The Zimbabwe Standard, 25 September
By Foster Dongozi and Caiphas Chimhete
Barely two weeks after State Security and Land Reform minister, Didymus Mutasa described white commercial farmers as "dirt" which needed to be cleansed, mayhem has broken out in Manicaland. Attacks were reported in Chipinge and Nyazura, where commercial farmers said they now fear for their lives. Mutasa made the chilling threat against whites at a land audit meeting in Masvingo two weeks ago. Police in Chipinge confirmed receiving reports of "disturbances" at some farms in the district. "Assistant Inspector Makota is handling some cases but he has gone out. He is the only person who can talk to you," said an officer when contacted for comment yesterday. In Nyazura two farms - Tsungwezi Source and Tsellandal - were taken from their owners, Jane Herrer and David Banard respectively. In Chipinge, Joseph Chiminya, a senior official with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) allegedly led a gang which stormed Ashanti Farm on Wednesday morning. Five members of the gang then savaged the farm manager, Allen Warner with hoses and steel pipes while Chiminya stood at a distance. Warner said: "Chiminya, a senior member of the CIO was carrying an Uzi light machine gun and he pointed it at me but when he tried to fire it, the gun jammed which was very lucky for me. When I tried to escape on a motor bike, they descended on me and beat me up." He said the beatings only stopped after David Wilding-Davies, a co-owner of the farm, pleaded with the assailants not to harm him.
The assault on Ashanti Farm is expected to cause a major embarrassment in Zanu PF, as the farm is partly owned by former University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Hill. Warner confirmed Hill was a part owner of the farm. Wilding-Davies, who with Hill owns Ashanti Farm, confirmed Chiminya is targeting the farm. The farms export coffee and tea that earn the country much-needed foreign currency. "The acting DA, Kutamahofa came with Joseph Chiminya from the President's Office and told me that they intended to take over the farm. They told me they were coming the following day," Wilding-Davies said. Unconfirmed reports say a senior official based at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, had 12 police officers in tow when he overran Brackenridge Farm on Tuesday night. Four of them were allegedly brandishing AK 47 automatic rifles. The evictee, Gideon Mostert said the diplomat, accompanied by his wife, instructed him to vacate the farm at night and ordered neighbours and workers not to assist them to pack. An intelligence officer, identified only as Sigauke, is reported to have muscled his way into Destiny Farm and informed workers and management that he would be the new owner of the farm at the end of the month. "Sigauke has been coming here to intimidate the workers despite the fact that he was served with an eviction order in June," said farm manager, Robert Clowes. Chiminya and Sigauke could not be reached for comment.
The latest mayhem comes after President Robert Mugabe assented to the Constitutional Amendment Bill 17, which prohibits people from seeking recourse from the courts on matters relating to farming land. Doug Taylor-Freeme, the president of the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), said the invasions in Chipinge and Nyazura had instilled fear in the hearts of the farming community and would have negative effects on the national agricultural output. Taylor-Freeme said the CFU had appealed to government to intervene and ensure farmers can farm with confidence to ensure the country retains its status as the breadbasket of southern Africa. When informed about the attacks Mutasa yesterday backtracked on his threat and professed ignorance about the mayhem in Chipinge and Nyazura, saying farmers should report any invasions to the nearest police station.
The Sunday Mail, 25 September
Police in Harare have in the past week, raised over $180 million in fines after arresting over 5 000 people for various offences committed under operation code-named Siyapambili. Harare Province police spokesman Inspector Loveless Rupere said 5 084 arrests had been made from September 16 to 22. "We have collected a cumulative revenue of $180 125 000 so far from fines," he said. In Harare Central alone 680 offenders were fined for various offences while there were 376 arrests in Harare suburban districts. In Mbare and Harare South Districts, there were 307 and 678 arrests respectively while Chitungwiza district also saw 355 offenders being fined. The national traffic department recorded a total of 2 287 arrests while the total number of arrests made in all six districts by last Wednesday was 1 071. Inspector Rupere said arrests made were for the various offences, including housebreaking and theft, assault, robberies, theft from motor vehicles, illegal dealings in foreign currency, street vending, gambling and touting. "We have noted with great concern that after Operation Restore Order, most crimes of concern had gone down by a respectable margin. However, we have seen that despite all efforts being made by police, there is now a trend which shows an increase in the crime rate," said Inspector Rupere. He added that the exercise was an ongoing process to curb crime within the city.
By Valentine Maponga
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will take part in the Senate polls due to be held before the end of the year, The Standard can reveal.
Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general told The Standard that there were differences between circumstances leading to the Senate elections and the 31 March Parliamentary elections.
"There are fundamental differences between the March Parliamentary elections and the position we are in right now. It is very clear that the national council lifted the suspension on election participation and that position has not changed. The operative resolution of the council is that we are in the elections," Ncube said.
Ncube dismissed claims of divisions within the opposition party adding that having different views over certain issues does not mean that people are divided.
"It is very democratic to have differing views so that we debate and try and convince those with contrary views why we think the other view is better and important. Right now we are encouraging the people to go and register," he said.
By participating in the elections other opposition MPs fear that they might be legitimising the ruling Zanu PF and its policies.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson said: "There are a lot of things that we do that have been misconstrued as legitimising the government, yet it is not true. Anyone is entitled to arrive at his or her conclusion but the ultimate decision on whether the party should participate or not must come from within the party structures."
MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese said they needed to be satisfied first on the merits and demerits of participating in the Senate race as a party and thus the need to consult.
"We need to satisfy ourselves first that we are making the right decision by participating in those elections and that is why we are going through the consultation process. But you should always know that our party is always prepared for any elections that may come our way," Gonese said.
But analysts told The Standard that failure by the MDC to make an early announcement on their participation in major elections showed lack of a clear political strategy.
They warned that the delay could act in Zanu PF's favour in the forthcoming Senate elections, because the ruling party had intensified its campaign.
Elections for the 66-member Senate are scheduled to be held before the end of the year.
John Makumbe, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said: "They shouldn't have participated in the 31 March elections but now that they are in Parliament, it would not make sense for them to ignore the coming elections. The Senate will be part of them since the two houses would supposedly work together in the business of making laws, for as long as they sit in Parliament."
Eldred Masunungure, another lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said the delay by the MDC in reaching a decision was going to cost them a number of seats should they decide to participate.
"If the MDC decides not to participate, it would be a giant step backwards. The opposition needs to learn from past experiences and it is very evident that they lost a number of seats during the March Parliamentary elections because of the late announcement that they would contest the elections," Masunungure said.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, last week confirmed that the Senate elections would be held before the end of the year.
"Democracy is an expensive process and there is no ideal time for it to happen. We are going to conduct Senate elections by mid- December and those who can't make decisions now have themselves to blame," Chinamasa said.
By our staff
SWITZERLAND has frozen a bank account linked to President Robert Mugabe's government and placed 33 more people under travel sanctions, The Standard has learnt.
This month Swiss Economic Ministry said it had added 33 more Cabinet ministers and provincial governors, increasing the number of prominent Zimbabweans who now face travel and finance restrictions.
The Swiss ban, announced over two weeks ago, is with immediate effect.
Marcel Stutz, the Swiss Ambassador to Zimbabwe, on Friday confirmed the ban, but said in line with Swiss banking laws he could not identify whose name the frozen account is registered under.
Stutz also said the US$10 000 said to have been in the frozen account was not a considerable amount.
The increase to 126 Zimbabwean leaders now under travel sanctions following this month's decision by the Swiss is in line with recent decisions of the European Union (EU), which diplomats last week said could have given rise to Zimbabwe's move proposing "vindictive" mandatory exit visas for its citizens.
Switzerland remains outside the EU but co-ordinates its policy with Brussels. The US has also imposed its own travel restrictions on Zimbabwean leaders. Switzerland followed the EU in imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe's rulers in 2002 following international condemnation of a disputed presidential poll.
In June the EU extended a travel ban and a freeze on assets of Zanu PF leaders, arguing that there was little democratic space in Zimbabwe, that the media was gagged and human rights abuses were rife.
While efforts to establish the names of the 33 now on the list of Zimbabwean leaders banned from travelling to Switzerland were not immediately successful, the EU expanded list included among others Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and his deputy, Obert Matshalaga; Munacho Mutezo of Water Resources; Tichaona Jokonya, the Minister of Information and Publicity, and his deputy, Bright Matonga; Chen Chimutengwende of Public and Interactive Affairs, and deputy ministers Hubert Nyanhongo (Transport and Communications); Sylvester Nguni (Agriculture); Edwin Muguti (Health); Joel Biggie Matiza (Rural Housing); and the governors for Manicaland and Mashonaland East, Tinaye Chigudu and Ray Kaukonde respectively.
The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice George Chiweshe, is also on the list of those banned.
By our staff
BRITAIN has announced a 10.5 million pounds (nearly Z$500 billion) in food aid and support for victims of "Operation Murambatsvina", The Standard can disclose.
The bulk of the support pledged will be for the United Nations humanitarian appeal to distribute up to 300 000 tonnes of grain to five million people affected by food shortages, while Z$23.5 billion will support victims of the government's "clean up" exercise who have been repatriated to their rural homes.
Hilary Benn, the UK's Department for International Development secretary, said all the money would go through UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.
The total aid assistance announced is 11.5 million pounds, with one million pounds being for meeting the needs of 2.5 million people in Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland affected by food shortages.
Meanwhile Mashonaland East Governor, Ray Kaukonde has acknowledged that the government still needs the support of Britain in order to advance the interests of rural communities.
Zimbabwe has been involved in a diplomatic standoff with Britain over the past five years.
Speaking at the commissioning of a $300 million children's house at the Mother of Peace Community (MOPC) in Mutoko on Friday, Kaukonde praised Britain for assisting communities.
"You did a great job…your country did a great job…we will go back to the British ambassador whenever we face difficulties (at MOPC)…Presidents, resident ministers and ambassadors will come from these children. We have to help them," Kaukonde said.
He also reiterated the need to put aside political differences in order to equip children to face the future.
Walter Marwizi and Valentine Maponga
JUDGES have flatly refused to submit themselves to scrutiny following allegations that their rulings were compromised by "pressure" and "inducements" from government officials seeking favourable judgements.
The Standard can reveal that an attempt to refer to the Supreme Court, questions about the impartiality of judges who benefited from the land grab exercise and those accused of making judgements favourable to the State has been dismissed as "frivolous and vexatious".
Several high-ranking members of the judiciary were allocated farms during the land seizures.
Remarking on the failed constitutional request, which it is thought, would have opened a can of worms, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ordered courts to deal firmly with lawyers "scandalising" the courts while Justice Selo Nare, the President of the Administrative Court, ruled that it bordered on "naked contempt of the bench".
Challenging the acquisition of their properties by the Ministry of Lands and Agricultural Resettlement, SC Shaw (Pvt Ltd) asked the Administrative Court to refer the matter to the highest court in terms of Section 24 (2) of the Constitution.
The section allows presiding officers to refer to the Supreme Court any questions arising over the contravention of the Declaration of Rights. The officers, however, reserve the right to decline if they think the points are "merely frivolous or vexatious".
Among other constitutional preliminary points, Shaw sought to bring before the Supreme Court evidence that officials in government had been "party to providing improper inducements by making and exerting improper pressure on judges of the Supreme Court, the High court and the Administrative" to ensure that such persons gave judgements favourable to the government.
This, Shaw argued, denied the respondent a fair hearing by an independent and impartial court as required by section 18 (9) of the Constitution.
"The respondent (Shaw), in particular, wishes to lead evidence regarding improper inducements to members of the Administrative court and wishes to lead evidence regarding inducements given to judges. Such evidence will be tabled at the commencement of the hearing."
Shaw's counsel, Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, who took over the case at a later stage said although he had not himself prepared the heads of argument, he stood by them.
"I want to say at the onset that I am not in a position to lead evidence on improper pressure brought on judicial officers. However, I will reiterate the point that I made this morning that practitioners must have a huge concern that some powerful people in government and other higher places are endeavouring to exert pressure on unfortunate judicial officers.
"You know better than I that it was common knowledge what befell Mr Majuru," said the counsel.
Michael Majuru, who was the President of the Administrative Court, fled the country.
Refusing to refer the matter to the Supreme Court, Nare said it was unacceptable that senior lawyers "would gather such courage to denigrate the bench and hope to get away with it".
"It was wrong for the counsel to try and use the unceremonious departure of Mr Majuru from the service as indicative of the conclusive evidence on the alleged pressure brought to bear upon members of the Bench in land related manners…
"What counsel did was merely to cast aspersions on the Bench. His actions border on naked contempt of the Bench," he said.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku agreed with him saying the counsel had made irresponsible and unprofessional submissions.
"Where legal practitioners, who are officers of the court, and as such, are expected to know better, make totally irresponsible submissions scandalising the court mere admonition is inadequate and more appropriate action should be taken to punish such legal practitioners for contempt of court," he said. Four Supreme Court judges, Justices Wilson Sandura, Vernanda Ziyambi, Luke Malaba and Elizabeth Gwaunza agreed with Chidyausiku.
By Michelle Faul
UNITED NATIONS - The African leader some call a hero and others a destructive despot suggests people in his country aren't hungry, they just can't eat their favourite food.
President Robert Mugabe, said in an interview with The Associated Press that his people are "very, very happy" though aid agencies report 5 million of 11.6 million face famine.
"You describe it as if we have a whole cemetery," Mugabe said of a reporter's description of the southern African nation's dire straits, blaming "continuous years of drought".
The problem is reliance on maize, he said during the interview, "but it doesn't mean we haven't other things to eat: We have heaps of potatoes but people are not potato eaters ... they have rice but they're not as attracted (to that)."
But the cost of potatoes is beyond the pocket of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe became the regional bread basket, with some 5 000 white commercial farmers growing enough to feed the nation and export. Buyers from all over the world came to Zimbabwe's annual tobacco auction, tourists flocked to the Victoria Falls and wildlife reserves, while its Sandawana emeralds and renowned Shona stone sculpture were widely popular.
That changed in the 1990s. Mugabe's rule became increasingly repressive against a growingly vociferous opposition and corruption grew rampant. Mugabe then seized on an issue that long has preoccupied Africans - land ownership.
Last week, the Commercial Farmers' Union said fewer than 1 000 white commercial farmers remain, working a fraction of land they once sowed. A parliamentary committee said there would be no farming season this year, even if the drought breaks, because there are no seeds, no agricultural chemicals because there's no foreign currency, and no fuel to transport products or work tractors.
Everyday in Zimbabwe queues more than a mile long form for basics like bread and fuel.
Zimbabweans are also reeling from what Mugabe calls a "clean up" campaign, in which hundreds of thousands of poor and working-class urban people lost their homes to bulldozers.
Mugabe insisted though that "We pride ourselves as being top, really, on the African ladder ... We feel that we have actually been advancing rather than going backwards."
Yet on 8 September, setting out Zimbabwe's aims for the UN millennium goals before heading to the World Summit, he said the number of Zimbabweans who cannot afford one daily balanced meal has risen from 20% in 1995 to 48% in 2003, and that 63% now cannot afford more comprehensive basic needs including things like school fees.
In Africa, his seizure of lands that whites took from indigenous people when they colonized in the 1800s is applauded, and he is seen as a towering hero.
Now, he said, his government will take a stake in private mining enterprises to ensure Zimbabweans benefit from their natural resources. He said he expects mining companies, including the multinational Anglo American, to understand that desire.
"What we intend to do is for the state to have a stake in the production of some of our minerals - gold, platinum, diamonds," he said. "We just want to be partners. We are not doing anything unusual, and this is the practice in many countries." Zimbabwe also mines coal, chromium ore, asbestos, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium and tin.
Mugabe, 81, said he has fulfilled all his ambitions except retirement. He plans to stop being president in 2008, and write and farm, but said he'll remain in politics until he dies.
"I can't retire from that unless the Almighty says 'enough is enough'."- AP
By our staff
BULAWAYO - Zanu PF founder member and ex-cabinet minister Enos Nkala says he is not interested in a Senate seat because he has quit politics, The Standard can reveal.
Nkala's denial comes amid reports in Bulawayo that the former ruling party strongman, who held various ministerial positions between 1980 and 1989, could be readying himself for a come back following meetings with President Robert Mugabe in Bulawayo.
"I will not contest any election in Zimbabwe. I have quit loud-mouthed politics. I think I have had my time and it is over as far as politics is concerned.
Nkala who, of late, seldom speaks to the Press said: "I can confirm that I have been in touch with President Mugabe but he has not invited me to consider contesting for a seat in the Senate," Nkala said.
Then he added: "However, if I am asked to do something productive, I will consider it," said the former cabinet minister who noted that he was preparing for life after death; following the completion of a Theology degree.
Nkala, a small-scale farmer and born-again Christian, said his recent meetings with Mugabe were not unusual because the two shared ideas about various issues concerning Zimbabwe.
"I worked with President Mugabe for almost 30 years. We were good friends. Meeting him is not something that I should sing about. If I shake hands with him or we have breakfast together, we don't talk about it in public," said the ex-Zanu PF strongman.
Nkala fell from grace after he threw in the towel following the widely publicised Willowgate Scandal of the 1988/89 that involved top government officials.
There are indications in Matabeleland that the PF Zapu old guard and remnants of the ruling party may feature in the Senate.
Authoritative sources in the ruling party told The Standard that among the politicians set to contest the senate polls included former parliamentarians Thenjiwe Lesabe, Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, Reverend Masiyane, Ananias Nyathi and war veteran Abdul Nyathi.
"Some of these people have already shown their interest in gracing the Senate. There are indications that President Mugabe approached (Enos) Nkala. What I can say is that the Senate, as things stand now, is largely designed for the old guard and not upcoming politicians or novices," said one of the sources, a Zanu PF Central Committee member.
He said if the majority of dumped politicians bounced back, the Senate was likely to be composed of "yes men and women" who would endorse all ruling party decisions.
Nkala seemed to echo these remarks when he said a Senate should have wise and well-informed people who would not be frightened to express their views in public and Senate sessions.
Nkala said: "It would be disastrous to have 'yes men and women' taking into consideration that the reintroduction of the Senate actually adds to the top- heaviness of government administration. The Senate should have teeth to deal with legislation coming from the Lower House.
"There is no need to have people who will be frightened to express their views. We should have people that are constructively critical of certain laws of this country."
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - The upgrading of the Tsholotsho, Nkayi and Kezi roads linking Bulawayo to parts of rural Matabeleland North Province lie almost abandoned much to the disgruntlement of community leaders.
Speaking to The Standard last week, the leaders attacked the sluggish pace of construction saying it is deterring development in the region.
The government last year earmarked billions of dollars for the construction of the roads, but there has been slow progress.
The Kezi Road where an official launching ceremony was conducted amid pomp and fanfare before the 2005 parliamentary elections has failed to take off with a number of graders and excavators the only sign that an attempt was made to upgrade the roads, The Standard found during a recent visit.
In Nkayi, only a few kilometres have been tarred since 1981 while a stretch of less than five kilometres has been upgraded on the Tsholotsho Road.
Chief Conrad Hadebe Magama of Tsholotsho said: "People of Tsholotsho are not happy about this. Construction is now moving at a snail's pace. We want the road to be tarred or at-least improved as soon as possible."
The chairman of the Tsholotsho Business Community, Absolom Dube, and another prominent businessman, Charge Edlin Tshaka, expressed concern over the slow pace of the upgrading saying that it was detrimental to the growth of the entire region.
Dube said: "The Ministry of Rural Development has tarred or surfaced only five kilometres of the Tsholotsho Road. We had hoped that it will go beyond that and we are disappointed about it.
"It may take 30 to 40 years at the rate at which it is moving. As the business community we are prepared to help in whatever way so that it is completed."
Contacted for comment, the MP for the area, Professor Jonathan Moyo, said that for the villages to be developed, the national crisis should be solved first.
"Let's not retreat into village politics. We have to solve the national crisis so that our village constituencies get development," said Moyo, who was credited with bringing development to Tsholotsho when he was still close to President Robert Mugabe.
Kezi village heads told The Standard it would probably take another pre-election period for construction work to progress.
"It is our wish to see the road completed but it is taking too long," said Rubert Dube, a village head for Manhiso.
By our staff
KEZI - The Minister of Education, Sport and Culture Aeneas Chigwedere has admitted that rural schools have collapsed because of neglect by his ministry but scoffed at those criticising him for bringing down the education system and calling on him to resign.
In an interview with The Standard at Zamanyoni Primary School in Kezi, 90km west of Bulawayo last week, Chigwedere said the people criticising and calling on him to step down were a minority and were not qualified to judge him.
"The people that are fighting us as a ministry are a minority. For example, private schools over the issue of fees. They are not judges. If as a ministry we feel that the Education Amendment Bill is alright, we will push it through," Chigwedere said.
He made the remarks against the background of widespread criticism by lawyers, teachers‚ associations and various pressure groups over the manner in which he has attempted to push through the Education Amendment Bill which gives him sweeping powers with direct control over Zimbabwe's education system.
He has also been lampooned for trying to introduce a common uniform for all schools and has also been dragged to court by private schools over school fees.
Officiating at Zamanyoni where Art Corporation donated stationary, textbooks and school property worth $100 million, Chigwedere admitted that rural schools had collapsed.
He instructed education officials to visit schools in remote areas to assess their problems and challenges.
But he said that rural communities were responsible for developing their schools and if they failed to do so, he would not be in a position to help.
He said: "My policy as a minister is that I help those who help themselves. If you just sit, I will also sit."
By Caiphas Chimhete
FAILURE o reach consensus and acute divisions among civil society organisations in Zimbabwe appear to have scuppered efforts to draw up a broad based people-driven constitution, The Standard established during a conference held in Harare last week.
Under the theme: "Deciding Zimbabwe's Destiny - A new Constitution for all, by all - now," the conference drew participants from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), political parties and churches but it was clear they could not agree on whether to negotiate with or confront government over the need for a home- grown democratic constitution.
Two distinct groups emerged with some participants calling for a negotiated approach, while others said President Robert Mugabe's government, which recently effected a 17th amendment to the Constitution, should be taken head-on.
Previous demonstrations for a new constitution by civic organizations, mainly the National Constitutional Assembly, have not yielded results.
Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe chairman, Wellington Chibebe, said the divisions rocking the civil society sector were a major drawback to initiatives towards a new constitution.
"We have developed jealousy among ourselves. There are people who are herding cattle and those who are milking them. We need unity of purpose," Chibebe said.
The divisions are sometimes camouflaged as diversity of views, but resurfaced when human rights activist, Brian Kagoro, and Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), clashed over who should drive the constitutional process.
Kagoro suggested that "petty bourgeoisie" and intellectuals should lead and finance the constitutional reform, a suggestion that did not go down well with the trade unionist.
"If you think you (intellectuals) can go it alone then let it be," shouted Matombo.
But other participants warned that the "pull-him-down syndrome" was rampant in civil society sector as they battle to source funds from the same donors, making it difficult for them to agree on anything.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, said if the civil society bodies saw themselves as competitors, they were doomed.
"There are many tough battles in the civil society but then they will get nowhere," Coltart said.
The participants also differed on whether to dialogue or not with President Mugabe's administration on the new constitution.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network national director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vave, said it was necessary for civic organisations to engage the government.
She said intra-party dialogue and consultation were pivotal to coming up with a democratic constitution.
Human rights activist, Thoko Matshe, echoed her sentiments who said: "Here we are monologueing because policy makers are not here. The government might be oppressive but we still need to talk to them. They matter."
But militant Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe, insisted Mugabe needed to be confronted. "How can you agitate for a soft stance when we are being beaten and harassed? The time to act is now!" he said.
Archbishop Pius Ncube, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bulawayo, cautioned against the use of violence, lest Zimbabwe became another Rwanda or the DRC, which have been ravaged by years of civil wars.
Ncube, an arch critic of Mugabe's 25-year-old administration, attributed the current fractious state of civil organisations to infiltration by the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation.
He said organisations such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) and the church had been infiltrated.
At the end, participants "agreed" that the NCA should continue to lead the process and re-affirmed the need for a homegrown constitution.
They also resolved to lobby the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union and the United Nations to exert pressure on Mugabe to accept the establishment of a technical team to draw up a new Constitution.
By our staff
BULAWAYO - A row has erupted between the Gwanda Town Council and the ruling party, Zanu PF, over the allocation of new houses built by the government.
Gwanda Mayor Thandeko Zinti Mkandla told The Standard last week that Zanu PF led by its provincial chairperson, Rido Mpofu, had allegedly contravened sections of the Urban Councils Act when they compiled a list of beneficiaries, bypassing the local authority.
Mkandla protested: "This ('Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle') has been hijacked by unscrupulous and unethical characters for their own selfish ends. These ruling party supporters think they have a right to allocate the new houses to people not realising that they are, in fact, sabotaging government efforts in constructing houses for those affected by 'Operation Murambatsvina'."
Section 38 of the Urban Councils Act stipulates that "every council area shall be governed by a council and subject to the general control of a council the control and administration of every municipality shall rest in a mayor …"
But Mpofu denied allegations that his party had compiled a list of 100 people who were supposed to occupy houses at Hlalani Kuhle suburb in Gwanda.
"I do not have a parallel mayoral office in this town (Gwanda). In fact, there are some people who even fear my shadow. They are not comfortable with my presence in Gwanda. I have not compiled any housing list for beneficiaries in state-sponsored programme.
"The issue here is that many people need houses and we (Zanu PF supporters) are human beings as well who want houses under this Operation Hlalani Kuhle," said Mpofu, who lost to Mkandla of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the 2002 executive mayoral elections.
He denied submitting a Zanu PF list of "Operation Hlalani Kuhle" beneficiaries to an inter-ministerial task force led by Lieutenant Colonel Hlanganani Dube.
Dube declined to comment on the issue, referring all questions to his Press secretary, Alois Chamboko, who said he was on his way from a week-long business seminar in Bindura.
Kucaca Phulu, a human rights lawyer said it was illegal for political parties to allocate stands and houses in urban areas as specified under the Urban Councils Act.
"The ruling party members in Gwanda are definitely contravening Section 38 of the Act. They should know that a political party has no business in council affairs in terms of allocating houses and stands. Their efforts are definitely misplaced. It shows the extent to which Zanu PF can go in showing its irrelevance to society. What they are doing is illegal and they should stop it," said Phulu, a legal advisor of various urban and international human rights organisations.
*Meanwhile, the government has failed to meet its target of building 4000 houses under "Operation Garikai" in Masvingo due to a critical shortage of building materials and lack of funds, The Standard has established.
The operation which is meant to benefit people displaced by the widely condemned operation Murambatsvina kicked off in July with the government promising to complete the construction by 30 August.
However a recent visit by The Standard revealed it had been impossible to complete the houses within the stipulated deadlines.
The houses are being constructed at Victoria Ranch near Runyararo West high-density suburb on stands that are yet to be serviced.
A construction worker who declined to be named told The Standard that it was impossible to finish all the houses on time as a result of a shortage of building materials.
Officially opening the construction of the houses early last month, Masvingo provincial governor, Willard Chiwewe, said the government would complete thehouses in the province.
"We have an ambitious target to complete the construction of 4 000 houses and 2 000 factory shells and I urge all players to brace up for this mammoth government programme," Chiwewe said at the time.
By our own Staff
MATERNAL mortality continues to be a major challenge in Zimbabwe with most women dying due to pregnancy related complications because of the limited access to antenatal, delivery and postnatal care, according to the recently launched 2004 progress report on the Zimbabwe Millennium Development Goals, (ZMDGs).
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seek, among other things, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and promote gender equality and empower women by the year 2015.
Zimbabwe is one of the 189 nations, which assented to the Millennium Declaration at the fifty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2000. But Zimbabwe's progress report for the year 2004 says the country still faces a myriad of challenges in its efforts to reduce maternal mortality.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare maternal mortality was 695 per 100 000 and the government aims to reduce by 75 percent the total number of maternal deaths to at least 174 per 100 000.
The report says the lack of maternal care, which is the major reason of maternal deaths, is reflected in delays in seeking care, receiving care and referral to an upper level health facility.
The report noted: "The challenge is to mobilise both domestic resources and development assistance to ensure the availability of essential drugs and equipment necessary for the provision of high quality obstetric care.
"While health facilities in urban centres are generally within reach, in rural areas, mothers are often discouraged by the long distances they have to travel to reach a healthy facility. The immediate challenge is to extend primary health care facilities/clinics to rural populations."
The progress report pointed out that diet related problems, such as malnourishment and diet related chronic illnesses such as diabetes in pregnant mothers as being major challenges in achieving safe motherhood.
"Nutrition highlights the importance of maintaining good maternal health, given that it is generally women who sustain the food cycle from production, harvesting, storage and processing…" said the report.
"Given the centrality of women in rural households, the challenge is to ensure that the nutrition of mothers is a priority at the household level."
The ZMDGs report also says that other challenges that need to be addressed in reducing maternal deaths include the HIV and AIDS pandemic, gender inequalities and negative cultural practices that make women in rural areas shun health services.
The report also says because of limited control over their sexuality and reproductive rights, women cannot make informed decisions about their health and the challenge is to empower them through, for example, sex education.
It was cited in the progress report that HIV and AIDS remain one of the major challenges in the area of reducing maternal death.
Said the report: "The HIV and AIDS epidemic has placed mothers under an increased state of vulnerability. The challenge is to reverse the HIV and AIDS epidemic and mitigate its impact through the provision of Antiretroviral drugs and other measures.
The ZMDGs progress report is a result of a consultative process spearheaded by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, which was co-ordinated by the United Nations Development Programme.
THE crisis in agricultural production in Zimbabwe is not a result of the weather. It is the result of mistiming, misplacement of resources and red tape.
Small-holder farmers were, until a few years ago, the major growers of cotton and maize. However, the main beneficiaries of the government's farm support facilities have been the A2 farmers. These are the very people who should bear the blame for Zimbabwe's precarious food and foreign currency situation.
At the commencement of the resettlement exercise, each A2 farmer was required to submit proof of farming skills or of competent farm managers. They were also required to furnish evidence of financial resources to enable them to undertake farming activities on the newly acquired land.
Today the government complains that the people it pampered with support not only disappointed but fraudulently claimed skills and resources that are not evidenced by their production.
Vice President Joice Mujuru showed the government was running out of patience with the multitude of excuses from the A2 farmers when she warned: "If you are not farming properly this is sabotage at its highest level. What pains us is that the farmers are not producing at the farms yet they are the first to beg for assistance from the government.
"If you are not up to the task and demands of farming, leave it to those who work the land for maximum production, not incompetents and idlers who just sit and do nothing."
But the government disappoints. It is paralysed by its own sense of guilt after nurturing weekend braai or cellphone farmers for too long.
If it is accepted that the failure by the A2 farmers is sabotage at its highest level, why is the government undecided about dealing swiftly with these saboteurs? Recent experience has demonstrated that elements declared saboteurs can end up guests of the State or lose entitlement to their property, or both. There could be a case for the newly appointed Anti-Corruption Commission to undertake an audit of what and where the government support was committed. It could uncover widespread abuses by people the government trusted. It could also establish if senior government officials were among the main beneficiaries of State assistance.
It is inconceivable that agricultural production support facilities could have been extended to people, whose claim to skills and resources were never subjected to any form of verification. It is also reckless in the extreme that having extended support to such claimants of skills and resources, no monitoring or supervisory mechanism was put in place to ensure resources were not being squandered. Dereliction of duty in this regard lies squarely on government's shoulders. But even more tragic is the fact that while it recognises why it can not act against the saboteurs, it is incapable of learning from its blunders.
On Wednesday the government, against better judgement, decided to reward the same failed farmers with a $1 trillion package, ostensibly "to inject life into and strengthen their capacity". Present during the announcement were representatives of seed houses, fertiliser companies, tobacco boards, the Cold Storage Company and the leadership of agricultural unions. If anything the event merely served to demonstrate how the government operates - fire-fighting.
Three weeks into September is too late to be talking about planning for the 2005/2006 farming season. These meetings should have been held between May and July to allow farmers to plan preparations and secure their inputs ahead of the onset of the rainy season.
The process under which farmers have to apply for the $1 trillion fund is heavily tilted in favour of ruling party bigwigs and those politically connected - basically the same people who have failed to demonstrate their capacity or skills to deliver on agricultural production. Despite several schemes that the government has put in place the production from the beneficiaries does not justify the resources poured in. Unless the facility is going to be disbursed without scrutinising the ability and performance records of the A2 farmers, it will be too late for this season.
There will be a sharp drop in agricultural production because a survey of the countryside uncovers the full horror of the state of unpreparedness on the part of those the government continues to pamper with all manner of assistance. This raises the question of the role and function of the agriculture ministry.
The government has looked upon and treated the small-holder farmers with contempt and derision, yet their record at both production and repaying loans is impressive.
It is time to shift emphasis and support the sector that has demonstrated commitment.
Zim Std - Business
By Ndamu Sandu
A MAJOR shake-up is looming at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) as the central bank embarks on a re-alignment programme designed to breathe new life into the institution.
In a document titled 2005 Re-alignment of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Functional Structures central bank chief Gideon Gono says the thrust of the programme was to radically shake-up areas where - based on the experience of the past 20 months - capacity limitations were observed, or performance was below expectations for various possible reasons.
Gono said: "The re-alignment programme also seeks to provide a framework and opportunity for staff to unlock their full potential by being in areas where they are most effective."
Gono says the process, to be characterised by an incisive performance appraisal framework against the bank's core objectives, is inevitably going to culminate in a far-reaching transformation of the institution and "the way we all do business, right across all levels, from top to bottom".
A memo has been send to all staff outlining the re-alignment ordering each worker to write a three-page document saying why he or she has not been performing to expectations and what they think should be done about it.
In the memo Gono said: "While members of management, workers' committee and some selected non-managerial staff are at a retreat, your Governor expects each one of you to be carrying out that soul searching exercise and deliver to your Governor's office by the end of day Monday 26th September 2005, no more than three pages of what you do, why you have not been performing according to expectations and what you think should be done about it."
Gono says these inputs from workers would form the basis of new structures and manning levels at the bank.
The central bank chief says workers have a choice to realign or leave.
Gono said: "Those tired of working for the bank and for the nation must not hesitate to indicate in the letter to the Governor their wish and desire to be considered for retrenchment because nothing short of total commitment to the bank's vision and the bank's mission statement will do in the months ahead beginning 1st October 2005."
By Walter Marwizi
THE Masvingo Zanu PF provincial committee yesterday recommended to the Politburo that Henry Matuku Hamadziripi be declared a provincial hero, in what could be regarded by veterans of the struggle as belittling the role played by former member of the legendary Dare reChimurenga.
Announcing the recommendation, Masvingo Political Commissar Dzikamai Mavhaire said: "We are requesting the Politburo to consider declaring Hamadziripi a provincial hero. We think this is where he belongs but the party may either reject or accept our recommendation."
Mavhaire said the province acknowledged that Hamadziripi had made a great contribution to the struggle but had taken note of the fact that he had made mistakes.
"When the journey is long, there are likely to be some mistakes and shortcomings. Hamadziripi had those shortcomings. He was now an ordinary card carrying member seeking provincial positions," Mavhaire said.
War veterans familiar with Hamadziripi's exploits during the liberation struggle told The Standard yesterday that the recommendation underlined Zanu PF's disdain of veteran politicians who had dared to oppose it either during the liberation struggle or after independence.
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
International Peace Day Demonstration (Late Posting)
Sokwanele Report: 25 September 2005
We apologise for the late posting of this article, owing to circumstances
beyond our control.
On International Peace Day, Wednesday September 21, the feisty protest
group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), staged a peaceful demonstration in
Harare, demanding "Peace not Poverty". Until the riot police intervened
with batons it was an entirely peaceful, orderly and good-natured protest.
About 200 women started their march from the Market Square. It had been
intended to complete the short protest walk at Harare's Town House, a few
blocks away, but the ZRP riot squad was quickly deployed in response and
blocked their way when the women were just 100 meters from Town House. As
they walked the women sang with great gusto, and their singing attracted the
attention of motorists and passers-by, many of whom joined in the march.
Along the way the WOZA women distributed fliers which were quickly picked up
by the crowd - itself a sign of the new boldness Zimbabweans are
demonstrating in embracing anything promising change. In the past
pedestrians have been fearful of being seen picking up opposition or protest
The reason the march was intended to finish at Town House was that the women
were bearing a message to the Town Clerk, Nomutsa Chideya. In the message,
co-signed by WOZA and the Combined Harare Residents' Association, the
protesters drew attention to the significance of International Peace Day,
and demanded "Peace not Poverty".
The letter continued, "Our sister Anna Tibaijuka (The United Nations Special
Envoy) said Zimbabweans are today deeper in poverty, deprivation and
destitution and have been rendered more vulnerable . We, citizens, know that
the Harare Commission were part of the architects of Operation Murambatsvina
and should be held accountable for crimes against humanity".
"The legitimacy of your commission is already under suspicion. Instead of
delivering services, you are launching operations that disturb what little
peace we have left".
The letter concluded with a demand for the right "to elect our own civic
leaders and hold them accountable to deliver all services like water and
A short distance from Town House the protesters were intercepted by
baton-wielding riot police who lashed out at them without mercy. The WOZA
women have developed to a fine art the technique of appearing, as if from
nowhere, on the streets of Zimbabwe's cities and then disappearing just as
quickly after making their dramatic protests. Most of them managed to escape
arrest on this occasion, though not to avoid bruises and cuts from the
police batons. It is believed however than three of their number were
detained by the police. Human rights lawyers are seeking to establish the
whereabouts of the three and the nature of any charges brought against them,
but at the time of filing this report the lawyers had not been able to make
contact with them. The ZRP are once again reported to be proving less than
helpful in permitting those in their custody the legal right to see their
September 22, 2005
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25/09/2005 14:34 - (SA)
Harare - Seventeen employees of Zimbabwe's state-run oil procurement company have been suspended following investigations into the theft of tens of thousands of litres of fuel, the Sunday Mail newspaper reported.
The state-run paper said that a combined total of 38 000 litres of petrol and diesel went missing on one day recently, but unnamed sources told the paper millions of litres could have been stolen since the beginning of the year.
The oil depot has had to cancel night shifts to prevent the theft. The fuel has been used to supply the black market, where fuel sells for prices way above those set by the government, the report said.
The fuel had also been smuggled into neighbouring countries, the Sunday Mail added.
"The thefts were perpetrated by the very persons entrusted with safeguarding the fuel in conjunction with some truck drivers and greedy business people in the community," the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) was quoted as saying in a statement.
The report said proceeds from the looted fuel had been used to import luxury vehicles from the United Arab Emirates.
The report comes as Zimbabwe is in the throes of its worst fuel crisis ever. Fuel stations have not had deliveries of fuel for several months, while there are long lines of queues outside a handful of service stations that are selling fuel in hard currency.
Zimbabwe has experienced erratic fuel supplies since 1999 due to acute shortages of foreign currency. - Sapa-dpa