By Sue Lloyd-Roberts
Last Updated: 2:29am BST 13/09/2007
Pathetic, wizened babies lay in the arms of mothers who turned away,
almost guiltily, as I approached.
"It's just that I can't find the food that will make my baby grow",
said the mother of an 18-month-old boy who weighed just 11lb (5kg).
Another child howled in pain as she sat on her mother's lap. Her skin
was raw and pink as if she had been severely burned. The ward sister
explained: "It is the most extreme form of kwashioka - vitamin deficiency."
The child was so malnourished that she was literally losing her hair and
When I visited the same mission hospital in Zimbabwe two years ago,
there were as many children and mothers in the paediatric ward. But mothers
were spooning the staple, mealie meal, and gravy into the mouths of their
In a country that was already in a state of economic collapse, there
was still something positive and hopeful in their actions and in the bustle
of staff. This time, the same ward was filled with hopelessness and despair.
"We do not have space for them all and there are hundreds more in the
rural areas," said Sister Liliana. "The cases of malnutrition are growing
but because of transport problems and because of financial problems, their
mothers cannot get here and, most certainly, those children will die."
According to the World Health Organisation, Zimbabwe now has the
world's lowest life expectancy - 37 years for a man, 34 for a woman.
Funerals are about the only growth industry. Drive past the main
cemetery in the capital Harare and you see several groups of people singing
hymns and saying prayers around tiny, freshly dug graves.
Joe, Solomon and Patience are the names of just three of the recently
buried children here. Mourners said the cemetery had doubled in size in the
past eight years, since President Robert Mugabe began his deliberate policy
of destroying his country and his people.
The survivors of operation "Clean Out the Filth", when bulldozers and
soldiers destroyed thousands of homes in Zimbabwe's towns two years ago, can
be found today living in corrugated huts, crowded 10 to a room, in the
townships. Mr Mugabe's critics say the operation was specifically targeted
at supporters of the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change.
In Harare, the MDC city council was replaced by government appointees
and the infrastructure has been allowed to collapse.
Raw sewage flows out on to the ground, close to where people have dug
makeshift boreholes to find water. Hospitals, already dealing with the Aids
epidemic and malnutrition, are preparing themselves for a further
catastrophe. The first deaths from cholera have already been reported.
"The problem," said one doctor, "is that people's immune systems are
already so weakened by hunger they can't resist the horrors that the
government is throwing at them."
The food queues start at dawn and wind around several blocks of the
city. After five hours of queues on one day during my visit, there were
rumours that bread had arrived at a city bakery. The crowd surged forward,
trying to get through the metal gates.
Soldiers and police used batons to fight them back. "We are a patient,
reasonable people," said one man in the queue with three children to feed at
"But unless they bring us bread, sugar, mealie meal soon, there will
be food riots in the cities of Zimbabwe."
For now, one of the most patient, well educated and resourceful people
in Africa are devising ever more ingenious coping strategies.
Twenty per cent of the city of Harare has been dug up to make way for
random plots of vegetables. People do not leave home without wheeling
barrows or carrying buckets and bags, always on the look-out for an
unexpected delivery. You see the desperate sifting through rubbish skips for
scraps of food.
And the elderly, black and white, are begging on street corners.The
white middle class such as John, a businessman in Harare, admit that their
suffering is far less than the unemployed blacks.
"I drive to South Africa once a month to stock up with groceries and
to keep sane," he said. "I use solar panels when the electricity cuts out
and use swimming pool water for the vegetables and to flush the loos.
"We survive. But you are always living on the edge in Zimbabwe today.
We are always ready for new persecution by Mugabe.
"In the past, he has attacked the trade unionists, then it was the
gays and lesbians. Then it was the farmers, political activists, social
activists, then it was the urban poor.
"Just recently it's been the remnants of the middle classes who've had
their businesses looted. We never know who he's going to go for next. It
could well be white urban houses that he would then redistribute to his
The Institute of Migration estimates that four million people, more
than a quarter of the population, have already left the country - three
million to South Africa. "I had no choice," one refugee said as she got off
the bus in Johannesburg. "There is no food. My children are starving. Robert
Mugabe is killing us".
.. Sue Lloyd-Roberts's report from Zimbabwe will be shown on BBC2's
Newsnight at 10.30pm tonight.
Thursday 13 September 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - President Robert Mugabe's government has for the first time
admitted that a controversial blitz on prices it embarked on three months
ago was flawed and may have worsened an already comatose economy.
Addressing business leaders in Masvingo this week, Finance Minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi described the exercise as "chaotic" and lacking proper
leadership in the manner it was implemented.
Mugabe, whom critics say is the author of Zimbabwe's misery, ordered
producers and service providers last June to slash prices by half to contain
world record inflation pegged at more than 7 600 percent in July.
The government crackdown, code-named Operation Dzikisa Mutengo (Operation
Reduce Prices) has seen Zimbabweans take advantage of the bargains to hoard
basic goods leaving most shop shelves empty.
"We are now busy trying to regularise everything, that is why I gave the
National Incomes and Pricing Commission $36 billion so that it starts
working," Mumbengegwi told Masvingo business leaders.
The commission is one of the off-shoots of the Price and Incomes
Stabilisation Protocol signed into law by President Mugabe last month, which
would freeze prices and wages.
The protocol is seen as a first step in a process aimed at creating a social
partnership, that central bank governor Gideon Gono has described as
necessary to tame inflation.
The commission however has its work cut out in the face of galloping
inflation and continued shortages of basic commodities.
Zimbabweans are grappling with daily price increases and inflation, which is
the clearest indicator of a debilitating economic crisis and has left eight
in every ten Zimbabweans without employment.
"I am hopeful that things will start picking up a bit as we address all the
problems that have been brought about by our lack of planning and dialogue
when we came up with the programme".
Mumbengewgi said the government would want to see things going back to
normal but warned this could take time.
"We want the situation to go back to normal as soon as possible but it might
take ages because of the situation in which we are," the minister said.
Business executives who attended the meeting at the Masvingo Civic Centre
told Mumbengegwi they were on the verge of closing their businesses because
of the shortages of goods and raw materials.
They also complained about the behaviour of government price monitors some
of whom they accused of demanding bribes from business operators.
ZimOnline last month reported the arrest of three price monitors in Masvingo
for demanding a bribe from a bus crew.
Meanwhile, shortages of goods continue to worsen amid reports that most
producers have run out of raw materials.
New products that have joined the shortages list include beer, salt and
Most of the products are now only available on a thriving black market where
they fetch more than three times the government recommended prices.
Most supermarkets have only tissues in stock while others have already
closed down due shortage of goods. - ZimOnline
Thursday 13 September 2007
By Edith Kaseke
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has accepted calls for a special congress
in December to elect a new leadership for his ruling ZANU PF party in a move
sources said was meant to silence "voices" in the party questioning his
suitability as presidential candidate in elections next year.
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira in March told journalists after a
meeting of the central committee that Mugabe had been endorsed as the party's
presidential candidate in 2008 but later, minutes of the meeting showed this
was not the case.
Mugabe remains a wily and cunning politician even at 84 years, as he battles
growing criticism within and outside his ZANU PF party over the way he has
run down Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy.
At a politburo meeting last week, Mugabe is said to have conceded to a
demand long made by a faction led by retired army General Solomon Mujuru to
hold a congress this year to elect a new president and first secretary of
the party ahead of the crucial elections next month.
The Mujuru camp last December successfully blocked Mugabe's bid to extend
his rule to 2010 without going to the ballot but the veteran leader made an
about turn and offered himself to stand in next year's elections, further
creating animosity in the party.
Mugabe was however angered by suggestions from some of his comrades that he
had lost support in the party and that he would lose the presidential
election because Zimbabweans were fed up with his 27-year rule.
"He was really infuriated and said right, the congress will be held but all
posts will be contested and he will also be standing," a senior ZANU PF
official close to the issue told ZimOnline.
"Certainly it's game on, the old man is taking the fight to them and it
would seem they (Mujuru camp) are in disarray," the source added, refusing
to be named.
ZANU PF was due to hold its next congress in December 2010.
Senior party officials said the Mujuru faction, which had been working
behind the scenes to ease Mugabe out of office had originally demanded a
congress, banking on the support of six provinces and hoped to arm twist the
veteran Zimbabwe leader to step down and push a candidate of their own.
The plan drew reminders of the botched Tsholotsho palace coup which was
supposed to mark the coronation of another ZANU PF faction leader and
stalwart Emmerson Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe's next President.
The Mujuru faction already had Vice President Joice Mujuru and former
finance minister Simba Makoni lined up as possible Mugabe successors.
But Mugabe, who earlier this year said there was no vacancy for his
position, seemed to have scuttled that plan when he told close lieutenants
that he would stand for re-election in December.
This had sent those seeking his ouster back to the drawing board and Makoni,
who in the past has refused to declare his interest for the ZANU PF top job,
said he would not dare stand against Mugabe, who has already received
support from the rowdy war veterans, youth and women's league, the ruling
party's power bases.
Joice Mujuru's, who Mugabe appeared to criticise in a February television
interview that has not been aired, is said to be in a shaky position after
Mugabe accused her of coveting his top job.
Joice Mujuru's former comrade-in-arm and women's league chairwoman Oppah
Muchinguri has urged Mugabe to be life president and is said to be fancying
her chances for the post of Vice President after hinting last month that
women could withdraw their support for top women who engage in "regime
This was interpreted as an attack on Joice Mujuru. The two have not been
seeing eye to eye of late after Muchinguri jumped ship last year from the
Mujuru camp to rally behind Mugabe.
"What he (Mugabe) has done is to clear the ground as it were to identify the
enemy. It is going to be extremely difficult now for anyone to come out in
the open and challenge Mugabe at the congress. You know the atmosphere at
the congress," a senior party official said.
"But more interestingly the message (from Mugabe) is that, stand up now or
forever remain silent. He is saying after December 'I will dictate the pace
of succession', I mean not that he wasn't already, but no one will dare
raise the issue again," the official said.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron-like grip since independence in 1980,
brooking no challenge within his own party.
Analysts say he has managed to hang on to power despite Western isolation
and a bold challenge from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
through a violent crackdown on opponents and a patronage system that has
seen supporters and cheer leaders handsomely rewarded.
The issue of succession nonetheless remains a very hot potato in ZANU PF
although countless predictions of Mugabe's demise have remained just that,
Although many in his party agree that Mugabe's policies, including the often
violent seizure of white-owned land, some of it that now lies derelict, have
brought suffering on the people of Zimbabwe, they agree that the former
guerrilla leader is the only unifying force in the party.
Some analysts have said ZANU PF was likely to disintegrate with the
departure of Mugabe, who looks more likely to hold on to power until death.
"Mugabe has mastered the art of political survival and he has definitely
thrown the gauntlet to his opponents," leading political commentator Eldred
"The man is in charge at the moment regardless of machinations of the
different factions whose plots and sub-plots continue to fail to have the
desired effect." - ZimOnline
Thursday 13 September 2007
By Prince Nyathi
HARARE - Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) workers went on strike on
Wednesday demanding better salaries and working conditions, a development
that immediately plunged operations at the country's border posts into chaos
and crippled revenue collection for the cash-starved Harare government.
The workers say they want ZIMRA to hike salaries by 5 000 percent but
management says the revenue collection body can only afford to hike salaries
by 200 percent.
The lowest paid ZIMRA worker earns about Z$1.7 million per month, enough to
buy 17 loaves of the lowest quality bread, costing $100 000 each on the
illegal but thriving black market where most basic commodities are now found
after a June government price freeze.
ZIMRA Commissioner General Gershom Pasi was not immediately available to
comment on the matter with his office saying he was too busy to take calls
from journalists. Workers' representatives were also not immediately
available for comment.
However, ZIMRA has faced severe cash flow problems and last month failed to
pay workers on time because it was broke.
In a circular last month to staff, Pasi said ZIMRA was negotiating for more
funding from its parent Ministry of Finance.
"Due to financial constraints, please be advised that we will not be able to
meet the pay day of 24th of August 2007. Negotiations are still going on
between the Ministry of Finance and ourselves," read the circular.
The job action by ZIMRA workers has thrown operations at the country's
border posts into disarray, with Beitbridge - Zimbabwe's largest border post
on the border with South Africa - the worst affected.
Customs clearing agents who spoke to ZimOnline reporters by phone from
Harare described long and winding queues of both ordinary travellers and
traders waiting to be cleared by the few senior ZIMRA workers who had
reported for duty.
"I hope this is will be sorted out before the end of the day otherwise I
will run into huge losses," said one agent, who added that nearly all the
junior ZIMRA officials who normally man the customs counters were not at
Another agent said he feared loads of perishable farm produce he was trying
to clear to South Africa might even rot while trucks ferrying the goods
waited to be cleared.
When a ZimOnline reporter visited ZIMRA offices in Harare, most of the
workers could be seen whiling up time, playing games on their computers
while others were busy chatting on the phones, presumably with friends.
The strike by ZIMRA workers comes as teachers this week gave the government
up to 17 September to hike salaries by 400 percent and improve working
conditions or they would go on strike.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe earlier this week said its
members would embark on sit-ins at their various schools while awaiting the
government to respond to the demand for more pay.
Analysts predict more work stoppages as workers both in the public and
private sectors attempt to pressure employers to pay them more money in
order to make ends meet in a country where inflation is pegged at more than
7 600 percent and is rising.
Zimbabwe has since 1999 been grappling with an agonising economic meltdown,
critics blame on repression and mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe, a
charge the veteran leader denies. - ZimOnline
Thursday 13 September 2007
By Lizwe Sebatha
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's energy minister has warned of more critical fuel
shortages by year-end unless urgent measures are taken to arrest a crippling
economic crisis that has starved the country of critical foreign currency.
Speaking at the commissioning of a new garage for the National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) in Bulawayo yesterday, Energy and Power Development
Minister Mike Nyambuya painted a gloomy picture about the government's
ability to sustain fuel imports in the face of foreign currency shortages.
He warned that the country could run out of fuel by the end of December
unless something was done to contain an eight-year-old crisis.
"If fuel shortages continue like this, Zimbabwe risks completely running out
of fuel by year-end . . . Urgent measures like growing jatropha should be
taken to avoid disaster," Nyambuya said.
Zimbabwe has since 2005 pursued an ambitious project to produce bio-diesel
from the oil-rich jatropha curcas seed.
Thousands of communal farmers have been contracted to grow the jatropha tree
as part of the programme to reduce dependence on imported fuel.
But experts have warned that massive investment in expensive refineries and
conversion plants would be needed before the dream of producing bio-diesel
could be realised.
Zimbabwe has faced crippling fuel shortages since the end of 1999 when the
country's Western backers pulled out in protest at the government's economic
Cash-strapped NOCZIM has struggled to meet demand, forcing the government to
scrap the parastatal's monopoly around 2002.
However, fuel shortages resurfaced in June following the reinstatement of
NOCZIM's monopoly after the imposition of a freeze on prices by President
Meanwhile, things also turned ugly on Tuesday at the new NOCZIM garage in
the Matshobana area of Bulawayo after riot police and state security agents
ordered motorists to disband in order to create parking space for top
government officials attending the commissioning of the garage on Wednesday.
Angry motorists alleged the move to break up the queue was an attempt to
allow government officials easy access to the cheap fuel ahead of them yet
they had been on the queue for a week.
Motorists in Bulawayo have been anxiously waiting for weeks for the company
to start selling fuel to the public especially after seeing tanks delivering
both fuel and diesel at the gazetted prices.
The garage was initially set to open to the public, diplomats and
non-governmental organisations on 1 August. But NOCZIM officials claimed the
opening was delayed to allow for tests by technicians.
"Why did they wait for weeks to tell us not to queue than to watch us
knowing that they will disband the queue? The next thing we would hear is
that fuel is finished after government people have had their tanks filled,"
fumed a commuter omnibus driver, Daniel Sibanda.
NOCZIM spokesperson Zvikomborero Sibanda yesterday confirmed the chaos at
the garage on Tuesday but denied that it was an attempt to let top
government officials have access to the fuel ahead of motorists who had
queued for weeks.
"The queue was disbanded on logistical grounds so that we could create
parking space for those attending the commissioning ceremony," she said. -
By Carole Gombakomba
12 September 2007
Police in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare have been rounding up street
children and vendors in an operation including beatings of those detained,
Unlicensed vendors have been slapped with fines of Z$40,000 US$0.15) while
police have confiscated their goods, the sources said, noting that previous
occasions when such crackdowns have been in progress goods were auctioned.
But the lack of such auctions has lead observers to conclude that police are
keeping the goods.
Sources with children's rights organisations said they have not been able to
determine where police have taken the street children that have been rounded
Harare city authorities estimate that at least 12,000 people now live on the
Former University of Zimbabwe lecturer Michael Bourdillion, who has studied
street children, declared that "when there are children on the streets who
do not have adequate food and shelter, government is clearly failing in its
Analysts say deepening poverty is swelling the ranks of the thousands made
homeless and jobless in 2005 by the government's campaign of forced
evictions and home demolitions which it dubbed Operation Murambatsvina, or
"Drive Out Trash."
Elfas Zadzagomo, chief executive officer of New Hope Foundation, a children's
rights group, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that he is concerned by what he has been witnessing on the streets of
13 September 2007 15:06
Pius Ncube was one of Africa's most respected churchmen. Then he dared to
challenge Robert Mugabe's tyranny. Now his life is in ruins. Basildon Peta
on a nasty tale of Zimbabwean realpolitik
Published: 13 September 2007
When Pius Ncube lamented what he perceived as the lack of an inspirational
Zimbabwean leader in the mould of Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi, a
visionary who might lead the people in a revolution against the tyranny of
Robert Mugabe, many of his countrymen wondered why he needed to look any
further than himself.
"Why don't you emulate [the priest] Jean Bertrand Aristide's example in
Haiti and lead this revolution. We will all follow you," a Zimbabwean
journalist in exile at one of the Archbishop's regular press conferences in
As the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, the second highest Roman Catholic
official in a predominantly Catholic country Ncube's word certainly carried
immense influence. And with his fierce criticism of Mr Mugabe, the cleric
had become, in the place of a weakened and fractured political opposition,
the most articulate and outspoken figure of resistance to the regime,
frequently condemning the 83-year-old President as a "megalomaniac" and
encouraging worshippers to pray for Mr Mugabe's death. World leaders hailed
his courage. The former US secretary of state Colin Powell called the
Archbishop "one of the bravest men I have ever met".
The Archbishop said he would not hesitate to face Mr Mugabe's blazing guns
and lead a revolution when Zimbabwean people showed themselves willing to
sacrifice their lives for their freedom. But that was before grainy video
images aired on Zimbabwean state television of a man who appeared to be the
60-year-old Archbishop naked in bed with a married parishioner, in what the
state newspapers called his "love nest".
On Tuesday, two months after the scandal broke, the Archbishop of Bulawayo
tendered his resignation. A brief statement from the Vatican said that Pope
Benedict XVI had accepted his resignation. Mr Ncube, who said he would
remain a bishop in Zimbabwe, said he was resigning because he did not want
to drag the name of the Church through the mud as he fights off a £328,000
adultery lawsuit brought against him by Mrs Sibanda's husband, Onesimus
Sibanda. Whether or not Zimbabwe's High Court will eventually find Bishop
Ncube to be the man filmed enjoying sex with Rosemary Sibanda, who worked
for the diocese, hardly matters. What matters is that Zimbabwe's resistance
movement has lost a key spokesman at a crucial stage of the anti-Mugabe
His alleged sin of the flesh has effectively cost him the moral high ground
required to sustain his place at the forefront of Zimbabwe's resistance.
Once again, it seems, Robert Mugabe has seen off an arch-foe.
While the jury is still out on whether Bishop Ncube indeed infringed his
Catholic vow of celibacy, there is almost universal consensus in Zimbabwe
that Mr Sibanda, a lowly rail worker, would not have financed and overseen
the operation that brought down the Archbishop on his own. Ncube, has it
seems fallen victim to one of the regime's carefully orchestrated stings.
Ironically, the last high-profile victim of a Mugabe sting was Morgan
Tsvangirai, the trade unionist and opposition leader that Bishop Ncube
derided for being "visionless". Back in 2002, Mr Tsvangirai was secretly
filmed discussing a "plot" to kill Mr Mugabe.
Those grainy images constituted the state's key evidence in a marathon
treason trial that confined Mr Tsvangirai to the courtroom - and effectively
rendered him politically impotent at a time when his country and party
needed him most - while Mr Mugabe consolidated power.
Fortunately, Mr Tsvangirai was later spared the hangman's noose by a High
Court judge who did not find the evidence convincing enough to warrant a
treason conviction. But the episode sapped Mr Tsvangirai's energy and he has
not fully recovered to be the potent opponent he once was. His opposition
party has since split into factions.
It was in the light of the weakened state of the opposition, that Pius Ncube
emerged as a symbol of the opposition. In the case of the bishop, evidence
of the state's involvement was there from the beginning. The camera that
captured the damning footage was placed in the ceiling of the cleric's
bedroom, apparently by Mr Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation.
When Mr Sibanda's lawyer's first confronted Bishop Ncube to deliver an
adultery summons at his Parochial House, they were accompanied by
television, radio and print news crews from Zimbabwe's tightly controlled
state media. Soon after Bishop Ncube signed for the summons, the state media
journalists led by close Mugabe supporter Supa Mandiwanzira played the
incriminating images on a laptop and asked Archbishop Ncube to confirm
whether he was the man appearing. A state television cameraman was on hand
to film the perplexed priest. The cleric's alleged lover Mrs Sibanda claims
she agreed to have sex with the Archbishop in exchange for money to look
after her family.
Sources allege that Mr Mugabe's intelligence operatives had been tracking
Archbishop Ncube for some time.
Mrs Sibanda is alleged to have facilitated the smuggling of recording
equipment into the Archbishop's parish home, since she kept spare keys.
The state media later said it could not publish some of the more brazen
pictures of an allegedly naked Archbishop Ncube to protect children in this
hugely conservative society and to comply with laws that govern public
decency. Still some of these pictures found their way on to ubiquitous
Zimbabwean independent websites.
The hugely popular anti-Mugabe new.zimbabwe.com website carried many of the
pictures and said it had no doubt the man shown was the Archbishop.
The former prelate may have done his case a great disservice by his failure
to issue either a firm denial or clear response immediately. His rather
inconsistent replies about the illegal invasion of his privacy conveyed an
image of a man with something to hide.
For a man who had become a darling of the international media through his
sharp tongued criticisms of Mr Mugabe at regular Johannesburg press
conferences Bishop Ncube also let himself down by not immediately calling
the rest of the media to address the allegations. In fact he fled the
Perhaps these were all actions of an innocent but perplexed and confused man
caught unawares. Perhaps these were actions of a man who genuinely needed
time to first recover from a shocking episode.
Ahead of the Archbishop's resignation, the state media said it was preparing
to publish more damaging allegations against him. It was then speculated in
the private Zimbabwean media that the new "exposes" would centre around
allegations of Bishop Ncube's sexual involvement with nearly a dozen other
parishioners and possibly allegations about children he had fathered and his
HIV status. He quit before any further embarrassment.
The former Archbishop has vowed to continue with his crusade against Mr
Mugabe's human rights abuses. He said: "I will continue to speak out on the
issues that sadly become more acute by the day. I have not been silenced by
the crude machinations of a wicked regime."
The Mugabe regime has been rubbing its hands in glee at their opponent's
demise. Yesterday's state newspaper headlines claimed the Vatican forced
Bishop Ncube to resign. Mr Mugabe's information ministry also berated him
for having "lived a lie". And Mr Mugabe has not missed an opportunity to
dismiss Bishop Ncube as "an immoral snatcher of other people's wives".
Bishop Ncube's record as an opponent of Mr Mugabe reaches back to the early
1980s when Mr Mugabe was acclaimed by the British as a visionary leader and
a guest of Margaret Thatcher at Downing Street. It was Bishop Ncube who
spoke loudly about the 25,000-plus civilians Mr Mugabe's North
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade was murdering in southern Zimbabwe. Back then,
no one seemed to listen.
The Archbishop Pius Ncube Solidarity Coalition, formed to support him after
the adultery allegations first surfaced, rejected the Zimbabwe government's
interpretation of his resignation as an "admission of guilt".
"He is a democrat at heart and down to the soul. Rather than undermining and
harming his democratic credentials, his resignation enhances them," said the
coalition in a statement.
But with Morgan Tsvangirai severely weakened, and the disgraced Archbishop's
moral authority severely compromised, Zimbabwe's civic rights movement
desperately needs a new spokesman. With the Mugabe regime having perfected
the art of subterfuge, whoever assumes that role must live a saintly life.
LONDON - 13 September 2007
Bishop Crispian Hollis, Chairman of the Department for International Affairs
of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales issued the
following statement yesterday.
I heard the news of Archbishop Pius Ncube's resignation from the diocese of
Bulawayo with enormous sadness.
For many years, he has been outstandingly brave in the way that he has
confronted the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe.
No one could have done more to highlight the plight of that country's
suffering people and I can only stand in admiration of his courage and in
gratitude to him for all that he has achieved.
It is good to know that, far from being silenced, he will continue to
campaign vigorously and courageously for justice for the oppressed people of
I am certain that Archbishop Pius' many friends and supporters throughout
Africa and in the wider world will continue to hold him in their prayers.
© Independent Catholic News 2007
Sarah Hudleston Business Day
13 September, 2007
THE SABC has distanced itself from its Harare correspondent, Supa
THE SABC has distanced itself from its Harare correspondent, Supa
Mandiwanzira, who has been implicated in an alleged campaign to discredit a
fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe, Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo
Ncube, who resigned on Tuesday, has been embroiled in a sex scandal
involving an adulterous affair which was allegedly caught on tape.
A trust set up to support the embattled cleric, the APN Solidarity Trust,
wrote to Snuki Zikalala at the SABC saying that through Mandiwanzira's
involvement in the so called sting operation, the South African state
broadcaster was perpetuating injustices in Zimbabwe.
Ncube resigned on Tuesday, saying it was to spare the church further attacks
by the government.
Kaizer Kganyago, spokesman for the SABC, yesterday distanced the broadcaster
from Mandiwanzira who, according to sources in Harare, is closely connected
to the ruling Zanu (PF) hierarchy. Kganyago said the SABC was setting up its
own bureau in Harare with its own staff.
BY BAYETHE ZITHA
BULAWAYO - Tribal cracks have emerged within Zanu (PF) after revelations
that the party's senior members in Matabeleland are not happy with the way
the government is neglecting Zimbabwe's second-biggest city, which is
experiencing a serious water crisis.
The members, who include Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) Chairman
Dumiso Dabengwa, former Bulawayo Mayor Joshua Malinga, and Information
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, are already drafting a petition to present to
President Robert Mugabe, complaining over the way Bulawayo residents "are
being held at ransom" by the government "for political stand-offs" they have
nothing to gain from.
Bulawayo has a perennial water crisis, as all the city's five supply dams
are situated in Matabeleland South province, which has very low rainfall
patterns and quickly dry out.
Already, three of the dams have been de-commissioned, while the two
remaining are expected to dry out at the end of next month.
Several suburbs in the city have gone for more than two months without water
and have relied on the few boreholes drilled by non-governmental
organisations in the 1990s. Residents whose suburbs do not have boreholes
are now buying the precious liquid from other residents.
There are also growing health fears, as some of the water being sold is
Last month, Munacho Mutezo, the Minister of Water and Infrastructural
Development, made a controversial statement that government would not
intervene in the water crisis until the Bulawayo City Council handed over
its sewerage and water reticulation to the government-owned Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA).
Although Mutezo made a u-turn from that statement 24 hours later, Bulawayo
politicians are still not convinced.
Party sources told The Zimbabwean that the petition seeks to draw Mugabe's
attention to Mutezo's statement, as well as find a lasting solution to the
Bulawayo water crisis, which they said affects the whole Matabeleland
"Bulawayo is the regional capital of Matabeleland and when it suffers, the
whole region suffers. Some industries have relocated to other cities,
especially Harare because of this crisis, and that has affected the people
of Matabeleland who come to Bulawayo to seek employment. We want to draw the
President's attention to the crisis that will further alienate the people of
Matabeleland," said a Zanu (PF) official.
"Bulawayo is under-developed because of the perennial water crisis.
Government has seemingly not prioritised the Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Project, which will end this problem. Construction at the Gwayi-Shangani
dam, which is part of this worthwhile project, has also stopped due to lack
of funding and the people are not happy. The project has only been mentioned
when the party campaigns for elections and people are not naive, they are
very angry about that.
"They also accuse Zanu (PF) leaders in the region of being in the party for
personal gain. They accuse us of forgetting about them and developing their
region. That is why the party has always failed to win the elections in
Bulawayo and most parts of the region," reads the five-page petition.
titled 'Bulawayo water problems'.
The petition goes on to accuse Mutezo of fuelling anger against the ruling
party by making the "careless" statement last month.
"Although the Honourable Minister (Mutezo) and his Information counterpart
tried to cool tempers by making follow-up statements, the first words had
done enough damage to the government and the party, especially after nothing
has been done and the people continue to suffer. The people of Bulawayo do
not care who runs the water and sewerage systems, but want a better service,
hence (they) should not be held at ransom in political matters they stand to
gain nothing from," reads the statement.
Zanu (PF) National chairman, John Nkomo, professed ignorance about the
"There are no divisions within Zanu (PF) and I do not know about such a
petition. If you have seen it yourself then what do you want from me? Zanu
(PF) is concerned about the plight of Bulawayo and a lot is being done. We
cannot do things overnight," he said.
BY NORMAN REYNOLDS
The UN and South Africa should declare genocide in Zimbabwe and a failed and
With soon six million Zimbabweans in South Africa and an imploded economy
and failed polity in Zimbabwe, South Africa must act decisively.
The background to decision making is clear. Zanu (PF)'stole' the last three
elections and will not win any other unless all the refugees are prohibited
from voting. Mugabe does not want, cannot afford, any democratic election as
that will place him and his cronies in International Human Rights Courts.
The lesson, now so evident: stop pinning hopes on Mugabe's participation in
a new Constitution. Rather deal with Zimbabweans.
The Zimbabwe $ is now no longer a working currency. Until there is a working
currency, there can be no working economy. Something has to replace it
immediately. Internally, people are demanding payment in Rand. And yesterday
the beer ran out! The Z$ buys nothing as there is little production inside
Zimbabwe. Without production, even barter is difficult.
The four million adult Zimbabweans now here and the extra one million
already on their way must be treated as fellow Southern African citizens.
They need the means to help their families survive in Zimbabwe. Today, they
cannot send money as there is nothing to buy and any official conversion of
US$ or Rand to Zim $s is a straight loss - a gift of hard currency to Mugabe
for worthless money. Food, bought here by refugees and sent privately to
families in Zimbabwe costs an extra 120% -150% for transport. Hence,
refugees are now buying less than half the food they were able to deliver to
family just two months ago!
That vast movement of food across the border is now the target of Mugabe's
ire and corruption. Better to walk to where there is food!
Zimbabwe is now virtually a hapless province of South Africa - something
considered many times since 1910. Yet, it can once again become a positive
asset within Southern Africa.
The present international position
The myth of Zimbabwe as a national entity ended in 2004 when Mugabe stole
that general election. Since then he has engineered the largest genocide for
decades worldwide. We are witnessing the latest stage - after beating up
Matabeleland, getting rid of farm workers by ruining commercial agriculture,
sending, as did Pol Pot, the urban opposition to the countryside by
destroying houses and businesses, Mugabe is now chasing the remaining formal
economy members across the borders. That genocide remains unnamed. Hence,
the international community, headed in this instance by President Mbeki, has
not had to act, to intervene to stop it.
At the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz, 2005, Kofi Annan, Africa's then UN
Secretary General, called for an end to genocide. "It is, above all, a day
to remember not only the victims of past horrors, whom the world abandoned,
but also the potential victims of present and future ones. A day to look
them in the eye, and say: "you, at least, we must not fail".
Annan said not a word about Zimbabwe's genocide. Nothing has been said by
any authority. Not by South Africa, SADC, the AU, EU or the UN. Yet, Kofi
Annan quoted the old chestnut, "Truly it has been said: 'All that is needed
for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing'". This defines Annan's
response and our failed "Quiet Diplomacy".
This criminal neglect, led by our government, has allowed Mugabe to continue
his 'mad' rampage against all Zimbabweans.
The current danger is that, with Mugabe weak and old, the field is ripe for
new demagogues to take over.
The Mugabe government does not have the ideas or the integrity to persuade
the international community to rescue the country while it governs.
Recently, at last, a senior ANC member, Cyril Ramaphosa, stated that South
Africa should intervene in Zimbabwe. He, however, did not say how. Kadar
Asmal has just called for UN Security Council action however embarrassing
that call is to the Mbeki government.
Immediate Steps to Take
The UN and South Africa should declare genocide in Zimbabwe and a failed and
tyrannical state. As long called for, it should open the borders to people
and goods and give all Zimbabwe refugees, here already or coming, three year
working visas. This will allow the hire of Zimbabweans whose skills are
badly needed in our failing education, health and agricultural / small
farmer / land restitution systems and use them to bolster the vast public
and private middle management and engineering sectors where there are real
Massive training can take place by fellow Zimbabweans, who have the skills,
within 'refugee' camps where they live so that Zimbabweans going back over
the next three years have enhanced their abilities to rebuild Zimbabwe.
South Africa must allow the Rand to become the working currency in Zimbabwe.
The 5 million Zimbabweans in exile world wide earn R10 billion a month and
seek to send home R3 billion a month. If there were suitable banking
regulations to keep the hard currency out of Mugabe's hands (now paying for
his 5* hotel and shopping spree in Malaysia), this money would do the major
part of humanitarian and reconstruction work urgently needed. With Rand
backed demand inside Zimbabwe, South African goods can flow and local
production be revived.
The international community will co-fund (with foreign currency payments)
support to Zimbabweans in South Africa, Botswana etc. This will ease any
undue pressure on the Rand.
Finally, the UN and AU, with South African leadership should provide a
mandate to treat Zimbabwe - a failed state - as a Province of South Africa
until its people choose to hold a referendum on its 'national' future. India
has a similar provision. 'Presidential Rule' allows the central government
to take over the administration of any Indian state (with from 30 to 130
million residents) when it 'fails'. 'Super Administrators' replace
politicians and head the bureaucracy.
Banking on Zimbabweans
The real Zimbabwe economy has moved 'off-shore' to South Africa, Botswana,
the UK and the USA! The so-called Zimbabwe Diaspora.
It is here that family members try to find work or run businesses or do
crime so that they can send money - no longer a real option - or food home.
These Zimbabweans must have around 3 million bank accounts in these
countries in dozens of banks, none of which has a programme to work with
It is time to form The Zimbabwe Bank, that is, a bank run to support
Zimbabwean refugees. It would become a powerful player able to negotiate
with the Mugabe 'regime' as the major provider of foreign currency, some R3
billion per month, to Zimbabwe. It would reinforce the open use of the Rand
and a free flow of monies to Zimbabwe citizens. It, as a member controlled
bank, would also become a central piece in the rebuilding of Zimbabwe.
A model now exists whereby such a Zimbabwe Bank can be created quickly. It
uses an existing high street bank - Standard and ABSA / Barclays fit the
bill as they are prominent in Zimbabwe - to accommodate the new bank as a
client so that it has immediate access to technology and banking skills. The
network of Zimbabwean refugees can carry the message and mobilise at little
The majority of Zimbabweans now agree that the pain they are forced to
endure continues to intensify every day. The critical shortage of virtually
everything is finally forcing people to agonise about Mugabe's long overdue
departure from State House. The politics of the stomach has never been as
strong as it is now.
There is a growing open hostility to the government and its running dogs,
the Zanu (PF) Repressive Police (ZRP). A few very senior government and Zanu
(PF) party officials are still getting fat and comfortable even under the
current regime of empty shops and lack of transport. These few are, however,
too few to sustain Mugabe in office come 2008.
To survive the 2008 elections, Mugabe and Zanu (PF) will have to devise very
clever ways of making producers and manufacturers of goods resume their
normal activities and get food back into the shops.
This government surpasses practically every African government in
effectively inflicting pain and suffering upon its people. The dictatorial
regime will shoot down anything and everything that has the potential to
benefit its own people. A recent visit to a supermarket owned by a diehard
Zanu (PF) hoodlum revealed that he too had been devastated by the recent
Reports indicate that the taxman, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA),
was not able to raise enough revenue to pay its own staff in July. Indeed,
the statutory authority has had to revise its revenue projections downwards
as a direct result of the so-called Operation Reduce Prices. The Mugabe
government has a penchant to shoot itself in the foot. The regime is now
controlling the prices of goods and services that no longer exist.
One of the saddest spectacles is of thousands of people standing around
normal pick up points for transport that never seems to materialise. The
imposition of ridiculously low bus fares in the face of very expensive fuel
for commuter operators has forced most operators to park their kombis and
Now even the predatory police, who normally make more than four times their
monthly salaries from the bribes they extract from bus operators, are
starved of their ill-gotten gains.
It is pathetic that virtually a week after the schools opened some students
are still struggling to get transport to their schools. This is a regime
that chews everything in sight, including children. For example, parents
with infants are finding it very difficult to find infant formulae for their
children. This has to be imported from South Africa.
But the dictator will not relent. He is determined to hang on to power even
if it means dragging the whole nation to hell with him. Fortunately some of
his underlings are now beginning to pay the price for their folly in
The deportation of eight dependants of Mugabe's keen supporters by the
Australian government was an excellent move that should be emulated by other
progressive governments throughout the democratic world. Apparently, Gideon
Gono and Augustine Chihuri's children are among the eight deported from
Australia. I think it is only fair that they should come home and enjoy the
fruits of their parents' workmanship.
Will the increasing pain and suffering cause the people of Zimbabwe to rise
against the dictator and drive him out of the country? This is the
million-dollar question. My guess is that Zimbabweans have now become so
severely intimidated and frightened of the murderous Mugabe regime that they
will continue to suffer without so much as even a street demonstration. The
dictator is also slowly starving the people so that most of them will not
have the energy to engage in a physical fight.
War vet accuses comrades of diverting fuel to parallel market
BY FARISAI GONYE
MUTARE - Zanu (PF) party officials in the eastern city of Mutare are
diverting thousands of litres of fuel allocated for the party's activities
to the lucrative parallel market, Zim Online heard at the weekend.
A Zanu (PF) provincial meeting held in Mutare last week heard that war
veterans had alleged that senior party officials and Cabinet ministers were
diverting fuel. The provincial meeting had been called to take stock of the
state of the party ahead of key parliamentary and presidential elections
Zanu (PF) sources told Zim Online at the weekend that debate over the
alleged fuel scam took centre stage and discussions relating to the party's
electoral campaign for next year had to be shelved as a result.
The war veterans, a key cog in Zanu (PF)'s election machinery, said they had
evidence that top party officials and Cabinet ministers had sold thousands
of litres of fuel. They are accused of diverting fuel onto the parallel
market where it is sold for at least three times the normal price.
At the stormy meeting, Vladimir Mukwada, an influential war veteran in
Mutare, led the call to have senior party officials arrested over the fuel
scam. "What is happening in Mutare is a reflection of the rot in Zanu (PF).
People in Zanu (PF) are fuelling black market activities. We have their
names and we are prepared to name and shame them," Mukweda told the meeting.
The war veteran's leader offered to name the senior party officials involved
but was stopped from doing so by Manicaland provincial governor and Zanu
(PF) provincial governor Tinaye Chigudu.
Chigudu refused to take questions from Zim Online, adding that it was an
"internal" party matter.
Last week, Mukweda is said to have approached the police to prod them to
investigate the matter, sources said.
Contacted for comment at the weekend, Mukweda said: "It's an internal party
discussion but we want those responsible for looting party resources,
irrespective of their rank, to be arrested because they are destroying Zanu
David Hopps in Cape Town
Thursday September 13, 2007
A shaken Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, condemned his side's mistrust of
Twenty20 cricket after they suffered a humiliating five-wicket defeat
against Zimbabwe at Newlands last night. Australia have been reluctant
converts to the shortest form of the game, but such attitudes may now be
banished after Zimbabwe achieved their target of 139 for victory with one
ball to spare. `
`We have been outplayed," Ponting admitted. ``Our top-order batting has been
diabolical even in the practice matches and it was again tonight. It is a
mental thing for us and we have to start respecting the game."
Zimbabwe's victory throws Group B, England's group, wide open. England now
face Zimbabwe today and Australia on Friday with no certainty that one win
would take them through to the second stage. It was almost as bad a result
for England as it was for Australia. It was also an embarrassing start for
Tim Nielsen, Australia's new coach, whose side were 50-1 on favourites, but
who looked unprepared both physically and mentally.
They had practiced on the featherbed pitches of Johannesburg and entirely
failed to adapt to the more hostile conditions in Cape Town, which has
barely emerged from a winter of record rainfall. Only Brad Hodge, the
leading career run scorer in English domestic Twenty20 with Leicestershire
and Lancashire, looked attuned to the task made difficult by a turgid pitch
and zestful Zimbabwean outfielding. Hodge scored 35 from 22 balls to give
Australia what seemed to be a manageable total.
Zimbabwe were beginning to lose their way at 77-4 in the 12th over, but a
rain interruption worked in their favour. Their hero was Brendon Taylor, a
21-year-old opener, who has had several disciplinary spats with Zimbabwe's
cricket authorities but who does not lack talent and who played forcefully
backward of square on the offside to finish with 60 not out from 45 balls.
Two straight sixes in the 15th over after Ponting had gambled upon Hodge's
part-time off-spin turned the match.
Zimbabwe needed 12 off the last over, and four from the last two balls.
Ponting dropped fine leg back, and Bracken met Taylor with a leg stump
yorker, but the ball ran fine for four leg byes and Australia suffered a
defeat which will force them forced them to reassess their attitudes. The
luck that can influence Twenty20 played no part here. Robin Brown,
Zimbabwe's new coach, said: ``This has given our cricket so much heart."
Earlier this week, Zimbabwe's players, whose Test status is in abeyance, and
who are living a hand-to-mouth existence as the economy verges on collapse,
learned that the pavilion in Bulawayo, their second ground, now badly fallen
into disrepair, had been destroyed by fire. It all brought back memories of
1983 when Zimbabwe's first official international brought them a 13-run
World Cup victory against Australia at trent Bridge, the hero that day being
Duncan Fletcher, who went onto become England's Ashes-winning coach, who
made 69 and took four wickets on his international debut. Fletcher, who
lives in Cape Town, was looking on 24 years later.