ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT UPDATE FOR MONTH OF SEPTEMBER 2005
What a month September has been on the house robberies and smash and grabs† -† most intersections, traffic lights and in general where you as a motorist have to slow down.† We have had various reports from the public that windows mostly on the passenger side of the vehicle has been smashed with a blunt instrument and handbags, briefcases, mobile phones, and shopping all grabbed.† Please be very aware of your surroundings and the people in the vicinity, some just waiting to pounce on YOU the victim !† Put as much as possible out of sight and in the BOOT this advice saves you a lot of stress and aggravation.†
House robberies seem to be on an increase at the most alarming rate, and the worst hit areas that have come to the Trust’s notice are Borrowdale, Ballantyne Park, Chisipte, Greystone Park, Northwood, Mount Pleasant, Greendale.† There is more than one gang involved here, and the main items on the ‘hit list’ are money, mobiles, laptops, firearms and jewellery.† Electrical goods are still being stolen, and mostly loaded up in a family vehicle and taken away.† There have been numerous casualties needing medical attention, and victims being tied up, blindfolded, and locked into a room.† Most of the gained entry has been through open windows, unlocked doors, so once again we ask you to tighten up on your security where possible, keep in mind the safety of your families and children.† We are living in very stressful times and do not need to add to these.† It’s so often the case, of ‘closing the door after the horse has bolted’† So come on, lets make sure that this does not happen !† Be Aware, Alert, Security conscious at ALL times, make your children, staff and friends the same way.†
We are still manning the office at erratic hours due to the chronic fuel situation, but please do not hesitate to use our Hotline numbers, we are there to help you in any way we can.† We need your support so that we in turn, can support you !
Here’s to peace of mind and a safe month
ANTI HIJACK TRUST: NATIONAL HOTLINE: 091 242 512
TEL/FAX: HARARE 04-309870 /091 221 921 / 091 313 333
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Tel: Bulawayo 011 701 323 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IRIN (UN), 28 September
Johannesburg - Zimbabwean and South African officials are to meet in the next two weeks for further talks on the possibility of loan assistance, a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. "Talks have been continuing, but the two sides have not met recently," South African treasury spokesman Logan Wort told IRIN. The countries have been negotiating an aid package worth almost US $500 million, including an outstanding payment of $175 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to prevent Zimbabwe's expulsion from the international financial institution. But talks had stalled over Zimbabwe's reluctance to enforce political and economic recovery plans - conditions set by the South Africans for providing the financial assistance. "The conditions still stand, whenever talks resume," said South African government sources. In late August the IMF began procedures to strip Zimbabwe of its membership over arrears to the tune of $295 million and failure to rein in public spending. However, earlier this month Zimbabwe managed to make a payment of $131 million to the IMF, which granted the troubled southern African country a six-month reprieve. Zimbabwe has promised to settle its arrears, currently totalling $175 million, by November 2006. It has also submitted an economic recovery plan to the IMF.
South African government sources described Zimbabwe's recovery programme as "unrealistic" and said the IMF was "unlikely" to accept it. The IMF has already commented on some of the economic reform measures taken by the Zimbabwean government in recent months, such as liberalisation of the fuel and maize markets, saying they "fell well short of what is needed to address Zimbabwe's economic difficulties." The Fund warned that "unless strong macroeconomic policies are undertaken without delay, economic and social conditions could deteriorate further". Unemployment is currently over 70 percent and inflation is more than 265 percent. Meanwhile, controversy has erupted over the source of Zimbabwe's initial $131 million payment to the IMF. At a press conference on the regional outlook for sub-Saharan Africa last week in Washington, an IMF official said they had queried the source of the funding. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono revealed that the money paid to the IMF came from banks in New York and London, among others, and the funds had been sourced from export proceeds, free funds and foreign currency liquidations, according to the official newspaper, The Herald, on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe is going through a severe economic crisis, with serious food shortages due to recurring droughts and the government's fast-track land redistribution programme, which disrupted agricultural production and slashed export earnings. The crisis has also seen a flood of Zimbabweans illegally crossing the border into South Africa. According to the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration, at least 2,000 Zimbabweans are deported from South Africa via the border town of Beitbridge every week. South African government sources confirmed that Zimbabwe was in urgent need of assistance, such as food and agricultural inputs. "We are extremely concerned about the food situation," said a government official. A vulnerability assessment conducted by the Zimbabwean government and some NGOs earlier this year indicated that 2.9 million people - an estimated 36 percent of the rural population - would require food aid until the next harvest in April 2006. Aid agencies have planned for over four million in need. Sources in South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said talks with the neighbouring country had been disrupted by "political interference". "While the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and other technocrats realise that our assistance is critical, the political leadership in Zimbabwe is suspicious of South Africa's intentions," commented a senior ANC official.
From Zim Online (SA), 29 September
Harare - The Zimbabwe government has diverted Z$250 billion from the country’s ailing public health sector to finance an ambitious programme to construct houses for thousands of victims of its controversial home demolition campaign three months ago, Zim Online has learnt. Senior officials at the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare said the ministry was one of several ministries ordered to surrender part of their budget votes to fund the housing programme that President Robert Mugabe has flaunted to the world as proof that their urban clean-up home campaign was a blessing in disguise for poor Zimbabweans. "Nearly all the ministries were affected but there was a huge debate over whether money should be taken from health because that is a crucial sector that is already in the red. We desperately need money to pay suppliers," said a top health official, who did not want to be named. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa refused to take questions on the matter when contacted by Zim Online yesterday. Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, whose ministry is spearheading the home building programme, confirmed government departments had contributed parts of their budget allocations to the construction programme officially known as Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle. But Chombo, who said there was also a separate budget allocation from Treasury for the building programme, refused to name the ministries that had contributed or the amounts of money each had paid to the programme. "You should be aware that this is a massive programme involving several ministries. It’s not my job to say which ministries pay for what or has poured so much," said Chombo.
Zimbabwe’s public health sector, once a shining example to the developing world, is on its knees due to years of mismanagement and under-funding. Most state hospitals can prescribe little more than common pain killers because of a severe shortage of essential medical drugs, itself the result of an acute shortage of hard cash to pay foreign suppliers. In a telling example of the state of Zimbabwe’s public health institutions, laboratory scientists at the government-run Chitungwiza General Hospital, the main health centre in Zimbabwe’s third most populous city of Chitungwiza told the Press yesterday they were unable to carry out HIV tests because of a critical shortage of reagents used to conduct the tests. The reagents are imported. Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. An estimated one in four Zimbabweans is HIV-positive while at least 2 000 people die in the country each week because of AIDS-related illnesses. Harare launched the home-construction programme after strong criticism by the United Nations (UN), European Union, United States, local and international human rights groups against its urban clean-up campaign. UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka said the urban renewal programme violated human rights and may also have been in breach of international law. Tibaijuka, who toured Zimbabwe for two weeks assessing the impact of the home-demolition campaign said at least 700 000 people were left homeless while another 2.4 million were also affected. The cash-strapped Harare administration said in July that it required Z$3 trillion to rebuild people’s homes. But latest estimates by government civil engineers put the costs at $5.5 trillion, this at a time the state must also find money for food and fuel imports.
From Zim Online (SA), 29 September
Chipinge - The only doctor in Chipinge town in eastern Zimbabwe is leaving the farming town after she and her husband were evicted by the government from a nearby farm. Petra Baumgartner told ZimOnline she was this week forced to discharge sick patients and close down her Chipinge Trust Clinic because she had to leave the area after she and her husband, Robert Clowes, were evicted from Destiny Farm. Fifteen workers, who had helped Baumgartner run the clinic for the last seven years, have also been left jobless. "Someone nearly died of severe asthmatic attack yesterday and I was forced to send him home because I have to leave," Baumgartner said. She said antenatal patients, who had depended on her services would now have to travel far to find help as there was no other doctor in Chipinge, a town of more than 30 000 people located about 400 km east of Harare. "They will not find this help in Chipinge as I am the only doctor who has been regularly attending to them in this area ….its bad," said Baumgartner. There is a government hospital in Chipinge but there is no resident doctor at the hospital, with patients requiring special attention being referred to Mutare General Hospital, more than 150 km away. Baumgartner said she had attempted to seek audience with Health Minister David Parirenyatwa in a bid to save her clinic from closure but to no avail. Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment on the matter. There have been fresh evictions in the last three weeks of the remaining few white farmers in Manicaland province, where Chipinge is located. State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is also in charge of land redistribution, has said the government will step up eviction of the remaining white farmers to ensure all farmland was in the hands of blacks by the start of the next rainy season around November.
Daily News (SA), 28 September
Zimbabwean doctors, who routinely strike for more pay, are bitter that President Robert Mugabe's government has awarded them paltry monthly salary increases equivalent to the price of three loaves of low-quality bread. The Hospitals Doctors Association (HDA) said it was now consulting its membership with a view to staging more industrial action. Zimbabwean doctors earn ZIM$5,7-million monthly (about R2 036 at the official exchange rate or R633 monthly at the more realistic black market rate at which most foreign currency transactions are made). The doctors want their salaries hiked from ZIM$5,7-million to about ZIM$50-million. But HDA president Takaruda Chinyoka said the government had notified the association that it was going to award increases of ZIM$98 000 monthly. With bread now costing about ZIM$32 000, this is equivalent to three loaves of bread. "We are very disappointed and we are currently carrying out consultations with our members over the salary matter after which we will then decide what action to take," said Chinyoka. He said the Z$98 000 was added to the doctors' salaries this month after their last industrial action which ended with a government promise of more pay. There was no immediate comment from the government. In addition to their paltry salaries, the government doctors are entitled to a ZIM$10-million loan to buy a house. However, the least affordable house in Zimbabwe's low density suburbs cost about ZIM$3-billion. They can also access about ZIM$50-million loans to buy cars but the only car one can get at that amount is a late 1970s or early 1980s model. Because of their poor remuneration, doctors are flocking out of Zimbabwe in search of greener pastures in neighbouring countries and abroad. At one stage, the Zimbabwe government only operated with one pathologist at all its state hospitals and clinics. Apart from poor salaries, the doctors also have to endure life without basic equipment and drugs. Panadol is the only drug that is found at Zimbabwean hospitals, which have resorted to using ox-drawn ambulances. The psychiatry unit at Mpilo hospital, the second biggest state hospital in Bulawayo, at one stage reported that it was using cigarettes to help sedate mental patients because of a shortage of drugs.
Business Day (SA), 28 September
Harare - Zimbabwe’s dollar is set to be devalued again after black market rates soared this week amid a worsening foreign currency shortage, analysts said today. The currency has plunged to a historic low of 75,000/dollar, about three times the 26,000 official rate quoted at central bank controlled auctions - sparking fears that inflation will once again spiral out of control. Stablising inflation is key to the central bank’s efforts to revive an economy in recession for the past six years. Chronic foreign currency shortages have gripped Zimbabwe, one of the major signs of the country’s worst economic crisis since independence in 1980 that critics blame on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe’s government. "We are in a very critical situation ... the Reserve Bank will have to devalue the currency to improve inflows. It is critical that we have a convergence of the black market and the auction rates if we are to stabilise the exchange rate," independent economist John Robertson said. Central bank Governor Gideon Gono is expected devalue the currency when he presents the quarterly monetary policy next month. Gono has previously said the exchange rate will be reviewed in line with inflation. The bank has devalued the dollar three times since May this year, when the currency stood at 6,200 to the dollar. Inflation was at an annual rate of 265,1% in August, but has subsided from a record peak of 623% in January 2004. Analysts predicted that inflation will be between 305 and 350% in the year to September. "Gono has no choice but to adjust the rate because September inflation figures will be steep, which will put pressure on the exchange rate," Witness Chinyama, chief economist at Kingdom Bank said. Zimbabwe’s monthly import bill is estimated at $250m, but exports are yielding an average of $109,4m a month. The country has been without balance of payment support since 1999 after the International Monetary Fund and donors withdrew financial aid over policy differences with the government, particularly the seizure of white owned farms.
Business Day (SA), 29 September
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel yesterday rejected diplomatic and business speculation that SA covertly helped Zimbabwe repay part of its arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this month. "Tell those speculators to go and jump in the bloody lake because they are talking rubbish," Manuel said yesterday. He said the Public Finance Management Act, which governs the use and reporting on state finances, made it impossible for government to carry out such a transaction. The repayment of $120m helped Zimbabwe gain a six-month reprieve from a possible decision by the fund’s executive board on expulsion. Zimbabwe receives only humanitarian aid, and an expulsion from the fund would mean greater financial and diplomatic isolation. Zimbabwe’s central bank governor, Gideon Gono, said earlier this week that the foreign exchange used to repay the fund had come from "free funds" and export earnings. His comments have not stopped speculation that the country received the help of an external donor. Some diplomats have pointed to China, but there are signs that Zimbabwe received only about $10m when President Robert Mugabe visited Beijing last month. With Libya and Iran unlikely, speculation has turned to SA. Fuelling the rumour mill has been the failure of Zimbabwe to publish figures on its official foreign exchange reserves since July last year. However, some economists have said that it was possible for Zimbabwe to have raised the $120m by putting pressure on private businesses to grant loans to the country’s central bank and by not fully allocating foreign exchange at its weekly auctions.
Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Thursday September 29, 2005
Zimbabwe announced it was moving back into the steam age yesterday by recommissioning 10 coal-fired locomotives to cope with the country's economic crisis. Further indications of shortages came from hospitals, which are turning away patients because they do not have basic medicines and surgical equipment. In the courts, state witnesses said they were too weak from hunger to testify.
The announcement that steam engines would be put back into service was made by Fanuel Masikati, a spokesman for the state-owned National Railways of Zimbabwe, which has been plagued by breakdowns and cancellations due to fuel shortages. Mr Masikati told the government-controlled Herald newspaper that Zimbabwe's lack of foreign currency prevented the railway from importing fuel and spare parts for the diesel engines.
The country has abundant coal and basic components to keep the steam engines running. About two billion Zimbabwe dollars (£44,000) is needed to refurbish the steam engines. Coal-loading machines required to run a fleet of steam engines are being checked. Many water towers, needed to fill the locomotives' boilers, are still intact along railway lines.
In another example of reverting to old technology, Zimbabwe has begun using ambulances pulled by cattle in rural areas because there is no fuel for motor vehicles. The country's hospitals admitted yesterday that they could not test patients for HIV infection because of a lack of laboratory chemicals.
Zimbabwe has one of the world's highest HIV rates, with more than 25% of the adult population infected and an estimated 3,000 Zimbabweans dying each week from Aids, medical experts say.
A state hospital administrator said patients were being turned away because of a shortage of medicines and equipment.
Zimbabwe's deepening crisis was also highlighted in the courts recently when two trials were adjourned after state witnesses said they could not testify until they had eaten. They complained that police had held them for three days without food in "squalid and inhuman conditions", according to the Herald. The judges postponed the cases until the witnesses were fed.
Zimbabwe's currency fell further yesterday to 100,000 to the US dollar on the illegal but thriving black market. "We are a nation going backwards in civilisation," said John Makumbe, political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
HARARE -- The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday said it will not pay compensation for developments on 4 000 white farms it nationalised last week because it does not have the money.
President Robert Mugabe and his government have in the past said they will not pay for actual land seized from whites but undertook to pay full compensation for improvements such as dams, houses and roads constructed on the farms.
Deputy Finance Minister David Chapfika told ZimOnline that the government would have to renege - for now - on the promise to pay for farm developments because the amount of money required to pay owners of the nationalised farms was too big.
Chapfika, who would not disclose how much money the government planned to pay the former white landowners or when it would be able to pay, said: "We do not have the kind of money required to pay the farmers, we won't be able to afford it in one year."
He said the government was still discussing and exploring ways to raise the money to pay for improvements on the farms nationalised almost immediately after Mugabe earlier this month signed into law the new Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 17) Act which bars citizens from contesting in court seizure of their land by the state.
The white owners had appealed to the courts against forced acquisition of their properties by the government during its controversial land reform programme in the last five years. The appeals automatically became invalid after the constitutional changes that also prohibit courts from hearing appeals by landowners against seizure of their property by the state.
Chapfika said an audit would have to be carried out to ascertain the value of the farm improvements for which the government would have to pay compensation. But he indicated this was also a "political arrangement" that might take longer to be finalised.
The white land rights lobby group, Justice for Agriculture Trust, estimates the amount of money owed to farmers by the government at 12 billion British pounds, which is way beyond the cash-strapped Harare administration's means.
Mugabe has over the past five years seized land from whites and handed it over to landless blacks saying farm redistribution was necessary to correct an unjust land tenure system that reserved 75 percent of the best arable land for minority whites while the majority blacks where cramped on poor soils.
The land seizures have been blamed for causing severe food shortages in Zimbabwe and also worsening the country's economic crisis. Mugabe denies his land reforms are to blame for causing hunger in Zimbabwe. He instead blames food shortages on poor weather and the economic crisis on sabotage by Britain and its Western allies opposed to his land reforms. - ZimOnline
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 9:03 PM
'Robert Mugabe has been fenced off from the people, his communication has
been cut off by those around him', these are the words of war veteran's
leader Jabulani Sibanda. He was responding to media reports, Zanu PF has
expelled him from its ranks. He thinks party national chairman; John Nkomo
is gunning for the presidency after 2008 and along with a few reactionary
forces, planning the elimination of political rivals, including himself. He
talks for the first time about the Tsholotsho 'coup plot' when several party
chairmen and cabinet ministers met for a 'prize giving ceremony'. He says
evil people cannot remain in power, tune in to the program to find out who
SW Radio Africa
Behind The Headlines
Thursday 5:15 to 5:30pm live on the internet at www.swradioafrica.com
Friday†††† 5:15 to 5:30am on Medium Wave broadcasts 1197khz
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting
from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean
journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.
Full broadcast on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and
24 hours on the internet at www.swradioafrica.com.
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 2:46 AM
26 September 2005
The Senate: what is in it for the people?
By Morgan Tsvangirai
While it remains our strategy and ultimate goal to assume power through the
ballot box and other democratic means, our experiences with elections, both
local and national, are instructive and significantly enlightening.
The Mugabe regime decided as far back as last year to screw up the
Parliamentary election in order to rally a two-thirds Parliamentary
majority, regardless of the national sentiment and the outcome of the actual
voting patterns on the ground. In other words, like the 2002 Presidential
election, the result of the March 2005 poll was pre-determined. Mugabe made
no secret the same, in his public pronouncements at rallies and public
Between 2000 and 2005, the regime failed to tamper with the Lancaster House
Constitution because the MDC enjoyed a blocking representation in
Parliament. An attempt was made to persuade the MDC into working with Zanu
PF to amend the Constitution at the end of 2004. Unsure of how we were going
to react, the project was abandoned.
Zanu PF then decided to use its Parliamentary majority to push through a
raft of legislation including the enactment of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Act which created a highly partisan ZEC that proceeded to claim
to run the March 2005 election, and as is now the case, with disastrous
Far from resolving the national crisis, the electoral route has become a
weapon used for driving our people apart and for deepening our mistrust in
the conduct of the Robert Mugabe dictatorship.
Our people have totally lost faith and confidence in elections. Elections
have brought no meaningful change to their lifestyles. Against this
background, Zimbabweans are cagey about the proposed Senate elections. The
Senate, as a national institution, is being forced upon the nation against
our advice and despite our spirited resistance in and outside Parliament.
The idea came out of a piecemeal Constitutional change, Amendment No.17. We
have argued, together with the entire civil society in Zimbabwe, that our
country needs a comprehensive Constitutional review process which is
people-driven and publicly accepted. Zanu PF is against that approach,
sadly, for selfish reasons.
Zanu PF can proceed with the Senatorial plebiscite, as they have indicated
they wish to do, but that action shall fail to deal with the question of
legitimacy and the crisis of governance before us. With a Senate, Zimbabwe
shall continue to strengthen its pariah status at home and abroad, with a
coterie of ambitious politicians carrying the useless title of senator.
Because of the unresolved disputes in 2000, in 2002 and after March 31 and
our desire to end the national crisis, taking part in this flawed and
opportunistic exercise presents us as a party that is out of touch with the
grim reality on the ground. We shall be subjecting our people to a process
that provides no value addition to their political fortunes. We shall be
pressing our people to pretend to make choices and informed decisions in a
matter that fails to raise their political destiny in any meaningful way.
We shall be asking our people to follow the Zanu PF succession agenda, a
political experiment that has cost our nation its esteem and driven us to
the most agonizing level since time immemorial. We shall be asking the
people to resign to their fate. I raise this point because we are told that
the proposed Senate is a once-off, one term institution. Of what public
benefit, economic or political, is this set-up going to give us as an
embattled nation? What is in for the ordinary person, without food and
without a job?
Talking of benefits, may I remind Zimbabwe that although the proposed Senate
shall have fewer members than the current Parliament, the election shall
cost us trillions of dollars more than the amount we spent in March 2005
because of our substantially weaker currency and galloping inflation?
Further, we will need the same numbers of ballot papers, polling stations,
polling agents, election officials, election materials, campaign materials,
fuels, imported ink, Chinese-made ballot boxes, vehicles and all other
necessities that come with a real political contest. Surely, can we afford
this luxurious expenditure at a time when we have no food, no fuel, no
foreign currency and no jobs? Is creating 65 jobs for senior citizens and
greedy politicians an emergency in Zimbabwe today?
As I said before, the outcome of the Senate election shall be
pre-determined, just like the March 2005 Parliamentary result. Anyone
wishing to partake in this process should therefore refrain from crying foul
because Zanu PF's intentions are as clear as the September sky. Some may
argue that we need to give Zanu PF discomfort at every turn. But does this
mean we have to do it even if we end up chasing our own tails?
From the MDC, my position as President remains unchanged. We are in local
government, supposedly in charge of lives of 80 percent of the country's
prime productive minds. But have we ever been given a chance to exercise our
duties and responsibilities without Zanu PF meddling?
Harare is in state of chaos because Zanu PF refused to accept democracy. The
same can be said of Bulawayo, Mutare, Chegutu, Chitungwiza, and all the
other towns and cities in our hands. Zanu PF is not interested in
co-existence. Zanu PF is intolerant. Zanu PF does not accept our presence
and shall never respect our political space and political autonomy, hence
the appointment of so-called governors and resident ministers whose mandate
is to fight the MDC at a local level.
Our presence in Parliament is merely symbolic. Despite our protests, Zanu PF
has pushed some of the most draconian pieces of legislation in Zimbabwe
during the past five years. MDC legislators are to debate, raise matters of
reason, caution and advise Parliament, but that translates to nothing as
Zanu PF simply abuses its inflated majority to do as it wishes. What then is
The Zimbabwean struggle needs a radical paradigm shift. Parliament cannot be
the main arena of our struggle. Our experience in Parliament since 2000
shows that the struggle resides outside Zanu PF-dominated institutions.
POSA, AIPPA, the NGO Bill, Amendment No 17 and many other repressive laws
were shoved down our throats in broad daylight. We have lost acres and acres
of political space through legislation, imposed onto the people while we sit
there in Parliament. Someone must explain to me that Zimbabwe shall be a
different place as soon as we take up seats in the so-called Senate?
We must be serious with ourselves if we hope to make an impact in our desire
to bring about far-reaching democratic change in this country. Playing the
Zanu PF game means more suffering and greater uncertainty about the future.
Instead of wasting time with the Senate proposal, which we vehemently
opposed during its passage in Parliament, perhaps it is time we take a fresh
look at our continued presence in that often-abused institution.
As political parties and individual politicians, voters award us their
mandate on the basis of our promise to public service, our undertaking to
the people. In the proposed Senate election, what shall we promise the
people? What can the people look forward to as a result of the establishment
of a Senate? Food, jobs? What shall be our campaign message?
Zimbabweans need a break from past malpractices and past political deceit.
†Morgan Tsvangirai is the President of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Efurida Pfebve, sister, fighter for justice, former chairwoman of MDC Mt.
Darwin North and Plaintiff to Mugabe US Court Case is no more. She passed
away on the 24 September 2005 after being taken ill the day before she met
her death. She became another victim of a failed health system in Zimbabwe
among others. This comes less than four weeks after Remus Makuwaza, a long
time friend, MDC Director of Election and co-politician died without
realising his dream of a free Zimbabwe. Losing freedom is one thing, losing
fighters of that freedom makes the whole struggle a surmountable task. Such
has become a common scenario in Zimbabwe today; one after another
Zimbabweans have succumbed to a crumbling health system. Losing two comrades
in arms in less than 4 weeks have left me devastated and grief stricken.
Against all these odds, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends the
struggle must continue unabated, with conviction and guidance by the
Almighty, victory is certain.
I worked with Makuwaza from the formation of MDC, in structure building and
mobilisation.† We were all members of National Executive (Policy Making
Board), we shared common problems in the 2000 Parliamentary Elections,
Makuwaza was contesting against Mahachi (ZANU PF) in Makoni West and I was
against Border Gezi (ZANU (PF) in Bindura. These men were regarded as the
most dangerous in ZANU (PF) hence we had a common surmountable task. Remus
and I were soon nicknamed Mahachi and Gezi respectively. We both escaped
numerous attempts on our lives. By coincidence, yet not of our own making,
both men died in car accidents after rigging the elections. They were
victims of struggle within struggles in ZANU (PF).† Makuwaza my friend rest
Condolences for Efurida continue to pour in from three continents, from
those whose work she touched to those who knew her well both in struggle and
in personal capacity.† The following are a few of your words;
"I have been so much touched by the news of the death of your sister. I
recall her commitment to the struggle for change in an environment which was
not conducive for such activism, given that we lost your brother too in the
run up to the 2000 elections. On behalf of myself and my family in Zimbabwe,
I express my most profound condolence to you and the Pfebve family members
in Zimbabwe. The party has lost a leader who may not be easily replaceable
under the presence circumstances.
I pray for your comfort during these trying times and hopefully this will
not destroy the spirit of patriotism displayed in your family.
Victory is certain, Zimbabwe will be free", Eckem Dandara.
"It was with great sadness that we learnt about the death of Efurida. I
actually knew her personally. Hope God gives you the courage to go through
all these many tragedies in your life. Have the funeral arrangements been
finalised", Dr. Zimudzi
"So sorry. What a shock for you all.
My love and prayers", Pat
"My sincere condolences for the passing of your sister", Dr. Nkiwane
"So sorry to read that news. Meriel and I send you our sincerest
condolences. Hope things are going well for you, and we continue to pray for
Best wishes", Ian
†I remember receiving a phone call 3 days after the Presidential Election in
March 2002 notifying me of 11 members of MDC who were arrested and in
detention at Mukumbura Police Station in MT. Darwin. Knowing the area to be
politically volatile, I took with me some youth and travelled to Mukumbura
Police Station passing through a barrage of ambushes along the way from ZANU
(PF) Militia. I was shocked to see Efurida being the only woman in custody
among the 11 MDC supporters, their crime GBH against a ZANU (PF) war
veteran. Although the other 10 supporters were not admitting taking part in
the said crime, Efuida remained adamant that she acted in self defence
against ZANU (PF) supporters who way laid her and others for being MDC
supporters therefore British puppets. For the first time I saw her courage
and determination flowing into her veins refusing to compromise her liberty
and prepared to go to jail for what she thought was her right of political
association. Those who know MT Darwin area will agree with me that very few
people had taken an open stance against ZANU (PF) there, yet there she was a
symbol of MDC among jackals of ZANU (PF) patronage. Even after the murder of
my brother Mathew, Efurida refused to move away from the area preferring
instead to lead the woman wing from the grassroots against all odds. Efurida
was present when my brother was murdered yet escaped only to meet her death
She was determined to curve the future for all Zimbabweans even it meant
sacrificing her own life. She died a miserable woman knowing that the
struggle she so committed herself to, has now moved from a political to a
constitutional crisis with Mugabe getting a firm hand of every system living
and gone. Now the big question which I think she is still asking herself
where ever she is, "for how long should the people of Zimbabwe wait to see
Robert Mugabe test his own medicine of a failed health system"?
Efurida, sister and politician rest in peace.
Lecturer & Political Activist/Analyst
30 September 2005
HARARE: Zimbabwe's central bank has ruled out overall use of the US dollar
locally despite introducing greenback-based fuel sales to attract scarce
foreign currency, the official Herald newspaper said yesterday.
The southern African country has suffered chronic shortages of petrol and
diesel since 1999 in the midst of an economic downturn which critics say has
resulted from mismanagement by president Robert Mugabe's government.
In July the central bank said foreign-registered vehicles driving in
Zimbabwe would have to buy fuel in foreign currency, and said local people
with their own access to US dollars could also use the scheme.
But yesterday the Herald quoted central bank governor Gideon Gono as telling
traders from the local Asian community that this was a temporary arrangement
which would not extend to other commodities.
"(Gono) said the issue of fuel was an exceptional one and to extend it to
other products and services would be tantamount to dollarisation of the
economy," the paper said.
Gono was not immediately available for comment yesterday.
The Zimbabwe dollar has plunged to around 75,000 against the US unit on a
black market which has thrived at the expense of central-bank managed
currency auctions, where the rate is pegged at 26,000.
Mugabe's government, grappling with food shortages, record unemployment and
one of the highest rates of inflation in the world, has also allowed
individuals with their own access to foreign currency to import fuel
Analysts say some of this fuel is being sold at up to 80,000 Zimbabwe
dollars a litre - against the official price of 22,300 - to stranded
motorists forced to resort to the black market because conventional garages
have run dry.
Yesterday the Herald quoted Mugabe as saying fuel supplies were set to
improve in the next few days, without spelling out how this would happen.
Main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has over the past fortnight walked
to work from his suburban home in a protest against the fuel crunch and in
recent days some members of his Movement for Democratic Change have joined
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, rejects charges he
has destroyed a once-promising economy through misrule, and insists it has
fallen victim to sabotage by local and foreign opponents of his seizure of
white-owned commercial farms for blacks.
Thu Sep 29, 2005 3:45 PM GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
launched a new drive to rally public anger against President Robert Mugabe's
rule but analysts say general fear of Mugabe's forces will keep a lid on
Critics say Mugabe has plunged his southern African country into a deep
crisis with a raft of controversial policies, including tough security and
media laws, seizures of white-owned farms, price controls and a clampdown
against the opposition they say has been accompanied by vote-rigging.
Three weeks ago the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) started walking to work from his Harare home almost daily to highlight
chronic fuel shortages that have crippled public transport and forced many
urban people to walk.
The government has dismissed Tsvangirai's programme as a desperate publicity
stunt, saying Zimbabwe's economy is struggling due to Western economic
sanctions backed by his MDC.
Analysts say Tsvangirai has won praise for his efforts to focus domestic and
international attention on Mugabe over the deteriorating economy but many
Zimbabweans are reluctant to join any mass protests for fear of a vicious
"I think it is fair to say that because the government has routinely used
the police and the army to use force in dealing with political
demonstrations, many people are afraid," said University of Zimbabwe
political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure.
"Fear is a very big feature in Zimbabwe's politics today, an element which
Mugabe has exploited fully and an element which the opposition is struggling
to overcome," he said.
John Makumbe, a political commentator fiercely critical of Mugabe, said many
people are frightened by their country's recent history, including the
deaths of nearly 20,000 civilians in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces
in the 1980s during a military campaign against dissidents.
"Mugabe has shown that he can be ruthless, and his reputation has greatly
influenced how some people respond to opposition political programmes,"
In the last seven years, Mugabe has deployed the army and riot-control
police to crush almost every street protest or demonstration, and his
government buttressed its tough-approach reputation when it swooped on a
small group of women political activists who tried to distribute roses on
In the run-up to general parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000
and 2002, Mugabe's war veteran supporters and militant members of his
ZANU-PF party, commonly known as "green bombers," waged a violent campaign
against Tsvangirai's MDC and led the invasion of white-owned farms which
have now been nationalised and redistributed to blacks.
Mugabe -- 81 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980 -- has
vowed that he will never allow Tsvangirai to topple him through street
The government has charged the MDC leader with treason twice in the last
five years including a charge of trying to organise a mass "final push"
march against the veteran president.
Tsvangirai began his walk-to-work three weeks ago with half a dozen
bodyguards and MDC officials. Numbers have swelled to about 50 but analysts
say it is unlikely to trigger mass action.
Zimbabwe is struggling with an economic crisis manifesting itself in severe
food, fuel and foreign currency shortages, unemployment at around 75
percent, rising poverty and one of the world's highest inflation rates.
© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.