by Nqobizitha Khumalo Thursday 10 September 2009
GWANDA - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will not be
holding a special summit to try to resolve outstanding issues on Zimbabwe's
Global Political Agreement (GPA) that set up the February unity government,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told ZimOnline on Wednesday.
Tsvangirai who was in the Matabeleland South town of Gwanda on his tour of
the country's provinces said the SADC summit which ended on Tuesday in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) tasked its Organ on Politics, Defence and
Security to oversee and monitor implementation of outstanding issues on
Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement.
"The SADC Troika will be responsible for the outstanding Global Political
Agreement (GPA) issues in Zimbabwe. The organ will deal with these issues
and there will be no special SADC summit on Zimbabwe," said Tsvangirai.
Media reports had on Monday quoted Tsvangirai's spokesman James Maridadi
saying SADC leaders had agreed to hold a special summit on Zimbabwe as part
of efforts to end a row over a power-sharing pact between President Robert
Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
But the summit ended on Tuesday with a call on the international community
to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe and the 15-nation regional bloc saying the
coalition government they helped set up had made significant progress in
ending a devastating economic and political crisis in the southern African
DRC President Joseph Kabila, who took over as chairman of SADC during the
summit, said if sanctions were not lifted, they would become an impediment
to putting the political agreement into practice.
Mugabe and long-time foe, Tsvangirai, formed a power-sharing government in
February as part of a SADC-backed deal to end a political crisis that
followed disputed polls last year.
But the power-sharing deal is beset with problems. Tsvangirai's MDC accuses
Mugabe's ZANU PF of failing to honour an agreement to reverse the
appointments of political allies to the key posts of central bank governor
and attorney general.
On the other hand ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the
power-sharing deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to
campaign for lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.
Zimbabwe's power-sharing government has done well to stabilise the economy
and end inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent at the
height of the country's economic meltdown last year.
But analysts remain doubtful about the administration's long-term
effectiveness, citing unending squabbles between ZANU PF and MDC as well as
by the coalition government's inability to secure direct financial support
from rich Western nations.
Meanwhile South Africa's Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe yesterday told
parliament in Cape Town that a special SADC summit on Zimbabwe could happen
to help ensure accountability among Zimbabwe's political protagonists if
disagreements over the power-sharing deal continue to hamper economic
"SADC leadership . . . has decided that the SADC secretariat should on an
ongoing basis . . . monitor resolution to all these outstanding issues and
that if that does not produce the desired results an extraordinary summit
will be convened focusing specifically on ensuring that more fillip is added
to the processes of moving Zimbabwe forward," Motlanthe said. - ZimOnline
by Edith Kaseke Thursday 10 September 2009
HARARE -- Southern African leaders have urged the West to lift sanctions on
Zimbabwe, angering Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai while emboldening
President Robert Mugabe who is likely to frustrate key reforms but analysts
say the fragile coalition will hold and regional leaders anxious of a failed
neighbour will eventually rein in the veteran leader.
The Movement for Democratic Change had hoped, maybe naively, that the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) would censure Mugabe, 85, for
breaching provisions of a global political agreement signed a year ago or
call for an extra-ordinary summit to resolve the issues.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF had before the summit argued that sanctions imposed by the
West were the biggest threat to the survival of the unity government and it
would seem that position prevailed at the SADC meeting.
Mugabe has returned home emboldened and vindicated, for now, and is likely
to wave the communiqué by regional leaders to stall many of the reforms
agreed last year in September, including writing a new constitution.
"But Mugabe will soon realise that the victory, if you can call it that, is
very short lived," said John Makumbe, a university of Zimbabwe lecturer and
ardent Mugabe critic.
"The MDC demands are within the provisions of the global political agreement
and are enforceable while the issue of sanctions involves non SADC members,
sovereign states who will not be moved by SADC. So yes Mugabe maybe gaining
the upper hand now but that is as good as it gets."
The United States and European Union have kept a travel ban and asset freeze
on Mugabe and senior ZANU-PF members and continue to withhold badly needed
aid needed by Zimbabwe, a move he says is meant to divide the unity
Going to the two-day summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tsvangirai
had called upon regional leaders to put pressure on Mugabe to fully
implement the power-sharing agreement, accusing the long time leader of
refusing to reverse a series of key political appointments.
The MDC wants the appointment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana reversed, the immediate
appointment of deputy agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett and five
MDC provincial governors.
Gono is blamed for running down the economy by printing money and financing
a violence run-off campaign last year that returned Mugabe to power after a
first round defeat while Tomana stands accused of selectively prosecuting
MDC members and supporters.
Tsvangirai said the SADC Troika, comprising Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland
and South Africa which is mediator remained seized with the Zimbabwe issue.
Analysts say while SADC's position may for now have disappointed the MDC,
the fact that South Africa is part of the troika was a sign that the
regional leaders wanted a quick resolution to the outstanding issues.
Political analysts said the African National Congress (ANC) and
Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) would ratchet pressure
on South African President Jacob Zuma to carry his weight within the troika.
"It is significant that South Africa is part of the troika dealing with
Zimbabwe because it is the most influential country. ANC and COSATU will
pressure Zuma to resolve this and this (in the troika) is where the whole
game will be played," Eldred Masunungure, a political analyst said.
South African deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe seemed to tore the ANC line
yesterday when he told parliament that an extra-ordinary summit to resolve
the political standoff was still an option if the outstanding issues were
"SADC leadership has decided that the SADC secretariat should on an ongoing
basis monitor resolution to all these outstanding issues and that if that
does not produce the desired results an extraordinary summit will be
convened focusing specifically on ensuring that more fillip is added to the
processes of moving Zimbabwe forward," Motlanthe said.
"There is really no advantage to be gained by maintaining the status quo and
Zimbabweans do understand that, that in fact there will be no second chance,
this is their last chance to pull themselves out of the morass they find
themselves in," said Motlanthe.
A recovery in Zimbabwe's battered economy is important for South Africa
because millions of Zimbabweans have been driven to seek work in their much
The formation of an inclusive government in February has given hope of an
end to political hostilities and a debilitating economic crisis but the new
administration has been beset by tensions.
Mugabe and his ZANU-PF say there are no outstanding issues and, in turn,
accuse the MDC of not doing enough to push western governments to lift
Despite the tensions, the fragile coalition would hold with the support of
regional leaders fearing the fallout from a failed Zimbabwe, analysts said.
"The unity government will not be going anywhere, it will survive. It will
be a tug of war but a new constitution will be written and eventually
elections will be held but with each day ZANU-PF is losing support on the
ground," Makumbe said. -- ZimOnline.
by Norest Musvaba Thursday 10 September 2009
JOHANNESBURG - South African President Jacob Zuma is today expected to brief
visiting Swedish Premier Fredrik Reinfeldt on political developments in
neighbouring Zimbabwe among other key regional issues, officials said
Zuma, whose South Africa is the largest economy in the region, will also
discuss with Reinfeldt the just-ended summit of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) that called on Western nations to lift
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and top officials of his ZANU PF
Stockholm currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union that
along with the United States, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada and Australia
have marinated visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his inner
circle as punishment for stealing elections, failure to uphold the rule of
law and human rights.
"Accordingly, the main objectives to be achieved in discussions on the
agenda include, progress on the political, regional and issues such as SADC
including the latest outcomes of the SADC Summit in Kinshasa, and Zimbabwe's
inclusive government and its implementation of the Global Political
Agreement," South Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nomfanelo Kota said.
In a communiqué issued at the end of their summit in the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC) SADC leaders called on the international community to lift
sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle.
The SADC leaders said the February unity government between erstwhile
enemies President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that
the 15-nation bloc helped set up had made significant progress in ending a
devastating economic and political crisis in the southern African country.
But analysts say Western nations are likely to stick by their demand for
more political and other reforms in Zimbabwe before they can lift sanctions
or provide direct financial support to the Harare government. - ZimOnline
by Andrew Moyo Thursday 10 September 2009
HARARE - At least 200 foreign investors have signed up for the Zimbabwe
Mining Indaba with government expecting the number to hit the 300 mark when
the conference kicks-off in Harare next week, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu
The two-day conference scheduled to start on September 16 is the first
mining indaba since formation in February of an inclusive government made up
of ZANU PF and the two MDC formations.
"Over 200 foreign delegates have registered, we expect the number to
increase to 300 by the 16th when the conference starts. In fact we have been
receiving phone calls from many investors who feel they have been left out,"
Mpofu said. "On Tuesday I had several diplomats who came here saying they
want to participate," he added.
At least 700 local and foreign delegates are expected at the conference
whose focus is on reviving the mining sector in Zimbabwe and putting the
country back on the map as an attractive mining destination.
The conference would be officially opened by President Robert Mugabe, with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also addressing the indaba.
A senior official described the people who have registered as "high profile",
confirming the appetite that the international community has on exploiting
the country's minerals.
"Zimbabwe presents significant opportunities to all potential investors,"
Mpofu said, adding; "There has never been a better time than now for
investors to gain access to good mineral resources in the country. The
ongoing reforms on the operating environment and good geology make Zimbabwe's
mining sector an attractive investment destination."
Topical issues to be presented at the conference include the mining industry
investment climate in Zimbabwe, the country's strategy for the recovery of
the mining industry, an overview of the mineral resources in Zimbabwe and
mining legislation and indigenisation.
Government has withdrawn from Parliament a controversial Mines and Minerals
Amendment Bill that analysts had warned could scuttle efforts to revive the
The Bill was withdrawn to allow for consultations with stakeholders. The
Bill, among other investor-unfriendly facets, sought to transfer a majority
stake in international mining houses to locals, including giving the
Zimbabwe government a free 25 percent stake.
Under the draft law, foreign firms mining strategic minerals such as coal
and coal-bed methane were required to cede 51 percent shareholding to
government, with the state taking 25 percent of that for free.
Government was also entitled to take 25 percent shareholding in precious
minerals such as gold, diamonds and platinum while 26 percent would go to
The changes to the Mines and Minerals Act were approved by the Cabinet in
2006, but never signed into law.
Mining accounts for about 4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 16
percent of total annual foreign currency earnings to the country.
Over the past decade most mines in the country shut down due to the country's
poor economic performance blamed on poor policies by Mugabe's
administration. - ZimOnline
by Own correspondent Thursday 10 September 2009
HARARE - One of the three chairmen of a special parliamentary committee
leading the drafting of Zimbabwe's new constitution said he would formally
ask principals to the country's power-sharing agreement to intervene amid
delaying tactics by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party over appointment
of members of thematic sub-committees.
Douglas Mwonzora said ZANU PF had refused to submit names of its members to
sit on the 12 thematic sub-committees
"We have been waiting for ZANU PF to give us its list of names for the past
five to seven weeks but all we have got is one promise after another,"
Names of members of the thematic sub-committees should have been submitted
at most 14 days after the holding of an all-stakeholders constitutional
conference on July 28.
But several weeks later, the former governing party is yet to submit its
list, raising suspicion that it was trying to derail the constitution-making
"Together with the other co-chair and other members of the committee, we
have decided to formally write to the three principals notifying them of our
frustrations with ZANU PF's delaying tactics," Mwonzora said.
The principals to Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement are Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
ZANU PF has often come under fire for allegedly trying to scuttle the
constitution-making process which analysts say could deal the killer punch
to Mugabe's party's 29-year hold on power.
Under the arrangement leading to Zimbabwe's new constitution - hopefully by
the end of 2010 - the thematic sub-committees are supposed to meet citizens
during an outreach programme across the country to solicit and record their
ideas and views about what should be contained in the new governance
charter. - ZimOnline
By Stanley Kwenda
KINSHASA, Sep 9 (IPS) - Condemning Zimbabwe's withdrawal from a regional
tribunal which ruled its state-orchestrated land seizures illegal, civil
society groups have said the country should abide by decisions of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) or pull out of the regional
A SADC heads of state meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo referred a
SADC Tribunal's ruling in favour of farmers whose land had been seized to a
special summit planned for Maputo in two weeks time, a parallel summit of
groups belonging to the Southern African People's Solidarity Network (SAPSN)
called for firm action.
"The SADC Tribunal is now an integral part of the SADC Treaty. Any attempt
to pull out of the Tribunal by the government of Zimbabwe would amount to
pulling out of SADC as a whole," the civil groups said in a statement.
Zimbabwe announced on Sep. 2 that it would no longer be bound by decisions
of the Namibia-based regional court, claiming that the treaty which led to
its formation is yet to be ratified by at least two thirds of the member
The civic groups said an amendment to the SADC Treaty establishing the
Tribunal in 2001 made the tribunal an integral part of SADC. The SAPSN and
the watchdog Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights both point out that the
tribunal protocol categorically excluded it from the usual requirement for
ratification by two thirds before it could come into force and effect.
Several white farmers and a black commercial farmer approached the tribunal
opposing the haphazard land reform programme launched by the Harare
government in 2000.
The programme saw about 4,000 white farmers losing their land to blacks when
the Zimbabwean government embarked on a controversial and often violent
programme to grab land from white commercial farmers. This was under the
pretext that it was correcting a colonial imbalance which left vast tracts
of arable land in the hands of a few white farmers and relegated blacks to
useless reserve areas.
Land redistribution, which Mugabe says is necessary to correct an "unjust
and immoral" colonial land ownership system, is blamed for plunging Zimbabwe
into food shortages after Harare failed to support black villagers resettled
on former white farms with support necessary to maintain production.
The tribunal ruled in favour of the farmers in November 2008 , finding the
Zimbabwe government in violation of a SADC treaty which protects regional
citizens against discrimination on the basis of race. The regional court
ordered Harare not to evict the 78 farmers who brought the case, as well as
well as pay full compensation to those already forced off their farms.
Mugabe publicly dismissed the ruling, while his followers in the military
and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party defied the
court order by continuing to seize more land from the few white farmers
remaining in Zimbabwe.
While the Harare government has compensated some farmers for developments on
the land such as dams, roads and buildings and says it is committed to
compensating all farmers for such improvements, Mugabe has refused to pay
for land seized, saying it was stolen from blacks in the first place.
SAPSN is urging SADC leaders to reject the precedent set by Zimbabwe's
withdrawal from the Windhoek-based Tribunal.
"SADC should make sure that Zimbabwe institute human rights reforms and
comply with regional agreements and carry out the commitments made under
those agreements," said Tabani Moyo of the regional media lobby group Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).
26 August 2009
Mugabe now takes every public speech to wail about the unjustness of the
Travel bans, asset freezes and a ban on the sale of arms to the government
of Zimbabwe are being termed targeted sanctions by Zanu-PF, said Gabriel
Shumba, executive director of the Pretoria-based Zimbabwe Exiles' Forum
"However, these restrictions affect only family members, friends and corrupt
business associates of the former ruling party," he explained.
"As such, they must remain in place until there is visible rule of law,
together with non-partisan institutions that safeguard our democracy and
respect the right to life and the dignity of all Zimbabweans," he said.
Shumba, a human rights lawyer, pointed out that the restrictions have had no
impact on the provision of humanitarian aid and assistance from the United
States and the European Union to Zimbabwe.
According to the United Nations, approximately three million of Zimbabwe's
population are dependent on food aid for survival, a factor that ZEF blames
on ill-advised and corrupt agrarian reforms.
"Humanitarian assistance, which has previously been channelled through civil
society, has instead been hampered in its delivery by government
restrictions on the operations of NGOs," said Shumba.
"Zanu-PF's preoccupation with the lifting of "so-called illegal sanctions",
which would enable the approximately 250 people on the list to indulge in
shopping expeditions when the nation needs every cent for food and basic
services is outrageous," he said.
"The individuals on the list have done nothing that might persuade the US
and Europe to lift them," he added.
However, following demands made on the MDC by the Zanu-PF Politiburo to call
for an end to "sanctions", the state-owned Herald newspaper was quick to
respond in its leader of August 17.
"We hail the resolution made by the Zanu-PF Politburo calling on the MDC
formations to honour their part of the bargain instead of making endless
demands without ceding anything, a stance that implies a sinister motive,"
the newspaper commented.
"The Herald would do well to remember that the lifting of targeted sanctions
is the prerogative of the countries that imposed them," argued Shumba.
"The MDC as a party or any civil society organisation for that matter has no
capacity to enforce the lifting of these restrictions."
The US and EU have said repeatedly that they will lift restrictions only
once certain minimum criteria, including the restoration of the rule of law
and the transformation of institutions, are met.
The restrictions Zanu-PF is so desperate to see lifted are as follows:
The US refuses to allow the 250 people on their list to visit their country.
They have also banned the sale of weapons of war to Zimbabwe and Americans
are not allowed to trade with specified Zanu-PF-controlled local companies.
Canada has banned arms exports to Zimbabwe, frozen the assets of top
Zimbabwean officials and banned Zimbabwean aircraft from Canadian airspace.
The EU restrictions, linked to the former government's abuse of an EU
election observer, are milder: 160 people may not visit EU countries, there
is an arms embargo and a prohibition on technical or financial assistance to
"The only bright light in this sorry tale of Zanu-PF greed and deception is
that some of its ministers - most likely those currently without direct
access to illicit funds - must be struggling to maintain their lavish
lifestyles on US$150 a month," concluded Shumba.
September 10, 2009
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - A self-styled war veteran on Wednesday invaded Panyanda Lodge, a
property which belonged to a deceased government minister and is situated
about 10 kilometres south of Masvingo city.
The man who was identified as Western Ezra invaded the lodge apparently
under the impression that it was still the property of Graeme Richards a
white businessman. In fact the lodge has for long been owned by Regency
Leisure Group, a company formed by the late Eddison Zvobgo.
Zvobgo a founder member of Zanu-PF and a former Minister of Justice,
Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs, died in 2004. He was declared a
national hero. Regency Leisure Group also owns the Chevron and Flamboyant
Hotels in Masvingo in addition to Fair Mile Motel in Gweru.
Ezra stormed the Panyanda Lodge reception early in the morning and demanded
all the keys. He claimed he was the owner of the land on which the lodge
stands and was, therefore, now the new owner of the property.
He ordered all the workers to vacate the premises.
The police in Masvingo yesterday confirmed the incident. They said they had
since recovered the keys and returned them to their rightful owners.
"We approached and asked him to return the keys", said a police spokesman
who requested to remain anonymous.
"We demanded (to see) the offer letter which he said he was in possession of
but it turned out to be false."
Regency Group chief, Frederick Kasese, said, "He came to the lodge and
demanded the keys, arguing that he was the owner because he had an offer
letter for the land on which the lodge is built.
"Our workers tried in vain to talk to him but he would not listen. We called
the police for assistance."
The inclusive government is battling to spruce up the image of Zimbabwe's
hospitality industry in order to attract tourists ahead of the 2010 FIFA
World Cup to be staged in South Africa.
The hospitality industry has been in a state of decline over the years as
tourists have shunned Zimbabwe because of political instability and economic
September 10, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Government has ordered its fixed telephone service provider,
TelOne, to by 50 percent all bills sent to customers between February and
June this year.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) Minister, Nelson Chamisa
announced this development Tuesday. He also appealed to TelOne customers to
settle their bills by the end of October to avoid being disconnected
According to Chamisa, the move to reduce the bills in retrospect was to
allow disgruntled customers of the country's sole fixed telephone service
provider to pay realistic charges while allowing the parastatal to also
He said his ministry had in the past months been inundated with complaints
from customers who felt their bills were too exorbitant.
"From February to end of June (2009), the tariff is going to be 5 cents per
minute," Chamisa told journalists Tuesday.
"The tariff was 10 cents, which constituted 30 cents per unit (of three
minutes). The bills are going to be revised downwards across the board to
make sure that we allow people to pay for realistic bills."
Chamisa said this was consistent with the new scientific method of charging
for telephone services following the turbulent period last year where prices
were rising daily due to hyperinflation.
TelOne, the country's only fixed telephone service provider, responded by
pegging high tariffs in a bid to cover costs and maintain viability.
But Chamisa said the controversial tariff regime by TelOne was still not
consistent with the average monthly use of services by customers in which
households usually use up to150 units while small businesses use 1 500.
He said the exorbitant bills were also a result of the local market which
became confused when the country migrated in February this year from the
Zimbabwe dollar to the current multi-currency regime.
This saw TelOne sending bills of up to US$10 000 per month to both
households and businesses.
In June this year government, through the advice of the Posts and
Telecommunications Regulating Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), agreed a new
tariff regime with TelOne, which the service provider adopted beginning in
Chamisa said, "The instruction that is going to TelOne is to ensure that we
align that with the tariff regime that we feel is supposed to be charged or
levied, the obtaining charge as of the 1st of July. We are actually
backdating it in a scientific manner."
"We are actually saying to all customers, inclusive of government
departments, they have to be compelled to pay in full their bills by the
30th of October or else they risk facing the consequences and the music.
"We have given a grace period. I appeal to our customers to adopt a business
like mentality and reduce the duration of their calls. If it takes too long
it results in unwarranted congestion on the network and huge bills.
"It's also important for customers to desist from sleeping on the network,
literally gossiping on the network because it ruins your pocket."
He said the new tariffs were now consistent with those charged in the
According to the regional average tariff observed in March this year, South
Africa's MTN was charging 37 cents a unit while Botswana's Mascom charged 23
Kenya's Celltel was charging 39 cents, Celtel (Zambia) 22 cents, Vodacom of
Mozambique 28 cents, Lesotho's Vodacom 38 cents and Swaziland 29 cents.
Written by Harare Residents' Trust
Monday, 07 September 2009 14:24
The Harare Residents Trusts (HRT) is disturbed by moves taken by the
Harare City Council (HCC) to lock out more than more than 5 000 families
living in Mbare hostels for failing to pay rentals.
The HCC dispatched final warning letters and bills averaging $540 in
August 2009 to families living in these dilapidated dwellings demanding full
settlement of their bills within seven working days. These bills accumulated
from February this year when the dollarisation of the economy took place.
However, residents could not and cannot afford the high rentals.
On average, the city council is demanding $70 a month for the one
roomed houses in Mbare, Matapi, Shawasha, and Nenyere Hostels which is way
beyond the reach of the majority of residents in this impoverished
One Saturday September 5, 2009, the City Council instructed its
employees to lock all houses whose tenants owe the council any amount to the
last cent. This sparked an outrage among the occupants and a riotous
situation was only averted after the city employees ran for their lives.
Residents have vowed to resist these illegal lock-outs after it emerged that
the council had already purchased hundreds of steel lockers for this
exercise. This is inhumane and unacceptable.
In efforts to suppress any dissent against their action, the City
initially sought the help of Support Unit police to carry out the evictions
after some council employees faced threats from angry residents. The riot
police refused to intervene urging the council that the police force does
not intervene in civic matters.
The HRT is shocked to learn that the City Council has become a
capitalist enterprise which is only focusing on making huge profits to
appease its executives by giving them luxury perks while ordinary residents
live in unacceptable, filthy and life-threatening conditions.
For the past seven months, residents have resisted paying these high
rentals, demanding a justifiable and affordable review. Instead the City
fathers have become arrogant and unresponsive to the demands and
expectations of the electorate who contribute a significant amount to
sustain their extravagant lifestyles. Residents living in these dilapidated
structures feel the rentals are too high and not commensurate with the
services they are getting. Residents want to pay for services they get. Most
of these hostels have dysfunctional toilets and the whole infrastructure has
collapsed posing a serious health risk for the residents especially
The HRT fully supports the residents' move to resists the evictions
which will result in a serious humanitarian crisis. Residents should pay
monthly rentals averaging $20 a month given that most of the people living
in these hostels are unemployed and generate family incomes of less than
$100 a month.
The HRT will not hesitate to mobilise residents living in the hostels
for a complete boycott of paying any rentals unless an amicable solution for
a negotiated settlement is reached.
Micel Schnehage | 47 Minutes Ago
A Zimbabwe farmer, whose home was razed to the ground in a recent attack,
says police seem reluctant to investigate the incident.
Ben Freeth's home was burnt to the ground two days before his father-in-law
Mike Campbell's home was torched.
Freeth and Campbell were instrumental in obtaining a SADC tribunal ruling
protecting them from farm invasions and seizures.
Freeth SAID the people he believed were responsible were living on the
"They're still living there. We just heard they've been looting our
The authorities seem unwilling to help: "The police have done absolutely
nothing to investigate."
Despite losing his house and belongings, Freeth said he would return to his
farm to salvage what he could.
Written by SWRadio Africa
Saturday, 05 September 2009 09:17
The government is coming under fire after another African body ruled
against it. News agencies this week focused on government pull-out from the
SADC Tribunal that ruled in favour of white commercial farmers.
But earlier the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights had
ruled that the Zimbabwean government should repeal sections of the
repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. This
happened in June, after complaints by the Media Institute for Southern
Africa-Zimbabwe, the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe and the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
A recent statement by MISA Zimbabwe said: "The complainants challenged
the constitutionality of the requirements compelling journalists to be
accredited, criminalisation of offences relating to abuse of journalistic
privileges and statutory regulation of the profession." The Zimbabwean
government unsuccessfully argued that there was nothing prejudicial with the
registration and accreditation of journalists, that the right to freedom of
expression was not absolute and that the practice of journalism did not
place it beyond statutory regulation.
The MISA statement goes on to say: "The government has since amended
AIPPA, only to replace it with yet another statutory body in the form of the
Zimbabwe Media Commission and in terms of Constitutional Amendment No 19 of
2008. This is in breach of the provisions of the African Charter which
states that self-regulation is the best system of effecting professionalism
in the media."
Observers say Mugabe and his hard liners are now clearly showing that
they will abide by no rule, of any law, be it Zimbabwean or African.
by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 10 September 2009
HARARE - A battery of repressive laws and attacks against non-governmental
organisation (NGO) workers over the past decade severely restricted civic
society in Zimbabwe with several groups forced to scale down operations or
quit the country altogether, NGOs said Wednesday.
The National Association of NGOs or NANGO said in new report released
yesterday that that civil society organizations faced a permanent security
threat for the past 10 years as calls for democracy were met with
socio-economic and targeted political violence and restrictive laws against
the groups or their workers.
"The past decade has seen increased and open harassment of CSOs and their
members as calls for democracy were met with socio-economic and political
violence," NANGO chief executive Cephas Zinhumwe said releasing the report.
"Through targeted violence and restrictive legislation such as the Public
Order and Security Act, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
Interception of Communication Act and the Private Voluntary Organisation
Act, among others, civil society operating space has been shrunk by the
day," added Zinhumwe.
The NANGO represents the largest number of civil society organisations
working in Zimbabwe.
The group said in the report titled "Civil society security scoping" said
that all NGOs have for the past decade lived in constant fear and insecurity
leading to self-censorship, paralysis of programmes, muzzling of free flow
of information, brain drain and demobilisation.
The level of risk and insecurity, the study said, varied from sector to
sector and depended on the nature of programmes and activities of a
particular organisation and individuals within an organisation.
The report said things came to a head in June 2008 when President Robert
Mugabe's government accused NGOs of working to topple it and banned all
civic society groups from conducting fieldwork.
"The ban was interpreted differently with some CSOs (NGOs) closing shop
after receiving the ban or being forced to close by ZANU PF youths and war
veterans," the report reads in part.
The political impasse that followed last year's inconclusive elections only
helped exacerbate the situation for NGOs as attacks and arrests were stepped
up against civil society workers some of who were kidnapped and allegedly
tortured by state security agents, the report said.
It said: "Activists were abducted without trace in November and December
2008 only for the police who initially denied having them in custody to
bring them to court in late December 2008. Among those abducted was human
rights activist and director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project Jestina Mukoko."
In addition to repressive legislation and violence against personnel, civic
society groups also faced immense difficulties accessing their funds that
held by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This was after the RBZ ordered all
NGOs to deposit all hard cash donations with it to enable better monitoring
of the funds.
"Unbeknown to them, the RBZ intended to put the money to some other use . .
. CSOs found themselves unable to access foreign currency for programmes.
Zimbabwe also faced a cash crisis that resulted in the CSOs being unable to
access local currency for programmes," the NANGO report said. - ZimOnline
by George Ayittey Thursday 10 September 2009
OPINION: At present, President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party has amassed
enormous power and controls all key state institutions: the security forces
(the military and the police), the judiciary, the media, the civil service
(which it has militarised), and the central bank, headed by Gideon Gono, who
has literally destroyed the Zimbabwean currency.
One catastrophic mistake made by the Zimbabwean opposition was not seeking
to wrestle at least one institution out of the grip of ZANU PF. No popular
revolutions since 2000 have succeeded without opposition control of at least
one key state institution such as the security forces, the judiciary or the
media. The Rose Revolution in Georgia (Nov 2003), the Orange Revolution in
Ukraine (Nov 2004), and the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (Feb 2005) all
succeeded because they had the control or support/sympathy of at least one
key state institutions.
Key state institutions
It takes an institution to battle another institution.
At any rate, the ZANU PF controls all key state institutions and governs
with impunity. It knows the opposition is weak or ineffective and exploits
their weaknesses mercilessly.
In addition, it has assembled young thugs - Green Bombers - to terrorise,
intimidate and cow the people. The rule of law is non-existent. ZANU PF
holds itself above the law and is answerable only to itself.
Like other African despots, Mugabe refuses to take responsibility for his
own stupid failures. These despots frequently use the West, the World Bank,
and other external factors - even earthquakes on Jupiter! - as convenient
scapegoats to divert attention from their own scandalous failures.
"President Daniel rap Moi accused the IMF and other development partners of
denying Kenya development funds, thus triggering mass poverty" (The
Washington Times, June 3, 1999; p.A12).
According to the Chairman of Ghana's ruling NDC, Issifu Ali, whatever
economic crisis the nation is going through has been caused by external
factors. "He said the NDC has since 1982 adopted pragmatic policies for the
progress of Ghana, adding that the macro-economic environment of 1999 has
been undermined by global economic developments" (The Independent, Nov 18,
Greedy Western powers
According to the Zimbabwe Independent (April 27, 1999), "Mugabe rejects the
criticism of those who blame the government for the economic crisis. It is,
he says, the fault of greedy Western powers, the IMF, the Asian financial
crisis and the drought" (p. 25). President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe also
blames Western sanctions, British colonialists, racists and "snakes"
(whites) for ruining his economy.
Even African organisations such as the African Union are also steeped in the
externalist orthodoxy. The New Economic Partnership for African Development
(NEPAD) claims that Africa's impoverishment has been accentuated by the
legacy of colonialism and other historical legacies, such as the Cold War
and the unjust international economic system.
Colonialism subverted the "traditional structures, institutions and values,"
creating an economy "subservient to the economic and political needs of the
imperial powers" (para 21). Colonialism, according to NEPAD, retarded the
development of an entrepreneurial and middle class with managerial
capability. At independence, Africa inherited a "weak capitalist class,"
which explains the "weak accumulation process, weak states and dysfunctional
economies." (para 22).
More recent reasons for Africa's dire condition include "its continued
marginalisation from globalisation process." (para 2). NEPAD seeks $64
billion in investments from the West.
Now, Libyan leader Muamar Ghaddafi, the chairman of the African Union, says
Israel is the cause of Africa's problems.
Incompetent and corrupt leaders
By the beginning of the new millennium, even Africa's children were fed up
with this "colonialism-imperialism" claptrap. Chernoh Bah, president of the
Children's Forum asserted that Africa's socio economic problems are a direct
repercussion of incompetent and corrupt political leaders who usurped
political office via the gun. "Some blame colonialism for Africa's plight
while others blame the continent's harsh climatic conditions. I think the
reason is the kind of political systems we have had over the past decades",
he said. (Standard Times [Freetown], April 2, 2003; web posted).
At the United Nations Children's Fund Summit held in May 2002 in New York,
youngsters from Africa ripped into their leaders for failing to improve
their education and health. "You get loans that will be paid in 20 to 30
years and we have nothing to pay them with, because when you get the money,
you embezzle it, you eat it", said 12-year-old Joseph Tamale from Uganda
(BBC News, May 10, 2002).
Prominent Africans also started lashing out at the leadership. UN
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, himself an African, excoriated African
leaders at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Summit in Lome in July
2000. He pointedly told them that they are to blame for most of the
"Instead of being exploited for the benefit of the people, Africa's mineral
resources have been so mismanaged and plundered that they are now the source
of our misery" (Daily Graphic, July 12, 2000; p.5).
Earlier in the year at a press conference in London in April, 2000, Kofi
Annan, "lambasted African leaders who he says have subverted democracy and
lined their pockets with public funds, although he stopped short of naming
names" (The African-American Observer, April 25 - May 1, 2000; p.10).
During a brief stop-over in Accra, he disclosed in a Joy FM radio station
interview that "Africa is the region giving him the biggest headache as the
Security Council spends 60 to 70 percent of its time on Africa. He admitted
sadly and that the conflicts on the continent embarrasses and pains him as
an African" (The Guide, July 18-24, 2000; p.8).
Blaming outside forces
Ordinary people are speaking out too. Said Akobeng Eric, a Ghanaian, in a
letter to the Free Press (29 March - 11 April 1996): "A big obstacle to
economic growth in Africa is the tendency to put all blame, failures and
shortcomings on outside forces. Progress might have been achieved if we had
always tried first to remove the mote in our own eyes" (2).
The African people, fed up at the incompetence of their leaders, started
lashing out. Angry at deteriorating economic conditions in Ghana, thousands
of Ghanaians marched through the streets of the capital city, Accra, to
denounce the ruling regime of President Jerry Rawlings. "If Jerry Rawlings
says the current economic crisis is due to external forces and therefore,
beyond his control, then he should step aside and allow a competent person
who can manage the crisis to take over," Atta Frimpong demanded (The
Ghanaian Chronicle, Nov 29, 1999; p.1).
In Zimbabwe, the people did not buy Mugabe's claim that "Britain, greedy
Western powers, the IMF, the Asian financial crisis and the drought" were
responsible for the country's economic mess. They rejected his request for
constitutional revisions to give him more draconian powers in a February 15,
2000 referendum, handing him his first political defeat in 20 years of
virtually unchallenged rule.
The game is up
United States President Barack Obama echoed these internalist sentiments
when he said in Accra on July 11, 2009 that, "the West is not responsible
for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars
in which children are enlisted as combatants."
The game is up for ZANU PF. It has lost all credibility with the Zimbabwean
people. It has become an imposition - a cancer - on Zimbabwe's body
politic - a far cry from the liberation stature it once enjoyed. Fear and
paranoia are driving the regime to cling to power at all cost - by force and
with brutal repression.
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over
again and expecting different results. The ZANU PF regime has resorted to
brutally repressive measures over and over again since independence in 1980
without any improvement in the economy or society.
I call it lunacy. To extricate itself from the mess, ZANU PF has two
distinct choices to make. The first is to maintain its hard-line stance and,
the second, is to adopt a more conciliatory approach.
1. The hardline approach
The hardline position is invariably a dead end - literally. Africa's
post-colonial history is replete with intransigent autocrats who refused to
yield to popular demands for freedom and took hardline positions:
President Marcias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (1979): His dictatorship was
one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. Of the tiny population of 300
000, thousands of people were eliminated. All prominent politicians and
intellectuals were either killed or driven into exile. Eventually, he was
killed by his own cousin, Lt.-Col Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who is
still president in a tenure no better than his uncle's.
Field Marshal Idi Amin of Uganda (1979): He also called himself the
"Conqueror of the British Empire." His lunatic antics and cruelties need no
elaboration. He was eventually ousted from power by President Julius Nyerere
who sent Tanzanian troops over the border into Uganda. Amin fled into exile
in Saudi Arabia, where he perished.
Milton Obote of Uganda (1986): He was ousted from power by a rebel movement
led by Yoweri Museveni, the current president.
General Samuel Doe of Liberia (1990): A rebel leader cornered him and cut
off his left ear. He bled to death.
General Moussa Traore of Mali (1991): On March 18, 1991, angry Malians took
to the streets to demand democratic freedom from the despotic rule of Moussa
Traore. He unleashed his security forces on them, killing scores, including
women and children. But pro-democracy forces were not deterred and kept up
the pressure. Asked to resign on March 25, he retorted: "I will not resign,
my government will not resign, because I was elected not by the opposition
but by all the people of Mali! But two days later when he tried to flee the
country, he was grabbed by his own security agents and sent to jail. From
there, he lamented: "My fate is now in God's hands."
General Siad Barre of Somalia (1991): Even though Somalia is ethnically
homogenous, his rule was particularly cruel. He played one clan against
another and even went as far as dropping bombs on clan leaders who opposed
his rule. Eventually, he was routed by forces loyal to Mohamed Farar Aideed.
Barre fled Somalia in a tank that ran out of gas near the Kenya border. He
eventually made his way to Nigeria where he died in exile.
Comrade Haile Mariam Mengistu of Ethiopia (1991): Despite having Africa's
largest army with 200 000 soldiers, he was ousted from power by a rag-tag
band of determined Eritrean and Tigrayan rebels. His soldiers could not
protect him. In fact, many of them defected to the rebels side with their
weapons. He fled into exile in Harare, Zimbabwe. And how safe was he in
Zimbabwe? In 1996, an Eritrean, Solomon Haile Ghebre Michael, tried to
assassinate him. ZANU PF officials should be speaking with him.
General Juvenal Habryamana of Rwanda (1994): His plan, returning from peace
talks with opposition parties in Tanzania, was blown up or shot down by
hardliners within his own administration, triggering an orgy of violence and
mayhem that resulted in the slaughter of more than 1 million Tutsis.
General Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (1996): He changed his name to "Sese Seko
Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga", which, in the local Lingala language, meant, "The
rooster who leaves no chicken untouched." A rebel leader, Laurent Kabila,
chased him out of his coop into exile in Morocco, where he died. Hundreds of
Mobutu's soldiers also joined the rebel forces. Subsequently, Kabila himself
was shot dead by this own security detail.
The list is long but the above should suffice. In all cases, it is
instructive to note that the threat to the despotic regime did not come from
opposition parties. It came from:
1. Within the despot's own security apparatus or circle of officers and
family members (Obiang, Abacha, Habryamana, Traore),
2. Rebel groups (Obote, Mengistu, Barre, Doe, Mobutu Sese Seko
3. Invasion from a neighboring country (Idi Amin).
Threat to ZANU PF
Clearly, the threat to the ZANU PF regime is not going to come from the
opposition parties. The threat to ZANU PF is more likely to come from within
or from a rebel insurgency.
Rebel insurgencies start when the political process breaks down. When the
politicians talk and talk and fail to resolve a crisis, a frustrated leader
may "take to the bush" and pick up guns.
The insurgency often starts with a small band of determined rebels from the
country-side, where government troops are thinly spread. The troops are
often concentrated in the capital city to repel any challenge to the despot
It is relatively cheap to start a rebellion. "The late Laurent Kabila, who
overthrew the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, once boasted that all he needed to
mount a revolution was $10 000 and a satellite telephone" (The Economist,
May 24, 2003; p.24).
As it turned out, Kabila was bank-rolled by Rwanda. ZANU PF should not
delude itself into thinking that Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia
or some neighboring country would not finance and support a rebel movement.
Nonetheless, it takes only a small band of determined rag-tag malcontents to
plunge the country into mayhem. Back in 1983, Museveni of Uganda set out
with a rag-tag band of only 27 rebels in a guerrilla campaign against Obote.
Charles Taylor of Liberia started out with about 150 rebels; the late
Mohamed Farah Aidid of Somalia began with 200 rebels; and Paul Kagame of
Rwanda set out with less than 250.
Rebel leaders set their sights on only one destination - the capital city,
the seat of government or power. As they advance inexorably toward the
capital city, their ranks swell with deserting government troops, as well as
restless and unemployed youth, who sense an opportunity for jobs and riches
through pillage and plunder. Some, like child soldiers, are forcibly
recruited into the rebel movement. The fighting escalates as rebel soldiers
close in on the capital city.
A bitter lesson in the post-colonial era is that no African government has
successfully put down a rebel insurgency. Unpaid and demoralised government
troops (loyalists in the case of the Ivory Coast), often abandon posts or
join the rebels (Ethiopia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Zaire).
The despot may attempt to flee and be grabbed at the airport (Moussa
Traore), or succeed and run out of gas (Siad Barre) or die in exile
It should be abundantly clear to ZANU PF hard-knocks that the hardline
position is really a death wish.
2. The conciliatory approach
As stated earlier, Africans are forgiving people. They are willing to
forgive those who have harmed them if the culprits are willing to admit
their errors and make amends. Political leaders who were willing to yield to
the popular will and make amends saved not only themselves but their
countries as well. There are many examples: Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Sao
Tome & Principe, South Africa and Zambia under Kenneth Kaunda.
These countries followed African's own indigenous system of crisis
When a crisis erupts in an African village, the chief will call a village
meeting and put the issue before the people. It will be debated until a
consensus is reached. Once reached, all, including the chief, are required
to abide by it.
In recent years, this indigenous African tradition was revived by
pro-democracy forces in the form of "national conferences" to chart a new
political future in the countries listed above.
Benin's nine-day "national conference" began on 19 February 1990, with 488
delegates, representing various political, religious, trade union, and other
groups encompassing the broad spectrum of Beninois society.
The conference, whose chairman was Father Isidore de Souza, held "sovereign
power" and its decisions were binding on all, including the government. It
stripped President Matthieu Kerekou of power, scheduled multiparty elections
that ended 17 years of autocratic Marxist rule.
In South Africa, the vehicle used to make that difficult but peaceful
transition to a multiracial democratic society was the Convention for a
Democratic South Africa. It began deliberations in July 1991, with 228
delegates drawn from about 25 political parties and various anti-apartheid
The de Klerk government made no effort to "control" the composition of
CODESA. Political parties were not excluded; not even ultra right-wing
political groups, although they chose to boycott its deliberations.
CODESA strove to reach a "working consensus" on an interim constitution and
set a date for the March 1994 elections. It established the composition of
an interim or transitional government that would rule until the elections
More important, CODESA was "sovereign." Its decisions were binding on the de
Klerk government. De Klerk could not abrogate any decision made by CODESA -
just as the African chief could not disregard any decision arrived at the
Zimbabwe can pull itself from the brink by holding a "sovereign national
conference" - not just craft a Global Political Agreement (GPA). That
approach is flawed because it excludes civil society - teacher's groups,
student groups, church groups, women groups, etc. It is for this reason -
the exclusion of civil society groups - why governments of national unity
(GNU) have never worked in Africa.
The choice before ZANU PF is stark clear: It can maintain its hardline
stance or adopt a conciliatory approach. Their own survival and that of
Zimbabwe will depend on which choice they make. There are plenty of lessons
to draw from on the African continent.
The wise learn from the mistakes of others while fools repeat them. Idiots,
on the other hand, repeat their own stupid mistakes. - ZimOnline
Written by SECRETARY GENERAL MUTARE POLYTECHNIC
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 11:08
MINISTER COLTART - We, as Zimbabwean students from Mutare Polytechnic,
would like to express our great concern about the exorbitant and unrealistic
tuition fees which are now depriving us of our right to education.
February 2009 came to us as a remedy, but those were tantalizing
promises of freedom because six months down the line, little seems to have
changed. We are greatly concerned by these recent developments. Students
have been forced to find their own ways of sustaining educational bills and
demands (US$425.00/term against basic salary of US$150.00). Where are you
expecting us to get the money? Female students have now resorted to visiting
night clubs (Pavilion Sports Club) to make life sustainable at the college.
Where is the money going? We feel insulted by the attenuated services
we are receiving. Non bona-fide and external students are getting access to
the library after paying a meager US$5.00 at the expense of legitimate
Mutare Polytechnic students who are requested to pour out US$100.00. With
students ID one automatically qualifies to use library without any
propagated "technicalities". We really appreciate the efforts by the
government to minimize educational expenses by introducing the cadetship
scheme, but the way and how it has been conducted raises some questions,
with some illegitimate and undemocratic aspects endorsed in the process.
As much as we appreciate the efforts being made to stabilize the
economy (free education is unsustainable) we would also like you to
acknowledge our presence by offering affordable education. We love our
country and we will work for its survival, so don't deny us education. In a
nutshell we are appealing to the GNU headed by the ministry to treat this as
a matter of urgency because any delay will prejudice us and further
jeopardise the education sector. - SECRETARY GENERAL MUTARE POLYTECHNIC,
Written by Trevor Grundy
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 11:39
When journalist and author TREVOR GRUNDY learned that the homestead of
Ben and Laura Freeth had been burned to the ground by hooligans acting on
behalf of the erstwhile 'liberal' nationalist Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, his
mind returned to 1979 when he travelled the then war-torn Rhodesia to
co-author a book that has now become a collector's item "The Farmer at War".
That terrible cry - "We will eat your children" is being heard once
again in a land that almost 30 years ago gave such high hope to millions of
people around the world. BEN FREETH was 38 when he heard that terrible cry -"We
will eat your children."
In an article published in The Times (June 1, 2009) the now homeless
and farmless white Zimbabwean told how the invaders at his Mount Carmel farm
came at 11 pm -singing chanting and crashing metal objects outside the
windows of his thatched homestead. "Out! Out!!" they shouted as they
surrounded the farm. The leader of the hooligans, said to be acting on
behalf of Nathan Shamuyarira, was a man with the quasi-Chimurenga of
"Landmine." He was armed with a rifle. Ben Freeth wrote that one man entered
"Josh, Josh, there's a man in our room," said Anna, 4. Joshua, 9, told
my wife Laura afterwards that the man was making hyena noises. My other son,
Stephen is 7." In 1979 I met two white children more or less the same age
as Anna, Joshua and Stephen on a remote farm somewhere in North East
Rhodesia. I was gathering material for a book about the way commercial
farmers were living during what turned out to be the last year of the seven
year-long Chimurenga Two. James was six. His brother, Mark, was four. They
are, give or take a couple of years, contemporaries of Ben Freeth, and were
then more or less the same age as Ben and Laura's children are now.
What has changed?
THIRTY YEARS AGO James and Mark were farm kids who'd known nothing but
war. What the hell has changed, I asked my wife last week while looking at
the flaming havoc caused by out of control Zanu (PF) hooligans at Ben and
Laura's once lovely and productive mango farm. In a short piece I wrote
after visiting the farm owned by the parents of James and Mark I asked if
those two boys would remember the Rhodesian confrontation in the same way
that I remember the blitz in London.
Now I wonder - How will Anna, Joshua, Stephen remember their own
terrible childhood war. How, too, will the little written about black
children of tens of thousands of workers tossed off once wonderfully
productive commercial farms by a de-ranged so-called national leader, Robert
Gabriel Mugabe? Like the Romans of old, he and his ruling party sycophants
have created a desert and dared to call it peace.
Karl Marx - said to be the intellectual mentor of people like Mugabe
and Shamuyarira (methinks, King Midas was the real one) - wrote that history
repeats itself first as tragedy and then as comedy. But there's nothing
comic about what's happening today in Zimbabwe. The handful of commercial
farmers left on the land in Zimbabwe today represent only a band of
courageous men, women and children who picked up the mantle of hope tossed
onto the floor in 1980. They dared pick it up and make real the promises of
Zanu (PF), ZAPU, the British Government and donors who so generously
supported Africa's great -unique -experiment in multiculturalism after years
Re-reading the piece I wrote all those years ago in a small book that
has now since become a collector's item (condemned by some at the time of
publication as a Rhodesia Front propaganda booklet) I weep.
Nothing but war
JAMES IS SIX years old and his brother Mark, four. They're two white
farm children, who have never known anything but war, living behind security
fences, protected by guns and grenades, riding in protected vehicles; their
parents always alert. Will they, I wonder, have the same vivid memories of
the Rhodesian confrontation as I still have of World War 11 in Britain . . .
wailing sirens, exploding bombs and that scurry into London's underground
Their parents inherited a 4,000 farm shortly after they married. They
have only known farming and military life. He was 15 years old when UDI was
declared in 1965 and she a mere 12-year-old. Their sons are a delight to
talk to, James a first-class horse ride and Mark doing his best to emulate
his brother. Like their parents, farming children are conservatively
cautious generally, and openly hostile to writers and journalists. Not
without good cause. They're wary of the glib, fast-talking stranger, though
when they warm to you they are generous, out-going and articulate, weighing
their words carefully but expressing themselves clearly and firmly. Sons
follow their fathers and James and Mark were no exception.
"Have you always lived on this farm, James?" I asked.
"Most of the time. I was born in Salisbury but I've always lived
"What do you do during the day? You don't go to school, do you?"
"My Mom teaches me. Sometimes we learn our lessons before breakfast.
Things like sums and reading. I learn lots of things."
"Is it you or lots of other little boys?"
"Nobody It's just me and my brother. But he can't read and he can't
ride properly, either."
"When do you think you will go to a proper school?"
"If you can't go to the local school because of the war you Might have
to go to Salisbury to a boarding school. Would you like to go to a boarding
"If I went way I'd be a boarder. I'd come back to the farm for my
"What sort of games do you play?"
"How do you play terrorists?"
"Like cowboys and Indians?"
"How do you play it?"
"With guns. Some people have to count to 20 and while the terrs go
away you have to pretend."
"What do you prefer to be? An army man or a terrorist?"
"Because we like to shoot everybody in the whole stick."
"You daddy was telling me that you've fired all kinds of guns. Are
they real guns?"
"What do you fire them at?"
"Targets. Targets and trees sometimes. I have shot an AK. I've shot
real guns. MAGS and an FN."
"Are you strong enough to hold an FN?"
"Yes, but I'm not strong enough to hold a Bren gun, yet. But I can
carry a MAG."
"Have you ever seen a terrorist?"
"What would you do if you saw a terrorist on the farm?"
"With a real gun?"
"Mark, you don't go to school yet, do you?"
"I play. Sometimes I play and sometimes I go to a play group."
"Are you going to learn to ride a horse? I heard your brother was a
good rider when he was four and you're four now, aren't you?"
"Sometimes we can trot and we go too fast."
"What about friends. Are there any little boys around here of your
"Yes, from the farms."
"What do you play with them?"
"What would you like to be. An army man or a terrorist?"
"An army man. Then I can shoot my brother."
Extract from the book "The Farmer at War" by Trevor Grundy and Bernard
Miller (Modern Farming Publications, Salisbury, Rhodesia 1979 foreword by
Denis Norman (Zimbabwe's first Minister for Agriculture).
Fellowship Announcement: Applications Due October 12th 2009
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pleased to announce a call for applications for the IIE
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In 2007 SRF launched the Iraq Project in response to the crisis of higher education throughout Iraq. If you are an Iraqi scholar seeking assistance or you are a university interested in hosting an SRF Iraqi scholar, please contact SRFIRAQ@iie.org or visit www.scholarrescuefund.org/iraq.
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CONSTITUTION WATCH 8
[9th September 2009]
Reminder of GPA Time-line for the New Constitution
13 July – Convening of the First All Stakeholders Conference
13 November – Public Consultation Process must be completed – no later than 4 months after date of First All Stakeholders Conference]
Select Committee “Almost” Ready to Proceed
After long delays, the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution has now said that they are almost ready to set up thematic sub-committees and outreach teams. Whether in fact they are almost ready is a moot point as the Committee have said that funding still has not been secured for the Public Consultation Process. All three of the Select Committee chairpersons have, however, said that the press report that the Select Committee has taken a decision “suspending operations in protest against non-payment of allowances and a lack of funding to complete the task” is incorrect. Planning is continuing and some progress has been made.
Reasons for Delay
The delay has been attributed to:
· Lack of finance – the ZANU-PF chairperson of the Select Committee has said that funding must not come direct from donors to the Committee as that would create the wrong perception, but must come via the government.
· Disagreement between the political parties – with one party being accused of slowing down the whole process deliberately by not getting on with naming their quota of chairpersons and boycotting meetings, the other party blaming a lack of response from Treasury.
Progress on Work Plan for the Consultative Stage
Planning and selection of thematic sub-committees Persons to sit on these committees have been identified, but not yet informed The number of thematic sub-committees will be 17, with each sub-committee having 25 members, making a total of 425 people.
Chairpersons of the thematic committees. These will be all be Parliamentarians. ZANU-PF and MDC-T have each been asked to put forward 7 chairpersons, MDC-M 2 and Chiefs 1. Both MDCs had selected theirs by 16th July but ZANU-PF asked for more time and have not yet put forward their list of names, but have assured the Select Committee that they will be provided this coming Monday. [Note: it is stipulated under the GPA that all the chairpersons should be Parliamentarians. In April, civil society was informed by the Select Committee that the principals would be asked to agree to a revision of this provision so that some of the thematic sub-committees could be chaired by non-Parliamentarians, but nothing came of this. It is also worth remembering that the Speaker in April said Parliament had through its Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO] recommended to the three principals that parties should consider the appointment of a non- Parliamentarian to chair the Select Committee – again nothing came of this.]
Vice-Chairpersons These will be non-Parliamentarians chosen and then appointed by the Select Committee. There will be 7 each nominated by ZANU-PF and MDC-T, 2 by MDC-M and 1 by the Chiefs. They will be selected by the parties from names of non-Parliamentarians put forward by NGOs and other civil society bodies for the thematic committees.
Planning and selection of Outreach Teams There will be 70 outreach teams to cover 210 constituencies, with about 12 members in each team and each team will visit 3 constituencies. The total number of people involved in the outreach teams for the public consultation process is 860 – made up of the 425 thematic committee members plus and extra 435. There will also have to be a number of support staff for each team.
Construction of Questionnaires This is in progress, but is not yet finished. Technical experts, some of whom were members of the 1999 Government [Chidyausiku] Constitutional Commission have been brought in by the Select Committee to assist in this exercise. When the questionnaires have been drawn up they will have to be discussed and agreed with the thematic sub-committees.
Training The thematic committees and other members of the outreach teams will be trained together in a series of seminars in the use of the questionnaires and the outreach procedures. The Select Committee will identify these trainers. The estimated time for training is about two weeks.
Representation on Thematic Sub-Committees and Outreach Teams
The total number of people in the outreach teams is 860 [425 from the thematic sub-committees plus an extra 435].
Parliamentarians [Senators and MPs] will number 258 out of the 860 [30%]
Non Parliamentarians will number 602 [70%] out of the 860. These will be selected by political parties from a pool of names put forward by NGOs, the business sector, women’s groups, war veterans, farming groups, unions [not ZCTU who are opting out of the Parliamentary-driven process], etc. Which stakeholder groups were approached for names was decided on by the Select Committee. ZANU-PF will select 254 [42.2%]of the 602, MD-T will choose 254 [42.2%], MDC-M 62 [10.3%], and chiefs will choose 32 [5.3%]. The Select Committee has said that the parties have been asked to select members taking into account skills, gender balance and political affiliation.
These percentages of 30% Parliamentarians to 70% non-Parliamentarians will be reflected in the composition of the thematic sub-committees, as will the percentages each party and the chiefs get to nominate for the thematic committees.
After funding is secured it will still take about a month to put thematic sub-committees and outreach teams in place, complete the questionnaires and conduct the training seminars. The Select Committee have said the tasks that do not require substantial funding will be started immediately, while waiting for the major funding needed for the actual outreach, for allowances, transport, accommodation, etc. for 860 people and support staff and services.
The Select Committee have said that they believe they will still meet the deadline of 13th November given in the GPA time-frame. This will mean that the time allotted for public consultation is reduced to about one month. [In fact the GPA time-frame was never incorporated into the Constitution, but there is an obligation on the three parties as signatories to the Interparty-Political Agreement [GPA] to stick to it unless the three principals to the GPA agree to change provisions] There has been talk of the principals meeting to decide whether to alter the time-line but this meeting has not taken place. The problem now is that with the amount of time that has already passed since the All Stakeholder Conference, if the GPA deadline of 13th November is met, then the GPA intention of allowing four months for outreach for wide public consultation cannot be honoured.
Proposal for Secretariat and Executive Director
The Select Committee today resolved that a special Secretariat with an Executive Director should be set up to back its work on the Constitution. So far administrative tasks arising from the Select Committee’s work have had to be carried out by the staff of Parliament. Parliament has to continue with its core business and the amount of work and logistics involved in the public consultation stage and then the collating and writing up the information into reports to form the basis of drafting a new Constitution requires extra personnel and resources. But of course funds have to be found.
Note: the Select Committee did not respond to an offer from civil society arising from their Constitutional Conference for the Select Committee to establish a Parliamentary– Civil Society Joint Coordination and Management Committee to improve the management of the process.
It is sad the something as important as a new Constitution should be the subject of delays caused by inter-party power plays. At the All Stakeholders Conference [which itself was delayed to the last possible moment] attendees were assured the Select Committee would publish notices in the press not later than 17th July giving details of the thematic sub-committees and calling on stakeholders to indicate their fields of interest and nominate representatives to serve on the sub-committees and that the sub-committees would be constituted by 28th July. Not only were these deadlines not met, but calls for nominees were not made public. Although there is in fact no obligation for the Select Committee to stick to what was decided at the First All Stakeholder conference [the GPA states that the Select Committee is to “consult” stakeholders and get their “assistance”] there is a moral imperative that the new Constitution promised to the people of Zimbabwe by the GPA should not be derailed or delayed by party-political tactics. It was also hoped that there would be more accountability and transparency in the whole process.
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