|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
"We are saying enough is enough. We think
it is not your deliberate
intention to have your electricity killing and torturing the masses of
"So we are saying for now if you can switch off your switches (to
Zimbabwe) it will help to restore normality and democracy in Zimbabwe."
Tamu said Eskom had "the capacity, the power, the strength" to help
achieve democracy in Zimbabwe in this way.
Zulu told the protesters that he was accepting the petition on behalf
of the Eskom board of directors to whom the petition was addressed but could
not respond to their demands immediately.
"Let me commit myself to bringing it (the petition) to the board of
Eskom. After applying ourselves to the contents of the memorandum, we will
give you feedback," he said.
Mugabe slapped down over Commonwealth comeback
Envoys agree with human rights groups that it is too early to lift
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's campaign for the lifting of Harare's
suspension from the Commonwealth was dealt a heavy blow when the body's high
commissioners said the situation had not changed.
Commonwealth envoys agreed with human rights groups in Zimbabawe that it was
too early to lift the ban.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum and Lawyers for Human Rights activists told
a Commonwealth diplomatic meeting at Chatham House in London this week this
week that the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe had not changed,
except for the worse.
Their presentations on the situation in Zimbabwe found support among most
The campaigners said Zimbabwe remained stuck in a political impasse and
economic quagmire without hope of improvement since its suspension from the
54-member club for electoral fraud following last year's disputed
During its suspension, Harare was asked to address issues of political
dialogue and reconciliation; democracy and human rights; electoral law
reforms; and economic recovery.
A Commonwealth secretarygeneral's report released early this year on
Zimbabwe said the Harare government had not only failed to address the
situation but was presiding over a "precipitous deterioration".
The human rights forum's chairman, Albert Musarurwa, said Mugabe's regime,
apart from failing to comply with Commonwealth demands, had also failed to
meet the demands of the Abuja agreement a political deal between Harare and
London signed in September 2001 to end the current crisis.
He said the government showed no intention of fulfilling its obligations
under the accord.
The a greement directed Harare, among other things, to end the occupations
of whiteowned farms, restore the rule of law, clean up its land-reform
programme, restore a culture of human rights and uphold political and civil
"There has been continued disregard for the rule of law and manipulation of
the judiciary that has compromised equal access to justice," Musarurwa said
in a report to the meeting.
"This has been accompanied by a culture of impunity presided over by a
seemingly partisan police force. Economic decline has accelerated as a
result of mismanagement, coupled with engagement in an unsustainable
land-reform programme that has served only to aggravate food insecurity in
Arnold Tsunga, director of Lawyers for Human Rights, also painted a gloomy
picture , saying the simmering Zimbabwe crisis would boil over soon.
Remarks by Zimbabwe's deputy high commissioner in London, Godfrey Magwenzi,
at the meeting were met with cries of derision.
At one point Magwenzi interrupted an address by Tsunga, declaring: "We (the
Zimbabwean government) are not in the habit of harassing people."
He was greeted by a chorus of derisive laughter.
Tsunga said elections in Zimbabwe since 2000 had been characterised by
"political violence and vote-rigging allegations".
Zimbabwe had been in election mode since 2000, and it appeared set to remain
that way until 2008, Tsunga said.
The activists said this would keep the country in a dangerous state of flux
in which the political and economic crisis would remain volatile.
Mail and Guardian
Zimbabweans throng visa lines
10 September 2003 09:58
Thousands of Zimbabweans
jostled in line outside the South African visa
office in Harare on Tuesday to apply for travel permits in hopes of some
relief from their homeland's crushing political and economic crises.
Many slept outside the building after South African authorities relaxed visa
restrictions. Riot police were called to quell pushing in the line before
nightfall on Monday.
Hundreds of people routinely spend nights outside the British visa office in
An estimated 500 000 Zimbabweans are living and working in Britain, the
former colonial power in the country. London is known colloquially here as
Customers also sleep on the sidewalk outside banks with no end in sight to
an acute shortage of local cash in this crumbling economy.
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
with record inflation of 400%, one of the highest rates in the world.
Soaring unemployment and acute shortages of hard currency, local money,
food, gasoline, medicine and other imports have crippled the economy.
Waiting in line for food and gas have become routine in past months.
Even the dead wait to be buried or cremated.
Impoverished relatives often can't afford burial fees and Harare's
crematorium has run short of the inflammable gases used in its furnace for
In the South African visa line on Tuesday, Priscilla Tapa (24) said she was
planning to take handcrafted baskets and cuts of ethnic cloth to sell in the
markets of Johannesburg.
She hoped to bring back mobile phones and small, high-value electronics
components for resale. She said she would probably have to bribe border
officials if she was caught with the goods or hard currency destined for
exchange on Zimbabwe's thriving black market.
She said she knew of unemployed friends who had resorted prostitution in
this country with an HIV infection rate of 25%.
An estimated 70% of Zimbabwe's 12-million people live in poverty. Nearly
half will need emergency food aid by the end of the year to avert famine,
according to the United Nations.
Prices of food, gasoline and transportation have increased sharply. In the
past month, the black market exchange rate for the United States dollar has
doubled to more than Z$5 000 to $1. The official exchange rate is Z$824 to
The economic crisis is partly blamed on the seizure of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms for handing over to black settlers.
Farming production has dwindled, with many of the settlers facing acute
shortages of seeds and fertilisers.
On Monday, the two top officials of the Commercial Farmers Union in western
Zimbabwe resigned from the embattled farmers' organisation after criticising
its leaders for not resisting new farm seizures.
The union represented about 4 500 farmers before the often violent land
seizures began in 2000. Only about 400 white farmers are still on their
Newly displaced farmers have reported being told by district government
officials a new phase of seizures, known as Operation Clean Sweep, is to
oust most remaining white farmers.
In other developments, Martin Mukaro was the most recent person to be
charged under draconian security laws aimed at stifling dissent.
The Zimbabwean man is accused of sending a fax to a friend in Britain
describing allegations of political violence by ruling-party militants
during district elections earlier this month.
While he was faxing the letter from a public phone store, "a certain
concerned person" called police, court officials said.
Mukaro (35) was freed on bail by a Harare court on Monday to reappear on
October 8 on charges carrying a maximum penalty of up to five years in
jail. -- Sapa-AP
The Monitor, Kampala
Zimbabweans to 'take over' Kiryandongo
By Carolyne Nakazibwe
September 10, 2003
KAMPALA -- Government is relocating Sudanese refugees from Kiryandongo
camp in Masindi to West Nile, to make room for a group of white Zimbabwean
farmers, The Monitor has learnt.
Sources told The Monitor that plans are in advanced stages to help
Zimbabwean farmers start a new life in Uganda.
The white farmers in Zimbabwe have lost land in the wake of President
Robert Mugabe's land redistribution programme.
The Minister of State for Planning, Mr Isaac Musumba, could not
confirm whether the Kiryandongo area would be given to the Zimbabweans. He,
however, said that the government is considering resettling some of the
farmers in Bunyoro.
"All I know is that Masindi was mentioned," he said. Government used
police to force the rioting 17,400 Sudanese from the Kiryandongo transit
camp to West Nile.
Musumba said in a phone interview yesterday that all government land
has been given to the Uganda Investment Authority to boost investment.
He said that there are many Zimbabwean farmers interested in Uganda.
He has already talked to about twenty of them.
"But they wanted more than land. They wanted agricultural finance. You
see agriculture in other countries enjoys a different kind of interest, so
they wanted government to help them retire their loans in Zimbabwe and move
them to Uganda and see how we start," Musumba said.
He said that the new demands from the farmers are delaying their
The government needs at least $3 million (Shs 6 billion) for a start.
"And there are Indian and Ugandan investors who requested similar
incentives, so would it be fair to give the money to the Zimbabwean
farmers?" asked Musumba.
However, the First Deputy Premier and Minister for Disaster
Preparedness, Lt. Gen. Moses Ali, denied reports that refugees are being
moved to make room for the farmers. He said that Kiryandongo will remain a
"Those are just rumour mongers. The place was a refugee camp before
the Sudanese were moved there from Acholi pi. The people they found there
will stay," Moses Ali said on Monday.
The acting representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees Mr Magluff J. M. Castro said that he is not aware of any plans to
resettle Zimbabweans at Kiryandongo.
Musumba however said that having Zimbabweans here will boost the
export network, improve access to markets and crop quality as well as boost
the outgrowers' incomes.
The Director, Land Development Division at the Uganda Investment
Authority, Mr Patrick Nyaika, said that no areas would be gazetted for a
group of Zimbabwean farmers.
He said that the land would be leased depending on the farmers'
proposals. Nyaika said that the UIA had received submissions from the
He said that he had no idea that Kiryandongo refugee camp is being
considered as a possible home for the Zimbabweans.
He however explained that the government allowed the authority to
lease out land to investors.
"Seventy percent of Uganda's land is not utilised for agriculture yet
it is suitable," Nyaika said yesterday.
He said that no investment project would displace citizens in favour
of Zimbabwean farmers.
© 2003 The Monitor
Zimbabweans fined for faking death to buy fuel
Wed 10 September, 2003 13:41 BST
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe police have
arrested four men for faking a death
to get preferential treatment on the sale of fuel, state television has
An acute shortage of hard currency since 1999 in Zimbabwe has resulted in
erratic fuel supplies and the problem has worsened since a deal with Libya
collapsed last November.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said on Wednesday police arrested and
fined four men after suspicious attendants at a Harare garage offering
priority to bereaved families found one of them hiding inside the coffin
aboard a vehicle seeking petrol.
The latest report follows a local newspaper story in July, which said police
arrested two mortuary workers for renting out corpses to motorists looking
for a way to jump the long queues at the pumps.
Chombo’s suspension of councillors quashed
THE High Court yesterday quashed Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo’s suspension of six Harare city councillors last month, saying the
suspension was unprocedural and invalid at law.
The Attorney-General’s Office consented to an order sought
suspended opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors
nullifying their banishment from Town House.
Chombo suspended councillors Falls Nhari and Fani Munengami on 8
August resulting in the postponement of elections for a new deputy mayor and
chairpersons of committees which had been scheduled for that day in defiance
of Chombo’s directive that the elections be postponed.
Chombo ordered the postponement of the elections,
saying they could
not go ahead until the probe into suspended Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri,
also of the MDC, was complete.
Harare’s first opposition mayor, was suspended by Chombo
earlier this year allegedly for refusing to take ministerial directives and
mismanaging the city.
Mudzuri denies the charges.
Harare councillors – Elijah Manjeya, Michael Richard Laban,
Elizabeth Marunda and Jerome O’Brien – were suspended on 27 August after
they had been elected into the new executive committee during a primary
election conducted at the MDC’s headquarters in Harare.
Granting a provisional order
sought by the suspended councillors,
Justice Moses Chinhengo declared the suspension of the councillors – all of
them from the MDC – “a nullity in law”.
Chinhengo said the suspension of the six councillors was
because it had not been done according to the Urban Councils Act which
stipulates that letters of suspension be issued by the Local Government
Chombo’s permanent secretary, Vincent
Hungwe, issued the letters
suspending the six MDC councillors, in a move political analysts saw as a
manoeuvre by the government and the ruling ZANU PF party to regain control
of the politically important capital.
In letters of suspension to the councillors, Hungwe
said Chombo had
directed that the councillors be suspended following “irregularities”
pertaining to the councillors’ conduct “that has threatened the good
governance and general administration of the City of Harare”.
In his certificate of urgency, lawyer O’Brien, who was
suspended councillors, said Chombo had acted out of political bias rather
than concern for the good governance of Harare.
is seen by the efforts that the Minister has gone to to control
the work of the council,” O’Brien said.
“It has also been seen by the fact
that the Minister has suspended
four councillors who were due to assume positions of leadership within the
council in August 2003, the day after newspaper reports of this fact
appeared in the national Press.”
Since last year, Chombo has been virtually running the
Harare, issuing directives to the city council, including one in which he
ordered the Mudzuri-led council to forward all resolutions relating to
personnel and financial matters to him for scrutiny before the council
On 16 July this year, for example,
Chombo ordered councillors to stop
drawing from council’s fuel reserves and on 24 July he ordered the dismissal
of Mudzuri’s assistants.
O’Brien complained in the urgent chamber application that the
councillors’ suspension had greatly hampered the administration of the city
Their absence, he said, together with the absence of
Mudzuri who was
suspended in April this year, effectively meant that the city operated
without its elected leadership.
“The applicants are
public officials and their suspension affects them
personally and has the likely effect of damaging their good names and
reputations in the eyes of the general public,” O’Brien said.
By Fortune Bango and Fanuel
Militia killing souls of young Zimbabweans
JOHANNESBURG – He may look like any ordinary, unemployed teenage
youth in baggy pants and an old T-shirt, but Thabo (not his real name) is
haunted by ghastly memories.
2002, ahead of Zimbabwe’s presidential elections, Thabo was
among some 70 national youth service militiamen who besieged the home of the
chairman of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Ward 5 of
Tsholotsho, in northern Matabeleland. The youth allegedly forced the family
to watch as they beat the man with an iron bar, then strangled him.
Independent human rights monitors confirmed the murder.
Thabo was speaking last
Friday in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the
launch of a report on the Zimbabwe government’s youth militia and its track
record of human right abuses, titled: National youth service training –
shaping youths in a truly Zimbabwean manner.
The report, covering the period October 2000
to August 2003, was
produced by the Solidarity Peace Trust, chaired by Catholic Archbishop Pius
Ncube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, and Anglican Bishop Rubin Phillip
of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
The trust has called on regional leaders and churches
to condemn "this
vile system" and to press for the disbandment of the militia.
"African leaders support one another, but are blind to
the abuse of
citizens," said Ncube. "The militia is killing the soul of young people in
Since it was set up in 2000, the youth
militia, known locally as the
"Green Bombers" from the colour of their uniforms, have grown into one of
the most commonly reported violators of human rights in Zimbabwe, the report
murder, torture, rape, arson, destruction of property
and denial of food aid and health care to opposition members by the militia
have been documented by Physicians for Human Rights, based in Denmark, and
Amnesty International, among other rights groups.
The national youth service,
supposedly a voluntary training programme
for vocational skills, disaster management, patriotism and moral education,
has become, the report noted, a paramilitary force for the ruling ZANU PF.
By the end of 2002, an estimated 9 000 youngsters had undergone formal
militia training in five main camps, with up to 20 000 trained less formally
in the districts. Training initially was for six months, but was reduced to
has repeatedly stated its intention to make youth
service compulsory, with access to tertiary education and public sector
positions linked to participation.
"It’s a partial policy at the moment, but with
so little employment in
Zimbabwe right now, jobs are increasingly being reserved for youth militia,"
a human rights activist said.
In July the government announced plans for weapons training for the
militia. Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi was quoted in the government
Press as saying that the national youth service could form a reserve force,
under military command, to defend the nation.
"By announcing an
‘intention’ to train youth in weaponry, the minister
had finally owned up to a de facto government policy. It is now beyond doubt
that the youth militia training is in fact paramilitary training under the
guise of a national youth service.
According to defected militia, it is often brutal and
the report said.
Children as young as 11 have
reportedly been through the youth service
programme, whose stated catchment age is between 12 and 30 years.
Such training could amount to
creating child soldiers, analysts have
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, in force since February 2002, raises the minimum age for military
training to 18 and requires strict safeguards for voluntary recruitment.
training on weapons to youth under 18 amounts to recruitment
of child soldiers," explained Enrique Restoy, Africa programme officer at
the London-based Coalition Against the Use of Child Soldiers.
condemn the use of children and youth as instruments of repression
The militia has been deployed in force during local
elections. "They have been blatantly used by ZANU PF as a campaign tool,
being given impunity and implicit powers to mount roadblocks, disrupt MDC
rallies and intimidate voters," said the report.
Alcohol and marijuana consumption occurs routinely during training and
deployment, according to former militia members and their victims. "The
militia is turning children into little vandals who murder their uncle and
torture their neighbours," said the human rights activist, who asked not to
be named. The youth militia allegedly operate with police complicity and
under the command of war veterans. The Kamativi training camp in northern
Matabeleland is reportedly run by the notorious "Black Jesus", a war veteran
jailed in 2001 for the murders of three opposition activists in Kariba,
northern Zimbabwe, but was later freed. A former militiaman, aged 25,
interviewed by researchers in August, explained: "When we moved as a group,
we felt that we were feared a lot . . . Our source of power was this
encouragement we were getting, particularly from the police and others . . .
It was instilled in us that whenever we go out, we are free to do whatever
we wanted." Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena denied police complicity, or
that there were widespread acts of political violence by the youth brigades.
"For some time we’ve tried to investigate these cases and found these
allegations to be of no substance at all." He told IRIN that he could
remember only one case of the police arresting militiamen, for "disorderly
behaviour", earlier this year in the town of Chitungwiza, 35 km from the
capital, Harare. "I’m not saying that all national youth service members are
law-abiding, but these (allegations) are so exaggerated they become
meaningless." Besides, reportedly abusing others, youth militias are abused
themselves. Girls have detailed cases of systematic rape in camps by
trainees, camp instructors, senior commanders and ZANU PF officials. Among
35 urban youth militia, who in 2002 approached a local human rights group
for help, six girls were pregnant. The youngest girl raped in the group was
aged 11. Debbie (not her real name) joined the militia at Thabazinduna camp,
40 km from Bulawayo, after they threatened to burn down her family home.
"Boys and girls slept in the same dorm and we were raped nightly, I don’t
know by who and by how many," she said at the launch of the report. When she
reported the rapes to a local ZANU PF official, he allegedly pulled out a
gun and threatened to kill her if she persisted. Debbie became pregnant and
HIV positive before eventually fleeing Zimbabwe. Debbie’s one-year-old baby
girl, named Nokuthula (peace), played on the floor while her mother
described the daily and nightly routine: wake up at 3:00 am, run 20 km, do
200 press-ups, roll in the mud, eat donkey meat, chant ZANU PF slogans,
watch the torture of opposition members brought into the camp, be raped at
night. Nurses and doctors in Matabeleland North confirm a sharp rise in
teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases since the opening of
Kamativi training camp. Sexual abuse is ever more dangerous, given that an
estimated one-third of adult Zimbabweans are HIV positive. While some youth
join the militia voluntarily, others are coerced or lured with promises, the
report said. "They came to our school and told us we would get skills
training and jobs afterwards, money and food, a trip to Malaysia to be
trained as soldiers and land for our parents – but we got nothing,"
recounted a former militiaman who fled to South Africa. He would not
disclose his name for fear of retribution. Places in the civil service and
tertiary education institutions, like nursing, teaching and journalism
colleges, are given to militia, while qualified candidates without proof of
youth service are turned away, said the report. "(The authorities) have
introduced into the body politic a cancer, which now spreads through the
nation unchecked and leaves destruction in its wake. The nation’s youth are
being deliberately corrupted and brutalised . . . for no other purpose but
to carry forward ZANU PF’s political agenda," said an appeal by southern
African church leaders. They called for stronger action from regional
governments. The church leaders appealed for the closure of the national
youth service training programme and its training camps, surrender of
weapons in the hands of youth militias, investigation of crimes committed
and prosecution, and a programme of rehabilitation and reintegration into
society. - IRIN
MDC activist’s trial further postponed
HARARE magistrate Peter Matsanhure yesterday postponed for the
fourth time the trial of Munyaradzi Mupazviripo, a Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) activist charged with obstructing the course of justice by
allegedly insulting Ari Ben-Menashe, the state’s main witness in the treason
case against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Matsanhure postponed the
matter to 19 December because the trial
magistrate and the defence lawyer, Charles Selemani, were not present.
The magistrate, who was
initially presiding over the trial of
Mupazviripo, Maxwell Manyanhaire, has allegedly gone into hiding after he
was charged with soliciting for a bribe from a defendant in another case.
solicited a $50 000 bribe from a defendant in a
case he was presiding on in return for a lenient sentence after he convicted
Mupazviripo, 30, allegedly insulted Ben-Menashe as he left the High
Court earlier this year. He is currently out of custody on a $10 000 bail.
The state alleges that on 17 February, Mupazviripo was
Ben-Menashe’s evidence against Tsvangirai, secretary-general Welshman Ncube
and the party’s shadow minister of agriculture, Renson Gasela.
Mupazviripo allegedly confronted Ben-Menashe, accusing
accepting money from the government to testify against Tsvangirai, Ncube and
He is alleged to have said: "Why do you
come here to lie? Right now,
you are eating chips and rice and you are staying in a fabulous hotel.
Mupeyi kenya, mhani! (Give him yellow maize-meal to eat!)
He was allegedly restrained by police officers manning
the gates at
the High Court.
MDC expels Chitungwiza provincial chairman
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC) last week
expelled its Chitungwiza provincial chairman, Alexio Musundire, for
allegedly causing divisions and destroying party structures ahead of last
month’s urban council elections.
The Daily News has
established that the MDC disciplinary committee,
chaired by the opposition party’s vice president Gibson Sibanda expelled
Musundire last week after he was found guilty of violating the party’s rules
Paul Themba Nyathi the MDC spokesperson yesterday
Musundire was expelled but refused to give reasons for his expulsion.
Nyathi said: ‘’I can confirm that Musundire was
expelled from the
party but I prefer that you ask him the reasons for his expulsion.
Membership of a political party is voluntary and we are not in the business
of expelling our members but in this case we were left with no option except
to expel him.’’
Musundire yesterday denied
knowledge of his expulsion from the party
and said: ‘’I am not aware of that. What I know is that we have been called
as a province by the vice president for a meeting at the party head quarters
Musundire becomes the second high ranking MDC official to be expelled
from the opposition party this year for alleged misconduct following last
month’s expulsion of Evans Ruzvidzo who was MDC chairman for Midlands North
Sources alleged that Musundire was accused
of causing factionalism and
divisions among opposition supporters in Chitungwiza.
‘’He was also accused of fielding multiple
candidates during the urban
councils elections where the party lost six of the 24 wards to ZANU PF in
Chitungwiza. It was felt that he destabilised the party,’’ said one source,
who refused to be named.
Man forced to drink officer’s urine
A CHIPINGE man, who claims he was forced to drink a police sergeant’
s urine during a torture session, is suing the police officer for $30
million in damages, the Daily News learnt yesterday.
Nehemia Charamba, a
bread vendor, is suing the policeman, who was
identified only as Sergeant Nasho, for allegedly forcing him last week to
drink the urine in exchange for freedom.
Charamba, who is suing Nasho in his personal capacity,
is also suing
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, under whose ministry the police falls.
Mutare human rights lawyer Arnold Tsunga, who is
Charamba, told the Daily News: "I have been consulted by Mr Charamba and
yes, papers are ready to sue Nasho for torturing my client.
"But we are still working on the quantification of
damages against the
minister . . . who has a primary responsibility to ensure that the police
comply with the law and uphold the highest standards of professionalism in
their policing duties."
Tsunga, Nasho led a team of four four policemen in
torturing Charamba last week at Chimanimani Police Station after they found
him in possession of a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) membership card.
the policemen tortured his client for the whole night last
Saturday, only releasing him after he had drank Nasho’s urine.
"This torture session was led by the notorious Sgt Nasho
and continued throughout Saturday night (29 August 2003), and resulted in Mr
Charamba suffering a broken tooth, a seriously damaged elbow and extensive
bruising to his whole body, in particular to his face and head.
torture Mr Charamba was forced to drink Sgt Nasho’s
Tsunga said Charamba had initially gone to the police station to
report a case in which a group of police constables had forcibly taken six
loaves of bread from him at Mutsvangwa business centre in Chimanimani.
said the policemen had first accused Charamba of being an illegal
vendor before seizing his bread.
However, the tables were turned
against Charamba at the police
station, with police officers accusing him of being an MDC activist.
"Sgt Nasho began interrogating Mr
Charamba. In the process, Mr
Charamba was found ‘guilty’ of being an MDC activist. Nasho urinated into a
cup and forced Mr Charamba to drink it if he wanted his freedom. In the
process, he found $40 000 on Mr Charamba, which he took away without
explanation," the court papers read in part.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said he was
not aware of
"I am not aware of the incident
but if they are suing the police then
the officers will respond once they receive the papers," said Bvudzijena
It was not
possible to get a comment from Mohadi as he was said to be
attending meetings. Nasho could also not be reached for comment on the
allegations levelled against him.
Tsunga said: "Police officers in the
have become ‘famous’ for their zeal to persecute people they suspect of
supporting the opposition.
"This lawsuit is meant to stop impunity which is breeding lawlessness
among law enforcement agents. This action is targeted at overzealous
policemen who are taking it upon themselves to trample on the rights of
Religious tolerance engenders political tolerance
When recently the Father of the Nation and MaFuyana were celebrated
again as heroes, I could not help remembering that 20 years ago the rural
people who were at that time my neighbours were made to shout at party
meetings: "Pasi na (Joshua) Nkomo! (Down with Joshua Nkomo!)
I have asked people over the years time and again: what
do you mean
pasi na (down with)? Does it not mean we want him dead and buried?
Most of them had obviously never thought about it.
Shouting slogans –
which has become so typical for the style of Zimbabwean politics – is not
meant to wake people up and make them ask questions. Slogans do not open a
debate, but put an end to all debates. They are not meant to challenge
thinking individuals, but to put thoughtless masses to sleep.
Sloganeering shows up most clearly the inherent
intolerance of our
politics. Slogans bulldoze any form of dissent into the ground, quite
literally. You do not refute the argument, but do away with the one arguing.
In traditional society dissent was frowned upon.
All people danced to
the same tune, following the same rituals which expressed the same common
thinking. Individualists were suspected of witchcraft and could be banished,
In the Middle
Ages, European society was similarly homogeneous. One
faith and one church safeguarded that unity. Church and state joined forces
in protecting it.
When finally that unity was lost Rome and Geneva, England
burned heretics, rebels and dissidents. Mass hysteria made people hunt for
Much blood was spilled over
hundreds of years in wars and persecution
until Europe arrived at a solution and made tolerance an effective tool of
nation building. Africa has to learn a bit faster if it is not to destroy
fact that Islam destroyed the church in North Africa and
Christians destroyed a flourishing Islamic (and Jewish) culture in Spain,
despite crusades and wars of Christians against each other, religions must
show tolerance to be the only way forward.
The Catholic Church had problems with
religious tolerance earlier on
because it was thought to go with indifferentism expressed in common sayings
like "all religions are the same", "there is only one God", so what does it
matter? One must believe something; it does not matter what.
Tolerance does not mean there is no
truth. Tolerance means: I respect
the personal freedom of the people who differ from me in their beliefs. I
respect their freedom of conscience.
The church teaches that man’s response to God by
faith ought to be
free, and therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his
will. In religious matters the human person should be kept free from all
manner of coercion in civil society (Vatican Council II, 1962-65).
The Christian roots of the concept of tolerance can
be found in the
New Testament command to love your enemy and pray for those who persecute
you (Matthew 5: 44). Jesus rejects narrow-minded chauvinism and welcomes
Christians and Muslim acknowledge
Abraham as their common ancestor.
Both Christians and Muslims believe that they were created by one and the
same God (Allah is the Arabic word for God) and are answerable to God for
their lives in a final judgment.
They can work together in preserving the dignity of
the human person
and defending human life.
They can enter
into dialogue about their respective spiritual
experiences as prayerful people. In dialogue they can do away with
misconceptions they may hold about each other. That very significant
differences between them remain does not make dialogue impossible, but makes
it all the more necessary.
Many Christians would like to know why Muslims want
to enjoy the
freedom of religion that a secular state offers when they are in the
minority, while they deny Christians the freedom of worship when their
majority status allows them to establish an Islamic state.
For one side to threaten the other with court action
does not help
towards dialogue. Parents have the right to decide on the religious
upbringing of their children. Believers should join hands in safeguarding
In Zimbabwe the most important
dialogue takes place between African
traditional believers and Christians. This is not all confrontation and
mutual exclusivity. Much traditional wisdom makes sense also to Christians
and can be integrated into their lives.
As we see the need for mutual respect and tolerance
between people of
different backgrounds and convictions, we have to ask inherited wisdom what
it has to say. The central concept of unhu/ubuntu (humanity/humaneness)
certainly does not agree with the brutality and cruelty, lying and cheating
that characterise much of our public life today.
There cannot be peace between peoples unless there is peace between
religions. If religions try to destroy each other there will be spiritual
devastation. The state should not try and use the church for its purposes.
Nor should the church expect the state to do its work. Nevertheless, even
the secular state needs to be built on the foundation of basic commonly held
values. The spirit of God is at work even in secular society. Religions
should reach out to each other in supporting, and not hindering, this
spiritual presence. Tolerance needs a central place in the political culture
and constitution of a future Zimbabwe. Christians who accuse fellow
Christians of idolatry or suspect all Muslims of terrorism do not prepare
the way for a new Zimbabwe built on tolerance and mutual respect. Walking
along Madzima Road in Mbare you pass by a Catholic church, a Pentecostal
church and a mosque, all within a couple of 100 metres. You meet apostles in
their white gowns who do not need church buildings and Zionists in colourful
robes who just want a big open space for dancing. Can we hope for a society
where people can wear T-shirts of one party and walk right through a rally
of the other party without being assaulted? By Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
Zimbabwe deep in hell
HARD-PRESSED Zimbabwean parents must this week either raise several
hundreds of thousands of dollars in school fees or withdraw their children
from school in yet another testament of the bitter Gehenna President Robert
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party have imposed on this nation through
their ruinous policies.
Authorities at both private and government-owned
schools, battling to
keep their institutions afloat, have hiked fees by an average of 100 percent
The increase in tuition,
boarding and other fees at schools, most of
which opened for the year’s final term this week, comes amid a fresh surge
in the prices of all commodities essential for existence that began two
And in the
bizarre prison that Zimbabwe, under the guidance of Mugabe
and company, has become, the hefty fees hikes are not meant to fund
development projects or to buy new equipment and books for school
laboratories and libraries.
Neither will the money be used to pay incentives to
competent and hard-working teachers for the benefit of children.
Very few of the schools that have increased their
fees for this term
will use the money to build new and better classrooms or other facilities
such as recreation halls and playing fields to improve the children’s school
The money parents are being required
to pay will instead be used to
buy food for pupils.
everyone else in Zimbabwe today, school authorities must use
whatever little available to them not to improve and develop their
institutions for the future but to ensure basic survival.
That in the face of all
this the best the government can do is to
issue idle threats against school authorities for hiking fees but without
coming up with a viable plan to help schools survive this harsh economic
crisis, created by no one else but the government itself, just confirms what
many Zimbabweans already know.
And that is that the selfish elite presiding over
Zimbabwe neither has
the will nor the strategy to rescue this nation from economic decline and
It should be clear, even to a
government such as ours which is known
more for its "degrees in violence" than for its brilliant ideas, that in
hiking fees school heads are merely transferring the cost of running schools
that this is the desired option, but because schools do not have
any other real source of income except parents.
What Education Minister
Aeneas Chigwedere should rather do is to
advise his colleagues in the government to shift resources away from the
army and the controversial national youth service programme to the education
sector through support grants for schools.
After all, who really needs a national
youth training programme that
is accused of churning out bloodthirsty political zealots instead of the
so-called disciplined and patriotic youths the government wants us to
believe are produced from the Communist-style youth project.
But even that would in the long run not be the
panacea to the problems
bedevilling the education sector.
The solution – as with every other crisis blighting once proud
Zimbabwe – lies in the government abandoning its ill-thought-out economic
and political policies to adopt a transparent, sound and corruption-free
programme of national economic and social recovery that can be supported by
all stakeholders, including Zimbabwe’s friends in the international
Either that or Zimbabwe is
Cash crisis hits Express sales
THE cash crisis gripping the country seriously reduced Edgars
Limited’s subsidiary Express chain stores’ cash sales in the six months to
31 July 2003 as locals failed to access cash locked up in banks, according
to managing director Raymond Mlotshwa.
Mlotshwa told analysts at a briefing this
week that the cash shortages
had a negative effect on the group’s earnings in the period under review,
with cash sales at Edgars declining to 18 percent compared to 26 percent the
previous six months, but the Express chain was the worst hit of the group’s
three operating units.
He said the
difference in unit sales growth between the Edgars and
Express chain stores, which used to be about 5 percent had risen
phenomenally to about 80 percent chiefly because of the decline in cash
sales at Express owing to the shortage of the local currency .
"Express chain suffered to a great
extent during the period to July as
far as the cash crisis is concerned so much that we have seen a serious
decrease in unit volume sales within the last four months," Mlotshwa said.
He said July sales were the
worst hit but the group had seen a
remarked improvement as efforts to accept the use of plastic money and
traveller’s cheques within the group have been intensified.
The Express chain is the Edgars group’s cash cow
with all sales being
for cash as the unit caters for low-income earners.
The unit’s net turnover increased by a historical 239
percent to $3.5
billion, which was about 27 percent contribution to group net turnover while
net turnover at Edgars increased 296 percent to $8.7 billion from $2.2
billion, which was 68 percent of total net turnover in the six months under
The manufacturing unit’s net turnover
in historic terms increased by
336 percent to $3 billion up from $676 million and contributed about five
percent to group net turnover in the just ended period.
Express recorded the group’s lowest increase in
with a historic increase of 288 percent to $466 million from $120 million
for the comparative six-month period.
Mlotshwa however said the company expected better performance by the
Express unit in the remaining four months of the year buoyed by 15 weeks’
"The position improved slightly in August where we saw a
performance from Express and we expect much better earnings in the remaining
four months to December boosted by the festive season where we normally
record good business. We also hope to see the positive effect of the use of
plastic money and travellers cheques going forward," he said.
He added: "The worst for the year is over and we should
be able to
push up unit volume sales at Express and general sales growth in other group
Mlotshwa said the slowdown in
Express’ performance had a knock-on
effect on the group’s total earnings in the six months ended 30 July.
Edgars group net turnover in
historic terms rose by 279 percent to
$12.8 billion from $3.4 billion while attributable earnings were 437 percent
up on comparative six months to $3.5 billion from $656 million last year.
Analysts said the
performance by Edgars in the period under review was
within range of forecast of an earnings forecast of between $12 and $18 but
noted that the group was likely to report above expectation earnings per
share in the remaining six months of its financial year.
"The group has managed to pull
through despite the cash shortages
which have slowed down Express, the group’s cash cow and with the coming of
the festive season and the use of travellers cheques intensifying, we
anticipate top end earnings per share in the last six months of the group’s
financial year," said an investment analyst with a local asset management
Foreign debt arrears to hit US$1.9 bn
ZIMBABWE’S arrears on foreign debt are projected to shoot to US$1.9
billion (Z$1 5656 billion) by December, up US$400 million (Z$329.6 billion)
from January as the country battles a worsening foreign currency crisis that
has already claimed the scalp of the country’s industries, authoritative
figures have revealed.
According to statistics from the Ministry of
Finance, Zimbabwe’s total
foreign debt is expected to grow to US$5.3 billion by the end of this year,
of which US$3.2 billion would be the principal debt and US$1.9 billion
Analysts however warned that the
figures could be conservative, adding
that with the country’s accelerated economic slide, the arrears could be
higher because the Harare authorities barely have the forex to service
will decline 5.9 percent to US$1.35 billion while
imports will also decrease 11.9 percent to US$1.73 billion by the end of the
year to create a trade deficit of US$380 million (Z$313 billion).
The decline in
exports is a result of falling production capacity of
the country’s major economic sectors which include mining, manufacturing and
The local industries have been hamstrung by
an acute four-year forex
crunch which has made imports of raw materials and critical spare parts
The forex shortages have
resulted in persistent fuel shortages in the
country as the cost of importing has skyrocketed, with forex now being
sourced on the black market.
The government figures show that Zimbabwe is expected
this year to
spent 8.7 percent of its
total exports on external interest payments on its burgeoning foreign
debt but analysts dismissed this saying the government did not have the
foreign currency to do so.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has cut off
Zimbabwe says according to its projections derived from data supplied by the
government, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will plunge from
US$13.1 billion (Z$1 trillion) this year to only US$4.5 billion (Z$3.7
trillion) next year.
This means that the country’s
total external debt will rise to a
staggering 40.2 percent of GDP.
GDP is the total amount of goods and services produced in
within a year.
The government in May started
paying US$3 million towards clearing its
outstanding arrears with the IMF after promising the international lender
that Zimbabwe was committed to settle arrears with IMF.
However the government still has to
pay up to US$36 million to the end
of this year towards clearing outstanding arrears.
International donors and multilateral lenders all take
a cue from the
Bretton Woods institution to release critically needed foreign currency into
Economic commentators said with
the country deeper in the debt trap,
the only options were to re-engage the international community which has
Consultant economist John Robertson said Zimbabwe’s could only
extricate itself from the forex crunch by engaging multilenders or else the
country should increase exports.
"The only way if you look at the
options is to get balance of payment
support because there are no incentives to increase exports," Robertson
The government has not
reviewed its export incentive scheme since it
was announced by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa in February, which pegged
the local currency at $824 to the greenback.
However, the government insists that exports
are on the increase but
accuses companies of under-invoicing and failing to remit foreign currency
to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Why true friends of Zimbabwe may soon give up
IN the first place, it is problematical who the true friends of
Those who believe Robert Mugabe, touted as a true Pan-Africanist and
the liberator of Zimbabwe, is the one and only hope for the success of this
Or those who believe only
the removal of this same person from power –
never mind how – can ensure this great country achieves the great potential
that is so manifestly its well-deserved destiny?
In the second place, is it such an
unrealistic proposition that if
people cannot – for some obscure reason related mostly to their latent fear
of the unknown – exercise their vote, they should be legally forced to do
True friends of
Zimbabwe cannot be those pretending the country
deserves its present state of hopelessness, that this was foreordained from
the day the Union Jack was lowered on 18 April 1980 and the new flag of
Zimbabwe proudly hoisted in its place.
True friends of Zimbabwe cannot believe it is just or
right for the
government, Zanu PF and all their allies to frighten the people with murder,
beatings and rape into voting for the ruling party – or not voting at all –
in any election, as happened during the recent local government elections
and the two parliamentary by-elections.
Those who believe the true friends wish Zimbabwe the true freedom
promised to them on 18 April 1980 may now face the stark probability of
those friends deserting them.
They will leave their erstwhile beneficiaries
in the lurch for one
good reason: they are beginning to doubt if Zimbabweans appreciate the
enormity of the sacrifices called for if they are to achieve the cherished
goals for which thousands of their relatives died in the jungles, villages,
cities and towns of Zambia, Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe.
The signals of impatience among the friends of
Zimbabwe have recently
been activated by the results of the elections last month. If the
misfortunes of the country are as accurate as graphically portrayed in the
length of the queues for anything from paraffin to petrol to cash to
maize-meal to travellers’ cheques, then what inspires any citizen of this
God-forsaken country to vote for the authors of this disaster?The excuse
that "they forced us to do it" is wearing a little thin. Are you human
beings or rodents? Have you no self-respect at all? Have they shorn you of
that as well as your ability to walk the streets of your cities, towns and
villages with your head held high?
Doing that when you
have no cash to buy food for the family, no job,
no money for transport and no chance of eating a square meal three times a
day has not been easy for any Zimbabweans these days.
There ought to be gnashing of teeth and
wailing in every household in
the land – except those which have profited from the misfortune of others,
and want for nothing, while their compatriots are losing their teeth, not to
mention other vital parts of their bodies as they wait in vain for treatment
in hospitals and clinics without drugs.
Not many Zimbabweans would doubt that there is a deep
well of sympathy
out there for a change in the political and economic fortunes of the
country. There are well-wishers just waiting in the wings to enter the stage
once the monster has been slain.
It is true
we are our own saviours, but no struggle has ever succeeded
without some ideological, psychological and physical assistance from
outsiders. Left to their own devices, there is no guarantee that all
red-blooded Zimbabweans would rise to the occasion, girding their loins and
taking on the might of as ruthless and murderous a political machinery as
ZANU PF has constructed since independence.
Reliance on the ballot box was shown to be almost
mythical in the
recent elections. Even in the 2000 and 2002 elections, condemned by many
Zimbabweans and most of the rest of the world as grossly unfair and a
travesty of what true pluralism ought to stand for, could have resulted in
real change if enough people had mustered enough courage to go to the polls.
Forcing people to go and vote is patently
undemocratic. When you speak
of freedom, you must include the freedom to choose not to vote, although
that has to be one hell of a contradiction. People may choose not to vote
because none of the parties have a platform attractive enough to satisfy
their fastidious expectations or because the candidates on offer have
records of dishonesty which cannot be ignored when you are considering them
to be your representatives in Parliament.
A few white lies may still be permissible in the
august House, but to
vote into it a regular fibber with a proven record of mendacity and
impropriety would be unforgivable.
Zimbabweans are not what you would call inveterate voters, people
with a deep-seated habit of voting in any election. Most of the time they
have to be dragged to the polls, either with threats or an offer they can’t
refuse. Their whole attitude, it would seem, spins around fear.
2000 and 2002 elections, more people voted against the status
quo than ever before. But if this ever-present fear had not inhibited
hundreds of thousands of others from voting, there would have been a
political earthquake in the country.
It doesn’t follow that had the law forced them to go
to the polls they
would have voted the way they did. They would possibly assume that whoever
was forcing them to vote was hoping they would vote for them, which would be
In many revolutions
in the world, the slogan was, in summary, Liberty
or Death: if the people could not achieve their freedom, then they would
rather be dead. The struggle in Zimbabwe had that unwritten slogan as well,
but it now turns out that most of the leaders only paid lip-service to the
slogan. They had no intention of dying for their country – if they could
We can’t talk HIV out of this country
ZIMBABWE is ablaze with HIV and people continue hoping that they
will be able to talk the deadly virus out of this nation.
Over 140 HIV/AIDS
organisations have been formed to intensify the
level of dialogue. Conferences and talk shows are constantly held to make
sure everyone discusses HIV. Meanwhile, the virus is taking its toll.
someone suggest effective action as opposed to all this talk? If
you are trying to prevent a disease and the components of your strategy are
targeted at prevention, a decrease should be experienced.
Aids Council (NAC) has failed us and has left many
wondering whether or not it is not there just so we can continue paying the
For the NAC to blame the Church for the increase in HIV
was done in the article entitled Multi-sectoral response needed to curb AIDS
by the NAC information officer in the Daily News issue of 1 September 2003
is a classic example of blame-shifting.
communication strategy on HIV has brought about approximately 99
percent awareness, but there is certainly a need for an operational
strategy, to achieve behavioural change.
Zimbabwe’s condom strategy has
ensured that HIV infection persistently
rises and many of those who have entrusted their lives to the latex sheath
have been betrayed.
For the NAC to suggest that churches abandon
preaching abstinence and
urge people to use condoms is advocating immorality as well as promiscuity
within religious institutions. This, to say the least, is evil.
It is only a matter of time before many more people
entrusting their lives to the condom, especially in high-risk areas, is
utter foolishness. In the meantime, it seems those who have been deceived
and are dying are not constant in their condom usage, hence they are the
ones who are failing the condom.
According to research
conducted by Pro-Line International, condoms are
69 percent effective in preventing HIV, which means the remaining 31 percent
makes one vulnerable to catastrophe. Russian roulette could even be safer
than "safe sex".
For the sake of condom advocates, let us suppose condoms
percent effective – which they are not – and only five percent failure is
due to human error. As a result of HIV being unidirectional, the 95 percent
does not increase per sexual encounter but decreases as the five percent
Whoever then promotes condom use has a
moral obligation to acknowledge
that whether by human failure or due to porosity, condom effectiveness is
not 100 percent in HIV prevention.
It is better to tell the people the truth and let
them decide for
themselves than to suggest to them something whose safety cannot be
scientifically guaranteed. It is never too late to change an erroneous
In a bid to come up with a holistic
strategy in curbing HIV, the NAC
made the mistake of consulting with people from all walks of life, including
prostitutes, be it male or female.
The ideas contributed by such people are not aimed at
hence incorporating them renders the strategy faulty.
During this time, confronted as we are by the HIV/AIDS
crisis, we need
to implement the right actions, not merely talk.
He who sups with the devil needs a longer spoon
Once upon a time there was a certain opposition political party. So
strong a party was it until one day the unexpected occurred.
Its opponent lured it to the negotiating table – of
parties often sit down and talk, that is, if they have people at heart.
Little did the opposition party know that the
talks proposed by its
opponent were aimed at swallowing it. Sure enough, just like the biblical
Jonah was swallowed by the giant fish, PF ZAPU and its charging bull symbol
were devoured – sorry, merged with Zanu PF – leaving its supporters probably
Some of the supporters
kept cool, (you can’t tell anything when a
person keeps quiet) and others queried the new name of the newly formed
party. Their leaders, who were by that time already "sucking up" told them
and convinced them that a name was just a name, national unity counted most.
Such U-turns confuse
society especially if it has within its ranks
academics and other professionals.
Back a while there was a professor, a very
learned, respectable man
who used to lecture, write and talk sense. Came the day when he
"accidentally" found himself dining and winning with the people he used to
throw hot stones at.
Who, in his or her senses,
would have thought that Jonathan Moyo could
betray himself and appear like a pile of garbage before the Zanu PF regime
he once spat at?
When a person "accidentally" dines with Zanu PF and goes home
lip-licking like Moyo and the former PF ZAPU leadership did, then the
chances of betrayal are high.
The Zimbabwe Unity Movement and the Zimbabwe Union of
grew any political feathers, not because the people had lost hope in the
political parties whose names start with a "Z", as if to show they have the
interests of Zimbabweans at heart.
they were being taken for a ride as these two parties were
part of Zanu PF’s tactics to convince the international community that there
was democracy in Zimbabwe because citizens were able to form or join
political parties of their choice.
So the people decided to remain with the devil
they knew better, which
was Zanu PF.
Morgan Tsvangirai, sir,
while keeping your "dialogue window" open
until 1 October as you announced, the day might come when you will sit
around the table and talk.
It will not be an empty table – there will be food and
drinks and maps
of farms to be given to "real men", amadoda sibili.
And be careful as you swallow their food and drink –
they may also
swallow you and your political party. He who sups with the devil needs a
Some pray Zimbabwe’s woes continue
Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist, thus
wrote the Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher, Edward Burke, way back in
Looking at events in the here and now, have
Zimbabweans become "a
generally corrupt people"?
It would be
fitting to look at ourselves here in Zimbabwe, where
galloping inflation seems to be making sure that unemployment figures do not
catch up with it. After all, inflation can always chase whatever high figure
while unemployment is limited to hitting the 100 percent mark!
But of interest as
the ordinary people here who fall within the model
of kosher patriotic citizens who would like to see an end to the woes
presently afflicting the nation, the hard question raised more than three
centuries ago by Burke appears addressed to Zimbabweans especially.
That every level
of unscrupulous wheeling and dealing has found itself
in every rung of Zimbabwean society is a truth too vivid to need any
revisiting here. Of paramount importance, however, would be what that has
consequently bred, what has been ingrained in the process, what the future
would tell if we were to indulge ourselves in crystal ball gazing – that is
at least for those worried about where we are going as a people.
Have some Zimbabweans
among us become so mean-spirited that they will
appeal to malevolent gods that this state of the nation remains unchanged,
and this because for them it has provided some windfall they would not have
imagined were the country in the hands of men and women of goodwill?
What many ordinary
people see each day surely has presented exactly
that picture. That such characters have found a permanent place among us as
friends and neighbours is a rather painful reality we live with each day.
But the philosophy that has taken over the thinking of many an enterprising
profiteer is that if there is anybody to blame it is the government of
President Robert Mugabe, not them.
True. But why play right into his hands and literally
into the devil’s disciple, because, hey, I’m not the guy in power!
Can it be dismissed that many of us have, unwittingly
perhaps or very
willingly, taken sides with the regime in bleeding the nation through the
many dubious business pursuits that would be the envy of ruling party
stalwarts seeing they borrow those same anti-people tactics which are
founded on the cynical and irreligious principle of "Am I my brother’s
That the regime has made a mess of
everything and has been the exact
opposite of King Midas is incontrovertible, but with the kind of instant
millionaires – and this time not thanks to Lotto – because of the perverse
window of opportunity that the hard times have opened would surely make
Zimbabwe very relevant to the observations made 300 years ago about corrupt
people giving up everything they would have enjoyed within the confines of
That Zimbabweans are
not free, contrary to claims by government
spin-doctors as seen by their citing of the results of the recent mayoral
and municipal elections, is a fact that needs no one to plead on its behalf.
But what has
happened is that the lack of freedom and the prevailing
hardships can also be traced to the people we interact with – in other
words, you and me.
You find a guy who works at a local meat processing plant
kilogramme of meat at say $700 – what would be called staff price – but
selling it to "his friends" at something upwards of $4 000. Not to say
anything about the instant millionaires who have been created by the fuel
woes of motorists and commuters alike.
Some people have
argued that the commuter omnibus operators would
still make a killing if they charged commuters $300 for a single trip seeing
many of the operators still flock to the "fuel sites" where government
coupons to buy the commodity are used. Or even at the new prices announced
by the government recently, would they justify the amounts being demanded by
providers of this essential service?
It is obvious, however, that the operators would go on
and say they
cannot do anything about it as it is the state of the nation that has forced
them to peg their fares that high. They would go on and repeat the same old
mantra about spare parts.
millions who use these vehicles each day would be forgiven for
quipping: "What spare parts?"
And this because despite the exorbitant
charges, commuters still have
to make do with inhaling toxic fumes while riding in these ramshackle
machines. So much for the expensive spare parts! Sometimes, by the treatment
that commuters get, one gets the firm belief that these chaps for some
reason think commuters are better off, and that they are the only ones
reeling under the present hardships.
And the same goes for every profiteer one can think of!
concern, however, among all that is going on would be
efforts by many here to forsake every trait that would present them as
suffering as one collective under the banner of the ruling party.
Yet seemingly because
Zimbabweans have resigned themselves to a life
with ZANU PF as the country’s permanent governing party they instead take
out those frustrations on each other!
Just about everything today is sold in this country – not at the
formal store anymore – and unfortunately souls have apparently also been
sold to the Devil because the ruling party has simply made it impossible for
people to live. Long gone are those traits that made man different from
other primates. After all, the thinking today is that anybody else would do
the same thing were they in my shoes! However, in the long run a society
that has had corruption ingrained on its collective psyche would seemingly
deserve the government that engendered that corruption in the first place.
It is just never enough to blame the corrupt government; ultimately the
people themselves have a role in perpetuating the bad times. If ruling party
gurus can divert food meant for starving rural (and urban) populations, the
next man would hardly have his conscience pricked if that wretched behaviour
trickled down onto them, because, hey, the big guns are doing it so, why not
me? If these men and women who claim to be resettling landless peasants
(which in itself is quite a pejorative term) go on and burn the homes of the
resettled families because one anointed government official has decided to
have the land himself, the foot soldiers of that party will, with reckless
abandon, also gleefully take up arms and evict whoever from the land they
themselves have always dreamt of. But for this country, the greatest tragedy
is not the obvious that is easily identifiable as inspired by the ruling
party. It is the perverse nature of that behaviour that, virtually with the
people’s consent, has found itself even in people who in different
circumstances would claim to be apolitical and be believed. Not so any more.
The people who have suddenly become dealers in fuel and foreign currency can
now all be lumped together with the disciples of the ruling party, people
who have never been known for keeping an eye on their neighbour that they do
not starve when they themselves have a full pantry. Today, they keep an eye
on their neighbour and listen in on the political slogans they chant and
then release the ruling party bloodhounds. It would spell a long walk back
to the early years of the country’s independence where life was literally
one big joyride if the current behaviour by people who have been turned into
instant millionaires and without any particular business acumen continued.
But then, it would perhaps be the highest point of naivety if they were to
be excepted to change, after all, all kinds of gods – Christian, voodoo
etc – have been invoked that Zimbabwe’s spiral to the dumps continues
without abating. By Marko Phiri
Net Position of Forex Flows Remain Low
September 10, 2003
Posted to the web September 10, 2003
THE net position of the foreign currency flows into the official market have
remained lower than import requirements despite reports that most exporters
have increased their exports since the beginning of the year.
The latest Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe report shows that total inflows from
August 28 2003 to September 3 2003 amounted to a paltry US$5,5 million while
outflows added to US$ 5,1 million.
surpassed outflows by US$400 000 for the week.
Of concern, however, is the fact that these figures reflect only a small
proportion of the amount of foreign currency in the country.
Most of the foreign exchange is being traded on the parallel market.
Last week one the leading commercial bank NMB Bank was stripped of its
foreign currency dealing licence by the central bank because of alleged
underground trading of the scarce commodity.
The highest inflows were registered on September 3 when total inflows of
S$2,6 million were recorded against outflows of US$1,2 million.
However the overall market position still remains in the negative range
because of standing international obligations as well as the procurement of
fuel, electricity and medical drugs.
More than US$3 million is brought into the country by export labour and
cross border traders on a daily basis but the larger part of this money is
not accounted for in the national accounts.
Exporters have come under fire for being dishonest when declaring their
earnings and some of them have even come in the open saying they were
holding on to their proceeds in anticipation of the review of the exchange
rate which is currently at $824 to 1US$.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr Herbert Murerwa is still to
announce a new export support rate, expected to be revised on a quartely
Last month tobacco growers who temporarily suspended trading at the tobacco
auction floors demanding an upward adjustment of the exchange rate. However,
the Government has put in place a number of measures to tap the scarce
commodity but most of its efforts have been to no avail, as illegal traders
have become more and more resilient.
Last month the Government went as far as hiring an independent foreign
company that specialises in trade verification to curb the externalisation
of foreign currency from the country.
Based in Switzerland, the company is internationally renowned, specialising
in trade assurance, import verification, valuation support, risk management,
pre-export verification and other certification services.
Analysts feel that more strategies should be put in place to harness all the
foreign currency being earned either from commodity exporters or export