|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government has closed down
all the United
Nations' field offices in rural Zimbabwe running famine relief distribution
to starving communities, the United Nations confirmed on Thursday.
The move is seen as another bid by Mugabe's regime to take over the
distribution of food and use it to force rural communities to support the
ruling Zanu(PF) party, and again threatens to disrupt the world body's
attempts to avert massive starvation.
The UN plans to bring 350 000 tons of food to 5,5 million people in Zimbabwe
this year after the state-driven collapse of the country's once thriving
Also on Thursday, officials of commercial farm unions said that output of
tobacco, the country's main source of critical hard currency, would fall to
half of this year's estimated 80 000 ton - itself a record low in decades -
because of a renewed attempt by the regime to force the remaining white
farmers from their land in a new drive known as "operation clean sweep".
An estimated 400 out of 4 500 white farmers are left on their farms, since
Mugabe's illegal seizure of white-owned land that began in 200.
The government's closure of the UN's rural offices follows the announcement
by the UN last week that the regime had issued a directive that state
officials would take over distribution of food donated by Western donor
governments. Eleven local and international aid agencies have been handing
out food supplies under UN supervision since the famine began in the middle
of last year.
However, the government last week changed tack after angry protests from the
UN and Western donor governments.
The government's use of food as a "political weapon", in which it withheld
famine relief from pro-opposition areas and handed out food to ruling party
supporters at polling stations during elections, has been comprehensively
documented by international and local humanitarian agencies.
A statement from the UN office in Harare on Thursday said all three of its
field offices in famine-stricken areas had been shut after the government's
"All United Nations Relief and Recovery Unit field staff have been recalled
to Harare while negotiations (with the government) proceed. They will carry
out their field assignments from the Harare based main office of the UN.
"The only practical difference is that they are based in Harare. However,
Western diplomatic sources said that the closure of the offices was a "major
inconvenience" and a "deliberate harassment" of the UN's famine relief
They said they had been given until September 15 to withdraw the closure
order or face "severe trouble" with food aid. The UN said its
representatives had met government officials on Wednesday.
The field offices oversee the aid agencies' operations on the ground in
famine-stricken rural districts and also monitor the distribution, to ensure
food is fairly and efficiently handed out.
The statement said the regime had claimed that "not all procedures for the
establishment of this field presence had been properly followed".
The UN dismissed the allegation.
"At all stages the RRU and its field offices have worked in collaboration
with the appropriate government authorities at field level," the statement
In July the government launched an international appeal for 700 000 tons of
grain, after a dramatic worsening of crop production this year.
Almost no grain
Famine monitoring agencies say that local grain stocks have almost totally
run out, and that the government has almost no stocks of its own.
Last year the UN delivered food to more than five million people, averting a
major humanitarian disaster.
The UN said on Thursday that after protests against the directive to hand
over food distribution to local tribal elders -widely seen as powerful
ruling party officials in the districts -social welfare minister July Moyo
last week reversed his previous position, and assured the UN that "there are
no significant changes in the system of food aid distribution already in
However, reports in Harare on Thursday said that despite the assurances, the
order had not yet been formally revoked.
During local council elections at the weekend, independent election monitors
reported widespread use of food to bribe voters.
The ruling party suffered a severe defeat in the elections.
Resettled Farmers Returning to Communal Areas
Regional Information Networks
September 4, 2003
Posted to the web September 4, 2003
Zimbabwe's fast-track land reform programme is
meant to benefit landless
people forced to live in congested communal areas, but many of the supposed
beneficiaries are turning their backs on their new land.
The Dorset resettlement area, 40 km south of the Midlands capital of Gweru,
is an example of the shortcomings of President Robert Mugabe's accelerated
land redistribution programme - which was meant to reverse the legacy of a
century of colonial land policy.
When the fast-track land reform programme commenced in 2000, self-styled war
veterans led hundreds of land-hungry Zimbabweans into the Dorset area. The
landscape, on the borders of Gweru and the ghost mining town of Shurugwi, is
arid and dotted with acacia thorn trees, and had mostly been used for
cattle-ranching by white commercial farmers.
New settlers, who numbered about 6,000 at the peak of the land invasions,
generally refer to the area as "Kujambanja" - slang for "a place of
violence" in the local Shona language. Most of the new farmers came from the
Midlands province, while the rest trekked from Matebeleland South.
When IRIN visited the area, at least half the families that had invaded the
ranches were now wanting to go back to their original homes, with a
significant number uncertain about their future in Dorset.
In the settlements, hastily constructed pole and mud huts were falling
apart, with hardly any signs of tending the land as the rainy season
approached. A few goats and cattle roamed between small patches of fields
cultivated in the last three years.
Machinda Furusa, from Chachacha, 17 km south of Shurugwi town, said he has
opted to go back to his original home out of disillusionment.
"I went to Dorset in 2001, during the height of farm invasions. At first I
was sceptical about Kujambanja, but when I saw a significant number of my
neighbours leaving, I decided to join the trek," Furusa told IRIN.
During the early days of the fast-track programme there had been a sense of
euphoria "about farm invasions, and I genuinely believed that, at last, I
would be a proud owner of my own piece of land".
"[But] I discovered that the area we had been made to move into did not have
good soils, having been reserved for cattle ranching. In addition to last
year's insufficient rains, there is no way in which the new farmers there
could get good harvests owing to the poor soils, which are just as bad as
where I come from," added Furusa.
Since he had only two head of cattle for draught power, he said, preparing
his plot was proving too difficult - a situation that left him with no
option but to return to his father's home, where he could pool resources
with his extended family.
The father of three charged that by moving thousands of people to unsuitable
land, veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war and the government were only
interested in getting their votes in the parliamentary and presidential
elections (in 2000 and 2002, respectively).
Like the other settlers turning their backs on Dorset, Furusa complained
that schools were very remote and it would be difficult for his two
school-going children to travel the distance. The Dorset resettlement area
also lacks proper health facilities, and transport is mostly by ox-drawn
Furusa said a significant number of the land occupiers who had moved to
Dorset and nearby farms were resorting to gold panning in the Mutevekwi
River, which runs close to the small town of Shurugwi, to survive.
A Midlands provincial lands committee member, speaking on condition of
anonymity, admitted that soils in the Dorset area were poor.
"In fact, the problem of poor soils is not peculiar to farms in the Dorset
area alone. Since the beginning of the fast-track land redistribution
exercise, acquiring sufficiently fertile land in our province has been a
headache for us," he told IRIN.
The land committee member said he hoped the government would use some of the
land currently being listed for seizure from commercial farmers to resettle
the disgruntled new settlers.
However, the black farmers should not solely blame the government for their
current situation. "No-one was forced to go to Dorset, or any other poor
area in the province. It is thus unfair to say the ruling party wanted to
attract votes by giving a semblance of land redistribution. After all, that
was the kind of land available, and we did our best in identifying the areas
[where we could place] land-hungry people," he explained.
Observers and traditional leaders said the return of settlers would result
in added pressure to the exhausted communal lands.
Headman Samero Mashuku, also from Chachacha, said there was hardly any
evidence that the land resettlement programme had eased congestion in his
"The situation here, and in neighbouring villages, remains largely the same.
We were relieved to some extent when some of our sons decided to go to the
resettlement areas, but now that they are returning we will have another
headache of finding space to stay," he said.
LACK OF SUPPORT
A Human Rights Watch report last year decried "the lack of structured
support for new settlers", while the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) told IRIN
recently that the lack of subsidised agricultural inputs, and the
sky-rocketing prices of inputs on the market, were serious obstacles to the
success of new farmers.
Tafireyi Chamboko, the chief economist of the ZFU, told IRIN that "there's a
shortage of some of the inputs. In terms of maize seed, we'll probably get
about 50 percent of the requirement from local [seed] production". Although
the government had been trying to supply inputs to new farmers through an
inputs credit scheme, "there are not enough inputs to meet the
requirements", he complained.
ABUSE OF PROCESS ALLEGED
Recently there have also been reports of the forced eviction of thousands of
resettled people to make way for government officials and ruling party
At the Windcrest farm near Masvingo city, about 1,000 resettled farmers'
homes were torched when they were removed to make way for an official in the
foreign affairs ministry, the privately owned The Daily News reported.
Masvingo provincial administrator Alphonse Chikurira defended the eviction,
saying it was "illegal to occupy or invade a farm owned by a black man".
The settlers, who had occupied the farm in 2000, were angered by the
torching of their houses, belongings and crops. They also expressed dismay
that no arrangements were made for them to move their livestock.
The Windcrest incident is the latest in a wave of similar evictions. In
mid-August, the government reportedly ordered 1,000 settlers to vacate
Little England Farm in Mugabe's rural home area, to make way for Winnie
Mugabe, the widow of the president's late nephew.
The settlers are currently involved in running battles with the widow - news
reports on Thursday said the disgruntled settlers had assaulted her, and her
two sons, Jongwe and Hugh.
There have also been reports of forced evictions of new settlers in
Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Mashonaland East provinces.
Land reform minister Flora Buka last year headed a land audit team, whose
investigations revealed gross violations of the "one man, one farm"
principle, with prominent politicians allegedly having grabbed several farms
The results of her report were never made public by government, but the
document was leaked to the local and international media.
Robert Mugabe recently called on his lieutenants to surrender the excess
farms they had grabbed. However, only one provincial governor was reported
to have surrendered any property.
A land review committee, formed at the behest of Mugabe to carry out a
follow-up land audit, is understood to have finished its work. However, this
committee, led by Charles Utete, the former secretary to the president and
cabinet, has yet to release its findings.
Economists Call for High Denomination Bank Notes
September 4, 2003
Posted to the web September 4, 2003
LOCAL economists have challenged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to come up
with higher denomination bank notes to bring a long lasting solution the
Although most commended the central bank for the planned introduction of a
$1 000 bill next month, they felt the denomination was too low given the
rising rate of inflation.
"We might see some stability coming into the market but this will not last
long because the denomination is still low.
"In a crisis situation like the one we have there is need for the
introduction of higher denominations other than the $1 000," one of the
Higher denominations such as $5 000 and $10 000 notes would help the
"The whole objective behind the introduction of a higher denomination is to
lessen the amount of money that is being carried around and as such a $1 000
note is closer to the $500 note and may not be that effective," said one
Mr David Mupamhadzi said that while the new measure were noble the
Government and the Reserve Bank should look beyond the $1000 note.
"Given the high inflation in the country the Government should be looking at
introducing a higher denomination like $5000 to $10 000 into the market
"This review should ideally be done on a quarterly basis," he said.
Mr Mupamhadzi said more emphasis needed to be put on encouraging the use of
plastic money especially in industry.
"While there has been calls to adopt this mode of payment, the
implementation on the ground has been slow despite the fact that the country
is highly industrialised and is in sync with modern trends," he said.
The need to reign in inflation, the major cause of the current problems,
could not be over-emphasised.
"Inflation is central to the problems in the country at the moment and the
sooner we put in place measures to curb the rise in inflation, the better it
will be for the economy," he said.
While some economists have called for higher denominations others have
emphasised the need to ensure that the new notes would not disappear from
the official market
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday unveiled the new $500 and $1000 notes
which would be introduced on September 26 and October 1 respectively.
RBZ officials said that the introduction of the new notes would see $2,5
billion of each denomination being injected into the market daily.
Technology to print the notes locally was available, as the whole supply of
the $500 note would be met through local production.
However, the officials said that for purely logistical reasons, part of the
quantity of the $1 000 notes were being printed outside the country to
ensure speedy availability.
The official said the daily injections of $2,5 billion would continue until
December when it is hoped that the situation would have normalised.
Changes in the bank note situation in the market were expected to start
showing towards the end of November.
The Government has been battling to find ways of dealing with the bank notes
shortage in the country, which began about three months ago.
Most people have been failing to withdraw their money from banks because of
a severe cash problem, which has been perpetrated by punters and speculators
dealing on the street market.
The central bank has introduced several measures to help solve the bank
notes problems in the country.
Some of the measures introduced include the injection of $24 billion in $500
notes and the introduction of local travellers cheques which come in
denominations of $1 000, $5 000, $20 000 and $100 000.
The central bank has also been encouraging people to use plastic money and
Deregulation Ushers in Glimmer of Hope
September 3, 2003
Posted to the web September 4, 2003
THE landmark decision to deregulate the oil industry by the Government was
greeted with cautious optimism by players in the industry who hope this new
policy will clear the way for a lasting solution to the fuel crisis.
The allowing of private oil companies to import fuel came at a time when
Zimbabwe has been battling to maintain a steady flow of the precious
commodity in the last few years.
"We welcome the deregulation very much," says Exor managing director and
vice chairman of the Indigenous Petroleum Marketers Association, Mr John
"It is a very positive move and it will go a long way in solving current as
well as future problems," he says. "We are quite optimistic that it will
stabilise the fuel supply situation in the near future."
Under this new policy, registered oil companies will source their own
foreign currency, import petroleum products and sell directly to the public.
The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) will however not stop
performing its role.
The state oil company, which has been the sole procurement agent of all fuel
requirements in the last two decades, will continue to source fuel for
Government departments, quasi-Government institutions, public transport
operators and the agricultural sector.
Noczim will continue to sell fuel products at the stipulated price of $450 a
litre for petrol and $200 a litre for diesel.
Private oil companies are now selling, though on a small scale, petrol at a
new pump price of $1 170 a litre for petrol and $1 060 for diesel.
Oil industry players say deregulation will be instrumental in persuading
private companies to help ease the fuel shortages in the country.
"Fuel is now trickling in and the situation will stabilise in the coming few
weeks," says Mr Makova. "I'm quite optimistic that the situation will
There are a total of 13 indigenous players in the oil industry in addition
to the five big multinationals - BP Shell, Caltex, Mobil, Total and Engen.
Hope had almost faded for most people that the Government would ever devise
a plan to lift the country out of the crisis which has gripped Zimbabwe in
the last three or so years.
"The Government should have deregulated the importation of fuel eight months
ago," says Ben Makombe, waiting in his car in a queue for fuel at a city
"If they had done this (deregulation) in February, things could have been
different for us. It could probably have saved us from the shackles of
greedy fuel dealers who were selling petrol for as much as $2 000 a litre."
At a few service stations that have embraced this new policy, queues that
had disappeared in the last six or so months due to a crippling shortage of
fuel re-appeared last week with motorists waiting patiently in long winding
queues to get the precious commodity at the new rates.
"This is better than the prices charged by cheeky fuel dealers who were now
demanding up to $15 000 for five litres of petrol," says a city taxi driver.
"Our taxi business had virtually become unviable at these wayward rates.
Now, at least, we are optimistic that we will keep our heads just above the
water until the end of the year," he says with guarded optimism.
But some question marks still linger over this approach - both on grounds of
cost, effectiveness and the availability of foreign currency.
Critics charge that this policy of deregulation exposes the ordinary
Zimbabwean to the whims of indigenous and multinational companies seeking
profit by any means.
"This is a strategic and critical sector," says a labour economist. "The
Government should not totally deregulate this sector.
"Ordinary Zimbabweans will bear the brunt as these indigenous and
multinational oil companies that seek to maximise profits."
He says the Government should take deregulation as a temporary measure to
help ease the current fuel shortages, which are largely due to the critical
shortage of foreign currency.
"One would hope that the Government would reverse this policy at an
opportune moment once foreign currency becomes available," he says. "Noczim
should then serve as a strategic company to stabilise prices and cushion the
poor from exploitative prices of some indigenous and multinational
Oil industry players also warn that people should not expect miracles
"Queues will not vanish overnight," says a source working for one of the
"The country is still failing to generate enough forex to lift Zimbabwe out
of the fuel crisis. We will play our part to help improve the situation."
And this explains why oil companies have not moved with speed to seize this
opportunity brought by the deregulation of the importation of fuel.
"Negotiations are taking place between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, banks
and oil companies to enable players to obtain foreign currency at reasonable
rates," says Mr Makova. "This will at least help companies to sell fuel at
"An agreement has to be reached by all the stakeholders on the exchange
rate," he adds. "Negotiations are underway, as I speak and we hope we will
strike a deal to help move the country forward."
Oil companies complain that fluctuating foreign currency rates on the
parallel market made it unprofitable to sell petrol and diesel for $1 170
and $1 060 a litre respectively.
The US dollar has been trading at about $3 000 or more on the parallel
market while the British pound was sold for anything from $4 000.
Oil industry sources say the maximum selling prices of fuel for the private
sector were made on the assumption that foreign currency was being sourced
at the rate of US$1 to Z$3 000.
"Companies are pushing for reasonable prices which will enable them to make
profit and remain viable while at the same time selling petroleum products
at reasonable rates," says an oil industry source.
While significant disagreements remain on the pegging of the exchange rate,
deregulation has for a while put this jumbo-sized problem in the hands of
the players in the oil industry.
Players in the oil industry, who tout free trade as the road to growth,
should embrace the policy of deregulation positively and ensure that fuel
reaches all the corners of the country consistently and at affordable rates.
Zimbabweans are weary of fuel shortages and motorists queuing at service
stations. They hope the central bank and all other key stakeholders will
forge a lasting deal that will improve the supply of fuel in the country.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
email@example.com with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Letter 1: Who is to Blame?
The flow of correspondence, including my own contribution, regarding the
merits and demerits of the CFU or JAG are non-ending. In the end of the
day, opinion seems to be divided as to which direction farmers need to
follow, in order to regain their rights and resume their hitherto
undisputed role as the backbone of this nation.
There is a remarkable similarity in the manner in which the national
opposition party, the movement of Democratic Change and the farmers' action
group Justice for Agriculture came into being. Both are founded upon their
discontent of a non-representative and autocratic leadership and both
driven by a desire of a community who have the moral and mental strength to
bring about change. The difference is that the national opposition have to
cope with a well oiled, ruthless and established regime who abuse our
national resources to subdue the will of the majority, whereas we as
farmers, allow our own elected leadership to abuse the rights and concerns
of the overwhelming majority of our members. In the simplest of terms, it
is the manipulation and the agenda of a council, dominated by special
interest groups (commodities) versus the farmers, who in the main, are no
longer on their farms; which has produced the conflict within our ranks.
The leadership, under Colin Cloete did produce a position paper of the CFU,
which gave hope that the union would follow a course that in fact
championed the cause of the majority. That will all change with the
election of Messrs Taylor Freeme and Hawgwood as President and Vice
President, respectfully. Neither of these gentlemen have the moral
integrity to represent farmers in the crucial months ahead.
By way of example we should ask who wrote and who authorized the release of
the CFU Mission Statement as distributed at the recent congress, and why
did it differ in intent and principal to the Position Paper of the CFU, as
publicized by council some three months prior?
Mr. Hawgwood claims as an endorsement to his credentials, his successful
negotiations with none other than Comrade Chinos, which resulted in not
being evicted from his farm. He impressed Matabele farmers no end when he
boasted his diplomatic coup at naming a Governor (who has many questions to
answer) to officiate at the Dairyman of the Year award; much to the
revulsion of all decent thinking people. His arrogance allows him to
suggest that he alone kept the dairy farmers on the ground. I wonder if he
ever stopped to think that the regime never intended to disrupt such a
politically important commodity.
Mr Taylor Freeme, whilst more subtle in his approach, is equally guilty of
such adulterous behavior. He is arguably the single largest farming
operation left intact, and continues operations on land governed by sec.8
orders, while hundreds of other single farm landholders are evicted and
even imprisoned. He is well known for his ability to "open doors." It is
not the intention to argue the merits of so called `dialog' or the motives
of those who have sought a solution to their problems in this way, but, we
must ask ourselves if such leaders will hold good the interests of a
community who have stood firm on sound legal and moral grounds; and have
been persecuted for it.
The regime finds itself in a serious predicament as the pressure mounts for
a negotiated settlement, which for once, may not go their own way. They
have no hope of gaining necessary international recognition and support for
the current chaotic land grab, unless they can reshape the program and,
more importantly, coax the CFU to endorse the acquisitions as legitimate
and acceptable to the `commercial farming sector'. This will mean
persuading Mr. Taylor Freeme and his cohorts, to endorse an accommodation
of some five to seven hundred `selected' farmers' at the expense of the
others. The question we should ask ourselves is; will the interests of
three thousand displaced farmers and a million of their employees be of
consequence when the regime call for the repayment of favors granted to our
leadership and the special interest groups?
Farmers in the main have always been complacent and over trusting when it
comes the conduct of our affairs. There has always been a tendency to elect
representatives rather for their willingness to do the job, as opposed to
selecting `horses for courses'. We do not necessarily question their
activities, often thankful that they are getting on with the job without
input or disturbance to our own activities. The result is that time without
number, opinions have been expressed and decisions taken at council,
without consultation of the members' at ground roots level, and on
occasions with the deliberate exclusion of dissenting council members. The
result is that the opinions of special interest groups have dominated the
real needs of the greater farming community.
During these past few years, when a clear position and dynamic leadership
has been necessary to maintain our unity and sense of purpose, we have
failed miserably, and we have allowed, unwittingly, the very perpetrators
of our demise, to set our policies.
The question asked at the outset is in the end, easily answered, albeit
with some degree of embarrassment to each and every one of us. If we allow
self-serving individuals to make our decisions for us, then we deserve what
We should not pre suppose that mounting social pressures will secure the
rights of farmers or their assets. Only policies based upon the
constitution, observance of the rule of law will provide the basis for a
solution for our membership. Any deviation from the simple principles as
defined in the CFU position paper will prejudice the well being of most
It is not therefore what CFU or JAG do or say - it is a question of what we
as individuals and communities do to help ourselves. In short, we must
dictate what our council does and says, and we must hold them accountable
for their actions. That is our right and duty as members of the Union.
2nd September 2003
Letter 2: Reputation and Power
Dear Mr Taylor-Freeme,
Mr. C.N. Parkinson appears to have studied leadership in agriculture, and I
would like to share his research with you and your Council.
"As a community grows larger the idea of fatherhood turns into kingship.
From early times there have been two types of monarchy, the mobile and the
static. Over a pastoral tribe, eternally on the move, the king is the
leader, deciding the route, choosing the day and marking the campsite.
Over an agricultural people the king is more of a priest, interceding with
God so as to ensure the sunshine when it is wanted and rain at the proper
Both types of authority have the same remote origin and both imply a
mixture of reputation and power.
*Where the reputation has been lost, the power soon vanishes.
*Where the power has gone the reputation cannot survive.
*What is new is our present doubt as to whether authority itself can
*The world is full of high-sounding titles from which all meaning has been
Displaced farmers have little option but ask questions about "the
reputation" and "the power" of Council, and this was evident by the
questions directed at your Vice President in Bulawayo, on 21st August. I
think it is possible that his "interceding with Chinotimba" (rather than
"interceding with God" as reported by Parkinson) caused Matabele "subjects"
to question the power, and the reputation.
I believe that Parkinson touched on the nub of the problem thirty years ago
- which is - "Who intercedes with Whom, for Who?"
Letter 3: Looking for Friends
As we moved from Zim last year in August so have many of our friends. We
were wondering if anyone could give us contact details of the following
Gilly and Jan Gilmore (moved to Ireland)
Boet and Belinda van Vuuren (don't know where they have gone!)
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
A nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered
September 03, 2003
Zvakwana is hitting the streets
If you or your friends and colleagues would like to receive a printed Zvakwana newsletter by post or fax please send us your contact details. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
zanu pf a danger to themselves
Congratulations to our Bulawayo comrades
In the City of Kings we have heard of empowering street celebrations following landslide election victories:
Suddenly the huge crowd just burst forth, down the street into and through the city singing, cheering, with banners, voting posters taken from the trees, MDC flags obtained at the spur of the moment from who knows where? In a situation of this nature it is common practice for the police to fling tear gas around; to beat people around the head with riot batons, whether they be women or children or whatever and then to fling them into gaol. The police did nothing, they simply stood there with terrified expressions on their faces. I think that maybe it has at last sunk in that just maybe THEY HAVE BACKED THE WRONG HORSE!
Brian, a Zvakwana subscriber
And in Kariba even despite the violence and intimidation people turned out and voted for democratic change. In Mutare we saw over 13000 people come out to vote.
Meanwhile in Harare a few
thousand, namely 4000 out of 36000 people turned out to vote.
turnout mars celebrations
Instead of MDC party chefs doing some high fives in the Harvest House we hope that they are asking themselves what is going on? Why did so few voters cast their ballot? Is it a case of fatigue from standing in long cash queues? What were the levels of violence and intimidation like? Was it because the locations of the polling stations were only announced on the morning of voting? Or was it because Zimbabweans are starting to wonder what difference voting actually makes?
How many of you noticed that out of the 1300 votes for zanu pf in Harare Central, 1000 votes were cast at Tomlinson Depot polling station. Is an order an order? It just shows you how little support there really is for the tired old ideas coming out of this party.
tired, too disillusioned: no-one to blame but ourselves
Of course we are hearing some people saying that the low turnout also shows that less people are voting for zanu pf. But we must be encouraging voting across all platforms. It is a worrying and serious issue when a country's citizens believe that there is no point in exercising a fundamental and important right: the right to vote. It is up to us to shape our political future. An 11% turnout is shameful.
Immature behaviour on the part of election campaigners in
Some of the Zvakwana crew who were moving around in Harare Central last week were disgusted to see that members of both political parties were childishly pulling apart campaign posters. Are we not adults? We should rather be creating an environment where we all can campaign freely from the most basic standpoints which includes leaving campaign posters untouched. Zvakwana! Enough is Enough! Sokwanele! This must stop.
Samora Machel Avenue
Now in the street there is violence
And lots of work to be done
No place to hang out our washing
And - and there's work for everyone
Oh we gonna rock down to Samora Machel Avenue
and then we'll take it higher
To the mansion on 7th Street
Oh we gonna rock down to Samora Machel Avenue
and then we'll take it higher
Workin' so hard like a vendor
Can't afford a thing on TV
Deep in my heart I am a warrior
Can't get food for them kids
Good God we gonna rock down to Samora Machel Avenue
and then we'll take it higher
To the mansion on 7th Street
Oh we gonna rock down to Samora Machel Avenue
and then we'll take it higher
Who is to blame in one country
Bobo and his band of thieves of course
Never can get to the one
Because they're dealin' in multiplication
Oh we gonna rock down to Samora Machel Avenue
and then we'll take it higher
To the mansion on 7th Street
Oh no we gonna rock down to Samora Machel Avenue
and then we'll take it higher
Out in the street...
Out in the street...
Out in the playground...
All over town...
Oh we gonna rock down to Samora Machel Avenue
and then we'll take it higher
To the mansion on 7th Street
and then we'll take it over
Thanks to Eddie Grant. If you're a musician out there and you can record a version of this song with words like these - send us a copy to email@example.com
Public gatherings give us hope
I wonder how many people had the opportunity to see the MDC procession on Wednesday the 20th of August 2003. This was a rare opportunity given the fact that any procession, gathering or demonstration by anybody else except zanu pf has always been prohibited and dispersed violently.
I heard some loud singing and blowing of whistles from my work place. It was just too pronounced to miss. I rushed to the roadside - King George Road in Avondale to see what was going on. It was unbelievable!!! Initially I had thought it was some zanu pf procession since traditionally they are the only ones who are permitted to do anything.
The moment I realised that it was an opposition procession, I felt euphoric, I felt a little dizzy with excitement. Automatically I raised both hands in response and urged them on. I urged them on whilst I waved all the time. I felt like running alongside the road. The experience was very much stimulating after so much silence FROM THE OPPOSITION. It felt as if "NOW WE ARE GOING SOMEWHERE". There was so much promise and reassurance and instilling of hope. It was very touching to watch a few brave Zimbabweans who took part knowing the risk very well.
Vendors selling fresh flowers at Avondale shopping centre were just as euphoric and also responded by chanting slogans and waving both hands into the air jumping and whistling as well. However a few minutes later a truck ferrying zanu pf supporters drove by. The vendors continued waving as they were still in a moment of excitement. As expected the truck stopped and the zanu pf supporters started assaulting the vendors. There were minor injuries like scratches and bleeding. The thugs jumped back into their truck and drove off. How disgusting!! The vendors still remained in high spirits and are still proudly talking about the scuffle.
This procession must have made their day just like it made mine. It went past within a few minutes but left a hangover of hope in this day where there is nothing to look forward to. At times one feels like just staying in bed.
More or similar events might make a difference. People need motivation and are prepared to do anything.
KUSIRI KUFA NDEKUPI.
A Zvakwana subscriber
nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered
The regime has thrown everything at us. The regime has done unspeakable things to our friends and relatives - it has murdered, raped, tortured, assaulted, detained and spuriously prosecuted thousands of brave Zimbabweans but it has failed. We have indeed fallen only to rise; we have indeed slept only to wake. I have but one final thought which is for those responsible for perpetrating all the horror that has befallen our beautiful nation. It comes from Edmund Burke who wrote the following words in 1775:
"The use of force alone is temporary. It may subdue for a moment: but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered."
Zimbabwe is only held by
zanu pf through force not by popular will of the people. These results
demonstrate that force has only subdued the people of Zimbabwe for a moment. In
reality zanu pf no longer enjoys the respect and support of the people and as
such no longer governs Zimbabwe. It enjoys a mere façade of support of people in
rural areas but that is only because the regime is able to subdue rural people
more easily. The desire of Zimbabweans for liberty is a tidal wave that cannot
be stopped. The events of this past weekend will soon swamp this brutal regime
and force it to yield. Freedom is now just around the corner.
David Coltart, Bulawayo
Enough! Zvakwana! Sokwanele! - They must go!
reasserts itself as mugabe's mouthpiece
You would think that the recent election results would have been the main story on Zimbabwe radio and television. But oh no, the desperate regime tried their best to cover up their crushing defeat. Pockets Hill - you are not fooling anyone! Instead you are making us laugh with your ever increasing evasiveness. All they could be seen to be reporting was some soccer news and some information about their new bank notes that are being printed in such denominations that we will still be at square 1. Enough of their stupidity! Zvakwana! Run them over. One time.
zanu pf swamped by unpopularity barters food for votes
Once again it appears as if zanu (pf) has been using food as a political weapon. On Friday the 29th August I received a credible report from a local woman that she had personally witnessed the zanu (pf) candidate for Ward 5 participating in a hand out of GMB food at Sir Henry Low School, Morningside. The zanu (pf) candidate was recording the names and ID numbers of those receiving GMB maize meal. I received a completely separate report that the same candidate was witnessed doing the same thing at Bradfield Shopping Centre earlier on in the week.
At Barham Green School polling station (in Ward 6) yesterday an old woman, after voting, demanded that she receive a "receipt" from the Presiding Officer to be able to prove to zanu (pf) that she had indeed voted as "that would enable her to get food" in the next few days. Yesterday I received reports from two of the MDC candidates in Wards 25 and 26 (Councillors Kheswa and Ndlovu) that people had been told by zanu (pf) election officials that large stockpiles of maize situated just outside two polling stations in the two wards would only be made available to the public on Monday (the 1st September) "once they had seen how the people had voted".
It is pertinent to note that
these flagrant violations of the Electoral Law have been perpetrated in full
view of both the Electoral Supervisory Commission and the Police who have done
nothing to investigate and arrest the perpetrators. There were no international
observers to witness this electoral fraud either. Read the full
account on the Zvakwana website.
David Coltart, Bulawayo
View the photographs of
stockpiled maize near polling stations on the website by clicking here
Report cards for MPs and councillors: Zvakwana wants
Zvakwana is getting some worrying reports about MDC MPs and councillors who are not going back to their constituencies and the like. We are urging MPs and councillors not to take their constituencies or their positions for granted. We voted you in. And we can vote you out. Remember we might be just around the block from another election. The small dictator cannot be taken for granted in the springing surprises arena. But we are impressed with Trudy. Have you seen what strong legs she has got. Always on the move, running here and there, her muscular features are evidence of her high performance levels. Recently she was raising a very good point. Like now when Harare residents suddenly start to cry over the big rates hikes even though they were warned and were encouraged by the Combined Harare Residents Association to act up and make a big noise.
A number of people have contacted me in the past two days about their new rates bill, which reflects the 400% or so increase in rates imposed by Harare City Council. Don't forget that inflation is currently 400%. However, it is unfortunate that residents did not make more noise about the budget when it was first proposed, since now it will be very difficult to get it changed..see below. Many people will not be able to pay these new charges. I propose that if people feel strongly and/or are simply unable to pay, they mobilise themselves to try and do something about it. Combined Harare Residents Association email address is firstname.lastname@example.org - tel: 746019 - address: 11 Armagh Rd, Eastlea. You should also let your councillor know your feelings on this matter - CHRA has contact details of all councillors.
disobedience means taking responsibility for your future
In our reasoning about civil disobedience, we must never forget that we and the state are separate in our interests, and we must not be lured into forgetting this by the agents of the state. The state seeks power, influence, wealth, as ends in themselves. The individual seeks health, peace, creative activity, love. The state, because of its power and wealth, has no end of spokesmen for its interests. This means the citizen must understand the need to think and act on his own or in concert with fellow citizens.
Support local actions of defiance in your area!
Tel-One - trying to keep you connected
Too often we are blaming the illegitimate government or business owners or the like but everything usually comes back to how we behave as individuals within our communities. This photograph showing only one working telephone outside Highlands Tel-One Exchange is a good example. Why do we sabotage our own services like engaging in this vandalism?
Overheard at the airport
There's a small kiosk there on the ground floor. This man who is rushing for a plane is grabbing a copy of the Herald and he asks the till operator why he "doesn't have a proper newspaper" on sale. It looks like the airport doesn't believe in stocking opposition newspapers. Maybe the junior minister moyo who is flying here there and everywhere checks up every day.
We face a regime that is completely frozen in its tracks. The regime has no cash, no food, no friends, no fuel and no idea of how to get out the mess it created for itself.
~ Morgan Tsvangirai
pounce on the weakened zanu. Zvakwana to apathy. Regime change begins at
Spontaneous small actions will stretch the state's
I am impressed by your efforts to bring about change but I fear they are almost hopeless. I say this because I think that inadequate effort is being made to identify why people do not act to promote change on their own. I accept that a major factor is fear. However while I understand the concept of feeding the crocodile, we must not lose sight of the fact that while we feed it, we are planning to kill it. Before any action can be taken the people need to understand basic human rights. Firstly, policemen do not create law. Individuals should be encouraged and aided to sue any policeman who does assault them. They should go for the foot soldiers. The people who perpetrate the act of violence, and they should do it in a civil court. The aim being to get people to comprehend that you can resist unlawful police activity and secondly to make the rank and file policeman realise that by carrying out the illegal wishes of his superiors, he is going to pay from his own personal pocket. Once the rank and file start to question the legality of the commands they are given they become useless as a tool of the evil ones.
People need to be able to demonstrate their unhappiness. This can be easily done via semi spontaneous and very quick demonstrations. People should be encouraged to march whenever they feel like it. No organisation required. One simple sign is all that is required. A 3 foot placard, piece of cardboard with Zvakwana written on it. Can be written with charcoal or black paint. The person who makes it walks along any road anywhere in Zimbabwe. As soon as he does like minded people must join him, chanting and singing. Taking great care not to break anything. They should be encouraged to obstruct municipal and govt vehicles. However as soon as a police car arrives, the sign should be dropped and the crowd must disperse as quickly as possible with minimum confrontation.
If spontaneous marches like
this take place 40 to a 100 times a day throughout Harare, the police will soon
be stretched to the limit. As soon as they go to one area, another march
develops elsewhere. They do not have to be big, only big enough to get the
police to react, and to let the people involved feel they can protest.
Dispersing as soon as any sign of police activity is important. Do not get
caught with a sign.
Kevin, a Zvakwana subscriber
musicians critical of the government fail to get airplay
No sooner had it made its debut in May than musician Leonard Zhakata's latest album disappeared from the airwaves. Entitled 'Hodho' (early shot gun), the album was banned from radio because of its focus on the political gridlock and economic hardships prevailing in Zimbabwe. Thus it joined the list of other creative works which the government has found too critical for comfort. Zimbabwe is just about the only country in Southern Africa with no independent radio or television stations. The state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), still enjoys a monopoly inherited from the colonial regime at independence 23 years ago. The fact that by law Zimbabwean radio and television channels are obliged to devote 75 percent of their air time to local productions has given politically-correct musicians exposure which often translates into healthy sales. Critical voices, on the other hand, are shut out and have to endure the consequences of no publicity.
When Bob Marley came to Zimbabwe
Possessed of the Holy Freedom Spirit
To give and take from what he believed was a revolution.
I suppose all that many did was marvel
at his hair.
Without the will to listen
to his redemption songs.
And when Salif Keita screamed over and above
Harare Conference Centre's looming space
His Mandingo peanut-butter-smoothened voice
was just as well
on an Albino of ancient African stock
who was supposed to be killed
Does anyone remember the words
of this singing bird?
Not even those who afforded tickets to the august
One of the most energetic of the just-ended millenium
Singing of street-fighting and bullet-proof souls
A reminder of a maybe-explosive future
that may trigger yesterday's conversation.
What did they say?
Just an imitation of West Indian reggae
Lost in no truth of the world.
And our own home-brewed terrorists
Thomas of the monkey totem.
Never stopped shouting the truth
that even when it stares at you
won't believe the image in the mirror.
'He takes too much ganga
Don't take him seriously,
says an honourable MP.
Its only the difference between
Politics and Art.
~ Freedom Nyamubaya, Zimbabwean poet
Your Action, Your Country, Your Decision, Things are on the move
Please remember Zvakwana welcomes feedback, ideas and support for actions.
Enough is enough, Zvakwana, Sokwanele.
The solicitor –
identified as John Lockwood – allegedly received £1
000 (Z$9 million at the parallel market rate) from each of the affected
commercial farmers, who were evicted from their farms when the government
launched its controversial land reform programme in 2000.
John Worsely-Worswick, the
vice-chairman of farmers’ lobby group
Justice for Agriculture (JAG), told the Daily News that at least 300 white
commercial farmers were struggling to recover their money from the lawyer,
who has allegedly become "elusive".
"Lockwood initially told me he had around 1 400
farmers who had
invested with him," Worsely-Worswick said. "I held several meetings with him
when he first came to Zimbabwe last year. I was trying to get to the bottom
of what he was doing and to establish the legal strategy he was employing to
effect compensation from the British government.
"He told me at those meetings that he had
documentary evidence in the
form of agreements that were negotiated and signed prior to the Lancaster
House talks in 1979, agreements which he said were between the British
government and the parties who attended the talks, except for the Ian Smith
government. He was basing all his legal strategy on the alleged existence of
The JAG official
said the affected farmers had relied on Lockwood
because the Zimbabwean government had indicated that it would not compensate
them for the land it was taking over. The government said it would only pay
for developments on farms, not for the land taken during its fast-track
resettlement programme, under which it has taken over most white-owned
properties to resettle blacks.
The government indicated to farmers that they should
from Britain, Zimbabwe’s former coloniser.
Worsely-Worswick said Lockwood, of Sunderland in the UK, was brought
to the JAG offices by one displaced farmer, who had paid Lockwood
substantial amounts of money.
He said JAG subsequently held several
meetings at which Lockwood,
whose solicitor’s practicing certificate is said to have expired in February
2002 and has not been renewed, promised to furnish the organisation with
documentation that did not materialise.
The JAG vice-chairman said: "Lockwood is a smooth
talker. He is a
fairly polished conman, very plausible and a very good liar. We are not
saying there is no case, there is a good case but the line he was pursuing
was fictitious. I don’t believe these documents exist."
He said farmers had been assured that the money they
paid was in a
legal trust fund and that litigation insurance had already been paid in the
UK and subscribers to the case "are well protected and have strong grounds
to claim their initial investments".
not possible to secure comment from Lockwood this week, but he
is quoted in the UK’s Independent newspaper saying: "We knew it was going to
take a few years, but we did not expect it to get this big. Initially, it
was just to help out a few friends in Zimbabwe, then some other people got
to hear about it."
He told the newspaper that all farmers who had queries
were free to
contact him, adding that the £1 000 they paid ended up being "£37 per
client" after the payment of litigation insurance and tax.
According to the Independent, Lockwood claimed to one of
farmers that Lord Carrington, the then British Foreign Secretary who chaired
the Lancaster House Conference that led to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980,
was behind the class action against the British government. The affected
farmer in 2001 paid £1 000, then equivalent to Z$100 000, to Lockwood, who
is said to have indicated that initial discussions with the British
government over the proposed class action had elicited a cautious response.
However, the lawyer is said to have indicated that
channels had been established and "will be pursued vigorously" in the
Worsely-Worswick said JAG had not
approached the police about the
matter, but the organisation had met "a dozen farmers" who had paid
Lockwood, and a local legal firm, Stumbles & Rowe, had been approached to
handle the matter.
Rowe is gathering information with regard to the
identities of the farmers with a view to reclaiming this money on their
behalf," Worsely-Worswick said. "They were involved with Lockwood when he
first came to Zimbabwe. He needed a legal firm here to back him in his
distanced themselves from Lockwood when they realised he
was possibly a fly-by-night conman."
Jeremy Callow, the lawyer at Stumbles
& Rowe who is reportedly dealing
with the case, was yesterday unavailable for comment. His secretary said he
was busy in meetings.
By Precious Shumba Senior Reporter
Councillor, MDC activists arrested
MUTARE – Ten Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists,
including a newly elected councillor, were arrested by the police on Tuesday
on allegations of public violence.
Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC’s provincial
spokesman, yesterday confirmed
that nine of the opposition party’s activists and the councillor for Ward 2
in Sakubva, Cyril Nzero, were in police custody.
Muchauraya said Nzero was arrested at Chisamba Police
Sakubva while visiting the arrested activists.
Provincial police spokesman Brian Makomeke could not be reached for
comment yesterday because he was said to be out of his office on business.
His deputy, Zachariah Mutize, was also said to be unavailable.
The nine activists are Pamela Mutare, Fungai
Sithole, John Manikai, James Manikai, Alice Manikai and a Mrs Manikai, as
well as Fortune Chishakwe and Jacqueline Museve.
Trust Maanda, a Mutare-based lawyer who is representing
yesterday said the police arrested his clients on a charge of public
"The allegations are that the 10 stoned a
house belonging to a former
councillor, Cecilia Gambe, injuring her and destroying property estimated to
be worth $600 000," Maanda said.
"The 10 were supposed to appear in court today
(yesterday) but the
police have not yet finished recording statements from them," he added.
He said the police indicated that they had
insufficient resources to
timeously prepare the dockets and record the statements.
Gambe yesterday said she was injured in the head
when the group stoned
her house on Monday night, soon after the announcement of the results of
local government elections held during the weekend.
The elections were held around the country.
"I sustained facial injuries from broken glass and
discharged from the hospital," Gambe said.
won 17 out of 18 council wards in Mutare while the party’s
candidate, Misheck Kagurabadza, won the mayorship in the weekend elections.
Tobacco farmers suspend planting
SEVERAL large-scale tobacco farmers failed to plant their crops on
Monday because of heightened insecurity, which farmers’ representatives said
could lead to a 50 percent drop in tobacco output next year.
Officials with local
farmers’ unions said several of Zimbabwe’s
remaining white tobacco farmers had received eviction notices from the
government, which has taken over most white-owned land in the past three
The officials also
alleged that there was an increase in forced
evictions from commercial farms, which they said had disrupted early
planting for tobacco, once Zimbabwe’s single largest foreign currency
The early planting
was supposed to begin on Monday, but farming sector
officials said most growers had suspended plans to plant because of
heightened insecurity at most commercial farms.
"We are certainly going to get less than half
of the crop we got this
year. We are likely to get a crop of between 20-40 million kgs as a result
of the failure by most farmers to plant on Monday," said Justice for
Agriculture vice-chairman John Worswick.
Earlier predictions by farmers’ unions had indicated that tobacco
output would be down to 60 million kgs for the coming season, from this year
’s 70 million kgs. Tobacco output has dropped from over 200 million kgs
three years ago.
"Tobacco planting was supposed to have been done on Monday
been delayed or stopped altogether because of an escalation of violence,
continued listing of farms and forced illegal evictions of farmers. This
will have serious effects on the crop for next year," said Worswick.
He added that rising input costs, an unstable
exchange rate and lack
of financing due to the insecurity at commercial farms had also seriously
affected the viability of tobacco growers.
There was no comment on the matter from Lands and
Minister, Joseph Made, whose secretary yesterday said the minister was not
in a position to take questions from the Daily News.
However, Made was quoted by state radio yesterday
commercial farmers of sabotaging tobacco planting. Made said apart from
failing to plant the crop themselves, the commercial farmers were also
sponsoring destabilisation programmes on farms acquired for resettlement.
Commercial Farmers’ Union president, Doug Taylor-Freeme, said most tobacco
farmers had lost confidence because they could be forced out of their farms
before harvesting their crop.
confidence has been lost. Some farmers have downsized while
others have been forced not to plant at all.
At this rate, ZImbabwe’s top forex
earner will cease to be a part of
this country’s economy," he told the Daily News.
Residents demand Mudzuri, councillors’ reinstatement
THE Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) has called for the
immediate reinstatement of suspended executive mayor Elias Mudzuri and seven
yesterday, CHRA acting chairman Israel Mabhoo
said Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo should also cease interfering
in the city council’s affairs.
The CHRA would not say what action it would take if
Mudzuri and the
seven councillors were not reinstated. Chombo suspended Mudzuri in April on
grounds of maladministration, while seven councillors were suspended for
alleged "misconduct" in the past three works.
"CHRA object strongly to central government interfering
made by the people of our city," Mabhoo said. "We believe that people have a
right to be consulted before any official is suspended, dismissed or is sent
on forced leave because it is the residents who elect them. We are
interested parties because we are taxpayers and voters, so we have a right
to know the council affairs.
calls for the immediate reinstatement of Mudzuri and
suspended councillors. It is up to the Harare residents to choose the person
they want to represent them, to decide whether elections held by councillors
are valid and whether rates should pay a mayor’s salary, accommodation,
security etc or not."
Chombo could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.
Mabhoo said his organisation was also concerned at
the new rates
effected after the adoption of Harare’s supplementary budget, which were not
in line with services the city was delivering.
"CHRA and member associations are being inundated
with panic calls
from residents who have just received their rates bills because they will
have to pay double or even more than what they used to pay," said Mabhoo.
When asked to respond to these concerns,
city council spokesman
Cuthbert Rwazemba, who attended the Press conference, said: "To those
residents who can’t afford to pay the amount they owe the council, they can
contact our revenue officer so that they can pay in instalments."
The CHRA officials said the rate increases were
above the rate of
inflation, but the municipality was not providing basic services such as
Cash: ZCTU sets date for mass protests
A WEEK-long, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)-organised mass
action to protest cash shortages affecting workers is expected to begin on
29 September, it was learnt yesterday.
within the country’s labour watchdog told the
Daily News yesterday that the ZCTU executive had met on Saturday and
discussed a strategy for the mass action, which has been on the cards since
However, the mass action plan is still subject to ratification by the
ZCTU’s general council, which has called an emergency general council
meeting to be held this Saturday.
The meeting is expected to endorse the
intended mass action plan, the
They added that
the mass action was supposed to include a job stayaway
and demonstrations that are expected to see workers marching to Parliament,
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the offices of Finance Minister Herbert
"Everything has been discussed and the
action should commence on 29
We couldn’t hold it
at an earlier date because we were still
consulting the membership through the labour forums we were holding," one
ZCTU, which has already held labour forums in Harare, Bulawayo and
other towns, wound up its consultations in Mutare and Zvishavane yesterday.
ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe
yesterday confirmed that
the labour body’s general council would meet on Saturday to finalise the
mass action, but declined to give further details.
He said: "We met as the executive on Saturday and
indeed the issue of
the cash crisis was deliberated. We have to wait for the general council
meeting on Saturday, which will endorse what form of action we will take.
The executive just advises the council and it is the council that endorses
the decisions to be taken.
"From the labour
forums which we have been conducting, it seems the
worker is fully charged. I would not be surprised if the council comes up
with a radical position. Actually, from the meetings we have been holding,
workers are asking us why we are taking so long to demonstrate. Their
impatience must be understood, but we have to be democratic and hear what
The government has not yet responded to a ZCTU letter sent to Murerwa
early last month, demanding a quick resolution to the cash crisis.
Zimbabwe has been battling shortages of bank notes for more than
months, with most financial institutions limiting daily withdrawals by their
clients. Some banks are giving as little as $2 000 a day, forcing workers to
spend a large amount of their time queuing for cash.
The shortages, blamed on inflation and foreign currency
have made it difficult for the government to import the special ink and
paper needed to print bank notes, have also led to a thriving black market
in local currency.
Several measures, including
the introduction of local currency
traveller’s cheques, have been implemented to alleviate the shortages. The
government is due to introduce a $1 000 note and a different coloured $500
note to replace the existing one, which will cease to be legal tender at the
end of this month.
But the ZCTU has dismissed the government’s measures as inadequate.
Chibhebhe said President Robert Mugabe had shown "little care" to
resolve the cash problems.
"He (Mugabe) has shown a high level of insensitivity.
The people know him more for his noisy motorcade
than for solving
their problems and they are now saying enough is enough," the trade union
The ZCTU last embarked on mass
action in March, when it organised a
job stayaway that shut down most of industry and commerce for two days. The
mass action was supposed to press the government to reverse a huge fuel
By Columbus Mavhunga Staff Reporter
Erosion of trust in Zimbabwean politics and society
TRUST is about "having a confident belief that others’ behaviour
will be positive for you in situations where the outcome could be either
positive or negative and they, not you, control that outcome".
It is essentially about reposing faith in something
or someone. There
are, in fact, two separate components or levels of social and political
trust. The first is about interpersonal trust, that is, the trust we bestow
on individuals, especially those outside our immediate families. This is in
contrast to personal cynicism, a belief that most people cannot be trusted.
Interpersonal trust is best exemplified by
situations where we invest
trust in other people (eg workmates, peers) to take care of our interests
that may be monetary, material and so on. We leave a maid or our gardener in
charge of all our household property that often is worth millions of
dollars, which demonstrates enormous trust in the domestic workers. Often,
we leave our little children in their custody, a supreme expression of
The same applies to
neighbourhood watch committees or security guards
that we trust to guard our properties while we soundly sleep, and rarely are
we related to them. The other cases of trust in individuals concern the
immeasurable trust we bestow on professionals like doctors and lawyers to
handle our cases of illness or litigation and to do so to our best
gynaecologists to examine our loved ones without expecting
the medical investigation to arouse their amorous tendencies.
Over the last
few years, we have witnessed a rapid decomposition of
interpersonal trust. For instance, we no longer subconsciously trust even
our closest relatives to play with our little children in our absence in
fear that they will sexually abuse them.
The other component or dimension of trust is trust
whether the institutions are private or public. When we deposit our money in
a bank, we are placing our trust in that institution to husband our money
wisely and to our best advantage.
we want our money and we are told the bank has no money or
that the bank has collapsed or been placed under judicial management, this
seriously erodes our trust, not only in that bank, but in all other
financial institutions. We shift our trust to mattress banking, or some such
unconventional banking practices. The hoarding of cash is the most eloquent
evidence of our distrust in financial institutions. The almost wholesale
rejection of travellers’ cheques is also based on distrust, even of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The same happens with government and other public
We expect governments everywhere to serve their citizens fairly,
impartially and honestly without bribing the officer serving us to serve us
well. These institutions may be health and educational institutions, the
police, the Registrar-General’s Office, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority,
local councils, public utilities like the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority, etc. If we are not served well or only served well with
corruption as a lubricant, then we are likely to withdraw our trust, not
only in that institution, but in all other public institutions.
And when we distrust the public
institutions, we, in fact, distrust
the government that controls or manages these public institutions. The
legitimacy of the government is in turn severely eroded or undermined.
Where a significant number of
people do not trust the government and
politicians to be honest, fair and impartial, then that government will have
extreme difficulties in governing the country. Moreover, if the government
is highly distrusted, then the population will have difficulty in accepting
its decisions because there is always the suspicion or assumption that the
decisions involved some sort of corruption, nepotism, favouritism or even
deception. The citizens are likely to embrace the cynic’s definition of
politics as "the art of ruling mankind by deceiving them". I am persuaded
that this has become the hallmark of Zimbabwean politics and society.
Distrust has become endemic.
Political cynicism has embedded itself so deeply that
it is assumed,
as a matter of course, that anyone who enters politics (whether for the
ruling party or for the opposition) is doing so for some pecuniary or other
gain, not in pursuit of the public interest. This is so even for those
working for non-governmental organisations or involved in civic activism;
they are assumed be in there "to eat" and not because they are
The idiom of "eating" is now widespread
in describing most of our
activities, no matter how humanitarian. This deeply ingrained feeling or
perception will be very difficult to uproot. It is certainly now an integral
part of the political and social psychology of Zimbabwe.
The voter apathy in the recent parliamentary
by-elections and in
council elections should be read as an expression of citizen distrust of the
political processes, a view that politics and politicians are irrelevant in
the lives of voters. Lamented constituency registrar for Makonde Wilbert
Chirenda: "This is a low turnout, I don’t know why people are not interested
This was with
reference to the 24 percent (11 068 out of 47 000
registered voters) who turned up to vote in that constituency. The turnout
was far worse for Harare Central, where only 11 percent (4 036 out of 37 467
registered voters) voted.
People vote when they have some trust that the outcome
of the voting
process will, on one hand, be an accurate reflection of their voting
preferences, and secondly, that voting matters and will make a positive
change to their lives.
Where people believe that
neither will happen, they will turn their
backs on voting and other political processes.
This is what is happening in Zimbabwe.
It may be argued that the recent elections were not
elections in the sense the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential
elections were, but this does not erase the reality that the poor voter
turnout was a loud expression of the lack of faith in political processes.
It was a big vote of no confidence in electoral
politics and political
institutions. If this trend were maintained, it would be a fatal blow to
electoral democracy and politics as a mechanism of societal co-operation and
The bitter bottom line is that Zimbabweans are now high distrust and
low trust people. This to me is the single most important variable
explaining what is happening around us and that governs our personal, social
and political conduct and attitudes to institutions. The deep mistrust is
the greatest danger to the cohesion and orderly functioning of our troubled
nation. This is the tragedy of Zimbabwean politics and society today. And it
may take years to rebuild this lost trust.
By Eldred Masunungure
Eldred Masunungure is head of the University of Zimbabwe’s
administrative and political studies department
Tinkering with prices will not solve food crisis
THE new producer prices of maize and wheat announced this week by
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made illustrate just the kind of confusion and
ineptitude Zimbabweans have come to expect from Made and his colleagues in
According to the government
mouthpiece Herald newspaper, the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) will now pay producers $300 000 for a tonne of maize,
up from $130 000.
The state grain utility will also hike the producer price of wheat
from $150 000 to $400 000 a tonne.
But the cash-strapped parastatal shall
be required to continue selling
maize at the old price of $211 756 and wheat at $366 584 per tonne or put
differently, the GMB will be forced to make a loss of $88 244 and $33 416
per tonne on the two crops respectively.
How the GMB is expected to recoup these huge
losses, Made, who said
his sole reason for preferring this skewed pricing structure was to ensure
"adequate incentives for farmers to produce these strategic food
commodities," did not say.
Yet it should be
clear even to a nursery school child that driving the
GMB – Zimbabwe’s sole trader in maize and wheat – into financial ruin, as
Made seems determined to do, is hardly the best way to ensure the country’s
Indeed, it would appear from Made’s handling of
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was for once being honest when asked to
comment on the ruling party’s embarrassing loss to the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change in the just-ended council elections.
Moyo said: "We should have seen it coming. The
writing was on the wall
but somehow we did not read it."
writing has long been on the wall for the government, not just in
the urban council elections, but in terms of other more important issues
critical to rescuing this once prosperous nation from collapse.
President Robert Mugabe and his government will just not
It should be clear to Made that to ensure food security
hunger-stricken Zimbabwe, the government must first confront the chaos it
imposed on the farming sector through its ill-thought-out land reforms.
Tinkering with producer prices of maize or wheat will
not bring more
food to the table if political thugs continue, as is happening now, to drive
productive farmers off the land.
Commercial Farmers’ Union and the Justice for Agriculture group
last week told the Daily News that the government and its supporters had
launched a fresh wave of evictions against farmers, with about 200 of the
few remaining commercial farmers either forced off their properties or
served with eviction notices.
And in the madness that is the government’s fast-track
programme, even villagers resettled by the government itself have been
forced to leave their newly-found farms and to pave way for political
Homes belonging to about 1 000 villagers
resettled by the government
at Windcrest Farm near Masvingo city were last week burnt down by government
security agents in a bid to intimidate the villagers to leave the property
to make way for some senior government official.
And those resettled villagers lucky not to have been
their plots cannot produce enough maize, no matter by how many times the
producer price is hiked, because the government has not provided them with
In short, to end Zimbabwe’s food
crisis, the government must address
the basic issues fuelling the crisis. It must restore the rule of law within
agriculture and it must address the economic crisis hampering farmers from
producing at maximum capacity.
Either Mugabe, Made and company do this, or they
should at least have
the honour to admit failure and resign.
Lack of transport forces ZSR to scale down
OUTPUT of sugar from Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries Corporation Limited
(ZSR) continues to be low because of lack of transport for coal and raw
materials, according to company chief executive Patison Sithole.
Sithole said the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
problems in delivering raw materials and coal to ZSR’s factories, forcing
the company to cut back on production.
He told the
Business Daily that once supplies of coal and raw
materials were more reliable, ZSR would be able to improve output.
"Most of the
time NRZ is unable to transport coal and raw sugar to our
factories due to shortages of wagons, and most of times they tend to have no
fuel," Sithole said.
However, he added that shortages of sugar in Zimbabwe
were also due to
the smuggling of the commodity to neighbouring countries, its pricing system
and the existence of a black market.
sugar is being sold on the black market at prices significantly
higher than those on the official market.
Cross-border traders are also
smuggling large volumes of sugar to
regional markets, particularly Mozambique and Zambia, from where they can
earn foreign currency that is in short supply in Zimbabwe.
"If you go outside the country, you will find
sugar smuggled from
Zimbabwe, and most of the sugar is seen on the black market, which implies
that there are certain issues which need to be addressed in the country to
improve the availability of sugar on the market," Sithole said.
He dismissed allegations that ZSR was exporting
more sugar than it was
making available on the local market.
He said all of ZSR’s exports were authorised by the government and
company was not in a position to starve the local market of sugar in favour
of regional clients.
Meanwhile, the sugar processor’s
wholesale division is putting in an
impressive performance following the acquisition of 75 percent of Advance
Private Limited as part of the group’s diversification programme.
Advance also has a SPAR franchise in
Zimbabwe’s western region and is
expected to contribute $26 billion to ZSR’s turnover in the next financial
Sithole said ZSR’s
wholesale business was performing relatively better
than the manufacturing side, with Redstar Wholesalers managing to exploit
opportunities in the wholesale sector.
"Our wholesale business is growing, there is
an overwhelming demand
for commodities at our wholesales countrywide," the ZSR chief executive
He added that several of the
company’s operations, including Redstar
Wholesalers and Bluestar Transport, were in a growth phase and were looking
for opportunities to expand both in Zimbabwe and in the region.
Only direct action will move this brutal regime
Cash crisis. Fuel crisis. Food crisis. Health care crisis. Education
crisis. Unemployment crisis. Poverty crisis. Inflation crisis. Corruption
crisis. Crime crisis. Prisons crisis. Human rights crisis. AIDS crisis. If
it’s a crisis, you name it, we’ve got it.
and queues are the only things not in short supply in this
disaster area bounded, in part, by the Limpopo and the Zambezi.
really anyone out there who believes that this corrupt,
brutal, power-hungry regime that has directly and deliberately brought this
country to its knees is interested in anything other than self-preservation
Is there anyone who believes that those who
inflicted so much suffering on the people of Zimbabwe in order to stay in
power and enrich themselves have any interest in resolving the crises for
which they are directly responsible?
anyone who believes that those who are enriching themselves
out of the cash crisis, the fuel crisis or the so-called land reform
programme have the slightest interest in resolving these crises through
Is there anyone who believes that dialogue
with ZANU PF will do
anything other than buy them more time to continue their programme of
national destruction and personal enrichment?
Is there anyone who does not understand that the starting point for
the revival of Zimbabwe is the removal of, not just one man, but the whole
rotten, brutal, corrupt structure that supports this man?
Is there anyone who does not understand that the only
which ZANU PF will respond is that which is expressed through direct action?
If there is anyone who does not understand these
self-evident truths, then they are either foolish or dishonest – or both.
When will our suffering unite us and strengthen us
enough to liberate
us? When will Zimbabweans realise that they are worth the struggle for a
better future? These are questions to which I don’t have an answer.
Nevertheless, I, for one, will not give up.
R E S