The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe running out of bread

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe could soon face bread shortages after the country's
major producer said it was left with only two days of supplies, a state-run
newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Lemmy Chikomo, operations director of the bakery firm Lobels, attributed the
bread shortages to a critical lack of wheat and flour, which has forced the
company to scale down operations.
"Flour availability has deteriorated and this has forced us to use our
strategic stock since May," The Herald quoted Chikomo as saying on Tuesday.

"Now we are only left with two days' supply. We have used all the 4,000
tonnes of flour that we had as reserve stock."

Chikomo also said that wheat stocks were fast running out. "Once we get
wheat we are home and dry, we will produce," he said.

Since May, Lobels has been releasing about 200,000 loaves of bread per day
to the market, but this has drastically dropped to 40,000 a day, Chikomo

The bread shortages come at a time when the southern African country is
failing to pay for 36,000 tonnes of imported wheat that is docked at Beira,
Mozambique, due to lack of foreign currency.

"Our Bulawayo branch, which normally employs 254 people, stopped operations
on August 25 as a result of acute shortages of flour," he said, adding that
in Harare 1,500 workers were also sent on forced leave pending an
improvement in the availability of flour.

Since June, when the government ordered a price slash on goods and services,
bread sections in many stores across the country have remained empty.

Retailers sell a standard loaf of bread at 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars, which is
120 US dollars at the official rate but just 1.30 dollars on the parallel

Zimbabwe's annual wheat requirement is about 400,000 tonnes.

There has been a consistent deficit since its land reforms of 2000 which led
to the departure of about 4,000 white farmers and triggered a slide in
agricultural output.

It currently imports about 265,000 tonnes.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe faces food-shortage crisis

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

05 September 2007 06:00

       The number of people facing serious food shortages in Zimbabwe
is expected to grow to 4,1-million over the first quarter of next year, the
Canadian ambassador to the African country said on Wednesday.

      "This figure is expected to increase dramatically in the coming
months due to a combination of factors, including poor harvests and the
prevailing difficult economic situation," Roxanne Dube said at a ceremony
where Canada donated $3,3-million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to be
used to feed starving Zimbabweans.

      Dube, who said she has travelled around Zimbabwe over the past
two years, said that the food situation in the crisis-hit country was dire.

      "I have seen dry and bare fields, empty stores and abandoned
farming equipment. It is a very saddening situation, especially when I hear
from Zimbabweans how difficult it is for them to feed their families and
make ends meet," she said.

      The WFP's country director for Zimbabwe, Kevin Farrell, said
that his organisation lacked $100-million needed to ward off famine that
threatened a third of Zimbabwe's population.

      "Our shortfall is somewhere in the region of $100-million,"
Farrell said on the occasion.

      He said that food crisis in Zimbabwe was entering a "significant
phase" in which more than four million people will be "food insecure" from
the lean months of December to March.

      Zimbabwe, has the "greatest level of need of aid in the region",
he said.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of a chronic economic crisis with the
world's highest rate of inflation and four in every five people jobless.
About 80% of the population live below the poverty threshold.

      Hand to mouth
      Meanwhile, one of Zimbabwe's main bakeries has warned it has
enough flour to last for just two more days, reports said on Wednesday.

      Lobels Bread has already sent hundreds of workers on forced
leave and has almost exhausted its reserve stock of flour, a company
executive was quoted as saying.

      "Flour availability has deteriorated and this has forced us to
use our strategic stocks since May. Now we are only left with two days'
supply," operations director Lemmy Chikomo told the government mouthpiece
Herald daily.

      "We have used all the 4 000 tonnes of flour that we had as
reserve stock," he said.

      The Zimbabwe government is faced with a crippling wheat

      At the weekend, Security Minister Didymus Mutasa admitted the
country was living from hand to mouth as far as wheat stocks were concerned
because it did not have enough hard currency to pay for the release of 36
000 tonnes of wheat stockpiled in neighbouring Mozambique. -- Sapa-AFP, dpa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC and Zanu-PF claim headway in mediation talks

By Tichaona Sibanda
5 September 2007

There are reports that the latest round of talks held in Pretoria over the
weekend might have come up with a number of agreements aimed at resolving
the country's crisis.
According to a source, negotiating teams representing Zanu-PF and the MDC
agreed on a number of issues that will set the agenda for roundtable talks
between the two parties.

The two parties met on Saturday and Sunday after a three week break. Zanu-PF
is being represented at the talks by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche the Labour minister, while the secretary-generals of the two
MDC's Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube are representing the opposition.
After briefing the South African parliament recently saying the SADC
mandated talks were making progress, Mbeki is reported to have flexed his
muscles leading to both parties making some concessions over the weekend.

It has been alleged that they both agreed on the need to amend draconian
laws such as the Public Order and Security Act which constrains the
opposition, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
which imposes gags on the media. Our source added that the negotiating teams
also mooted the idea of postponing next year's elections because what is
expected to come out of the talks will take time to implement.

'We've heard from reports emanating from the talks that there is need to
look at the voters' roll again and if both sides agree, it will mean another
three to four months preparing for a new voters' roll. The opposition is
calling for a new and impartial team to run the elections and again this
will take time to come up with names of the people to supervise the poll,'
said the source.
Daniel Molokele, a political commentator based in Johannesburg, said Mbeki
adopted a 'hard nosed' approach that led both parties to 'give and take' in
their latest round of talks.
'In diplomatic language we call it horse trading. Very soon there is going
to be a breakthrough and all what Mbeki wants from the talks is for Zimbabwe
to have free and fair elections that would be accepted by everyone,' said

Many analysts and observers remain sceptical about Mbeki's capability to
resolve the crisis given his closeness to Robert Mugabe. It is no secret
that Zimbabweans are extremely angry with the kid-gloves treatment of Mugabe
by Mbeki.

The dilemma over what to do about Zimbabwe has presented Mbeki with his most
daunting foreign policy test to date. The course of action that Mbeki
settles upon in the coming months could be defining for his presidency, and
certainly his reputation as a serious player on the world stage. It could
have a far-reaching impact on how politics are in future conducted in the
14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC).

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No Respite for Harare

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

5 September 2007
Posted to the web 5 September 2007


Harare's water supply situation has remained unsatisfactory owing to
equipment breakdowns at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant and the lake
turnover being experienced at Lake Chivero.

A lake turnover occurs when surface water gets colder than that at the
bottom, resulting in water from the bottom rising to the top. When this
happens, the water contains too many impurities, making it very expensive to
treat. As a result, water purification and production are suspended to save
on chemicals, which are in short supply.

"Our chemical stocks level still remain critically low both at Morton
Jaffray and Prince Edward. We are also experiencing regular breakdowns in
the chlorination system (faulty suction valve) at Warren Control and this
has resulted in high consumption of HTH. The problem is, however, not
confined to Warren Control, but also includes Prince Edward and Morton
Jaffray," read part of the Zinwa daily water status report.

The report indicated that Mabvuku, Tafara, Ruwa, Hatcliffe, Hogerty Hill,
Philadelphia, Borrowdale Brooke and Budiriro had no water.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Commissioner suggests solution to EU-Africa summit dilemma


05.09.2007 - 09:16 CET | By Helena Spongenberg
EU external affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner has suggested that a
government minister could represent Zimbabwe at the forthcoming EU-Africa
summit as a solution to some EU capitals' refusal to sit at the table with
president Robert Mugabe.

In an interview published on Tuesday (4 September), Ms Ferrero-Waldner
suggested "a high-ranking government minister, like the foreign minister"
could attend the summit and represent Zimbabwe, instead of Mr Mugabe who is
accused of human rights abuses by the west and by human rights groups.

"I understand that the British naturally have a big problem (over this
issue) but we should not let our political relationship with Africa fall
apart because of Mugabe," the commissioner told the German daily Financial
Times Deutschland.

Portugal - which currently holds the rotating EU presidency - plans to host
the first EU-Africa summit in seven years on 8-9 December 2007.

But the issue of how to deal with the Zimbabwean leader is casting a shadow
over the event.

Mr Mugabe, in power since his country's independence in 1980, currently has
an EU travel ban against him. The red light was issued in 2002, after his
ruling Zanu-PF party won in what the EU considers a rigged election.

However, several African nations have threatened to boycott the high-ranking
political meeting if Mr Mugabe is not allowed to attend, whilst on the
European side, some capitals - particularly London - are likely to oppose
his presence at the summit.

"Almost all Africans want Mugabe to be present," an EU official said,
according to Reuters. "The Africans are really making this an issue. It
could be difficult to sort this out."

The same row indefinitely postponed a summit scheduled for 2003.

Portugal's president Anibal Cavaco Silva called Tuesday (4 September) on
Europe and Africa to show "imagination" over who should be invited to a
summit of the two continents' leaders.

"It's very important to have this summit in Lisbon," he said during a press
conference in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Brussels wants to launch a 'strategic partnership' with the African
countries to get closer political and economic reforms, and Lisbon views the
December summit as central to that goal.

The EU is wary of the waves of illegal immigrants arriving from Africa as
well as China's increasing economic influence on the continent.

"Europe's inertia in relation to Africa may carry a heavy strategic price
for the union," Mr Cavaco Silva said. "Now is the time to speak with Africa
instead of speaking merely of Africa and its problems."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Potential Mugabe heir hailed as 'king of Zimbabwe'

Zim Online

Wednesday 05 September 2007

By Lizwe Sebatha

BULAWAYO - Top ZANU PF officials sang praises of former parliamentary
speaker and presidential hopeful Emmerson Mnangagwa and called him the king
of Zimbabwe at a 2004 meeting that President Robert Mugabe later claimed was
held to plot a coup against him, the High Court heard yesterday.

ZANU PF senator Josephine Moyo who was testifying in a case of defamation
brought by independent parliamentarian Jonathan Moyo against ruling party
chairman John Nkomo further told the court that officials also likened
Mnangagwa to the late vice-president Joshua Nkomo, revered as the father of
Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.

Moyo, a former member of ZANU PF and spokesman of Mugabe, is suing Nkomo for
Z$2 billion in damages for allegedly defaming him by telling Mugabe that he
(Moyo) organised the meeting at Dinyane school in rural Tsholotsho to plot a
coup against the Zimbabwean leader.

Nkomo denies defaming Moyo.

The defamation case has afforded ordinary Zimbabweans a rare glimpse into
the vicious power struggle between two hostile camps in ZANU PF - one
backing Mnangagwa and another supporting Vice-President Joice Mujuru - to
succeed Mugabe when and if he retires.

Senator Moyo told the Bulawayo High Court that Mnangagwa, who chose not to
attend the Dinyane meeting at the last minute, would have received a leopard
skin traditionally worn by kings at ceremonies.

The senator said she informed the ZANU PF leadership about a coup to topple
Mugabe after witnessing the happenings at Dinyane.

"This was all peculiar to me. Names and totems of the late Joshua Nkomo were
being showered on Mnangagwa as the King of Zimbabwe as the campaign for his
candidacy for the vice-presidency intensified," Senator Moyo told the court.

Moyo denies plotting to oust Mugabe and insist that the meeting at Dinyane
was a prize giving ceremony, which was attended by locals, and invited ZANU
PF and government officials.

Among those expected to testify in the case that continues today in court
are Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Deputy Labour Minister Abednico
Ncube, Deputy Tourism Minister Andrew Langa and war veterans' leader Joseph

An irate Mugabe cracked the whip at hearing news of the Dinyane meeting
suspending Moyo and six of ZANU PF provincial chairmen who attended the

Moyo was later fired from the government and ZANU PF after refusing orders
not to stand as an independent in the 2005 general election.

Mnangagwa, once seen as heir apparent to Mugabe, was demoted to an obscure
job as Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities.

The issue of Mugabe's succession however remains far from being resolved
especially after the veteran leader earlier this year appeared to withdraw
his backing for Mujuru and in the process handing a lifeline to Mnangagwa to
re-launch his bid for the top job.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, will next year stand for re-election for
another five-year term and has not said when or whether he will leave

But ZANU PF insiders say constitutional changes proposed by the government
to empower Parliament to elect a new president if the incumbent leaves
office before his/her term expires are a part of an exit strategy to allow
Mugabe to handpick his successor and quit in or before 2010. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

China rallies behind Mugabe

Zim Online

Wednesday 05 September 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - The Chinese government on Tuesday denied reports it was stopping
aid to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, one of its oldest friends in
Africa but accused by the West of gross human rights violations.

The London-based Daily Telegraph last week ran a story quoting British
Foreign Minister Lord Mark Malloch Brown as having said that Chinese
government officials had told him that Beijing was withdrawing all
assistance except humanitarian aid to Harare.

Malloch Brown, who was on his first visit to China since becoming minister
for Asia, Africa and the United Nations, said withdrawal of aid by China
would bring it in line with Britain and other Western nations that suspended
direct aid to Harare but continue giving humanitarian assistance.

But a spokesperson for the embassy of China in Zimbabwe said in a statement
to ZimOnline that reports of Beijing withdrawing support to Harare were

"Recently, some media published reports claiming that China was dropping all
assistance except humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe. The embassy of China in
Zimbabwe wishes to clarify that this is simply not the fact. China and
Zimbabwe enjoy a long history of friendship," the spokesperson said.

The embassy official said Beijing had provided and would continue giving aid
to Zimbabwe in various forms including humanitarian assistance, grants,
lines of credit to Zimbabwe and its people.

The official added that during last April's visit to Zimbabwe by Jia
Qinglin, the chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference, China promised to build two primary
schools, one hospital and an Agriculture Technology Demonstration Centre.

"In addition, China granted funds to renovate the National Sports (Stadium)
of Zimbabwe. The two governments have also concluded negotiations which will
see China delivering 40 million tonnes of soya beans to Zimbabwe," the
Chinese official said.

The Harare administration will see the public show of support by China as an
important victory in its propaganda war with the West which it accuses of
imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe and sabotaging its economy in a bid to
instigate revolt against Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.

Western governments deny sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy and say targeted visa
and financial sanctions imposed against Mugabe and his ruling elite in 2002
are punishment for their failure to uphold human rights, the rule of law and

Mugabe has increasingly turned to China and other emerging Asian giants for
financial and diplomatic support in a new "Look East" policy since his
fallout with traditional development and trading partners in the West. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fuel crisis disrupts Zimbabwe school term

Zim Online

Wednesday 05 September 2007

By Lizwe Sebatha

BULAWAYO - Hundreds of school children and teachers in Zimbabwe were
on Tuesday stranded at home unable to return to schools because of an acute
fuel shortage that has kept most public buses off the roads.

Zimbabwe's schools opened for the final term of the year on Tuesday.
But ZimOnline reporters who visited the main public bus termini in Bulawayo
and Harare saw hundreds of pupils clad in school uniforms milling around
unable to get transport back to school.

"We spent the whole day on Monday here waiting for transport. We are
still here today (Tuesday) and to imagine that my child will miss lessons
due to transport shortages is just too bad," said Getrude Dube, whose child
was trying to catch buses from Bulawayo's Renkini terminus to Wenezi High
school in Matabeleland South province.

Zimbabwe has grappled with fuel shortages since 1999, the result of a
severe foreign currency crunch that has also spawned shortages of food,
essential medicines, electricity and other key imports.

The fuel crisis took a turn for the worst last month following a
government decree banning private oil firms from importing fuel and giving
back the state's bankruptcy National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) the
monopoly to import fuel.

Long queues some stretching for several kilometers on end that had
disappeared when the fuel market was partially liberalised have reappeared
at garages since NOCZIM was made sole importer of fuel.

"I think they must just cancel school holidays and keep the children
at schools forever," said Patrick Chiweshe, at Harare's Mbare Msika terminus
where he had just managed to put his son on bus to a boarding school in
Chikomba rural district, about 140 km south-east of the capital.

He added: "Otherwise what is the point of having them come home when
there is no guarantee there will be enough buses to take them back to

The Association of Trust Schools that represents several private
schools in the country described the transport situation as "very critical".

"The situation is so bad for students at mission and public schools as
they rely on hired buses, which do not have fuel, to ferry them to schools,"
Trust chairman Jameson Timba said.

Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere admitted that the fuel crisis was
disrupting the new school term but sought to downplay the problem saying the
shortage of fuel was not limited to the education sector alone.

"Students, teachers and everyone else is facing transport problems due
to fuel shortages," he said.

Once one of Africa's success stories, Zimbabwe is in the grip of an
unprecedented economic meltdown marked by the world's highest inflation of
more than 7 000 percent, deepening poverty and unemployment of more than 80

Western governments and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party blame Zimbabwe's economic crisis on repression and wrong
policies by Mugabe - charges he denies. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Ponders Level of Representation at Euro-Africa Summit


By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
05 September 2007

A controversy surrounding participation by Zimbabwe's president at the
Euro-African summit to be held in Portugal has taken another turn, with a
call from the summit commissioner for President Robert Mugabe to be
represented by his foreign minister at a lower level. However, some analysts
believe African heads of state, including South Africa, would insist that
Mugabe be allowed to attend the EU-Africa summit. Some European officials
say reaching a compromise to allow the summit to go ahead as planned in
December would be difficult, given Africa's support for Zimbabwe's
president, who many have accused of human rights abuses. Meanwhile, summit
plans have been put on hold since 2003, as Britain and other European
countries have refused to attend if Mugabe is present.

John Makumbe is a senior lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. From the
capital, Harare he shares his views about the EU-Africa summit with reporter
Peter Clottey.

"It is expected that the EU is desperate to have the Africa-EU summit to go
ahead. And the European countries are desperate because of the influx of
refugees from particularly North and West African states into Europe, and
they would like to reach some sort of agreement with these African countries
on stemming the tide of these refugees. And they can't do that without
having the Africa- EU summit," Makumbe pointed out.

He said organizers of the Euro-Africa summit might try to prevent the
Zimbabwean president from attending the summit, especially since most
European countries have expressed reservations over Mugabe's presence at the

"I think they will try, I think it is very likely that Mugabe would say if
he is not attending himself in person, then nobody at a lower level should
be allowed to attend. That's one. Secondly, I think the African leaders
themselves are going to insist that Zimbabwe should be represented at the
highest level, and that is at the presidential level and that means Mugabe
attending. And I think, as things are now, the Europeans are likely to
capitulate," he said.

Makumbe said he believes a compromise could be reached to enable the
December summit to go on as scheduled.

"I think a compromise is very possible if the EU is promising to voice its
concern abut the human rights violations in Zimbabwe at the Africa- EU
summit. A compromise could be reached where Mugabe would be allowed to
attend on condition that the European countries are at liberty to express
their dissatisfaction and unhappiness about Mugabe's governance in
 Zimbabwe," Makumbe noted.

He said President Mugabe has fallen short of some of the tenets of good
governance in Zimbabwe.

"He is the president of Zimbabwe, one of the cardinals of the Africa -EU
relationship, all the way back from Cotonou (the capital of Benin) is that
there would be a promotion of human rights, there would be promotion of good
governance, there would be transparency on governance, and in the handling
of the citizens of the two major regions, all of those have been violated by
Robert Mugabe. He may be the head of state of Zimbabwe, but he is the head
of state who is literarily chewing up his own people, and that should be of
concern not only to the EU, but also African countries. But as you and I
know, the African countries would defend Mugabe because they themselves are
in an equally dubious position," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Southern Africa to join Worldwide Reading in support of Zimbabwe

Issued by the Freedom of Expression Institute
5 September 2007

Hundreds of Southern Africans - including at 3 centres in South Africa -
will participate this weekend in a global readathon to raise consciousness
about the plight of Zimbabweans struggling for social justice, democracy,
freedom of expression and economic survival.
This is the third Worldwide Reading organized by the Berlin Literature
Festival under the theme: "The Anniversary of a Political Lie". The first
Worldwide Reading in 2005 appealed for peace in Iraq. The second in 2006 was
in memoriam of the award-winning Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who
was assassinated for her courageous reporting on human rights abuses in

The core texts to be read in over 40 countries worldwide are poems by
acclaimed Zimbabwean writers Chenjerai Hove, Chirikuré Chirikuré and
Dumbudzo Marachera, as well as Elinor Sisulu's foreword written for the book
"Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and
the Midlands 1980- 1988" (Johannesburg 2007).

In South Africa veteran poets and activists Dennis Brutus and Don Mattera
and acclaimed poet/storyteller Gcina Mhlophe will be among those
participating in readings in Durban, Johannesburg, Durban and Grahamstown .
The readings are presented by The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the Freedom
of Expression Institute and the Platform for Public Deliberation.

See the Worldwide Reading website

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

University introduces degree program for CIO's

By Henry Makiwa
05 September 2007

The Zimbabwean government has stepped up its transformation of the Bindura
University of Science Education (BSUSE) into an institution devoted to
training state agents, following the introduction of a new degree
programme - in intelligence.

According to the state-controlled Herald's report on Wednesday, the
programme is set to commence soon as part of an agreement between the
university, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO), for the professional education of CIO
officers. It is also understood that lectures for the course will be held at
the recently opened "Robert Gabriel Mugabe School of Intelligence."

Two years ago the university introduced a degree programme in police and
defence studies, another course that raised eyebrows following the drafting
of its students into a force meant to quell student protests at higher
education institutions.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) swiftly dismissed the
programme as another ploy by the ruling Zanu PF party to bolster its armed

Zinasu co-ordinator Washington Katema said: "The Bindura University has now
become an extension of the ruling party security organ. We are very
suspicious of the recent development. For starters most universities have
now become white elephants so the introduction of this new Robert Gabriel
Mugabe School of Intelligence is clearly a political move meant to instill
fear. Already the university has that degree programme in police and defence
studies whose students assaulted ordinary students on the 10th of May 2006
who were demonstrating peacefully at the campus."

Representatives from the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry, Bindura
University and the CIO signed a memorandum of understanding in Harare last
Thursday to introduce the 'intelligence' degree.

Among the signatories were the secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education
Dr Washington Mbizvo, CIO director-general Retired Major General Happyton
Bonyongwe Dr Mbizvo and the BUSE Vice Chancellor Professor Sam Tswana.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Southern Africa's response to Zimbabwe meltdown


Date: 04 Sep 2008

As inflation rose to over 7000% in Zimbabwe last month, many hoped Southern
Africa's leaders would take decisive action to halt the country's freefall.
Their hopes were dashed.

The dinner menu of a small, upmarket hotel in downtown Harare reflected a
pinch of optimism last week. Next to (near impossible to get) items such as
chicken and beef a little acronym had popped up: STA (subject to
availability). Unlike his management, the waiter explaining the acronym to
querying customers didn't beat around the bush: "There's no beef, there's no
chicken. There's no bread either and there's no oil. There's no soap, there's
no nothing. the whole situation here in Zimbabwe has become impossible."

Once again the media spotlight is on Zimbabwe. In March it was the scenes of
opposition leaders and civic activists as they emerged bruised and battered
from police custody. Today, it is the equally upsetting scenes of
Zimbabweans as they jostle in queues for bread or prepare to flee the
country out of fear and desperation.

With the crisis deepening and spilling in to neighbouring countries,
Zimbabwe watchers were keen to follow discussions at the August Summit of
the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Lusaka, Zambia, where
Southern Africa's leaders addressed Zimbabwe's crisis. Many felt let down by
the public sentiments expressed by SADC leaders during the conference and by
their final communiqué.

In March, SADC asked South Africa's President Mbeki to manage a process of
political mediation and drew up an economic recovery plan for Zimbabwe. Both
steps signalled the recognition by Southern Africa's leaders of the need for
regional intervention and domestic reform. But delegates greeted President
Mugabe with thunderous applause at the Summit's opening ceremony. By
applauding "a man who has destroyed a country" Southern Africa's leaders
showed an "utter lack of concern for the plight of Zimbabweans," the South
African Bishop Kevin Dowling told Catholic News Service. SADC's leaders did
not take the opportunity to press for an end to Zimbabwe's pervasive human
rights violations, to set a specific timeline for progress in mediation
talks, or agree on a framework for addressing the economic crisis.

Deepening food crisis, mounting human rights violations

With the rate of inflation now officially over 7,000 per cent and with
shortages of basic commodities across the board, the price cuts introduced
by the government in June to quell the economic crisis appear to have
backfired. Even previously cushioned sectors of society such as business
people (thousands of whom have been arrested for non-compliance) and urban
professionals are feeling the effects of meltdown.

Life is becoming more and more of a struggle for the poor. On August 9, the
US-based Famine Early Warning System Network classified the situation as an
emergency. They attributed the food crises in the southwest and in urban
areas to a poor harvest but also to price controls and restrictions on basic
commodity imports.

Since the New Year harassment and intimidation of human rights activists,
opposition party members and prominent, outspoken critics of the regime has
intensified. In June, Ireland's Catholic Bishops expressed their "deepest
concern and dismay at the ever worsening political and humanitarian
situation in Zimbabwe."

Police have arbitrarily arrested and beaten hundreds of civil society
activists in custody and have continued to use excessive and unnecessary
force to disrupt peaceful demonstrations. At the beginning of August,
government enacted the widely criticised and feared 'Interception of
Communications Bill' and continues to restrict public gatherings and free
press through application of oppressive legislation such as the notorious
'Public Order and Security Act'.

Trócaire in Zimbabwe

Trócaire has been working in Zimbabwe since the early 1970s, supporting
projects to improve access to food and develop civil society. The
organisation spent ? 1,471,947 in Zimbabwe last year on programmes to
alleviate the worsening humanitarian crisis and to promote peace and
justice. Trócaire works with local and national organisations to document
the situation in the country, and raise awareness among policy-makers in
Zimbabwe and internationally.

Organisations supported by Trócaire were represented in a recent meeting
between Zimbabwean civil society leaders and SADC 's political mediation
team for Zimbabwe. Civil society leaders called for a people-driven review
of Zimbabwe's constitution. They also stressed the need to end the organised
violence and torture and use of food as a political tool by the government.

But the outcome of the SADC summit sees Zimbabwe's President Mugabe once
again evade public censure, timelines and benchmarks. Many fear that on the
domestic front, economic challenges aside, he will now move ahead swiftly to
intensify the crackdown on opponents with a view to consolidating power in
next year's elections.

For more information contact Trócaire's press team:

Republic of Ireland: Catherine Ginty, Press Officer, Trócaire. T: +353 1 505
3270 M: 086 629 3994

Northern Ireland & UK: David O'Hare , Press Officer, Trócaire. T: 028 90 80
80 30 M: +44 7900053884

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Opposition Candidate In Marondera Reported Stabbed To Death


      04 September 2007

Officials of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said an
activist in rural Marondera had been stabbed to death late Friday while
another member of the party who was stabbed in the same incident was
paralyzed as a result.

Sources in the MDC faction of Morgan Tsvangirai said Jabulani Chiwoka, a
candidate in rural district elections to be held in January, was killed by
suspected members of the ruling ZANU-PF party while Tafiranyika Nyandoro was
hospitalized and immobile.

The alleged incident of political violence in the approach to national
elections in early 2008 was said to have occurred in Marondera, Mashonaland
East, a stronghold of the ruling ZANU-PF party that has at times been a
"no-go zone" for the opposition.

Tsvangirai faction Deputy Health Secretary Kerry Kay, who lives in
Marondera, said Chiwoka had attended a gathering of the local ZANU-PF party
last Thursday and was confronted as a political trespasser. She said his
national identification number was taken down and he was warned that harm
would come to him.

The following evening, Kay said, Chiwoka and Nyandoro were stabbed while
drinking beer at a bar in the Svosve communal lands. Chiwoka died
immediately, according to Kerry, who said Nyandoro was being treated at the
hospital in Marondera.

In a recent report, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said that seven
months into 2007, the year has broken previous records for reported
political violence, citing the approach of local, general and presidential
elections in early 2008.

No comment on the alleged stabbings could be obtained from Marondera police.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai opposition faction declined to
comment, saying the matter was still being investigated.

But attorney Tafadzwa Mugabe of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told
reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his group has
received a report of the incident and is looking into it as a case of
political violence.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police quiz Bulawayo mayor, town clerk over rates hike

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/05/2007 19:16:21
THE acting Town Clerk of Bulawayo, Joel Madubeko was arrested on Tuesday for
allegedly defying a government ordered rates and price freeze.

Bulawayo mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube told New that Madubeko
spent most of Tuesday at the police's licensing inspectorate at Drill Hall,
"assisting police in their investigations".

"We passed a supplementary budget on June 13, which was going to be
effective on August 1. The presidential proclamation was only made last
week. Some people apparently phoned the police, and that misinformation
resulted in the police coming to our offices.

"We showed them our books and resolutions. It was a kind of disturbing
probing, but we hope they understood in the end," Ndabeni-Ncube said.

He said even after he and his team had proved to the cops that "we didn't
break any law", they insisted that either him or the town clerk must
accompany them to Drill Hall to answer further questions.

"It was either me or him. I had other pressing official engagements and they
understood and took the acting town clerk. He spent quite some time there
but was released without charge. We take it as an uninformed
misunderstanding on the part of the police," said the mayor.

Asked about the attitude of the cops, he said they "were friendly but one
could see that they meant business because they kept saying we would answer
in court".

Police could not comment on the matter.

President Mugabe last week issued a decree freezing prices and wages, and
said these could only be raised with the express approval of a commission he
is yet to handpick.

The Bulawayo City Council in June approved a supplementary budget with a 2
600 percent hike in charges, citing inflation and a ballooning wage bill.
The local authority said when it crafted the original budget, inflation was
targeted to be 393 percent but it had reached 3 713 percent by April,
meaning the budget was underperforming by 3 320 percent, leaving the council
with no cash for essential services.

In the revised budget, supplementary charges went up from $3 350 to $89 210,
50 a month, while sewerage fees went up from $880 to $23 434.

The fixed charge component for water supplies went up from $2 988 to $79 584
a month, while the charge for consumed water went up from $490 to $13 061
per kilolitre.

Ambulance fees were hiked from $23 200 to $617 816, with burial fees going
up from $1 778 465 to $3 557 948.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Diamond deposits found in Tsholotsho

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 09/06/2007 04:20:09
ZIMBABWEAN authorities have kept a tight lid on the discovery of diamonds in
the south-western Tsholotsho district to avert a rush by hungry villagers,
documents seen on Wednesday confirm.

Late last year, diamond deposits were discovered in Marange district,
Manicaland Province, sparking a rush which saw the police arrest over 20 000
fortune hunters.

A confidential letter, written by Titus Nyatanga, the Director of Mining
Promotion and Development in the Ministry of Mines to the Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) said diamonds were discovered last year in

The MMCZ has the sole authority to market and sell diamonds from the

"Diamonds deposits were reported to be present in the Tsholotsho area of
Matabeleland North Province. Already, Canister Resources Private Holdings
holds an Exploration Prospecting Order (EPO) in the area. Not much
information is known," he said in the letter seen by New

Canister Holdings is owned by Zimbabwean citizen Nick Graham.

Nyatanga added that the area where the diamond deposits are located has been
declared a "protected zone" by the government to curb illegal activities.

He added: "The Ministry is requesting the Minerals Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe (MMCZ) to offer protection of the areas and facilitate investment
opportunities by local and foreign organisations for diamond exploration."

Tsholotsho is in Matabeleland South and close to the border with Botswana,
the world's leading producer of gem quality diamonds. The diamond industry
accounts for 70% of export earnings and 30% of Botswana's GDP.

Professor Jonathan Moyo is MP for Tsholotsho, which is about 130km south of
Bulawayo, the second largest city.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Would Bob approve of what Bob has done?

Business Report

August 27, 2007

  By Quentin Wray

Cost of livin' gets so high,
Rich and poor they start to cry:
Now the weak must get strong;
They say, "Oh what a tribulation!"
Them belly full, but we hungry;
A hungry mob is a angry mob...

A year or so before his death in 1981, Bob Marley, who penned these words,
performed at the first independence celebrations in Zimbabwe.

Later he later described this as the "biggest honour" of his life.

One wonders how he would feel now, given that these lyrics could have been
written yesterday about a country whose rebirth, after years under
oppressive minority rule, he helped usher in.

One hopes that, unlike sub-Saharan Africa's current leaders, he would have
had the courage to stand up and publicly denounce the rape of a beautiful

Pro-democracy advocates are fond of arguing a positive - yet largely
imaginary - link between good governance and economic growth.

This so-called "democracy dividend" is trotted out to make autocrats and
dictators, like Comrade (Cde) Bob and his cronies, forgo their evil ways to
secure economic stability.

As much as I would love this to be true, it patently isn't.

Just one of many examples proving the disconnection between democratic
values and economic performance is the recent drive by the Chinese Communist
Party, which runs China Inc, to give newspapers two choices: publish
positive news or be accused of inciting the overthrow of the government.

No Western government would get away with what the Chinese government does
in terms of its human rights record, environmental devastation and cynical
exploitation of target countries, especially in Africa.

And yet its growth rate is stellar.

South Africa, which outperforms China in all significant measurements of
human rights, has a fairly pedestrian growth rate.

It just doesn't seem right, does it?

The fact that the Zimbabwean economy has collapsed so spectacularly is often
cited as an example of how turning one's back on democracy ushers in
economic failure.

But to argue this, in Zimbabwe's case at least, is a mistake.

If the Zim government had merely given the opposition a klap for the
impertinence of thinking someone other than Cde Bob should be in charge but
had left the farms alone and not appropriated most of the available foreign
exchange for itself, the country would probably still be solvent.

Other countries, such as China, fail all democratic tests but are phenomenal
economic success stories. There is no reason why Zimbabwe could not have
followed suit if it had sound economic management.

The ongoing economic meltdown in Zimbabwe happened not because the
government started abusing human rights with impunity but because it messed
with the basic laws of economics.

If the economy had been left intact and allowed to do its thing, inflation
would now be well south of 7 000 percent and more than two out of 10 adults
would be in work.

Starvation would certainly not be a daily reality for the middle classes, a
group that is now shrinking both in girth and in numbers.

The irony, which appears lost on most commentators, is that Mugabe's efforts
to hang on to power are economically so unsound that he has effectively
sealed his own fate in a way that no amount of foreign intervention could
have done.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A case of fitting coincidence

Silence Chihuri

Obviously the sending home of the children of ZANU PF big-wigs has raffled
the feathers of the establishment. This was never seen coming by a regime
that has become so used to getting away with anything really. They have been
hit where it hurts, their pride.

But for anyone among the parents of the home coming children to sink to such
deplorable depths as to think that the action of the Australian government
was a direct result of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai's recent visit to
that country, is quite typical of click of people that live in cloud cocoon
land. No wonder these are the same people who were hoodwinked by some sweet
talking n'anga that an ordinary rock in some swampy area in Chinhoyi could
ooze with diesoline to fire the government's grounded fleet into motion.

The most bizarre outcome was the accosting of Tsvangirai and accusing him
for going 'to get the children' from Australia while leaving his behind to
continue with their studies. There is convenient ignorance here because the
ZANU PF misrule is the very reason why Tsvangirai is leading the fight
against the regime. He fully believes that the policies of the ZANU PF
government are not fit for purpose and that includes the education policies.
It would have been very surprising then for someone who totally disagrees
with the ZANU PF education system to enrol his children on that same
education system. Of course not everyone who is opposing ZANU PF and its
policies has children studying abroad but all those who can have done so,
and others are continually trying to do so.

That Tsvangirai would be found disembarking from the same flight with these
unfortunate children is therefore a mere case of fitting coincidence. They
are unfortunate in the sense that these are children that are being punished
as a direct result of the misdemeanours of their parents. It is an
unprecedented piece of history that is of course, a culmination of a
calculated position that the Australian government has taken towards the
ZANU PF government. The ejection of these hapless but dubiously privileged
children may not necessarily speed up the crumbling of the ZANU PF regime
but it will surely bite and hurt the ego of an untouchable junta that is
wrecking havoc to an entire nation without the slightest notion of remorse.

The action of the Australian does come not so long after the University of
Edinburgh in Scotland took the unprecedented step of stripping President
Mugabe of his honorary doctorate for services to education in Africa. Mugabe
and his apologists did vainly try to pour cold water over the move but
everyone knows that the octogenarian dictator was indeed embarrassed and
humiliated. Such small measures as the one taken by Edinburgh University do
send a very huge signal to dictatorships that they can be tackled even by
the most apolitical establishments and still feel the pinch.

Likewise, what the Australian government has done is yet another small
measure that matters because it is like dynamite coming in a small packet.
Although in this instance a few kids are involved, this has the potential to
kick-off a western-wide cocktail of measures that could see ZANU PF children
elsewhere sent home in similar fashion. It would make a lot of sense because
some of these children are now old enough to see that what their parents are
doing is not helping other kids, but rather ruining their prospects. This
would also make the targeted sanctions work more effectively because some
ZANU PF officials have in the past used their children's weddings or
graduation ceremonies as excuses for visiting the countries from where they
are banned. It is a very simple matter, if the ZANU PF officials are as
happy with the status quo as they try to preach, then they should simply
stay at home with their children.

Because what has happened during those 'opportune moments' is that the ZANU
PF big-wigs would try to kill two birds with one stone by doing as much
'business' as possible while officially they are on a family jaunt because
this is a government and ruling party that have the hypocrisy of indicating
right while turning left. These are people who have been deafening our ears
with their bankrupt and purposeless 'look east' chants while they are
whisking their children west. Now that their children have had their careers
stopped in their tracks, then that may really make them pause and think for
one minute about what they have done to our education system that was once
the envy of the entire SADC region and beyond.

The East is not really bothered by human rights issues and this is why
President Mugabe and his ZANU PF mugs have found convenient solace in the
company of rogue and autocratic regimes such as the Chinese government.
However, the West does scrutinize issues to do with human rights and
education is one such human right that is revered in west. This is why the
Australian government has seen it fit to eject the children of parents whose
clueless policies have ruined the prospects of a nation while their children
are secreted in the countries they hypocritically despise of. The message is
clear for ZANU PF to read: If all is well in the state of Zimbabwe then
surely those who are part of the establishment need not look anywhere else
for advancement.

This is something that does not surprise some of us who have been calling
for even tougher action against the regime in Harare and we can only call
for more. Of course to ZANU PF apologists this is another work of the 'enemy'
who is working for regime change in Harare. It is a shamed that this kind of
action has had to be taken, but it is an extremely necessary step. The next
step should be to eject any ZANU PF official and children from the luxurious
hospital beds of exclusive clinics scattered around the world and send them
back to die at the mercy of the crumbling health delivery system over which
they are presiding. These are people who are cooking chaff to feed the
nation while behind closed doors they are dishing ubiquitous oriental
cuisine to their own lustful mouths.

It is a shame that Zimbabweans may now have to depend on western countries
especially after the useless charade that was the last SADC summit, because
the African countries are in cahoots with our self-serving government. It
would have made so much sense to see South African for example, leading in
this kind of corrective action by sending the hoards of ZANU PF kids who are
basking in the comfort of the glorious halls of residence of leading South
African institutions of higher learning while our sisters and brothers are
going without meals at the UZ and other universities. There are more ZANU PF
kids in South Africa than anywhere in the world and the message would have
been much louder and bolder. But with the South African government choosing
their ridiculous so called quite diplomacy it has been left to the west in
general, and the Australians and Scots in particular to take it upon
themselves to take the Harare regime head on.

Quiet diplomacy does work if it is indeed in existence. This is diplomatic
tongue-lashing that is normally carried out behind closed doors so as not to
unnecessarily and openly embarrass whoever is being reprimanded. But if
there is nothing happening even behind the closed doors along the corridors
of power, then there can never be expected a miracle to happen. This is why
Mugabe and his henchmen are still on the rampage because President Mbeki of
South Africa is fooling the world that he is dealing with the ZANU PF
government quietly while in actual fact he is not doing anything at all.

In fact what we have seen is complete contempt of Mbeki's whatever efforts
by the ruling ZANU. For example how could the ZANU PF delegation afford to
miss two out three of the three arranged meetings between themselves and the
MDC especially when a SADC Summit is looming where they were fully aware
that a progress report would be eagerly awaited? This is why not that many
Zimbabweans have any real expectations that the so-called mediation will
yield any results. If Mbeki was really confident of his own initiatives he
would not advise the MDC party to delay launching the election campaign
given the short period of time to go to the polls.

As long as African leaders and countries do not want to call a spade a
spade, then the colonial masters would have to be roped-in much to the
chagrin of the so-called nationalists and liberation heroes who are
oppressing fellow Africans.

Silence Chihuri is a Zimbabwean who writes from Scotland. He can be
contacted on

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Glorification of Robert Mugabe

I don't know why people question the applause Mugabe got at the recent SADC
conference.  It was a conference of Kings.

William III and Louis XIV would have treated each other with the greatest of
respect had they met: they were, after all, the God-annointed absolute
rulers of their lands: the law makers, the sole source of opinion, the
owners of their lands - which they could parcel out to their favoured few -
the lords and barons and baronets.  Those who opposed them were not 'loyal
opposition' - they were traitors!  William III ursurped James II, who went
to a sticky end.  Before that, the Lord of Monmouth, who marched on James
II, went to a sticky end when he lost the battle.  So it is in Africa today.

King Nkruma was such like.  So was King Milton Obote, until he was ursurped
by King Idi Amin.  Idi Amin was toppled by insurrection, like King Louis
XVI, with the aid of the Tanzanian army under King Julius Nyere - who,
untypically, finally realised that his policies were no good for the masses
and stood down.  Typically, though, the King does not care for the peasants
who fall under his carriage wheels and endanger his horses.  The peasants
are good only because they pay taxes.

The African Kings do not mind elections, so long as they give the desired
results.  Otherwise, they are rigged, and finally ignored.

King Jomo Kenatta.  King Kenneth Kaunda.  King Mswati III.  King Robert
Mugabe, who is annoyed by the unwillingness of his economy to bend the laws
of supply and demand, even after he has declared them invalid.  The masses
suffer? So what?  The peasants are revolting?  They certainly are!

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain (er, I mean, elected), and hath redeemed
us to God by His blood (or at least, other's blood in the 'struggle'), to
receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory
and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth
upon the throne. (from Handel's Messiah)

Who would not want to stay in such a condition?  And who would not honour
another who sits in a similar position?  Hail, Robert Mugabe, King of
Zimbabwe!  And hail the Kings and King wannabees who hailed him so recently
at the SADC conference! The peasants?  Forget them - there are lots of them
and they are of little importance unless they revolt.  THEN you can pity

Andrew Scott

Back to the Top
Back to Index