Thursday 06 September 2007
By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - Zimbabwe Vice-President Joseph Msika last week ordered Lands
Minister Didymus Mutasa to halt farm seizures as the Harare administration
appears increasingly divided over whether to retain or expel the few white
farmers remaining in the country.
Zimbabwe has over the past six years seized nearly all land previously owned
by the country's about 4 000 white farmers and gave it over to landless
blacks, an exercise blamed for derailing the mainstay farming sector and
plunging the country into severe food shortages.
The government has since the beginning of the year given conflicting signals
on the fate of remaining white farmers, with some officials saying they
would be allowed to stay and others saying they would be evicted.
Nonetheless, evictions have continued sporadically.
Senior government officials, who spoke on condition they were not named,
said Msika last Thursday summoned Mutasa and told him to stop the planned
eviction of 11 farmers in Hurungwe district, 230km west of Harare, and
another eight farmers in the eastern Burma Valley district.
"He (Msika) told Mutasa that chasing away the few white farmers left in the
country was not helpful to the agriculture sector or food security and was
no longer in sync with the popular mood in ZANU PF," said an official privy
to the discussions between Msika and Mutasa.
Msika, who is said to have vowed to follow up and ensure the farmers were
not evicted, was not immediately available for comment on the matter
But the sources said Msika summoned Mutasa after being approached by
ordinary villagers living adjacent to white farmers, ZANU PF district
officials and Chief Kazangarare from Hurungwe beseeching him to help stop
the eviction of white farmers.
The villagers told Msika that white farmers were assisting them with farm
machinery, expertise and utilities such as transport.
Mutasa confirmed meeting Msika last Thursday but refused to disclose details
of their discussion. He said: "I met the Vice-President, of course. I always
meet Comrade Msika because he is my boss. But we do not talk to the media
about our meetings so don't bother asking me for details."
Msika, who has in recent months spoken against farm seizures, is among a
group of top government and ZANU PF officials worried about the rapid
decline in agriculture and pushing to stop fresh evictions.
The government and ruling party officials believe the country could benefit
more by exploiting the vast experience of the about 600 remaining white
farmers to help prop up the key farming sector.
Mutasa on the other hand leads a group of hawkish ZANU PF government and
military officials who believe land reform is incomplete when there is still
some land in white hands.
A source said President Robert Mugabe appeared sympathetic to Mutasa's camp
but added he had been advised by Msika not to ignore the wishes of local
communities, traditional leaders and ZANU PF grassroots leaders benefiting
from their cohabitation with white farmers - especially with key elections
Traditional leaders are said to have told Mugabe during a conference in
Harare last month that most of their subjects were grateful for the support
they were getting from white farmers and that the farmers should be viewed
as development partners.
Zimbabwe has largely survived largely on food handouts from international
relief agencies since land reforms began seven years ago after black
villagers resettled on former white farms failed to maintain production.
Poor performance in the mainstay agriculture sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands have lost jobs while the
manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is operating below
30 percent of capacity. - ZimOnline
Thursday 06 September 2007
By Thulani Munda
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) national council will
meet on Saturday to decide whether to call protests by workers against a
government ban on salary increases.
President Robert Mugabe last week imposed a six-month freeze on salary and
price increases across the board, in a move the government says is necessary
to control inflation.
The ZCTU has described the wage and salary freeze as "satanic" and has vowed
to tackle Mugabe and his government over the decision that was taken without
consulting labour or business.
Union secretary general Wellington Chibebe on Wednesday said mass protests
to force the government to reverse the ban remain an option for workers.
"Our national council is meeting on Saturday," Chibebe said in an interview
in Harare. "After that we will be in a clear picture of when the protests
will take place. But under the circumstances, protest marches remain an
option," he added.
Senior council members who spoke to ZimOnline said they were certain the
Saturday meeting would vote for fresh protests against the government. They
said workers were angry with the government that they felt was ultimately to
blame for failure to implement the right policies to halt a spate of price
increments that have ravaged the country.
Last week, Mugabe invoked the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act
to freeze all wage and salary increments. The controversial law allows the
veteran Zimbabwean leader to make legislation - lasting six months - without
going to Parliament.
In a statement at the weekend, Chibebe said the freeze was "satanic",
economically wrong and "morally suicidal".
The ZCTU has clashed with Mugabe's government on several occasions over an
economic crisis gripping Zimbabwe for the past eight years and which has
seen inflation soaring to more than 7 000 percent, rising poverty,
unemployment and severe shortages of food.
Mugabe accuses the ZCTU of conspiring with his Western enemies and of using
genuine worker grievances as a pretext to instigate Zimbabweans to revolt
and overthrow his government.
The ZCTU, the largest union in the country, denies plotting Mugabe's ouster
but says it holds him responsible for ruining Zimbabwe's once brilliant
economy and plunging millions of workers into unprecedented poverty and
misery. - ZimOnline
Thursday 06 September 2007
By Prince Nyathi
HARARE - Zimbabwe's food security situation has reached critical levels and
must be dealt with urgently to save thousands of villagers from starvation,
according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
WFP director in Zimbabwe Kevin Farrell described the situation especially in
the country's hunger-prone southern Matabeleland provinces as disturbing.
Farrell was speaking at a ceremony in Harare to receive US$3.3 million
donated by Canada to assist the organisation's food relief operations.
"I visited some areas in the southern parts of the country and the situation
there is acutely serious. The need is most pronounced in Matabeleland South
and Matabeleland North, where the villagers did not harvest anything," said
Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years after
President Robert Mugabe's government seized white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
The often chaotic and violent land reforms slashed food production by 60
percent leaving millions of Zimbabweans to rely on food handouts from
international relief agencies.
Last month, the WFP appealed for US$118 million to buy food for starving
Zimbabweans over the next eight months.
The food relief agency says it already had 138 000 tonnes of food but still
needed another 180 000 tonnes to distribute to about three million
Zimbabweans until the next harvest next April.
Speaking at the same occasion, Canada's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Roxanne
Dube, said the donation would be directed to the WFP's Immediate Response
Account to stave off starvation in Zimbabwe.
"I am extremely pleased that the Canadian government's very timely
contribution to the WFP will be used to assist vulnerable populations, thus
alleviating the daily hardship of many Zimbabweans," said Dubé.
Zimbabwe, which is battling an unprecedented economic crisis that has seen
inflation zoom past 7 600 percent, is also importing maize from neighbouring
countries such as Tanzania and Malawi.
But a shortage of foreign currency is hampering efforts to secure enough
supplies. - ZimOnline
Thursday 06 September 2007
By Patricia Mpofu
HARARE - A defiant ZANU PF party said it would not abandon its controversial
policies even as Canberra took the lead this week to tighten sanctions
against the Zimbabwean ruling party by deporting children of its top
officials from Australia.
Western nations that in 2002 imposed visa and financial sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe and top officials of the governing ZANU PF party
earlier this year warned they would extend the punitive measures to include
the children of the Zimbabwean officials studying in their countries.
Australia took the lead earlier this week when it deported the children of
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Agriculture Minister Sylvester Nguni
and Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, and those of other top
officials who were studying in the country.
The United States, believed to host scores of children of top lieutenants of
Mugabe, has said it is also considering sending them back home.
Top Mugabe ally and secretary for administration in the ZANU PF party
Didymus Mutasa said the ruling elite was not worried that their children
were being thrown out of universities and insisted the party - in power
since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain - would stay the course.
"They may have deported our children but we are not worried about it,"
Mutasa told ZimOnline.
He added: "We are principled people who will not waver from our position to
take back our land simply because we want our children to stay in Australia,
Europe or America.
"We are focusing our attention on winning the presidential and parliamentary
elections next year so that we send a clear message that the people of
Zimbabwe stand by us, with or without sanctions."
Mugabe and ZANU PF insist Western sanctions are punishment for their
controversial programme to take land from white farmers to give to landless
The West says targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe's rulers are punishment
for their failure to uphold human rights, the rule of law and democracy. -
Thursday 06 September 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - Two Zimbabwean school teachers who were dragged to court for
allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe were on Wednesday removed from
remand after defence lawyers took the matter to the Supreme Court.
Wellington Muzenda, who is representing Letwin Matereke, 34, and Selestino
Jengeta, 36, successfully applied to have the two removed from remand
arguing that the Supreme Court must first determine whether they had a case
"Once a ruling on the challenge has been made (by the Supreme Court), the
state can then proceed by way of summons to prosecute them," said Muzenda.
Masvingo magistrate, Mary Chawafambira agreed with the defence and placed
the two off remand.
Chawafambira said it would be a travesty of justice to continue placing the
two on remand while the Supreme Court dealt with the case as it would
virtually amount to a conviction before trial.
The case was referred to the Supreme Court last March.
The state alleges that while traveling on a public bus in December last year
Matereke was involved in a discussion with fellow passengers about illegal
diamond mining, rife in the country.
During the discussion, she is alleged to have suggested that dealers should
be allowed to sell diamonds in South Africa rather than in Zimbabwe, a
country in economic chaos because it is ruled by Hitler.
Some passengers on the bus believed to be staunch supporters of Mugabe later
forced the driver to drive to Masvingo central police station where the
police arrested Matereke for insulting Mugabe.
In a separate case, Jengeta, a teacher at Victoria High school in the
southern town of Masvingo, was arrested last year for allegedly wishing
According to the state, Jengeta was at a police-run bar in the town when
Mugabe appeared on television and he remarked in the vernacular Shona
language that things could turn out much better for Zimbabweans if Mugabe
died. Jengeta was promptly arrested.
It is an offence under Zimbabwe's tough security laws to undermine or insult
Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since the country's
independence from Britain 27 years ago.
Lawyers for the two teachers argue that the charges contravened a section of
Zimbabwe's constitution on freedom of speech.
Muzenda said the Supreme Court must determine whether the Criminal
Codification Reform Act, under which his clients are being charged, violates
constitutional guarantees on freedom of speech.
He also wants the Court to determine whether the charges against the two
teachers were reasonable in a democratic state. The Supreme Court is yet to
hear the matter. - ZimOnline
Thursday 06 September 2007
JOHANNESBURG - The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says it is
setting up a second reception centre in Plumtree to cater for Zimbabwean
immigrants deported from neighbouring countries.
The new centre, to be established in Plumtree near the Botswana border, is
the second such centre after the one set up in Beitbridge for Zimbabweans
deported from South Africa.
Nick van der Vyver, the programme officer for the IOM's Beitbridge Reception
and Support Centre, said the group was setting up the centre in Plumtree in
response to the rising number of Zimbabweans deported from Botswana.
He said the conditions at Plumtree were the same with the ones at Beitbridge
with most of the deported Zimbabweans in dire straits.
"People deported back to Beitbridge often arrived destitute, always hungry
and with few choices. Women would turn to sex work, while men would engage
in crime to try and get money to survive.
"Since we opened (the Beitbridge reception centre) on 31 May last year, we
have been operating seven days a week - not one single day of closing - and
only on one day was no-one deported," said van der Vyver.
The setting up of the reception centre in response to the rising numbers of
Zimbabweans deported from neighbouring states, is in sharp contrast to a
report released on Tuesday by the Forced Migration Studies Programme at the
Wits University in Johannesburg.
The report said the media had exaggerated figures of Zimbabweans fleeing
their own country in response to the unprecedented economic crisis rocking
the southern African country.
Last year, Botswana said it had deported over 38 000 Zimbabweans who were
staying in that country illegally while about 17 000 Zimbabweans are being
deported from South Africa every month, according to the IOM.
However, the Forced Migration Studies Programme at South Africa's Wits
University said in a report released earlier this week that there has been
an exaggeration especially by the media of the number of Zimbabweans fleeing
to South Africa because of worsening hunger and economic hardships at home.
The research body - which did not give the correct figures of Zimbabweans
leaving their country - said there were no official figures from the South
African government or any other authority, adding that figures often quoted
in the media and elsewhere were mere "numeric speculations".
Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst economic crisis since independence from
Britain 27 years ago that has manifested itself in rampant inflation of over
7 500 percent, widespread poverty and unemployment.
The economic crisis has driven over three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of
the country's 12 million population, into neighbouring countries in search
of food and menial jobs. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
05 September 2007
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi was to deliver a
supplementary budget and interim fiscal policy statement in parliament on
Thursday, but economists predicted Harare would ask the central bank to
print more money to cover costs.
Economist John Robertson said most ministries exhausted their funds early
this year as the government called for inflation would fall to 350-400% by
the end of 2007. But as of July the country's 12-month inflation rate had
surged to 7,634%.
Robertson said the government has borrowed money from pension funds to meet
its ballooning costs. President Marah Hativagone of the National Chamber of
Commerce said the finance minister must ensure that industries become viable
again by resolving continuing acute shortages of fuel, electricity, water
and foreign exchange.
Economist-consultant and former Chamber president Luxon Zembe said Harare
must not present a populist election-year budget, but must first and
foremost address the food crisis hitting city and country alike, which he
called a "ticking time bomb."
However, Finance Ministry insiders said Mumbengegwi - brother of Foreign
Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi - will raise the threshold under which
citizens pay no taxes while backing the Reserve Bank's recommendation that
the official exchange rate of Z$250 to the U.S. dollar be raised, in effect
officially devaluing the currency.
One U.S. dollar was fetching 240,000 Zimbabwe dollars in parallel market
Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research
Institute told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
not much of substance can be expected from the finance minister in
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
05 September 2007
Though Portugal has not yet issued invitations for the European
Union-African Union Summit it is hosting in December, Lisbon, now holding
the EU's rotating chairmanship, is coming under heavy pressure to include a
Despite British opposition, some say it could be President Robert Mugabe.
The latest call for inclusion of Zimbabwe in the summit came from the EU's
commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who suggested
that a top official such as Harare's foreign minister might represent the
A German newspaper quoted her as saying that despite Britain's issues with
President Robert Mugabe, Europeans shouldn't let that hurt their
relationship with Africa.
A source at the British Foreign Office said Great Britain does not object to
Zimbabwe's presence at the summit - but does not want President Mugabe there
as that will undermine summit discussions.
He added that Prime Minister Gordon Brown has not come to a final decision
as to whether he'll boycott the summit if Mr. Mugabe shows up.
Spokesman Amadu Altsaj for EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner
Louis Michel told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the summit is about European-African cooperation, not
Editor Patrick Smith of the London-based Africa Confidential newsletter said
the EU position contemplating Mr. Mugabe's direct participation is a snub to
Britain, and that European officials wanted to avoid seeing the summit
called off as in 2003.
Smith told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
Brown might in the end be obliged to attend the same summit as Mr. Mugabe -
but that the British leader would likely press leaders hard for tough
language on Zimbabwe.
By Carole Gombakomba
Washington and Harare
05 September 2007
Economic analysts say a recent decree by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
threatening state takeover of businesses that fail to produce enough goods
to meet the needs of the nation will deal another severe blow to
The statutory instrument states that any enterprise that fails to meet
requirements will be placed under a "temporary administrator" while legal
procedures run their course.
Critics say this merely transfers control to the government and ruling
ZANU-PF party bigwigs as happened in the land reform program, seen by many
as the root of the economic crisis that continues to unfold and deepen
The so-called National Incomes and Prices Commission Amendment Act provides
a retroactive legal basis for "Operation Dzikisai Mitengo," Shona for
"Operation Reduce Prices," under which the state in July imposed price cuts
of up to 70%.
Economist John Robertson told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's latest decree, and proposed
legislation to take a 51% stake in all foreign owned companies, will leave
businesses and workers even more vulnerable in an already highly unstable
BY CAJ NEWS
BULAWAYO - Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Samuel Mumbengegwi,
was set to present the much-awaited, mid-term fiscal policy review statement
and supplementary Budget today.
In a statement, the ministry of finance said the policy review, which had
been postponed indefinitely last month, would be presented.
"The secretary for finance advises that the minister of finance, Dr Samuel
Mumbengegwi will present to parliament the 2007 Mid Term Fiscal Policy
Review Statement and the 2007 supplementary Budget on Thursday, September
6," the ministry said.
Apparently, only two months remains before Mumbengegwi presents the 2008
national Budget in November.
Parliament is currently on recess, and the legislators were to reconvene on
Tuesday, two days before the presentation. The Senate will reseat on
The announcement could result in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor,
Gideon Gono, presenting his mid-year monetary policy before the end of
Gono postponed his mid-year monetary policy review in July, saying he would
make the statement soon after the supplementary budget in order to
recalibrate monetary policy in line with the additional budget.
Mumbengegwi faces a daunting task to come up with a policy and supplementary
budget that would revive the country's economy, characterised by rising
expenditure pressures emanating mainly from escalating inflation, currently
at 7 6634,8% for July.
Expenditure targets for 2007 are set at $4,6 trillion, of which $1,5
trillion had been allocated to capital expenditure, at 24,4% of total
expenditure for the year.
The remainder $3,1 trillion or 75,6% of total government expenditure for the
year has been allocated to recurrent expenditure consisting largely of
salaries and wages.
The $6,2 trillion is said to have included provisions for over-spending
HARARE - Amid mounting desperation among the majority of Zimbabweans -
unable to secure basic foodstuffs, water or electricity - luxury cars and
obscenely expensive facials for the fashion conscious elite are reporting
record sales and the few rich are savouring the moment.
"The people who could fix the situation are the ones who are making a
fortune out of it," said Harare economist John Robertson.
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party elite and their business associates
control much of the hugely profitable black market in goods and hard
currency. Meanwhile, nearly half of the population will need food aid this
year to fend off starvation, according to the UN World Food Program.
Desperate citizens here have become dark-of-night scavengers of coffins,
copper electrical cable and even aluminium street signs, now in such
shortage that finding an address is a trial.
Zimbabwe's nights are dark indeed: here in Harare, downtown street lights
are turned off for hours on end for lack of foreign currency to pay South
African and Zambian power suppliers. If the nights are black, the days often
exude an eerie surface calm.
In regular stores the shelves are bare. On the thriving black market, the
handful of "dealers" remain bustling and full of goods, though prices rise
so fast that any three bottles of Mazoe Orange Crush are likely to bear
three different price stickers.
The black market fuel sells for four times the government's fixed price. It
keeps the traffic moving in Zimbabwe at $1,5 million for a 5 litre gallon of
In a nation that exported beef and wheat only seven years ago, four million
people - one in three - now subsist on foreign food donations. Four in 10
children are stunted or wasting away from malnutrition, according to the UN.
And they have not eaten meat for months now since the government edict to
slash prices. And bread remains in critically short supply with 36,000
tonnes of imported wheat docked in Beira because government cannot pay for
the supplies. A better measure of life is the fenced-off compound of the
British and South African Embassies in Harare's suburbs, where crowds of
Zimbabweans camp out nightly, hoping to be first in line when visa offices
open the next morning.
At 7 a.m., a half-block-square area outside the South African Embassy is
jammed with hundreds of applicants. The crush is so great that South Africa
now requires Zimbabweans to post a staggering R2,000 for a mere two-week
visa, a sizable sum intended to guarantee their return.
"I haven't had a job in two years - nobody here has a job," said 27-year-old
Moses, a school leaver. "I'm going to Tshwane to find anything."
With Zimbabwe's increasingly worthless money - the central bank printed a
$200,000 bill last month - many here now prefer to keep their cash in hard
"This country is truly in a crisis," said Collin Gwiyo, the 42-year-old
first secretary general of the Zimbabwe Coalition of Trade Unions, a locus
of opposition to Mugabe's government. "It's a political crisis, leading to
an economic crisis, feeding a humanitarian disaster."
Sam Makwangudze, A student at the University of Zimbabwe said it was
"unbelievable that Zimbabwe was once one of Africa's most prosperous
states". But it is prostrate today, its vital signs flickering, asphyxiated
by ever-tighter governmental curbs on the economy and basic freedoms. Driven
by desperation, greed or simply a sense that the end is nearing, the ruling
elite is methodically stripping the country of its assets. - Chief Reporter
When H J Heinz Company invested in Zimbabwe in the early 1908s, it was
celebrated as a major achievement - a sign of confidence in our young
democracy. And yet when they announced their disinvestment last week, the
Mugabe regime celebrated its departure as a triumph - a sign that the
so-called indigenisation programme was working.
In reality, the disinvestment by Heinz (a major global player) signals to
the international community that doing business in Zimbabwe under the
current Zanu (PF) leadership is no longer safe nor profitable.
Certainly, doing business in Zimbabwe these days requires nerves of steel
and remarkable resilience.
With the ruling thievocracy dedicated to asset-stripping on a massive scale,
the only thing that makes sense is to sell and run - as fast as possible.
The rate of inflation this month is officially given as being 7,634
percent - although unofficially it is over 20,000 percent. The government
has now resorted to a command economy, where manufacturers are given orders
as to what to charge for their products - often way below actual production
The majority of industry in Zimbabwe is agriculture-based. With the wanton
destruction of the agricultural industry in pursuit of wealth for Mugabe and
his favoured cronies, raw materials are unavailable.
Compounding the situation, government at every turn denounces foreigners and
threatens to nationalise their companies to punish the British and American
governments for daring to speak out against Mugabe.
Doing business in Zimbabwe is thus a very stressful affair.
We wish to place it on record that there is nothing to celebrate about the
disinvestment by Heinz.
It cuts ties with an international company, stops vital transfer of
technology and exacerbates unemployment.
What are we celebrating?
The Zimbabwe prices saga with Robert Mugabe grabbing more powers for himself
in relation to any changes in prices and incomes nationwide. No prices,
salaries or wages may be increased without the express authority of Mr
Mugabe. This obviously makes nonsense of the recently appointed Prices and
Incomes Commission and the Cabinet Task Force on Price Controls. In other
words, these dubious bodies now have no real work to do in relation to the
setting of prices and incomes in the Zimbabwe economy. Mugabe is clearly
delusional, or is it a strange kind of senility that is haunting him? He
probably believes that by authorising changes in prices and incomes he will
be able to control inflation in the face of the 2008 presidential and
We remember that this same old man once claimed that no one could have run
(down) the Zimbabwe economy better than himself. Well, now that the economy
is effectively on its knees where else can he ever take it? For the past
27years, Mugabe has amply demonstrated that he is a lousy leader whichever
way you look at him. Politically, he has been a disaster for this country.
He has effectively stripped this country of all known vestiges of democracy
and human rights, except as defined by him and his hoodlums in ZanuPF. The
result is that this nation is the laughing stock of the region. Zimbabwe has
been reduced to a pariah state that no sane country, developed or
developing, wishes to relate with, perhaps with the exception of Namibia and
Malawi. North Korea and Cuba do not count - they are not democratic states.
It must be frustrating to such noble bodies as the ZCTU, ZIMTA and PTUZ to
realise that Mugabe froze the incomes and prices just days after his corrupt
government approved numerous price increases, without any meaningful salary
and wage increases. The only labour organisation that may be unperturbed by
this ridiculous development is Chinotimba's ZFTU. Indeed, Chinos is jokingly
quoted as having recently said on an independent radio station, "We will not
left Mugabe alone". Let us see how he impresses his humble followers to
accept that their incomes have been frozen although the prices of various
goods and services have been hiked in the past few days.
What the dictator has done is to set himself up for widespread strikes in
virtually all sectors of the economy. This time even the timid "evil
servants" will be forced to threaten to participate in collective job action
(or inaction). School teachers are likely to take their vengeance on the
defenceless kids in their classes. There is likely to be no meaningful
teaching taking place this term if teachers do not get reasonable salary
increases. It is ironic that street cleaners in Harare earn better salaries
than educated school teachers in government schools. Meanwhile, there is
little evidence of any improvement in the availability of goods whose prices
were recently increased.
What the rulers of this sinking Titanic fail to understand is that the
productive sector is complex; it cannot simply be switched on and off like
Zesa. Producers and manufacturers need time to source inputs and set their
targets in relation to potential market demands. Is Mugabe going to be able
to force producers and manufacturers to provide the goods and services that
are now desperately in short supply simply because he is now in charge of
changes in incomes and prices? There has never been a more urgent need for
regime change than right now.
'Rather than fight for your rights, you are fighting to win positions of
THIS LETTER is written in utmost faith, and concern for our collective
future. Some of you will obviously resent me for what I am about to say, but
so be it. I am no expert but I have watched, painfully, recent events unfold
before our eyes.
The world over, Zimbabwe is seen as a trouble spot, which she is. Now we are
rated the country with the highest inflation (even poor countries like
Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, even those in war zones like Angola and DRC, are
not suffering such a fate). The other countries in the Third World,
including those in South America, are surprisingly faring well.
We have turned ourselves into the weeping daughters and sons of Africa and
we expect the world to hear us, "Come deliver us from Mugabe", yet we have
made no consensual effort in trying to do so ourselves. Remember, Mugabe and
his cronies, during the Smith regime, realized that they were being
oppressed, they rose up and fought.
Of course it won't be easy, for his patriotic force will beat us, imprison,
torture and kill us - but with determination we will prosper. It is not the
little crumbs from the Zanu ((PF)) table that fills our stomachs, what we
need is the sweat that drips from our heads as we work for our own
emancipation. It is the blood of gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe that
we need to sacrifice, to be liberated from the Mugabe syndrome.
They say, "No Zanu (PF) card; you are an enemy of the State". Belong to any
opposition party and you deserve to die. You are correct about being
discriminated against and forced to belong to them for survival. But passive
resistance does not pay, we need to be more engaged, old and young - the
battle will be won by the combined effort of all. After all, our history has
been one of noble resistance and triumph against the odds.
But most of your recent resistance, though noble in intention, had been less
than noble in execution and outcome. The mass protests called by MDC, NCA or
ZCTU have all yielded nothing, the leaders scuttling back to the drawing
board to assess reasons for the failure. The failure lies in the majority
being apolitical and non- partisan when it comes to bread-and-butter issues.
This is so because people are afraid of being beaten, arrested, tortured and
killed. If we love ourselves that much, then we deserve the suffering that
is inflicted on us by Mugabe.
Waiting for Mugabe to die is a defeat for all of us. Mugabe should not die
before we are unshackled from the bonds of oppression. He should be made to
account for his sins whilst he still lives.
Why have we suffered thus, one might ask? Because you have been dishonest,
allowed yourself to be abused by your political party and your government;
refused to sanction your government for its inability to represent your
interests; stopped believing in yourself, believing that the government will
solve your problems; and because you mistakenly believed that Zanu (PF) is
solely responsible for your plight and selfishly believed that Zimbabwe
belongs to the party alone, and you've fought for that party rather than for
the common good.
Whose interests were served by the ethnic cleansing, Gukurahundi? What about
ESAP, the 2000 farm invasions, the killing and muggings of opposition party
cadres and civil society members? Whose interests did Operation
Murambatsvina serve? What of the recent price blitz? Someone got political
mileage! We hail our President for being such a courageous man - he takes
the bull by its horns, we say - whilst we ignore that by doing so he
emasculates us, as he is serving his own interests. When prices were
reduced, the people went all the way to praise the government, but where are
We have stopped sending our children to government schools, for we know what
they are like; we have stopped going to government hospitals, for we know
what is not there. Roads have become tracks; farms have become war-training
Some of you were encouraged to seek the party card rather than a school
I say all the above to remind you that if marginalization means
disempowerment, you have been historically marginalized, both by the
colonizers and more so by the government.
However, to blame the government for your suffering is not fair, we have
disempowered ourselves. Waiting for the president to die will not end your
disempowerment and misery; we need structural changes.
You were told that if we take the farms from the white men we will prosper,
and you believed. That we needed to eliminate dissidents from our country;
we massacred brothers and sisters in Matabeleland. We demolished poor
people's houses in 2005 and we beat to maim whenever people demonstrate
peacefully against a government that is at war with its citizens.
You were told it was all the fault of Blair and Bush, and still you did not
ask what that meant. You rather believe all they say, for they 'libel-rated'
You have surrendered your right to think and act in your own interests.
Rather than fight for your rights, you are fighting to win positions of
authority for some people, yet your children are scavenging for leftovers in
South Africa and surrounding countries. Yet we call that sovereignty. Crime,
murder, corruption and disease will haunt you, day and night. Your TV hosts
are being paid to tell lies.
To be fair, sometimes you listen to reason and perhaps admire it, but you
don't act on it. You act on unreason, and so long as you continue to do that
you will always be suffering - with Mugabe or after Mugabe.
You are ignoring, at your peril, some glaring truths. You have no political
and economic power, all are vested in Mugabe. That is what we must be
fighting for. Nobody gives you justice, you have to fight for it.
MCLYDEZ B. CHAKUPETA, Brickdam, Georgetown
PRETORIA - Exiled Zimbabwean protesters say they will not give up their
fight until diasporans are allowed to participate in next year's elections -
and called for the Zimbabwean Embassy to be closed down, as it is not
serving any purpose.
A few days after hundreds of Zimbabweans marched in protest to the embassy
in Pretoria, organisers of the demonstration said the resistance strategy
would be held again next week.
The main wing of the Movement for Democratic Change, the Revolutionary Youth
Movement and other civic organizations, organized the protests.
"The just-ended demonstrations were successful. They are going ahead on
Friday and beyond, until our grievances are met," said Mufaro Hove, one of
Last week, more than 500 Zimbabweans living in South Africa handed over a
petition to the Zimbabwean High Commissioner to South Africa, Simon Khaya
Moyo, regarding their right to vote.
Zimbabwe goes into crucial elections next year to elect a president and
parliamentarians but millions of Zimbabweans resident in South Africa and
elsewhere stand no chance of participating because the government doest no
accept the diaspora vote.
This is in violation of SADC and international electoral laws.
The demonstrators have also threatened to stage a sit-in at the Zimbabwean
embassy because, they say, of its failure to come to their rescue on the
problems they face in this country.
"We have engaged former Zimbabwean high commissioners to South Africa
without success in our quest to push for the diaspora vote. Perhaps the
solution is to shut it down because it does not serve its purpose and is not
representing Zimbabweans. We will stage a sit-in at the embassy until we get
our rightful vote," said MDC Gauteng chairman, Austin Moyo.
The embassy has in recent years been the scene of many demonstrations by
Zimbabweans, calling for the diaspora vote and the addressing of the crisis
unfolding in the country.
Commentator Luke Zunga said the government was unlikely to give in to calls
to allow Zimbabwean exiles to vote in next year's elections.
"I doubt that the government will have the capacity to put such a facility
in place. However, through mock elections that we held in protest in the
embassy, we displayed that a diaspora vote is possible," he said.
Trust Matsileli reports that the MDC and the Revolutionary Youth Movement
last week managed to convince Kaya Moyo to agree to sign a petition.
Over 500 Zimbabweans marched from the Union buildings to the Zimbabwean
embassy in Arcadia were they demanded to have their demands heard by the
Zimbabwean government next week when they hand in the petition.
The MDC's Nqobizitha Mlilo said such steps were necessary, not only in
pressurizing the Zimbabwean government to stop human-rights atrocities but
also as a message to the region and SA that Zimbabweans are a peace-loving
nation and love their country.
"This is an expression of patriotism for people who have left their country,
to still be seen lobbying for a restoration of democracy so that they may go
back. It is opposite to the view that they are economic migrants. The
solution remains a political one," said Mlilo.
A leading activist arrested last week for organizing the demonstration, the
Rev Mufaro Hove, called on the Zimbabwean government to stop torturing
political opponents, and called on Zimbabweans to fight the common enemy,
"I also call on you, Kaya Moyo, to join the struggle of liberating
Zimbabweans from the oppressive leader Robert Mugabe as his dictatorship has
affected everyone, including those in Zanu (PF)," said Hove.
Moyo apparently undertook to next week sign the petition from the two
organizations. - CAJ News and Own Correspondent
IN THE APEL TOWER - 1600-1830hrs
The Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) together with MDC
Scotland are hosting an OPEN FORUM on Zimbabwe. This follows a successful
campaign by the University and other leading academics and politicians to
have President Mugabe stripped of his honorary degree from the university.
The purpose of the OPEN FORUM is to keep the momentum going and to ensure
the Zimbabwe situation remains on the international community agenda.
Speakers will include:
Nigel Griffiths Labour MP for Edinburgh South, former Deputy Leader of the
House of Commons
Wilf Mbanga - Editor The Zimbabwean Newspaper
Josh McAllister (EUSA) President
Points of discussion:
..The African solidarity in the advent the Lusaka SADC Summit
..What the international community could do to help Zimbabwe in light of the
Australian government stance and what academic institutions could to help
send a clear message to oppressive regimes
..Challenges facing private media practitioners in and outside Zimbabwe
Steve 07876627730; Caiphas 07745017672; Silence 07706376705; Heather
President Robert Mugabe last week warned Britain and Australia against
meddling in the country's internal affairs, warning that his government
would target properties owned by the two countries for expropriation under
indigenization laws currently before Parliament as punishment.
Mugabe's threats have drawn accusations that his indigenization laws were
not aimed at correcting injustices in ownership structures - as Zanu (PF)
claims - but to whip into line foreign investors speaking out against his
appalling handling of the economy.
The opposition MDC, white-owned mining companies and embassies were among
the "Trojan horses" that received money from abroad "all to be used against
us," Mugabe told a war veterans militia he met at the Zanu (PF) headquarters
"We still have white-owned mining companies from Britain. Some of them are
advocating sanctions, Australia and so on who want to sabotage us, to take
us back by increasing prices three times, what causes that? Iprofit here
kana mweya wasatani (Is this for profit or it's a satanic spirit)?" asked
The 83-year-old ruler alleged that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
returned to Zimbabwe Monday, had been given A$18 million by Australian Prime
Minister John Howard to "use in the regime change programme," an allegation
immediately refuted by the opposition party.
The State media here has run acres of editorial space during the weeklong
visit by Tsvangirai to Australia, alleging the opposition leader was in
Europe to campaign and celebrate sanctions, in reality a travel ban on
Mugabe and his cronies. Tsvangirai's visit to Australia particularly angered
Zanu (PF) hawks and Mugabe himself as it came hardly two weeks after his
host had slapped further punitive measures against the Mugabe regime,
throwing out eight children of senior ruling party officials studying there
in student visas. - Chief Reporter
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
As part of a worldwide reading for Zimbabwe organised by the International
Literature Festival of Berlin, Vigil supporters are reading poems by
Chenjerai Hove, Chirikuré Chirikuré and Dumbudzo Marecharas, and Elinor
Sisulu's introduction to "Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe: A Report on the
Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands 1980-1988". The readings will
be interspersed with music / singing from the Vigil. The readings can be
found on http://www.literaturfestival.com. See below our programme which is
planned to start at 4 pm. Tererai Karimakwenda of SW Radio Africa will be
with us and will record the event.
Planning for Zimbabwe Vigil's Fifth Anniversary (13th October 2007)
On Monday, 10th September2007, 7.30 we will be discussing and planning for
the 5th Anniversary of the Vigil and social event at the Central London
Zimbabwe Forum. We need lots of help so those who would like to be involved
in the organisation of this event, please come. We are sharing the platform
with Jenni Williams of WOZA. The usual forum venue is not available so we
will be meeting at the Strand Continental Hotel (first floor, main bar),143
The Strand WC2R 15A. From the Vigil, a 10 minute walk along the Strand away
from Trafalgar Square after Waterloo Bridge but before Somerset House.
Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn
(Piccadilly and Central lines).
Ordering "The Zimbabwean" Newspaper - if you live in an area where there are
a number of Zimbabweans, why not ask your local newsagent to stock copies of
The Zimbabwean. The Zimbabwean is distributed around the UK by the same
companies as distribute all the UK national newspapers. Newsagents gets the
papers at around 32% discount and return what they do not sell to the
distributors. They do not pay for unsold papers so they can't lose. Let's
help the Zimbabwean to reach as many readers as possible.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
The Zimbabwe Vigil
Programme for Literature Event
Saturday, 8th September 2007
The International Literature Festival of Berlin is running a worldwide event
on 9th September 2007 "Remove Robert Mugabe - worldwide reading for
Democracy and Media Freedom in Zimbabwe". They have selected readings of
poems and prose to be broadcast by radio stations world wide. They have
also asked interested organisations to set up their own events where the
items can be read. The Zimbabwe Vigil has chosen to have its special
literature event at the nearest Vigil to the date chosen - Saturday, 8th
Background and Introduction of Speakers
- Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe: A Report on the Disturbances in
Matabeleland and the Midlands 1980-1988 - Introduction to the 2007 Edition
by Elinor Sisulu
- Music / Singing from Vigil Supporters
- Chenjerai Hove - Nights with Ghosts - A Child's Letter from the
Rubble (written after Operation Murambatsvina, in which the Zimbabwe
government destroyed 700,000 houses)
- Music / Singing from Vigil Supporters
- Chirikuré Chirikuré - Salt
- Chirikuré Chirikuré - Let's cry with hope
- Music / Singing from Vigil Supporters
- Dambudzo Marechera - Oracle of the Povo
- Dambudzo Marechera - Rats for Sale
- Dambudzo Marechera - In Jail the Only Telephone Is the Washbasin
Hole: Blow and We'll Hear!
- Ishe Komberera / Nkosi Sikelel'