The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail and Guardian

Forty-one arrested during Zim protest

Harare, Zimbabwe

01 September 2004 16:07

advertisementForty-one members of a Zimbabwean civil liberties group, the
National Constitutional Alliance (NCA), were arrested in Harare on
Wednesday, alliance head Lovemore Madhuku said.

He said the arrests occurred during a protest against the Zimbabwe NGO Bill,
a new law that seeks to ban foreign funding for human-rights organisations.

"Some of our members were injured during a police charge and 41 have been
arrested," said Madhuku. "I have myself been told to report to Harare
Central police station to answer questions about organising an illegal

Under Zimbabwean law, it is illegal to hold public meetings or protests
without informing the police.

Madhuku said he could not provide figures on the number of injured.

"It was too confusing. Some are missing and there are four being treated in
hospital. Those who ran away were the lucky ones."

Earlier in the day, the NCA delivered a petition to South Africa's
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jeremiah Ndou.

NCA spokesperson Columbus Mavunga said: "We petitioned the ambassador asking
for South African President Thabo Mbeki to take an active position on

He said Zimbabwean police ordered NCA members to disperse from the South
African embassy.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he was "still checking" if anyone
was apprehended and was unable to confirm the 41 arrests. -- Sapa
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Large parts of Harare are without water

September 01, 2004, 11:48

Areas in and around Zimbabwe's capital Harare and adjoining towns have gone
without water for weeks, forcing residents to store water in often
unhygienic drums borrowed from elsewhere in the city.

Worst affected are the four million strong city's middle class eastern
suburbs where one resident said today he "could not remember when he last
had water".

Psychology Chiwanga, the Harare city council director of works, blamed the
shortage on "technical problems" at the city's main water treatment works.

Meanwhile, Leslie Gwindi, the city's public relations manager, blamed
neighbouring towns for the problem. "It is really a problem for us being
able to have enough water to supply everyone," he said.

Harare city supplies the urban areas of Ruwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza, areas
which are now indistinguishable from the capital as separate towns because
of Harare's urban sprawl. - Sapa

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Thurs 2 September 2004

HARARE - Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa is understood to
have threatened to shoot police officers investigating him for allegedly
dealing in gold and foreign currency, ZimOnline has learnt.

Authoritative sources said the policemen now feared for their lives
following the alleged threats by Mnangagwa, a close associate of President
Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa is also touted as a possible successor to Mugabe.

According to the sources the investigating officers had told Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri about the alleged threats but he also
appeared unable to do much.

It was not possible since Monday this week to get a comment on the
matter from Mnangagwa. His mobile phone was continuously unreachable. His
secretary at Parliament promised the Speaker was going to call ZimOnline. He
had not called by late last night.

Chihuri could also not be reached for comment while police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena refused to discuss the matter.

One of the police officers said to have been threatened by Mnangagwa,
Musarashana Mabunda, confirmed he was indeed investigating the Speaker. But
he denied he had had any confrontation with the powerful ZANU PF politician.

Mabunda, who is a chief superintendent with the police's Special
Investigations Unit, however said that he was aware that another police
officer also probing Mnangagwa on another matter had an altercation with the

He said: "I have been involved in the case. But I have never met
Mnangagwa and he does not even know my face. He has never threatened me. I
know that he had a confrontation with another police officer over some
investigations but that was not me."

Mabunda is investigating Mnangagwa's role in financial irregularities
including illegal externalisation of foreign currency by some ZANU PF-owned

Mnangagwa, who is secretary for administration in ZANU PF, was for a
long time the party's finance secretary and supervised its companies. He
also sits on the board of ZIDCO Holdings, the holding company of ZANU PF's

The sources said Mnangagwa in July this year summoned Mabunda to his
office at Parliament where he told the policeman to stop investigating him
or he would be shot dead.

"He (Mabunda) was summoned to Parliament where he was shown three
bullets which Mnangagwa said were reserved for police officers who were
sniffing around. He was told that he could be a beneficiary of the bullets
if he continued with his investigations," one source said on condition he
was not named.

Another police officer, only identified as Nyamupaguma, was also
allegedly threatened with death by Mnangagwa after he visited him last May
at his office at Parliament. Nyamupaguma wanted to question Mnangagwa about
his alleged links to an illegal gold trading racket in the Midlands
province, where the politician comes from.

The Speaker is also said to have in April this year summoned police
assistant commissioner Boysen Mathema to his office where he is said to have
quizzed him about who was sending the police officers after him.

"He (Mnangagwa) asked Mathema where the police were getting the nerve
to investigate him. But then Mathema is not really in charge of the
investigation," said a senior police officer closely linked to the matter.

According to the officer, assistant police commissioner Chris Gora was
heading the probe into Mnangagwa. He is deputised by Mabunda.

For many years the front-runner to succeed Mugabe, Mnangagwa was
earlier this year hauled before a party committee investigating the
operations of businesses owned by the party.

He was also accused by the United Nations of taking part in the
looting of diamonds and other resources from the Democratic Republic of the
Congo during that country's civil war. ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

ZANU PF probes violence in Makoni
Thurs 2 September 2004

MUTARE - Ruling ZANU PF party chairman John Nkomo last week dispatched
a team to Makoni district, about 80 kilometers west of here, to probe an
outbreak of violence between rival factions of the party, sources told
Nkomo, who is said to have acted with the consent of party and state
President Robert Mugabe, only sent the seven-member team after some victims
showed him injuries they sustained in the violence.

The team, which includes operatives of the state's spy agency, the
Central Intelligence Organisation, began its inquiry last Friday and is
expected to hand in its report tomorrow.

Both Nkomo and ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira could not be
reached for comment yesterday.

Sources said the clashes were instigated by a faction allegedly loyal
to Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Minister Didymus Mutasa against
supporters of rivals wishing to challenge him for the ZANU PF ticket in next
year's parliamentary elections.

A senior ZANU PF official said: "On Thursday (last week)
representatives from the women's league, Makoni District Co-ordinating
Committee executive members and war veterans met His Excellency (Mugabe).

"They brought some senior members of the party and war veterans who
had suffered physical injuries and showed the president how Mutasa was
terrorising them."

Mutasa denied he was behind the violence in Makoni and said he was not
being investigated by ZANU PF. He said: "I am in a meeting. The information
that I caused violence is false. There is no team investigating me."

Militant supporters of rival ZANU PF politicians have in the past
occasionally turned against each other. But in the main the ruling party has
been accused of unleashing violence against supporters of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party. ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Protesters petition SA to help entrench democracy in Zimbabwe
Wed 1 September 2004

HARARE - An alliance of Zimbabwean civic organisations and opposition
political parties today petitioned South Africa to help end the country's
crisis moments after police forcefully broke demonstrations by the group
against a proposed new law that will severely restrict non-governmental
activities in the country.

A five-men delegation from the National Constitutional Assembly, which
is a coalition of churches, labour, opposition political parties, civic and
human rights bodies this afternoon handed a petition to South Africa's
ambassador in Harare, Jeremiah Ndou, calling on Pretoria to throw its weight
behind the search for democracy in Zimbabwe.

Embassy officials confirmed that Ndou accepted the petition, which
read in part: "The struggle for an open democracy in Zimbabwe would very
much benefit from the support of the South African government. We seek your
support in our quest for a more open and tolerant society.

"We believe that President Robert Mugabe will change his oppressive
approach if he were approached by the South African government in a frank
and honest manner."

Moments earlier in the morning, heavily armed police clashed with
about 400 members of the civic alliance's supporters who had gathered at
Harare Post Office in the city centre.

They were preparing to march to Parliament where they wanted to voice
their objection to the draft NGO Bill, which is expected to be enacted into
law once the House resumes next month.

A ZimOnline reporter on the scene counted at least seven demonstrators
who were seriously injured and not less than 30 other people who were
arrested by the police for taking part in the protest.

The alliance's spokeswoman Jessie Majome said the injured were
receiving treatment at a private clinic in the city. She said they were
still to establish where those arrested were being detained by the police.

Majome said: "The injured are being attended to. We have been to
Harare Central police station (to check for those arrested) but not even one
of them is there,"

She added: "We will have a post mortem of today's activities and we
will see what to do next. But I am sure the message was loud and clear: we
need democracy. We were happy that Ndou gave us an audience."

The NGO Bill will require NGOs to register with the government. Civic
society activists say the Bill will virtually force about 90 percent of NGOs
in the country to shut down because it prohibits the organisations from
receiving foreign funds.

NGOs will also be barred from carrying out work related to human
rights and governance issues. ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Times (UK), 1 September

President Obiang wants to see you.' There were no discussions, only orders

By David Lister

What a difference a day makes. On Monday our correspondent was ordered out
of court, yesterday he was invited to meet Equatorial Guinea's ruler. Barely
24 hours after being ejected from one of his courts for taking notes, The
Times was yesterday part of a small group of journalists ushered through the
gold-embossed gates of the colonial-style palace of President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema Mbasogo. This time there was none of the usual dithering inefficiency
that accompanies encounters with officialdom across sub-Saharan Africa. At
2.30pm all foreign journalists in Equatorial Guinea, most of them here to
report on the trial of 14 suspected foreign mercenaries implicated in a coup
attempt allegedly financed by Sir Mark Thatcher, were summoned to one of the
country's crumbling old hotels. There had been rumours all weekend that
President Obiang, a ruthless dictator said to eat the testicles of his
political opponents, wanted to address the media, no doubt to reaffirm his
shaky grip on power after whispers about his health and suggestions that it
may not be too long before there is another attempt to topple him. Only last
week a German visitor was slung in a cockroach-infested jail in Malabo, the
capital, for venturing too close to the presidential palace, while on Monday
I was forced to tear a page from my notebook after taking notes at the trial
of the alleged mercenaries. After deciding to leave the courtroom, I was
prevented from going anywhere by a glazed-eyed soldier at the gate. Thirty
minutes earlier he had refused me entrance to the compound, but now he was
equally adamant. "You are to stay here," he said, spilling whisky from a
flask as he gesticulated wildly.

These are paranoid times in a country said to have an army of only 1,400 men
to guard offshore oil reserves that are generating more than 350,000 barrels
per day. It is no surprise if the President, who at the weekend took
possession of a brand-new $55 million (30.5 million) private jet, feels a
little jittery. Yesterday, however, I walked through the gates of a building
that most of Equatorial Guinea's 500,000 population can only dream of
entering. In a transformation that was extraordinary even by the standards
of this bizarre, oil-rich nation, within a day The Times had gone from being
persona non grata to honoured guest. As we arrived at Plaza de la
Independecia, where a bust of the President sits in the middle of the square
above the title "El Libertador", dozens of armed soldiers sealed off the
surrounding streets. Outside the colonnaded palace, inherited from the
country's former Spanish rulers, Moroccan bodyguards in black suits stood
next to a pair of black Mercedes-Benz bearing the presidential number plates
"PR" and "PR-004". There was no discussion, only orders. "This is not a
press conference. He will say welcome and thank you. If you are not happy,
you will take the door," explained an adviser as reporters were led into a
grand entrance hall where gold statues of two eagles perched at the bottom
of a wide marble staircase.

Red carpet covered the ornate mosaic floor, while on a wall above the
entrance were the Spanish words "Unidad, Paz, Justicia" - "Unity, Peace,
Justice". Some of us had deluded ourselves into believing that the President
might take questions, when at 2.56pm a whisper of "C'est le President!"
swept the room. The Moroccan bodyguards, lent to the President by Morocco's
King Mohammed VI, glanced furtively across the courtyard. More than a dozen
soldiers put their hands on their weapons as besuited lackeys poured out of
a side door. Even the country's unflappable Security Minister, in a uniform
bedecked with medals, appeared uneasy as he snapped to attention. Then a
lean, bespectacled man walked slowly towards a velvet and gold podium and
began talking in Spanish in a voice that was almost inaudible. The
62-year-old leader, whose wealth can only be guessed at, appeared anything
but the savage his enemies depict him. An earnest-looking, immaculately
dressed man, he appeared every inch the statesman in his blue suit and tie.
"I want to thank you all for coming here," he said, a translator standing by
his side.

As we strained to listen to every word, he said that the coup attempt in
March, over which nearly 90 suspected mercenaries are now languishing in
jails in Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe and South Africa, might have triggered
a "macabre situation" and an ethnic conflict similar to that in Rwanda a
decade ago. The mercenaries had intended to "carry out a crime against our
country that would have resulted in blood being spilt", he said. While it
was not his place to comment before the court in Equatorial Guinea delivered
a verdict in the case of the suspected foreign mercenaries, they would meet
their "condemnation", he added. After barely a dozen sentences and without
taking questions, he looked up and spoke again: "That's all I have to say
for now. Thank you very much." It was 2.59pm; just three minutes had passed.
It was all over, and what had he actually said? With a speed that defied his
age and rumours that he has prostate cancer, the President left. His lackeys
were already rolling up the red carpet and we were being ushered back out of
his inner sanctum. He was wise enough to offer us only a tantalising
glimpse, the briefest of insights into his secretive world. And I know that,
like all his downtrodden subjects in this tiny country, the next time I go
anywhere near his palace I will probably be arrested.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Daily News Online Edition, 1 September

CIO probes Mutasa

President Robert Mugabe has instituted an investigation into the violent
clashes between Zanu PF supporters in Manicaland last week. Sources within
the ruling party told The Daily News Online that Mugabe had dispatched a
seven member team from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to Rusape
where the clashes took place. "The CIO team was dispatched this week and has
been conducting interviews. They say they have been sent by the President.
We have told them that Mutasa and Chipanga are using violence to ward off
any challengers," said a ruling party official who was caught up in the
violence. Scores of ruling party officials including war veterans leader
James Kaunye and 40 others were seriously injured after they were attacked
by supporters of the Minister of Anti-corruption and Anti-monopolies,
Didymus Mutasa and Shadreck Chipanga, the deputy minister of home affairs.
The two cabinet ministers led the attacks, according to witnesses, whose
names cannot be mentioned. The marauding supporters went on a looting spree
and destroyed property worth millions of dollars against fellow party
members opposed to Mutasa, the Makoni North Member of Parliament and former
CIO director-general Chipanga, the Makoni East MP. Kaunye, who has openly
challenged Mutasa in Makoni North, is the chairman of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) in Manicaland.

Mutasa, the party's secretary for external affairs confirmed last week that
he was behind the attacks. He claimed that the victims had disrupted a
meeting he was conducting. The attacks were targeted at those who wanted to
stand against the two in party primary elections scheduled for October. But
analysts yesterday said the CIO investigation did not mean that Mugabe was
determined to stamp out political violence ahead of next year's elections.
They said the investigation was meant to appease war veterans and Zanu PF
supporters who felt aggrieved over the attacks by Mutasa. But Mugabe would
fully endorse a violent campaign against the MDC during the campaign period,
the analysts said. They added that more intra-party violence was likely to
erupt as ruling party bigwigs sought to secure the party candidature for the
March legislative polls.

Brian Kagoro, the chairman of the Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a
Zimbabwean human rights watchdog said Mugabe's team of investigators was
merely there to implement the president's grand plan of appeasing the war
veterans and other Zanu PF supporters who are becoming impatient with
Mutasa. Kagoro said: "The president's motive to assign some people to Makoni
is inspired mostly by his need to be seen to be responding to the crisis. It
is imperative at this stage that the broad interests of Zanu PF are not
threatened by intra party violence. "That amount of violence threatens the
unity of Zanu PF supporters in the province. The violence would be worse
against those people outside the ruling party, especially as we prepare for
next March's election," said Kagoro, who predicted that Mutasa and Chipanga
would go unpunished. The opposition and local civic groups have accused Zanu
PF of using political violence and intimidation against opponents. The
ruling party denies the charge and instead accuses the opposition of fanning
violence. War veterans' national chairman Jabulani Sibanda this week accused
top Zanu PF politicians of using violence and criminal methods to secure the
party's candidature for the parliamentary polls. Mugabe has said that the
ruling party will hold primary elections in all constituencies to choose
party candidates for the election.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Independent (UK), 1 September

Dogs of war? These men in shackles have been whipped into submission

By Raymond Whitaker in Malabo

Their wrists and feet shackled, the accused half-crawled, half-fell out of
the high four-wheel-drives that had delivered them to a garish conference
centre-turned courtroom in Equatorial Guinea's capital. The flashing lights,
blaring sirens and escort of camouflage-clad troops merely made the gaunt,
grey crocodile of men, shuffling silently through the rain in their
T-shirts, shorts and rubber sandals, seem more pathetic. If these were dogs
of war, they had been whipped into submission long ago. Since their arrest
on 8 March on charges of attempting to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema, eight former members of South Africa's apartheid-era special forces,
six Armenian air crew and five local men have been kept chained 24 hours a
day in Malabo's notorious Black Beach prison. Although their leader, Nick du
Toit, faces a possible death sentence, even he must have welcomed the start
of their trial last week as an escape from the uncertainty. But, yesterday,
Mr du Toit and his 18 co-accused were thrust back into limbo.

Diplomats and lawyers gathering at the conference centre were expecting
yesterday's hearing to be the last, with the defence team making their final
pleas before the three judges retired to consider their verdict, possibly as
early as Friday. But after a delay lasting well over an hour, Equatorial
Guinea's Attorney General, Jose Olo Obono, began by asking for the case to
be suspended indefinitely. All the proceedings were conducted in Spanish,
the language of the country's former colonial rulers, but in the midst of
the unfamiliar legalese, the name "Mark Thatcher" could clearly be
understood. The defence objected that it would be inhumane to keep the
alleged mercenaries locked up in harsh conditions with no knowledge of when
they might be freed, but after an adjournment lasting only a couple of
minutes, the judges granted the suspension. Their spokesman, Judge Salvador
Ondo Ncumu, said the case had acquired an "international dimension", and it
should not continue until investigations elsewhere had been completed.

The misfortune for Mr du Toit and his colleagues is that two days after
their trial began last week, it was upstaged by the arrest in Cape Town of
Baroness Thatcher's son. Even though the Equatorial Guinea arrests coincided
six months ago with the seizure of a planeload of private soldiers in
Zimbabwe, led by Simon Mann, an Old Etonian former SAS officer, the affair
generated only moderate international interest until South Africa's elite
Scorpions crime-busters turned up at Sir Mark's mansion in Cape Town.
President Obiang's regime, which wants to demonstrate the conspiracy against
him went to the highest levels, suddenly found it might be able to land a
much bigger fish. With Mr Thatcher under house arrest in South Africa and Mr
Mann on trial in Zimbabwe - he was convicted of illegally attempting to buy
arms, though the rest of the 90 arrested with him were acquitted or found
guilty of minor offences - the Malabo case risked becoming a sideshow.

Equatorial Guinea wants Mr Thatcher and Mr Mann to be extradited but it has
received little encouragement from the South Africans or the Zimbabweans.
Like Britain, South Africa refuses to send suspects to countries that retain
the death penalty, although it may allow lawyers from Equatorial Guinea to
question Sir Mark in Cape Town. But the whole affair has already drawn more
attention to this tropical dictatorship, which consists of a few lush
volcanic islands and a jungle-covered strip of the African mainland, than it
has enjoyed since the Spanish loosened their grip in the 1960s. President
Obiang appears to be revelling in it. Yesterday he summoned the foreign
press for what turned out to be little more than an opportunity for him to
be photographed giving them an audience. The men on trial, he told us, were
"individuals without morals who attempted a crime against our country which
would have resulted in blood being spilt".

But since he deposed and executed his despotic uncle in 1979, the President
has been accused of spilling plenty of blood on his own account, and even of
eating the testicles of his murdered enemies to imbibe their masculinity.
The accused were not in the courtroom to hear the debate that will prolong
their uncertainty. But a door to their holding room was ajar as they were
told the news, and one could see the looks of defeat as they shuffled back
out to the prison vehicles, a young soldier clapping his hands to speed them
up. Mr Mico, their defence lawyer, said: "All the accused apart from Mr du
Toit have told me they were tortured." Belinda du Toit, who says her drawn,
grey-bearded husband was once the same, ample shape as her, looked on
wondering when she would see him again.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Demonstration broken up by police

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 1 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - At least 15 people were reportedly arrested and
eight injured when pro-democracy National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
protestors clashed with police during demonstrations against the Zimbabwe
government's proposed Non-Governmental Organisations Bill.

Under the Public Order and Security Act, the police must approve all
gatherings but had turned down an NCA request to hold the demonstration.

An NCA official, Ernest Mudzengi, said exact figures of how many people had
been arrested and/or injured were still being compiled. IRIN was unable to
get comment from the police.

"We were engaged in running battles all over the city and, at this time, it
is still too early to provide exact figures. However, we were united in the
belief that the proposed NGO bill is a mischievous piece of legislation and
would be a serious assault on our basic freedoms," said Mudzengi.

The NCA had earlier managed to deliver a letter to the South African High
Commission calling for the country's diplomatic intervention in Zimbabwe's
political crisis.

"The struggle for an open democracy in Zimbabwe would very much benefit from
the support of the South African government. We seek your support in our
quest for a more open and tolerent society," read part of the petition.

NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said he thought that South Africa, the
regional superpower, could positively influence Zimbabwean President Robert

"We believe that President Robert Mugabe will change his oppressive approach
if he were approached by the South African government in a frank and honest
manner," he said.

The impending NGO bill seeks to deny registration to NGOs receiving foreign
funding for the "promotion and protection of human rights, and political
governance issues".

According to the government, the proposed legislation would ensure that NGOs
were governed and administered properly, and used donor and public funds for
the purpose for which they were established. But critics allege the bill
will result in a clampdown on civil society.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Chingoka accused of intimidation and manipulation

Wisden Cricinfo staff

September 1, 2004

Peter Chingoka: accused of manipulating the system AFP

Peter Chingoka may have eased his way past the potential problems posed by
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union's AGM, where the board's hardline majority
retained control, but according to a report in a local paper, his troubles
are far from over.

An article in The Zimbabwe Independent claims that while Chingoka retains
control, he stands accused of intimidation and manipulation in his attempts
to stay in charge.

Chingoka blithely dismissed the claims - little else could really be
expected from a man who described the last year in Zimbabwe cricket as
"exciting and challenging" - and claimed that there was a "third force
working to destroy Zimbabwe's cricket, which has an external element".

Ray Gripper, until recently a leading administrator in the game, accused
Chingoka of manipulating the system to safeguard not only his own position
but also those of his associates. He added that Chingoka had used
intimidation and manipulation to block constitutional amendments from the

"I feel it is now time for this to come out," Gripper told The Independent.
"I have been keeping quiet all along because I feared it could affect the
career of my son, Trevor. We, as a group calling itself Concerned Cricket
Lovers, had challenged the board on the constitution. However, a man who
claimed to have been sent from the president's office came to us and said
that he had come to deliver President Mugabe's message that Chingoka had to
remain in power and that we had to stop our actions. It however later
emerged that the person didn't work for the president's office but had been
hired to perform this duty."

Gripper's allegation was supported by Wellington Marowa, the chairman of the
Zimbabwe Cricket Pioneers Association. "We met this guy and Chingoka was
also in attendance. The guy claimed that he was coming from the president's
office but failed to produce his credentials. We later tried to check with
the president's office but it later emerged that he wasn't a genuine
government official.

"The guy said to us that he was strictly instructed by President Mugabe that
Chingoka had to remain in office. He said that we had to stop our calls for
leadership renewal as well as challenges to the constitution."

Chingoka denied the accusations, claiming that the police had investigated
the incident and that it was not "worth commenting about now".

Further criticism came from Charley Robertson, the chairman of Mashonaland
Country Districts, who said that Chingoka and his board made an amendment to
a clause in the ZCU constitution that effectively ensured the existing board
could not be challenged. "Clause 18 of the constitution used to give powers
to provincial chairmen to change the board," he told the newspaper. "But it
was changed two years ago to give the powers to the board only. Some of us
only learnt about the change recently. This means that the current board has
entrenched itself such that no one can challenge it. The system has been
manipulated to retain the same people on the board but nobody on the current
board has first-class cricket experience."

Again, Chingoka dismissed the charges. "There is no manipulating the whole
system," he said. "You have to understand the whole process from provincial
structures. The seven provincial structures all asked me to stand. How can
you have seven provinces nominating you when there is an intention to pass a
vote of no-confidence in you?"

But despite Chingoka's insistence that he has the full backing of the
provinces, the article reports that three of them - Mashonaland Country
Districts, Midlands and Matebeleland - have discussed tabling a formal
challenge to the constitution.

Wisden Cricinfo Ltd

Back to the Top
Back to Index

JTA News

New book by Jewish leader gives
insider's take on Zimbabwe's decline
By Moira Schneider

CAPE TOWN, Sept. 1 (JTA) - Abe Abrahamson has always been a fighter
for social justice.
From his days as a Cabinet minister in the government of Southern
Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe - to his involvement in Jewish communal
organizations there, as well as in those of his adopted home of South
Africa, he has walked the world stage, rubbing shoulders with political
leaders on three continents in his quest for social justice.

Now in his 82nd year, Abrahamson is telling the story of his life in
"The Moon Can Wait," a new book chronicling his life - starting with his
beginnings in the city of Bulawayo, as the son of immigrants who found
refuge in Africa from the pogroms and discrimination of Eastern Europe, and
leading up to today.

The book was written along with author Paul Clingman.

It is a story spanning most of the 20th century, and provides an
insider's account of the factors that sparked the downward spiral of events
resulting in the disaster that is present-day Zimbabwe.

Over the past several years, some blacks, backed by mercurial ruler
Robert Mugabe, have invaded white-owned farms across the country and turned
out their owners in a chaotic attempt at land redistribution.

The country's economy has deteriorated with rampant unemployment and
runaway inflation and more than 80 percent of the black population now lives
below the poverty line.

The Jewish community has dwindled drastically from 7,500 at its peak
in the 1960s to a mere 400 today.

According to Abrahamson's account, the country's prospects were not
always so bleak.

In 1960, when he played a prominent role at London's Lancaster House
conference to negotiate a new constitution for Southern Rhodesia, it seemed
as if the violent chaos that was to become almost endemic to Africa's
liberation struggles might be avoided.

Reflecting on those times, Abrahamson told JTA: "I had a great deal of
hope that we could establish a multiracial society, where every man or woman
was judged for what they could contribute."

But this was not to be - his party was swept from power in the "fatal"
1962 election called as a referendum on land apportionment. Abrahamson calls
the election a "crass error of judgment."

"By holding an election to ask the electorate - 99 percent of whom
were white - for permission to repeal the Land Apportionment Act," which
reserved the better land for whites, "we never stood a hope," he said.

Had the act simply been repealed without resorting to an election, a
path Abrahamson supported, he feels that none of today's confiscation of
land would have occurred and that the intended beneficiaries, rather than
ruling party cronies, would have benefitted.

Abrahamson wonders whether South Africa would have enjoyed its
relatively smooth transition to democracy 32 years later, had that nation's
former president, F.W. De Klerk, gone to the country to seek approval for
the changes he envisaged. "I wonder if he didn't learn his lesson from his
northern neighbor," Abrahamson says.

While the election defeat heralded Abrahamson's retirement from
national politics, his standing allowed him to intercede with the country's
leaders in matters of concern to the Jewish community.

It was as such that Abrahamson became part of a three-man delegation
that successfully lobbied the Rhodesian prime minister to release funds
collected for Israel that were being blocked by the country's stringent
exchange control, which placed severe restrictions on money leaving the

Abrahamson relates how the Jewish community had to accustom itself to
new political realities after Mugabe's accession to power - among the
changes being a PLO presence in the country.

In one illustrative incident, a visiting Israeli shochet, or ritual
animal slaughterer, was told that his passport was not a valid travel

As a result, Abrahamson led the first official Jewish delegation to
Mugabe to inform him of the community's dismay at the turn of events. Mugabe
pleaded ignorance, promising to put the matter right. No more was heard
about the invalidity of Israeli passports.

Later, Abrahamson learned that the Palestinian representative to
Zimbabwe had been kept apprised of the content of every government meeting
with Jewish delegations.

After his move to South Africa in 1986, Abrahamson achieved
pre-eminence in that country's Jewish affairs as well, chairing the South
African Zionist Federation and later being elected its honorary life

It was in the former capacity that he was part of the delegation that
accompanied De Klerk on a visit to Israel.

And Abrahamson was one of six Jews who met Nelson Mandela upon his
release from prison. In the book, Abrahamson recalls that the meeting had in
fact been requested by Mandela, who had been pictured embracing Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat after he was freed.

At the time, Mandela was quoted as saying that "he didn't care what
the Jews might say." Mandela felt that he had been misrepresented and wished
to correct "any negative perceptions that may have arisen in the Jewish

Abrahamson says that as the delegation was leaving, Mandela told him
that he would like to consult him on the art of governing, to which
Abrahamson replied that he had no doubt that the iconic black leader could
"well manage" on his own.

The foreword to the book is written by legendary anti-apartheid
politician Helen Suzman who describes it as "a good read for anybody
interested in the evolution of Southern Africa in the 20th century." Its
title is taken from a speech delivered by Abrahamson to the International
Labor Organization in Geneva in 1962 when he said, referring to breaking the
space barrier, "The moon can wait, but social justice cannot tarry."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Zimbabwe civil servants ask for salary hike


HARARE - Zimbabwean civil servants, battling with 363% inflation, have asked
their paymasters to award a further 100% increase to cover the rising cost
of living in the cash-strapped southern African country.

Spokesman Eriscon Huruba said government workers saw their salaries rise by
300% in December last year with an additional 50% in May.

However Huruba said the latest demand was justified.

"We strongly feel the 100% we are demanding is fair because transport,
health services and other basics have gone up tremendously since July," he

He said some government employees earned as little as ZD240,000 a month,
well below Zimbabwe's poverty datum line of ZD1 million.

About 70% of Zimbabweans are unemployed following the collapse of
large-scale farming in the country.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Gono allays fears of fuel crisis

Herald Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday said it would continue supporting
fuel imports by allocating importers foreign currency to procure the
commodity, allaying fears that the country was about to experience fuel

"The motoring public can be rest assured that the central bank will continue
to support fuel imports and Noczim (the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe) as
we have been doing for the last nine or so months to meet the critical needs
of the country," said RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono.

State-run Noczim is the biggest sole importer of fuel in the country

"We are working closely with the oil marketers, comprising even indigenous
companies, and Noczim to ensure that the smooth flow of fuel is maintained,"
Dr Gono said.

"Any attempts to (sow) panic in the market can only have ulterior and
retrogressive motives which cannot be supported by strategies and resources
on the ground."

Fuel prices went up at the weekend with private oil importers citing the
recent massive increases on the international market.

This resulted in queues at filling stations that had still not upped their
prices, giving rise to speculation that fuel shortages were about to recur.

Petrol at most filling stations is now being sold at around $ 3 500 a litre,
up from $ 3 200, and diesel now costs an average of $ 3 600 a litre, from
the previous $ 3 100.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Land Reform Extends to Towns

The Herald (Harare)

September 1, 2004
Posted to the web September 1, 2004

Ruth Butaumocho

The land reform programme has taken a progressive turn following a recent
announcement that the Government has set aside several farms for housing

The decision comes at a time when there was growing scepticism among
thousands of urbanites, with little or no interest in farming, who viewed
the ongoing land reform programme as of no relevance to their aspirations.

They will now have something to smile about now that the Government has set
aside 160 farms for housing development in towns and cities throughout the

The initiative, which is expected to gobble up billions of dollars in
servicing the land, is a welcome development that is set to end the
perennial housing problems.

From the 160 farms, 184 762 housing stands have already been allocated in
various towns and cities and thousands of other residential stands will soon
be available as the Government makes strides in its long-term objective to
provide decent accommodation to thousands of homeless people.

Should the project successfully take off, the Government expects to make
available 250 000 residential stands every year.

The allocation of stands would be distributed according to demand per
province, with Harare having a yearly target of 100 000, Bulawayo 36 000,
Mashonaland Central 9 730, Midlands 21 360, Mashonaland East 12 820,
Mashonaland West 24 000, Matabeleland North 6 200, Matebeleland South 8320
and Manicaland 16 250.

All the provinces, with the exception of the Midlands and Matebeleland
South, have to date gone past the halfway mark in stand allocation.

The Government's initiative to make available farms for residential purposes
is expected to reduce the number of people who have been on the waiting
lists in the country's towns and cities.

Demand for housing has reached unprecedented levels and most local
authorities are failing to cope owing to lack of land and lack of resources
to service the land in cases where land has been made available.

The serious shortage of housing has seen major towns and cities battling
with the problem of illegal settlements that have mushroomed everywhere,
with some inconveniently situated along major highways and close to upmarket
residential areas.

Disease outbreaks have been reported at these illegal settlements owing to
the absence ofsanitation and other basic amenities such as clean water and
waste disposal.

Among some of the illegal settlements which have sprouted up around Harare
are Whitecliff along the Harare-Bulawayo highway and Goodhope near Mount

It is estimated that over 500 000 people in Harare alone live in backyard
cabins that are not suitable for human habitation, while some families are
reportedly living in squalid conditions, with up to 10 or more people
sharing a single room.

While the setting aside of land is a noble idea, previous experience has
shown that people who already own homes are more likely to benefit from this
initiative, dashing the hopes of low-income and non-income homeseekers of
ever owning a house.

Over the years low-income homeseekers in Zimbabwe have faced a lot of
impediments in trying to get a roof over their heads.

Firstly, most people have failed to own houses because of the prohibitive
cost of land, let alone servicing it. They also have not been able to access
mortgage finance given the punitive interest rates being charged by banks
and building societies.

Faced with such insurmountable challenges, their hopes of ever owning a
house of their own had dwindled over the years. However, these could soon be
revived if the Government puts in place thorough screening measures to
ensure that only deserving people benefit from the latest initiative.

The Government and the relevant authority should ensure that people who get
land are genuine home seekers and do not own land or a house elsewhere.

"A serious vetting exercise is needed to ensure that people who already have
houses do not benefit," said Mr Rodwick Manake, a property developer with a
Harare company.

Chairman of the Ryadle Ridge Housing Co-operative Union Mr Gabriel Pambweyo
said the problem of cheating would only be solved if available land is
allocated to unions representing housing co-operatives.

"The majority of people, if not all people who are registered with housing
co-operatives, are genuine home seekers.

"These are the very same people who should be given priority when land for
housing is being allocated," he said.

Mr Pambweyo added that it would be folly to allocate land indiscriminately
because only people with fraudulent intentions would benefit.

There are 25 co-operatives registered with Ryadle Ridge Housing Co-operative
Union, whose objective is to co-ordinate the activities of housing
co-operatives including auditing books of its members.

In addition to a water-tight screening of beneficiaries, the Government
should also introduce a comprehensive policy that would ensure that
provision of housing becomes a fundamental right.

"The right to housing should be enshrined in the country's Constitution.
Such a constitutional provision will at least elicit Government's commitment
to provide housing to low-income/non-income homeseekers," said an analyst.

As a fundamental principle in housing provision, there is also need for the
Government to revive the National Housing Policy drafted in 2000.

Although the policy was put in place four years ago, nothing has been done
to implement its progressive provisions.

The vision of the National Housing Policy is that every household should
have access to permanent residential structures with secure tenure, privacy,
water, sanitary facilities and that the housing sector advances economic
growth in the country.

On the other hand, the stated goal of the policy is to improve housing in
the country by increasing the share of housing in the national Budget and to
increase housing delivery on sustainable, planned and programmable basis for
the benefit of the low- income home seekers.

One aspect of the policy crucial to housing provision that the Government
would need to seriously pursue to ensure that low-income and non-income home
seekers benefit is to come up with a legislative review.

At the moment the main reason why some of the fundamentals contained in that
National Housing Policy have not been seriously considered is that this is
only a piece of paper and not a binding legal instrument which can be
enforced in a court of law.

So while the policy is full of promises and can significantly provide the
facelift that the country needs in housing provision, it would need to be
enacted into a law.

Because housing is a basic need and not a luxury, there is also need to
enshrine the right to housing in the Bill of Rights section of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Currently, the Government is not constitutionally mandated to provide access
to land or finance for housing development for the urban low-income earners
and does so merely as a social service.

There is also need for a legislative framework to control the operations of
private land developers.

At the moment several land developers are buying a lot of land within urban
areas and holding on to it for speculative purposes.

They should be prohibited from owning more than one property in areas meant
for low-income earners.

It is within that context that land would not be used for speculative
purposes, but instead as a resource that should improve the livelihood of

Thus, the reform of housing laws and policies needs collective responses to
be guided by a robust, large-scale and multi-sectorial strategy that
incorporates the diverse needs and concerns of the most marginalised,
particularly the poor.

Back to the Top
Back to Index