HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government on Sunday made an indirect appeal to
the International Monetary Fund not to expel the cash-strapped southern African
country at a meeting later this week.
An IMF team gave no hints on Harare's future on Friday as it left after a
two-week mission to Zimbabwe, which coughed up $120 million last week to try to
avoid expulsion from the fund over a total of $295 million in unpaid
"As monetary authorities, we have one request and just one request alone,"
Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono told the state-run Sunday Mail
"...that is, our creditors and the international community should not, as I
have said before, take precipitous actions whose effect is to blunt or negate
the turnaround efforts currently under way," he said.
Gono also said that President Robert Mugabe's government, which is battling
severe fuel, food and foreign shortages, had made great sacrifices in the last
two months to raise the $120 million in a bid to secure its future in the
"You...see how we have subordinated all these other needs and channelled
funds to secure our membership of the global lender," he said.
Gono -- who was not available for comment on Sunday -- also dismissed media
reports that the surprise last-minute payment to the IMF had been made by
raiding local private company bank accounts or from money given by Mugabe's
"I challenge anyone with an interest to know how we accumulated this money to
come and have a cup of tea and I will be able to show them," he said, without
The central bank chief said Zimbabwe had given the IMF details on its sources
for the $120 million payment.
The IMF said last week that its team had reviewed Harare's economic
developments and prospects, and was preparing a report for the IMF Executive
Board meeting on Sept 9 set to discuss Zimbabwe's problems.
Mugabe's relations with the West have soured over his seizure of white-owned
farms for the landless black majority, as well allegations of human rights
abuses and vote rigging.
Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since independence in 1980 has seen
inflation soar to triple digits and the jobless rate rise above 70
© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
The Courier Mail
Zimbabwe's phones disconnected
By Gavin du Venage in Cape
TELEPHONE services in Zimbabwe were thrown into chaos this
weekend after South Africa's telecommunications firm Telkom cut off its services
to Zimbabwe for unpaid debts.
Zimbabwe's creaking telephone service is
heavily dependent on South African infrastructure for regional and international
TelOne, Zimbabwe's fixed line operator, owes South Africa's Telkom
$23.5 million, according to a report in Johannesburg's Business Day newspaper.
TelOne public relations manager Phil Chingwaru confirmed Telkom had
disconnected Zimbabwe for non-payment.
"Currently, the company has had its
connectivity to and through SA terminated as it has not honoured its debt to
Telkom South Africa," he said.
Zimbabwe is on the brink of being kicked out
of the International Monetary Fund for non-payment of debts. This could
precipitate a catastrophic collapse in services as funds run out.
does have three mobile telephone networks, but their coverage is limited and
service patchy, as network operators are unwilling to commit large amounts of
capital to upgrading their facilities in the climate of economic uncertainty.
"I spent the whole of Friday trying to call my family in Harare and could
not get through," said Simon Japera, a Zimbabwean working in Cape Town.
"It's like trying to call the moon."
TelOne also owes British Telecom
$18.3 million, and Kenya has severely restricted telephone traffic from Zimbabwe
for non-payment for services.
Zimbabwe used to be able to claim one of
Africa's best telephonic networks.
But Zimbabweans have got used to living
with fuel shortages, long queues for staples and an inflation rate of 47 per
cent a month.
Telkom's credit freeze may win where quiet diplomacy
September 5, 2005
††By Lynda Loxton
Cape Town - The decision last week by Telkom,
the partially state-owned telecommunications company, to freeze credit lines to
TelOne has brought a new dimension to Zimbabwe's mounting economic
Not only is the country facing expulsion from the International
Monetary Fund for not paying its debts - although a last-minute partial payment
was drummed up last week by withholding foreign exchange from the private sector
- but Zimbabwean firms and utilities are facing growing demands from mainly
South African entities to start paying their bills.
Some analysts have
speculated that, in the face of the abject failure of the "quiet diplomacy"
approach to restore some semblance of democracy in Zimbabwe, the government has
just as quietly given the nod to parastatals to put the squeeze on Zimbabwe to
stop President Robert Mugabe's apparent mindless race to oblivion by crippling
the country's economy.
But all official sources were mum on the issue at
the weekend. Telkom refused to divulge any details of its spat with Zimbabwe,
although contacts said the phone company had not pulled the plug on the country,
as was reported by some newspapers last week.
Instead it had placed
stricter limits on direct access for calls coming into the South African network
All calls from South Africa to Zimbabwe appeared to be
unaffected, but calls from Zimbabwe were "problematic" and of poor sound quality
as they had been diverted through other countries, sources
Economists contacted on Friday unanimously agreed that Telkom's
move against TelOne should be seen as an "economic imperative" rather than a
South African government directive to parastatals to clamp down on Zimbabwe's
Telkom, as a listed company, would be under particular
pressure by stringent international accounting practices to call in any
outstanding debts, they said.
Other parastatals, such as Eskom, were also
obliged by the Public Finance and Management Act to keep their books clean of
debtors unless special arrangements were made.
Zim declares bus accident a national disaster
September 04 2005 at 12:09PM
Harare - The Zimbabwe government has declared a bus accident in South Africa
that killed 20 Zimbabweans a national disaster, the state-controlled Sunday Mail
The accident happened on Friday morning, when a minibus
ferrying 26 passengers plunged off a cliff into a river near Makhado town in
northern South Africa.
Nineteen Zimbabweans, including two toddlers, died
instantly, and another person has since died of injuries sustained during the
accident, reports said.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told the
paper that 16 of the bodies had already been identified.
reportedly happened when the driver of the minibus got out of the vehicle to
relieve himself but did not put the handbrake on. - Sapa-dpa
From The Sunday Times (SA), 4 September
SA stands its ground on loan to
South Africa is sticking to its tough conditions
for financial assistance to Zimbabwe despite that country coming up with a
$120-million payment to the International Monetary Fund this week, officials
said on Friday. The surprise payment is likely to prevent Zimbabweís expulsion
from the fund this week, but is too little to enable new IMF lending. The
officials said negotiations continued this week with Harare sending an
undisclosed response to proposals for support worth up to $500-million over two
years. "South Africaís offer rests on two pillars - economic recovery and
political stability," one official said. Conditions revealed by the Sunday Times
last month still stood, he said. South Africa would give humanitarian grant aid
through churches and the United Nations, but loans would flow only if Zimbabwe
committed itself to action that would ensure its ability to repay them. Using
funds not previously disclosed to the IMF or South Africa, Zimbabwe this week
paid $120-million of its $295-million arrears. A $50-million payment was made
from a mystery Johannesburg bank account. Even if the payment wins Mugabe
another six-month extension from the IMF when its board meets on Friday,
Zimbabwe still needs about $174-million to clear its debt. Only then can the IMF
consider new loans. Western diplomats said their governments were backing Mbeki
on Zimbabwe, but they urged him not to relax the pressure for reform. "The
humanitarian disaster building up on South Africaís doorstep is so immense that
President Mbeki cannot just do nothing anymore," said one Western envoy.
working to impose travel sanctions|
Sun Sep 4,
2005 2:10 PM GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling party denied
media reports on Sunday that it was drawing up a list of critics who will be
banned from travelling abroad under a new tough law passed by his
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party used its two-thirds parliamentary majority last week
to approve changes that will allow the government to effectively nationalise
formerly white-owned farms and impose travel bans on "traitors".
The privately owned Standard newspaper reported on Sunday the government was
working on a list of politicians and human rights activists who will face travel
The weekly, quoting official sources, said the list was being drawn up by
ZANU-PF's information department led by former foreign affairs minister Nathan
It said the list is headed by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and includes former information minister
Jonathan Moyo, who has fallen out with ZANU-PF and is now an independent member
Shamuyarira was unavailable for comment on Sunday, but Zimbabwe's acting
Information Minister Chen Chimutengwende denied the government had or was
working on such a list.
"That is absolute rubbish. There is nothing like that happening at the
moment," he told Reuters.
"You cannot tell in advance who is going to get affected because it (the law)
will not apply in retrospect," he said.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi said it was only a matter of time before the
law was put into effect.
"It is common knowledge that this law is designed to cripple the opposition,"
"The very fact that they passed such a draconian law with such a chilling
effect confirms that ZANU-PF has become a classic dictatorship," he added.
Zimbabwe's relations with the West are at an all-time low with Harare accused
by many of human rights abuses.
Zimbabwe is struggling with a deepening economic crisis characterised by
fuel, food and foreign currency shortages, which many critics blame on
mismanagement by Mugabe's 25-year-old government.
Mugabe, 81, says the economy is being sabotaged by foreign and domestic
opponents trying to oust him over his nationalist policies, including the
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution the landless blacks.
© Reuters 2005.
A fistful of Zim dollars can buy you only sorrow
"I had to take four
wheelbarrow-loads of cash to buy plane tickets for myself, my wife and our
child. The country was on fire. We needed to get out immediately. The rebels [of
Laurent Kabila] were approaching Kinshasa, putting government forces on the
retreat. We did not want to get caught in the crossfire. Thank God for those
wheelbarrows full of cash; we managed to get out. Which is why we are here,"
Angelo, a new friend of mine from the then Zaire told me as we sat sipping some
cold ones at an eatery in Yeoville a few years ago. I took a gulp of the
bittersweet brew, threw my head back and looked at the ceiling, trying to
imagine thousands of panic-stricken Zaireans pushing wheelbarrows overflowing
with cash to the airport. The picture didnít gel. It was too Orwellian; too
surreal. I could sense that the man was trying very hard, perhaps too hard, to
coax some sympathy from my heart. He was trying to explain why thousands of his
countrymen were flooding into South Africa during those tumultuous years, the
years that would culminate in the demise of Mobutu Sese Sekoís reign, and the
entry of his successor Laurent Kabila. Iíve always had an ear for foreigners,
but it riled me that he had to resort to hyperbole to get my attention and gain
my sympathy. No one wants to be patronised. Perhaps he wanted me to continue
plying him with beer? Perhaps he was in need of a shelter? As it turned out, he
was far richer than me. Not only did he continue to buy more libations for the
two of us, but he introduced me to the owner of the restaurant - a friend of his
from back home. By the time we left the restaurant we were the best of buddies.
But I still did not want to believe the story about wheelbarrows of cash just to
buy air tickets. It sounded ridiculous. Three years ago, when I went to cover
the elections in Zim, Angeloís tale resurfaced in my mind. I was only into my
fourth beer at Meikles, the sumptuous hotel in Harare, when I reckoned that I
had already parted with stacks of currency that would fit in a briefcase
(thereís very little hyperbole here).
Now, Iím one of those conservative
creatures who donít carry credit cards. As a result, every time I ran out of
cash I had to go upstairs to my room and raid the stash in the safe. The safe
was almost the size of a microwave, and it was stacked with Zim dollars. By the
time the night was over, the mountain of banknotes had been reduced to a humble
molehill. That sobered me up. Rest assured, this was no reflection on my levels
of consumption; nor did this point to the fact that the drinks were expensive
(comparatively speaking they were) - itís just that the currency was even then
so useless, reminding me of Angeloís wheelbarrows. A wheelbarrow of Zim dollars
would have lasted me the weekend, now that I think of it. But, anyway, something
happened this week that had me mentally clawing back to the past and replaying
the conversation I had with Angelo the night he told me about wheelbarrows of
cash. Over the past few weeks, thereís been a furore over some unconfirmed
reports that the South African government had promised to extend a loan running
into billions of rands to Zimbabwe to help that country settle its bill with the
International Monetary Fund lest it face expulsion from the august body. This
week, the Zimbabwean government decided that enough was enough; their country,
an erstwhile breadbasket of Africa, could not be seen begging for alms from its
southern neighbour. The Zimbabweans decided to fork out $120-million to service
part of their IMF debt. The Zimbabwean state radio said the payment was "a
source of immense national pride as it demonstrates the countryís unwavering
commitment to turn around its economic fortunes". Well and good. Now you must
recall that I am a man who believes in cash, not credit cards or electronic
transfers and all that confusing stuff. With the news that Zimbabwe was going to
pay so much money to the IMF, I found my mind working overtime.
Just how many
wheelbarrows, I wondered, would the Zimbabweans need to cart the cash off to the
IMF guys? Mind you, even if they wanted to, the Zimbabweans canít use trucks for
this purpose because thereís not a drop of fuel in that country now. Also, even
if South Africa was prepared to sell them emergency stocks of petrol, the
Zimbabweans canít afford to buy it, seeing that theyíve just used up all the
foreign currency in their possession. The last time I tried to change Zimbabwean
dollars at a Thomas Cook bureau de change in Sandton, the tellers laughed at me.
Blushing (yes, I can blush), I walked hurriedly away. I went to one of the
street corners manned by a brood of blind Zimbabwean beggars. I rolled down my
window, extended my fistful of Zim dollars to the beggars. There was a stampede
as they ran away from me, almost getting knocked down by another car. They cried
out as they ran: "Run, comrade, I can smell Mugabe in the air!"
†Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 8:23 AM
Subject: FOR YOUR
HAPPY IN ZIM, even though ...
01. A Vienna sausage costs
more than a 3-bedroom house cost 25-years ago.
02. Fuel has increased by
59,000% in the last 18-months.
03. If you want fuel you have to buy
foreign currency on the black market
(illegal) drive 120kms, smuggle your
cash through an international border, &
fill a container. On return you
have to pay duty in Z$ on the fuel you have
purchased but you are not
allowed to take out sufficient Z$ to pay the duty
August you are advised of the new minimum wages for July.
Bream now costs $1,200,000/kg which is double the price of
06. Fees in Government schools are increased by 1,000%
6-months, whilst private schools are restricted from
increasing their fees
07. Colgate toothpaste in supermarkets
is kept locked in a glass display
cabinet otherwise it will be
08. Reserve Bank officials enforce laws on illegal currency
deals, yet the
Bank uses illegally obtained currency to pay satellite
09. New Zealand butter is half the price of
10. Water rationing is introduced 4-months after the end
of the rains when
the dams are already almost empty.
11. A $10 note
is still in circulation and is worth 0,05 of one US cent.
12. A $10 note
costs over $3,000 to print.
13. Toilet paper costs more than $10 a sheet
- so it's cheaper to use the
14. Banks charge 300% interest on
overdraft but pay 0,001% interest on
current account balances.
is cheaper to hand deliver mail than to use the postal system.
Government knocks down houses when there is a housing shortage.
can take up to a year to renew a firearms licence which is only valid
18. A replacement drivers' licence can take up to
19. Electricity Supply Commission is unable to send out monthly
estimates the usage - a previous average usage of $250,000 p.m.
20. A monthly govt. pension of $13500
will buy one small sip of Coke but
this is not an issue because you can't
buy cokes anyway.
21. Pensioners living outside our borders would receive
half one US cent per
22. ADDENDUM: An ordinary washer costs 20
to 30 dollars. If you are lucky
enough to find a coin; drill a hole in it!
Our largest coin is $5. If you
can find a 1 cent coin you can really "coin"
it. It is even made of copper.
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 7:30 AM
We are in for a major increase in inflation. The rate for July
was 47 per
cent on one month and August is going to be worse. Most
we are going to see treble digit inflation in September.
This means that
most prices will double in one month. The impact of this on
fixed incomes or low incomes is going to be very severe and to
hardship and worse we are all going to have to pay especial attention
1.††† The elderly. Many do not understand what
is going on and will not have
the resources to cope with this surge. It is
vital that all our
organisations and the hundred of individuals who are
helping the elderly
amongst us cope, take new steps to protect those who are
They should not hold cash balances at banks as these will
shrink in value
every day. Rather think through what will be most needed and
buy these items
in bulk and in advance. People will be most helped with
things they can use
or consume and gifts in kind are as valuable as cash. We
must also make sure
that if we are giving to such organisations that we
adjust our giving to
reflect the inflation. Do not delay these decisions as
time is of the
essence in these circumstances.
2.††† Low income
workers. Although these are all under government and Union
adjustments to these wage rates will simply be too late
and in most instances
too little to help them avoid real hardship. Get their
agreement that you
will effect monthly adjustments to their wages within
your ability to pay and
that in return they will not demand retrospective
government or NEC agreements cone out granting them
percentage increments on
top of what they are currently earning.
3.††† Many in small businesses
will not be able to cope with these huge
changes in prices and we can only
advise that they price their goods and
services in such a way as to reflect
expected inflation - not past
inflation. Unless you do so your income will
not keep pace with inflation
and then you can help no one or even stay in
business. Do not hold cash for
longer than required but be careful as to what
assets you put your cash
into. Holding foreign exchange may be a best bet but
if this is not possible
then go out and bulk buy or look at short term
investments which are secure
and will yield a return in a very short
4.††† Children. Baby foods are virtually unobtainable and are
expensive. If you are in touch with families with small children and
pay especial attention to their needs and chip in with advice and
protein foods when you can. Teachers should monitor their pupils
carefully when school starts next week and watch out for children who
to school hungry and obviously malnourished. These should be reported to
Headmaster and he should then contact the Ministry to report problems
perhaps ask local agencies such as Churches, Rotary Clubs and
organisations to help with a local feeding scheme. Organised
major international organisations are not available this time
round and real
food shortages across the country are now inevitable. Even if
available many families simply cannot afford the new
Remember we are the kind of people who survive and thrive in
circumstances because we care for each other and we help each other as
can. This is such a time for all of us, lets pull together and get
this crisis and into a new and more hopeful and stable era that is
just around the corner.
4th September 2005
|Cost of living soars in Zimbabwe due to high inflation|
It is now common in most supermarkets in Zimbabwe to find piles of abandoned goods at till points
competing with those on the shelves in terms of volume.
The goods are left by disgruntled shoppers who fail to pay for them because
some retailers are continually hiking prices of most basic commodities.
The southern African country is currently facing the problem of currency
plummet and the high inflation has sent the price roaring.
Day after day, prices are being increased at the expense of consumers who are
now restricting their buying to purely basic necessities and many families have
to cut down on the number of meals they consume per day.
Zimbabweans used to have three meals a day. Instead of tea and bread in the
morning, they have now resorted to a breakfast of porridge without sugar in the
mid-morning that also serves as early lunch, and then supper.
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe's July monthly consumer basket,
a low-income urban family of six requires about 5. 4 million Zimbabwean dollars
(about 540 US dollars) for groceries, up 200 percent since January.
Manufacturers are now focusing more on producing the expensive refined
supplementary products which are not controlled but beyond the reach of many
Controlled basic commodities such as sugar, cooking oil, soap, bread and soft
drinks, among other products, are still scarce.
Some manufacturers are working in cahoots with retailers to produce in large
quantities basic commodities that are not controlled as a way of skirting around
the recommended prices.
These manufacturers have resorted to producing the refined products such as
the milk-loaf that is not price-controlled and is always available, while the
normal bread affordable to many has since disappeared from the supermarkets.
The same is happening with cooking oil which is not price- controlled.
All the controlled basic commodities have disappeared in supermarkets and all
you find are products which are not controlled.
Most people are now forced to buy the basic commodities on the black market
where they are found in abundance.
Many people have expressed concern over the packaging loopholes being taken
advantage of by manufacturers to circumvent the recommended prices and called on
the government to act quickly.
Industrialists have recently assured the government that there would be an
improvement in the availability of basic commodities on the formal markets.
With the increasing prices of basic commodities, school fees have decupled
starting from August while some schools backdated the increases to January this
Most parents expressed concern over whether their children would be able to
continue going to their current schools or if they should transfer them to those
schools charging lower fees.
As much as the parents appreciate the economic challenges in this country,
they have to meet other expenses which have also gone up markedly, for example,
the electricity tariffs and municipal rates.
It is said that most parents are surviving on loans from money- lending
firms, which were charging exorbitant interest rates. As a result, they are now
caught in a debt trap.
Police defy court order on vendors By
Nqobani Ndlovu BULAWAYO - Police are still carrying out
raids on vendors despite a High Court ruling that the blitz is unlawful and
interferes with the individual's property rights.
Justice Maphios Cheda, ruled that the police had acted outside the confines of
the law when they confiscated the goods of the vendors.
"The seizure and confiscating of traders merchandise in the absence of a
court order is unlawful as this interferes with individuals property rights,"
Cheda said in a ruling made on 2 August.
The ruling came after the Bulawayo Upcoming Traders' Association (BUTA) had
taken the police to the High Court, challenging the confiscation of their goods
during the height of "Operation Murambatsvina". BUTA is a grouping of close to 3
000 traders in the city.
Despite the ruling, police raids on the vendors in the city are still
continuing with Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) spokesperson, Magodonga Mahlangu,
saying: "Most of our members are vendors and earned income from vending. How are
they going to pay the fees if the police are not allowing them to trade?"
Widow Anna Banda, who resides in Emganwini, said: "I have to feed the
children but how can do that if the police do not allow us to sell our goods?"
Robert Ndlovu of James, Moyo Majwabu and Associates, who represented the
vendors, said it was legal for his clients to sell their wares. "As of now I
can't comment. As far as I am concerned, they have not come back to me but the
High Court Order gave them the green-light to trade," Ndlovu said.
Contacted for comment, Assistant Commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena said he had
"no comment for The Standard" before switching off his mobile phone.
Exam scandal at Morgenster By Godfrey
Mutimba MASVINGO - More than 200 students from Morgenster
Teachers' College will not graduate this year after their final year results
were nullified because of alleged cheating.
The Reformed Church of
Zimbabwe (RCZ)-run institution will not deploy its students to schools for
employment after a Theory of Education examination paper was leaked allegedly by
a lecturer, suspected to have had an affair with a female student.
A student who spoke to The Standard said college officials had informed them
that they would, as a result, not graduate this year but would rewrite the
examination on a date to be advised.
"It is disturbing to note that even those who did not have access to the
leaked paper will be affected because some lazy colleagues cheated," complained
the student who declined to be named.
Other students attacked the college administration saying it was being unfair
to the majority who had not seen the leaked paper.
The RCZ Synod Moderator Reverend Enos Chomutiri confirmed the leak.
"I can't give you a detailed explanation because when it happened I was out
of the country. But from what I heard, the college officials are waiting for
advice from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education giving another date.
We will communicate the date to the students as soon as it is known," Chomutiri
Chomutiri did not name the lecturer suspected of leaking the examination
paper because investigations are still in progress.
Lloyd Chaduka, the College principal was said to be on holiday.
Disgruntled students allege that the paper was leaked to a female student who
later revised it with friends before examination day. She smuggled answers into
the examination room but an invigilator spotted her.
Mujuru gate-crashes church meeting By our
staff NYAMANDHLOVU - An annual Johanne Masowe retreat ended
up prematurely 10 days ago in Nyamandlovu amid disgruntlement when Vice
President, Joyce Mujuru, two cabinet ministers and State security agents turned
up and started campaigning for Zanu PF. Mujuru arrived at the meeting with a few
church leaders, among them Lawrence Katsiru from Marondera.
leaders then went into a meeting aimed at resolving the crisis that threatened
to split the church. The Standard understands the disagreements were over
allowing politicians at the retreat.
Accompanying Mujuru were Deputy Minister of Youth, Gender and Employment
Creation, Saviour Kasukuwere, and the Minister without Portfolio, Elliot
Manyika, and unidentified State security agents.
Worshippers who were not aware of Mujuru's visit, said they were shocked to
see her arriving at Mpiyazwe, which falls under the Bubi/Mguza district along
the Nyamandhlovu road.
The area is 30km outside Bulawayo and some 10 000 worshippers held their
six-day annual convention, which ended last Sunday.
The leaders accused of working in cahoots with the ruling party introduced
Mujuru and afterwards, she started urging the people to pray for Zanu PF, The
Standard was told.
Mujuru is alleged to have appealed to the church, which has a large following
in the country, to use their numbers to canvass for votes for the party.
It was at this point, The Standard was told, that disgruntled church members
stood up and started leaving.
Church members, such as Thomas Bhobho, who said he came from Macheke, outside
Marondera said: "Anyone is free to attend the church but for Mujuru to try and
bring party politics here is bad. It is taboo at this church."
Priscilla Chitemba, of Harare said: "We were shocked to hear her telling us
to pray for the ruling party. We never thought that she had come to campaign."
Kasukuwere confirmed that he had travelled with the Vice President to the
Nyamandhlovu. "Yes, I did attend, but call me later," Kasukuwere said.
When contacted, Manyika said it was not a secret that they travelled to
Nyamndhlovu, especially as it was a public meeting.He said: "We also attended
the Salvation Army meeting in Harare as part of mobilisation."
Mujuru was not immediately available for comment.
Someone's death wish for Zimbabwe
ONE of the sharpest legal minds ever to grace
Zanu PF, the late nationalist and liberation war hero, Dr Eddison Zvobgo
criticised the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
saying journalists would live in terror of the minister because of the
On Tuesday last week, ruling party MPs ensured that Zimbabweans will hence
forth live in perpetual terror of the State when they enthusiastically passed
the Constitutional Amendment Bill No 17.
Its passage into law will transform this country into a vast Gulag,
effectively declaring Zimbabwe a de facto one-party State. The Bill is a coup
that completes the full cycle of repression by plugging the loopholes in both
AIPPA and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
It is a tragic irony that the heroes of Zimbabwe's struggle for liberation
have now mounted the most resolute and calculated assault on the rights of
citizens of this country. Embarrassed by dwindling popular support during polls
since 2000, the government and the ruling party are now intent on achieving
public backing through coercion.
The defining moment of the Zimbabwean nightmare and tragedy was the sight of
Zanu PF MPs breaking into song and celebrating. They may have celebrated the
emasculation of the judiciary in the case of applicants contesting seizure of
commercial farmland in the belief that it is a piece of legislation designed to
punish white supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. This
is unashamed racism and demonstrates how short their memories are. The victims
of the government's so-called Third Chimurenga have not been and will not be
entirely white commercial farmers.
Besides being whipped into line and voting along party lines, the ruling
party MPs celebrated a pyrrhic victory. They decry the shortages of foreign
currency and low levels of foreign direct investment, when in passing the Bill
their message to external investors is unambiguous: there is neither observance
of nor respect for property rights in Zimbabwe.
There are German, French and Italian investments in farming/agricultural
enterprises in this country. Now they could contemplate pulling out or scaling
down their activities in order to minimise potential losses and there will be
lesser prospects of attracting further investment from these countries in
particular or other nations in general.
The next front of assault on property rights, at the rate at which things are
going, could be foreign factories and companies, or those whose owners are
deemed to threaten national interests.
The usurpation of the authority of the judiciary poses a serious threat to
efforts at turning around the economy, while the timing of the passage of the
Bill was an instructive demonstration of the dearth of strategic planning and
timing in the ruling party. Whether it was a show of the now familiar mindless
and empty bravado directed at the visiting International Monetary Fund mission
that was in the country, the mind boggles.
The IMF team is unlikely to have been impressed with both the Bill and the
11th hour payment of the US$120 million towards settling Harare's arrears in the
hope of staving off expulsion from the international financial institution. The
best that Zimbabwe can now expect from the IMF Board is that it will not expel
the country, but neither will it open the taps to new balance of payment
support, simply because Zimbabwe has not demonstrated any resolve to put the
economy on the path to recovery. Mere expressions of intent are one thing,
determined action towards attainment of an economic turnaround is quite another.
The actions of the ruling party MPs demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt
where the real threat to national interests and security is coming from.
They may celebrate in the mistaken belief that in withdrawing travel
documents from people who are calling for this country to be punished by the
international community, they are responding to the EU and US travel sanctions.
But, in fact, they are building a wall around Zimbabwe out of which people
considered "dissidents" will not be allowed. The immediate targets are members
of the opposition MDC and those from non-governmental organisations and civic
society groups. To this, add media houses and practitioners.
Such a landmark amendment should have been preceded by broader consultations
between the government, MPs and the electorate. Issues such as what constitutes
threats to national interests should have been debated and agreed on before
presentation of and debate on the Bill. The government and the ruling party are
seeking support through coercion and in this instance the government is wielding
a new weapon it proposes to use against its citizens in curtailing freedom of
travel, association and expression.
The difference between this government and Ian Smith's, which banned and
exiled many of the leading nationalists resulting in their recourse to UN or
Commonwealth travel documents, is negligible. The timing of the Bill is also
regrettable. It comes weeks before the United Nations General Assembly in New
York this month. It is as if Zimbabwe is telling everyone else to go to hell.
The opposition has been rendered impotent, the judiciary disempowered and the
economy dealt a mortal blow. Someone has a death wish for this country.
Bizarre News Lion Seek Refuge In Toilet
September 5, 2005, 9:25:09
Thats bizarre: A lion has been found hiding in a public toilet in
The frightened animal was found in a cubicle after being stoned by fed-up
residents in Nyamhunga who were trying to drive a pack of lions out of the
The police, army and rangers were called in to remove the lion after a vet
travelled 350km to sedate it.
After a three hour operation the male lion was released back into the wild.