Jan Raath | September 17, 2007
ROBERT Mugabe is using water as a tool of repression in Bulawayo, the
largest urban area in Zimbabwe controlled by a council of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, the President's critics say.
In the early summer heat of the semi-arid western provinces of Matabeleland,
the city of about 800,000 people is fast running out of water.
Three of five main reservoirs in Zimbabwe's second city have dried up. The
fourth is expected to be empty next month and the last one will be able to
supply only 16per cent of the city's already tightly rationed needs.
"If we have even a mediocre rainy season this summer, we are faced with the
spectre of Bulawayo literally shutting down," said David Coltart, MP of
theMovement for Democratic Change.
The water crisis is a dangerous extra strain on Bulawayo, which is already
reeling from the country's hyperinflation, critical shortages of basic food
and electricity supplies, and the political repression witnessed in the rest
of the country. Church and political leaders believe Mr Mugabe is determined
to let Bulawayo wither without water. The Government has ignored repeated
appeals for help.
"The problem is political," said the Reverend Kevin Thomson, a leading
figure in Churches In Bulawayo, an alliance of the city's churches which has
begun an emergency water supply operation in the townships. "They don't want
to fix the problem. Just as they control the supply of food for political
purposes, water has become another area for controlling people."
At the bottom of a deep pit, a woman ladled grey liquid into plastic drums.
It did not smell too bad and her family had not become sick, even after
drinking it for the past two months.
"Some people say it is sewage, but they may be making it up," she said as
she heaved a 25-litre drum up the slope and into a wheelbarrow. In any case
she, like many of the poorest people in Bulawayo, did not have a choice; no
water has flowed through the pipes in some neighbourhoods since July.
A water expert who inspected one of several boreholes in the impoverished
Cowdray Park area of the city said the liquid at the bottom of the pit was
indeed sewage that had seeped through from a nearby treatment plant.
As the level of ground water sinks, the thousands who come to find water are
forced to dig their impromptu wells ever deeper. All around are puddles and
Most homes get a few hours' water for two days a week - at not much more
than a trickle. Showers are a luxury, baths unheard of. Large trees in
gardens are dying.
In the city's crowded townships, water distribution has become the
predominant activity, with people carrying heavy 25-litre plastic drums on
their heads, in wheelbarrows and on two-wheeled carts drawn by donkeys.
Residents start queueing at midnight at the big hand pumps that pull water
from boreholes drilled by the city council.
"I go to the borehole at 7am," said Martha Sibanda in Luveve township. "I
get back at 4pm. Just one 25-litre. I have 10 people in my house. The water
that comes in two days per week, it is not enough for cooking, drinking and
washing, but it is flushing the toilet that uses the most."
Forty-four gallon fuel drums, big plastic dustbins, portable plastic
containers and buckets have disappeared from shops - and are touted on the
black market for up to $Z13 million ($514).
The black market has also just seized on a new opportunity, with 20litres of
water going for up to $Z50,000. There is deep alarm over the likelihood of
outbreaks of cholera.
"We have an unprecedented convergence in Bulawayo of lack of water, no food,
worsening poverty, disease and a high incidence of HIV-AIDS (about 17per
cent of adults up to 45)," Mr Coltart said. "No other country in the world
is experiencing a situation like that."
Despite Bulawayo's constant insecurity over its water supplies, the
Government has provided no new sources of water since it came to power in
"We wrote to the minister responsible for water for two months about the
looming disaster," said an official of Churches In Bulawayo. "There was
neither acknowledgement of, nor any reply to, our letters."
Instead, the minister, Munacho Mutezo, declared that the Government would
not intervene in the water crisis until the city council allowed his
ministry to take over water management.
Mail and Guardian
Mail & Guardian reporter
16 September 2007 11:59
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party has called a surprise special
congress for December, setting the stage for a showdown between President
Robert Mugabe and rivals within his party, who are plotting to oust him.
A conference had been scheduled, but a meeting of Mugabe's
politburo last week decided that an extraordinary congress should be called
According to Zanu-PF's constitution, it is only at a congress
that new leadership can be elected. The party's constitution stipulates that
an extraordinary congress can meet only to debate on a single-item agenda.
Elliot Manyika, Zanu-PF political commissar, says the agenda for
the congress will be set by the central committee, the highest
decision-making body outside congress.
The official party line has been to keep mum on the agenda, but
Joice Mujuru, Mugabe's deputy and head of a faction vying for the
presidency, said on Tuesday in the state media the congress had, in fact,
been called "to nominate [Zanu-PF's] presidential candidate" for elections
The party has called an extraordinary congress only twice since
independence in 1980; the first in 1987 to discuss unity with Joshua Nkomo's
PF Zapu party and the second in 2000 to complete debate from the congress
held a year earlier.
Events at the last congress in 2004 have shaped Zanu-PF's
internal politics in the past three years. Emmerson Mnangagwa was Zanu-PF
secretary ahead of that congress and had secured the backing of the required
six of the 10 provinces in his bid for nomination for vice-president. But
Mugabe backed Mujuru instead and sacked the six chairpeople of the provinces
that supported Mnangagwa, accusing the camp of a wider plot to unseat him.
But the Mugabe-Mujuru alliance has been strained since then by
what Mugabe sees as the impatience of her supporters for her to gain power
and his stated belief that divisions will boil over and paralyse Zanu-PF if
he leaves the scene.
Now, Mugabe has been forging new, convenient alliances with the
Mnangagwa camp, hoping to isolate the Mujuru faction ahead of the special
"He [Mugabe] is experienced enough to know that he needs to
control all the influence that he can," a member of Mugabe's politburo said
this week. "There's a whole lot going on in the background, but the whole
purpose [of holding the congress] is so Mugabe can silence those who are
going around saying he has no official mandate to go in."
A key meeting of Zanu-PF's central committee last March had been
expected to discuss Mugabe's future as leader. But Mugabe, latching on to
global outrage at the time over the torture of opposition activists weeks
earlier, succeeded in stifling discussion on his candidacy, steering debate
instead to the subject of the "siege of the country", the politburo source
Having passed that test, Mugabe has set about whipping leaders
of the key wings of his party into publicly endorsing his bid for
Last week local media quoted Oppah Muchinguri, leader of the
Zanu-PF women's league, making veiled criticisms of Mujuru, suggesting the
vice-president had done little for women since her election.
Mugabe has described war veterans, the muscle of previous
Zanu-PF campaigns, as the "torch bearers" of his 2008 bid. The war veterans'
association has backed Mugabe's candidacy.
Traditional chiefs, who have strong influence on how their rural
subjects vote, also have endorsed Mugabe and were rewarded with a brand-new
bakkie each at the weekend.
With the public backing of key wings of his party already
secured, analysts say Mugabe's opponents will find it hard to push for him
to be ousted during the extraordinary congress.
Still, it might not be plain sailing for Mugabe. Divisions among
the top leadership run down into the rank and file of the party. There have
been violent clashes among Zanu-PF supporters in the southern province of
Masvingo and in Bulawayo, suggesting grassroots pressure for a change of
leadership might be stronger than Mugabe believes.
SA denies writing Zim report
The South African government has expressed concern that there
are people actively working to destabilise the talks the SADC region has
tasked it to mediate between the two factions of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) and the ruling Zanu-PF.
This follows indications that a report that blamed Britain for
the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe did not originate from President Thabo
Mbeki's office as originally reported. Media reports in the lead-up to the
SADC summit in Lusaka, Zambia, last month suggested that Mbeki would paint a
picture of optimism on the talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC.
According to the reports, Mbeki was said to have written that
"the most worrisome thing is that the UK continues to deny its role as a
principal protagonist in the Zimbabwe issue and is persisting with its
activities to isolate Zimbabwe".
The reports further said that "none of the Western countries
that have imposed the sanctions that are strangling Zimbabwe's economy have
shown any willingness to lift them".
However, the Director General in the South African presidency,
Reverend Frank Chikane, on Thursday reiterated that the report was
definitely not a South African government report.
"We believe that somebody deliberately changed the facts of the
story. We are concerned that even when we pointed out that South Africa was
not responsible it has taken so long to correct this matter. We believe that
the story was intended to damage South Africa's integrity and present us as
people who don't act in good faith and to impact negatively on the progress
being made by South Africa with the two Zimbabwean parties. Fortunately both
parties are committed to stay the course and to find a solution," he said.
The South African government believes that the same kind of
forces were responsible for destroying the progress that South Africa had
made when it was negotiating the peace process in Haiti.
Chikane said the comments falsely attributed to Mbeki could have
damaged South Africa's standing internationally. "If we don't correct this
kind of information, this country will continue to be a victim of
disinformation," he said.
He added that anybody who had read the report would have
immediately noticed that, given its language and tone, it could not have
come from the South African government. He further elaborated that Mbeki did
not table any written report at the SADC summit but had briefed heads of
state on the progress of the brokered talks.
It had emerged that "the document was actually a Zimbabwe
government position paper for the summit concerning the situation in that
country and not one from South Africa", a senior Zambian foreign affairs
official said on Wednesday.
"There were several documents given to officials prior to the
summit and even during the summit, and the mix-up on originality of some of
the documents could have been caused by this," the official said. -- Mail &
Monday 17 September 2007
By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - Sticky constitutional reform issues have forced South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki to push back a month-end deadline for an agreement
between President Robert Mugabe's party and Zimbabwe's main opposition.
Mbeki is fronting talks to break a deadlock between Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF
party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, seen by many as
key to ending a biting eight-year economic and political crisis.
High-level sources involved in the talks said Mbeki had initially sought to
have an agreement between the two parties signed by 30 September but was now
eyeing mid-October for a pact between the Zimbabwean belligerent parties.
The sources said Mbeki had now set 16 October as the tentative date by which
the negotiating parties should have reached a consensus on key issues
relating to a level playing field ahead of next year's planned joint
presidential and parliamentary elections.
"Mbeki is now hoping that by mid-October, the two parties would have found
common ground on sticky issues," one source said.
The sticky issue is the process of coming up with a new, democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe, with the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction
preferring a participatory approach that involves all stakeholders.
ZANU PF and the smaller MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara believe there is
no time to embark on a cumbersome constitutional reform process before
elections early next year.
They want the parties to come up with acceptable constitutional amendments.
"The Tsvangirai camp and civic groups argue that Zimbabwe is not short of
draughtsman who can piece together a new constitution. They want people
participation," said a source.
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Tsvangirai MDC faction and its
representative to the South African-mediated talks, refused to comment on
"We have a binding agreement not to discuss issues relating to the talks. We
cannot talk to the media about the process," he said.
Spokesman of the Mutambara faction, Gabriel Chaibva, said his party would
issue a statement on the issue.
"As the secretary general (Welshman Ncube) said, we have no major problems
(with the talks) so far. We have faith that the talks will provide a
breakthrough soon. But I can't talk about the process because we are
gagged," Chaibva said.
ZANU PF and representatives of the split MDC have shuttled between Harare
and Pretoria over the past three months as they seek to hammer out an
agreement at the ongoing talks.
ZimOnline is reliably informed that Mbeki raised the issue of the slow pace
of the talks during his meeting with Tsvangirai at the weekend, with the MDC
leader expressing reservations about rushing to sign the document before
ZANU PF had shown commitment to genuine reform.
Tsvangirai believes ZANU-PF will need at least nine months to dismantle its
repressive machinery and instill in its supporters a sense of tolerance
before any election could be held.
Mbeki cancelled a briefing on the progress of the talks with Zimbabwean
civil society representatives who were due to meet him in Pretoria
The South African leader was supposed to meet leaders of the National
Constitutional Assembly, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Progressive Teachers Union
of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
"The trip has been canceled. We may now meet Mbeki next week," said ZLHR
director Arnold Tsunga who refused to give further details about the planned
Sources said Mbeki cancelled the civic society briefing after realising it
would take longer than anticipated to get the belligerents to agree on a
The civic groups and the Tsvangirai camp are against the signing of the
agreement without ZANU PF showing tangible action on embarking on the agreed
They are believed to have raised concern over amending the constitution
without involving all key stakeholders in the process.
"They reckon that it does not make sense to sign an agreement in Pretoria,
and yet on the ground ZANU-PF and the security agencies continue to harass
opposition supporters. Tsvangirai is against signing a document that would
legitimise a rigged ZANU PF election victory," said a source.
Sources said the idea of postponing the elections was also gathering
currency among senior officials in Mugabe's party.
"ZANU-PF realises that it will need more time to sort out the messy
succession issue. They will also need to wriggle out of this crisis of the
shortage of commodities that they created for themselves.
"Mugabe and even those opposed to his continued stay agree that the election
might have to be postponed until such a time that there is a bit of
stability," said the source.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is part of the ZANU-PF team
negotiating with the MDC, said his party was happy with the talks progress
but refused to discuss the issue of delaying elections.
"What I know is that elections would be held in March and I am yet to come
across a different view within our party. I can't talk on behalf of the
opposition," said Chinamasa. - ZimOnline
Monday 17 September 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - A cholera and dysentery outbreak has hit Zimbabwe's second
largest and water-starved city amid reports that about 400 residents have
been treated for the diseases since August.
Bulawayo is facing a serious water shortage that has seen residents go
without water for periods of up to four days.
Bulawayo City Council spokesman Phathisa Nyathi confirmed the outbreak of
the two diseases and warned residents against using water from unprotected
"We have recorded high numbers of diarrhoea cases in the city since we
started experiencing water problems and very recently we also got reports of
two cases of dysentery breaking out in the city," Nyathi said.
He put the number of reported diarrhoea cases at close to 400 and said
council health personnel had been placed on high alert to deal with the
"So far we have referred the two cases of dysentery to hospitals while the
diarrhoea cases have been treated at the clinics," Nyathi said.
Bulawayo is facing a serious water crisis after three of its five supply
dams were decommissioned due to low water levels.
Residents have resorted to using water from unprotected sources or buying
water in order to beat the shortages.
The two remaining dams have failed to meet the city's daily water
requirement of 120 000 cubic metres.
The city council is only able to pump out 69 000 cubic metres of water daily
from the available sources.
The outbreak of cholera and dysentery in the city comes hardly a month after
the council warned residents of possible disease outbreaks due to the water
Zimbabwe's second city has faced perennial water problems for more than two
decades during which both residents and the city fathers have pinned their
hopes on an ambitious project to draw water from the Zambezi river.
Boreholes which have been providing the residents with most of their water
needs have also dried up in some parts, leading to the surfacing of black
market water dealers who are charging as much as Z$50 000 for a 10-litre
The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, a long held plan to tap water from
the Zambezi River through the construction of a 450km pipeline to arid
Matabeleland was mooted way back in 1912.
The total cost of the pipeline has sky-rocketed and the project is now
estimated to cost about US$600 million.
However, the crisis-ridden government has been unable to implement the
scheme, drawing the ire of Bulawayo residents and other pressure groups from
the region. - ZimOnline
Monday 17 September 2007
By Francis Mpofu
HARARE - The price of life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) has
shot up from Z$2.5 million to $5.9 million for a month's supply, putting at
risk lives of thousands of Zimbabweans who depend on the drugs for survival.
President Robert Mugabe's embattled government last June ordered a
freeze on prices of all basic commodities, including ARVs, that resulted in
the drugs and most goods disappearing from shop shelves.
The Retail Pharmacist Association last week won a concession from the
government to lift the price freeze after it had warned that most pharmacies
could be pushed out of business due to the price directive.
The chairman of the association, Douglas Shoniwa, confirmed to
ZimOnline yesterday that they had hiked the price of ARVs.
A survey by ZimOnline at the weekend showed that most pharmacies in
Harare had hiked the price of most generic AIDS drugs by more than 100
A month's supply of a fixed-dose combination of ARVs now costs $5.9
million, up from $2.5 million. The price is way above the average monthly
salaries of most Zimbabwean workers who are taking home about $3 million a
The fixed dose is the first line of treatment for people living with
HIV and AIDS.
Generic drugs such as Tromunne 40, are now costing $4.1 million, up
from $2 million for a month's supply while Stanelav 40, which is
manufactured locally, is now going for $5.9 million, up from $3 million.
A pharmacist at one of the leading pharmacies in Harare, QV, told
ZimOnline that prices of all ARVs had gone up last Thursday.
"It starts with the suppliers and we as the pharmacies pass on the
costs to the consumers," said the pharmacist who refused to be named because
he is not authorised to speak to the press.
At least 1.8 million Zimbabweans are living with HIV. But out of that
number just about 50 000 are accessing ARVs at state hospitals.
A severe shortage of foreign currency has impacted negatively on
government plans to roll out treatment to people living with HIV.
The AIDS pandemic, which is claiming at least 3 000 Zimbabweans every
week, has been worsened by a severe eight-year economic crisis that has seen
80 percent of the people living in abject poverty because they have no jobs.
Most of the people who are living with HIV say accessing the drugs at
government hospitals is a nightmare fraught with corruption, with some
reports saying government ministers and those close to the corridors of
power were intercepting drugs meant for government hospitals for their own
use. - ZimOnline
Monday 17 September 2007
By Prince Nyathi
HARARE - A Zimbabwe government minister has accused China, a key ally
of President Robert Mugabe, of dumping its cheap products in the country
blaming the trend on a lack of entrepreneurs in the southern African
Oppah Muchinguri, who is the Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender and
Community Development, was speaking at a cocktail party hosted by the
Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA) at the weekend.
Muchinguri said Zimbabwe's education system did not prepare students
to venture into business, leaving the Chinese to take advantage of the
numerous business opportunities available in the country.
"This is why China is dumping its products in this country. We don't
have entrepreneurs. They (Chinese) have a business culture and they add
value to their products," said Muchinguri to the surprise of many guests.
Zimbabwe has since 2000 strengthened economic ties with China under
its "Look-East" policy. The new relationship has seen thousands of Chinese
nationals set up small businesses in Harare and other major cities.
But economic analysts accuse the Chinese of taking advantage of the
dire economic circumstances in the country to sell cheap-quality products to
Muchinguri said the government wanted the Indigenisation Bill in place
to promote and protect local businesses from "foreign vultures."
The Indigenisation Bill will compel all foreign-owned companies to
shed 51 percent stake to indigenous Zimbabweans, a move critics say will
drive away foreign investors.
The minister said the Chinese and Nigerians, who also run some small
retail shops in Zimbabwe, repatriate their earnings to develop their own
Challenged to explain why the government allowed foreigners to
repatriate their earnings to their own countries, Muchinguri refused to take
further questions from the floor.
"I did not say the Chinese and Nigerians should be chased away, there
are journalists here, and I have to be very careful. It's an issue of Home
Affairs," she said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has
manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of over 7 600
percent, massive unemployment and poverty.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and Western
governments blame the crisis on mismanagement by Mugabe, in power since the
country's independence from Britain, 27 years ago. - ZimOnline
UK Press Association
2 hours ago
Gordon Brown has raised hopes of a response to the crisis in Zimbabwe within
days after the Archbishop of York urged him to take action against President
The Prime Minister spoke to John Sentamu as the Archbishop publicly called
on him to lead an international campaign against the Harare regime.
Dr Sentamu appeared encouraged by his conversation with the premier and
expressed optimism that an announcement might be imminent.
The Archbishop disclosed that Mr Brown had watched a major BBC Newsnight
report last week detailing the poverty and repression inflicted on Zimbabwe
by Mr Mugabe.
"He's concerned," Dr Sentamu said. "I'm hoping the Prime Minister this week
is going to make some kind of response."
The Archbishop went on to suggest the premier was sympathetic to concerns
that an "African solution" did not appear to be forthcoming.
"He says part of the trouble has been whenever the international community
has wanted to do something the African Union has said we will give it an
African solution," Dr Sentamu told BBC1's Sunday AM. "But I don't think
they're (going to), just as I don't think they've been successful in Darfur
The Archbishop called for a full boycott of the Zimbabwean economy and its
He added that countries should also look at reducing Zimbabwe's embassy
staff, alleging that their diplomatic privileges were used to take money out
of the African nation.
Ahead of his conversation with the Prime Minister, Dr Sentamu penned an
article for the Observer urging Mr Brown to look past Britain's "colonialist
guilt" in the former Rhodesia.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: September 16, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's government backtracked on a wage freeze, the
official media reported Sunday, just days before labor unions hold a
national strike protesting it.
President Robert Mugabe, in a decree Aug. 29, froze wages, school fees and
service charges for six months alongside a price reduction ordered in June.
The main labor organization, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, called a
countrywide strike for Wednesday and Thursday to protest the wage controls
and other economic policies that have led to record unemployment and chronic
The state Sunday Mail newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said details of
amendments to the Aug. 29 decree will be finalized Tuesday to allow for wage
negotiations between employers and workers and subsequent pay increases.
"We are working on amendments as far as incomes are concerned," Labor
Minister Nicholas Goche told the newspaper.
The government's recent price reductions and other measures to tame the
world's highest rate of inflation have left shelves bare across the nation
of basic foods and essential goods.
Official inflation is given as more than 7,600 percent though independent
estimates put real inflation at close to 25,000 percent. The International
Monetary Fund has forecast it reaching 100,000 percent by the end of the
Acute shortages of food and gasoline have fueled illegal black market
trading of virtually absent commodities selling at 10 times the government's
The wage freeze, coupled with the failure of the measures to hold down
prices, triggered an outcry from workers and labor groups, core supporters
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and its founder, former
labor leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Since prices of all goods and services were slashed by about half in June
the government has allowed 20 percent price hikes across the board and
higher increases in specified cases such as hotel, bar and restaurant
The main labor organization said the wage freeze ensured workers were to
remain "engulfed in poverty."
"There is no rationale in freezing salaries when prices of commodities were
reviewed upward," the labor federation said in a statement calling this
week's two-day strike.
In the past, national strikes have crippled the already crumbling economy
even though they have been poorly supported by the 20 percent of workers
still in jobs who were frightened of losing them as well as by state
harassment of employers and labor unions.
Formal unemployment is about 80 percent. The promised easing of the wage
freeze was expected to create fresh demands from embattled businesses for
further price increases.
Price cuts were first greeted with widespread popular support, but it has
waned sharply as shortages of corn meal, meat, bread and other basic
foodstuffs worsened and stores with little to sell drastically cut their
opening hours, forcing shoppers to undergo an often fruitless daily hunt for
Supplies of most goods have dried up, with businesses arguing they are being
told to sell products at below costs of production.
On Saturday, the government imposed 60 percent customs duty payable in hard
currency on imported clothing and some household appliances.
It insisted the move would stimulate local manufacturing, saying raised hard
currency duties of 100 percent of the value of imported cars earlier this
year made the imports unaffordable and increased the output of local car
Cheap clothing is mainly imported from neighboring countries for resale at
back street shops and flea markets by unemployed women known as "border
traders" as their sole source of income.
Previously, import duty on cars, appliances and clothing was negligible.
Sun 16 Sep 2007, 11:46 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main labour union will go ahead with a two-day
strike this week despite government signals the wage freeze that triggered
the protest would be relaxed, a top labour official said on Sunday.
President Robert Mugabe's government ordered a price freeze in June as part
of ongoing efforts to stem rampant inflation, which is running above 7,600
percent. Earlier this month officials extended the freeze to wages, rentals
and school fees.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called for industrial action in
protest against the blanket freeze, but state media reports on Sunday
indicated the government was planning to amend the regulation to allow
employers to award salary increases.
Labour Minister Nicholas Goche told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper the
government would relax the wage freeze by Tuesday.
"We are working on amendments as far as incomes are concerned," Goche said,
adding that the freeze ordered on other goods and services would remain.
However, ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told Reuters the labour
federation would not call off the planned job boycott until Mugabe's
government made the changes.
"We have been cheated before. Initially they said there would be no wage
freeze, but then went on to announce it," Chibebe said.
"They are trying to pacify us to try and dilute the planned action on the
19th and 20th, but we will believe them only after seeing the amendments. So
the position remains and the strike goes ahead," Chibebe added.
Workers have borne the brunt of Zimbabwe's severe economic crisis, which is
marked by the highest inflation in the world and persistent shortages of
foreign currency, fuel and food.
Mugabe's government in April stifled a national strike called by the ZCTU by
deploying riot police in the country's main urban centres.
Analysts say strikes over labour and social issues in recent years have
largely failed due to government intimidation and workers' fears of losing
their jobs in a country that has an 80 percent unemployment rate.
Mugabe accuses the ZCTU of fronting for the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, which he says is being used by his Western foes to oust
him from power.
Sep 16 2007 04:51 PM
Harare- Zimbabwe is probing companies' believed to be sabotaging President
Robert Mugabe's price control and monitoring policy.The state-owned Sunday
Mail reported that the Zimbabwean government is now probing firms suspected
to be "deliberately" causing shortages of goods and defying an order to
slash price issued by Mugabe in June.Acting Price Control Taskforce
chairperson and Minister without Portfolio Elliot Manyika said although
companies were failing to supply products owing to genuine viability
concerns, there was now reason to believe other producers were working to
destabilize government's pricing policies.Manyika told the paper that a
government witch-hunt had yielded suspects but would not name the culprits
yet to give talks a chance.He did not specify what action would be taken
against those found on the wrong side of the law while Mugabe has threatened
defiant companies with nationalisation. Already, an investment company for
the takeover of defiant companies has been incorporated and funds set aside
for the eventual takeover.Deliberately causing shortages"It is a fact that
there are product shortages on the market, but what we have gathered is that
some producers are deliberately defying production orders," said
Manyika.Although Manyika did not point fingers at any particular company,
the government mouthpiece named food processor National Foods and beverages
manufacturer Schweppes as some of the culprits.If found to be deliberately
causing shortages, analysts say Mugabe might want to make an example to
other errant firms in his bid to ensure total compliance within the business
community .The aged leader's price control policies have done more harm than
good as more and more Zimbabweans grapple with shortages everyday.National
Foods supplies products such as mealie-meal, rice, salt, which are in short
supply, while Schweppes products, which include the popular Mazoe orange
drink, are reportedly available on the Mozambican market.'Following up
supply chain'Manyika said his taskforce is going through various stages of
the supply chain to establish the causes of commodity shortages being
experienced across the country."We are certainly following up the supply
chain. The ultimate objective is to ensure that supply concerns are
addressed to ensure goods are readily available on the market," he said.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing shortages of basic goods after Mugabe ordered
that prices of goods be slashed by 50% a few months ago.Mugabe's critics say
he is seeking political mileage ahead of March presidential polls.Business
leaders say reviewing the current prices to economic levels could help
sustain production while starving the basic commodity black market of cheap
supplies.The troubled southern African country is in its eighth year of
economic recession charecterised by high inflation now above 7 600% in July.
From Religious Intelligence (UK), 12 September
By George Conger
Wrangling over Robert Mugabe, homosexuality, the place of The Episcopal
Church within the Anglican Communion, and the aspirations of national
churches, marked the General Synod of the Province of Central Africa, held
Sept 6-8 in the southern Malawi town of Mangochi. Initial reports on the
proceedings of Synod have been contradictory. The government backed Harare
Herald reported the Province had been dissolved, following the withdrawal of
the Zimbabwe dioceses, angered over an insufficiently fierce condemnation of
homosexuality and the Western Churches. However, the Bishop of Botswana, the
Rt Rev Trevor Mwamba emailed Religious Intelligence saying the "Province is
still intact." Preliminary reports from Malawi indicate a conservative turn
within the Province. Three Zimbabwe dioceses, led by the controversial
Bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, were able to block resolutions
proposed by Bishop Mwamba on the crisis in Zimbabwe. They argued such
political matters were beyond the scope of the Province's deliberations and
meddled in the political affairs of the sovereign dioceses and countries.
Taking up the cry of homosexuality, Dr Kunonga was able to shift attention
away from the political and economic crisis in the region on to the disputes
within the Anglican Communion. A resolution reiterating the Provinces
commitment to the principles enunciated by the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10
was adopted, but Dr Kunonga is said to have rejected this stance as not
According to a report in the Herald, the Diocese of Harare and Manicaland
and a third Zimbabwe diocese have quit the Province, in protest, forcing the
Province to break apart. A point denied by Bishop Mwamba. Debate over
dividing the diocese into three national churches: Zambia, Zimbabwe and
Malawi were held, but no action taken. Bishop Mwamba's conciliatory stance
towards The Episcopal Church led to his removal as Provincial Dean by the
Archbishop of Central Africa, Bernard Malango. The Rt Rev Albert Chama,
Bishop of Northern Zambia as Dean by the church's General Synod, which began
on Sept 6 in Mangochi, Malawi. The government-backed Herald reported Bishop
Mwamba was 'relieved of his duties' due top his 'pro-gay' and pro-American
lobbying, and because he misrepresented 'the province's position on the
issue of homosexuals.' The Oxford-educated Bishop Mwamba had urged the
African churches to moderate their tone on the issue of homosexuality, and
address first the continent's social and economic problems. In a June 2006
interview with The Church of England Newspaper in London, conducted during
the US Church's General Convention, Bishop Mwamba stated he supported the
1998 Lambeth stance on human sexuality, but argued the Communion had become
sidetracked by the issue at the expense of the poor. Last week's Synod will
be the last for the church's primate. Archbishop Bernard Malango turns 65 in
January and is expected to retire at that time. The new Dean, Bishop Chama,
will oversee the election of a successor and will serve as acting primate.
Provincial canons require the empty Episcopal sees of Lake Malawi and
Archbishop Malango's soon to be vacant diocese of Upper Shire be filled
before a new Archbishop is elected. The on-going wrangle over the disputed
2005 election of London vicar Nicholas Henderson in Lake Malawi, may give
Bishop Chama a longer than expected interim. The replacement of Bishop
Mwamba by Bishop Chama may indicate a conservative tilt. Bishop Mwamba is
scheduled to address the Modern Churchperson's Conference on the question of
African Anglicanism, while Bishop Chama is a member of the Ekklesia
Society - the development and relief agency headed by Bishop Bill Atwood,
one of two Americans consecrated in Nairobi by the Kenyan church to oversee
conservative US congregations.
17 September 2007
THE Anglican Church Province of Central Africa has broken up, and the issue
of homosexuality has been cited. The Herald caught up with the man who
delivered the deathblow by withdrawing the Diocese he leads, Dr Nolbert
Kunonga of Harare, to discuss this and other issues.
QUESTION: Bishop Kunonga, the big news is you have pulled out of the Church
of the Province of Central Africa. Can you briefly tell our readers what
motivated that decision?
ANSWER: First and foremost, the Church and the nation need to know that we
belong to the Catholic Church ourselves, we belong to the Catholic faith. We
believe in the primacy and supremacy of the scriptures and we will not
tolerate any views that go contrary to the supreme canons, legitimate and
authentic canons that have made us move away. The big decision is that we
want to abide by our conscience and our faith. We do not intend to deviate
in any way from the scriptures. To do so is to go against the rule of God if
not His will, and I would urge Zimbabweans and Anglicans throughout the
country that we cannot accept homosexuality. It has never been accepted and
it will not be accepted in the Diocese of Harare and, as the Bishop of
Harare, I don't accept that.
Q: But Bishop, I understand the Province of Central Africa took a stand
against homosexuality, and at the just ended Synod a resolution was drafted
to that effect. Why then did you leave?
A: There are several reasons why we pulled out as a Diocese. First of all,
when we look at the Province, it is very weak. The mechanisms are there,
instruments are there, but there are no powerful or strong users of the
mechanisms of the constitutions and the canons of the prophets of the
Church. That is number one.
Number two, our province is the poorest and there are many poor dioceses.
People who belong to homosexual movements from England, America and other
European countries have poured in a great deal of money and diluted the
stand of the Province. So the resolution that was made is just a resolution.
It has no consequence, no bearing. And having been working with the province
myself, I know there is nothing they can do and a lot of money, as I have
said, was being poured into it and that alone makes it difficult to handle
this question or this resolution to make it effective.
Q: In the statements you made in Malawi, you accused the Bishop of Botswana
and a few other bishops of embracing homosexuality. Would you elaborate on
what exactly the Bishop of Botswana did which divided the Province?
A: The Bishop of Botswana, Trevor Mwamba, as it emerged in the Episcopal
Synod before the Provincial Synod, was that he was an avowed sympathiser,
compromiser and advocate for homosexuality and this was not received well by
many bishops. He insisted, persistently, that the homosexual candidate for
Lake Malawi be reinstated or be consecrated as Bishop of Lake Malawi. He saw
nothing wrong with that and that made many people suspicious. And not only
that; in many forums he has spoken, he has addressed on issues of
homosexuality and supported it in various ways and nobody doubted his
position. This is why I started by saying he is an avowed homosexual or he
is convinced about his position.
Q: How do you respond to the view that your withdrawal was strategically
planned to coincide with Archbishop Malango's retirement, particularly
assertions that you want to form your own province in which you will be
A: Oh, it was not planned, it was not done to coincide with the retirement
(of Archbishop Malango). It is not even my ambition to become the Archbishop
of any province. We stand by the scriptures, we stand by the will of God, it
does matter when this comes in.
It so happens that it coincides with Archbishop Malango's retirement, but it
has nothing to do with my ambitions because when deacons become bishops and
bishops become archbishops, we are elected. It is a matter of power and you
cannot be sure that you become archbishop in the process because elections
can go anywhere. So it has nothing to do with that.
We are inspired and motivated by our beliefs in the scriptures, our beliefs
as Catholic Christians and our beliefs as human beings that homosexuality
cannot be accepted because it takes away our human dignity and it is not
accepted in the Constitution of our country, and it is inconceivable in our
It is unthinkable that a man could undress in the presence of another man
and a woman can undress for another woman. So it's an abomination not only
from the scripture point of view, but also from the cultural, political
set-up in which we are operating. All these are violated by thinking or
intending or compromising with homosexuality.
Q: The Lake Malawi saga seemed to have indirectly or directly influenced
your position. What help can you offer the conservatives in the Diocese of
Lake Malawi who may come to you for advice?
A: It is very sad that the situation in Lake Malawi has developed into a
two-polar system of those who are pro-homosexuality and those who are
against homosexuality. But for those who are against homosexuality, there is
a word of comfort: we are prepared to give them refuge and comfort; we are
prepared to give them hope; we are prepared to work, to have a fellowship
with them. We will support them when they stand resolute and firmly against
So the world has not ended, there is a lot of hope. I encourage them to
contact us and we will try to contact them too. This is how we can forge
ahead together. We want to be one family, we want to continue doing what the
Church and God wants us to do as His children. It has nothing to do with
that they come from Lake Malawi or I come from the Diocese of Harare, but we
want to be together as a family, as Anglicans who opposed and protest
against homosexual practices.
Q: Bishop, issues of faith and principle are fundamental in this regard, but
there are those who say the Church is for sinners and homosexuals are also
sinners, They say instead of condemning and barring them, we should embrace
and minister to them so that they can be saved?
A: I am a preacher, I am a theologian. I understand that God would embrace
His children because he created them in the image of God, in His own image.
But what we are against is to engage homosexuals in holy matrimony because
in our canon, even the human canon we have created as Central Africa,
homosexuality is not part of holy matrimony. In our canons we say one
husband one wife and a woman for a man. Homo means the same. Here we are
talking of people of different sexes, one male, one female. And if we want
to be biblical, there was Adam and Eve, there was never Steven and Rob. It
was not Jane and Mary, but it was Peter and Faith all the time.
We have never deviated and this is our tradition as a Church and this is the
teaching of the scriptures and we abide by the scriptures. And in our own
African context, the cultural contexts, we follow very closely what the
scriptures require us to do. In the Hebrew religion they have always
followed this issue. In Islam religion it is always a man and a woman and in
other denominations, non-Christian denominations, it is always a man and a
woman whether it is a civil or church marriage doesn't matter. That is what
is natural. Homosexuality is an abomination, unnatural, sinful and
intolerable. So we continue to emphasise that reject it totally with no
Q: What do you think will be the impact of the breakaway on the already
divided Anglican community?
A: The impact is tremendous. Let me begin with the international community.
This office of the Diocese of Harare has been inundated with phone calls,
emails and (postal) mail. Since Monday hundreds of people have called us
from all over the world supporting us. These dioceses, which is amazing,
from the Americas, which have not joined the ECUSA, or the Episcopal
Anglican Church which is also our sister Anglican Church, who are breaking
away, are saying they are going to follow us and join us. So we are not
alone in this battle.
Many Anglicans internationally and worldwide are supporting us and those who
have taken the step that we have taken are only saying welcome brother and
those who are to follow are saying well done brother we are following your
footsteps. And within the country, it's not only Anglicans; it is many
Christians who have seen that we have taken a noble position to reject
anything that goes against the will of God and against the scriptures.
We have been encouraged by even other religions -- not denominations.
Moslems, Hindus and those who practice African religion have supported us.
Chiefs in this country have also supported us. So from whichever angle we
have been supported.
But the greatest support I am looking for not matter even all these people
were against me, I have that support and God is on my side. That is the
greatest support. We are not just doing it so that there is a big impact in
the world, but we are doing it so that we are true and faithful to our God
and our God will be true and faithful to us.
Q: Have you received any communication from the Archbishop of Canterbury?
A: Not yet, but the Archbishop of Canterbury is also in a way a culprit
because we understand and we know that he has been interfering with the
practices, processes and the running of the Province of Central Africa. We
gather that the man from USPG (United Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel) Bishop Doe and Chad Gandiya were given money which they spread among
the dioceses to influence the decision to win in their position. So it is
very difficult, I think, for him to respond to this as quickly as possible.
He is not clean and is part of it because he has interfered. And the other
thing is that the centre is shaken. He is supposed to be the pillar of
unity. So he is shaken, he has no Anglican Church to lead anymore because
there are so many fellowships developing in the world. And which one does he
lead? It is because of his wishy-washy position, a weak position and
sympathetic position to homosexuality. You may never tell whether he is pro
or against homosexuality. We need a firm leader, and he has failed to
provide that leadership. All he dwells on is to say who comes to Lambeth and
who doesn't come to Lambeth according to his way. So I don't expect an
immediate response from the Archbishop of Canterbury because his weak
leadership and weak character has failed to spearhead and to hold the
Anglican Church together. It's very sad that the Anglican Church is falling
apart, things have fallen apart in his own hands. It's very, very sad.
Q: There are five dioceses in Zimbabwe that can constitute a province
according to the Constitution of the Province of Central Africa. Does that
same constitution bind you? If not, what is the way forward?
A: We are out of the Province of Central Africa right now, we are going to
form a new province. It's true that there are five here in Zimbabwe. Three
of them -- that is the Diocese of Manicaland, the Diocese of Harare that I
lead and the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe -- are very clear and resolute,
very firm that they reject homosexuality. As for the other two, it is for
you to make a conclusion. And when I see that it is the leadership, the
people in those remaining dioceses we treat them the way we have treated
those of Lake Malawi. They are fellow Zimbabweans, they are fellow
Christians, they are fellow Anglicans, we know that they are not
homosexuals. So we invite them to join us and walk this walk together for
the glory of God.
Q: Are you prepared to name the Zimbabwean bishops dabbling in
A: For some reason, I can't mention them, but we were surprised, this is why
we were saying we were surprised in the Provincial Synod in the Province of
Central Africa. Certain manifestations showed us that not all the five
bishops are together. They joined in ridiculing us. I mean for the moment I
will leave it there, but I want to repeat that Manicaland, Harare and
Central Zimbabwe are together against homosexuality but I was surprised by
the stance that was taken by the other two at the Provincial Synod.
Q: What is the role of the Anglican Council of Zimbabwe? What comments can
you make from the history of the Anglican Council of Zimbabwe?
A: The role of the Anglican Council of Zimbabwe has been severely crippled;
it has not been functioning as a national institution for Anglicans. And
since that we are not going to work together after this, the two other
dioceses obviously are not going to work with the Diocese of Manicaland, the
Diocese of Harare and the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe. So that way, it is
very sad that things have gone the way they have done. I would have thought
otherwise that the other two, if things were normal, we would work together
as family with them, in unity. But we have had problems coming through the
Province, homosexuality in particular. Homosexuality has divided us even at
national level in the Anglican Zimbabwean community.
Q: Your words to the Anglican community in Zimbabwe?
A: The most important thing that I would like Zimbabweans to hear,
especially the Anglicans, is that we believed in the supreme, primary,
legitimate, authentic and true canons, divine canons, that is the
scriptures. First of all, I call them to centre around these scriptures,
these Holy Scriptures that is our centre and that is the centre that is not
going to crack. It is the centre that points us to Christ, that reconciles
us with Jesus Christ.
It is not in the canons of the Province of the Church of Central Africa, but
it is in these supreme, divine canons.
So I just want Zimbabweans, particularly Anglicans, to know that and also to
know that we are prepared as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ in the
Anglican family to walk together this walk of liberation from the sin of
homosexuality and reject it totally.
Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.
Lots to talk about at the
Vigil, which was blessed with brilliant sunny
weather, almost making up for the wet summer. Everyone seemed to have seen
the television report filmed secretly in Zimbabwe which was shown on the BBC
on Thursday, including many passers-by who expressed great anxiety about the
situation in Zimbabwe. The Ugandan-born Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu,
also saw the report and has called for tough sanctions to bring down what he
called the racist Mugabe regime. The Vigil contacted Dr Sentamu recently and
we are glad he has taken up the question of Zimbabwe so boldly.
Representatives of the Vigil were invited to watch the programme with the
reporter responsible, Sue Lloyd Roberts. She was anxious to get our
feedback. (To see the programme, check:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/6991127.stm.) Sue, who has
bravely filmed in Zimbabwe on several occasions, said she was horrified to
see how the situation has deteriorated. One image from her report that
struck everyone's heart was the picture of a starving child whose skin was
coming off and whose hair was falling out. Zimbabwe is certainly not fading
from the news.
There was much discussion at the Vigil about our fifth anniversary
commemoration on 13th October. We have agreed to mark the anniversary by
handing over the following petition. "A PETITION TO EUROPEAN UNION
GOVERNMENTS: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at
their time of trial. We urge the UK government, and the European Union in
general, to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries
until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the
region." We recognize this is a controversial demand but we have canvassed
widely and received strong support. People are aware than Mozambique is
boosting its power supply to Zimbabwe despite unpaid bills and that other
SADC countries are helping to keep Mugabe in power. These countries look to
the West for budgetary support. We say stop giving them our taxes and use
the money instead to help the starving people in Zimbabwe that SADC
governments are ignoring. As far as the Vigil is concerned our priorities
are food and medicine for the people of Zimbabwe that is delivered to all
who need it and not just to ZANU-PF.
It was great that so many people have offered to help with the anniversary
Vigil and the social event afterwards. Vigil supporters have shown great
solidarity and ownership of the Vigil in their enthusiasm and commitment to
this event. A group of community activists in East London have kindly
agreed to let us use their space for free for our social event. It is a
former school building in Aldgate which has been squatted by this group for
3 years and is used for community purposes. There will be no entrance
charge but donations will be asked for food and drink. We are also
organising entertainment. One reason we were pleased to find the venue is
that it is only one bus ride from the Vigil. There will a meeting after
next week's Vigil to progress plans for the anniversary.
News from our friends in Belfast: the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign (ZSC) met
with several Members of the Legislative Asssembly (MLAs) at Stormont, the
Northern Ireland Parliament, to present a petition calling on the UK
government to take action on the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. The ZSC
updated the MLAs on Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis. The petition was signed
by several MLAs, including the first minister Ian Paisley, Carmel Hanna,
Jeffrey Donaldson, Ian Paisley Jnr and many more. Carmel Hanna has invited
the ZSC to discuss Zimbabwe with the All-Party Group on International
Development. For more information:
For this week's Vigil pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 106 signed the register. Supporters from Bedford,
Birmingham, Brighton, Coventry, Crawley, Derby, Hastings, Leeds, Leicester,
Luton, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend, Tunbridge
Wells, Wakefield, Wolverhampton and many from London and environs.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
- Monday, 17th September 2007 -Central London Zimbabwe Forum. The
speakers are a panel of Zimbabwean church ministers: Pastor Levi Moyo, a
former Chair of Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Pastor Clemence Matsika
and Pastor Ray Pountney of West Hill Baptist Church. We will be meeting in
the downstairs function room of the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street,
London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers
Street and John Adam Street near our usual venue the Theodore Bullfrog.
- Saturday, 13th October, 2 - 6 pm. Zimbabwe Vigil's 5th Anniversary
followed by a social event at RampART Creative Centre and Social Space,
15-17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA. Details of how to get to the venue
will be circulated nearer the time.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk