'Murambatsvina' strikes again By Linda
Tsetere THREE months after the government declared an end to
"Operation Murambatsvina", scores of people in Mabvuku have been given orders to
immediately vacate houses they have lived in for years.
issued by the Harare City Council, instructed the residents to leave the houses
in Chizhanje area on the grounds that they were "illegal lodgers".
Shupikai Moyo, a resident, confirmed receiving an eviction order. "This is
cruel. I have lived in this house for more than 20 years," she said.
Another resident, James Ndoro, said he had nowhere to go. "There are reports
that the houses are set to be occupied by the army, police and national youth
service graduates," he said.
Since 1980 the residents have paid rentals directly to council and they say
this meant they had a right to occupy the houses.
Timothy Mubhawu, the MP for Mabvuku, condemned the evictions saying they were
not only illegal and unjustified but had been carried out unprofessionally. "No
person deserves to be removed from a house he has lived in for more than 30
years and in 24 hours without a court order," Mubhawu said.
The order issued to the residents reads: "You are required to vacate the
council rented house within 24 hours of this notice. Failure to adhere to this
notice will result in you being thrown out of the house without any further
Contacted for comment, Harare city council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said:
"The people are being evicted because most of them have expired leases and they
are not the original lease holders."
Zimbabwe Vigil Diary
Further signs this week of
the collapse of the Zimbabwe regime gave extra
fire to the Vigil. The singing was fantastic. There is an extraordinary spirit
to the Vigil – our supporters forget where they are and are transported back
home. It is like being part of a mass political rally in Zimbabwe. Their heartache
for Zimbabwe mesmerises many
passers-by – they don’t quite understand what’s happening but the power draws
them in. The passionate singing was driven by a succession of great drummers.
But, being in
London, we were happy to
welcome a cheerful group in fake police helmets on a stag night. Mike and Wiz’s
notice boards with the latest dismal news from home attracted loads of
attention. On a sunny day (but with a hint of autumnal chill), we had
supporters from as far afield as Southampton,
Stoke-on-Trent (we know
traveling in Zimbabwe is expensive and
difficult, unfortunately it is also costly here). They helped us celebrate the
birthday of Dumi who, since his release from detention, has become a Vigil
powerhouse. He looks 26 but claims to be 10 years older.
It was heartening to hear
the hoots from so many bus drivers. A couple of years ago we had a banner “hoot
in support of freedom in Zimbabwe”. The banner has
long gone but the hooting continues. We are shortly to mark our third
anniversary outside Zimbabwe House on 15th October – all are welcome
to commiserate with us on this date. We hope there will be no need of hooting
to mark a fourth anniversary.
We were glad to hear from
Ephraim Tapa that after a lengthy bureaucratic process, the body of Remus
Makuwaza was to be flown back to Zimbabwe today. People
back home will be very relieved to be able to pay their respects and to bury him
in the customary manner. Well done to Ephraim who has been tireless in sorting
FOR THE RECORD:
about 40 supporters came today.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday,
19th September, 7.30 pm,
Zimbabwe Forum at the
George, Fleet Street,
London (opposite the
Royal Courts of Justice). Human
rights activist Abel Chikomo will be speaking about
Zimbabwe’s diplomatic relations with
international and regional bodies with a view to preparing activists to lobby
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, 429 Strand,
place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The
Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until
internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in
MDG's, a Pipe Dream for Zimbabwe
September 18, 2005
Posted to the web September 19,
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe launched the Zimbabwe
Millenium Goals (MGDs) Report
amid pomp and ceremony two weeks ago, but
analysts have dismissed the event
saying the lofty objectives contained in
the document are unattainable in
They said Zimbabwe
had not shown political commitment to achieve the main
focus of the plans of
halving poverty and diseases by the end of this year
and eradicating these
twin evils by 2015 because it lacks the capacity
following the withdrawal of
In interviews with The Standard last week, the
analysts said the country
would need an additional two decades after 2015 in
order to reach the
targets set at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit during which
189 world leaders
adopted the MDGs.
The leaders pledged to make
significant improvements in health, education,
gender equality, the
environment and other aspects of human welfare.
But for Zimbabwe, the pledge
is likely to remain just that, as the country's
ability to improve the
welfare of its citizens becomes increasingly
compromised by the worst
economic and political crisis in its 25-year
Zimbabwe political scientist, Eldred Masunungure, said it was
Zimbabwe to attain the 2015 MDGs target under the current
political dispensation. Most of the 2005 targets have already
He estimated that Zimbabwe would need an additional 20 years after
attain the MDGs largely because of misplaced priorities, economic
and international isolation.
"Instead of moving forward we have
regressed five decades back. So to
imagine a country which is regressing,
talking about achieving developmental
goals is hoping for too much,"
Another University of Zimbabwe analyst, Heneri Dzinotyiwei,
said being a
pariah State, Zimbabwe, does not have the capacity to generate
to attain the goals.
With minimal foreign currency inflows,
mounting external debts and decline
in investment, chances of attaining the
goals were negligible, he said.
Even the Zimbabwe Millennium Development
(ZMDGs) Goals 2004 progress report,
produced by the government, confirms
that achieving the targets was a major
But the government
argues that its efforts were being hampered by "illegal"
by Britain and America.
Current trends indicate that extreme poverty is on
the increase in the
country. In 1995, only 57% of Zimbabweans lived below
the food datum line
(FDL) but that has since risen to 80%. The government's
target is to half
the FDL to 35% by 2015.
But malnutrition levels
continue to rise.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 13%
of children under
the age of five were malnourished in 1999. But the figure
rose to 20% in
2002, suggesting a deepening problem. The target is to reduce
malnutrition by two-thirds to 7% by 2015.
In the area of
gender and women empowerment, Zimbabwe still lags behind.
The target was to
have 30% in Parliament by 2005 and to strike a 50-50
balance by 2015. But
only 24 out of the 150 legislators are women, a 16%
Tsitsi Matekaire, the director of Women in Politics
Support Unit (WiPSU)
attributed the failure to attain 30% women
representation in Parliament to
lack of political will.
education, touted as independent Zimbabwe's greatest achievement,
threat from the current unplanned population displacements, brain
the HIV and Aids pandemic.
The ZMDGs report says in 2000 primary school
enrolment was 92.6% but the
completion was down at 75.6%, indicating that
17% dropped out.
This has been attributed unplanned policies such as the
chaotic land reform
programme of 2000 and more recently, "Operation
rendered 700 000 destitute without sources of
livelihood, throwing thousands
of pupils out of school.
However, a report
from the UN Commission for Africa maintains that Zimbabwe
was likely to
achieve universal primary educational goal by 2015. The report
last week to coincide with the World Summit at the UN in New
MDGs were a major topic of discussion.
"This sharp rise in maternal mortality
rate is largely explained by the
rapid spread of the HIV and AIDS epidemic,"
says the report.
While the health ministry insists that that HIV and AIDS
were going down, analysts dispute this assertion.
think figures are deceiving because the situation on the ground is
different. People are dying. We see them," Masunungure said.
000 people die every week because of the pandemic.
Community Working Group on
Health executive director, Itai Rusike,
attributed the failure to allocation
of inadequate resources, compounded by
the withdrawal of international
support by the European Union and other
individual donor organisations.
Tuesday, 20 September 2005
Uncontrolled fires destroy $700bn
FORESTS with trees worth more than $700
billion have been destroyed by
uncontrolled fires in Chimanimani and other
areas countrywide over the past
In addition, intermittent
fire outbreaks are threatening the lives of at
least 1 000 wildebeests in
Rhodes Nyanga National Park where a vast swathe
of grazing land has been
The park — in which is found Zimbabwe’s largest population of
the large-headed ox-like antelopes with horns and a long, tufted
tail — is
now virtually bare of vegetation following the raging fires,
animals with little pastures.
The veld fires — which have
destroyed extensive tracts of forest, grassland,
wildlife and other natural
resources — have also resulted in the injury and,
in some cases, death of
people caught up in the blazes and the destruction
of their property, also
estimated at billions of dollars, countrywide.
This comes at a time when
the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has come
up with a strategic plan to
effectively deal with wild fires whose intensity
and devastation has caused
heavy loss of property and wildlife running into
Environment and Tourism Ministry acting secretary Dr Alfred
Ncube said an
approach involving local communities, which had proved workable
the effective solution to prevent the haphazard lighting and
spread of wild
"There is urgent need for us to strengthen the
concept," he said in
reference to the past practice in which it was the
responsibility of members
of the communities to guard against uncontrolled
igniting of fires and
extinguishing whenever they broke out.
was speaking during an oral evidence session before the
Portfolio Committee on Mines, Environment and Tourism last
marshalling and mobilisation of the entire community in anti-fire
worked as a strong deterrent to people who would cause fires for
purposes or otherwise. In some cases, whole forests have been burnt
hunters lighting fires to smoke and ferret edible wild animals
herbivorous rodents like mice out of their lairs and holes.
Ncube said communities should be educated on the concept, which had so
proved the only effective way in reducing fires, thus saving "our
He said chiefs and legislators should be exemplary in
community in the prevention of wild fires in order to conserve
fauna and flora.
Forestry Company of Zimbabwe (FCZ)
chief executive officer Mr Joseph
Kanyekanye last week pointed out that
presently there were no enforceable
measures in place to prevent veld
Mr Kanyekanye was contributing to a discussion during a workshop
of parastatals and senior Government officials held in Harare last
"There is nothing which is being done to stop the
uncontrollable fires," he
The fires have so far destroyed about
1 623 hectares of timber owned by
Border Timbers and 200 hectares of timber
belonging to the FCZ.
To put the extent of the loss into perspective,
timber is one of the country
’s leading foreign currency earners and the
hectares burnt down in the last
three weeks far surpass the hectarage
destroyed in the whole of 2004.
Illegal gold panners and illegal settlers
in the Chimanimani area have been
blamed for causing the fires.
fires have also destroyed coffee plantations worth billions of
belonging to the Agricultural and Rural Development
"We have to go back to our roots and come up with technical
support and an
effective system to prevent fires should be in place," Dr
He also urged the legislators to promote the clearance of
fireguards on farms, which go a long way in preventing the spread of
As a deterrent measure to would-be unauthorised fire
starters, Dr Ncube
called on the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism to
impose more severe
and stiffer penalties than is currently the
The FCZ has also been holding awareness campaigns in both the
electronic media to educate the nation about the danger and damage
Wild fires are those blazes that get out of control and
tracts of forest, grassland, wildlife and other natural
resources as well as
injure and kill people and destroy their
The blazes are normally caused by human-caused factors, among
smoking-out of bees for honey, the lighting of fires at roadsides by
motorists, careless throwing of burning cigarette stubs and the
vegetation by hunters to flush out game.
Today -- where
their were dense forests, lush green vegetation and an array
savanna grassland valleys where wild animals used to roam
wild and free -- an
extensive portion of the countryside has been reduced to
Night after night, wildebeests and other game in Nyanga National
elsewhere are seen stampeding from one valley to another as they
the raging fires.
Recently property worth billions of
dollars and wildlife was destroyed by
raging veld fires which engulfed
Woodened Conservancy in Lower Gweru.
The fire razed 7 000 hectares, about
three-quarters of the whole
Nine chalets that were under
renovation were destroyed in the blaze that
also burnt down a farmhouse at
the council-run conservancy.
The cause of the fire has not yet been
Govt owes Bulawayo $68bn By our staff
BULAWAYO - Government Ministries owe the Bulawayo City
Council more than $68 billion in unpaid water, refuse removal and sewerage
bills, a situation that is crippling the provision of essential services to
According to the latest council minutes, the government
debt which stood at $53.4 billion in April this year shot up to $67.8 billion in
May. Of the amount owed by the government, $19.5 billion represented outstanding
payments as of May and $48.3 billion, the overdue debt.
Bulawayo City Council Treasurer, Middleton Nyoni, confirmed that the local
authority was failing to provide adequate services because of lack of funds.
"They (government ministries) are not paying up and it makes it difficult for
us to provide essential services to the community. We are just manging to
survive…," Nyoni said.
He warned that the council would soon start disconnecting water supplies and
stop supplying other essential services to defaulting government departments.
"This is the only way we can recover our money from the government. We will
definitely cut off water supplies and stop providing other services," he said.
Bulawayo Town Clerk, Moffat Ndlovu said: "Virtually all the services are
affected. We need money for fuel for refuse removal services, to maintain our
roads and cater for fire services. In fact, all the departments need money in
order to function properly and efficiently."
Cop detained for 'insulting' Mugabe By our
staff A junior Beitbridge police officer has been sentenced
to 14 days in detention after he was found guilty of insulting President Robert
Police sources said an internal disciplinary hearing,
presided over by Superintendent Antony Mangezi, the deputy officer commanding
Gwanda District, found Sergeant Ignatious Chabva guilty of insulting Mugabe
while drinking in the border town.
Chabva, according to sources, was arrested by another police officer while
they were at Peter's Motel.
The sources said the police officer, who was in Beitbridge to investigate
alleged corruption cases by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials, was
irked by Chabva's casual remark on massive corruption by senior politicians.
"They are accusing Chabva of insulting President Mugabe but what he said was
not defamatory at all. Iye akangoti vari kungonetsana nevanhu vekuZimra ava
vachisiya corruption chaidzo dzana Chihuri naana Mugabe (He just said, you are
harassing the Zimra officials but you are not concerned about real corruption by
the likes of Chihuri and Mugabe)," said the source.
Mangezi will spend 14 days in a detention at Fair Bridge.
Inspector Nyoni from the Gwanda police's Press and Liaison office, apparently
irritated by questions on the incident, denied any knowledge of the detention
before putting the phone down.
Police spokesperson assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena also refused to
give a comment on the matter reiterating that he no longer talks to The
Chabva is not the only one to be charged for insulting Mugabe. A civilian was
arrested on a bus in Harare after admonishing his young brother during a row by
saying that he should not be as obstinate as the President.
UK using Malawi loophole to ignore ban on Zimbabwe deportations
19 September 2005
Elias Kaposa, a Zimbabwean now
in detention in the UK, was almost sent to
Malawi this past Saturday even
though his birth certificate is Zimbabwean
and he has the metal
identification card from Zimbabwe as well. In fact his
passport, though it
was issued in Malawi, names Harare as his place of
birth. In addition he
speaks Shona fluently and knows no languages from
Malawi. But immigration
officials in the U.K. put him on a plane destined
for Malawi, despite a
current ban on removals to Zimbabwe.
Elias came to the UK in October 2002
on a visitor’s visa, then later applied
for political asylum. He moved from
London to Luton where his family is
located and was picked up on August 15th
when he went for his weekly sign-in
at Luton police station. He had been
scheduled by the Home Office to be
deported to Malawi last Saturday, but he
walked off the plane and was
immediately handcuffed by security guards.
Elias says he spent 10 hours in a
waiting room at the airport and was
returned to the detention centre late at
night. He is scheduled to be
deported in October and has been told he will
have escorts all the way to
Elias says he is aware of the pending country case that is to be
October, which will determine whether it is safe to return anyone
Zimbabwe. Until that case is heard, a judge ruled at the last
there are to be no Zimbabwe removals.
are using Malawi passports to escape from Zimbabwe and
avoid getting caught.
But immigration officials in the UK are using the
Malawi loophole to make
exceptions. It is clear from all the documents Elias
has provided that he is
indeed Zimbabwean. He is not the only one affected.
Zimbabweans have been classed as Malawian and have been given
All have found ways to resist deportation.
SW Radio Africa
Zimbabwe manufacturing shrinks
Zimbabwe's manufacturing industry contracted
9.4 percent last year to the lowest level in more than three decades, said
private economist John Robertson, citing Central Statistical Office
Factory output had slumped 45.6 percent since 1998, Robertson
said. Manufacturing levels had dropped to the lowest since at least
Bloomberg's calls to the statistics office were not
Many manufacturers had cut production after a shortage of
foreign exchange made it impossible to renew machinery and buy new inputs.
Zimbabwe has been short of dollars since 1998, when President Robert Mugabe sent
soldiers to fight in the Democratic Republic of the Congo war and later seized
commercial farms, prompting a drop in agricultural exports.
is set to contract for a sixth year in 2005.
Masvingo wants more cabinet posts
"IN Masvingo, ministers are rare species. The whole
province has only one."
This is how Retired Major Kudzai Savious
Mbudzi, the Masvingo Zanu PF provincial secretary for Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment summed up the state of affairs of in the province of more
than 1.5 million.
Less than two years after the death of Vice President Simon
Muzenda, "feelings of betrayal" are running high in Masvingo over the number of
cabinet positions allocated to the populous region.
Masvingo overwhelmingly voted for Zanu PF in the March general
elections but there was no joy for many when the new cabinet was announced in
April. The bulk of the positions went to Mashonaland East province where seven
out of the 13 elected MPs were rewarded with positions in President Robert
Mugabe's "Development Cabinet". Four others were appointed deputy ministers.
While the issue was once a subject of secret discussion a year
ago, politicians say it is now being openly discussed in Zanu PF structures as
fears mount that the province may one day find itself without a cabinet
The death of Josiah Tungamirai, who was the Minister of State
for Indigenisation and Empowerment, a few weeks ago, has also set tongues
wagging as people speculate on his successor, amid fears that Mugabe might
appoint someone from another province.
Local politicians are waiting, with keen interest, to see who
will succeed Tungamirai, now that Masvingo has got only one cabinet minister,
Stan Mudenge, who is in charge of the Higher and Tertiary Education portfolio.
There are two other deputy ministers, Isaiah Shumba and Tinos
Rusere of the Education, Sport and Culture, and Mines and Mining Development
However, these two are political lightweights in a province
that has been dominated by heavyweights such as the late Muzenda and former Zanu
PF legal guru, the late Eddison Zvobgo.
Masvingo politicians say apart from Mudenge whose influence is
waning as he battles ill health, the province lacks meaningful representation in
They warn that discontent was growing fast in a region, which,
in the past, formed the bulwark of the Zanu PF support base.
"VaMzee vakainda, tasara pamhene" (Muzenda is gone and we have
no one to protect our interests), lamented a Zanu PF Member of Parliament who
preferred anonymity for fear of being victimised. Other Zanu PF politicians
voiced their disgruntlement saying the province was becoming a fertile ground
for anti-establishment politics.
"It's now common to see people capitalising on this
disgruntlement to further their own causes. It is easy for them to go around
saying Mugabe is practising politics of exclusion, now that Mzee (Muzenda) is
"This message sinks easily in people's minds these days when
they see people like former governor Josiah Hungwe who were close to him,
without jobs," said a Zanu PF MP.
However, Mbudzi, who is among the young Turks, now at the
centre of Zanu PF politics in Masvingo, said party supporters were not
disgruntled but "pregnant with expectation" that the President would in due
course, address the issue.
"We are not a province of deputies. We had expected that there
would be a restitution of the balance of power. Masvingo is one of the biggest
provinces with 16 MPs but it has one minister. Justice must not just be done,
but must be seen to be done."
Mbudzi, a veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970's liberation war, said he
did not believe that there were no cadres among the Masvingo MPs who were
competent enough to assume cabinet positions.
"We do not care who is appointed. Previously, there were
divisions but we are now stable and ready to contribute towards national
development. Our contributions are equally important in the national context,"
Probably the only consolation for the Masvingo MPs is their
commanding positions in influential Parliamentary Portfolio Committees. MPs from
the province, Gutu South MP Shuvai Mahofa, Zaka West MP Mabel Mawere, Masvingo
South MP Walter Mzembi, and Bikita West MP Claudius Makova are all chairpersons
of parliamentary committees. These include Youth, Gender and Women's Affairs,
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lands, Land Reform, Resettlement and
Agriculture and Defence and Home Affairs and National Security. The house has a
total of 13 committees.
MDC rules out leadership changes By Nqobani
Ndlovu BULAWAYO - The top hierarchy of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has put a lid on leadership posts saying
they are not up for grabs at the party's national congress slated for January
The opposition party has reportedly been entangled in a
serious power struggle with camps allegedly formed along academic, tribal and
trade union lines.
Addressing a rally, MDC Vice President Gibson Sibanda and National Chairman
Isaac Matongo - both former trade unionists - said party members should focus on
removing Zanu PF from power and not fight for top posts at the Congress.
The two claimed that the infighting over the posts was being created by the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) which wants to divide the party.
"There is no infighting in the party. Do not read too much into what you read
in the Press. The CIO is busy at work … they know that we are now heading for
the congress. People are looking at the posts forgetting that we want to remove
the President from power," Sibanda said.
Sibanda added: "If the congress is to divert us from removing Zanu PF from
power and focus on party posts, then it is useless to have it. However, I am not
saying that we will not hold it, we will."
Matongo said: "What we should do now to get the ruling party out of power is
not to talk about removing our president at the congress.
"We should be united so that when we get to the congress, we will only talk
about removing President Mugabe and not the issue of posts."
Power struggles in the opposition party have been simmering since the
disputed March elections over the course of action to take against the ruling
The struggle came to a head in May when several vehicles were seized from
some senior party officials. Several party youths were expelled from the party
as infighting almost got out of hand.
Speaking at the same rally, MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai said the
government of President Robert Mugabe should remain isolated until it abandons
Tsvangirai said if sanctions imposed on ruling party leaders and their
cronies were to make the ruling party change, more pressure should be applied to
ensure socio-economic and political stability in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai also said Zimbabweans who have been made "hunter-gatherers without
food" should rally behind the MDC leadership. "This is the only way of forming a
democratic resistance against the Mugabe regime," he said.
"We are prepared to be arrested and beaten up, but you should also be behind
us. He (Mugabe) must be confronted. To the CIOs present at this rally go and
tell the President that we are going to resist his tyranny and dictatorship."
The rally was attended by hundreds of Bulawayo residents, the top leadership
of the opposition party, its parliamentarians and Bulawayo executive mayor
'Tired' Mugabe wants to retire
20/09/2005 10:03 -
Harare - The Zimbabwe government is considering amending the
allow presidential and parliamentary elections to take place
at the same
time, an official newspaper reported on Tuesday.
elections are due in 2008, while parliamentary elections are
only due in
2010, but justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said President
ruling party was contemplating changing the country's laws
to make the two
polls coincide, the Herald reported.
The justice minister's remarks follow
international media reports that
Mugabe intends stepping down when his
current term ends in 2008.
There was speculation Mugabe might extend his
current term to 2010, but the
Herald said given the Zimbabwean leader's
remarks abroad, this was now
Exploring possible options
can harmonise by cutting short the current parliamentary term from 2010
2008 so that come 2008, we have both presidential and parliamentary
elections," Chinamasa told the state-controlled Herald.
said they could hold an election for a president to run
for just two years
from 2008 to 2010, when the country's next general
election is due.
third scenario is that we can have an election of a President to serve
seven years, from 2008 to 2015, so that the harmonisation takes place
2015 onwards," said Chinamasa.
Mugabe, who was on his way home from the
United Nations general assembly
summit in New York told Britain's Sunday
Times earlier this month that he
definitely plans to step down when his
current term ends in 2008.
The veteran leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
the country gained
independence from white minority rule in 1980, told the
paper that he wanted
"I want to rest," he said. "I've no thought
of changing my mind. I think I
want to retire and the party will choose
Alleged electoral fraud
Mugabe won a six-year term in power
in 2002 beating his main rival -
opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai -
by less than 500 000 votes.
dismissed Mugabe's victory, citing electoral fraud, and is still
the results in the country's courts.
Mugabe's party won parliamentary polls
earlier this year, whose results are
also disputed. His Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front
(Zanu-PF) party won 78 seats to the MDC's
41, giving the ruling party a
clear majority to force through constitutional
Last month ruling party lawmakers changed the constitution to
freedom of movement, set up an upper chamber in parliament and
farmers from challenging the seizure of their land. - dpa
Zimbabwe can take cue from Poland
Business Day -
FORMER Polish president Lech Walesa opened the
recent American Enterprise
Institute conference, which celebrated the 25th
anniversary of the
solidarity movement. It is remarkable how relevant his
success in starting
the downfall of totalitarian communism in 1980 was for
delegates from today’s “outposts of tyranny”. Walesa is an
model in methods of opposition.
Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Burma, among
the event. Walesa and other eastern Europe speakers —
notably from the
successful revolution in Ukraine — provide evidence that
change is possible
in locations of despotism identified by US Secretary of
It is dangerous and difficult for those travelling from the
tyranny. On the day of the conference, Zimbabwe announced laws
freedom of international movement. Passports are likely to be
those critical of the administration of despot President
Robert Mugabe. A
list including Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube has been drawn
The lessons of this conference are how totalitarianism rulers may
different forms of government but nearly always follow similar methods:
suppressing a free press, preventing free elections, where any occur at all,
and using violence, or the threat of it, to oppress its citizens.
while the regimes adopt the same forms of suppression, the opposition
myriad forms of revolt: strikes and non-violent protests in Poland and
recently in Ukraine and Serbia; sabotage and civil disobedience in SA
armed conflict in former Rhodesia. It is tragic that Rhodesia’s
white government gave way to a far worse black government.
trying to bring down a dictatorship, few require such immediate
those in Zimbabwe. While the need of those in North Korea is
greater, realistic solutions are not available yet for the world’s
closed society. The latest estimates are that half the population of
Zimbabwe — about 5,5-million people— are short of food and more than 700000
are homeless after Mugabe bulldozed buildings in opposition
The ruling regime is stopping food donations and blankets and
journalists from entering the country. Thousands die weekly from
malnutrition. Despite the escalating crisis, many in Zimbabwe’s opposition
are hopeful peaceful protest and political participation in parliament can
But, say informed sources at the state department,
the US has cut its
support of Zimbabwe civil society. Last year it donated
$7m to promote
democracy but cut that to $3m this year. Meanwhile, it gave
$100m to Ukraine
for the same type of work.
resolve, the right time and often external support. With
into a disaster of Rwandan proportions, and Mugabe’s power
weakening due to
economic collapse, the time is right. Zimbabwe is still
more open than many
other despotic locations, so external support could
essential that the US provide more humanitarian relief, push the
Nations to help, and support civil society. Violent conflict will be
result unless more external aid is provided— and soon.
?Bate is a
resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute
Steam locos to the rescue By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - Ten steam locomotives abandoned years ago, will
undergo a $2 billion refurbishment in order to replace diesel engines currently
grounded as a result of severe fuel shortages.
Fanuel Masikati, the
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Public Relations Manager told The Standard
last week that the ambitious project would be sponsored by the parastatal,
dogged by serious financial problems in recent years.
Masikati said the parastatal had already refurbished one locomotive for US$5
000, while the others were to be upgraded during the next "few months".
Masikati said the steam locomotives, entirely dependent on coal, would go a
long way in overcoming the challenges brought about by the serious shortage of
fuel that has crippled industries in the country.
He also said running the locomotives would be less expensive compared to
diesel engines, although he could not indicate the actual monthly cost of
running a locomotive."Even if there is a shortage of fuel the trains will be
running as we have abundant coal supplies and spares are readily available in
Zimbabwe. In terms of coal, we are the transporters of the commodity and there
is no way that we can fail to get it," Masikati said.
The reintroduction of steam locomotives was also expected to resurrect
tourist interest because efforts were underway to earmark some of them for
Gutu widow's woes mount By our staff
GUTU - The ordeal of Priscilla Chimhanda, a widow from
Chivhande Village whose plight was highlighted by The Standard last month is far
Chimhanda was back at the traditional courts two weeks
ago. Initially she was ordered to pay a beast to Kanongovere Secondary School by
her chief after her son, Robert Nhigo, was accused of stealing 23 chickens from
She appeared before Chief Gutu recently where acting Chief Serima, George
Chivhande, and his mother, Sophia Chiduza appealed against a Gutu magistrate's
ruling ordering the two to return the animal to the widow.
Gutu magistrate Walter Chikwana granted the order and said the applicant
(Chimhanda) should be given back the cow, valued at $4.5 million, by the end of
Nhigo is serving a one-year prison term for various theft offences.
The Standard understands that teachers at Kanongovere School slaughtered the
Acting Chief Serima is, however, unhappy and wants his superior, Chief Gutu
to overturn the magistrate's ruling.
His mother, Chiduza, who was assaulted by Nhigo, is also demanding
However Chief Gutu, who sought guidance from Gutu area magistrate Chikwana,
deferred the matter to Thursday this week saying the matter was too complex.
"This is a very complex issue and it needs a lot of time to deliberate," Chief
Meanwhile before the deliberations started at Chief Gutu's Court in
Mpandawana, scores of villagers could be seen milling around the old building
waiting for their cases to be heard.
Before testifying in court, the accused and their witnesses pay a fee of $50
000. Cases which dominated the day's proceedings were mostly of lobola (dowry)
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 4:46 AM
Dave Coltart and I were on the way back to Bulawayo on Sunday
at 06.30 hrs
and had just come off the ramp at Rotten Row and were going
under the bridge
onto the Beatrice Road. Under the bridge two men stepped out
in the road in
front of us forcing Dave to apply his brakes. As soon as we
slowed down a
third man - one of a larger group that were there - perhaps as
many as 6 men
in all, hit the passenger window with a steel bar smashing it
in. He then
reached into the moving car and attempted to remove Dave's bag
vehicle. Jeanette (my wife) was sitting on the back seat and as soon
heard the hit and saw the hand she reached over and held the bag
Dave then accelerated and the man was unable to complete the theft.
not report this to the Police even though the Police Station was just
hundred metres up the road.
This is a tough call - we could have
simply driven into the two men injuring
one or both of them and we could have
stopped and tried to follow up but
both actions had risks which we were not
prepared to take. Once again this
incident emphasises the need to be aware at
all time of where you are and
who is behaving in a suspicious manner. Also
keep your bags and luggage out
of sight and do not stop - they probably were
armed. All the men were in
their mid 20's or so - dressed in black -
probably because they had been
trying this on in the night. This incident was
in broad daylight.
Zimbabweans in the US have renewed calls for the US Government to grant
Temporay Protection Status for Zimbabwe.
Kindly click on the following link to learn more about this initiative and
to sign the on line petition in support of this TPS for Zimbabweans campiagn.
Log/click on www.zimbabweans.org
. to be
part of this initiative.
Ralph B. Black B.Th CRCST
Subject: The Life We Live
Before I go any further let me just say I
AM FINE (disillusioned,angry,weary,wary) but fine!
I would like to thank
S-, L-, W-, T-, C-, D-, S-, Mr & Mrs F- (sorry you got woken up!) and
everybody else who helped and was
ready to come to my rescue.
11.45 on Friday night on my way home from F- D- (sober,thank goodness!) I went
through 2 red robots, very slowly and carefully but as there was only one car a
long way behind me I felt it was safer than stopping. That one car turned out
to be an unmarked police car which
started my 3 hours of hell.
I had even started accelerating away from the 2nd robot, the blue light was
flashing and I was being pulled over. There were 3 uniformed officers and 1
plain clothed CIO officer all with rifles in that vehicle.
started the minute I stopped. I did not have my handbag on me so no form of ID
(my 2nd mistake!!!). Off we went to R-e
Police Station where I was to be
locked up until Monday. I was not allowed to use my phone to contact anyone but
as I drove off with the one police officer in my car I took the risk and phoned
the first person in my call list,W-,as I knew the crowd was still at F- D- and
closest to the
On arrival at the station the verbal
abuse and threats continued and I was made to sit next to an unconscious robber
who had been shot and was bleeding all over the floor. I was informed that
would have been my fate had I failed to stop. I finally, having messaged and
stopped anyone coming to the Station (having angry drunk people descending on a
group of aggressive police officers would have just made it worse) persuaded
them to take me home to collect money and my Drivers' License. As I had fuel in
my car this task was accomplished after a 2 hour drive through Harare via
Central Police Station, the Fife Avenue Pubs and assisting them in stopping a
truck they wanted to search along Enterprise Road.
By the time we got to
the house the officer (2 uniformed and the CIO Officer) were in a better mood
and a lot more friendly. I had managed to phone everyone when we stopped the
truck and let them know what was happening as whilst I was driving there was no
way I was taking the risk of answering my phone which was ringing
My ordeal was still not over as we now had to go back to the
Police Station so I could be officially charged. I was once again a jibbering
idiot. At the station initially they had informed me my fine would be at least
$500 thousand dollars and I only had about $300 thousand on me so I asked if I
could wake S- and R- up to borrow more. The Officer in Charge said not to worry
we would sort it out at the station. I calmly explained there was no way I was
going near the station if there was a chance I was going to be locked up for not
having enough money. He then explained that the fine for going through a red
robot was $25 thousand dollars!!!! I wanted to throw up - all this anguish for
$25 grand!! Oh and the half tank of precious petrol I used driving them
The trip back to the Station went smoothly with the CIO Officer
and Second Uniformed Officer not leaving my side once we got inside and the CIO
Officer even trying to persuade them not to even charge me at all. I was
charged the $25 thousand dollars and let go but with the advise that my ordeal
was not over as the Officer in Charge had noted an 'irregularity' on my Driver's
License and would be investigating further. He asked me point blank if I had
'bought' my license. I explained that it was issued over 17 years ago at the
Kadoma VID and certainly was not 'bought'. I don't think that was possible then
but didn't go into that with them!!!!!
I finally got home at
Having been told by people over the week-end what I 'should
have' and 'could have' done.....(Guys trust me - when you are a woman alone with
4 aggressive police officers with guns breathing down your neck (not to mention
the other 3 bored antagonistic ones at the cop shop!) you do as you're told and
don't even think to be clever!) please can someone try to answer the
1. Is there and 'unwritten' law in Zimbabwe that says women
on their own may proceed through red robots 'with caution' late at
2. I know it's law to carry your driver's license but is there
a 24 hour period you are supposed to be given to produce it?
there anyone a woman alone can call should they find themselves in a situation
like I did on Friday...... my stress was doubled as not only was I terrified of
what these guys could do to me but what they could do to my friends if they came
to help - I think the best thing I did was stop anyone coming to my rescue until
I knew exactly what was happening!
PLEASE ladies learn from my experience
- DO NOT DRIVE ALONE AFTER DARK - EVER!!!! If you have to, stop at the robots -
I didn't even see these guys coming!!!! I also didn't know exactly what was
happening as it was an unmarked car and I didn't know whether to stop or keep
going. They say drive straight to a police station - I will NEVER go near one
of those again .. and also please believe me when I tell you that in a situation
like that - as level headed as I think I normally am - everything I had learned
or heard - went straight out of my head!!!! Nobody can possibly know what it's
like unless they've experienced it. You live what you learn - and I've learnt
two things - never drive alone after dark and never argue with someone who may
have the power to hurt you - be humble, be apologetic,know your rights but trust
me - I don't think knowing my rights would have really helped me - they had the
power and briefly held my fate in their hands and there was NOTHING I could have
done. I did learn my own strength of character on Friday night though. I pray
none of you ever has the experience I did..... ever!
I WON'T BE A
VICTIM.....to the 3 officers I would like to say - thank you for eventually
changing your tune and having the decency to apologise for what you put me
through! To my friends who want to take this further - it's not going to happen
- it was a lesson and that's it - I want it over with - yes someone needs to
stand up to those who think they have the power of God - but it won't be me -
they know where I live!!!!!
The Mail & Guardian's headline this
week-end was - "Laws in Zimbabwe Change Daily" - aint that the truth
If anyone can advise what our rights are I would be very
Take care and be safe.
Keeping the people's spirits up what's on
air By Stewart Chabwinja TELLING people what they want to
hear is a favourite trick of politicians, it seems. Favourites include:
Government is turning the economy around; no one will starve despite the
drought; the Look East Policy is bearing fruit;
be grateful to have a leader of the Great Guvnor's wisdom and vision; fuel
tankers have finally started loading and will eventually arrive at service
The approach is typified by Vice President Joseph Msika, who revels in
talking down to 'supporters' at rallies, much like a school head addressing
pupils. He was the other week touring Operation Garikai housing projects, which
are increasingly behind schedule.
At Whitecliff, after a few "Pamberis" which customarily climaxed with "Pasine
MDC", Msika went about his trickery. He said he was happy with the (slow) rate
of construction, houses would benefit all including those of the MDC, the
operation would shame detractors who were jealousy the country had a great
Msika stretched the tell-them-what-they-want-to-hear trick to breaking point
when he waxed: Detractors are jealousy because "we have no problems; we are not
at war; we're not killing each other, takagara zvakanaka hedu semvura
In Bulawayo he found a scapegoat in the MDC, which he blamed for politicising
issues by not providing water for Operation Garikai. We suppose in the same
vein, the MDC is responsible for the ill-fated Matabeleland Zambezi Water
The politicking reached a crescendo when Msika said vendors should be
provided with temporary structures to operate from while awaiting the
construction of permanent structures. How is that for a bit of logic? You
destroy people's temporary vending sites under Operation Murambatsvina so that
the government can provide them with temporary vending sites, while they await
construction of permanent vending sites.
Hats off to Newsnet. Yep, again. It seems the economic difficulties the
country is facing have finally diffused to Pockets Hill, judging by recent
coverage of the economic malaise.
While Reuben Barwe might not be living proof of the country's endemic hunger
and poverty, he nonetheless filed an interesting story last week. We prefer to
think he was merely pulling our collective legs when he said Zimbabweans had
expressed optimism that the country would soon be on the road to recovery.
Indeed, he banished any such thoughts when he thundered: "...If you succeed
in Zimbabwe you'll succeed anywhere. If you live in Zimbabwe today, you'll live
anywhere else in the world where there are problems."
Got that? Living in Zimbabwe is the ultimate endurance test. And if you
survive, then you can make it in Somalia, Siberia or hell - assuming it's right
here on earth.
Newspaper publisher Ibbo Mandaza was wearing the analyst's hat on Wednesday's
Newshour during which he made comments on the UN reform debate. Nothing
particularly interesting in what he said, as you would expect from Newshour
Surprisingly, he was back again on the lunch hour bulletin come Thursday,
saying much the same comments as the previous evening. However his newsnet
appearances gave him the chance to parade his considerable collection of what is
popularly known as "African attire". It was the brown outfit on Wednesday, then
the black one on Thursday.
A viewer was shocked, albeit briefly, when Newshour kicked off Wednesday.
"During the evening news when the camera showed an empty newsreader's seat
for a while I thought the poor reader had gone bananas and bolted from the
newsroom," writes Melvin Mubaiwa. 'The propaganda must finally have got to the
poor reader', I thought to myself.
"It however turned out the camera had merely zoomed onto the wrong seat on
Repeats, repeats repeats moans Runyararo Mherekumombe. "Sunday all seemed
well at Pockets Hill, until the farming experts were through. I was expecting
something refreshing in the form of Kabanana, only to be shown a previous
episode with no explanation, just like when the Nigerian movie was repeated on
the previous day. After that came the amusing Sunday Buzz. During footage
accompanying a police story we could see newsreader Henrietta Ndebele sprucing
herself up in the background of the footage.
"Wednesday, Ian Zvoma said Zimbabwe were hoping to do better 'on the second
day of the first day' of a cricket match. Viewers were left to figure out that
he meant the second day of the first test."
Idols, one of the biggest success stories in the history of reality
television, is "kicking" on Dstv's Mnet channel.
The number of contestants has been whittled down from thousands of hopefuls
and will be down to eight, and somehow increased to 12, after today's show.
The talent search has come a long way in the last few weeks, and how the
judges have transformed since the auditions. After one no-hoper had finished
singing terribly out of tune during the audition stage it was:
Judge: "How do you think that went?"
Singer: "It could have gone much better."
Judge: "Yeah, like if you kept your mouth shut. You can't sing so don't do so
in public; it could be quite embarrassing!"
And when this lady entered the audition room she was greeted thus: "Those
boots you're wearing remind me of someone, a cartoon character... Oh yes, Hagar
The judges have been much more charitable with their comments during the
elimination stages. Why Nhlanhla, one of the hot finalists to make the last 12
had one judge, Mara Louw, in tears after impressively performing Lionel
What a show!
Zimbabwe’s economic future looking bleak
Published: Tuesday, 20 September, 2005, 12:07 PM Doha Time
HARARE: Zimbabwe must radically overhaul its land reform policy
to revive the economy and retain membership in the International Monetary Fund,
which has given it six months grace from threatened expulsion, analysts
The southern African nation, in the throes of economic turmoil, faces a
bleak future with inflation hovering at more than 250%, real unemployment pegged
at 90% and an acute fuel and food crisis.
To add to its woes, the current
agricultural season has got off to a sluggish start with prices of seed and
fertiliser increasing significantly over last year amid poor
“Over the next three months, we have to put the crops into the
ground in the face of every disincentive and problem,” economist John Robertson
“There is no fuel to transport the seeds to the farms, there is no fuel
to run the tractors and seed and fertiliser stocks are scarce,” he
“Next year’s crops will be a massive disappointment.”
Zimbabwe got a
reprieve on September 9 when the IMF put off a decision to expel Harare for debt
arrears by six months.
This was after Harare – in arrears since 2001 – paid
back $20mn of its debt. The remaining debt to the IMF now stands at around
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa has announced that in line with IMF
demands to cut public spending, he will aim at confining the budget deficit to
within 8.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Economists say the budget
deficit currently stands at between 12 and 14% of GDP.
The finance minister
has spoken of “restructuring” the civil service to reduce the wage bill,
currently 20% of GDP.
Murerwa also hinted at lifting price controls – which
have led to scarcity and a flourishing black market – and implementing policies
to stimulate investment levels from 4% of GDP to 25%.
Eric Bloch, an
independent economist who advises the government, said the key lay in reversing
Zimbabwe’s land reforms under which white-owned farms were seized and
redistributed to blacks with no farming expertise.
Bloch said the government
should return land to farmers to come in line with earlier agreements entered
into in Paris and Abuja stating that white farmers would be allowed to retain
one farm each and not in excess of a stipulated size while the remainder would
be sold under a willing-buyer, willing-seller principle.
land seizures in 2000 in which 4,500 farmers lost their property, with fewer
than 500 remaining.
Bloch said “corruption is a major cause of inflation” but
stressed that if correctives were put in place, Harare could pay back another
50mn dollars to the IMF in six months.
Robertson echoed Bloch in saying that
the key to economic revival lay in putting “the land back in the
He said the new beneficiaries often stripped the farms of
equipment and irrigation facilities to make a quick buck and had reverted to
subsistence agriculture thereafter.
Tapiwa Mashakada, shadow finance minister
of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, called for a “total
“It’s high time that the government restore’s economic
co-operation with multilateral lending institutions and pursue rational policies
so that investment comes in,” he said.
But President Robert Mugabe, who has
ruled Zimbabwe for 25 years, shows no signs of relenting even after the IMF move
to postpone the decision on expulsion.
“The IMF has never been of real
assistance to developing countries,” he said. “It is wielded by big powers. We
have never been friends with the IMF and therefore in future we shall never be
friends with the IMF.” – AFP
Tycoon Denounces Mugabe to IMF
September 20, 2005
Posted to the web September 20, 2005
PROMINENT Zimbabwean tycoon Mutumwa
Mawere, now a South African citizen, claims part of the money used recently by
President Robert Mugabe's regime to cover the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
arrears came from his seized companies.
Mawere's disclosure reinforces
reports that Mugabe's government raided exporters' foreign currency accounts and
the forex auction system to raise the $120m it paid to the IMF to reduce its
The revelations raise questions about the propriety of the
sources of the money Harare paid to the IMF after failing to secure a loan from
SA to settle the arrears. Zimbabwe rejected the conditions Pretoria attached to
In a recent letter to the IMF's MD, Rodrigo de Rato, Mawere said
Mugabe's government used proceeds from his confiscated companies to help repay
The letter was copied to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi
Annan, World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz and senior IMF officials.
is a former World Bank and International Finance Corporation employee.
payment of part of the IMF debt and concessions on economic reforms saved
Zimbabwe from immediate expulsion.
Harare was given another grace period of
six months to put its house in order.
Mawere wrote: "I am not sure whether
your management and staff are aware of the policy steps that have led to the
illegal expropriation of private property rights by the state, thereby enhancing
its capacity to pay you.
"I am sure that if your executive board was aware
that part of the source of payment from Zimbabwe directly originated from the
proceeds of the state's illegal activities, your institutions would have arrived
at a different conclusion in your deliberations."
Mawere lost his flagship
conglomerate, Shabanie Mashaba Mines, which he had bought for $60m from British
company Turner & Newell in 1996, to the state. His mines, together with
companies in finance, insurance and agriculture, were seized by presidential
Mawere was accused of externalising foreign currency and was
specified under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
He was arrested in SA
last year, but freed after Zimbabwe failed in its bid to get him
Mawere said that he felt compelled to bring the issue to the
IMF's attention because of a misrepresentation of facts about Zimbabwe's
Mail & Guardian
Disaster looms for Zim's tobacco crop
Michael Hartnack | Harare,
20 September 2005 03:00
SALES CLOSE ON POOR
TOBACCO CROP, AMID FEARS FOR NEXT SEASON
Sales of Zimbabwe's major
export, Virginia flue-cured tobacco, officially closed on Tuesday after fetching
about $104-million (about R661-million) on a crop that was just a fraction of
what was harvested before the seizure of 5 000 white-owned commercial
With returns still to be received from a few "tidy up" auctions,
about 70-million kilograms had been sold at an average price of $1,63 (R10,37)
per kilogram, a
spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association said. The
association represents 850 large scale commercial growers, now overwhelmingly
black Zimbabweans, and 30 000 new farmers who recently started
This compared with a 237-million kilogram 1999-2000 crop,
sold as Mugabe ordered the invasion of the white-owned farms, then covering 17%
of the country. The 2000 crop fetched about $400-million during a year when the
average price was very low because of bumper crops in the United States and
Economist John Robertson estimated $2-billion (R12-billion) would
have been earned from this year's tobacco crop, at current prices, if the
industry had remained undisturbed and able to produce Zimbabwe's traditional
high quality low nicotine content "flavouring" tobacco.
Much of the
tobacco produced by new farmers is low priced "filler" grades.
sales in April were forced to close by angry new farmers who said they could not
meet production costs with prices below $1 per kilogram.
next year's harvest was likely to be even worse.
Tobacco Industry Marketing Board released a statement on Monday saying the
2005-2006 season might be "a disaster" because of lack of fuel and fertilisers,
late preparations and labour problems.
The marketing board chairperson,
Njodzi Machirori, told The Herald newspaper that the coming season would likely
be "the worst in history," with only 857ha being put under tobacco instead of
the 150 000ha target. He said new farmers lacked working capital, with banks
unwilling to give advances in time.
The marketing board said most growers
were already two weeks behind schedule and faced a dire shortage of their most
vital fertiliser compound. It said there was not enough diesel to prepare the
President Robert Mugabe accused 40 000 whites of orchestrating
opposition to his rule among 16-million black Zimbabweans since independence in
About 500 000 skilled black farmworkers were displaced by the
seizure of their employers' land, some being forced to go to Malawi and
Mozambique, from where their parents and grandparents emigrated in the colonial
era. Others live in towns as homeless squatters.
An economic crash
brought 80% unemployment, runaway hyperinflation and shortages of most staples
from maize meal to gasoline. An unknown number of whites and about four million
black Zimbabweans have emigrated since the seizure of farms from whites began.
Annual inflation, which touched 662% in 2004, is now 265,1% and is
expected to top 400% by the year end.
UN agencies say four million
Zimbabweans urgently need famine relief to survive to the next harvests due in
April 2006. - Sapa-AP