without adequate public hearings,
debate and committee review has been curtailed.
fissures within the Zanu-PF parliamentary caucus have occasionally emerged
in debates within the historic chamber. One notorious occasion saw the
Speaker of Parliament effectively "whip" a Zanu-PF member, asking in him to
clarify on "which side" he was debating. In the quieter recesses of the
parliamentary tea room, Zanu-PF MPs have also expressed their concerns over
the immorality of repressive legislation and policies conceived in the
presidency, central committee and politburo of the ruling
Yet while Zimbabwean parliamentary reforms are laudable,
the emaciated Zimbabwean governance and civil rights horse bolted the stable
years ago. Little further legislation is required by the state in its war
against democracy. The Public Order and Security Act (Posa) is a political
gill net that ensnares all opposition indiscriminately.
Posa demands that the police give written prior approval for all "political"
meetings, obliging opposition and civil society organisations to submit to
the questionable arbitration of the local police commander, or to defy the
law. The legislation even makes it a crime for consumers to gather to
protest high food prices. Worse is to come. If passed in its current form,
the Non-Governmental Organisation Bill slated to be tabled in October will
become a legislative weapon of mass destruction, laying waste to civil
society activism in Zimbabwe.
The MDC has now tacitly
acknowledged that it cannot win the 2005 Parliamentary elections under
current conditions. Furthermore, the MDC is painfully aware that wherever it
contests an election, or by-election, its members and supporters are treated
de facto as enemies of the state and subjected to harassment, intimidation,
torture and occasionally murder.
And despite its substantial
numerical presence in the Zimbabwean parliament, the MDC has been unable to
amend, still less block, the passage of draconian legislation.
All of these curtailments on democratic freedom lead to the existential
question: is the MDC's continued participation in parliament perversely
legitimising statutory repression? The alternatives it faces are stark:
withdraw from parliament, boycott the 2005 elections, adopt violent and
non-violent struggle tactics and perhaps establish a "government in
Should the MDC withdraw from parliament and not contest
the elections, it will highlight the illegitimacy of the elections and
Before making any final decision on withdrawing from
parliament and elections, the MDC needs to demonstrate its own democratic
credentials and take the debate to its members and seek a fresh mandate for
action. After all, in 2000 and 2002 the MDC received a substantial mandate,
at great personal cost to many of its millions of supporters, to oppose the
ruling party and its president in the formal political arena.
The decision to participate or boycott will have crucial consequences for
the struggle for democracy. The opposition would do well to consider not
only what its rank-and-file would prefer, but also what its opponents would
relish. Parliament still offers the opposition in Zimbabwe a rare, protected
and relatively democratic site of struggle. It should be expanded, not
Tim Hughes is Parliamentary Research Fellow of the
South African Institute of International Affairs and recently returned from
research in Zimbabwe.
Masai invaders target last white farmers By David Blair in
Laikipia (Filed: 13/09/2004)
From the ridge that cuts through Loisaba
ranch, golden savannah stretches as far as a shimmering vision of Mount
Kenya's jagged, snow-capped peak.
The rugged bush of this immense
plateau, teeming with every variety of African wildlife, is the setting for
a growing confrontation between Kenya's last white farmers and thousands of
Masai and Samburu tribesmen who claim their land.
Clad in blazing
red, these tribesmen say Britain cheated them out of their land in a treaty
100 years ago. They are now mounting Zimbabwe-style farm
Last month, Tom Silvester, the farmer of Loisaba ranch,
watched as hundreds of spear-wielding Samburu warriors drove a column of at
least 5,000 cattle on to his land, seeking to reclaim it as their
The tribesmen massed on a large rock beside the Ewaso Nyiro river
and tested the depth of the brown waters before herding their animals across
the narrow channel marking Loisaba's boundary. Mr Silvester, 36, called for
police help and, in sharp contrast to the plight of white farmers in
Zimbabwe, the response was immediate. Eighty officers deployed on his ranch,
backed by a helicopter, and drove the Samburu off Loisaba.
like warfare," said Mr Silvester. "They were trying to push the cattle in as
far as they could and we were trying to push them back."
white-owned farms in Laikipia district were then invaded and five are still
occupied by thousands of Masai cattle and herdsmen. Police have moved
against the tribesmen in force, sparking violent clashes. One Masai, Ntinai
ole Moiyare, 70, has been shot dead.
Amos Kimunya, the lands minister,
has pledged his backing for the farmers, saying: "As a government, we are
committed to the rule of law and protection of private property."
landowners fear a rising tide of Masai bitterness. "There is an emergence of
a radical group of Masai leaders, with an education and political ambitions
and they see their people suffering," said Mr Silvester.
invasion of Mr Silvester's farm came on the centenary of the Anglo-Masai
treaty that tribal leaders have turned into a cause celebre. They claim the
1904 agreement between the British and Lenana, the Masai paramount chief,
gave Laikipia's white farmers a 100-year lease.
"We have been quiet for
100 years," said Moses Olio Sakian, from Osiligi, a Masai campaign group.
"But now the 100 years has come to an end and we want our land
Yet this interpretation flies in the face of the treaty's text.
The word "lease" does not appear, nor is there any mention of a time limit.
Instead of removing the Masai from Laikipia, the treaty gave them the legal
right to settle in the area in place of their previous home in the Rift
It was a later treaty, signed in 1911, that opened-up Laikipia
for white farmers and moved the Masai to southern Kenya. This also has no
mention of leases or time limits.
But the Masai point to the huge
tracts of land owned by Laikipia's white farmers. Just 38 huge ranches, 27
of them white-owned, cover 2,700 square miles.
300,000 people are crammed on to the remaining 3,300 square miles. The
Masai, with about 45,000 head of cattle, have only 1,200 square
In practice, the herdsmen range well beyond Laikipia, roaming over
a huge area stretching down the Rift Valley and deep into neighbouring
Tanzania. But overgrazing and Kenya's rising population has stripped this
With the onset of the dry season last month, the Masai must
find fresh pasture for their herds. The plentiful grazing of the white-owned
farms is hugely tempting.
Mr Silvester's Masai neighbours reap all
the profits from a game lodge that he runs on their land. He is building a
primary school for Masai children and runs bursaries allowing them secondary
education. Loisaba employs 155 people and, including their relatives, some
1,550 black Kenyans depend on its success.
For as long as the Masai
continue to be herdsmen and their population continues to rise, Kenya's last
white farmers must hope the police remain as stalwart as they are today.
Excerpt from Talking Sport: By Donald
Trelford (Filed: 13/09/2004)
WHY, after the implosion of Zimbabwe
cricket, are England still planning to send a team there in
The country has had its Test match status suspended after its
best white players marched out in protest at political interference in team
So now we can only play one-day internationals of dubious
quality (as we saw at Edgbaston on Saturday).
An inquiry into racism
in the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (president: Robert Mugabe) has been ordered by
the International Cricket Council. There have been allegations about
undeclared payments to officials. And the ZCU refused to meet Malcolm Speed,
the ICC's chief executive, when he turned up on their doorstep.
moral case for not going at all was argued forcefully in a paper prepared by
Des Wilson for the England and Wales Cricket Board at the beginning of the
year. The board's stance was widely welcomed by the press.
The ECB backed
off after the chairman was ambushed at an ICC meeting in New Zealand in
March, where he was told that England risked suspension from international
cricket if they didn't go and might not be hosts for the Champions
The threat of suspension always looked doubtful in law and the
ECB looked craven in retreating before a shot had been fired.
understand it, the ECB's position was, and presumably remains: we don't want
to go, we think we shouldn't go, but we'll have to go or face financial
ruin. But is that true any longer? The Champions Trophy is already taking
place and Speed said in a recent interview that suspension was only " a
As Wilson told a cricket writers' dinner, it was
one thing for the ICC to adopt a policy of moral indifference to tyrannical
regimes: it was another to use tyrannical methods themselves to enforce
their indifference on those who don't share it. The ICC should not have
dismissed the ECB's case as mere moral bleating when the governments of the
cricketing nations involved - Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa,
India, Pakistan, the West Indies and Kenya - had already voted to expel
Mugabe from the Commonwealth.
I think we should call the ICC's bluff.
After all, they bluffed us in the first place. The moral case is even
stronger than it was in March and now there are also powerful cricketing
reasons for not going.
Does anyone seriously believe that South Africa
and Australia would support a ban on England when they are both about to
play mouth-watering, money-spinning series against our resurgent team? I
don't think so.
By Jeffrey Gogo ROYAL
Bank Limited, currently under curatorship, is in urgent need of liquid cash
to prop up its present negative cash position ahead of the September 30
deadline for banks or it may be forced to go under.
The bank is now
scouting for prospective investors. Commercial banks would be required to a
have a minimum capital of $10 billion starting from the close of this month,
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has stipulated.
Royal Bank curator Mr
Robert McIndoe said it was crucial that the bank obtained funds
"The bank has a significant liquidity deficit and I am making
efforts to resolve this through several initiatives," he said last
"We are committed to re-opening the bank as soon as possible and
are currently in discussions with several potential investors who have
expressed interest in investing in Royal Bank, which is currently under
The RBZ has since made it clear that institutions which
fail to meet the new capital requirements will have to wind down their
operations or perhaps clearly explain their position to the
Mr McIndoe last week met Reserve Bank officials to discuss
the bank's way forward, probably trying to entice them to have the bank
remain in operation after September 30.
But details of this meeting
could not be obtained at the time of going to press.
deadline just two weeks away, it remains to be seen where Royal Bank would
head after the banks' September D-Day.
Already, the curator has engaged
in the disposal of some of the bank's assets in a bid to raise the
Analysts say this is something Mr McIndoe really
needs to do in case investors, who are most likely to adopt a 'hands off'
attitude from Royal Bank, are not forthcoming.
The curator said "some
of the initiatives engaged to raise capital include the selling of surplus
properties, sale and leaseback of branches, cost reduction and the reduction
of debts owing to the bank.
"I urge all borrowers from the bank to make
concerted efforts to settle their balances on loans and overdrafts as soon
"This is a crucial step towards improving our cash flows,
and most importantly, releasing portions of frozen funds to
Previously, Royal was said to be engaged in talks with an
unnamed partner for a possible merger.
The proposed marriage, yet to
materialise or may never had become necessary as with most other banks,
which were in serious solvency constraints, who had to pool together their
financial resources to remain afloat.
Royal Bank is the latest addition
to the growing list of financial institutions to be placed under the
management of a curator by the RBZ.
Problems at the bank were unearthed
during Royal's mudslinging with First Mutual Limited (FML) early last
It emerged that the two firms had been engaged in serious
underhand dealings dating back to last year, which left the bank in negative
cash position. Resultantly, Royal Bank was placed under curatorship while an
overseer was also appointed to investigate and run affairs at FML.
Reporter THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is issuing US$10 million worth of
one year bonds sought to mobilise foreign currency for the country's
critical import requirements.
"The Reserve Bank hereby invites
resident and non-resident Zimbabweans, as well as other interested foreign
investors, to subscribe for the 1 year foreign currency bonds," said the RBZ
in a statement.
Minimum subscription amounts for the bonds, said, the
central bank, should not be less than US$100 and should be in multiples of
US$100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10 000.
Ostensibly, the RBZ is
seeking to shore up reserves to augment other foreign currency generating
initiatives so far put in place.
Already, several strategic measures to
harness foreign currency have been implemented, chief among these were the
Homelink for Zimbabweans living abroad, invigoration of the country's export
base and campaigns from outside to motivate Zimbabweans to remit their
earnings back home.
From the denominations, added the central bank,
investors are free to choose denominations or multiples thereof.
offer opened on Thursday last week and will close on Wednesday next
"Interest on the bonds shall be 12 months LIBOR plus a six
percent margin, payable on maturity at the Reserve Bank in Harare by bank
draft or through telegraphic transfer to the credit of a bank of the bond
holder or his/her nominee," the Reserve Bank stressed.
for London Inter Bank Offer Rate.
Special features of the bonds include
RBZ guarantee, bond redeemable/payable on maturity, full settlement of
principal plus interest to be made in US dollars and the fact that the bonds
are freely tradable among investors.
In this regard, only the final
investor or bond holder who presents the bond for payment at the Reserve
Bank will be paid the face value of the bond plus interest.
central bank said the bond and interest there on, and are payable out of the
general foreign currency reserves and assets of the Reserve Bank of
Prospective investors can submit applications through their
authorised dealers or registered money transfer agents in Zimbabwe and
notification of successful applications would be done through the
Payment for the bonds, said RBZ, should be effected through bank
drafts or telegraphic transfers. Bank overdrafts should be made payable to
the Reserve Bank while telegraphic transfer should be through authorised
dealers or money transfer agencies.
In turn, the amount due to an
investor's will be payable by the Reserve Bank through telegraphic transfers
via the investors' designated authorised dealers.
Although there has
been a relatively satisfactory response to the measures put to mobilise
foreign exchange, it has been realised that demand for foreign exchange has
continued to out-strip supply.
It is could be in light of these shortages
that the central bank continues to be innovative in its endeavour to ensure
adequate supply of hard currency.
Foreign currency requirements for
the country have largely been for importation of electricity, basic health
equipment and drugs as well as the conversion of the country's short-term
debt into loan term liability among other obligations.
SADC leaders have indicated support for the opposition demands on
the government to implement regional poll guidelines before the March 2005
general elections, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president,
Morgan Tsvangirai, told a rally in Harare yesterday.
Business came to
a standstill in the suburb as more than 10 000 people converged on Zimbabwe
Grounds in Highfield, which have a rich background of nationalist
Addressing a colourful crowd during the MDC's fifth
anniversary, Tsvangirai said: "SADC leaders have written to me saying they
support the stance that the MDC has taken on the full implementation of the
SADC Protocol on Principles and Guidelines Governing Elections before we can
participate in next year's general elections.
"SADC and the
international community now agree that an election without violence and
intimidation is a right for every Zimbabwean. SADC understands and agrees
that Zimbabwe needs a new beginning."
Tsvangirai did not name the SADC
leaders, who have indicated their support for his party.
must make use of that window of opportunity to correct the anomalies in our
electoral system, identified and set right in Mauritius by SADC. He must
show us and demonstrate to the region that he is willing to move and embrace
the spirit of Mauritius."
Tsvangirai said the past five years had seen
the MDC go through the anguish of murder, rape, beatings, electoral fraud
The MDC had improved its organizational structures over
the past five years.
"Our party has grown to impressive levels. The party
has 12 functioning provinces and 120 districts, complete with elected
representatives. Our head office in Harare is the busiest political office
in Zimbabwe, complete with a variety of departments dealing in
administration, legal matters, organizing, social welfare, security and
information and publicity."
Supporters demanded he addresses them on
soccer. He did not disappoint.
"Zimbabwean soccer needs to be rebuilt
over a five-year period, otherwise we will continue to be
The MDC leader said despite having earlier embarked on an
anti-white crusade, he was astounded that senior people in Zanu PF had
swamped triple Olympic medal winner, Kirsty Coventry. He called this
The arrival of NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku who was
arrested by police last week was met with a standing ovation. Madhuku spoke
on the need for constitutional reform.
Suspended Harare Executive
mayor, Elias Mudzuri's entrance also brought proceedings to a standstill
with supporters chanting: "Mayor!Mayor! Mayor!"
The MDC believes the
government will implement the SADC protocol on electoral guidelines just
before the March 2005 parliamentary elections in the hope of surprising the
Tsvangirai said based on this belief, his party is going
ahead with preparations for next year's general elections, but will only
participate if the SADC electoral guidelines are implemented.
has embarked on a massive campaign programme.
Addressing thousands of
supporters who thronged Mkoba Stadium in Gweru last Sunday, Tsvangirai said:
"We are pressing ahead with preparations for next year's elections because
we don't want a situation where Zanu PF will implement the SADC Protocol on
elections a few weeks before elections and catch us unawares."
SADC Protocol among other requirements calls for equal access to the public
media and freedom for all political parties to campaign.
He said the MDC
was establishing structures around the country and called for a concerted
Chinese businessmen evading duties, says local exporters'
body By Emmanuel Mungoshi
MANY Chinese, Pakistan and Nigerian traders
in the country are breaching the Exchange Control Act through tax and duty
evasion and illegal foreign currency dealings, Standard Business has been
Zimbabwe Importers and Exporters Association (ZIEA) chairman
Leonard Nyamutsamba said their investigations had revealed that very few
containers of imported goods from China, for instance, were paying
"The containers are being declared as goods in transit to
either Zambia or Namibia. The currency declaration forms (CD1) are then sent
to the respective boarder posts where they are stamped to make it seem as if
the containers crossed into those countries," alleged Nyamutsamba.
said their probe had also revealed that some Nigerian businessmen were
working with corrupt Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials to allow
cellphones and accessories into the country without paying duty. He said the
scam was rampant at the Harare International Airport.
Most of the
foreigners committing the crimes were coming into Zimbabwe either as
investors or tourists but quickly transformed themselves into small traders
once they get admitted into the country.
"We do not hate the Chinese,
neither does our government. What we do not want is the way they are abusing
the system. They should set up industries to make the toys and umbrellas
here. Not to turn Zimbabwe into a dumping ground for Chinese substandard
products," said Nyamutsamba.
The Chief Immigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi
did not respond to written questions sent to his office by Standard
Business. Efforts to get comment from ZIMRA were also fruitless as its
corporate communications manager was reported to be out of office the whole
Police strip women in search of cash By Nyasha
IN a desperate move to stop the externalisation of local and
foreign currency, police at Chirundu Border post are stripping off
travellers, mainly women, in search of cash.
Several cross border
traders who spoke to The Standard last week told harrowing tales of inhumane
treatment at the hands of police who suspect they are smuggling both local
and foreign currency out of Zimbabwe.
The women claimed the searches
extended to private parts of their bodies.
"Twenty four years down the
line when we think we are free, we are treated like dogs by our own police.
We would understand if it were the Zambian police, not our own," said an
angry female cross border trader.
"All we are trying to do is make a
living. Some of us have to look after orphans. Most of us are widowed," said
a disgruntled woman in her late 40s.
She recounted an incident she said
occurred on 19 August when all female passengers were asked to surrender
their passports before being led into an office.
"We were in groups
of about 12. We were asked to strip while they searched our bodies for
money. They thoroughly searched our clothes as well," said one woman who
She claimed male passengers were searched at random,
without being asked to strip.
"We wonder where they got the directive
to strip people. But whoever gave them the orders is barbaric. We do not
mind being searched but not to the extent of remaining in your birthday suit
in front of several passengers and police officers," said a female passenger
on a Chigubu bus.
During a visit to Chirundu border post on Monday The
Standard found that police and officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
(Zimra), were cracking down on travellers suspected of attempting to cross
the border with both local and foreign currency.
The crew witnessed
two women being detained. They were suspected of concealing
While their fate could not be verified, several cross border
traders said it was normal police practice to conduct thorough body searches
after detaining them. The body searches started a few weeks
Police and Zimra officials only allow travellers leaving Zimbabwe to
carry $100 000 and foreign currency not exceeding US$1 000.
border traders say the $100 000, when converted to Zambian currency, is
about 60 000 Kwacha, which they say is inadequate for their
They also said they needed cash to pay for
"When we come back from Zambia we are charged at lot of money
(duty), at one time I was asked to pay $700 000 for three pairs of shoes.
How do they expect us to pay that kind of money if we cross with only $100
000," said one angry woman from Mufakose.
"What's worrying is that we
never get receipts for the money they collect. The truth is they don't pay
the money to the state, because one police officer was boasting of making
over a million a day from the money she confiscated," said another
In a normal situation Zimra officials are supposed to issue
receipts for money confiscated which would be used when claiming the
"It's also useless trying to get a ceaser form from those guys,
because you will never get the money back. We tried to claim some money
through lawyers and nothing came out of it," said a conductor whose bus
plies the Zambia - Harare route.
Contacted for comment Police
spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, said police would not stop any searches
because of allegations against them.
"We won't stop carrying out searches
because of allegations being made. We have done this before and arrested
people, so there is nothing new. However, we will give regard to human
dignity and allow women police officers to search women," Bvudzijena
Zimbabwe challenges fund's decision By Bertha
ZIMBABWE has appealed against a decision by the Global Fund to deny
the country Aids funds in the fourth round of proposals and now awaits the
board's final say on the matter, The Standard has learnt. Zimbabwe applied
for about US$381 million for use in combating three killer diseases - Aids,
tuberculosis and malaria but the proposal failed in what was considered a
The Global Fund has, however, maintained that its
rejection of Zimbabwe's proposal is purely on "technical
Health and Child Welfare Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa,
said the appeal was procedural and the government was now looking at other
ways of sourcing funds.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the government was
convinced that the rejection of Zimbabwe's proposal was
"The most important thing and the reason why we appealed is
that it is procedural and we are concerned about the number of the people
dying because of lack of treatment.
"We wrote excellent proposals to
the Global Fund with the help of experts from the United Nations, World
Health Organisation and numerous other health experts and we know we had a
"It is unfortunate that the Global Fund board does not
see it this way. Aids is a humanitarian crisis and it is inhuman and cruel
to deny innocent lives treatment for political reasons."
Parirenyatwa said the government has resolved to mobilise resources for
treatment and prevention programmes from inside the country, while the
Global fund "take their sweet time deciding what to do with
"We can't let innocent lives die in the meantime. We have
resolved as government to use our own funds to assist our own people.
Government will allocate us some money and we are going to tap into the
National Aids Trust Fund," Parirenyatwa said.
"We will rely on
ourselves to mobilise funds because we have no choice and it is encouraging
that the foreign currency supply situation in the country is improving by
the day. It will certainly come in handy."
Zimbabwe has one of the
highest HIV prevalence rates in the world and the disapproval of its
application was deadly blow to its plans to provide Aids treatment to its
more than 1,8 million people living with Aids.
The bulk of the US$218
applied for Aids was intended to go towards rolling out of a full scale Anti
Retroviral programme in the country.
The United Nations in Zimbabwe has
welcomed the appeal and urged everyone to respect the appeal
"The UN was disappointed that the Board of the Global Fund to
Fight, AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) did not approve the country's
Fourth Round proposals.
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian
Coordinator in Zimbabwe, Victor Angelo said: "We welcome the appeal that has
been submitted by Zimbabwe. We now must respect the appeal process and await
restrain Chombo from meddling in the affairs of Harare By our own
THE Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) has filed an
urgent High Court application seeking an order compelling the
Registrar-General's office to hold elections for the executive mayor of
Harare within 60 days.
The application, filed on August 26, also
seeks to interdict the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, Igna-tius Chombo, from "interfering in any manner" with
the conduct of the elections of the executive mayor of Harare.
first respondent shall immediately give notice in accordance with section
102 (1) of the Electoral Act and take all such other steps as may be
necessary to have elections to fill the vacancy of executive mayor of Harare
within sixty days of the granting of this order," reads the
In the application, the Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede,
is cited as the first respondent, Chombo (second), acting Harare mayor
Sekesai Makwavarara (third), the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa (fourth), while dismissed Harare
mayor, Elias Mudzuri is listed as the fifth respondent.
application, filed by Michael Davies, the chairman of CHRA also seeks to
have Mudede avail the voters' roll of Harare for public inspection in
accordance with the Electoral Act (section 113 F).
therefore submit that the elections for the office of executive mayor are
overdue, more specifically because the Deputy Mayor's term of office has
also expired, the second respondent has prevented the conduct of an election
of a mayor or of a deputy mayor," reads the application.
application says Chombo should only give directions of a general character
as to the policy that the council should observe in the exercise of its
functions and the directions must be in the national
"Surprisingly, the second respondent has ignored that his role
is to give general directions but has interfered in the running of the
affairs of the city council," reads the application.
In May this
year, Chombo fired 19 MDC councillors after they declined to take orders
from him. One of the orders barred them from holding elections. Another 22
MDC councillors resigned two weeks ago, citing frustration by the
Apart from the expulsion of the 19 councillors, Chombo is
also accused of appointing a de facto commission to assist in the running of
the affairs of Harare.
In April this year, Chombo appointed a
commission headed by Jameson Kurasha to run the operations of Harare City
"This is an extra expense to the residents from which they
derive no benefit because their elected representatives have been
sidelined," says the application.
The application says costs of
application shall be borne by the respondents.
Joseph Mandizha, the
lawyer for the respondents told The Standard that they had already filed
opposing papers in the High Court.
"We are opposing the application on
the basis that Mudede and Chombo cannot play any meaningful role in the
elections since there is a pending case in which Mudzuri is challenging his
dismissal in the courts," Mandizha said.
Chombo dismissed Mudzuri, who
was elected executive Harare mayor on a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
ticket, over alleged mismanagement "leading to the decline in service
Cash-strapped Mutare sells property By our own
MUTARE - The city council, reeling under a financial crisis
precipitated by a rate freeze imposed by the Zanu PF government, has sold
one of its properties, Sofie House, to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) for
About three months ago, Ignatius Chombo, the Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, ordered Mutare city
council to suspend, with immediate effect, its current budget arguing the
rates were too high for the residents.
His order came hot on the
heels of a two-week demonstration by ruling Zanu PF activists at the Civic
Centre demanding executive mayor Misheck Kagurabadza's
Kagurabadza told The Standard that following the sale, the
council would now be able to pay off debts to some service providers as well
as paying workers a promised salary increase.
"Before the budget
freeze we entered into agreement with various stakeholders on the mode of
payment. All that was made impossible by the minister's order. We had also
promised a salary hike to workers staggered three times during the course of
the year and a breach of that was going to see us in some problems,"
He said proceeds from the sale of Sofie House, which is
used by the ZNA as a hospital, would help in clearing council
About three years ago the council and the ZNA, then a tenant, were
locked in a protracted dispute over the latter's refusal to pay
The army insisted they were a government department and therefore
supposed to stay for free, despite the contract that entitled them to pay
rentals. The ZNA, who were nearly evicted from the building, eventually paid
LOBENGULA-Magwegwe Member of Parliament, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, who
last month was acquitted of charges of murdering war veterans leader Cain
Nkala, says Zanu PF will never get away with the torture and suffering they
put him through. In an exclusive interview with The Standard Dulini-Ncube
spoke of his arrest, interrogation and subsequent incarceration for a crime
he knew full well he did not commit.
Dulini-Ncube of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the trauma he went through after
being accused of murdering Nkala was a calculated political move by Zanu PF
to "discredit and bury" him as a legislator and the MDC as a
The legislator said despite a strong alibi that he was not in
Bulawayo at the time of the murder of Nkala and "ample evidence" exonerating
him; the police manufactured evidence during their
This, he said, was intended to frame him.
was arrested in November 2001, the police and CIO (Central Intelligent
Organisation) alleged that sometime in February I had addressed a meeting at
my house in Hillcrest where I urged party supporters to kill all Zanu PF
activists and war veterans," Dulini-Ncube said.
"There was no address, no
street of where the meeting had taken place. I told them I did not stay in
Hillcrest but in Hillside. They changed their statement and now alleged that
the meeting had taken place at my office in Bulawayo.
"This is when I
discovered that there was a catch and that the police were playing mind
games with me. They were seeking to create the impression that I was working
against war veterans before the murder of Nkala and therefore build a case
Dulini-Ncube said after the interrogation he was detained
for three days, in conditions he described as "filthy and
He appeared in court on the fourth day and was remanded in
custody and put in solitary confinement at Khami prison, in Bulawayo, where
his health began to deteriorate.
Despite the doctor's instructions
stressing a strictly diabetic diet for Dulini-Ncube, prison officials
ignored the legislator's dietary requirements.
In less than five days
in prison, the MDC legislator says his sugar levels shot up and because his
eye ointment had run out, his eye condition worsened.
condition began deteriorating the prison doctor came to see me and promised
to prescribe a diabetic diet for me and medication for my eye.
only 10 days later that I was served with brown bread and milk but I was
already seriously ill. I thought I would die."
Dulini-Ncube said he then
pestered the prison officials to take some blood samples and get a second
opinion about his condition from Mpilo central hospital. They finally
"The results were supposed to come out after two days but prison
officials withheld them. Instead, a life support machine was brought into my
room. Thereafter, I went into a comma.
"They knew my condition was
serious and that I needed hospitalisation to stop me from going into a comma
but they could not release me to get medical attention. Instead, they
prepared for my condition to worsen by bringing in the machine.
result of failing health, Dulini-Ncube bail's application was approved and
immediately after his release he was admitted to Mater Dei hospital in
Bulawayo. His condition was so serious that he lost his right
Even as things looked bleak, the consolation was he was out of
prison and in hospital, recuperating. But his joy was
Dulini-Ncube was indicted and the case was moved to the High
Court in Harare and this meant his bail was set aside.
came for me in hospital and insisted on locking me up in defiance of
A few days after the indictment, Dulini-Ncube's
application for bail was approved. Then began the trial in which he pleaded
not guilty. The ordeal ended two years later with an acquittal of the MP and
his five co-accused.
But is it over? Is it possible for the MP to move on
with life, The Standard asked. "No!," the MDC legislator says
"When I think of the unwarranted stay in prison, the legal
fees, the psychological and emotional trauma my family and I went through
over a crime I did not commit, I feel angry. I just want to breakdown and
"I lost an eye. My health has deteriorated and since my release
from prison I have not fully recovered.
"I was unfairly treated for
unfair reasons - victimised for joining the MDC. I am certainly slowly
picking up the pieces and when I am on my feet again I am going to take
legal action. No one who had a part in this will get away with it," vows
Four MDC councillors defy order to resign By Caiphas
AT least four Harare City councillors from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have defied the opposition party's
order to resign from the council en masse in protest against Zanu PF's
interference in the running of the council affairs, The Standard has
By Friday, the four councillors had not resigned although
the MDC had ordered all councillors to do so by Monday last
The four are Trymore Magamu of Mbare East (ward 3), Oscar
Pemhiwa of Mabvuku (ward 19), Francis Mabasa Marisi of Highfield (ward 25)
and Joseph Mudzudzu of Mufakose (ward 36).
Efforts by The Standard to
get a comment from the four were fruitless by the time of going to print
yesterday, but sources within the opposition party said some of the
councillors had been reluctant to resign because their sole income is from
MDC spokesperson for Harare province, Last Maingahama, said
the four councillors would soon appear before a disciplinary
The four councillors had not communicated with the party
regarding their position although the deadline for them to resign, which was
Monday, had passed, he said.
"We are giving them a long rope to hang
themselves. We don't want them to hide behind technicalities, that is why we
are giving them time," Maingahama said.
Meanwhile, the MDC has
instructed Peace Banza to immediately withdraw from contesting the rural
council by-election in ward 1, Murehwa. Banza last week filed nomination
papers as MDC candidate although the party had suspended participation in
any elections until the government complies with the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) principles and guidelines on
The by-election is scheduled for September 25.
have instructed Mr Banza to immediately withdraw from participating in these
bogus elections and we expect him to comply. Should he fail to comply within
the time frame that has been set and communicated to him, he shall forthwith
be expelled from the party without further reference to the matter," said
MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba-Nyathi in a statement.
Banza was ordered to
withdraw his nomination papers by yesterday or face expulsion.
MDC believes Banza was influenced by the ruling party to file nomination
papers in defiance of the opposition party.
"We are aware of Zanu
PF's invisible hand and its insidious tactics that have been exerted on our
member to get him to file his nomination papers without approval from his
party," Themba-Nyathi said
Elders in bid to check Zanu PF young turks By Foster
ATTEMPTS are being made to sideline young politicians in Zanu PF
from contesting primary elections to choose the party's candidates in next
year's parliamentary elections, The Standard has established.
in Zanu PF said the ageing generation of politicians in the ruling party is
reportedly afraid of being removed from their privileged positions by
younger, more ambitious politicians. The newcomers have been on a crusade in
their targeted constituencies donating money, paying school fees for
children and buying blankets.
They are also promising the
electorate heaven on earth if they are nominated to represent the ruling
party in next year's elections.
President Robert Mugabe has already
spoken about his disdain for corrupt politicians who use money to get a
foothold in the political arena.
The primaries will be held before the
Zanu PF National People's Congress, which will take place in Harare during
the first week of December.
Thenjiwe Lesabe, Zanu PF secretary for
Women's Affairs and chairperson of the Women's League, told the Zanu PF
mouthpiece, The Voice that newcomers should be thoroughly scrutinised before
being confirmed candidates in next year's elections.
individuals who had a suspicious political history had compromised the
"A person must have served in the provincial leadership for at
least five years. The person should also have a history of having served the
people in many ways. He or she may not be active politically, but (should
be) a card carrying member who can identify with the people and not just
identify with them when you are seeking their vote," she said in apparent
reference to younger politicians who have showered constituencies with goods
Senior Zanu PF sources said concerns were raised recently in
Politburo and Cabinet meetings about the wayward and arrogant behaviour of
some younger politicians towards older politicians.
politicians have been quiet all this time while the youngsters were abusing
them, especially through the state media. Now they are flexing their
political muscles and have vowed to put obstacles in the paths of some
upstarts," said a senior Zanu PF official.
Zanu PF stalwarts confided
that the whole exercise was aimed at derailing the career of unelected
junior minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, who had bruising battles with Vice
President Joseph Msika, Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo, and the
ruling party's spokesman, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira.
During the Zanu PF
Women's League Congress held in Harare two weeks, some women were barred
from contesting positions in the league because they had not served in the
party's structures for more that five years.
Delegates to the congress
said the veteran politicians in the Women's League had closed ranks against
younger aspirants who were prepared to pay their way into
"Even in the women's league, we realised that some unprincipled
people with unbridled political ambitions were about to steal power using
dirty money sourced from some immoral politicians. They had done this
through sponsoring certain candidates," said a delegate to the women's
The sources said by insisting on five years as a condition for
members to assume national office, the ruling party bigwigs would have
effectively sidelined the ambitious younger politicians, most of whom have
not been active in provincial politics.
"The requirement is not in
the Zanu PF constitution but the fact that it was used as a pre-condition at
the women's congress means it can still be used during the primary
elections," a Zanu PF official told The Standard.
The Zanu PF deputy
secretary for the commissariat in the Politburo, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was
non-committal when asked about the requirement.
"It is not really a hard
and fast rule. Some people may have been in the party for more than five
years and still are useless. "
He said all aspirants would get an
opportunity to vie for higher offices.
"We cannot make regulations to
suit ourselves even if it involves the so-called omafikizolo or the
maningindabas (rouble rousers). It is not there in our constitution but that
is not to say people are free to embarrass and abuse the leadership of the
party," Ndlovu said.
the second and final part of a two-part series, Standard Editor Bornwell
Chakaodza analyses the recently introduced NGOs Bill and argues why
legislators should stop it dead in its tracks when it comes to
I THINK it is pertinent to remind the current Zanu PF
leadership of the critical role played during the struggle for Zimbabwe by
non-governmental organisations including various churches both in and
Foreign funding was very crucial in the fight
against the evil system that was Rhodesia. Has power blinded the Zanu PF
leaders so much that they have forgotten where they came from? Have they
forgotten how they and their families benefitted immensely from the
financial assistance and selfless work of such organisations as Christian
Care, the Rhodesian Justice and Peace Commission, the International Defence
and Aid Fund (IDAF), the Catholic Institute for International Relations, the
Anti-Apartheid Movement and many individuals and NGOs too numerous to
Many detainees, restrictees, and fighters together with their
families would not be what they are today had it not been for the spirited
work of local and international NGOs during the struggle for
It is deeply saddening to see a leadership which enormously
benefitted from the largesse of NGOs introducing a Bill which seeks to
outlaw foreign funding and bludgeon almost all NGOs out of
It is very important to point out that the civil society in
Zimbabwe does not have an agenda against the government of Zimbabwe or
indeed against any sector other than to improve the quality of life of the
people of Zimbabwe. Human development and human rights are two sides of the
same coin. Government cannot do it alone. The same work that NGOs were doing
in Rhodesia and indeed in every age is what they are doing in Zimbabwe. And
this work includes involving themselves in civil and political rights as
well as economic, social and cultural rights. Human rights is everybody's
business. Poverty, for example, is a denial of human rights.
are other governance and human rights issues which are universal and which
all governments and NGOs the world over are in complete agreement about for
example a free press, a vibrant civil society, freedom of association and
religion, active social justice and rule of law not rule by law.
is most unfortunate to see intolerance pervading all sectors and strata of
the Zimbabwean society.
Democracy means participation and sharing of
power and not government turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to people's
pleas for tolerance and dialogue. Any law must be demonstrably and
reasonably justified in a democratic society. The proposed NGOs Bill clearly
is not and should not find its way into the statute books of this
Just like Aippa and Posa, its damage to the country will be
immense. Almost everything will be killed. Tourists will stop coming to the
country. NGO-driven conferences which have been a major source of foreign
currency will dry up. Investment will remain dead in the water. It is common
knowledge that the NGO sector has been a major employer in this country as
elsewhere - what will happen to people who have been deriving their
existence and sustenance from this sector?
Another key point that
needs to be made about this Bill is that like Aippa its preamble is
deceitful and misleading. It states that it is "for the registration of
non-governmental organisations, to provide for an enabling environment for
the operations, monitoring and regulation of all NGOs ..." But the truth of
the matter is that not only is the Bill a violation of the Zimbabwean
Constitution, it is a slap in the face of Zimbabwe's regional and
The right to freedom of association and
other fundamental rights are recognised and enshrined in Section 21 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe. Equally, the right to freedom of association is
embodied in numerous international and regional instruments to which
Zimbabwe is a signatory. For example, both the African Union (AU) and the
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) ta-lk about a genuine creation
of an enabling environment for organs of civil society in which the
fundamental right of people to associate freely together and to express
themselves in and through organisations of their choice should be embodied
in national laws.
Clearly therefore, the pieces of legislation that have
been enacted by the Zimbabwean government in recent years and the impending
NGOs Bill are not consistent with these regional and continental
The African Commission on Human and People's Rights is a
body established by the African Union to promote and protect human rights on
the African continent and has formally associated itself with the UN on the
protection of NGOs and human rights organisations. As the International Bar
Association (IBA) points out, the NGOs Bill "seeks to achieve precisely the
opposite objectives and, if anything, flies in the face of regional
standards for the protection and proliferation of human rights defenders and
NGOs operating in the region".
The IBA further makes the important
point that challenging the constitutionality of the Bill would be difficult
if not impossible. It cites the approach of the Zimbabwean Supreme Court in
the case of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) versus the Minister of
Information and Publicity in the Office of the President where the doctrine
of the 'rule of law' in Zimbabwe was subverted to 'rule by law'.
that case, the constitutional challenge by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
was dismissed because ANZ had not been registered in terms of the very Act
that it sought to have declared unconstitutional.
In this regard, the
Supreme Court in this country upheld the point that: "The Applicant (ANZ) is
approaching this court with dirty hands and is not entitled to relief from
this court ... the applicant chose to disrespect the law by deliberately
refraining from applying for registration as prescribed because it resolved
unilaterally that it cannot, in its alleged conscience, obey such a
This effectively mea-ns as the IBA observed that the law in
Zimbabwe as it stands at the moment is that constitutional challenges to bad
pieces of legislation such as the proposed NGOs Bill cannot be brought by
those affected by the bad law until such time that they have in fact
complied with the registration and other requirements of that bad
Very ominous indeed for the NGOs operating in Zimbabwe! It means
that NGOs have to register with this terrible law first before challenging
it and with the kind of captive judiciary we have in Zimbabwe at this time,
there is no guarantee of success. It will be an exercise in futility for
NGOs ever to attempt to challenge it.
As a result of the above and
many other reasons discussed in this and last's week article, it is
important for the Zimbabwean authorities to think again on this Bill and its
implications and dire consequences for the Zimbabwean society as a whole.
Men and women of goodwill in Zanu PF must do everything in their power to
put a stop to the insanity of this Bill.
There is much grief and
suffering in this country already and this NGOs Bill is bound to exercerbate
the situation further. You cannot be agog with the so called Homelink
(Kumusha-Ekhaya) but at the same time closing all doors to foreign funding
of non-governmental organisations - that is double standards and hypocrisy
of the worst kind!
Where will Zanu PF leaders be now if Ian Smith had
done that during our struggle for independence? Think about it. It will not
kill you, Zanu PF, just to think about it.
The depth of this
country's economic difficulties against which the problems of Ian Smith's
Rhodesia pale into insignificance must make any Zanu PF leader pause for
All Zimbabweans within and outside our borders are
yearning for freedom, tolerance, peace and reconciliation and an atmosphere
of open, free debate and honest dialogue as the best way forward for our
country. The fortunes of Zimbabwe cannot be turned around in a situation of
instability and antagonism between government and NGOs.
that all of us face is to make sure that the energy and initiatives of the
Zimbabwean people are unleashed for Zimbabwe's turnaround to take place and
this NGOs Bill will effectively prevent that from happening.
not in the interest of government to be seen to be going against global
standards of behaviour. What conceivable benefit it there for the country
when a government violates its own constitution left, right and centre? Why
would any government regard NGOs and churches as opponents rather than as
partners in development?
Violations of civilised behaviour and
international human rights norms must not be pandemic within Zanu PF as is
the case now.
Even at this late hour, we do strongly urge President
Mugabe and Zanu PF to reconsider this hamfisted clampdown of a very
important sector of our society for many reasons, one of which has been
eloquently expressed by the International Bar Association in their
conclusion to the analysis of the NGOs Bill:
"In the ultimate
analysis, not only is the Bill in flagrant violation of international and
regional human rights standards and norms, it also represents a decisive
rejection of the terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which provide for
the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly. That attitude
can only be described as contemptuous of the rule of law and of regional and
international stan-dards of governance and of the protection of human
THE Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) turned five yesterday. If a week is a long time in
politics, what should we say about five years? In the same vein, what can we
say about Zanu PF's twenty-four years? Eternity. Yes, eternity!
that as it may, five years is good enough time to ask the question: How has
the child that was brought into this world on 11 September 1999 - three
months before the turn of the millennium - fared and
Firstly, we would like to pay tribute to this child whose
first cry at birth and continued presence has infuriated those who thought
they were anointed to rule forever and wished it had not been born in the
first place. Despite its ups and downs - which is natural and to be expected
- the MDC has undeniably remained a force to reckon with.
advent of the MDC, opposition parties in Zimbabwe had never made much of a
showing in elections. That is, of course, not to belittle the work and
presence of earlier opposition parties such as the Zimbabwe Unity Movement
(ZUM) and the Forum Party of Zimbabwe. Far from it. These and a few others
played their part under very difficult circumstances of Zanu PF
But it is merely to observe the fact that the country's
political centre of gravity shifted away from Zanu PF as a result of the
formation of the MDC. From then on things were never to be the same
The MDC has provided concrete evidence of a structural change in
Zimbabwean political geology rather than a passing piece of fluff which was
soon to blow away as has happened with previous opposition political
parties. Its smashing victory in the 2000 parliamentary elections is ample
testimony to this.
Democracy is always and everywhere a work in
progress. The MDC has made its mistakes, as creative and active
organisations do but there is no denying the fact that multi-party democracy
in Zimbabwe was given real meaning with this party's massive success at the
polls both in 2000 parliamentary elections and the 2002 Presidential
It could indeed be argued that by the time the MDC was formed
in September 1999, the Zimbabwean cotton was ripe for the picking as a
result of the bungling of the economy by the ruling Zanu PF party. But then
it takes courage of individuals to move the whole process of justice and
That is where Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleagues
come in. Just as President Mugabe, the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and
other members of the old guard - dead and living - were courageous and
fearless enough to say no to the evil system that was Rhodesia, so did
Morgan Tsvangirai and earlier on Edgar Tekere and the late Chief Justice
Enoch Dumbutshena said no to the totalitarian system that is now
As long as there is dictatorship and tyranny in a country,
people will invariably emerge to fight that evil system. As long as people
are alive and not dead, they will struggle for freedom and
In its five years, the MDC has kept the fires of multi-party
democracy burning in Zimbabwe. We now have a fairly balanced Parliament
unlike say seven years ago. Nationally and internationally, the MDC is
acknowledged as a government-in-waiting and a poltical party that you can do
It must be remembered that for more than 20 years, the
ruling Zanu PF party seemed immune to the winds of change that were blowing
elsewhere in the world. The MDC shook up that fortress.
And in Africa
it is not easy to nearly dislodge revolutionary parties that first come to
power. So it is appropriate that the MDC must congratulate itself for having
come this far in the full knowledge that the road to success is always under
Having said that, this is also time for the MDC to reflect
on where they are and where they are going. By hook or crook, Zanu PF has
proved to be an adaptive organism by mainly harking to the past in search of
slipping legitimacy and dying support. Zanu PF leaders also point to their
sacrifices in the struggle for Zimbabwe. In this they have a powerful
Nothing comes on a silver platter. You cannot expect things to
come your way without sacrifices. There is no evidence to show that the MDC
leaders are prepared to put their lives on the line for the sake of
In 2000, the electorate responded to the MDC positively and
with absolute clarity. That triumph and the evident defeat (Zanu PF stole
MDC's victory) of President Mugabe in 2002 ironically exposed the MDC to
much more penetrating scrutiny.
Every political party needs at least
a set of strategies as well as policies both to inspire and motive its
supporters and to establish its enduring identity in the minds of the
voters. MDC leadership and the party as a whole appear to have run out of
steam - obstacles in their path put by Zanu PF notwithstanding.
have to be frank and candid with the MDC: Go back to the drawing
And we say this not underestimating the intimidation, harassment,
arrests, violence, racism and hate speech unleashed by Zanu PF backed by the
partisan instruments of power i.e. the civil service, army, police and the
A major challenge to the MDC therefore is to work much harder even
without the glare of publicity with both the rural and urban dwellers as
well as the Sadc leaders, continental leaders and the international
community - in that order.
March 2005 is around the corner and the
pressure for a genuine electoral playing field must be intensified. If Zanu
PF wins under genuinely free and fair conditions, more power to them. If MDC
wins under the same kind of conditions, yes, more power to them
The ball is now in your frying pan overthetop By Brian
IN a move that surprised no one, the troubled central African
nation's opposition More Drink coming Party said it would still not
participate in elections even though the ruling Zany Party had announced
electoral reforms. "The electoral reforms do not amount to anything," said a
More Drink Coming Party spokesman, "The ball is now in the Southern African
Disaster Community's frying pan."
Sources within the Southern African
Disaster Committee said the organisation did not know what to
"We don't want these problems in our frying pan," said another
spokesman, this time from the troubled southern African organisation.
"Actually we don't want any problems because we don't know how to deal with
The clearly disturbed spokesman said the organisation was
particularly keen to avoid troubles coming from the troubled central African
"People in the troubled central African country are too clever,"
said the troubled spokesman. "We think it best to ignore the problem and
hope it will go away all by itself."
Still, a spokesman from the Zany
Party dismissed the opposition's boycott. "The reforms we are implementing
fully meet the Southern African Disaster Committee's recommendations," he
said, adding, "And even if they don't, we have no legal obligation to meet
them so it doesn't matter one way or the other."
Meanwhile a More
Drink Coming Party told Over The Top that "administrative difficulties" had
seen a member of the opposition contesting a rural by election that he was
supposed to have been boycotting.
"Actually, we forgot to tell him about
the boycott," admitted the troubled and embarrassed spokesman.
its part, the Zany Party claimed the presence of a More Drink Coming
contestant on a ballot paper as proof that the opposition More Drink Coming
Party did not know its rear end from its elbow.
But the More Drink
Coming Party, anxious to divert attention from the unexpected appearance of
its man in the keenly contested election, said the real issue was not who
was standing and who wasn't.
Instead it said troubled central Africans
should be concentrating on the fact that electoral reforms announced this
week will retain control of elections in Zany Party hands.
unacceptable," said the More Drink Coming Party, "because simply by changing
the names of organisations does not mean the elections will be free or fair,
still less a true reflection of the will of the people."
While the ruling
Zany Party gloatingly dismissed the opposition's complaints, the Southern
African Disaster Committee was strangely silent on the issue.
within the organisation, who cannot be named for reasons OTT will think of
in a minute, said that the disturbed leader of a disturbed southern African
nation was particularly exasperated by the development.
source said, "When he finally wakes up, Mr Barking is likely to be
particularly exasperated by the stalemate in the troubled central African
country, but unfortunately he has been having some rather late nights
Other leaders in the region merely shrugged their shoulders,
smiled wryly and said there was no solution to their troubled neighbour
other than to sit the storm out.
"Once it has blown its course, we
can pick up the pieces," said one presidential spokesman, speaking entirely
off the record, adding, "They can toss the ball into our frying pan as often
as they like, it just means we will toss it back again."
Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson's comments: "With
free and fair elections in Zimbabwe early next year, we can prepare for the
normalisation of relations with the EU and the US."
These are very
inspiring comments and Zimbabweans would jump with joy for they have never
seen a free and fair election for decades. The question is how does the SADC
ensure that the elections are free and fair?
For the elections to be
free and fair, there should be normalisation of the electoral environment at
least six months before the polling day. Free and fair elections are a
result of a reasonably sustainable free and fair election
For the people of Zimbabwe to be satisfied that
the environment has stabilised and is ready for free, friendly, and fair
elections, the following must be adequately addressed:
legislations such as Public Order and Security Act and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which violate fundamental human
rights must go.
. Freedoms of assembly, association, expression/speech,
movement and choice must be restored immediately. Nobody should seek
authority from either the police or the one-party state dictatorship to
exercise any of the above freedoms.
. All interested parties must
organise and hold meetings without interference and without being subjected
to one-party state sponsored terrorism.
.The green bombers must be
.The ZRP must operate impartially without political
. The state media must cease to be used as a Zanu PF
.All the stakeholders must receive equal coverage in both
print and electronic media.
. All banned newspapers especially The
Daily News and The Daily News On Sunday must be allowed to operate without
any political interference whatsoever.
.Independent broadcasting must
. The use of state security agencies such as the army
and the Central Intelligence Organisation to campaign for Zanu PF must be
.The use of government property such as vehicles and
communications facilities to campaign for a party must be
.Violence whether within the same party or between two opposing
parties must be prohibited, stamped out and mandatory sentence must be
.All Zimbabweans, including those in the diaspora, must be
allowed to vote without restrictions.
.A genuinely independent
Electoral Commission must be democratically set up to take full charge of
the conduct of the entire electoral process from voter registration to the
announcement of the results.
. Voting must be done in one day and
counting and announcing of the winners must also be done at the polling
. Translucent ballot boxes must be used,
. All political
parties taking part in the elections must be represented in all
constituencies where they are participating.
. The chiefs and headmen who
have since been politicised and bribed to support Zanu PF must just cast
their votes but never interfere with the majority's electoral
.Political violence or threats must attract a stiff mandatory
. All civil servants are loyal to the state and not the
government of the day which means that they are loyal to the people of
Zimbabwe in their supremacy.
. All people who have either been
members of the puppet ESC or the Electoral Directorate or the Registrar
General's office must be barred from ever presiding over elections in
Zimbabwe for life.
. Nobody must ever have the right to appoint the
so-called non-constituency members to become Parliamentarians without
democratic mandate. Anybody who aspires to represent people in Parliament
can only do so through the people's mandate, through popular free and fair
. Local and foreign observers and monitors must be accredited
without pre-conditions, and lastly,
. All the above plus some more
that I might have overlooked need to be addressed now if we are to have free
and fair elections in March 2005, otherwise the Sadc heads of state will be
very sad people come March 2005, while the people of Zimbabwe will continue
to suffer under one of the most brutal one-party state dictatorships in the
Mere declarations at SADC conferences do not automatically
translate into free and fair elections in Zimbabwe in particular. There is
need for a lot of work to ensure that the entire international community in
general and SADC in particular do not fall victim to the Zanu PF one party
state dictatorship's hypocrisy.
Finally, electoral reform must, for
justice's sake, include a clause that compels candidates who find their way
into parliament or council, urban or rural, not to abandon those who elect
them to office by joining the opponents. Should any elected person wish to
join another party he or she must resign first, so as to cause fresh
elections to seek a fresh mandate.