Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:59pm GMT
HARARE, April 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate accelerated to
3.5 percent year-on-year in March, from -0.7 percent the previous month,
data showed on Friday, confirming that food prices are exerting renewed
A power-sharing government formed last year by bitter rivals President
Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, adopted the use of
multiple currencies in favour of the Zimbabwe dollar, a move which somewhat
But Finance Minister Tendai Biti warned on Thursday that while the new
administration had managed to stabilise the economy and tame hyperinflation
which peaked at 500 billion percent in December 2008, rising food prices
threatened to drive inflation beyond the government's single-digit target.
The Central Statistical Office (CSO) said on Friday inflation quickened to
1.1 percent in March on a monthly basis compared with 1.0 percent in
The CSO started calculating price movements in U.S. dollars in December 2008
and published the first set of annualised data under the system with the
December 2009 print, when inflation stood at -7.7 percent year-on-year.
"The year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation prone to
transitory shocks stood at 1.23 percent in March while non-food inflation
stood at 4.55 percent," the CSO said.
Aid agencies say over 2 million Zimbabweans will need food aid this year.
Zimbabwe is expected to harvest 1.5 million tonnes of the staple maize grain
from the 2009-2010 season, higher than the previous season's yield of 1.2
million tonnes, but will still have a 500,000 tonne gap which would need to
be covered by imports.
WOZA arrive at ZESA headquarters yesterday to petition over the poor delivery of power in Zimbabwe, but are later arrested. Full story blogged here.
The four WOZA women arrested at the ZESA headquarters in Harare yesterday remain in police custody. They have still not been formally charged. Their lawyer, Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was granted access to them this afternoon. They are in good spirits despite the appalling conditions in Harare Central Police Station. Law and Order officers will decide tomorrow morning what charges they will prefer against the four activists. Due to the public holiday on Monday, if the women are not taken to court tomorrow morning they will remain in custody until Tuesday at the very least.
It has also emerged that a 23-year-old MOZA member, Timothy Katyora, was beaten in Harare Central Police Station yesterday by six uniformed officers. The young man was with a group of activists who presented themselves at the Charge Office attempting to hand themselves in in solidarity with their arrested comrades. Timothy was hauled away from the rest of the group into the guard room and beaten over the head by six officers, who were questioning him constantly about what he was doing there. After being beaten for several minutes, he was chased out of the police station. Timothy received medical treatment for bruising and headaches this morning.
The arrest and continued detention of the four women for exercising their constitutional right to demand a fair service for the electricity that they pay for makes a mockery of the Independence celebrations that no doubt will be taking place across Zimbabwe this weekend. 30 years later, the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans still do not enjoy the fruits of freedom. The promises of the liberation war have not been delivered to Zimbabweans who struggle to survive every day, wondering how they will feed their children tomorrow. Human rights and dignity denied to women, men and children who wish that the great achievement of 30 years of independence from colonial rule was something that could be celebrated. There is very little to celebrate in the cold, dark cells of Harare Central Police Station.
Please continue to call Harare Central Police Station on (+263 4) 777777 or (+263 4) 736931 or (+263 4) 725803 or (+263 4) 733033 or (+263 4) 721212 to demand that the WOZA activists be taken to court tomorrow and that they not be mistreated in custody.
[press release via WOZA ]
April 15, 2010
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the government will not increase
salaries for its underpaid workers whose salary bill continues to gobble
nearly three quarters of the country's gross revenue base.
Biti told a media briefing Thursday that government's spending structure was
inverse and abnormal.
He said this impeded its efforts to resuscitate other needy sectors such as
those of health, education, transport, water and sanitation, power and the
maintenance of infrastructure.
"Given the lack of fiscal space as already alluded to," Biti said,
"government will maintain a cap on the current wage level while attending to
other revenue enhancing measures."
Biti was presenting his 2009 and 2010 economic performance report.
"Currently, the public sector wage bill of US$913 million in 2010, accounts
for almost 70 percent of the total domestic budget revenues and 18 percent
of GDP," he said.
"Such a high proportion of the budget wage bill, which is far above the
international thresholds, would, if not corrected also crowd the necessary
capital development expenditures and hence compromise economic recovery and
Biti said in normal economies the world over, the government wage bill is
not supposed to reach the 30 percent margin.
He said any increase in salaries for government workers would also lead to a
chain increase in prices of goods and services, something he said was going
to push inflation upwards at a time the country was fighting to kill the
scourge once and for all.
The statement by Biti is sure to cause more anxiety within the country's
poorly paid civil servants, who last month embarked on month-long strike to
press for an increase in salaries from the current $120 for the lowest paid
worker to $600.
The Finance Minister further mooted a possible reduction in the strength of
the country's civil service which currently stands at a massive 236 000.
This he said would be effected once government was through with its ongoing
audit of its workforce.
Biti further decried the failure by the country to attract enough foreign
direct investment during the short lifespan of the inclusive government
saying this could be attributed to political uncertainties fanned by
continued fissures within the country's hybrid political administration.
Out of the $810 million which government expected to source from donors in
order to prop up its 2010 budget of $2, 25 billion, the minister said, the
country had only received a paltry $2, 9 million in the first quarter.
He said this would restrict the country to the less comfortable cash
budgeting in order to keep with the pressures of running one of the world's
most volatile economies.
Based on this development, Biti said, government was likely to revise its
projections from the current 7 percent economic growth rate to just over 4
Biti also talked tough on continued speculative activities by unscrupulous
business operators which he said were still fanning inflationary pressures
in the country.
16 April 2010
Arthur Ferguson, a horticulturalist on Benfer Citrus Estate, was arrested at
his home on Wednesday evening and is being held in a filthy cell at the
Beitbridge police station – rural section.
The citrus estate is owned by Arthur’s father, Ian Ferguson, who also built
up the nearby Denlynian Game Ranch in Zimbabwe’s dry Beitbridge area into a
prized tourism destination.
Arthur has been managing Denlynian in his father’s absence while he is
recovering from surgery in South Africa.
Since the owners are South African citizens, both properties are protected
by a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement signed by South
Africa and Zimbabwe on November 27.
Despite having no grounds for the arrest, Sergeant Mbaiwa refused requests
by Ferguson’s lawyer, Mr Tchakalisa, and the Public Prosecutor to release
According to the Public Prosecutor, there were no instructions to arrest or
detain anyone and the police were only to serve a summons.
However, the papers were so chaotic that he felt he could not handle the
case and said it should be referred to the Provincial Magistrate’s Court in
A provisional date of May 5 has been set.
Speaking from South Africa, Ian said that Sergeant Mbaiwa has been
threatening the family for more than a year and has become exceptionally
provocative and vitriolic.
Ian said his son was deeply concerned because he had been arrested in front
of his three young children – the youngest is just four years old – and they
had been severely traumatised. His wife was in Bulawayo on business at the
The chief game guard on Denlynian Game Ranch was forced by invaders to leave
the ranch and take refuge on the Ferguson’s nearby citrus estate, managed by
A truck later arrived at the ranch and the occupants began stealing items of
value from the lodge. They told the game guard they would be moving in
Arthur’s lawyer confirms that the invasion is totally illegal and, by their
own admission, was assisted by the police using Zanu PF vehicles.
Contact details for Mr Ian Ferguson in South Africa:
Cell: 083 325 2042 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
16 April 2010
Commercial Farmers Union - Zimbabwe
Julius Malema's inflammatory statements have
ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema's visit to Zimbabwe and his
ill-conceived remarks have fuelled uncertainty and alarm, both within our
country and in South Africa, with serious implications for stability,
foreign investment and tourism.
They have also resulted in a new wave of threats directed at the few
remaining white commercial farmers attempting to continue farming operations
under extremely difficult conditions.
Unfortunately the situation on the ground has deteriorated after a
relatively calm period, with farmers once again being pressurised to move
off their properties. This proves that racist remarks by high profile
leaders can very quickly inflame tensions, transforming peaceful situations
into volatile confrontations and potential anarchy.
We are deeply concerned that Mr Malema's remarks and his unacceptable
behaviour have undermined President Zuma's invaluable interventions in
Zimbabwe and have embarrassed the South African government.
Our message to Mr Malema is that everyone must accept accountability for the
effects of their comments and actions. As the leader of ANC Youth League
he has a duty to operate responsibly and should refrain from involving
himself in Zimbabwe's affairs when he neither has a mandate nor the
experience to do so.
To make damaging and divisive comments in a country that has suffered a
history of violence and human rights abuses - and continues to do so - is
totally unacceptable and President Zuma is to be commended his immediate and
Zimbabweans are committed to moving forward and to a creating safe and
secure future for our children. We need a strong, committed leadership to
help us reconcile as a nation and to find a peaceful, democratic way forward
for the benefit not only of our own people, but for the entire region.
The South African government has a clear understanding of our objectives
during this transitional phase and is providing us with invaluable support
and guidance. President Zuma's interventions at this critical time in our
history cannot be undermined.
We will be celebrating 30 years of 'Independence' in 3 days time, while
being largely dependent on aid to feed our population. If we as Zimbabweans
unite and stop fighting each other, then hopefully we will be able to
celebrate our true independence from aid agencies and all other countries.
For further information:
Commercial Farmers' Union - Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 4 309 800 (CFU - Harare)
Zim Cell: +263 912 246 233
By Lance Guma
16 April 2010
Human rights group Amnesty International will mark Zimbabwe's 30th
Independence Day celebrations by releasing 'a series of exclusively
commissioned photographs which show the effects today on those evicted en
masse in 2005 under Operation Murambatsvina.' Researcher Simeon Mawanza went
into the country and met both survivors of the clean up exercise and the
brutal 2008 election campaign, in which Mugabe ran against himself in the
Speaking to Newsreel on Friday Mawanza said the idea behind releasing the
photographs is to show the other side of what is happening in the country.
'Many people are still to realize the rights that people were championing in
the liberation war.' He said most of the people who were displaced in the
2005 'clean up' exercise are in exactly the same situation, if not worse,
than it was at the time. They still have no access to water, housing, health
or education facilities.
Commenting on the human rights situation in the country he said the
coalition government has not done much to reform the security sector, as
evidenced by ongoing abuses. 'One welcomes the fact that they have set up a
human rights commission recently but there is no indication how they are
going to tackle past human rights violations, including the 2008 violence.'
After Mugabe lost those elections his security forces launched a brutal
crackdown that saw hundreds of MDC activists murdered and tens of thousands
tortured, many of whom died months later from their injuries.
Meanwhile UK based protest group the Zimbabwe Vigil will on Saturday hold a
'Lights for Freedom' demonstration to mark Zimbabwe's 30th anniversary of
independence. Protesters, each carrying a candle, will walk from the
Zimbabwean Embassy to the nearby South African Embassy in London. The
organizers say this will 'symbolize their hopes for South African help in
achieving true independence.'
The Vigil says it expects several notable participants, including the
president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Lovemore Matombo, Irene
Petras the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and
Gabriel Shumba who is the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum.
Vigil coordinator Rose Benton told Newsreel on Friday that the bottom line
was that Zimbabweans have had no real democracy to talk about, 30 years
after independence and their protest on Saturday will make that point.
Harare, April 16, 2010 - Police in Harare are so scared of investigating the
Minister of Local Government and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo and
controversial businessman Phillip Chiyangwa over the land grab scandal,
forcing the city council to appeal to highly ranked police officers to
Council also wants senior employees - Psychology Chiwanga director of urban
planning services and Cosmas Zvikaramba the finance director- arrested for
conniving with Chiyangwa and Chombo to steal council land.
Council through acting mayor, Charity Bango reported the matter to police at
Harare Central Police Station and later to the serious fraud section at
Ahmed House just across the road but since then officers have been refusing
to act with councillors being referred from one office to the other.
On Thursday the Harare City Council wrote a letter of complaint to senior
assistant commissioner Nyati, the officer commanding Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) and urged him to quickly act on the investigations as they
felt junior police officers had either been compromised by the wealthy
Chombo and Chiyangwa or they were simply scared of the duo.
RadioVOP has obtained a copy of the letter to the top CID officer which was
also copied to the police commissioner Augustine Chihuri and the
co-ministers of home affairs Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi.
"On the 12th of April 2010, I lodged a complaint fraud against Mr Phillip
Chiyangwa, Mr Psychology Chiwanga, and Mr Cosmas Zvikaramba in my capacity
as the acting mayor of Harare. My report was received by Constable Zinyongo
of Harare Central Police Station.
"After recording a statement from me, Constable Zinyongo issued me with the
reference number of my report (IR040725) and indicated that he would refer
my report to the relevant section of the police which deals with such issues
as I had reported to him. I assumed that the relevant section was the fraud
"On 14 April, I received a call from detective chief inspector Magocha of
CID fraud squad. He indicated that he had received the initial report that I
had lodged at Harare Central Police and that he required me to bring
additional information pertaining to the cases I had reported," reads part
of the letter.
The letter adds that after detective chief inspector Magocha received the
additional information he had requested, including a written complaint of
fraud against Chombo, he was asked to report back to Harare Central where
the acting mayor was referred back to frauds.
This infuriated council felt they were being taken for a ride and they
resolved through the acting mayor to take up the issue with more senior
"I am concerned that this issue I reported to the police which is of a very
serious nature is not being treated with the urgency and seriousness it
deserves. As I have indicated, Detective Chief Inspector Magocha had, as of
the 14 April 2010, taken the decision to record a statement from me.
''I am appealing for your intervention in this matter. As you will
appreciate, this matter needs to be handled urgently and transparently as it
concerns public assets and your intervention will ensure that this will be
achieved," said Bango in the letter.
Chiyangwa, a former Rhodesian police officer turned businessman and Chombo
are accused of illegally grabbing vast tracts of prime land from Harare City
Council using their influence. Chiyangwa claims to be related to President
Robert Mugabe while Chombo is said to have used his influence as the
minister responsible for municipal authorities.
16th March 2010
At the end of March a fact finding parliamentary committee was blocked by
police from entering the Chiadzwa diamond fields. As usual there were
various excuses from the police, one of them being that Minister Mpofu was
supposed to formally organize police clearance and had not done so.
On Wednesday this week the visit from the delegation finally went ahead. But
any hope that the blatant theft of the diamonds and the human rights abuses
would be exposed and condemned by the delegation was soon dashed when Public
Works Minister Theresa Makone - who was part of the delegation - said the
fact finding mission discovered all was well and the diamonds were being
mined according to international requirements.
Messages on a number of Zimbabwean internet chat sites have shown how
disappointed people are that some individuals in the MDC appear to be either
working alongside ZANU PF, or are so naïve they do not see the realities.
The two week delay in 'allowing' the committee to enter the site has been
described as a delaying tactic to provide more time to conceal the military
presence and show the pretence of a normal diamond mining operation.
The fact is that mass murder took place at Chiadzwa at the end of 2008 and
bodies were thrown into mass graves. No investigation of this atrocity has
taken place and yet a unity government committee 'fact finding' mission
ignores this terrible history.
A Human Rights Watch report detailed how the Zimbabwe army and police were
responsible for that fierce crackdown on illegal miners in the area.
Human Rights Watch found that the army has committed numerous and serious
human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, beatings,
torture, forced labor, and child labor in Marange. The first three weeks of
the operation were particularly brutal-over the period October 27 to
November 16, 2008, the army killed at least 214 miners.
Their report also detailed how the army was deployed to 'reward' the poorly
paid solidiers and keep them loyal, going on to say; Four soldiers told
Human Rights Watch that the incentive package came in two parts. Soldiers on
mission in Marange would first get special allowances directly from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and then be offered a "once-in-a-lifetime"
opportunity to benefit directly from diamond smuggling. The plan was for all
army units to rotate and take turns to "guard" Marange's diamond fields and
take the associated benefits.
Although these blatant and brutal human rights abuses may have ceased the
fact remains that villagers in the area are still being used as forced
labour and face eviction. Another fact conveniently overlooked by the
government delegation of ministers is that the diamond fields were stolen
from the legal owners, African Consolidated Resources (ACR). The two
companies that government has approved to mine the fields, Mbada and
Canadile, are operating in contravation of a Zimbabwean court order that
recognises ACR as the legal owner.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa earlier this year, Andrew Cranswick, CEO of ACR
said; 'We were lobbying government and offering a joint venture because it
is an extraordinary deposit, a bit like the Botswana deposit and we felt it
fair to share it with the local community and the country at large. And we
offered that in writing consistently for the past four years but it seems
that certain people wouldn't want to joint venture with a company like ours
which is transparent and auditable because perhaps the diamonds would be too
visible and too track-able and therefore the money would not be able to go
into certain pockets'.
The Kimberley Process (KP) is the international monitoring organization that
is supposed to monitor 'blood diamonds' and the parliamentary committee was
looking at the diamond fields to see if they met the KP requirements for
Cranswick had this to say about the KP monitor who went to Zimbabwe: 'The
Kimberley Process.. is the monitoring effective? Well it's one chap based in
Johannesburg, I'm sure he's a very nice and competent guy but he has
travelled to Zimbabwe I think as far as I know for a total of four or five
days - at least as Kimberley Process monitor. He did not even meet ACR even
though they'd undertaken to meet all stakeholders, he did not attempt to
meet ACR. He was flown to site by people who obviously have a vested
interest in approving a sale; he was escorted by the very people who are in
contempt of the Supreme Court and he is one man - this is an area covering
thousands and thousands of hectares. And he has not, as far as I'm aware
gained any satellite information or any other information which we've
offered and so how does he know if anything been complied to? I just don't
see it to be honest'.
One of the companies given permission to mine at Chiadzwa by the government
is Canadile and Cranswick had a few things to say about them: 'Their
directors have been arrested holding diamonds. We have knowledge of a vast
quantity of diamonds being sold daily across in Villa Manica in Chimoio,
Mozambique. It's too many diamonds to be coming from the illegal panners
that are still operating in Marange and Chimanimani - so it must be coming
from someone and I strongly suspect, in fact I directly accuse Canadile of
smuggling most of their diamonds out.'
'Canadile in the south involves people like Yehuda Licht who was locked up
in Angola for diamond smuggling some years back for a long time. It involves
some diamond dealers in Belgium who have sponsored some people to travel to
see them knowing that they themselves are Zimbabwean criminals. The founding
director, one of the founding directors and major shareholder is Lovemore
Kurotwiwho's, a retired major and he was in the front page of a daily
newspaper in Zimbabwe recently with the headline - "School of drugs" which
had a drug bust in a school in Mount Hampden. So this is the kind of people
that have been chosen to mine Zimbabwe's most important cash asset'.
The second company Mbada is funded by a company called Reclam - scrap metal
dealers in South Africa, and Cranswick had this to say about Mbada; 'If you
read their company documents, the only thing they have ever done or intend
to do supposedly is to trade in scrap metal. Now suddenly these are diamond
mining experts and the Minister himself admitted that there are crooks in
the companies operating. He admitted at the Parliamentary Select Committee -
he said I know there are crooks there but the diamond industry is full of
crooks so what can I do? He also admitted that the licences were not given
with proper procedure'.
In her interview with VOA, after her visit to the diamond fields as part of
the government delegation, Minister Theresa Makone said that 'Marange
diamonds should be certified for sale on international markets by the
Kimberly Process to fund the country's health and education systems'.
As Cranswick stated; 'The State has controlled and mined Marange for four
years and yet not one cent has flowed back to the Zimbabwe people and now we
want to let South African crooks manage our natural resource? Is that
sensible? That's rubbish.'
The diamond wealth of Zimbabwe could fund the entire rebuilding of the
country, destroyed by thirty years of ZANU PF rule. Do the ministers of the
parliamentary committee really believe for one second that is going to
happen, given the government controlled situation at the diamond fields? Why
are they helping to cover up the real situation?
Zimbabweans have a right to know.
Read Human Rights Watch report: http://www.hrw.org/en/node/83957/section/9
Harare, April 16,2010 - The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has
written a stinging letter to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as Head of
Government and President Robert Mugabe as Head of State telling them that
they are now fed up with their low salaries, Radio VOP can exclusively
ZIMTA President Tendai Chikowore said :"We are fed up with our low salaries
and we have written a stinging letter to Morgan Tsvangirai and President
Mugabe telling them that time is up.
"We need US$502 as a minimum salary in order to survive. Just who do they
think we are."
She said this at the just ended meeting held in Harare where more than 300
delegates from around Zimbabwe attended.
Chikowore said however none of the leaders had responded to the stinging
letter so far.
She said the teachers would consider industrial action to cripple teaching
services once again in Zimbabwe like what happened last year.
However last year some teachers went back to service after being given
incentives which this year they said they would refuse to take up.
"The argument that there is no money holds no water," Chikowore told
delegates some of whom were very angry. "Our current demand is for US$502.
Where is the money from Chiadzwa going."
However Education, Sport and Culture Minister, David Coltart, told ZIMTA
members that government hd no money to pay them the huge salaries as
Meanwhile teachers unions in Zimbabwe have refused to unite.
"We will not unite with anybody and anybody who wants to join us can do so,"
Raymond Majongwe, President of the Progressive Teacers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), had said he wanted all the teacher unions to unite.
There are three teacher unions in the country but ZIMTA and PTUZ are the
largest and most vocal.
"This is the first time that we must unite foir the sake of progress,"
Majongwe said while addressing delegates in an impromptu speech.
The Education International organisation from Europe which funds ZIMTA had
said it would stop funding the organisation if Zimbabwe continued to have
too many associations.
Coltart in his address to ZIMTA also pointed out that disunity was killing
the teaching profession. "You must unite," he said. "This is for the sake of
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The death toll from a measles outbreak has risen to
more than 200 in Zimbabwe, with over 3,000 others having been infected by
the disease, according to a joint World Health Organisation and Zimbabwe
government report released Friday.
The report revealed that the outbreak was spiralling out of control, with 48
of the country's 62 districts now affected by the disease first detected
The disease was previously a problem in only nine districts.
At least 3,285 suspected cases and 200 deaths have been reported during the
past seven months.
United Nations agencies and the Zimbabwe government last month appealed for
more than US$8 million to combat the measles outbreak which they say has
"reached crisis proportion" and is spinning out of control.
The measles outbreak has mostly affected members of an apostolic sect which
refuses to immunise its children.
The government is proposing a new law that would make it a criminal offense
to refuse to immunise children on religious grounds.
The latest outbreak reignites memories of a 2008 cholera epidemic that
claimed more than 4,200 people and infected close to 100,000 others.
The cholera epidemic was only brought under control after international aid
agencies moved in with water treatment chemicals as well as medicines and
health support staff to treat the disease.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
A University of Zimbabwe research team fears a serious ecological disaster
at Lake Chivero where fish have been dying from an as yet unexplained cause
in recent weeks.
According to the Aquatic Research Group, industrial effluent, temperature
changes and sewage could be behind the major causes of death
"Ammonia poisoning is a strong possibility and has been implicated in the
past fish kills," said Dr Tamuka Nhiwatiwa.
The research team said industrial effluent and sewage were flowing into Lake
Chivero. ARG member Dr Maxwell Barson said the flow of sewage into Chivero
caused oxygen shortages in the lake (anoxia).
"The degradation of Lake Chivero, which is Harare's main source of water,
has over the years reached alarming levels," he said. The team expressed
concern over "irresponsible industrialists" who release toxic effluent into
the lake without considering the environmental dangers. The culprit is the
Environmental Management Act which can only fine offenders instead of
jailing them. They offend with one hand while the other is outstretched to
pay the fine," Dr Barson lamented.
The situation will impact negatively on the household incomes and nutrition
of many people who flock to the lake daily to catch fish.
Friday, 16 April 2010 15:38 UK
By Steve Vickers
BBC Sport, Harare
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has written to Fifa after receiving
only 90 tickets in the final round of World Cup sales.
The tickets will be used for officials, so there will be no over-the-counter
sales for fans.
"We've written to Fifa to ask if we can be given more tickets," Zifa Chief
Executive Henrietta Rushwaya said.
"We want to plead that Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries should have
a bigger allocation.
"We've got partners, sponsors, former players and fans who should be part of
the festivities in South Africa, but unfortunately we've been unable to make
inroads with the acquisition of tickets."
Very few Zimbabweans have been able to buy tickets for the World Cup, as
tickets have only been available on the internet to people with
international credit cards.
Zimbabwe's economy operates almost entirely on a cash basis, with very few
people having credit cards.
Johannesburg, April 16, 2010 - A Zimbabwean bus was on Friday morning shot
at and its passengers robbed by armed men in South Africa along the N1
highway to Zimbabwe, according to eyewitnesses.
The Pioneer bus carrying about 55 passengers had its front tyre shot at by a
group of armed men in Hammerskool north of Johannesburg.
"The incident occured around 1 am on Friday. The bus had its front tyre shot
before the robbers stormed in demanding cellphones and cash from the
passengers," said a Pioneer bus driver.
"The spot is becoming problematic because of these robberies because of an
interchange that these robbers use as an a get away route."
No injuries were reported but the robbers made off with an assortment of
cellphones and cash taken from the passengers. Other eyewitnesses said buses
travelling to Zimbabwe are becoming a target because most of them are not
equipped with tracking systems and robbers know that Zimbabwean travellers
are the least able to defend themselves.
Most buses travelling to Zimbabwe, about 20 a day on either way, carry cross
border traders and small scale business people who travel to South Africa on
a daily basis to buy stuff for re-sale back home. These traders are believed
to be contributing a significant business percentage to businesses north of
Over the years when Zimbabwe was facing severe food shortages, these traders
kept the country going with their imports of several items
from fuel to food.
With the country's economy tottering on an uncertain recovery path, these
traders remain a vital cog of the Zimbabwean supply and retail
chain and their obvious buying power makes them automatic targets of robbers
south of the Limpopo.
By Lance Guma
16 April 2010
At least 500 Zimbabwean exiles are expected to converge on the Scottish
capital of Edinburgh for a charity march this Saturday, that is expected to
raise funds for several orphanages back home.
Speaking to Newsreel on Friday, organizer Cynthia Gentle said she had been
moved by the documentary ‘Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children, produced for the
BBC by award winning film maker Xoliswa Sithole. The film captured the daily
struggles of children either orphaned by AIDS or caring for parents sick
with the disease, and growing up without an education while grappling with
poverty and starvation.
Spurned into action Gentle says she conceived the idea of the march to try
and get the Diaspora to help support organizations in Zimbabwe who are
helping children in similar circumstances. All the money raised will go
towards the SOS Children’s Villages, Chinyaradzo Children’s Home, Nhimbe
Trust and Zim Orphan Care.org. She said what some in the Diaspora consider
‘small money could go a long way in Zimbabwe.’
Gentle was keen to emphasize that their march was ‘non-political’ and solely
aimed at raising awareness and funds for disadvantaged children in Zimbabwe.
Those taking part will gather at the East Market Street in the centre of
Edinburgh around 2pm. From there they will march along Princess Street up to
the Mound which is close the Gallery in the city. It is there that
participants will be treated to live music and other forms of entertainment
up to 7pm.
On 16 April 2010, the Swedish government, through the Swedish International
Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), announced its contribution of 5.5
(38 million SEK) to support the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
"The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has improved. At the same time, the
margins are narrow and the situation remains fragile. There is great need
for continued humanitarian assistance and monitoring to maintain the
positive gains. For example, we may face food insecurity following the
protracted dry spell and poor rainfall this year. Declining immunization
coverage in combination with the reported regional outbreak of measles is
also of concern.", said H.E Sten Rylander, Ambassador of Sweden to Zimbabwe.
"We are encouraged by the close collaboration between the Government and the
UN in the preparation of the CAP and look forward to continued close
partnerships. In this regard, I call on the Government and the United
Nations to conclude the joint IDP assessment in order to ensure appropriate
assistance and protection to internally displaced persons.
"United Nations has a key role in ensuring well coordinated and effective
international humanitarian assistance, including at the regional and local
at the level. The humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and
independence must always be respected at all times in the provision of
The Swedish contribution will be channeled in a coordinated manner through
the 2010 UN Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP). The main areas of support are
Multi-Sector activities (includes protection and GBV prevention and
treatment activities) through IOM (18MSEK), Food Security through FAO
(10MSEK), transition / Early Recovery through AEA (6MSEK) (Association of
Evangelicals in Africa), WASH through World Vision (4MSEK)and Coordination
For more information please contact: Goodhope Ruswa,
and Hazel Chinake, email@example.com
Graça Machel condemns UK on its Zimbabwe policy, telling Westminster
politicians to 'keep quiet' about former colonies
* David Smith in Johannesburg
* guardian.co.uk, Friday 16 April 2010 18.41 BST
Graça Machel, who has criticised Britain's 'big brother' attitude to
Zimbabwe and other former colonies, with her husband Nelson Mandela in
parliament. Photograph: Schalk Van Zuydam/EPA
One of Africa's most eminent political figures has condemned Britain for
taking a patronising "big brother" attitude to its former colonies.
Graça Machel, a founder member of the Elders group of world leaders and the
wife of Nelson Mandela, warned British politicians to "keep quiet" about
countries such as Zimbabwe and let African diplomacy take its course.
Machel, 64, is a former first lady of Mozambique, where she served as
education minister, and has won numerous international awards for her
advocacy of women's and children's rights.
In an interview with the Guardian in Johannesburg, she indicated that the
crisis in Zimbabwe has revealed the shortcomings of a persistent imperialist
"Can I be a little bit provocative?" Machel said. "I think this should be an
opportunity for Britain to re-examine its relationship with its colonies. To
acknowledge that with independence those nations will want to have a
relationship with Britain which is of shoulder to shoulder, and they will
not expect Britain to continue to be the big brother.
Graça Machel: 'Britain needs to stop being a big brother in Africa'
Link to this audio
"When a nation is independent, there is no big brother. They are partners.
Part of the reason why Britain finds it difficult to accept Zimbabwe is
precisely because that relationship of a big brother is influencing
[efforts] to try to understand."
Britain, along with the EU and US, has imposed travel restrictions and asset
freezes on Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe and his political and business
allies. It has defied calls from South Africa to end these measures for the
sake of the power sharing agreement between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Earlier this year David Miliband, the foreign secretary, said the UK would
be "guided by what the MDC says to us about the conditions under which it is
working and leading the country". Critics said this handed Zanu-PF a
propaganda coup, allowing it to portray the MDC as a puppet of Britain and
blame it for sanctions.
Machel added: "I'm not saying things are OK, they're all fine in Zimbabwe.
I'm saying a different kind of dialogue, a different kind of bridge to try
to understand the other side could have produced a different result from
what it is.
"The more the British shout, the worse the situation will be in terms of
relationship with Zimbabwe. That's why sometimes I really question, when
something happens in Zimbabwe and Britain shouts immediately. Can't they
just keep quiet? Sometimes you need just to keep quiet. Let them do their
own things, let SADC (Southern African Development Community) deal with
them, but keep quiet, because the more you shout, the worse [it is]."
Asked if Britain's attitude is patronising to its former colonies, Machel
replied: "I'm afraid so. And what I'm saying is they have expectations which
do not always coincide with what are the aspirations and expectations of
those who are their former colony.
"When you change the relationship, you just have to give yourself to take
the humility to stop and listen. And when you listen, then you take into
account the other side. You put your case, then you take the other side. In
a way, you harmonise interests of both sides."
Zimbabwe will mark 30 years of independence this weekend. Britain remains
politically and economically influential and denies Mugabe's claim that it
reneged on promises to fund the redistribution of land to the black
majority. Mugabe's response, the chaotic seizure of white-owned farms, has
been blamed for the collapse of Zimbabwean agriculture.
Machel, whose first husband was the late Mozambique president Samora Machel,
called on Britain to take a broader view of the African continent. "That's
one of the issues, particularly with the British people: because of the
emotional attachment they have with Zimbabwe, in many cases they define the
continent in terms of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is one country among 53 countries,
so you have all the rest of 52 countries. Well, let us put aside Somalia
also, which is a failed state. But you have 50 countries who are running a
relatively normal situation in the continent.
"I would like to raise with you the issue that yes, Zimbabwe has failed, and
it is hurting British people directly, but there's much, much more to Africa
Machel, who became Mandela's third wife in 1998, also accused developed
countries of double standards on CO2 emissions and climate change.
"This has been very clearly stated at the negotiations to Copenhagen. They
know - the developing world, including China - that Africa has very small
responsibility in the impact of climate change, but Africa is the one paying
the highest price."
Britain's intentions are still treated with scepticism in Zimbabwe, even
among some members of the MDC. Eddie Cross, policy co-ordinator general of
the MDC, said: "Perfidious Albion. I tell you, you Brits have a
well-deserved reputation for perfidity in your colonial relations . I think
Britain's always been very sophisticated in its relations with its former
colonies - it's got more experience than any other state in the world - but
it doesn't necessarily make them right.
"Britain's role in the last 10 years has often been difficult for us in the
MDC to interpret and read. Sometimes they've backed certain initiatives in
Zimbabwe which have not been helpful in terms of pursuing a principled
transfer of power and I think sometimes the Brits regard us as being rather
naïve in the MDC and they have a rather jaundiced view of Africa and African
But Cross, an economist and MP, added that other European powers probably
behaved worse: "Samora Machel once said to me: 'If you were to choose to be
colonised, you would never choose to be colonised by the Portuguese.' The
colonial record was pretty dismal. For the British it was probably the best.
Politically motivated discrimination rife in Muzarabani constituency
At the height of the worst indescribable discrimination driven by political malice, greed, corruption and outright inhuman cruelty, more than 25 community members from Muzarabani have been promptly barred from attending various church groups because they are supporters of the MDC. The order to bar the suspended villagers comes after threats of harm which were relayed to pastors and church leaders of church groups which include Faith Apostoilc Church, Hambakuku, Mugodhi and Zion.
The controversial decision was passed at a meeting that was convened by the self confessed ardent supporter of ZANU Pf Chief Kasekete on the 2nd of March this year at Hoya business centre.
ROHR Zimbabwe undertook a sight visit to access the situation in Charunda village and we can reliably confirm from an informed position, that a Pentacostal Holiness Church in Charunda village was razed down to ashes, burnt logs and lumps of bricks in an act of arson by a staunch ZANU Pf supporter, Paradzai Chabayanzara who is believed to have set the church on fire because it was being attended by members of the MDC to the dislike of ZANU Pf sections in the same village.
One of the suspended villagers barred from attending church, MDC youth organizing secretary for Muzarabani South Misheck Sango said that it was also resolved that bibles should not be read in any of the churches. He bemoaned the decision to suspend them from attending church as most of their community members were church goers and peace loving.
Some of the acts of discrimination which were reported to ROHR Zimbabwe as being instigated by Chief Kasekete against supporters of the MDC include barring participation in social activities like soccer tournaments and influencing of donors to choose beneficiaries on partisan lines. Speaking to ROHR Zimbabwe, Sango said they were forced to forego a lifetime opportunity to be beneficiaries from a program of construction of Blair toilets that was carried out by World Vision in 2009.
The losing councilor for MDC Charunda village said there are more than twenty families who are not registered in any herdsmen's records books because they are being discriminated against as punishment for being MDC supporters.
ROHR Zimbabwe views these acts of discrimination as deliberate malicious moves targeted at disempowering innocent people from their social rights in the community at the whim of overzealous partisan sections of the society acting on narrow partisan authority. We hold that discrimination constitutes serious violation of fundamental human rights and that human rights are not privileges or gifts bestowed on people at the pleasure of any local leaders, politicians or whoever is commanding a higher authority in public affairs.
We therefore challenge chief Kasekete in his personal capacity to desist from corrupt activities that violate the rights of his villagers through discrimination and execute his servient duties as an independent officer to uphold the equality for all regardless of political affiliation. We want to remind chief Kasekete that non discrimination is a cross cutting principle under international human rights law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) under chapter 1 clearly states that, '' all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
For Peace, Justice and Freedom
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR)
The Wall Street Journal: If you look at certain issues, such as the Indigenization law, it doesn't seem the government is speaking with one voice.
Mr. Tsvangirai: I think that is unfortunate. First you have the law..Then you have regulations to operationalize the law. The truth of the matter is that the cabinet has set aside those regulations until further notice.Whatever is said around it, we must appreciate what the cabinet has decided as a collective.
WSJ: What does that mean, you've set aside those regulations?
Mr. Tsvangirai: It means come April 15, you can't implement it until further notice.
WSJ: That doesn't mean the law is dead.
Mr. Tsvangirai: No, it's not dead. But in order to operationalize the law you need the regulations.
WSJ: So why did you set them aside?
Mr. Tsvangirai: Because there are fundamental points of difference that we identified and discussed in the council of ministers, such as trying to criminalize those who haven't observed the law. You criminalize investors -- we are opposed. You talk of ceding what you own rather than a commercial transaction. Ceding means expropriation. We don't believe in expropriation.
In other words, there are so many fundamental points -- in fact, up to ten.
WSJ: The 51% is still on the table?
Mr. Tsvangirai: The 51% is a hypothetical figure. The real issue is how do you achieve participation in a certain sector?
WSJ: Are you satisfied with the number of foreign investors who are coming to Zimbabwe?
Mr. Tsvangirai: We need to be encouraging investment, rather than discouraging it.
Britain's refusal to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe or to channel aid through
its government remain sources of tension between Harare and its ex-colonial
master, 30 years after independence.
By Alice Ritchie, in London for AFP
Published: 1:03PM BST 16 Apr 2010
A disinvestment campaign also has led to long-standing hostility between
London and President Robert Mugabe, even if tensions have eased since the
opposition won a share of power last year.
Britain has promised to support the unity government Mugabe formed with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but continues to back European Union
sanctions against the president's associates.
Although this has infuriated Mugabe, who wants them lifted as a requirement
for wrapping up power-sharing talks, Britain says more progress must be
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted last month that the sanctions
"do not target Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans". They impose an assets freeze and
travel ban on members of the ruling elite blamed for human rights abuses.
Britain also continues to send aid, contributing £60 million last year
through non-governmental channels.
But Mugabe blames much of his country's economic woes on sanctions, as well
as on what he says is Britain's refusal to keep a 30-year-old promise to
compensate wealthy white farmers in his programme of land reform.
Britain denies making any such deal, although it has supported efforts to
tackle the unequal division of land between whites and blacks, an issue that
drove the bloody civil war in the run-up to independence in 1980.
It provided £44 million for land purchases up to 1996, but stopped "when it
became apparent that much land was not being given to the landless poor, but
to senior members of the regime," a Foreign Office spokesman said.
Professor Stephen Chan of London's School of Oriental and African Studies
said the EU sanctions were of "symbolic importance" and aimed at registering
the West's disquiet at the acceleration in the land reforms after 2000.
"But this was also accompanied by a disinvestment campaign" in which Britain
was a "lead actor", he said - and which had devastating results.
Professor Teddy Brett of the London School of Economics (LSE) argues that it
was no surprise foreign and domestic investors backed off after the 2000
land reforms, when property was seized often violently and without
But Chan insists that while Mugabe "took the decisive action that prompted a
chain reaction", Western powers knew "exactly what disinvestment would
"If the West is serious about helping Zimbabwe redevelop, it is going to
have to start putting investment back in," he said.
Britain once had cordial relations with Zimbabwe, hosting the 1979 Lancaster
House talks that led to independence and initially giving financial support
to Mugabe's new government.
But matters went downhill in the late 1990s, coinciding with a shift in the
politics of both countries.
In 1997, Tony Blair's Labour government came to power in London making it
clear it accepted no moral responsibility for colonialism and would not fund
any land reforms unless they they directly benefited the poor.
According to Brett, Mugabe was also coming under political pressure at this
time from veterans of the war of independence, civic organisations and the
MDC, which prompted him to escalate the land reforms.
"They wanted to have resources which they could use politically," he said.
When the reforms backfired, it was obvious who to blame.
Dr. Sue Onslow of the LSE says her research has found no sign of an
agreement on British compensation for land reforms at Lancaster House, but
said Mugabe never made this clear to his supporters.
"The problem was that it was a fudge and they didn't go back and spell that
out clearly to their political supporters," she said. "And now they are
blaming the British government."
EVERJOICE J WIN - Apr 16 2010 06:00
I was 15 when you came into being. We "grew up" together, you and I. I was
very young during the liberation struggle, so I did not quite understand
what April 18 1980 really meant. But I was old enough to appreciate that
something seismic had happened. The euphoria among the people was palpable.
The adults could not contain themselves. The music made us all giddy:
"Mauya, mauya comrade, mauya tongai Zimbabwe!" (welcome back comrade, it's
your time to lead Zimbabwe).
My favourite brother-in-law, Jack (the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary
Army), came back from the war. So did Uncle Dave (the Zimbabwe African
National Liberation Army), who came back with a bullet lodged in his leg;
it's still there.
The 1980s were magical. The majority of your citizens thrived, as you
thrived. The economy grew. Employment grew. Bulawayo got a new nickname,
konthuthu-ziyathunqa (the place of persistent industrial smoke). Mind you,
this was in the days before we spoke about climate change.
Access to healthcare doubled almost overnight. So did access to education. I
just took it for granted that I would finish high school, go to university
and get a job afterwards. The state provided the loans and grants for anyone
who wanted them. If I didn't make it to university, there was always teacher
training, nursing or the polytechnic. The state would provide resources for
that, too. Our government systematically dismantled discriminatory laws and
policies that had stood in the way of black women.
New laws were put in place: equal pay for equal work, the Labour Relations
Act, the Maintenance Amendment Act and the fantastic Legal Age of Majority
Act. For the first time black women became equal citizens in their own
right. They voted in 1980. By the time I completed my education, my rights
were largely protected on paper. Everything seemed possible -- if, of
course, you did not live in Matabeleland or Ndebele-speaking parts of the
Midlands, where thousands were systematically murdered by the national
After university I was full of lip; brimful of confidence. I got a wonderful
job with a women's organisation. I travelled in the region and outside,
sharing wonderful stories of the miracle, the ocean of hope for us women
that you had become.
By the mid-1980s you had found your feet too and your star was on the rise.
On the regional and international stages, you were the leader. Everyone
wanted to come and be part of this spring. You were flooded by teachers,
tourists, conferences, sporting events and the usual Third World do-gooder
groupies. You hosted the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, the Southern
African Film Festival, the All Africa Games, the Non-Aligned Summit. The
cultural scene was fantastic: theatre, music, books, magazines -- you name
it, we had it. Our artists won awards all over the world. I soaked myself in
it. I carried your name and my citizenship with pride.
This year you turn 30. In human terms, this is the age at which you should
be thriving. You should now be a high-flyer, the pride and joy of your
family and the envy of your neighbours. Your Facebook page should be heaving
with friends and connections. Opportunities should be opening up everywhere.
To use that little cliché, the world should be your oyster.
Yet here I am, across the fence. Millions of your children are here;
thousands more are scattered in places their mothers cannot find on a world
map. Your international airports are crowded with your departing children.
Passport offices cannot cope with the backlog.
The story of how you got to where you are today is long and complex. You can
tell your own story. I can only tell my own story of how and why I got here.
Five years ago I asked my organisation to move me to Johannesburg because I
could no longer breathe easily in my own home. I did not vote in 1985 or in
1990. Like many others, I took it for granted that whatever wasn't going
well would eventually get sorted out, because our people would realise the
need to do the right thing. We had so much faith in the shared history of
By the mid 1990s, however, the milk of independence had soured and the honey
had all but been eaten. Firm brakes had been applied on progressive women's
rights. We were told in no uncertain terms that land rights for women were
out of the question. Almost overnight, little zinc placards with anti-sexual
rights and anti-reproductive rights messages were nailed to trees in and
around the city of Harare: "Abortion is murder!"; "Arrest the prostitutes.
Don't tempt men!" The backlash against women's rights was heating up. The
war on human rights was in full throttle. Even the goddesses seemed to
conspire against us: droughts, HIV/Aids and more droughts wreaked havoc.
I finally voted for the first time in 1995, more to protest rather than to
choose my government. But by this time it was pointless. We were whistling
against a hurricane. The hand of repression began to close around our necks.
Newspapers became few-people's-views papers. Public radio and television
stations became propaganda megaphones. As much as I loved you, my dear
country, I did not want to be told how and when to love you. I did not want
to be told what to think and feel. After all, nobody can be force-fed
patriotism intravenously. The songs of celebration, joy and hope were
replaced by songs of despair and hopelessness.
By 1999 I was suffocating in the cultural desert that you had become.
Feminism taught me one simple concept: choice. I made the choice to leave
you for another country; a place that does not strangle my soul, where I can
think, feel, read, write and watch whatever I like. I can speak loudly and
I still love you, my beautiful country. Every year I celebrate April 18
because of all that it made possible in my life. But as our people always
say, Matakadya kare haanyaradzi mwana - you can't soothe a hungry child by
reminding them they ate yesterday. Although I still tell stories about the
glories of the first two decades of independence, I need new stories that
can enthuse my son and his generation about you. Sometimes I listen to news
about you. Sometimes I switch off. I visit when I miss you and I stay away
when I can't bear the pain. I am highly privileged to be able to make these
I fiercely hold on to my citizenship because it will always be the only one
I carry. I will come back to you - one day. I keep the hope alive in my
heart that you will find yourself again and restore our collective pride of
place among nations. I will take a holiday, as I always do, on April 18. I
shall drink a toast to you, my beautiful but lost 30-year-old, from this
safe but painful distance.
Everjoice Win is a feminist activist, based in Johannesburg
On Sunday April 18, 2010 Zimbabwe will celebrate thirty years of
Independence from colonial rule. After thirty years in which Robert Mugabe
has been at the helm, it would be good to hear an honest assessment from the
Dear Leader of the true situation in Zimbabwe but that is not likely to
happen. It is too much to hope that the President will present a
statesmanlike review of the situation in the country. Instead he will, I
suspect, subject his audience to a history of the struggle and claim as
always that it was Zanu alone that freed Zimbabwe and thus, in their minds,
deserve all the spoils of victory over the colonial enemy.
I hope I'm wrong and that this Independence Day will see a new and more
honest acknowledgement from Mugabe of his mistakes but I doubt that will
happen, surrounded as he will be by all the military fat cats who keep him
in State House and profit from his continued stay in power.
Credible reports (The Zimbabwean 15-21 April 2010) from the rural areas
suggest that certain high-ranking military officers are in fact directing
operations designed to intimidate and instil fear in the local populations.
In Mutoko (Mash East) and Muzarabani (Mash West) local war veterans and CIO
agents are seen openly touting brand new AK 47's, FN assault rifles and Uzi
sub-machine guns. It would appear to be all part of the intimidation which
precedes elections and together with fresh recruitment of the infamous Gezi
Boys, it is a disturbing reminder of the violence of the 2008 elections. The
presence of Green Bombers strutting around the rural areas, terrorising
innocent villagers does not suggest that thirty years in power has taught
Mugabe and his former ruling party anything other than maintaining power
through the barrel of a gun. Violence is the only weapon left in Mugabe's
bankrupt political armoury and he continues to turn a blind eye to the
violent activities of his CIO agents and partisan police force.
A case in point this week was the discovery of Innocent Makamure's body
floating in the Mwerahari river in Buhera district. Innocent Makamure was a
state agent involved in the post-election violence in 2008. A couple of
weeks ago Makamure returned to his home village to apologise to the
villagers for his violent behaviour against them. He had not killed anyone
himself he said but he wanted to tell them that he had been used by the
former ruling party, 'for peanuts' and he had paid the price. His wife had
left him and his child had died. And all for what? Makamure asked. In short,
Innocent Makamure had repented of his past misdeeds and stated his intention
to go to the local chiefs and ask forgiveness. Then Innocent Makamure
disappeared, only to be found floating in the river a few days later.
"Suicide" suggests the local police chief; Makamure took his own life
because of shame over his past actions. The dead man's family certainly do
not accept that explanation and it doesn't seem likely that, having made a
public confession of his crimes and relieved himself of his burden of guilt,
Makamure would then take his own life. But, like so many other crimes
committed in Zimbabwe we shall probably never know. Truth is a rare
commoditiy in Zimbabwe these days particularly when it concerns Zanu PF's
Crime and punishment and in particular the death sentence was the subject of
an informative news item this week. There are apparently 50 people on death
row in Harare. Some of them have been awaiting execution for as long as 13
years. However heinous their crimes, that prolonged agony of waiting for
death can hardly be considered a just punishment. But there's a problem:
there is no Public Executioner! The last hangman resigned in 2003 and has
not been replaced. "WANTED: one public hangman" is not an ad likely to
attract many candidates despite prison officials'claim that "the job is very
easy and no previous experience is needed. Candidates do not even need to be
literate", the prison officials add helpfully! Apparently Zimbabwe has
executed 65 people since Independence and despite having granted
Presidential pardons to certain prisoners, the President has refused
clemency to the 50 men now awaiting death. The issue of capital punishment
is a controversial topic, particularly in Africa. Amnesty reports that
worldwide, 137 countries have abolished the death sentence and even in
Africa, at least 11 countries have done away with this extreme form of
punishment, including our nearest neighbour, South Africa. Interestingly,
Ruwanda, with its history of nearly one million horrific killings during the
genocide in 1994, has abolished the death sentence as has Liberia despite
its recent history of violence and the activities of the infamous Charles
Taylor who is now facing trial at the Hague. If there is ever to be genuine
consultation with the people over a new constitution, it is to be hoped that
the question of capital punishment will be one of the topics covered in
informed and objective discussion.
If all of this seems rather irrelevant to Zimbabwe's problems in 2010 the
point takes on additional significance when we hear that the North Korean
football team will train for the forthcoming World Cup in Zimbabwe. To add
insult to injury, the North Koreans will be based in Bulawayo, the capital
of Matabeleland where the Gukuruhundi massacres took place at the hands of
the North Korean trained 5th Brigade. Despite Mugabe's lame admission that
Gukurukundi was a "moment of madness" there has not been one single
prosecution for the massacre of some 20-30.000 people.
As the "Sovereign State of Zimbabwe" commemorates 30 years of independence
on Sunday it is difficult to see what exactly there is to celebrate. When,
just two days before Independence, Woza women are thrown into gaol for
nothing more threatening than peacefully demonstrating about the high cost
of electricity and innocent rural people are terrorised by men with guns,
the vision of independence still seems like a distant dream.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH
Power cuts increase... as ZESA warns of prolonged power blackouts
The ZESA load shedding program has plunged most of Harare's
suburbs into darkness. Areas like Budiriro ,Glen Norah, Glenview,Mabvuku
,Avondale, Houghton Park and Highfields were getting electricity for
less than 6 hours for the past week. Residents have been using
firewood and this has promoted illegal cutting down of trees. Water supply
has improved in Harare however in New Mabvuku some areas
continue to experience perennial dry spells. These include the New
Stands area opposite Circle Cement and near Don Brooke Road. The
information below gives a brief description of the condition of
service delivery in some of Harare's suburbs .
Electricity black outs have increased in areas like Chizhanje ,Old and
New Mabvuku .The power cuts are occurring on a daily basis from
5am to 9pm at night .Refuse collection has commenced in Tafara
however some dumpsites are yet to be cleared for example the
dumpsite at Kamunhu shopping centre .
There were water cuts on Tuesday from 10am to 5pm in New Mabvuku. The
Typhoid outbreak is now under control as many organisations like
UNICEF and OXFAM have come to the rescue.
During the past week the Derbyshire area experienced water cuts
on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6pm to 10am.When the water was
finally available for the first 30 minutes it contained some
rusty particles. Power cuts have been occurring on a daily basis
for not more than 5 hours in areas like Uptown and Zindoga. Refuse is
being collected after every 2 weeks.
Clean water was gushing out from a burst pipe at Corner 3rd Street and Fife
Residents of Mudzi especially those residing at the Kotwa Growth Point are
experiencing water challenges. The area had a dry spell for the whole of the
past week. The single borehole in the area was not enough to cater for the
high demand for water. The Kotwa Rural District Council was conducting
water disconnections for outstanding bills but the MP for the constituency,
Honourable Kachepa , intervened and the Council stopped the exercise.
Water bills are ranging between $30 and $50.
Electricity is also a challenge in the area. The power cuts are
systematic whereby on Monday there is no electricity from 4am
to around 2 pm in the afternoon ,on Tuesdays there is electricity
the whole day and on Wednesdays there is no electricity from
5am to 8pm. Politics is affecting Council business and every
decision tumbles down to ones political affiliation There are 18
Councillors in the area .
There are also allegations to the effect that MDC Councillors were not
getting sitting allowances and only the ZANU PF Councillors were
getting sitting allowances .
The reason for such a setup was that the money was coming from
the ZANU PF party. The Councillors are also involved in corrupt
activities whereby they are allocating Stands on a political
Water cuts occur on a daily basis in areas like Nyameni and
Yellow City for 6 to 8 hours .The water bills are ranging from $20
to $50 in high density areas and in low density areas the bills
are ranging from $30 to $100. The Council is disconnecting water for
non payment in Ruvimbo. The Council has justified its actions by
pointing out that its workers have gone for 7 months without a
salary. Residents have argued that they can not pay for a service
that is sub standard and at times non existent .
Power cuts are also occurring in areas like Cherutombo and Cherima on a
daily basis from 5am in the morning to 5PM .The bills are ranging
from $40 to $60
The Town is experiencing serious problems in as far as service
delivery is concerned Water cuts occur on a daily basis except
on Saturdays. Effected suburbs include Hunyani, Cold Stream and
Chikonohono .The water cuts occur from 10 am to 6pm. Residents have
raised concerns over the quality of the water as it contains visible black
particles. Residents sometimes have to spend several hours in long queues to
get water from the few boreholes in the town. There is only 1 borehole
in each of the following suburbs; Chikonohono ,Wide City and
Ruvimbo. At times residents go to fetch water from sceptic tanks in Hunyani.
Places like Chikonohono ,Muzari 1 and Extension have been
experiencing electricity black outs for the past week. On Monday
there was no electricity the whole day and on Tuesday there was
no electricity from 6am to 2pm and from 5pm to 10pm.In the Town
Centre there was no electricity on Friday for the whole day and
on Saturday there was no electricity from 9am to 12pm.
CHRA is the Secretariat of the National Residents Associations Consultative
Forum (NRACF). The Association is committed to advocating for good and
transparent local governance as well lobbying for quality and affordable
municipal services on a non partisan basis.