|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
BULAWAYO – Police in Bulawayo on Wednesday arrested 13 members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activist group for marching across the city to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
WOZA also held marches in Harare but no one was arrested. The arrested women, who by last night were still in police custody, were part of a larger group that marched across Bulawayo to Southampton police station in the city where they dumped their placards before dispersing.
The police, who surprisingly did not break up the march, later tracked some of the activists to their homes and arrested them, according to WOZA spokesperson Magodonga Mahlangu.
“So far we have taken note of 13 people who are being held at Bulawayo Central police station. We have however, received reports that the police are looking for some of our members and we fear that more arrests could occur,” Mahlangu said.
According to Mahlangu, the march was part of efforts by WOZA to draw the attention of President Robert Mugabe and his government to Zimbabwe’s worsening food and economic crisis which she said if left unattended could threaten peace in the country.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not be immediately reached for comment on this matter. - ZimOnline
JOHANNESBURG – About 100 Zimbabweans marched to South Africa’s Absa bank headquarters in Johannesburg on Wednesday demanding that the institution sever ties with a Zimbabwean bank closely linked with President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Absa holds a majority stake in Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) also known as Jewel Bank, in which Mugabe's government holds a stake.
The demonstration was organised by a pressure group called Zimbabwe Johannesburg Support Network (ZJSN).
A spokesman for the group Victor Kasaga said they were demanding that Absa withdraws its stake in CBZ as continued links with the Zimbabwean bank would virtually endorse Mugabe’s poor human rights policies.
“Our march to Absa headquarters was meant to demand that the bank withdraws its stake in Jewel Bank which has facilitated terror in Zimbabwe.
“The values of good corporate governance have been eroded in Jewel Bank,” he said.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and top Mugabe confidante, Gideon Gono, was once chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed CBZ. - ZimOnline
21 September 2005
Zimbabwe’s ruling party is contemplating yet another amendment to the constitution that would clear the way for Vice President Joyce Mujuru to take over from President Robert Mugabe for two years after his term ends in 2008 – without an election, say officials in Mr. Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
The rationale offered by ZANU-PF officials backing the amendment is that installing the second vice president – and heir apparent, say some - from 2008 to 2010 would allow the next presidential and general elections to be held in the same year.
But ZANU-PF sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some senior party officials, among them Justice Minister Patrick Chinimasa and State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, would rather see Mr. Mugabe stay at the helm until 2010.
Senior opposition figure Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change, said he is aware of the move to strategically position Mrs. Mujuru by means of such a constitutional amendment. Mr. Mugabe this month signed into law constitutional amendments setting aside legal appeals of government seizures of farms and authorizing the state to prohibit foreign travel, among others.
Mr. Ncube, a lawyer and expert in constitutional law, says this looks a lot like a rehash of the 1987 constitutional amendment the same ruling party passed to let Mr. Mugabe, then prime minister, step up as president until elections were held in 1990.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought perspective from the International Crisis Group’s director for Southern Africa, Peter Kagwanja
| Peter Fabricius |
September 21 2005 at 05:29AM
The US is considering tightening its sanctions against the leadership of
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party, a senior American official says.
He said the US would continue to stand with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as the "best hope for democracy" despite criticism of it.
John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group criticised the international community for investing too much support in the MDC, which had failed to mobilise Zimbabweans against Mugabe's government.
He also criticised countries for beating Mugabe's regime with "small twigs" not "real sticks" and for relying on South Africa and other regional leaders to influence Mugabe. This would never happen, he said.
BULAWAYO – Authorities in Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo have suspended all essential services except the ambulance division - which has only two vehicles running - as worsening fuel shortages gradually bring the country to a complete halt.
Executive Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube told ZimOnline that the two ambulances servicing the city of about a million people could also run out of fuel “any minute”.
He said his office had already approached Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who oversees municipalities, for permission to buy diesel and petrol from the illegal fuel black market, the only reliable source of the commodity in Zimbabwe.
Ndabeni-Ncube said: “We are virtually grounded except for two ambulances which can also run out of fuel any minute. All other essential services are not being attended to at the moment.
“Because of the gravity of the situation, I have just written to the minister of local government for permission to access fuel from the black market to deal with health emergencies because we cannot stand aside and let people die.”
Chombo could not be immediately reached for comment on the matter.
Zimbabwe’s fuel crisis, itself the result of an acute shortage of foreign currency to pay for oil imports, began six years ago after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) withdrew financial assistance to Harare because of differences with President Robert Mugabe over fiscal policy and other governance issues.
But the fuel crisis has worsened in recent months after the government diverted all the little foreign currency the country had to paying US$120 million to the IMF in a bid to avoid expulsion from the Fund for non-payment of debt.
Only a handful of garages are selling petrol and diesel across Zimbabwe but Ndabeni-Ncube said the situation in Bulawayo and surrounding areas is made worse because of acute water shortages there after poor rains last year.
Municipalities require fuel to ferry water to schools, hospitals and poor suburbs where residents cannot afford to sink boreholes.
The severe scarcity of fuel on the formal market has pushed prices for both diesel and petrol on the black-market in Bulawayo to about Z$120 000 (about US$4.6) per litre, which is about four times the official pump price. - ZimOnline
By Violet Gonda
20 September 2005
On the programme Hot Seat, we listen to the first part of a documentary produced by Violet Gonda on the plight of women in Zimbabwe. Since 2000 Zimbabwean women have been speaking out against rape and their suffering, and exposing the brutality of the oppressive regime of Robert Mugabe.