The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Election Campaign Revives Memories of State Brutality

Wilson Johwa

LUPANE, Apr 13 (IPS) - At first glance Lupane seems no different from other
rural districts in Zimbabwe. Its tranquillity, coupled with a canopy of
luxuriant forest, gives no indication of the recurring droughts that plague
the area.

A walk along a dusty footpath turns into a stroll among the quivering,
delicate wings of brightly-coloured butterflies. Attention drawn to this
surreal display of beauty, one forgets the town's home to a far larger
number of malarial mosquitoes.

Situated 170 kilometres south-west of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, this
is a place where appearance masks, rather than reflects, reality.
Ironically, it is the district's lesser revealed life and issues the media
and politicians are now interested in.

So too are observers and human rights officials, who have zoomed in on the
district as the upcoming parliamentary by-election -- scheduled for May
15-16 -- draws near.

Their sudden examination of the constituency is likely to reveal, among
other things, a broken community disheartened by poverty. Some residents
seem bemused by the ruling party's vigorous courtship aimed at raking in

Their apathy is unlikely to affect the efforts of ZANU-PF, the ruling party.
The government of President Robert Mugabe is determined to win this one
seat, after it lost all eight in the province to the opposition in the 2000
parliamentary elections.

Since independence from Britain in 1980, the ruling party has been unable to
count on the south-western province of Matabeleland North, of which Lupane
is the capital, as part of its traditional rural support base.

The key to understanding this phenomenon lies buried in the history of the
early 1980, when the new government launched a brutal counter insurgency
operation. It was aimed, officially, at flushing out renegade elements of a
rival opposition party rooted in the province, and two adjoining ones.

An estimated 20,000 men, women and children were killed, violated and
tortured in a bizarre military operation. Several human rights
organisations, such as the 'Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in
Zimbabwe' and the 'Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation', have described the
massacres as 'ethnic cleansing' targeting southern Zimbabwe's minority
Ndebele-speaking community.

Two decades later the atrocities remain shrouded in secret. When Zimbabweans
do talk about the killings, or missing loved ones, they are likely to
whisper. President Mugabe has refused to acknowledge or discuss the events,
dismissing it instead as a moment of madness.

But such a military operation has had far-reaching effects that stretch
across generations, and communities, like tentacles. Catholic priest Gabriel
Silonda says some Lupane residents are still battling to find their parents'
remains. Others, born during this period, have not been able to secure birth
certificates because of missing fathers, or a belief that they were the
offspring of the perpetrators of violence.

The cleric says pent up anger is preventing villagers from carrying on with
their lives. This, in turn, has allowed underdevelopment to take root.
"People here need some form of healing because they have been brutalised,"
he adds.

Unable to put the past behind them, many also feel they are yet to enjoy the
fruits of independence. Activist David Nyathi says among the major
grievances is the exploitation of the district's abundant timber resource.
"We don't know where it's going," he says. "Since independence, there is
nothing of a government project to brag about."

But there are some signs of development in town, which has been demarcated
as a "growth point" by authorities. While streets simmer in the mid-day heat
Chinese engineers stand next to the foundations of a building. It is
destined to become a government office complex.

Several blocks down a registry office, which will issue official documents,
is nearing completion. But these efforts do not impress Nyathi, who says the
impetus is the result of the opposition's strengthening in the region.

Late last year the government announced it would build a provincial
university, with the first intake expected later this year. The proposed
institution has not been met with applause. Residents have dismissed it as a
grandiose project, particularly as the district lacks quality schools to
provide the university with students.

The smell of fresh cement and the sense of hope, ignited by the
construction, sharply contrast with pervading fear of election-related
violence. In February, the local Member of Parliament, David Mpala,
succumbed to injuries he sustained months after being abducted and severely
assaulted by ZANU-PF members.

His seat is now vacant and two candidates will be competing for it in next
month's by-election. The election is coming a month after the opposition
lost a similar one in its urban stronghold where extreme violence,
intimidation and alleged rigging characterised voting.

In Lupane the opposition has accused the ruling party of transporting
hundreds of militants including the feared youth militia, blamed for much of
the country's election skirmishes, to the town. The district is bracing for
the worst.

Fearing attack, Njabuliso Mguni the candidate of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) travels in the party's special armour-plated
vehicle. He says every night he has to sleep in a different hiding place for
fear of being harmed. He also complains of frequent police harassment of
party members and that his party is not free to hold meetings.

But he believes voters' disgruntlement with the government will give him
victory. Mguni points to local roads, which he says make it difficult for
malaria patients to reach health centres during the district's all
too-frequent epidemics. "We also have a problem of water; we go for two to
three weeks without water in a place said to be a capital," he says. "But
these guys think a university is more important than water."

Construction of a dam to serve the district centre started recently.
Ironically, the dam will displace the widow of the late legislator, Mpala.
"For now there is no pressure for us to move, but maybe they are waiting for
the election," she says.

The ruling party has won almost all previous by-elections held in the last
four years, but has been criticised for employing violence and intimidation.
Curiously, Silonda says Lupane is a place where the ruling party does not
need to rely on force to win because "they have a sellable candidate" who is
widely respected. "He's not a blind supporter of ZANU-PF, like others,"
Silonda says. "He's sensitive and no push-over, I could vote for him as a

Political analyst John Makumbe says Lupane is a key seat for the ruling
party. If they secure it, they will be one seat short of a two-thirds
parliamentary majority which the party will not hesitate to use in amending
the constitution to suit its needs, even before next March's legislative

Makumbe say "the ghost" of the 1980s military operation will "very, very
seriously" affect the outcome of the election. But the ghost can also be
"rigged out" and ZANU-PF is no longer "scared" of it as before. "I don't
think the ghost will help the MDC this time," he says. (END/2004)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Who Will Pay for Zimbabwe?

Business Day (Johannesburg)

April 13, 2004
Posted to the web April 13, 2004

Geoff Hill

IN EUROPE, the US and even Australia, people talk about the Wham factor or
What Happens After Mugabe? But, when change comes, will the donor community
be ready and willing to help rebuild what used to be one of Africa's most
successful countries?

Just at a glance:

Law and order has broken down and the police are politicised.

Inflation is running at more than 600% and could reach 1000% this year.

Seven of 10 adults are unemployed.

The state-run youth militia have set up a terror network across the nation.

Commercial farming has collapsed in the wake of the government's coercive
land-reform programme and food agencies estimate that three-quarters of the
population don't have enough to eat.

There is virtually no public health system in a country where 3000 people
die every week from AIDS.

More than 500000 skilled Zimbabweans have relocated to Britain and an
estimated 3-million now live in SA, Bots- wana, Zambia and Mozambique, and

Between 70%-90% of all university graduates are believed to be working
outside the country.

When I spoke with Jabulani Mkwanazi, district chairman in SA for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), he told me nothing would
happen without money.

"The MDC has already released its Restart programme, which is a detailed
plan on how to rebuild the economy," he said. "The problem comes down to
money and we can only hope that, after political change in Zimbabwe, the
donor community will come forward and fund the reconstruction."

Mkwanazi says there is work he would like to be doing now among the 3million
Zimbabwean exiles in SA, but no one is willing to pay for it.

"We have tried so hard to get financial support, even just to run our
Johannesburg office and help some of the refugees, but it is no easy walk,"
he said.

The bill for putting Zimbabwe back together will run into tens of billions.

Many commercial farms lie abandoned, others are in the hands of Zanu (PF)
ministers and their families and a future government would be unlikely to
ignore this. But restarting commercial agriculture in a country where it has
all but collapsed will not come cheap.

Health workers estimate that more than 2-million Zimbabweans are HIV-
positive. Hunger and a shortage of preventative medication, including
vitamin pills, have compounded the problem, speeding up the onset of the
virus. Across the nation, the state hospital system will need large-scale

Young people, tortured and traumatised in the so-called militia camps, will
have to be schooled and counselled to help them back into normal society.

Many will want to continue their education, but teachers are in short
supply. Zimbabwe used to be the best-educated country in Africa, but
thousands of children, unable to pay their fees, are no longer in school.
Rebuilding the system could be accomplished within 12 months if someone pays
for it.

But, to me, the greatest challenge will be to encourage the more than
3-million exiles to go home because, without their skills, the country
cannot prosper.

Former British international development secretary Clare Short's portfolio
included foreign aid. Short says the high education level among Zimbabwean
exiles could work against the problem of reversing the brain drain, as so
many have found jobs in their new countries. "Some would go home because of
family ties," she told me in London last year, "but it may also be necessary
to set up an incentive scheme to encourage people to come back." So, money

In Johannesburg, work is already being done among the diaspora by people
such as Elinor Sisulu. "One of our aims is to mobilise the Zimbabwean
community within SA as an extension of civil society in Zimbabwe," she says.
And she believes the resultant group of committed individuals could play a
major role in rebuilding the country after change.

In Pretoria, human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba has set up the Zimbabwe
Exiles Forum, a nonpolitical group that aims to identify skilled nationals
around the world.

"I think it would be a tragedy if, when the World Bank and International
Monetary Fund return to Zimbabwe, they recruit expats from Europe and the US
when we have so many of our own skilled people," he said.

"My idea is to build a database so that if they need doctors, vets,
economists or other special skills, we can approach qualified Zimbabweans in
other parts of the world, to try to coax them home to fill those positions."
Shumba says he has had a good response to his plan, but no money. "Everyone
agrees this is a critical project, until you raise the issue of capital.
Then it all goes quiet."

Beyond the so-called Wham factor, human rights groups are also talking about
what happens to President Robert Mugabe and those around him if, and when,
they relinquish power.

The issues go beyond the well-known massacres of the mid-1980s, when Mugabe
sent the 5th Brigade into Matabeleland. Estimates on the number of dead
range from 8000 to 40000.

Since 1999 when the ruling party saw the first signs it might lose power in
a free and fair election, thousands have been beaten, some tortured, others

Former Zimbabwean test cricketer Henry Olonga believes there will have to be
a visual expression of justice. He now lives in exile in London after his
last game in SA at the 2003 World Cup, where he and fellow batsman Andy
Flower wore black armbands as a protest against human rights abuses in their

"There needs to be some kind of truth and reconciliation commission for the
benefit of victims. And, of course, the perpetrators must be prosecuted.
Zimbabwe is wounded," says Olonga, "and the wounds need time to heal."

Without a truth commission, there is a danger victims may seek their own
revenge against those they believe have wronged them, leading to more

But who would pay for it? SA's commission cost more than R200m. Without
support, a cash-shy Zimbabwe would be hard-pressed to raise even half that

The total cost of setting Zimbabwe back on course will test even the biggest
donor nations. Yet even now, little recovery research is being funded.

At the simplest level, in Britain and SA, training schemes could be set up
this year for young, exiled Zimbabweans in fields as diverse as justice,
agriculture, teaching and journalism.

Sadly, all we've seen is talk. When the time comes, let's hope those who
have been shouting the loudest will also be willing to meet the bills.

Hill is southern African correspondent for a daily newspaper in Washington
DC. His book, The Battle for Zimbabwe (Zebra/New Holland Publishers) was
published at the end of last year.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail and Guardian

Hold Mugabe accountable for 'crimes against humanity'

      Cape Town

      13 April 2004 14:25

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe should be held accountable for crimes
against humanity, delegates attending the Second World Bar Conference of the
Forum for Barristers and Advocates heard in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"What is happening there could be summed up as a gross violation of human
rights and Robert Mugabe and his henchmen must be made accountable for
crimes against humanity," said Dato' Param Cumaraswamy, the former United
Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

Cumaraswamy, who spoke on the rule of law in Africa, was delivering the
opening address to the forum, a specialist body within the International Bar
Association comprising some 20 000 legal practitioners across the globe.

He said the immediate challenge for the African Union and its watchdog Peace
and Security Council was how it will deal with Zimbabwe and restore respect
for the rule of law and human rights.

"Any positive change in that country will enhance confidence in the African
Union domestically, regionally and internationally. In any event it must see
to it that the likes of Robert Mugabe and his henchmen are never allowed
political office on the African soil again," said Cumaraswamy in a speech
prepared for delivery.

Cumaraswamy said during his nine years as the UN special rapporteur he
intervened in more than 100 countries including a large number in Africa,
where most of his concerns were political interference with the judiciary.

"Today the continued deterioration of the rule of law and human rights
protection in Zimbabwe are matters of grave concern. Not just the well-being
of its own citizens... but the developments there must be seen as a threat
to the rule of law for all Africa," he said.

Cumaraswamy said when the executive organ of a state refused to comply or
defied orders of the judicial organ there was no hope for the rule of law,
neither for judicial and lawyers' independence.

He said so far African diplomatic efforts have not brought any change to
Zimbabwe -- instead the situation was worsening.

Turning to the continent, Cumaraswamy hailed promising developments such as
the provision in the AU for other organs including a Parliament and a Court
of Justice.

The establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development with its
peer review system was also commendable.

"A significant development for the rule of law in Africa is the
establishment of the African Court on Human and People's Rights... Africa
will soon rank as the third region to have a regional court on human rights
after Europe and the Americas."

Cumaraswamy said the new mechanisms were promising and augured well for
Africa to progress and develop towards a rule of law and human rights

However, he pointed out that merely structuring institutions and mechanisms
on models found in advanced regions needed to have adequate financial and
human resources to effectively activate them.

"There certainly is need for substantial assistance from the international
community... [but] that can only be achieved if political leaders in Africa
are seen to be service orientated to the people and committed to
transformation of the region based on respect for the rule of law and human
rights." - Sapa
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Alleged coup plotters appear in Zim court

      April 13 2004 at 01:51PM

Chikurubi Prison, Zimbabwe - Seventy suspected mercenaries accused of
plotting a coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea appeared briefly on Tuesday in
a makeshift prison court room.

It was their second court appearance since they were detained when their
Boeing 727 landed at Harare International Airport on March 7.

Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe ordered the hearing postponed until Thursday on
the request of state prosecutors and defence lawyers.

"There is still something to negotiate," defence attorney Chris Venturas
said without elaborating. Prosecutor Stephen Musoni refused to comment on
the delay.

      If convicted, they could face life in prison
The suspects were brought before the court in pairs shackled to each other
at the wrists and ankles.

About 30 relatives attended the 10-minute hearing in a function room at the
Chikurubi maximum security prison, 30km north of Harare, exchanging discreet
waves with some of the men. One woman blew kisses, two others brushed away

Most of the suspects - who include South Africans, Namibians, Angolans,
Congolese, a Zimbabwean and a British national - are former members of South
Africa's apartheid-era military forces.

Authorities allege that Equatorial Guinea's Spanish-based rebel leader
Severo Moto offered them $1,8-million and oil rights to overthrow the
government in the former Spanish colony. Another 14 suspected mercenaries
are in custody in the west African country.

The men say they were on their way to security jobs at mining operations in
eastern Congo.

They face five charges, including conspiring to carry out a coup with
weapons purchased in Zimbabwe. They are also accused of violating Zimbabwe's
immigration, firearms and security laws. If convicted, they could face life
in prison.

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Ngeuma has also alleged the
suspects were plotting to overthrow the governments of Sao Tome and Principe
and Congo.

The men refused to talk to officials from Equatorial Guinea who visited
Zimbabwe last week to discuss the case with local authorities.

Human rights groups say they believe at least one of the suspects in
Equatorial Guinea custody has been tortured to death.

Equatorial Guinea, where Obiang has ruled for 25 years, is ranked by rights
groups as one of the world's most repressive countries.

Offshore oil strikes since 1997 have made it Africa's third largest oil
producer after Nigeria and Angola. - Sapa-AP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Ancram attacks Straw over tour

Ancram tells government to back Zimbabwe pull-out

Paul Kelso
Tuesday April 13, 2004
The Guardian

The shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram will today call on the
government to offer the England and Wales Cricket Board a way out of the
dilemma posed by their scheduled tour of Zimbabwe.
In a letter to the foreign secretary Jack Straw Ancram urges the government
to offer the ECB a clear direction that the tour should not take place and
to assist in meeting any financial consequences of withdrawal.

The ECB faces a minimum $2m (£1.1m) fine and potential suspension from
international cricket if it reneges on the commitment to tour given by the
chairman David Morgan last year. A one-year suspension could cost the ECB
£50m. There is also the possibility that the ICC Champions Trophy, due to
take place in September, could be moved from England at a cost of around

Under International Cricket Council regulations the ECB would be spared
these measures only if it received a "clear direction" from the government
not to tour.

"I note with concern that your government has failed to


take a decisive stance on the issue of the cricket tour to Zimbabwe," Ancram
tells Straw. "It now seems certain that your inaction will mean that the
tour will take place.

"It would be a disgrace were this tour to go ahead . . . The time has come
for your government to make a decision and stop ducking this question.

"I urge you to tell the ECB that it is the government's clear view that this
tour should not take place and indicate that the government will assist in
meeting any consequences of withdrawing from it. Failure to take such a
decision will put the ECB in an impossible position and send completely the
wrong message to the world about your government's policy on Zimbabwe."

In light of this and the severe financial implications of withdrawal a
majority on the ECB's management board is now convinced they should tour
despite misgivings about the regime. Indeed, on Sunday Morgan suggested it
was likely the tour would go ahead. "I am certain that the ECB must not take
a political or moral stance," he said. "It is for the government to do

Despite Ancram's pressure the foreign office is unlikely to go any further
than it already has. There is concern in government circles that effectively
ordering the ECB to withdraw would set a damaging precedent and could lose
London votes in its pitch for the 2012 Olympics. Last month the sports
minister Richard Caborn said that the government did not have the power to
prevent the cricketers travelling but that he did not support the tour going

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union faces acute problems of its own after its players
threatened a walk-out in response to selection policy. An acrimonious
four-hour meeting on Thursday failed to bring the two sides closer to
agreement over the Zimbabwe captaincy.

The players want Heath Streak re-instated, while the ZCU is adamant that
Tatenda Taibu is the new captain. The latest salvo in the battle will be
fired silently this morning when 11 players fail to turn up at a training
session in Harare.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zambezi expedition members home

      April 13 2004 at 01:56AM

      By Quinton Mtyala

After three adventure-filled weeks a party of nine explorers returned from
the trip of a lifetime that saw them motoring from the source of the Zambezi
River to the mouth in Mozambique to raise funds for malaria projects in
southern Africa.

The Zambezi Wakka expedition was conceived last year when Andrew Weinberg
asked a few friends and work colleagues whether they would be interested in
undertaking the journey.

"We went there for the adventure and the opportunity to raise money for
malaria projects in Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique," Weinberg said.

"A few years ago I nearly died from malaria at Victoria Falls, and this gave
us the idea that the eradication of malaria would be a good cause to

      'Malaria kills 3 000 children in Africa every day'
Last year they approached a number of companies for support and were able to
find sponsorship for their camping equipment, boats, tools, and first aid

Several companies, including Old Mutual, where most expedition members work,
gave cash donations.

Weinberg said that although not all of those who went on the expedition were
the "outdoors type" they had all worked hard to succeed.

"All the guys found their niche, from setting up campsites to river

"I enjoyed the outdoors while some crew members had experienced very little
previously and wanted to discover what it was like," Weinberg said.

Tim Cumming, spokesperson for the group, said the only "lowlight" on the 2
400km adventure was when seven crew members were arrested in Zimbabwe two
weeks ago for using their motorised boats in the Manna Pools, where their
use is not permitted.

The Zimbabwean health ministry finally vouched for the expedition, the seven
were released, and they were allowed to proceed to Zambia on their way to

"One of the highlights was the hospitality we received from the villagers
along the route."

"It's incredible how people went out of their way to help us," said Cumming.

He said that malaria was not as big an issue in South Africa as in many of
its neighbouring countries.

"It's particularly bad in northern Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi."

"The real concern is that malaria kills 3 000 children in Africa every day."

"Children under the age of five and pregnant women are very susceptible to
the disease," said Cumming, adding that with better spraying programmes
malaria could be eradicated.

"Countries affected by malaria are prohibited from using DDT
(dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane), and donor countries often withhold food
aid when affected countries have contravened the ban," he said.

  .. This article was originally published on page 3 of The Cape Times on
April 13, 2004
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Telegraph

Britain 'a haven for criminals' fleeing Zimbabwe
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 13/04/2004)

Zimbabwe's police commissioner has claimed that Britain has become a "safe
haven" for "criminals" from Zimbabwe.

Augustine Chihuri was referring to a group of businessmen who have fled
Zimbabwe in the past two months and are now believed to be in Britain.

Mr Chihuri, a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party, said Zimbabwean policemen
were in London looking for "fugitives from justice" but had been rebuffed by
British police.

He said in a government-controlled newspaper: "Internationally Britain is
becoming the only country which is establishing itself as a safe haven for
our local criminals."

Britain had hindered his force's efforts via Interpol to locate the missing
men. "Britain has no right to keep criminals who should be here to answer
charges," he said.

He was referring to four executives of an "indigenous" bank who fled
Zimbabwe last month after President Robert Mugabe issued a decree for crimes
of "corruption" which allows for lengthy detention without trial.

Julius Makoni, James Mushore, Otto Checkeche and Francis Zimuto are
directors of NMB Bank, which was launched as a merchant bank in Harare in
1997 and raised £13 million when it was listed on the London Stock Exchange
and in Harare.

NMB moved into commercial banking, but its directors were accused of
"externalising foreign currency" after the collapse of a group of banks in
January. They fled after a break-in at their offices.

Sir Brian Donnelly, the British high commissioner, said the Zimbabwe
authorities had not been in contact with his office in Harare and he was not
aware that Zimbabwe police were in London.

"I am not aware of any application through Interpol, but if any were made
they would be handled through our courts according to the law," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


13 Zimbabwe players set to quit

April 13, 2004, 12:01

Thirteen members of the Zimbabwe cricket squad are set to quit after meeting
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) today to discuss a range of concerns. "It
doesn't look good from our side, and I'm pretty sure 13 of us are going to
walk," one player said from Harare today. "It looks an absolute mess, and we
can't play under those conditions."

The issues included the decision by Heath Streak, the captain, to resign
after the ZCU dismissed his concerns over the composition of the national
selection committee. Tatenda Taibu (20), the wicketkeeper, has taken over as
skipper. "They are refusing a lot of our points without even negotiating
them. It is a dictatorship," the player added.

"We are 99% sure that they are not going to budge on any of our demands." He
said he and his team mates would give the ZCU time to respond to their
demands before deciding on the next course of action. - Reuters

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe rebels vow to expose corruption

Wisden Cricinfo staff

April 13, 2004

            Henry Olonga - 'There is no future for white cricketers in
Zimbabwe' © Getty Images

Thirteen of the white Zimbabwean cricketers who were last week "sacked" by
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union have vowed to expose the culture of corruption
and malpractice within their governing body, in a last-ditch bid to get
themselves reinstated.

According to a report in Tuesday's edition of The Times, the players
concerned are fully aware that the move is likely to backfire, as the ZCU
has long relied on a culture of fear to prevent its players from speaking
their minds. But now they feel they have nothing left to lose, and are
apparently determined to prevent Zimbabwean cricket from continuing its
downward spiral towards destruction.

"The ZCU have called closure on us," said one of the 13 yesterday. "Thirteen
of us are unaware whether we have been sacked or fired. The ZCU can only now
accept what we are saying or fire us. But we feel that the international
cricket world needs to know the situation." It is a move that has taken
Vince Hogg, the chief executive of the ZCU, by surprise. He had imagined
that only four or five rebels would put their careers on the line.

The players concerned have drawn up a five-page document, which apparently
claims to chronicle in precise detail the various malpractices of the ZCU.
Subject to ratification by the players' lawyers, it will be released in the
next few days. According to the players, the ZCU is rapidly becoming a
political extension of Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF ruling party, and meddling in
selection is rife. On one occasion in the one-day series against Bangladesh,
Hogg was apparently detained in his office until an additional player of
colour had been included in the team, while one of the white players was
offered double his match fee to stand down from an international.

How these revelations will impact on England's situation is not immediately
clear. Last week the ECB was forced to admit that the tour will almost
certainly have to go ahead, but there may not be much of a Zimbabwe team
left to compete against, especially now that the ZCU has completely fallen
out with its former captain Heath Streak - just about the only world-class
player in the team. Streak had been prepared to grin and bear it for the
good of the game, even though his father was thrown in prison after his farm
was taken away two years ago.

For the 13 rebels, the future is unclear. When Henry Olonga and Andy Flower
made their black-armband protests during the World Cup in 2003, they
immediately feared for their lives and were forced to flee the country.
"This will be a worrying time for the players," Olonga told The Times last
night. "A lot of them don't know where they're going to go or what job
they're going to do. But they're on a hiding to nothing now; now they have
to speak up. There is no future for white cricketers in Zimbabwe, just as
there is no future for white farmers."

Despite the escalating crisis, the ICC are adamant that they cannot get
involved in what they still regard as a domestic dispute. "We are aware of
the internal cricketing issues in Zimbabwe and I urge all parties involved
to act in the best interests of the game," said Ehsan Mani, the ICC's
president. "I believe that everyone involved in international cricket, from
players to administrators, has a duty to act in the best interests of the
game at all times. I hope in this current situation the stakeholders
involved can use this unity of purpose to reach a sensible solution."

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
Back to the Top
Back to Index

No-one knows who's won ... and no-one cares

Wisden Cricinfo staff

April 13, 2004

            Tatenda Taibu followed up his 175 not out with 8 for 43 ... not
bad for a wicketkeeper © Getty Images

The Logan Cup season in Zimbabwe is over for 2003-04 - but nobody is sure
yet which team has won it ... and worse, nobody seems to care very much.
Such is the sorry state of Zimbabwe cricket these days. In a day or two the
boffins at the Zimbabwe Cricket Union headquarters will have a look at the
scorecards and work out a final points table. Mashonaland, Matabeleland and
Midlands all have three victories from six matches, so bonus points - and
possibly penalty points - will settle the issue.

Provincial teams don't mean a great deal any longer, though, as the national
selectors have the final say in the provincial teams and pack them with
Harare players, mostly from the black club Takashinga, rather than allow the
other provinces to develop local talent. This means that many players do not
identify with the team they happen to be playing for, and local supporters
find it less easy to identify with their teams. So nobody seems terribly
interested in who actually won the tournament.

Had Midlands beaten Mashonaland in the final round, they would have won the
Logan Cup outright. Their local players Sean Ervine and Travis Friend are a
powerful force in inter-provincial cricket, and they are also bolstered by
long-standing imports in Craig Wishart and Raymond Price. Their former
captain Douglas Marillier was another valued import, but he left Zimbabwe
cricket at the end of March, disillusioned and angry, like so many before

But the takeover of Zimbabwe cricket by Robert Mugabe's minion Ozias Bvute,
aided reportedly by the confrontational selector Maqsood Ebrahim (the son of
match referee Justice Ahmed, but not related to the current batsman Dion),
shattered the Midlands side. Ervine, Friend, Price and Wishart were in
Harare in support of Heath Streak for critical discussions with the ZCU's
managing director Vince Hogg, who gave them permission to miss the match -
only for Bvute subsequently to overrule Hogg and sack the players on the
pretext of failing to play in the match.

Midlands were therefore forced to play without a single international or
Zimbabwe A player in their side, making a mockery of first-class cricket -
just as Mugabe's brave new Zimbabwe team look likely to make a mockery of
Test cricket later this month against Sri Lanka. Third- and fourth-league
club players were drafted into the team: in fact all four Logan Cup teams
carried passengers simply to make up the numbers.

Maiden centuries were on offer for batsmen with a little experience. Erick
Chauluka, Johnson Marumisa and Tafadzwa Mufambisi all scored theirs for
Mashonaland at Kwekwe, while in the second innings Tatenda Taibu declared
his team's innings closed at 460 for 3 with himself on a career-best 175 -
most unselfishly, as there was enough time for him to go on to 300 if he had

Midlands subsided twice to lose by 329 runs, but at least Craig Ervine,
Sean's younger brother, was able to make his own maiden century, after a
fifty in the first innings. Taibu took the bowling honours with 8 for 43
(no, it's not a misprint) in the second innings after keeping wicket in the
first. He might need to do quite a lot of bowling against Sri Lanka, too.

At Mutare, there was a pleasant, fluctuating match between Manicaland and
Matabeleland. The one white player in the match, Greg Strydom of
Matabeleland, scored a century in each innings; his 128 in the first innings
came off 78 balls and included ten sixes, and he hit a further six sixes in
his second-innings 104, scored off a more sedate 90 balls. He has talent and
temperament, but in a brief career has rarely been tested against
international-quality bowling. But what chance has a white man in Mugabe's
new cricket order, especially one with a bit of a disciplinary record behind

Manicaland led by 136 on first innings, thanks to a dedicated century from
Norbert Manyande, opening the innings for the first time, and keeping wicket
for the first time too. He laid the base for a sparkling 204 from Andre
Some, the first time he had passed 50 in first-class cricket. But
Manicaland's nerve faltered after they were set 224 to win, although Prosper
Utseya kept it close with a fine fighting innings of 77, before he was the
last man out.

Andre Some's older brother Leon was the most successful bowler of the match,
taking eight wickets with his medium-pacers. It was an interesting match
played in good spirit - but first-class cricket it was not, despite what the
record books will say. If the ICC continues to fiddle like Nero when Rome
burned, it will find Zimbabwe cricket a major embarrassment in the very near

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Fuel Supplies in Harare Improve

The Herald (Harare)

April 13, 2004
Posted to the web April 13, 2004


FUEL supplies have significantly improved in Harare as both diesel and
petrol were readily available at most filling stations, a survey revealed

There had been fears that the fuel shortage that had been experienced during
the past few weeks could spill into the Easter holiday.

The survey by The Herald at most filling stations in the city centre and
surrounding suburbs such as Mabvuku and Mbare showed that fuel queues that
had resurfaced were now a thing of the past.

Employees at some of the fuel outlets said importers had delivered supplies
that could take them beyond the holiday.

Motorists who spoke to The Herald said they were glad that the fuel woes had
eased since this could have derailed their holiday plans.

"If the fuel shortage had persisted it would have been difficult for me to
get enough fuel to travel to my rural home in Murewa," said Mr Gladmore

Fuel supplies had been inconsistent throughout the country since last month
amid reports that oil companies were failing to secure foreign currency from
the auction system as they were losing out to other bidders.

In a move to resolve the situation, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently
gave special preference to local fuel importers in the allocation of foreign
currency from its auction system.

In a related matter, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has said
it is concerned with reports of proliferating illegal storage and dispensing
of fuel.

The ministry said in a statement over the weekend that one such source
attributed to illegal dispensing was the importation of fuel through the
Direct Fuel Importers (DFI) scheme.

"All companies which ostensibly import for own use are informed that the
issuance of licences for fuel under the DFI scheme is now being done by the
ministry," it said.

Companies are required to submit proof that they are importing fuel, and
proof of storage facilities or hospitality arrangement before being issued
with permits.

The payment of the Road Levy and National Oil Company of Zimbabwe bond shall
only be done after clearance by the ministry.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Farmers Eye 400pc Hikes in Producer Prices

The Herald (Harare)

April 13, 2004
Posted to the web April 13, 2004


FARMERS are expecting increases of up to 400 percent in producer prices for
maize and wheat this marketing season, it has been learnt.

President of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union Mr Davidson Mugabe urged
the Government to come up with producer prices that encourage production and
ensure the survival of the agricultural industry.

He said his organisation had already made its submissions on the new
producer prices to the Government.

"For maize, we expect nothing less than $1,2 million per tonne and for wheat
we expect at least $1,5 million per tonne. We feel these prices are
realistic and would stimulate production as well as ensure the survival of
the industry," he said.

The producer price for maize, millet and sorghum for the 2003/2004 season
was pegged at $300 000 per tonne while that for wheat was $400 000 per

Although the GMB was buying the two grains at these prices, it was selling
maize to millers at subsidised prices of $211 756 per tonne and wheat at
$366 584 per tonne.

Wheat and maize are controlled commodities under Statutory Instrument 235A
which also compel farmers to sell the two products to the GMB.

Mr Mugabe's comments come a few days after the GMB unveiled strategies to
curb side marketing of grain and expedite the payment to farmers for grain

The strategies include a new payment system, the establishment of more
collection points, transport arrangements, packaging supply arrangements and
stipulations on conditions of grain to be delivered.

The new payment system would see the GMB paying farmers within a week of

The Government last year committed itself to coming up with realistic
producer prices that ensure profitability and affordability under the
National Economic Revival Programme which identified a viable agricultural
industry as the basis for the country's economic recovery.

Mr Mugabe said attractive producer prices facilitate easier planning for

He said although wheat is a winter crop, the Government should announce a
pre-planting price for the grain so that farmers know the price levels to
expect ahead of planting.

Mr Gibson Mashingaidze, the vice-president of the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union in
charge of crop production, said although the Government had not approached
his organisation yet, producers expected competitive prices.

"I cannot give an exact figure of what we are looking for because we have
not started negotiations with the Government yet," he said.

"We expect negotiations to begin perhaps after the Easter holiday. However,
we hope the Government would come up with competitive prices because farmers
would be discouraged from delivering their produce to the GMB only to get
prices that are not commercial."

He said now that the Government had written off the GMB debt, the Minister
of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Joseph Made was likely to unveil
the producer prices any time from now.

The GMB has paid out $80 billion to farmers for grain delivered between
April 1 last year and March 31 this year.

During the same period the grain utility bought about 250 000 tonnes of
maize and 52 000 tonnes of wheat.

This year, about 1,8 million tonnes of maize are likely to be produced, just
enough to meet the country's national food requirements.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Agric Parastatals On Cards: Made

The Herald (Harare)

April 13, 2004
Posted to the web April 13, 2004


GOVERNMENT is considering re-establishing agricultural parastatals to bring
transparency in the pricing and marketing of commodities.

The move, it is expected, would consequently boost production.

Of immediate concern to the Government is the re-establishment of a cotton
parastatal, in an industry in which the corporate sector has exploited
farmers through paying uneconomic producer prices.

While conceding the pivotal role the corporate sector has played in the
cotton industry, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr
Joseph Made, lamented the exploitation farmers, especially those in the
smallholder sector.

"We have not seen the transparency that we expect from the corporate sector
in terms of announcing producer prices and stabilisation in the market.

"There is need for prices to be announced early to help farmers with their
planning and encourage them to increase production.

"As a result, the State must intervene to help farmers get the best of
prices and get them back on the land. Thus, as the minister responsible, I
am pushing for the re-introduction of agricultural parastatals that were
disbanded when the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) was
introduced yet these are the same parastatals that helped white farmers
establish themselves and succeed," said the minister.

He said the industry should be prepared for major debate and discussion on
the re-introduction of parastatals but warned time would not be wasted on
debating for the sake of it.

Farmers in the country's cotton growing areas are worried that the delay by
the corporate sector in announcing producer prices had scuttled their
planning at a time when the Government was busy developing new markets, in
addition to the Indonesian, Egyptian and Iranian markets.

"We are, thus, left with no choice but to intervene for the farmers. We are
interested in seeing that we increase our cotton production so that we
satisfy all our traditional and new markets.

"After having redistributed land, we should now be seen as a major player in
the cotton industry, but this is not to say we want to destroy the corporate
sector," said Cde Made.

Many farmers have complained of being short-changed by cotton companies and
have appealed for Government assistance.

Zimbabwe has the potential to produce over 500 000 tonnes of cotton every
year if farmers are given the correct incentives.

Production has fluctuated between 200 000 and 300 000 tonnes in the last
couple of years.

A cotton parastatal would be concerned with issues of production, pricing
and marketing.

It would provide farmers with information on the direction of prices on the
domestic and international markets and allow them to plan the hectarage to
be put under the crop.

This is the transparency that is lacking in the corporate sector, which the
parastatal should seek to correct once established.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

5 Million Kg Tobacco Exported

The Herald (Harare)

April 13, 2004
Posted to the web April 13, 2004


TOBACCO exports have continued to decrease with slightly more than 5 million
kilogrammes having been exported last month as the auction floors continue
to clear last year's stocks.

A reduction in total tobacco exports is a sign of a drop in the stocks
within the country resulting from reduced production in the last three

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board said total exports for March
declined by 14 percent in the same period last year.

"The 5 537 7000 kilogrammes exported last month is 14 percent below levels
achieved in a similar period in 2003.

"Flue-cured tobacco exports were 5 508 300 kg, while burley accounted for
only 84 800 kg," said TIMB.

Tobacco is the country's single largest foreign currency earner and the
slump in exports easily translates into depressed foreign exchange earnings
for the country.

Most of the tobacco exported last month was realised in the last two seasons
when the total production in the country took a knock. Low exports, which
have been experienced since January 2004, have resulted in depressed
seasonal exports at 25 230 300 kg.

In 2003 and 2002, seasonal exports were at 42 170 7000 kg and 36 584 100 kg

"A total of US$94,2 million ($198,3 billion) was realised from 2004 seasonal
exports compared to US$144,7 million ($9,2 billion) in 2003," added TIMB.

A sharp increase in Zimbabwean dollar earnings during the period is a
reflection of the changes in the exchange rate.

In the last two years, the exchange rate was fixed at $55 and $824
respectively against the greenback.

At the moment, the official exchange rate is derived from the foreign
currency auction system that is run twice each week by the Reserve Bank of

TIMB has also estimated that the total exports to various destinations
across the globe are expected to further drop.

"Exports are expected to further decline to around 5 million kg or less as
the selling season begins.

"The start of the selling season over the past years usually induces low
activity on tobacco exports, as merchants will be concentrating on buying
the new crop," said TIMB.

A continued decline in the amount of tobacco produced in the country has
seen stakeholders looking for ways of reviving the industry.

Government and other firms have supported the growing of the crop, which is
estimated to contribute between 12 and 15 percent to the country's gross
domestic product (GDP).

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Sunday Mirror, 11 April

Another Zanu PF company director on the run

Tawanda Majoni

Another high-profile businessperson closely linked to companies owned by
Zanu PF that are currently under investigation is believed to have skipped
the border for South Africa. Roger Desa, the proprietor of Zincar (Pvt) Ltd,
the Sunday Mirror has been told, recently left the country for South Africa
where it is alleged he had externalised foreign currency he obtained from
underhand dealings with Zanu PF companies. The ruling party on March 31,
2004 set up a five-member committee to look into the businesses of all
companies owned by Zanu PF and those with which it has links. The team was
tasked to probe directorships, shareholding structures, business performance
and benefits to the party and its membership over the last five years. The
Mashonaland East governor and Zanu PF finance secretary, David Karimanzira
leads the team, while the other members are former Finance minister, Simba
Makoni, retired army general, Solomon Mujuru, Matebeleland North governor,
Obert Mpofu and the party's Deputy Secretary for Transport and Welfare,
Thoko Mathuthu.

The probe comes at a time when pressure was mounting from within Zanu PF
ranks to dig out how the party's businesses were being run. For decades, the
concerns went without audited statements, despite repeated calls from the
party's membership. It is believed that those who were tasked with
overseeing the finances of the companies deliberately withheld having the
firms' books audited so as to engage in profiteering. The need to
investigate the companies was galvanised by revelations that they were
involved in dealings with banks and asset management companies whose
operations from late last year were exposed as having been fraught with
imprudence. Numerous financial directors have fled the country as the net
closed in on them, particularly over the externalisation of foreign currency
and operating on the black market.

Desa was reportedly arrested by the police about two weeks ago, in
connection with the externalisation of foreign currency, when he returned
from a business trip in Europe. He was charged but subsequently released
under unclear circumstances. Desa, the source said, had earlier on written a
letter of apology to President Robert Mugabe over his alleged shady
dealings. The letter was reportedly read out during a recent cabinet
meeting, but it is not yet clear what recommendations were made. George
Charamba, the Information and Publicity secretary in the office of the
President, in an interview with this paper, however professed ignorance over
the letter. Chief police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not aware
of the arrest of Desa, but promised to search for details. He was however
quoted by a local weekly, confirming that Desa was under investigation. The
powerful businessman, who is believed to have for a long time acted as a
front for a top politician from the ruling party (name supplied), who is
also under scrutiny for taking advantage of lack of transparency in the
operations of Zanu PF and personalising party firms, is said to have done
most of his business with an asbestos establishment.

The Sunday Mirror is reliably informed that the accounts of the named
politician with one local bank are being investigated. He would allegedly
source chrysolite asbestos fibre from the local mining concern (name
supplied) for a Portuguese company, Fibrolite Portugal, on commission. Desa
would then allegedly misrepresent to Fibrolite Portugal that he was getting
a low-grade product and also inflates figures. He would then reportedly
direct that the foreign currency he obtained, which is understood to have
amounted to more than US$20 000, be placed in his Johannesburg account.
Desa, who is as well the director of RHB Import and Export, a sub-agent
mandated with sourcing the asbestos fibre for the Portuguese company, also
allegedly shared spoils from his dealings with the top Zanu PF official.
Fibrolite Portugal has links with the Kwekwe-based Fibrolite Zimbabwe,
another Zanu PF firm that produces fibre cement. Desa was a shareholder in
the company, in which Jayant Joshi, another top businessman who has since
run away to the UK, was a director. Jayant fled Zimbabwe for the UK two
Fridays ago, together with his brother, Manharlal Chunibal and Dipak Pandya
in a huff when they learnt that their activities were under the spotlight.

Joshi, a source said, fled with sensitive documents that he is believed
intends to use to blackmail certain high-ranking officials whom he considers
to be behind the process to investigate the ruling party's firms. He is
however reported to be already in trouble with British officials, who
ostensibly want to extradite him back to Zimbabwe, mainly because of his
longstanding links with Zanu PF, which has fallen out of favour with London
over political issues. Among the companies Zanu PF is probing are Zidco
Holdings, M&S Syndicate, First Banking Corporation, Treger Holdings, Ottawa,
Catercraft and Zidlee Enterprises. Efforts to trace down Desa were fruitless
as his home telephone number kept on ringing without a response.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Sunday Mirror, 11 April

RBZ $72 million extortion tip of iceberg

Business This Week with Shame Makoshori

Astonishing revelations surfaced at the central bank last week, with
allegations that while Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono
is at the epicentre of the battle pitting government and corrupt corporate
executives, stinking graft is breeding right under his nose as his most
trusted disciples are not innocent either. Allegations are rife that a high
ranking staffer within the central bank is implicated in rumours that he is
using his official clout as the head of the investigations team to extort
money from companies that would be under investigation on allegations of
foreign currency externalisation. Luck ran out for the alleged fraudster and
former member of the armed forces when a Banks Trading executive showed up
at the Reserve Bank and "began to sing" in front of Gono that his officials
were demanding a further $40 million from him after allegedly extorting an
initial $32 million. An incensed Gono, obviously shaken by the turn of
events, swiftly moved in and suspended the entire investigation team pending
a full throttle investigation into the matter while police arrested the
suspected RBZ officials. "We have to make an example that it does not matter
what position you hold in the hierarchy of the bank and society and anyone
implicated in the these corrupt activities should be allowed no space in my
team," Gono is quoted by the Herald Business.

These revelations are reminiscent of the late 1990s incident in which the
British spy agency, the M16 was highly regarded and respected due to its
efficiency on the globe, a bomb exploded on their doorsteps, rendering the
security of whole organisation questionable, and strengthening the old adage
that nobody is sacred. Central bank employees told the Business Mirror last
week that the latest developments were only a tip of the iceberg as graft
has taken root at the institution with officials taking advantage of the
chaotic economic situation to line their pockets with ill-gotten money
through intimidating suspected offenders. What it means is therefore that
before wielding his heavy hand on others outside the RBZ, the governor has
to call for a thorough exorcising exercise of his juniors before sending
them for missions where they terrorise people and demand illegal payments.
The last four months were a turning point in the economic landscape of
Zimbabwe as several fat cats have fled into self imposed exile after
diverting billions of dollars into their own pockets, and the governor,
through his highly acclaimed monetary policy has taken all the credit. All
this applause is now at the mercy of imminent demise if the governor fails
to take effective control of his errant officers who might end up tarnishing
the reputation that he has carved for himself in society for a job well
done. And the question still remains, who will guard the guard?
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Times (UK), 13 April

Zimbabwe rebels adopt high-risk strategy

By Owen Slot, Chief Sports Reporter

Thirteen Zimbabwe cricketers intend today to lift the curtain on the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) and expose the culture of corruption and
malpractice within it. This is a last and desperate attempt to bring the ZCU
to the negotiating table, though they are aware that it is only likely to
confirm their sacking. The players have prepared a five-page document in
which they have listed instances and precise details of the ZCU's
maladministration. The document was being checked last night by lawyers and
is expected to be released today or within the next few days. The ZCU has,
before now, relied on a culture of fear within the team to prevent any such
public exposure and to maintain some sort of apolitical façade. Players knew
that a careless word to the media would bring immediate reprisals to their
international careers and possibly beyond. But now, in a game of
brinkmanship that they are certain to lose, the players are opting for the
tell-all, last-resort approach to try to save their careers and rescue
Zimbabwe cricket from its downward spiral. Even yesterday, the ZCU did not
believe that the players could act with such unity. Vince Hogg, the chief
executive, supposed that only four or five would rebel. However, the 13
players have all signed the document. Political and racial issues are
tearing Zimbabwean cricket apart; all 13 players are white.

"The ZCU have called closure on us," one of the 13 said yesterday. "Thirteen
of us are unaware whether we have been sacked or fired. The ZCU can only now
accept what we are saying or fire us. But we feel that the international
cricket world needs to know the situation." The seed of the players'
objections is the way they feel that white players are being legislated out
of the squad and the fashion in which the team is becoming increasingly a
political extension of Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF ruling party. Their document
will reveal consistent meddling with team selection. It is likely to contain
examples such as the occasion, before the third one-day international in the
recent series against Bangladesh, when Hogg was detained in his office by
members of the strongly political Takashinga Cricket Club, who refused to
let him go until one additional player of colour had been included in the
Zimbabwe side. Or the subsequent occasion when a white player was offered
double his match fee to stand down from the squad in order to allow a
non-white player to take his place. Or the threats of pitch invasions that
have been made unless the number of non-white players in Zimbabwe sides goes
up to five. The irony here is that, as the players dig in to take a hard
line with their employer, the ECB is simultaneously softening its stance on
Zimbabwe and acknowledging that England's winter tour there is almost
definitely to go ahead. The position taken up by the players should serve to
refuel the debate, though it will bring instant uncertainty for the 13

The extreme nature of the situation is exemplified by the fact that the ZCU
has completely fallen out with Heath Streak, the long-time captain and one
of its few players even approaching world-class standard. Streak has been a
notably compliant ally for the ZCU in the past. Even after his father had
been taken away from his farm two years ago and thrown in prison for two
days, Streak was still content to be the smiling public face of his country'
s cricket team. That is all history now. The last players to take such a
public stance were Henry Olonga and Andy Flower, both of whom feared for
their safety and left the country almost immediately. "This will be a
worrying time for the players," Olonga said last night. "A lot of them don't
know where they're going to go or what job they're going to do. But it makes
sense for them to do this. One of the things that has prevented these
players from speaking their minds is the fear that they won't get picked
again. But they're on a hiding to nothing now; now they have to speak up. It
appears that the rabid characters on the ZCU are intent on getting rid of
them. The people on the ZCU are only following an agenda. Politics has
interfered and I don't see a future for the players. There is no future for
white cricketers in Zimbabwe, just as there is no future for white farmers.
But then you have to ask: will Zimbabwe actually be able to compete after
this? We'll struggle to beat even Bangladesh. It sounds like England will
have to go on this Zimbabwe tour. Maybe Zimbabwe cricket will have imploded
by then."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

13 April 2004




On Sunday, 18 April 2004, Zimbabweans will record 24 years of independence from Britain.


In 1980, the world witnessed the birth of what we thought was a secure nation with a strong economy and functioning state institutions. We were a potential powerhouse with an industrial base which compared favourably to what existed in the few well-managed African countries at the time. We anxiously positioned ourselves ready to rebuild the country and to contribute to wealth creation and to explore the abundant opportunities brought about by the promise of freedom.


Unfortunately the 24 years merely registered a period of sustained regress. We have nothing to show for it, except overwhelming poverty, economic decay, a systematic loss of our basic freedoms and a national crisis whose dimensions are mutating and fast becoming more pervasive in every facet of our political, economic and social life.


Millions returned home from exile. Today the ordinary citizen is confused and shocked to live in a country where, once again, the forces of democracy are under siege. They are desperate to get out.


The Limpopo River has claimed thousands of Zimbabwean casualties. Almost all Western embassies are inundated with exit visa applications from our people. Our neighbours are totally suffused by thousands of hungry young men and women. The entire country has become an informal marketplace run by vendors surviving on the sale of wares ranging from used clothes to inconsequential trinkets.


Poverty and insecurity have already forced an estimated 3.5 million -- more than a third of the nation’s adult population -- into exile where they live in near-slavery conditions. There is too much poverty and too little growth. This is unacceptable.


Those in the rural areas are caught between a rock and a hard place. They are being forced to contribute their meagre earnings towards the Independence celebrations. On Sunday they will be reminded of the horrors of the liberation struggle; the entire propaganda machinery will be unleashed on the opposition; and fake devils and imaginary enemies will be discovered and exposed, especially on national radio and television.


No opportunity would be available for them to reflect on the 24 years they are supposed to have been free from colonialism.


The people are stunned at the manner in which the political and economic climate has become even more embattled, more beleaguered than before April 1980. The march to tyranny can be traced to the early years of our Independence.


In a 24-page private letter in 1983 on the then emerging trend towards state-sanctioned brutality, the late Joshua Nkomo told Robert Mugabe: “Zimbabwe is defenceless today because the people live in fear, not of enemies, but their own government.”


Six years later on 10 July 1989, the late Ndabaningi Sithole – in another letter to Mugabe said: “The exposure of the gross corruption of your most senior ministers and other government officials raises questions regarding the ability of the present government to run the country. The whole episode causes one to wonder whether we have a government or merely a gang of the most unscrupulous ever to be entrusted with the running of our country.”


In March 2001, I wrote a personal letter to Mugabe. I pleaded with him to put the national interest above his personal ambition. I was concerned about the downward slide our nation was facing arising from Mugabe’s selfish approach to the resolution of the crisis. Nothing came out it.


Given the highly negative and comprehensive onslaught on people’s welfare and political freedoms, questions are being raised as to what happened to the ideals of the liberation struggle; what has become of the democratic resiliency of the nation. 


The people are watching with trepidation as a small nationalistic class, aided by a parasitic bureaucracy and supported by desperate opportunists wreak havoc on a dwindling national cake. Zanu PF is quick to label dissent as neo-colonialist and racist as a way of whipping up emotions to cover up inefficiency and repression.

Zanu PF has yet to realise that without political freedom and stability, any government policies that seek to address the people’s concerns are seriously weakened.

The people have taken note of the activities of a determined tyrannical class that has pushed the country into a state of paralysis and succeeded in cutting off Zimbabwe from the international community.


By contrast, SADC has made tremendous headway in its efforts to harmonise governance systems and the political behaviour of its leadership. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Kamuzu Banda of Malawi accepted electoral verdicts and retired with grace. Ketumile Masire of Botswana and Nelson Mandela of South Africa are enjoying their pensions after years of sterling service to their countries. Sam Nujoma of Namibia leaves at the end of the year. Joachim Chissano is ready for rest after he accepted the new culture in the region. Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola says he is going at the end of his term.


Those SADC leaders who have retired (and those who plan to follow suit) left an indelible legacy whose hallmarks include the institution of an Independent Electoral Commission to conduct elections and ensure that electoral disputes are kept at the barest minimum. By so doing, these nations are enhancing the ideals of the liberation struggle in the region – giving their people an opportunity to enjoy greater freedom. What is it that makes Zimbabwe a unique case? Why should Zimbabwe behave in a manner that is outside the SADC family’s norms and standards?


We formed the Movement for Democratic Change as an alternative player in post-independence politics. We are a social liberation movement guided by the ideals of the liberation struggle and directed by the people to wrest the people’s power and sovereignty from an elite nationalistic class whose style of governance is at variance with our expectations.


For five years, the MDC has pursued an agenda for change. In the process we hit numerous landmines: outright vote rigging, electoral fraud, the deaths of hundreds of activists, beatings, rape and massive state-induced hunger. The country was plunged into lawlessness, vigilante groups and party militias were born, repressive legislation was enacted to muzzle the voice of the people and basic freedoms were severely curtailed.

Given the conditions on the ground, you may ask: which direction therefore are the forces of democratic change moving? The answer defines our agenda for action. Our national policies and programmes are informed by a need for a post-Mugabe period of national healing, in which the nation could come to terms with 24 years of trauma.

We shall work out effective ways of handling the evils within our past in order to vaccinate against any future reversion into tyranny and darkness. The challenges facing the democratic movement are immense. The freedom we gallantly fought for up until 1980 has been confined to a vastly shrunk political arena.


Parliament, the judiciary and law enforcement agents have been subverted and compromised. The fusion of the executive, the judiciary and the legislature, has led to a total collapse of the regime as a civilian outfit. The military has been deployed everywhere. The military runs elections. The military has taken control of all strategic arms of the state, including the management of our food reserves.


After the stolen Presidential election in 2002, I stated that Zimbabwe was confronted by an absolute dictator presiding over a civil-military junta and imposing an illegitimate government on the people.


The reality since then is that after winning the liberation struggle together as Zimbabweans 24 years ago, Mugabe ignored the wishes of the people and proceeded to put in place an openly repressive infrastructure to turn himself into an absolute monarch in order to preside over a totalitarian state.


In the face of a deliberate derailment of the people’s preferred course for meaningful political change through the ballot box, calls have been made for the MDC to seek alternatives to redirect the course of politics in Zimbabwe. We understand the people’s frustrations. We understand the importance of continuously re-examining our strategies as we confront a different and more dangerous form of tyranny.


As we approach the Parliamentary election in 2005, we have in place a comprehensive plan to stop the rot and make way for the people to recover their sovereignty, their basic freedoms and their national independence. 


Our campaign for a changed set of electoral conditions has been well received. The campaign has gained currency among key stakeholders. It has become a strong talking point nationally and within the region.


We in the MDC have never been as determined and united as we are today on the question of electoral conditions and national elections. Our objective has always been to participate in a legitimate election and to win such an election.


The situation on the ground is so unstable and volatile for anyone to dream of tampering, yet again, with the people’s demands. The tension is so high that Zanu PF does not have the capacity to contain the people’s anger if Zanu PF steals another national election. The people are fed up.


Our fear, from the feedback we are getting nationwide, is that Zimbabwe will never be the same if Zanu PF goes ahead with its proposal to conduct an election under the same conditions which caused a lot of discomfort to SADC in 2000 and in 2002.  The risk is too high. The result could be catastrophic.


People are tired of being denied their rights through unemployment, poverty, legislation and violence. People remember what happened in 2000 and in 2002. They know that any election conducted under the same conditions will cause more problems for the nation already in a crisis.


Twenty-four years after Independence, the people realise that they are no longer sovereign. Through the use of repressive laws, the regime awards and withdraws generic freedoms according to its own wishes. We are under tremendous pressure to turn the tables and lead the people to new dispensation that would restore Zimbabwe’s former position in the region and beyond.


Together, we believe we are on the right track and through action and sustained pressure we shall overcome our present difficulties. It is now abundantly clear that Zanu PF can never turn around the economy, despite a national shrinkage of nearly 50 percent in five years. 


Zimbabweans face a severe humanitarian crisis; with more than half the population having had their livelihoods eroded by the current economic decline and severe food shortages. Essential infrastructure has collapsed and inflation has soared. It is common cause that delivery systems of health, education and other social services have completely collapsed. Zimbabweans have become regular guests at funerals of thousands who are perishing from the HIV/Aids pandemic.


The MDC wishes to thank the people for their refusal to allow the regime to assume some form of legitimacy since the stolen Presidential election in 2002. The people remained resolute and steadfast in their resolve to continue calling for sanity in our country. We made it impossible for the regime to consolidate electoral fraud. That struggle continues to this day.


Our history shows us that it is important to galvanise the people to challenge any form of oppression until final victory. Despite the impressive gains made by the MDC, our quest for freedom, which has become a major national grievance, remains unanswered; the national agenda remains unfulfilled. The Zimbabwe crisis is deepening.


We cannot allow this regime to impose its false supremacy over the people. Only action and political pressure shall bring in the desired results and lead us to resuscitate our failed state and all its institutions.



Morgan Tsvangirai


Back to the Top
Back to Index

SA Now Safe Haven for Criminals

The Herald (Harare)

April 13, 2004
Posted to the web April 13, 2004

Ruth Butaumocho

NEIGHBOURS Zimbabwe and South Africa s historical strong links go beyond
trade. There is one bizarre knot in the fiery relationship - crime.

Hard core criminals from both sides of the massive Limpopo River that
separates the two Southern African countries have for years made billions in
their own kind of dealings in contraband.

But over the past few years, South Africa, with its over 30 million
population, has become a safe haven for criminals escaping justice from most
countries north of the Limpopo River.

There are several reasons for this. One of which includes the high levels of
crime in South Africa where dangerous criminals have become so notorious
that they have developed sophisticated methods to outwit the police.

Several criminals, who are wanted by Zimbabwes police for having committed a
series of crimes, are finding refuge in South Africa, where some South
African criminals are reportedly harbouring them.

More often than not, police have encountered problems in trying to arrest
and extradite criminals in South Africa, and this alone has derailed police
efforts to bring to book criminals who continue to wreck havoc in Zimbabwe.

In addition to that criminals are exploiting advances in technology to make
their forgeries to detect so much it becomes difficult to flash them out.

Police in Zimbabwe are now calling for closer co-operation with neighbours
in South Africa to ease complications brought about by the differing laws
operating in the two countries that have made operations extremely

There are reports that criminals are obtaining travel documents to enable
them carry out their operations without being hindered.

Many have entered South Africa illegally as border jumpers and quickly go
into hiding in areas like Hillbrow and Yeovil well known for crime.

In one of the latest incidents that has derailed efforts to clamp down crime
in the country, police recently identified a hideout in Johannesburg, South
Africa, where hard core Zimbabwean criminals fleeing the country have sought

Police officers tracking down a Mercedes Benz stolen in the country were
told by their South African counterparts that they dared not enter the
Johannesburg suburb, as it was infested with highly dangerous criminals.

It is said hard-core criminals freely loiter around the area with others
openly conducting drug deals.

According to Zimbabwe police, South African police told them it was
dangerous to go into the suburb without the assistance of specialised police
and air force units.

It is believed the suburb is a hideout for notorious criminals and drug
traffickers from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique and Nigeria.

The Vehicle Theft Squad believes that notorious armed robbers Musa Taj
Abdul, George Timozo, Charles Maratera and Lee Roy Kamurai Machokoto, who
escaped from holding cells at Southerton Police Station in February, were
hiding in the suburb.

It is also believed that Zambian Emmanuel Mbiya suspected of smuggling
stolen posh cars from South Africa and auctioning them in Zimbabwe is also
in South Africa.

The magnitude of the problem currently being experienced by these two
countries is a clear testimony of the need to stamp out crime and all forms
of lawlessness.

Chief police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said
cooperation between countries in the region in trying to phase out
criminality was quite good.

Assistant Commissioner Bvudzijena pointed out that the Zimbabwe Republic
Police have on several occasions carried out joint operations with other
police forces in the region.

This has resulted in the arrest of notorious criminals and the recovery of
property worth millions of dollars.

"We hold regular meetings, where we share information on how to curb out
criminal activities within countries.

"We have managed to assist other countries in arresting criminals who would
have sought refuge here, and other countries have done the same for us," he

Despite good working relations between countries Ass Comm Bvudzijena however
bemoaned lack of harmonisation of legislation within the region, which he
said was making it difficult for police in the region to operate without

Said Ass Comm Bvudzijena: "Sometimes we have problem in trying to bring back
stolen vehicles which would have been recovered in another country because
of different legislations within countries.

"Jurisdiction of any police force end within that particular country, so
when such kind of things occur, we cannot do anything."

Despite concerted measures to curb crime in the region, there is actually an
upsurge in sophisticated and highly organised crime taking place between

A recent survey conducted by Southern African Region Police Chiefs
Cooperation Organisation, Sarpcco, concluded that there was an overwhelming
evidence in the southern Africa region of the prevalence of terrorism,
kidnapping, drug trafficking, rape, money laundering, cyber crimes,
carjacking and illicit firearms trade.

This has seen the birth of highly organised crime syndicates where criminals
from one country can create "hideout fortress" for their counterparts in the

As such police efforts to try and weed out these corrupt elements operation
in the two countries and other countries in the region, would all be in vain
unless authorities between the two nations, harmonise existing laws.

Sarpcco has on several occasions, hold meetings to discuss issues like the
extradition of offenders and the status of criminal hideouts but progress on
the actual harmonisation was still minimal.

Speaking at a five day Sarpcco meeting held in the country last year, Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri urged parliaments to support police joint
operations in the fight against crime in the region by making laws that can
be applied in the entire region.

"The support we have been given by the legal fraternity in the region as far
as combating crime is concerned has been lukewarm,

"We need the support of the legislation of the various countries for our
success to be enhanced," he said.

Previous joint operations held between countries have proved to be effective
in dealing with highly sophisticated criminals who would have fled to other
countries to escape from the wrath of the law.

The arrest of Zimbabwes notorious criminals like Norman Karimanzira, jail
breakers Stephen Chidhumo and Edmund Masendeke was achieved through regional
police cooperation.

Chidumo and Masendeke were arrested in Mozambique, while Karimanzira was
nabbed in Zambia.

The trio had become legendary for their high-profile criminal activities and
evading arrest.

However, police brought their reign of terror to an end through cooperation
of neighbouring countries. Masendeke has since been executed.

Cooperation among police forces in the region is necessary if regional
dimension in curbing crime is to be achieved.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim, SA Seek Solution to Visa Problem

The Herald (Harare)

April 13, 2004
Posted to the web April 13, 2004


SOUTH African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Jeremiah Ndou yesterday said his
government was aware of the difficulties affecting most Zimbabweans in
obtaining visas to his country and was looking into possible ways of easing
the problem.

Mr Ndou said his government and their Zimbabwean counterparts were involved
in discussions to look into the problem since most prospective visitors to
South Africa were failing to get travellers' cheques from the banks, without
which they cannot obtain visas.

"We never announced the easing of visa applications, but we only
acknowledged the difficulties that are affecting mostly the cross-border
traders in getting their visas," Mr Ndou said.

He said the embassy had noted the fact that ordinary Zimbabweans were
failing to get travellers' cheques of R1 000 required to get a South African
visa and was now looking into the matter.

Mr Ndou, who recently met the Minister of Youth, Gender and Employment
Creation, Retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri, to find a way forward
concerning the issuing of visas, expressed hope that discussions would
continue to find a lasting solution.

Zimbabweans have been having difficulty obtaining visas to South Africa.

Some of them said some bank employees were now demanding kickbacks before
processing travellers' cheques while some of the staff at the embassy were
also asking for favours to process the visas.

However, Mr Ndou said applicants should report any embassy staff involved in
corrupt activities.

He said the embassy recently fired one worker for such corrupt practices.
Back to the Top
Back to Index