Live bullets used in ZNA show demo - Soldiers injure
15 By our own Staff
AS many as 15 people were injured, two of them
possibly dead, after soldiers taking part in this year's Marondera
Agricultural Show apparently used live ammunition during their
Two of the exhibitors and several parents contacted by The
Standard yesterday confirmed the tragedy and said it happened around 3PM
when soldiers were performing a mock drill involving 'enemies'.
school teacher, who accompanied school children, said: 'I was sitting right
at the entrance to the Cold Storage Company stand under a tree, watching the
military demonstration. Something exploded and there was a stampede. People
were screaming, running in all directions.
'I saw a man in khaki
trousers. He was injured in the legs. We could see his fractured bones. His
wife, who was with him, started crying for help.
'One woman was injured
on the chest. Two military ambulances ferried people. A Marondera Hospital
ambulance also carried people.'
According to the schoolteacher, the
soldiers were performing a mock battle and their 'enemies' threw a grenade.
Two of the soldiers, covered in white cloth, were ferried by an army
She said: 'I 'm really scared. Right now I wonder how I
managed to escape unharmed,' she said after uniting with her
An official at Marondera Hospital, who spoke to The Standard as
the injured were being admitted, said they had admitted 10 people with two
transferred to Harare because they had sustained serious injuries.
said: 'There was a mock battle by soldiers and people were shot. This
happened around 3pm. We are admitting people right now. The full details are
Two of the exhibitors confirmed shooting during the
army drill when live ammunition was apparently used triggering off the
tragedy. They put the number of the injured at 15.
One of the
exhibitors said: 'It appeared they did not know they were using live
ammunition. One of the soldiers ran down to stop them. But already the
shooting had unleashed panic, triggering off a stampede.'
exhibitor, who also declined to be identified, said: 'Fifteen people were
seriously injured. It happened just two hours ago. There are about four
young children. The rest are adults. They were taken to Marondera Hospital
in an army helicopter, which was waiting to put on a display. The serious
cases were rushed to Harare but we do not know where.'
'I was on our
stand. I saw the reaction of people. They were running away. Then I saw one
of the soldiers running inside to stop the people taking part in the drill.
There were many people. The show did not stop despite the incident. It is
going ahead but people are apprehensive.'
Another man, who was attending
the show, said he suspected the injuries were from shrapnel. He said this
showed negligence on the part of the army.
Several parents whose children
were at the show rushed to find out whether their children were safe. They
were gathered at the gate and complained that they were not being allowed in
to collect their children.
Ambulance and fire services say they heard
about the incident but they did not have specific details. Their ambulances
at the show were already ferrying the injured to the hospital.
and Parirenyatwa hospitals said they could only confirm receipt of the
injuries from Marondera if they were given the names of the patients
Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, who is the MP for Marondera and
Minister of Defence, last night said he had not received a report about the
Govt rewards Makwavarara with seized Raffingora farm By
RAFFINGORA Harare acting mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara has
been awarded Tindo Farm, in the prime agricultural area of Raffingora, in
what is believed is her reward for wresting control of the capital from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and handing it to Zanu
The Standard tracked Makwavarara to her newly acquired farm in
Mashonaland West province yesterday and found her relaxing in the huge
lounge of the luxurious farmhouse, perched on a hill.
just arrived accompanied by a male partner and her Toyota Hilux,
registration 844-945S was parked outside.
The top of range vehicle
was loaded with carpets and other household appliances.
falls under Zvimba North constituency, whose Member of Parliament is Local
Government Minister, Ignatiuos Chombo.
The minister strenuously resisted
attempts by MDC councillors to replace Makwavarara when they started
suspecting she had infiltrated the opposition.
The owner of the farm,
only identified as Henning, was hounded out of the farm on Friday and fled
with his family to Harare. He declined to comment, saying he did not want to
expose his family to danger.
Dressed in a crŹme suit and reclining on a
sofa, the acting Harare mayor said : 'I am the new owner of the
Her male partner who looked very suspicious did not give The
Standard an opportunity to interview Makwavarara further as he herded the
news crew out of the luxuriously furnished farm house, complete with a
The farm also boasts hundreds of hectares under an almost
mature crop of wheat and produces tobacco, maize and paprika.
want to know anything about this place, go and ask the workers,'
Makwavarara's partner said.
The workers at the compound said they
were distressed about having a new boss. 'What does she know about farming?
We hope she will not convert the farm into a holiday retreat as has happened
with many new farmers,' said one worker.
Makwavarara, who was elected
as a Harare City councillor on an MDC ticket for Mabvuku in 2002, was
immediately elected deputy mayor as Elias Mudzuri's
Chombo immediately went on the warpath against the
popularly elected Mudzuri, while at the same time frustrating attempts by
MDC councillors to replace Makwavarara.
Mudzuri was then suspended
for alleged mismanagement last year, paving the way for Makwavarara to ease
herself into office.
The permanent secretary in the ministry of Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement, Simon Pazvakavambwa, could not confirm if
Makwavarara had been officially given the farm.
GMB holding maize for only two months By Valentine
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) last week finally came clean on
the country's food situation. Only about 300 000 tonnes enough for two
months'consumption have been delivered to the parastatal.
questions on the food situation, from a parliamentary portfolio committee,
the GMB said its depots had so far taken delivery of only 298 000 tonnes of
maize, a figure far below estimates by Joseph Made, the Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Development.
Based on last year's maize
consumption patterns of 5 000 tonnes a day, the grain delivered so far will
be enough for two months only.
Made, through his ministry, predicted more
than 2,4 million tonnes from this year's harvest, but the GMB, the sole
buyer of maize has managed to buy only 274 130 tonnes.
Giving out the
statistics, GMB chief executive officer, retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti, said
they were still expecting more grain to be delivered to the national
'We have 298 000 metric tonnes of maize a figure far much
better than the previous two to three seasons. We are expecting around 500
000 and 600 000 tonnes by the end of the buying season,' Muvuti
He said the buying season runs from April 1 up to March 31 the
following year. However, the harvesting season runs from April and continues
until October. Maize deliveries peak during July/August.
the maximum anticipated deliveries of 600 000 tonnes is factored in, the GMB
will only take delivery of nearly 900 000 tonnes of maize supplies enough
for six months.
Crops due for planting under the 2004/2005 agricultural
season will only start to mature in March seven months away. Demand for
grain increases between October and February when most households with less
food exhaust their own reserves.
Muvuti, on a number of occasions
failed to answer adequately questions from the parliamentary portfolio
committee on Lands and Agriculture on whether there would be need to import
'It is very difficult for us to say that we need to
import more maize since we are still expecting more inflows from local
farmers. I am not saying there will be no need to import, but as GMB we ar
happy with the progress so far. We are looking forward to a prolonged inflow
of grain,' he said, adding that they were receiving weekly inflows of around
20 000 tonnes.
Responding to a question from Renson Gasela, MP for Gweru
Rural (MDC) on how the 2,4 million tonnes estimate was reached, Muvuti said
it was not within the jurisdiction of the GMB.
However, the GMB
chairs the country's crop forecast committee.
During the meeting Mathias
Matewu Mlambo MP for Chipinge North revealed that maize was already being
distributed on the basis of political affiliation. GMB officials were quick
to deny the allegations.
Mlambo said people in his constituency were
failing to buy food because the GMB officials at Musami Business Centre were
selling the much-needed commodity on a partisan basis.
Makwenda, the marketing director of the GMB denied the MP's claims. 'No, we
do not discriminate when selling maize. I am actually very surprised. People
who are queuing in Chipinge are doing so because of the cheap GMB products,'
Some MPS who were in the meeting also revealed to the
GMB officials that millers from their constituencies were failing to produce
any stockfeeds because of the shortage of maize.
High fuel costs to fuel inflation: experts By Rangarirai
LAST week's fresh inflation data for August was obviously sweet
news to Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, but a surprise fuel price hike
last month might yet hurdle his drive towards his target of 200% inflation
by December. New numbers from the Central Statistical Office last week said
annual inflation had slowed to 314% in August from 362,9% in July, ahead of
the RBZ's own August target of 320%.
But the new figures have not
factored in last month's new fuel costs, economists say, and their likely
effect on prices across the board. Month-on-month inflation actually came in
lower than expected, but sustainability going forward will be a key test for
Fuel prices rose last month as importers responded to a
spike in world oil prices, petrol going up from $3200 to $3500 a litre, the
first fuel price increase this year.
Worries over supply from Iraq,
surging demand from India and China and a US report saying world stocks were
at their lowest since March have driven prices up in recent
More expensive fuel seems not to have been on central bank's
radar screen at least not at the last quarter monetary policy
'The high inflation bubble has been burst,' Gono declared
triumphantly. RBZ had 'a 90% confidence level' that the 200% target was
within shooting distance. Perhaps that 10% of left-over doubt is a provision
for such surprises like last month's spike in fuel prices.
to unofficial forecasts provided to StandardBusiness by a senior central
bank official, the bank is on an ambitious plan to bring inflation to below
10% by March 2006. The figure would be achieved by a steady slowdown of
annual inflation from July's 362,9% to 300% in September, 275% in October
and 245% by November.
By June next year, RBZ hopes to have brought
inflation down to 100%.
The December target has always looked to be well
in sight since January, when year-on-year inflation peaked at 622%. A steady
decline in the rate was recorded over the past half-year as central bank cut
spending on cheap funds to banks and the economy saw a decrease in
Also key to the deceleration of inflation was a
relative stability of the Zimbabwe dollar, whose weakness has fed inflation
over the past few years.
The RBZ introduced a Dutch-styled foreign
currency auction system in January, which initially helped stabilise the
exchange rate and calm inflation.
The year-on-year rate of inflation
fell to 602% in February, 583% in March and 505% in April, before ending the
first half at 394,6%.
However, with supply continuing to lag farther
behind demand at the forex auctions, that source of hope looks to be
slipping away. High demand and weak supply have pushed the Zimbabwe dollar
lower, trading at $5613,98 on the US Dollar Monday, its lowest ever level at
the auction. On the unofficial market, the dollar is trading at more than
$7000 against the US unit.
Economists, bought over to the optimists'
camp by a series of sunny-side-up outlooks from the RBZ, now appear ready to
downgrade their own forecasts.
'It's going to be tough for the RBZ to get
things stable in time to meet the 200% percent target. Fuel and the
Zimdollar weakness will give the RBZ a few things to think about,' an
Other experts point to surging wage costs as another
source of inflationary pressures towards the end of the year.
recent increase in fuel will, without doubt, not help (meet the inflation
target) neither will the increasing staff costs,' said Mario dos Remidios,
finance director of NMB Bank.
Economists also worry over the possibility
of a rise in government spending beginning in the last quarter and leading
up to the general election in March. The election is in question following
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's late August decision to
boycott all elections.
Analysts, though, still weigh the parliamentary
poll into their forecasts, perhaps a sign they doubt the MDC will follow
through on their threat.
RBZ has spent much of the last six months
groping for a sure way of managing liquidity on the money
Worried that loose funds were threatening its inflation plans,
central bank invented special new bills the Financial Bills and the
much-ridiculed RBZ Bills to complement the more traditional regime of
Treasury Bills. The TBs themselves had to be used in unorthodox fashion on
numerous occasions, RBZ seeking to attack liquidity from every possible
However, underlying currents bode ill for RBZ's ambitious plans.
Although the rate of inflation is well off its January record, economists
say month-on-month inflation this month will come under pressure from a
possible rise in the prices of goods and services.
GWERU AFTER successfully clearing off a $1.2 billion bank
overdraft it inherited from the former Zanu PF council, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) dominated Gweru city council has
suspended all increases in rates for the remainder of this
Sesel Zvidzai, the city's executive mayor, made this announcement
at a stakeholders meeting held recently in the city.
the stakeholders, the mayor said council, which did not implement the 50
percent increase for the third quarter (July, August and September), will
also ignore the 25 percent increases for the remaining months of the
'After realising that we have cleared the council's biggest
financial obstacle, the bank overdraft and after also successfully
identifying disposable assets in the city, my council has resolved to
suspend the rates increases and start working on the 2005 budget,' Zvidzai
The council, after consultation with all stakeholders, last year
originally implemented a $30 billion budget with rate increases going up by
450 percent spread over four quarters.
In the first quarter the
increases in rates went up by 250 percent and 100 percent in the second
quarter. Increases in the third quarter were pegged at 50 percent with a 25
percent increase due in the last quarter.
In an interview with The
Standard on the sidelines of the meeting, the mayor dispelled rumours that
his council's move to suspend increases in rates was a result of pressure
from the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
'The suspension of rates increase has got nothing to do
with pressure or an order from anyone,' said the mayor.
Byo council consults residents over budget By our own
BULAWAYO: THE Bulawayo city council has embarked on a budget
consultation exercise with a view to establishing specific development needs
of residents in 2005, says town clerk Moffat Ndlovu Ndlovu said the budget
consultation process would be carried out in all wards of the
'We have started planning for next year and we would like to see
our own residents making an input towards the 2005 budget formulation
process. Residents need to tell us what kind of developments they would like
to see next year,' Ndlovu said.
He said consulting the residents
was ideal and democratic. 'Through this process, we will be able to know
that we have the people's backing in whatever we do. This is opposed to
imposing developmental projects on them,' he said.
mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, also stressed the need to involve
'In an democratic society it is always important for a
local authority to hear people's views on development and give them what
they want instead of imposing,' said Ndabeni-Ncube.
budget for next year is expected to go up drastically from $180 billion to a
whopping $500 billion.
This is attributed to the high costs of acquiring
water treatment chemicals, high electricity bills, shortage of foreign
currency to buy motor spare parts, servicing of traffic lights and road
SA mulls scrapping visa requirements By Loughty
BULAWAYO South Africa could soon phase out visa requirements for
countries in the SADC region but may have to delay doing so for Zimbabwe,
which is undergoing its worst economic and political crisis, official
sources have said. They said the move to scrap visa requirements among SADC
countries was aimed at promoting cross border trade and all countries in the
regional bloc support the move.
South Africa and Mozambique
kick-started the initiative when the two countries announced on Tuesday they
had abolished visa requirements for their citizens.
was one of the countries in the SADC regionwhose citizens endured stringent
visa requirements imposed by South Africa in order to curb the illegal flow
of immigrants into that country.
Eden Reid, the third political secretary
at the South African Embassy, confirmed that South Africa was working
towards scrapping visa requirements for SADC countries.
African government is in the process of reviewing our current visa policy
and progress is at an advanced stage. South Africa hopes to conclude
discussions with various stakeholders, including governments of the other
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states as soon as
possible,' Reid said.
He said relaxing of the visa conditions was a
two-way process that should be reciprocated by all countries in the
'South Africa recognises that the principle of reciprocity should
form the basis of our visa policy with all SADC member states and we are
committed to maintaining the strong and friendly relations between South
Africa and her neighbours, including Zimbabwe,' Reid said.
however, said despite Pretoria finalising the technical aspects over the
matter, Zimbabwe was not likely to benefit soon owing to fears of being
flooded by illegal Zimbabwean immigrants.
The sources said Zimbabweans
might find themselves the only ones that would need visas to travel to South
Africa unless Harare moved to address economic and political problems facing
'Consultations are still taking place in the Department of
Foreign Affairs over Zimbabwe and the South African government is concerned
that if visa requirements are relaxed for Zimbabwe millions of illegal
immigrants will cross the border,' the sources said.
South Africa is
hosting nearly two million illegal Zimbabwean immigrants, the majority of
whom fled the country's economic problems while another large number fled
the deteriorating political situation in the country.
The sources said
South Africa was concerned that they might be forced to handle an influx of
Zimbabweans if visa conditions were relaxed before the parliamentary
elections due in Zimbabwe next year.
South Africa is Zimbabwe's second
largest trading partner and thousands of Zimbabweans cross the Limpopo
everyday to conduct business with their counterparts across the
South Africa tightened visa restrictions for Zimbabwe in 2003 and
now demands that visa applicants should pay a fee of R 1 000 and a further R
100 for their upkeep while in South Africa.
another source of immigration irritation to South Africa, were paying a fee
of R430, which was non-refundable, if a visa was refused
Southern Africa Forum Against Corruption (SAFAC) held its fourth annual
general meeting in Zambia recently and resolved to continue with the fight
against graft as well as lobbying all member countries to ratify to the SADC
Protocol Against Corruption.
Eight countries have so far ratified the
protocol as they move towards waging a full-scale campaign against
These are Botswana, Mauritius, South Africa, Malawi,
Tanzania, Zambia, Lesotho and Namibia.
Namibia has gone a step
further by passing the anti-corruption legislation that provides for the
establishment of a commission that has powers to receive, initiate and
investigate allegations of corruption.
Zimbabwe is yet to ratify the
protocol even if the Zanu PF government claims that it is has launched a
full-scale campaign against corruption, blamed for bringing the country's
economy to its knees.
A member of the SAFAC secretariat, Zimbabwean
Philiat Matsheza, who is also the director of Human Rights Trust of Southern
Africa (SAHRIT), said the organisation was going to hold a number of
training workshops in the region with a mandate to fight corruption.'Twelve
countries attended the meeting and it was about sharing experiences on how
to effectively fight corruption and influence each other positively,'
Officially launching the meeting Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa said his government was very committed to fighting
'I want to mention that Zambia is indeed a proud member of
SAFAC and fully supports the strategic objectives of combining regional
efforts I achieving trans-boundary co-operation in the investigations and
prosecution of corruption cases,' Mwanawasa said.
He said SAFAC had
provided a platform for strengthening networking among member countries and
Speaking at the same meeting Havard Lesterberg, Ambassador
of Norway to Zambia said the fight against corruption required a dedicated
'Corruption can be found in any country around the world.
That can be in my country, Norway, in other European countries, Africa, Asia
and America. One important lesson learned is that to effectively fight
corruption we need political leadership that is serious and dedicated in its
interest in fighting the vice,' Lesterberg said.
The success or
failure of this fight hinged on the follow-up and implementation of the
protocols, he said.
ZEC Bill a Zanu PF smokescreen By Caiphas
THE new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Bill, which was
gazetted last week, alienates civic bodies from polls and does very little
to level the playing field ahead of next year's general elections, The
Standard can reveal. Instead, it solidifies Zanu PF's electoral position; as
bodies presided over by officials sympathetic to the ruling party, will
continue to run elections in the country.
The Bill, to be presented
to Parliament next month, seeks to establish an independent ZEC that will
run elections. The commission will oversee presidential, parliamentary,
referendums and local government elections.
However, an array of Zanu
PF-aligned bodies will continue to run all elections but reporting to the
ZEC, whose chairperson is appointed by President Robert Mugabe, raising
questions about its independence.
According to the Bill, the
Registrar-General's Office, Election Directorate and the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC), bodies widely seen as pro-Zanu PF, will
continue to exist despite an outcry from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
Former military officer Sobuza Gula-Ndebele
heads the ESC while Tobaiwa Mudede, a known Zanu PF sympathiser, is the
registrar- general, virtually putting their impartiality under
The opposition MDC has, on several occasions, accused Mudede of
being a Zanu PF functionary, who aided the ruling party to rig
The chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, Dr
Reginald Matchaba-Hove, said it was pointless to create the ZEC without
overhauling the country's electoral laws, including the Presidential Powers
'We should insist on an independent commission. Creating another
quasi-government body while leaving all these other bodies intact is adding
more confusion to the already clustered electoral platform,' Matchaba-Hove
Another contentious issue, Matchaba-Hove said, was the
appointment of partisan civil servants to run the electoral bodies. 'We need
independent personnel, not civil servants overseeing other civil
By introducing the Bill, the MDC said, Zanu PF has indicated
that it was not willing to conform with the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) principles and guidelines governing democratic
Last month Mugabe together with other SADC leaders, signed the
regional charter in Mauritius, pledging to adhere to democratic principles
governing free and fair elections.
'This Bill shows Zanu PF's
unwillingness to comply with SADC principles or to negotiate. Our position
remains the same. We will not participate until genuine electoral reforms
are in place,' said MDC secretary-general, Professor Welshman
In practical terms, Ncube said President Mugabe appoints the
chairperson of the commission after consulting the Judicial Services
Commission. The President will also appoint the other four members of the
commission from a list of seven nominees submitted by a Parliamentary
Constitutional law expert, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, said the ZEC
Bill should not be entertained because it falls far short the SADC
principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
said if Zanu PF is sincere, it would have amended the Constitution rather
than introducing the ZEC Bill through an Act of Parliament.
amend or overrule any Act of Parliament, using the Presidential Powers Act,
rendering the whole exercise useless said Madhuku, chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an organisation that advocates for a new
'Anything created outside the Constitution is a waste of
time and people in Zanu PF know that. In fact, even Chinamasa knows that,'
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, last week said: 'We don't need to amend the
constitution to make these changes. We can do it through the Bill. There is
no problem at all. Those who are making noise are people who are afraid of
participating in elections.'
Although the ZEC was supposed to
determine boundaries of the country's 120 constituencies for next year's
elections, Mugabe last week swore in four members of the Delimitation
Commission, composed of two retired army officers.
Chaired by High
Court judge, Justice George Chiweshe, a former major in the army, its other
three commissioners are Dr Job Mutondori Whabira, former secretary for
defence, Dr Charles Madenyika Mukora and Dr Macleans Bhala.
Delimitation Commission, which is expected to start work, soon, would have
already usurped the operations of the Zimbabwe Electoral
'What it means is that the ZEC would only supervise voting on
the voting day alone because the Delimitation Commission would have drawn
boundaries while Mudede is preparing the voters' roll,' Ncube
This scenario renders the new ZEC a mere political
According to the draft law, the ZEC will be the only body
permitted to carry out voter education.
Apart from that no foreign
organisation would be allowed to provide or sponsor activities related to
voter education or awareness campaigns, virtually shutting out the
participation of civic bodies in elections.
Matchaba-Hove said there was
no harm in the ZEC supervising voter education, with civic society
assisting, if the body was independent.
He, however, said it was improper
for the government to prevent civic society from getting foreign funding
when there are no other sources of funding internally.
tantamount to preventing them from carrying out voter education,' said
Matchaba-Hove, whose organisation is dependent on donor funding for its core
Zesn is a coalition of civic organisations advocating for
electoral reforms to enable conduct of free and fair elections in the
INTRA-PARTY violence and in-fighting within Zanu PF are on the
increase following the recent announcement by the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) boycotting any future elections until government levels the
electoral playing field, The Standard has established.
opposition parties such as National Alliance for Good Governance (NAAG),
Zanu and Democratic Party (DP) largely inactive, the MDC's decision has
condemned Zimbabwe to the pre-2000 era where Zanu PF ran in polls virtually
This scenario, which analysts say is unhealthy for
democracy, means that any member of the ruling party elected in Zanu PF
primaries becomes the duly elected MP.
As a result, party insiders
told The Standard, there was an upsurge of violence as Zanu PF stalwarts
jostle among themselves seeking to take advantage of the
They said the in-fighting was also precipitated by President
Robert Mugabe's announcement in July that all aspiring MPs, including senior
party members, must contest in the party's primaries. A number of senior
Zanu PF politicians had already imposed themselves as candidates for next
March's general elections.
In the past few weeks, increased incidence
of intra-party clashes were reported in provinces such as Manicaland, and
'Would be parliamentary candidates for Zanu-PF are
competing for nomination in bitterly contested primary elections. Although
publicly, Zanu PF leaders say it is healthy for democracy in the party, they
are secretly worried that it is causing serious divisions within the lower
ranks,' said one Zanu PF official.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Dr Nathan
Shamuyarira, sai the party was disturbed by the on-going intra-party
violence and was working to stop it.
Shamuyarira, a former journalist,
said Zanu PF officials should refrain from using 'unbecoming language,'
intimidation or violence to win the party's primaries.
'It is our
party policy that cadres must compete in an open manner, without
intimidation or violence. We are going to stop it. Would-be contestants must
compete as comrades-in-arms and not enemies,' he said. Shamuyarira vowed to
take stern action against all those found promoting violence.
primary elections due next month, sources said intra-party violence is
They cited incidents in Chipinge, where supporters of
businessman, Enock Porusingazi, have on several occasions, attacked people
sympathetic to Catherine Chirimambowa, who is Porusingazi's rival in the
Zanu PF primary elections.
Chirimambowa, who could not be contacted
last week, is said to have made a report of an attack and harassment of his
supporters to Mike Madiro, the party's Manicaland Provincial
Madiro was said to be in a meeting when The Standard sought a
MDC's Manicaland provincial spokesperson, Pishayi Muchauraya,
who visited Rimbi Growth Point in Chipinge last week said: 'The atmosphere
at the growth point was tense. This time it was not Zanu PF against MDC but
Zanu PF against Zanu PF.'
Muchauraya had visited the area to verify
reports that Zanu PF supporters and war veterans were preventing MDC
sympathisers from buying maize from the local Grain Marketing Board
Presently, Zanu's Wilson Khumbula holds the Chipinge South
Intra-party violence is also simmering in Makonde in
Mashonaland West, where incumbent legislator Kindness Paradza, sees the
problems in the constituency as being fanned by senior Zanu PF politicians,
who want to impose Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe.
Contacted for a
comment Leo Mugabe denied his supporters and those of his rival, Paradza,
had ever clashed. 'We are campaigning peacefully here. There is nothing like
that here,' said Mugabe, a former football administrator.
Tension is also
simmering in Buhera North, where the incumbent MP Kenneth Manyonda is
squaring up with Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba, and a third
contender identified only as Mutomba.
The sources said Charamba recently
addressed a rally at Chitsunge Village in Buhera, where he blasted Manyonda
for 'failing the constituency in development matters'.
He could not
be reached for comment although he undertook, through his secretary, to
The latest reports of intimidation and intra-party violence
come barely a month after supporters of Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of
Special Affairs Responsible for Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies,
attacked retired Major James Kauye, who wants to challenge Mutasa in the
A committee to investigate intra-party violence that broke out
in Manicaland's Makoni North constituency has been set up. Mutasa, who said
Kauye 'deserved what he got', is the incumbent MP for Makoni
Zanu PF's Phineas Chihota was recently declared legislator for
Seke constituency after the MDC pulled out of the election contest. Chihota,
a businessman, took over following the death of opposition MP Ben Tumbare
Analysts say that the on-going in-fighting in Zanu PF could
destabilise the ruling party.
Chivi South shakes off dirty Zanu PF politics By Walter
MASVINGO Although for years this desolate remote district has
remained politically inconsequential, rural Chivi South constituency is
blazing the trail in shaking off dirty Zanu PF politics that have
characterised campaign periods in Zimbabwe.
The drought prone
constituency whose politics have largely gone unnoticed in the national
political arena, has come out alive as the countdown to the 2005 general
Ten ruling party stalwarts – notable among them
incumbent MP Charles Majange, Bulawayo businessman Jonathan Gapare,
educationists Enock Shindi and John Tichagwa are all chasing the sole
party ticket to represent the constituency in Parliament, come March next
This has generated massive interest in politics as hunger-stricken
villagers contemplate who among the ever-growing list of aspiring MPs could
best represent them in Parliament and transform their meagre fortunes for
Village elders bemoan the fact that the constituency's only
'industry' is a prostitution network revolving around the innumerable
haulage trucks that ply the Beitbridge-Ngundu Highway on a daily
There is new consensus that an MP who can at least mitigate their
plight by working out strategies aimed at job creation at centres such as
Ngundu growth point should be elected.
And, interestingly, the
aspiring MPs themselves have adopted a unique campaign style that is
different from the usual combative Zanu PF's politics that have seen many
people losing either their lives or limbs for daring to express a different
point of view.
They have made the campaign process 'one of issues' and
it's common for all the aspiring MPs to call one huge campaign rally, where
each one of them has an equal opportunity to tell the villagers what he can
do to change the status quo in Chivi South.
Majange, the current MP
is encouraging these common rallies and is not worried by the idea of
sharing the platform with people keen to elbow him out of the race for the
Chivi South constituency seat.
At one such rally held recently in the
constituency, Majange, sporting a white suit, broke away from the usual Zanu
PF belligerence when he actually smiled while his opponent, Gapare, told
thousands of Chivi South villagers that he, and not Majange, was the best
man to lift them from the throes of poverty.
Gapare was accompanied
by a group of 'entertainers' who go around the constituency performing plays
that portray Majange as an ineffective MP who has done little to uplift the
constituency since 2000.
And on that day the 'political entertainers' did
exactly that: poured scorn on the leadership of the sitting MP, through song
If Majange was offended he did not show it. When it was his
turn, he stood up and joked that some of Chivi's youngsters had become so
successful that they were now determined to wrestle the constituency from
He believes he has done a lot to help his constituents and could do
more if given a chance. When he ended his short speech, which dwelt on the
need for tolerance among the contestants and the electorate by saying
'Pamberi nekudya nyama'(forward with eating meat), he drew deafening
Ironically, it was Gapare who had provided a beast that was
slaughtered for the villagers who braved the scorching heat to listen to the
speeches. Gapare says he and Majange were related and therefore saw no need
for acrimonious campaigns.
'We are cousins and even with the other
candidates, we are all united by the desire to uplift our land of birth, so
there is no need for us to beat each other,' said Gapare who is assisting in
repairing dams and boreholes in the constituency.
Gapare, who owns
Alpha Construction and five other companies under a group called TLP
Agencies, is also assisting many hard-up parents with school fees, endearing
himself to many in the poverty- stricken constituency.
Majange, who has
remained unscathed by the political squabbles that are associated with
Masvingo province over the years, told The Standard last week that he was
very pleased with the way the campaigns were going.
'Since 2000, I have
been saying there is no need to throw a stone at your opponent. I have been
stressing that democracy entails that someone who holds a different
political view is not an enemy and I am happy to say this message has been
understood,' said Majange, who recently returned from UK where he attended
an international workshop for Parliamentarians.
At this workshop, he
rubbed shoulders with representatives from the opposition MDC as well as
those from the British House of Commons.
Asked how he felt when Gapare's
youths sang songs that downplayed his achievements right in his face,
Majange said: 'Ndine vanguwo vanoita izvozvo. (I also have my group doing
He added: 'We are really trying to teach people about
democracy, we want to inculcate the feeling that people are free to decide
who should lead them. And before they do that, aspiring candidates should
offer themselves for scrutiny.'
Turning to the national political
scene, Majange said there was no need for Zanu PF and the opposition MDC to
'We can pretend that we (Zanu PF) will never talk with the MDC but
the sooner we talk the better. Angola waited for 27 years when the
negotiating table was there for them. Finally they had to do the logical
thing,' he said.
'We also have an excellent opportunity in 2005 to
settle the issue of legitimacy once and for all.
'If others are going
to boycott the elections, it means we are condemning ourselves to an
indefinite period of international isolation,' said Majange who meets
regularly with political rivals, including those from the MDC, when he is at
home in Chivi South.
Joubert Mudzumwe, the MDC national executive member
based in Masvingo, says Zimbabwe would be a much better place if politicians
could emulate the example set by Majange in Chivi South.
do not have an official candidate in that constituency we have several
aspiring MPs. They are all very free to campaign in the constituency. The
only impediment we face sometimes is the police,' said Mudzumwe, who has
been banned from his rural home in Bikita by Zanu PF militias.
Zanu PF's commitment to reform queried after arrests By
THE Zanu PF government's commitment to regional democratic
election guidelines was brought into question last week following the arrest
and detention of MDC youth chairman, Nelson Chamisa and the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman, Lovemore Madhuku.
were picked up and locked up by police in circumstances that critics say
amounted to harassment of people perceived to be opponents of President
Madhuku was asleep when police knocked at his
door around 4:00 am.
They (police) went on to ransack the NCA offices,
claiming they were looking for subversive materials and later that week
stormed the MDC provincial and regional offices in Bulawayo, again, claiming
they were looking for subversive materials.
Chamisa was arrested on
allegations of holding a public gathering without police
MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, said the crackdown on the
opposition and the NCA was a clear indication that despite signing the SADC
Protocol on election guidelines, the Zanu PF regime did not subscribe to the
principles of democracy and free elections.
'Certainly, everybody can
see the reluctance and lack of sincerity on the part of Zanu PF to implement
the SADC Protocol. The events of the last week have revealed the true
colours of the dictatorship and that alone should send a clear signal to the
international community,' he said.
The SADC Protocol among other things
calls for equal opportunities for political parties to access the state
media, freedom of association, political tolerance.
'Zanu PF is very
reluctant to implement the guidelines because it would be like signing their
own death warrant. It is unfortunate that the police are being used to raid
our offices under the pretext of searching for so-called subversive
materials when, in fact, they would be getting information about our
strategies which they then forward to Zanu PF,' Tsvangirai said.
Protocol could only be genuinely implemented if the government repealed the
Public Order and Security Act, (POSA) and the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, (AIPPA), which curtail political interaction and
freedom of the press.
'The government was not worried about signing the
protocol because it was aware that it could use AIPPA and POSA to suppress
the MDC. Basic freedoms and democracy can only be attained when POSA and
AIPPA are repealed,' Tsvangirai said.
Brian Kagoro, the chairman of
Crisis Coalition said the SADC Protocol is made up of guidelines, which were
not enforceable under law.
'Mugabe had no problems signing the protocol
because it actually portrayed him as a statesman eager to embrace electoral
reform. But there is no court in Southern Africa that you can go to and
accuse the government of not implementing the Protocol. As long as the
guidelines are not part of our domestic law and we have AIPPA and POSA which
are enforceable, then the protocol will remain irrelevant to
Kagoro said the harassment of the opposition and civic
organizations was consistent with regimes that eliminate opponents and tell
the outside world that they had embraced reforms.
'The elimination of
opposing views is manifesting itself in the form of picking up civic society
activists at odd hours and making all sorts of lewd allegations against the
opposition to disorientate them,' Kagoro said.
ZANU PF is only excited about the recommendation for a female
vice president from its Women's League because it knows this translates into
thousands more votes and many other people campaigning for it ahead of the
March 2005 parliamentary elections.
That women and daughters of the
soil fought gallantly and contributed to the liberation of this country is
not contestable. Evidence and recognition of this abounds: Amai Sally
Mugabe; Mama Johanna Mafuyana; and Julia Zvobgo, who are buried at the
national shrine and countless others, dead and living.
But Zanu PF
has a history of begrudgingly accepting the contribution of female members
of the Zimbabwean society. For example, it is inconceivable that Amai Sally
Mugabe was the first female freedom fighter to have died and be worthy of
The ruling party pretends it cares about women, yet its real
interests are in the extent to which it can exploit and manipulate women as
voters and foot soldiers in advancing its male agenda.
If it is
accepted that women played a pivotal role in the struggle to liberate this
country, there is no basis for the issue of a female vice president
requiring deliberation just as the case of the late Eddison Zvobgo's hero
status did not require any deliberation. There is nothing to deliberate on
because their role in executing the struggle is self-evident.
to the Zanu PF Women's League Congress, which ended in Harare recently,
demanded more recognition apart from a female vice president, they want
greater representation in posts held in politics and the
But raising the issue of a female vice president in some
respects is a tactical move because it throws into disarray the factions
that have been plotting and jockeying to position their favoured candidates
for elevation into the triumvirate that make up the
However, if there are questions about those surrounding the
presidency, support for a female vice president could be a watershed
indicator of where the preferred locus of support for the ruling party is
At their peak, the regimes of Kamuzu Banda, Kenneth Kaunda,
Mobutu sese Seko and Daniel arap Moi, among others, appeared to draw the
bulk of their support from women. Zimbabwe could be embarking on this
Anyone in Zanu PF contesting against a candidate proposed by the
Women's League of the ruling party runs the grave risk of being seen as
opposing the advancement of women – politics wise. That could be the kiss of
death for the political careers of many vice presidential
But women should not have to ask for the vice presidency if
Zanu PF subscribes to the doctrine of equal opportunities. Women constitute
more than 50 percent of the population of Zimbabwe. They are among the most
active of the membership of all parties.
In the majority of cases at
rallies or at the airport to welcome visiting dignitaries or when President
Mugabe is returning from abroad, women are in the majority of the welcoming
parties even though we do not endorse or agree with the way women are
exploited in this manner.
Women also turn out in far greater numbers when
it comes to voting.
There is also a trade-off the ruling party hopes to
exploit to its advantage by dangling the carrot of a female vice president.
Zanu PF believes that women will forget –albeit for a while – the hardships
sired by its policies, which have resulted in unemployment nearing the 80
percent mark and the closure of businesses affecting nearly
In showing readiness to embrace, in principle, recommendations
from its Women's League, Zanu PF is merely demonstrating that it is
preoccupied with formulas that will bring more voters to the polling
stations to cast their ballots supporting it. Zanu PF and the government are
more worried about the benefits they expect to harvest.
background will help focus on this issue in its proper perspective. Seven
years ago, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) adopted a
declaration establishing a target of 30 percent female representation in
The current parliament elected in 2000 represents
something of a setback because the level of female representation is a
paltry 10 percent, down from 14 percent during the last
If Zanu PF and the government recognised the contribution
women made to the struggle for independence and if they were committed to
advancing women, the numbers of women among government ministers,
parliamentarians, provincial governors, permanent secretaries, ambassadors,
district administrators, provincial administrators, rural district council
chairpersons and even party provincial chairpersons would be more than what
they are now purely on merit not just for the sake of uplfting them willy
In contrast, Mozambique and South Africa have done much more to
promote women. Mozambique has a female prime minister, while South Africa
has seen a female taking the reigns of power as acting president during
periods when both President Thabo Mbeki and his deputy, Jacob Zuma, have
been out of the country.
If Zanu PF and the government have the
political will and commitment to effect the main recommendation from the
Zanu PF Women's League congress they do not have to wait until after March
2005 because capable women are there in both the ruling party and civil
society as a whole.
It's time Zanu PF and the government started to walk
How Batman baffled Bobbies overthetop By Brian
SOMETIMES events beyond the troubled central African nation are so
stunningly idiotic, so staggeringly stupid, that they warrant closer
inspection. And so it was this week when a flamboyantly dressed man in a
Batman suit scaled the walls of Buckingham Palace, a not-so-modest home that
belongs to the head of State of a small, muddy Island in perpetual dispute
with the troubled central African country.
Batman's gripe, not
uncommon in that part of the world, had something to do with fathers' rights
though that's hardly important.
More interesting than his campaign
was the fact that this particular Batman foiled the scores of soldiers,
policemen, guards, spies and officials allegedly guarding the head of state
who, though she generally works from home, was away at the time. (In common
with certain other heads of state, she spends a great deal of time visiting
her various residences.)
Interviewed afterwards, London's police chief
said that Batman would have been shot had he been a terrorist. But of
course! No self-respecting terrorist would dress up in a superhero suit,
still less fill his money belt with whatever this particular Batman was
carrying around his waist.
Still, the chaotic situation provided an
object lesson for the crazy loon Osama bin Laden, who now knows that if he
wants to blow Britain's head of State into next week, all he needs is a
Superman suit and a couple of kilograms of plastic explosive in his sandwich
If that display of ineptness from the forces of law and order wasn't
enough, just days later a small group of protestors, this time with a real
grievance, invaded parliament, foxing high tech security systems and armed
policemen. Despite avoiding X-ray cameras and body searches, the protestors
were eventually apprehended by a couple of tired looking gentlemen in
It has come to something when a nation that lays Stake to
a role in world leadership, claims technological superiority and security
consciousness has forgotten how to lock the door.
Of course, such
things wouldn't happen in the troubled central African nation. Should anyone
try and scale the walls of the most equal of all comrade's residence, he'd
end up so full of lead it would require a crane to remove the
As for scenes of happy violence inside parliament, these are
generally confined to pleasing scuffles between the opposing Zany and More
Drink Coming parties.
Naturally there has been much ardent
questioning and not a little soul searching over the two invasions, but Over
The Top is can reveal the real reason behind them: breathtaking
Of course, the only reason for mentioning all of this is
that it's nice, once in a while, to be reminded that staggering hopelessness
and uselessness exists in other parts of the world.
That it happened
in a country that once held rather tenuous dominion in this part of the
world just makes it slightly more amusing.
It should also provide
considerable relief to the Zany Party. Obsessed by a paranoid frenzy over
the possibility of being re-colonised by Britain, these two small incidents
should put their minds at rest. If Britain's well-equipped security forces
aren't able to stop a brightly clad man in a humorous suit entering one of
the most secure areas of their country, it seems highly unlikely they're
capable of organising anything even vaguely threatening.
As for paler
citizens of the troubled central African nation hoping to be evacuated if
turmoil and bloodshed ever take hold; well, it might be prudent to look
elsewhere for help.
Minings freeze after Mugabe statement marketmovers with
MINING shares took a beating last week after remarks by
President Robert Mugabe that government would seize half of every private
mining company operating in Zimbabwe.
The mining index fell 6,55%
or 11 872,55 points Wednesday, led south by losses in gold producer
Falgold, off $5 to $60, and nickel miner Bindura, a massive $20 weaker at
$730. The mining index has quietly chipped out positive movement in recent
weeks, but has always been overshadowed by the main industrial average,
which continued flat last week.
But Mugabe's statements immediately
cast negative attention on the small mining counter; investors selling what
little holdings they have in mostly illiquid minings.
'We are going
to demand that government be given 50% shares in the mines,' Mugabe told an
audience of school kids at Moleli High School, in his home province of
'We cannot recognise absolute ownership of our
resources. That must be corrected,' the President ranted.
earlier this year suffered knocks after a leaked state document suggested
government would force mining companies to cede 49% of their investments to
black empowerment groups. Government will next month table a Bill seeking to
transform ownership patterns, but has denied that the leaked document
represents cast-in-stone policy.
'Investors are asking themselves whether
this will be like the farms. You have the President saying one thing this
minute, and the next minute, it becomes law,' an analyst Thursday. 'Is the
government going to pay for the stakes, or will they just demand the
Bindura's losses were particularly intriguing, coming only days
after news that majority owners Mwana Africa had bought Freda Rebecca mine,
the remaining Zimbabwe interests of world number two gold producer AngloGold
The US$2,25 million deal completed AngloGold Ashanti's total
pullout from Zimbabwe.
Elsewhere on the stock market, shares
continued to drift rudderless for much of the week. The market failed to
find any real direction, counters making small gains in one session and
giving them away in the next.
Fresh inflation data earlier in the week
showed an improved prices outlook, but investors found little in the numbers
to cheer them into any new buying. Inflation slowed 49 basis points to 314%
in the year to August, the CSO said Tuesday.
The industrial index
slumped 0,12% Tuesday and a further 1,14% midweek on weakness in financials
and heavy cap counters, and traders reported Thursday that the market had
once again opened to lethargic trade.
CFX sank to an all time low $15
Tuesday, but took back $10 Wednesday. Investors remain uncertain about the
long-term strategy of the bank, the result of CFX's takeover of Century
Holdings. CFX brought in a history of corporate advisory, but this is
unlikely to give too much value to the group in the new post-consolidation
Sugar producer Hippo gained $5 to $225 Wednesday, even after the
company painted a bleak outlook in a trade update earlier in the day. Cane
yield would be 10% down this year, Hippo said, while its Mkwasine and Hippo
estates had been issued with fresh acquisition orders, despite court action
to have earlier orders withdrawn
countrywide shortage of raw milk is persisting unabated with most retail
outlets virtually running out of stocks during the past few weeks.
survey by Standard Business revealed that most retail outlets are not
stocking the commodity at all. Dwindling supplies are blamed for the
shortages of fresh milk and that of sterilised and powdered
The shortages have been caused by the disturbances on
commercial farms caused by the land grab, say analysts.
production has declined 40% in the past five years since liberation war
heroes and ruling party loyalists expropriated land from white farmers
driving many experienced dairy farmers out of business.
dropped to 180 million litres in 2001 and 168 million litres in 2002
compared to 240 million litres produced prior to the disturbances on the
Prominent large scale dairy farmers who at one time numbered 375
and used to produce 98% of the national milk have either moved into
neighbouring countries or quit because of a viability crisis crippling the
Shortages of stockfeed have also resulted in the few
small-scale dairy farmers destocking or abandoning dairy farming
In the late 1990s small-scale milk producers numbered 750 and
used to produce around 2% of the country's total milk
Dairiboard Zimbabwe Limited (DZL), Zimbabwe's largest milk
processor, admits the lower levels of milk supply are causing havoc with its
'We are currently facing a nationwide shortage of milk powders
and liquid milk,' said Busi Chindove, DZL's spokesperson. 'It also refers to
the decline in the national dairy herd.'
The national dairy herd –
once in the region of 100 000 head of cattle – has gone down drastically.
Apart from reduced milk supplies, DZL like other manufacturing companies is
facing constraints in sourcing hard currency from the central bank. The
company imports all its packaging materials for its 'chimombe' range of
ultra high temperature processed milk, which has a long shelf
Regionally DZL holds a significant stake in Dairiboard Malawi and
its export markets are Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania.
range of dairy products includes beverages, ice creams, cordials,
condiments, sauces and spreads which are marketed locally and abroad. During
Wednesday's trade on the ZSE, DZL shares were quoted at $500.
Winds of change are still blowing Sundaytalk with Pius
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has finally taken the
right step by refusing to take part in any future parliamentary or council
elections until the playing field is made level. This makes a lot of sense.
Only a fool will go into the boxing ring against an experienced and rough
fighter with his right hand tied behind his back.
Let the dogs, who
are accusing the MDC of cowardice bark to their heart's content. If Zanu PF
goes ahead to rule by default, more power to them. The day of reckoning will
come one day. The Shona say: 'Chinobhururuka chinomhara (What goes up will
surely come down)'. The human quest for liberty is indomitable. It will
always overcome and triumph.
With conditions being what they are,
participation by the MDC in the elections would surely lead to widespread
violence across the country. Zanu PF leaders are already sending out thinly
veiled messages to their supporters to 'fight vigorously' to stop the MDC
On the other side MDC young bloods are vowing to retaliate
if attacked by whoever, including the dreaded Green Bombers. With knives
thus drawn, so to say, who knows what the outcome could be?
signal the beginning of civil war or even genocide. It was, therefore, wise
for the MDC leadership to suspend participation in elections until the
threat of violence, among other things, is removed from the political
As I started to enumerate the 'other things', which need to be
removed from our political playing field I thought of the words of Guy
Clutton-Brock, the Zimbabwe national hero. He was speaking at a teach-in on
political trends in the then Rhodesia at the then University College of
Rhodesia in 1969. He said: 'In our situation, the forces of law, the army
and the police, were appointed, sworn and paid to protect the weak against
the irresponsible use of power by the strong. They were faced with an
agonising moral and legal challenge – many of them are good men and
'They are ordinary people like ourselves, but they were led to
shirk their duty to arrest the major lawbreakers, who were often
self-confessed. At the behest of those, seemingly guilty of major crime,
they continued to proceed against the lesser criminals. And the major
lawbreakers have not been brought to book and have so far escaped
'Now some judges have been led to acquiesce at the breaking of
the law, at aiding the revolution (UDI) by recognising it, and the courts
have become powerless against the illegal use of power by the executive. So
the machinery of law and justice is no longer able to fulfil its proper
function – to protect the weak against the man with the gun – and this is a
gigantic moral shock to our country and to our whole community. Civil
servants also, servants of the public, have been led to forgo the principles
of political impartiality.
'They have connived at crime and they have
served those who have seized power illegally rather than the public – which
'… There's a new spiritual uprising just around the corner, I
believe. And the old barriers are breaking down and new thought is producing
new people classless, raceless, international beings and they're
challenging the conventions and the traditions of the old blocks put by the
old gangs like me in the way of progress.'
The speech by Guy
Clutton-Brock was published in a booklet entitled, We Protest! He was
speaking about the situation prevailing in Ian Smith's Rhodesia after the
unilateral declaration of independence. Is it any different from the
situation prevailing in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe? Certainly not!
Clutton-Brock might as well have been speaking about present day Zimbabwe.
He must be turning in his hero's grave.
When the stinging African
Commission on Human and People's Rights report, which revealed the Zimbabwe
government's attempt to limit civil liberties through the enactment of
colonial-style legislation and the subjugation of civil society was tabled
at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, the Zimbabwe government should
have taken note. They should have immediately started to 'chart a path that
signalled a commitment to the rule of law'. That is if they had the
interests of Zimbabwe at heart.
Instead they slammed the report as 'a
pack of mischievous lies' sponsored by the British and Western
After President Mugabe signed the SADC protocols on elections in
Mauritius, he should have upon coming home, set about putting the principles
and guidelines into effect. He didn't. Instead the government is making a
lot of noise about a few proposed cosmetic changes. There was definitely no
real commitment to levelling the political playing field.
MDC, which almost won the last elections announced that they were going to
suspend participation in all elections until the SADC principles and
guidelines were put in place, Zanu PF should have realised that they were in
a serious dilemma. If they had the real interests of the country at heart
they would have stopped in their tracks and invited the MDC for serious
dialogue to break the impasse. But, No! They added insult to injury by
drafting and presenting to parliament the nonsensical Non-Governmental
Organisations Bill, which seeks to curtail the activities of civic society
The Zanu PF government is trying to do the impossible.
It is trying to hunt with the hounds and run with the hares at the same
time. On one hand it loudly claims that it is a modern day democracy and
publicly signs documents like the SADC election protocols. On the other hand
it passes draconian laws to stifle democratic activities of the people like
old-fashioned totalitarian dictatorship.
The hallmark of a democracy
is the freedom of the people to organise themselves as civic society and to
form non-governmental organisations for their own good. This is what is
meant by 'government of the people, by the people and for the people'. The
government itself is a creation of the people for their own good. They
freely choose who should represent them in this ruling organisation and for
what period of time.
This is not what Zanu PF takes government to be. It
is no exaggeration to say that the Zanu PF government wants Zimbaweans to
believe that governments may legitimately give to people or take away from
them virtually anything, anytime, any place checked only by the licence
conveyed by government officials either elected or appointed by an
Zanu PF wants us to believe that the powers of
government are unlimited and the natural rights of individuals as
subordinate to whatever government, and not the people, think is for the
'public good' no matter how far-fetched or ridiculous. The 'public good' is,
of course, determined by those exercising the power to give or take. They
have become superior beings by virtue of their having 'fought the war
In their arrogance, they and not the people brought
freedom to Zimbabwe. They have become gods in their own eyes.
late former premier of Britain, Harold MacMillan spoke of the 'winds of
change blowing across Africa'. Diehards like Ian Smith failed to ride on
those winds and brought bloodshed upon an otherwise peace-loving people.
Those winds of change are still blowing and as Guy Clutton-Brock said,
'there is a new spiritual uprising just round the corner.' This spiritual
and moral uprising will bring real democracy to Africa and to Zimbabwe in
particular. Mark my words.
††††††††††† MI6 chief's nephew was partner of coup
leader ††††††††††† Nicholas Rufford
††††††††††† A CLOSE
relative of a former head of MI6 has emerged as having business links with
Simon Mann, the former SAS officer involved in the plot to overthrow the
head of an oil-rich African state. ††††††††††† Justin Longley, the nephew of
Sir Richard Dearlove - chief of MI6 at the time the coup attempt was staged
last March - was a friend and associate of Mann, the Eton-educated former
soldier jailed for seven years in Zimbabwe last
††††††††††† Longley was working closely with Mann on
goldmining, forestry and engineering ventures in Africa. He visited the
continent as a representative of Logo Logistics, the company through which
Mann later financed the attempt in March to overthrow Teodoro Obiang Nguema,
president of Equatorial Guinea.
††††††††††† One mining venture in
Sudan also involved Sir Mark Thatcher, who was arrested last month by South
African police and accused of being among the backers of the
††††††††††† Dearlove is likely to be unhappy that controversy is
dogging him even into retirement. He told the Cambridge college of which he
became master last month that he was hoping for a "calmer existence" after
several fraught final months as head of MI6.
††††††††††† A picture -
the first to be published - showing him dark-suited and balding in a new
edition of the Pembroke College Gazette suggests he believed he had finally
escaped public attention. As "C", Dearlove took strenuous steps throughout
his career to protect his identity and gave evidence to the Hutton inquiry
over a voice link.
††††††††††† Documents seen by The Sunday Times show
Longley - the son of Dearlove's sister - and Mann were corresponding on
ventures in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Angola.
Longley accompanied Mann on a trip to Sudan in December 2002 to inspect a
mining and forestry area that could have yielded millions of pounds worth of
gold and teak.
††††††††††† A report of the visit identified Mann as "CEO
of Logo while Justin Longley is a senior project manager". At one point Mann
wrote to Longley about the fantastic potential wealth in an African gold
deposit: "The grade is awesome - ounces per ton."
was connected with several business ventures that the Foreign Office was
aware of or intervened in.
††††††††††† He worked with Mann at
DiamondWorks, an Angola-based diamond mining enterprise, in the 1990s. The
company had links through investors to Sandline International, the private
military company that supplied arms to unseat a group of rebels who had
seized power in Sierra Leone. The Foreign Office knew in advance of the
††††††††††† Longley also worked as a manager for Oryx Natural
Resources, the mining concern that had controversial links to Robert Mugabe,
the president of Zimbabwe.
††††††††††† Oryx's attempts to get a
London stock exchange listing collapsed when the Foreign Office criticised
the company's plans for mining in the Congo - a source of "blood diamonds".
Oryx denied any wrongdoing.
††††††††††† Mann was jailed for attempting
illegally to buy weapons for use in the coup in Equatorial Guinea. The
Zimbabwean authorities claimed he confessed under interrogation that MI6 was
behind his attempt to seize power in Africa's third biggest oil producer.
The Foreign Office denied it had advance knowledge. There is no suggestion
that Longley had any knowledge of or involvement in the
††††††††††† As well as Dearlove, Longley had uncles from both sides
of his family in MI6. His mother was headmistress of Roedean, the girls'
public school. He also had connections with other members of the coup
conspiracy. He was a close contact of Greg Wales, who allegedly helped plan
††††††††††† Longley is said to have regarded Wales as a
"spook" and described him to an acquaintance as a man with influential
connections in Washington who "worked for the CIA and the commercial wing of
the Republican party".
Impoverished British war veterans in Zimbabwe 'face death
by malnutrition' By David Harrison (Filed: 19/09/2004)
1,000 British-born servicemen and women who fought in the Second World War
will die because of malnutrition and lack of medicines in Zimbabwe unless
they are given urgent help, according to the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services
Col Brian Nicholson, the league's secretary-general, who has just
returned from the former British colony, called on the Government last night
to launch an emergency plan to evacuate the destitute elderly servicemen and
war widows to Britain.
In a report on a secret visit he made to the
southern African state last week, Col Nicholson says that the veterans,
impoverished by rampant inflation, also face intimidation by "thugs" from
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Col Nicholson, a former
defence attache at the British embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, told The
Telegraph last night: "This is a tragic situation. These brave people who
risked their lives for Britain are now desperate, alone, impoverished and
The Duke of Edinburgh, the league's Grand President for 30
years, had seen the report and had asked to be kept informed of
developments, Col Nicholson said.
The crisis involves more than 1,000
British-born servicemen and women who emigrated to Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was
known until independence in 1980, after 1945. Up to 5,000 former Rhodesian
servicemen, who as Commonwealth subjects served the Crown, are also
The British-born veterans range from Army privates to
brigadiers, Royal Navy seamen to commanders, and Royal Air Force aircraftmen
to group captains. They served in regiments including the SAS, the Royal
Artillery, the Royal Tank Regiment, the Lancashire Royal Fusiliers, the
Staffords, the Black Watch and the Highland Fusiliers.
Most now live
in privately owned nursing homes or sheltered housing. Col Nicholson visited
three homes in Harare, the capital, and another four in Bulawayo, the second
city, and was "shocked and appalled" by what he found.
His report gives
examples of the veterans' financial and physical suffering.
85-year-old former captain in the SAS, awarded a Distinguished Service Order
for outstanding bravery at the age of 19 in north Africa, set up a pension
to provide him with an income of Z$4,000 a month. Because of inflation, that
is now worth the equivalent of just 40p a month.
Inflation of more than
600 per cent has sent the cost of food and drugs soaring. A former major
recovering from a cancer operation cannot afford the drugs he needs to fight
the disease, the report says. A monthly pension barely covers the price of a
loaf of bread.
The report accuses Mr Mugabe of deliberately "allowing
rampant inflation to deprive anyone of pensionable age with a liveable
income" and accuses the British Government and the United Nations of
ignoring the veterans' plight.
Back at his desk in London last week, Col
Nicholson, who spent 33 years in the Army, sifted through the latest
applications for financial help from the veterans.
The cases include
a former soldier whose investments of Z$800,000 and savings of Z$1,000 are
now worth £80; a 78-year-old ex-lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers whose
Z$200,000 of investments are now worth less than £20; and an ex-trooper in
the Royal Tank Regiment whose pension of Z$22,000 a month now gives him just
£2.30 a month.
Col Nicholson said: "The world hardly knows about these
veterans because for years they lived a good life and didn't need help from
a services charity."
Their living standards started to deteriorate
dramatically when President Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms and
inflation soared. "The veterans dug into their savings to survive but in the
past few months those savings have started to run out and people are getting
desperate," Col Nicholson said.
The veterans are proud and talk
reluctantly about their plight. Ken Gee, 76, who joined the RAF in 1944 aged
16 and worked as a flight mechanic before emigrating to Zimbabwe in 1948,
has £120 of his life savings left.
"When that's gone I will have
absolutely nothing," he said. "I'm just praying for a quick
Colin Radcliffe, 83, served in the RAF's Hurricane and Bomber
squadrons. "We are in a terrible situation," he said. "A lot of people sold
their houses to pay for the care homes, but inflation has wiped all that
Charmaine Roberts, 80, ran away to join the WAAF in 1940 when
she was 16. She served in Belgium, intercepting morse messages, and later
married a major from the Eighth Army and moved to Zimbabwe in
"Most veterans are on their own," she said. "The lucky few can get
help from their families but so many of our sons and daughters have been
forced to leave Zimbabwe and are struggling to start new lives in other
Col Nicholson's report accuses Mr Mugabe of aiming to
"eliminate" the middle class by impoverishment and intimidation, leaving the
country ruled by an elite of Zanu-PF politicians and businessmen,
unchallenged by a peasant class concerned only with survival.
Mugabe has already closed many of the best schools and forced most of the
white farmers out of the country. Now Col Nicholson fears Zanu-PF supporters
will turn on the British war veterans, ransacking their homes, intimidating
and possibly killing them.
The league raises £300,000 a year in
donations to help 30,000 veterans in Commonwealth countries. In the past
month it has given up to £500 each to 360 Zimbabwe veterans and widows but
says it cannot sustain that beyond December.
Col Nicholson is
circulating his report to senior military figures and other "influential
people" and wants them to press the Government to offer immediate financial
help and to implement an evacuation plan.
He said: "We are doing our best
but we can't do it alone. If nothing is done these brave, elderly people who
fought for the Crown in the Second World War, defending the freedoms we
enjoy today, will die an ignominious death."
A Foreign Office spokesman
said there were "no plans" to evacuate British war veterans in Zimbabwe. He
added: "If people are impoverished we would offer the appropriate consular
assistance on an individual basis."
Donations can be made to the RCEL, 48
Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JG.
HARMISON TO BOYCOTT ZIMBABWE TRIP Steve Harmison has
ruled himself out of England's controversial tour of
Michael Vaughan's side will play five one-day
internationals against the troubled African nation in
However, Durham pace bowler Harmison has decided to boycott the
trip for political and sporting reasons.
"In all honesty, my decision
was made in Cape Town over 18 months ago when England's World Cup squad
spent an horrendous four days before finally deciding not to go to Harare,"
Harmison told the News of the World.
"Nothing has changed for me. The
situation there is worse now - that's what the official reports say - and
Zimbabwe's top players have been sacked."