From BBC News, 17 April
Mugabe to seek re-election
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has said he will contest next year's presidential elections. Mr Mugabe added that he was the best hope for his ruling Zanu-PF party. His remarks to Zimbabwean state television end months of speculation that he would stand down in favour of another candidate from his party. The 77-year-old leader's government is facing mounting domestic and international criticism for a controversial land redistribution programme, widespread political violence and a crumbling economy. Zanu-PF has set about revamping its image and reorganising the party after last year's parliamentary elections saw them win by a narrow margin against the fledgling MDC. The MDC won nearly half of 120 contested seats in the June poll and claimed it would have beaten Zanu-PF had it not been for a violent campaign that left at least 31 people, mainly opposition supporters, dead.
Sounding a defiant tone, Mr Mugabe said: "All this noise about Mugabe and so on is fear of the old man... the old man must see the party win, and we will take our decision thereafter." Mr Mugabe also said he would not abandon a programme to seize hundreds of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks, despite widespread international criticism. "The programme is meant to benefit our people... and that is what is important to us," he said. Land reform has seen hundreds of white-owned commercial farms being invaded and settled by veterans of the country's war for independence and landless black peasants. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have suspended aid to Harare over the policy. Zimbabwe's economy is increasingly in crisis as investor confidence has been eroded. Inflation now stands at around 58%, unemployment at 60% and a lack of foreign currency has led to fuel shortages countrywide. President Mugabe led Zimbabwe - formerly under British rule and known as Rhodesia - to independence in 1980 after a guerrilla war.
Comment from The Daily News, 17 April
By defying the bullies, students show the way
The tragedy of the current crisis in Zimbabwe is that while everyone agrees on the need for change, almost everyone seems convinced that change must come at someone else’s sacrifice. Last week, students in Buhera and villagers in Tsholotsho decided they had had enough of the bullying and intimidation of Zanu PF supporters and so-called war veterans. When they stood up to them, the bullies got the message and beat a hasty retreat.
The history of change is not always littered with cases of spontaneous uprisings. One incident ignites the fire of change, in the process setting off a veld fire in a chain reaction that devours everything in its path. The two incidents, in Buhera and Tsholotsho, made a significant point in all the 15 months the so-called freedom fighters have abused, with impunity, anyone they suspect of views at variance with theirs. In all the cases of violence by Zanu PF supporters and their allies, the so-called war veterans, the victims have presented themselves as hopelessly helpless lambs, at the mercy of their assailants. The students and villagers, by their courage in standing up to the threats and intimidation, have demonstrated that people need not continue to be party to their own subjugation.
Students at Murambinda secondary school in Buhera, Manicaland, mobilised and drove out of their school the so-called war veterans who had come to harass their headmaster. In the second incident in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, the villagers decided they would no longer be cowed by the terror campaign of the Zanu PF supporters. They were warned against attending a meeting to be addressed by the MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, at which maize supplies were being distributed to the families displaced by floods in the province. The villagers were threatened the government would unleash another Gukurahundi (holocaust) against them.
Nearly three weeks ago, Vice-President Joseph Msika visited the area and distributed relief food to the villagers who are being looked after at Sipepa General hospital. By threatening the villagers with another Gukurahundi, the government supporters obviously hoped the villagers, remembering with terror how savagely the 5 Brigade dealt with their relatives, would be frightened out of their wits and not attend the meeting, The nation would then believe that the MDC victory in the area in the June election would not be repeated in the presidential election next year, the villagers having "defected" to Zanu PF. This is part of the strategy behind the ineptly stage-managed "mass Defections" to Zanu PF. But the villagers from Tsholotsho are more perceptive than Zanu PF’s strategists. They accepted the food hand-outs from Msika. They reckoned rightly it was the responsibility of any government to rescue all its citizens from hunger. They are very clear there is no political quid pro quo involved.
Zanu PF is alarmed at the huge attendances at MDC meetings, starting with those in St Mary’s where 15 000 turned out To witness the official opening of a flea market, to an equal turn-out in Kezi. Tsvangirai’s Tsholotsho meeting attracted about 12 000. Zanu PF would have problems attracting gatherings of that size without a little help from its friends, who can be relied upon to coerce everyone to their meetings. The students in Buhera and the villagers in Tsholotsho have demystified the invincibility of the so-called war veterans and Zanu PF supporters. By dismissing the threats, the students and villagers have demonstrated that it is within everyone’s power to stand up to these bullies. It is time for everyone to take a stand against this State-sanctioned terror against the people. There are more courageous people than these students and the villagers. Let them say "No" to the violence by the government and its supporters.
From The Daily News, 17 April
Chief Chiweshe assaulted in violence-torn Centenary
Chief Chiweshe, a member of the Zanu PF central committee, was severely beaten up by unknown assailants as political violence intensified in Muzarabani and Centenary districts of Mashonaland Central, the police confirmed yesterday. The chief was yesterday said to be recovering at St Albert’s Mission Hospital in Centenary after being beaten up about 30km from the police station in the small town. He was apparently assaulted by a number of people seen driving off in a car. Police in Centenary confirmed the attack, but said there had not been any arrests by yesterday.
The attack on the chief was first disclosed to The Daily News by Border Gezi, the MP for Bindura, who described it as "an attempted murder by MDC supporters". The chief has been accused by MDC members in the area of declaring the district a "Zanu PF stronghold". Gezi, the Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, said he had been told of the attack on the chief by the Provincial Governor for Mashonaland Central, Elliot Manyika. There has been sporadic political violence in Mashonaland Central since the Parliamentary election in June, in which all MDC candidates were defeated by Zanu PF. One of them, Elliot Pfebve, suffered the loss of his brother, Matthew, killed in an attack on their home in which their parents were roughed up by suspected Zanu PF supporters. Elliot lost the Bindura constituency to Gezi.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF militias and war veterans allegedly led by Chief Chiweshe last week reportedly disrupted the burial of Ndoga Mupesa of Chiweshe, allegedly because of the presence of MDC officials from Mvurwi who had come to attend the funeral. Mupesa was an MDC activist. They beat up mourners, threw away the food that the MDC had donated for the funeral and destroyed several homes as they tried to prevent relatives, friends and neighbours from attending the burial. Mupesa was allegedly killed in cold blood two weeks ago by suspected Zanu PF militias and war veterans for supporting the MDC. He was buried in Chigwida village last Wednesday.
Biggie Chigonero, the MDC co-ordinator for Centenary and Mvurwi, said Zanu PF supporters and war veterans were brought to the funeral in a truck suspected to belong to the CIO. Chigonero said: "A leader of the group told me and my MDC colleagues to leave the funeral immediately before we were harmed. Mupesa’s relatives pleaded with us to leave and we left." Chigonero said about 200 metres from the burial site, they found the road blocked with rocks, logs and tree branches. "As we struggled to clear the road, Zanu PF supporters stoned us from nearby hills. They ordered us to leave and never to return," he said. Chigonero said after they left, they were told those who remained at the funeral were assaulted and a number of homes destroyed. "Some of the villagers have fled to Mvurwi. They told us Chief Chiweshe led the assailants," Chigonero said.
After the funeral, he said, Zanu PF supporters and war veterans moved from house to house beating up people for attending Mupesa’s burial, against the orders of Zanu PF youths. "Even Mupesa’s relatives were not spared. The police here are not doing anything to stop Chief Chiweshe from assaulting our members," Chigonero said. He said the MDC donated $15 000 towards Mupesa’s funeral expenses.
Efforts to get a comment from Manyika failed. Chief Chiweshe could not be contacted because telephone lines to St Albert’s Mission Hospital were down. Police at Centenary confirmed the chief had been severely assaulted. An officer said: "Chief Chiweshe was seriously attacked by unknown people. No one has been arrested so far." The officer said the chief was still at St Albert’s Mission Hospital and had yet to give a statement to the police. But the officer refused to say anything about the events in Chigwida village. Gift Mupesa said his brother was singled out after the death of Eswat Chihumbiri, a Zanu PF supporter from the same village. Chihumbiri was allegedly shot dead by a suspected MDC member three weeks ago when Zanu PF supporters and war veterans tried to force the MDC member to renounce his membership.From The Star (SA), 17 April
DRC rebels signal end to UN deployment row
Kigali - Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo signalled on Tuesday that they had withdrawn their objections to the latest deployment of UN troops, saying a row over monitoring of alleged government killings was over. The Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) refused 120 Moroccan troops permission to land in the north-eastern city of Kisangani on Sunday, accusing the world body of turning a blind eye to the alleged atrocities. The move had posed the greatest challenge to a peace plan for the former Zaire since stalled talks on ending the three-year-old war were revitalised in January.
RCD spokesperson Kin-Kiey Mulumba said the movement had ended a dispute with the world body about reported violations of a peace agreement by forces of the Kinshasa-based government. Asked if the troops of the UN Mission in Congo (Monuc) could now deploy, Mulumba said: "We are satisfied with the declarations of General Diallo. We've obtained what we wanted." Mulumba was referring to Monuc force commander Major-General Mountanga Diallo. The RCD had said it would allow the troops to land only if Monuc publicly condemned alleged atrocities and ceasefire violations by government troops. "The declarations made by General Diallo were enough because he recognised that there were violations, that villages were burned and people killed," said Mulumba without elaborating. The Moroccan troops were rerouted to Bangui. "We don't want to be the blocking element of the Lusaka agreement," he said, referring to the 1999 agreement setting out a framework for ending the conflict and the eventual restoration of democracy.
The United States said on Monday it was deeply concerned by the RCD's position, saying its stance violated the Lusaka accord and UN security council resolutions relating to the war. The rebels accuse government forces of going on the rampage in the Eastern Kasai province, killing and raping civilians and burning houses in an area it vacated under a disengagement plan signed by parties fighting over the country. Monuc said at the weekend it had sent a team on Saturday to investigate the alleged violations, said to have happened on April 6, but a report might not be ready for a week.
Rebels fighting to overthrow the Kinshasa government began the war with the help of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia rushed to help the government. Monuc deployed Uruguayan troops on the rebel side at the end of March, while the first group of 200 UN troops to deploy behind government lines arrived from Senegal, a few days later. Rwanda, which invaded Congo to back rebels aiming to overthrow the late Congolese president, Laurent Kabila, when the war began in 1998, has urged Monuc to take a neutral stance. The Moroccan troops, whose mission was to guard supplies used by Monuc observers, were rerouted to Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, a northern neighbour of Congo. About 2 500 UN troops are eventually due to guard 500 unarmed observers, a tiny group to monitor a country the size of Western Europe where roads have crumbled after decades of conflict and corrupt mismanagement.
From New Vision (Uganda), 17 April
Foreign Armies Loot Mineral Resources
Kampala - Foreign armies, particularly Rwanda and Uganda, are involved in "mass-scale looting" of Congo's mineral resources, pillaging everything from gold to livestock, according to a UN report released today. A UN panel called for tough measures to stop the plunder of natural resources in the DRC, saying it was now the motive and engine of the war there. The panel called for an embargo on trade in the country's diamonds, gold and minerals by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi and a freeze on the financial assets of all rebels.
"The DRC conflict has become one for the access and control of five key minerals: coltan, diamonds, copper, cobalt and gold," panel chairwoman Safiatou Ba-N'Daw told reporters. Trafficking in timber, coffee and ivory was also pervasive, she said, and "almost all the belligerents are, in one way or another, profiting from the conflict." The five-member panel was set up July 31, 2000, by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who forwarded its 56-page report to the council. Annan's spokesman Fred Eckhard said the council would meet Friday to consider the panel's recommendations, which also included a mandatory arms embargo and a freeze on the rebels' financial assets. The panel also said the IMF and the World Bank should suspend aid to Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda until the end of the war in DRC.
Establishing "an international mechanism" to prosecute high-ranking military and government officials, including relatives of presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, was also recommended, with the panel condemning top army commanders and businessmen as "engines of this systematic and systemic exploitation." Museveni's younger brother Caleb Akandwanaho, also known as Salim Saleh, and rebel leader Jean- Pierre Bemba were among those recommended for charges, though Ba-N'Daw said, in response to persistent questioning, the panel "(hadn't) seen any data linking a president directly." While the report focused on Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, it also cast blame for the plunder on those on the other side in the war, criticising "the opportunistic behaviour" of some decision makers in the DRC, and its chief ally, Zimbabwe, and said "some leaders in the region bear a direct responsibility." Ba- N'Daw, a former energy minister of Ivory Coast, said "Uganda provided all the information we asked for," but added: "in some countries we were not welcome at all."
The report concluded by asking the Security Council to guarantee the physical safety of panel members and witnesses who had helped them. "We are very concerned for security," Ba-N'Daw said, adding she had received several intimidating e-mails. "Some of the members of the panel have had difficulties, to put it mildly," she said, declining to elaborate. The report said Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda had all become exporters of valuable minerals they did not produce. "Uganda has no known diamond production," it said. But since 1997, Uganda's diamond exports have jumped in value.
From The Star (SA), 17 April
DRC 'plunderers' deny UN report's findings
Kigali - Countries and rebel groups accused by a UN-appointed panel of plundering the natural resources of the DRC - and thereby fuelling the war – roundly rejected the charges on Tuesday. Uganda called them "baseless" and Burundi dismissed them as "false". The Congolese Rally for Democracy, a rebel group backed by Rwanda that has been fighting the DRC government since 1998, said the report's findings were "incorrect and partial". Jean-Pierre Bemba, the businessman who heads the Uganda-backed Congolese Liberation Front, said the report, which called for his prosecution, was "based on rumours", and asked of its authors: "Who are these people?" Of the main alleged culprits accused of plundering gold, diamonds, timber and other resources, only Rwanda failed to respond on Tuesday, saying it was examining the United Nations document.
The previous day in New York, UN chief Kofi Annan called on the Security Council to impose sanctions on the rebels and their backers and for an immediate, temporary ban on exports of minerals and timber from and to Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. Annan said the council should also order all UN member states to freeze the financial assets of the rebels supported by those three countries and that it should slap an arms embargo on the rebels and consider imposing one on their backers. The recommendations came in a 56-page report compiled by a panel of five experts set up by Annan last year. It named senior military and government officials involved in the "mass-scale looting" and systematic exploitation of natural resources in the DRC, one of the largest and potentially richest countries in Africa.
While the report focused on Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, it also cast blame for the plunder on some decision-makers in the DRC, and its chief ally, Zimbabwe, and said "some leaders in the region bear a direct responsibility". The UN report named Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's younger brother, Major-General Caleb Akandwanaho, popularly known as Salim Saleh, as one of the senior Ugandan army officers and government officials involved in the looting. The report called for the prosecution of Saleh and also of Bemba.
Msika begs Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF
Vice-President Joseph Msika on Saturday urged Edgar Tekere, the retired Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) leader and the former secretary-general of Zanu PF, to rejoin Zanu PF. Msika said Tekere had not denounced the revolution, but had only had differences with some senior Zanu PF leaders. Speaking at a party held at Mt Darwin South MP Saviour Kasukuwere’s home in Chief Matope’s area, Msika said: "Let’s bury our differences and work together. There is no need for us to be selfish - look around you, the country you fought for is about to go back to the whites." He literally begged Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF. "You are a revolutionary. It was only because of selfishness on the part of the Zanu PF leadership and yourself that you decided to quit the party."
Tekere, who was at the party as an invited guest, commented on Msika’s remarks to The Daily News: "These are statements you just listen to and keep quiet." Msika and Tekere shared the top table as guests of honour at the party. There has been widespread speculation that Tekere, a relatively young 64 years old, could be an acceptable replacement for Mugabe, 77, as Zanu PF prepares for the 2002 presidential election. Sources have said Mugabe himself may be the only dissenting voice against Tekere taking over the party, which he co-founded, but quit over rampant corruption and lack of democracy, in both the government and the ruling party, which he described as being "in the intensive care unit". Tekere left Zanu PF in 1988 to form ZUM, the first formidable post-independence opposition party. In the 1990 presidential poll, Tekere provided the only challenge to Mugabe since independence and performed creditably, according to analysts.
Msika again attacked the so-called former freedom fighters saying they were too arrogant and thought they were more important than everyone else in society. Without stating exactly what the professed war veterans had done wrong, he said: "You war veterans have got a problem – I‘m one of your commanders and I know you. Don’t cheat yourselves and beat your chests, saying you fought for this country alone. Everyone contributed immensely, especially the mothers and the war collaborators who risked life and limb and gave you food and directions during the war." Msika has in the past attacked the so-called veterans for invading local government offices around the country.
He repeated that the party’s old guard, led by Mugabe, would not retire as long as the country was under threat from the "sell-out" MDC party, which he said wanted to give back political power to former Rhodesians. Msika vowed he, together with Mugabe and his fellow Vice-President, Simon Muzenda, now all in their late 70s, would not leave office as long as they were not sure the country would be in safe hands. "Many of you have been saying we must now go," said Msika. "You have been saying we as leaders are old - who is old here? You must not push us to go. We will go when our time comes." Borrowing the lyrics by singer Steve Makoni, Msika said to wild cheers from the crowd: "Handiende, handiende! Ndinogarira vana vangu (I will not go, I will not go! I will stay for the sake of my children)."
From the Sunday Herald (UK), 15 April
Millions of Zimbabweans will mourn their coming of age celebrations
Zimbabwe celebrates its 21st birthday next Wednesday. If you’re a white farmer, President Robert Mugabe will probably have the key to your door. If a black housewife your main consideration will be how you are going to feed a hungry family of six or seven people with your husband’s out of work. And if you’re courageous enough - or mad enough - to support the opposition, you’ll be wondering how much longer you’re got to walk the planet earth. On April 18, millions of Zimbabweans will mourn- not celebrate - their coming of age.
Last week, as riot police invaded the University of Zimbabwe following a student suicide that rocked the nation, the South African government held an emergency session in the middle of massive speculation that President Robert Mugabe is about to declare a state of emergency. First regional reaction came from Botswana where the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Tebello Seretse, summed up the mood of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC): ‘’It would not augur well for the region and it would be most unfortunate for all of us.’’ She warned that one immediate impact would be the further decline of tourism, not only in Zimbabwe but throughout southern Africa. ‘’We would have to look at the situation and see how we can protect our people who deal with Zimbabwe. We also have Botswana children who go to school in Zimbabwe.’’
Zimbabwean newspapers continue to speculate that Mugabe will soon declare a state of emergency as the fuel crisis deepens and paralyses an already shattered economy. The CFU predicts that within six months Zimbabwe will be forced to call for international help to avoid a famine. In 1980, Zimbabwe was not only food self-sufficient but a food exporter. The CFU’s early warning unit forecasts a 42 percent fall in this year’s maize crop and asserted that there would be no food within the country’s borders by January. Farmers predict a 35 percent drop in the wheat crop meaning there will be no flour for bread. ‘’The invasion of more than 1,700 white-owned farms by fanatical supporters of Mugabe has thrown the entire agriculture sector - which is the backbone of what’s left of the economy - into turmoil,’’ said CFU Director, David Hasluck.
Last week Zimbabwe’s spreading lawlessness was again highlighted by news of a three hour police and war veterans assault on the chairman of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Mugabe has ordered his security chiefs to stamp out the opposition before food shortages materialise. When students dared elect a non -ruling party leader, the once thriving and happy campus on the edge of the capital was invaded by police hurling tear gas canisters. Students were on strike after protests that black ‘’fat cats’’ were circling the university at night in luxury cars looking for impoverished girl students to have sex with in return for a few cans of imported food, a few thousand almost useless Zimbabwean dollars. One in three adults is an AIDS victim. ‘’Sex with such people is a death sentence,’’ said one girl student whose quarterly grant is less than £90. During the turmoil, undergraduate Batanai Hadzizi was beaten to death by the police. Other students jumped to the ground from third floor windows.
In 21 years, Mugabe’s government has broken three pillars of the economy - agriculture, mining and tourism. Last week, as a new multi-million sterling (£) airport at Harare was getting ready to open, one of the world’s leading hotels the five star Meikles had three tourists. At least 400 Zimbabwean manufacturing firms closed shop last year while a total of 750 companies laid off nearly 10,00 workers. Inflation is almost 80 percent, unemployment over 70 percent and 300,000 schoolchildren flood the market every year with only the children of ruling party politicians finding worthwhile jobs.
On Wednesday, thousands of Zimbabweans will be rounded up and herded into football stadiums to cheer their ‘’great leader.’’ ‘’We will go ... but reluctantly,’’ said a MDC activist who has re-joined the ruling Zanu(PF).’’At rallies, we show the police and Mugabe’s war veterans ruling party cards but our hearts are with the MDC.’’ At midnight in Rufaro Stadium, Salisbury, 21 years ago hopes were high that Robert Mugabe would help free millions of blacks from the endemic curses of ignorance, poverty and disease. Now hopes for peaceful change in an ill-fated land are lower than the Union Jack that the Zimbabwean flag replaced.
From The Star (SA), 16 April
DRC rebels bar UN troops after sanctions
Kinshasa - Peace efforts in the DRC were in limbo on Sunday as Kinshasa called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council after rebels blocked peacekeepers from entering a main north-eastern city. The standoff came as the UN called for sanctions against rebel groups and their outside backers to prevent the plunder of natural resources. The DRC foreign ministry said Kinshasa would ask the Security Council to impose sanctions on Rwanda, which backs the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), whose rebels barred UN soldiers on Sunday from entering the north-eastern city of Kisangani, a centre of the diamond trade. The rebels accused DRC government forces of carrying out attacks on April 6, which it said killed six civilians and wounded 24.
Kinshasa meanwhile accused Rwanda and its rebel allies of engaging in delaying tactics to "continue to occupy and plunder eastern DRC". Rebels backed by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi have been fighting against the government - whose forces are supported by Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia - since August 1998. The war has split the country in half, and allowed rebels and foreign armies on both sides to feed off the country's rich mineral resources. Meanwhile, the head of another rebel group, the Ugandan-backed Congolese Liberation Front (FLC), accused the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (Monuc) of being biased in favour of the government. "We deplore the partiality of Monuc, which refuses to condemn the (DRC) army and their allies over the shelling of Kasai and Kabinda," Jean-Pierre Bemba, head of the FLC, said in Kigali, Rwanda.
A contingent of UN peacekeepers from Morocco were to have deployed in Kisangani under a UN-monitored peace agreement signed in Harare in December, but RCD rebels stopped them, demanding UN condemnation of alleged ceasefire violations by government troops. On Sunday, in a report to the Security Council, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan recommended an immediate, temporary ban on exports of minerals and timber from and to Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. He said the council should also order all UN member states to freeze the financial assets of the rebels supported by those three countries. Annan also urged an arms embargo on the rebels and possibly also on their backers. The recommendations came in a 56-page report compiled by a panel of five experts set up by Annan in July last year. The panel recommended that the Security Council consider setting up "an international mechanism" to prosecute rebel leaders and other prominent individuals allegedly involved in economic crimes. Under the Harare agreement, which followed on a 1999 ceasefire accord signed in Lusaka, all warring parties were scheduled to retreat 15km from frontline positions by March 29 to allow the deployment of about 3 500 UN peacekeepers.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 16 April
Four-legged fare on Kinshasa menu
Dona Byakadwa's dog shack is one of the few businesses thriving in warring Congo's teeming capital, selling the only meat affordable to some in its working class - mutt. "I am making more and more money," Byakadwa boasted in his dusty yard, where neighbours press forward each morning with lidded pans to buy dog meat at less than 50 cents a pound. "People cannot get any other type of food, not pig or chicken or beef," said Byakadwa, who buys his meat on commission from suppliers who roam the city. "But I could sell as much dog as I could get."
Byakadwa's success comes in a capital city cut off within its own country. Kinshasa's seven million people have been deprived of an estimated half of their food supply, and the Congo River to transport it, since foreign forces seized Congo's north and east early on in the two-and-a-half year-old war that has dragged in many of the surrounding nations. For Byakadwa, surrounded by the knives, hefty steel club, dog collar and gristly bones of his trade, wartime business is nothing to complain about. But for other city residents, it's a different picture. "Kinshasa is suffocating," said local merchant Jose Alves Vital.
Congo's new leader, Joseph Kabila, is pressing to get aid and trade flowing back into Kinshasa. But Kabila, a 29-year-old who rose to power with his father's assassination in January, controls less than 40% of Congo, a country the size of Western Europe. Estimates say Kabila needs $8m a month in foreign financial funding just to buy fuel and other essentials needed to maintain calm in the city. The search for international credibility and funding is an early test for Kabila. At home, he's faced with five foreign armies and two major rebel movements that have carved up his country. Kabila holds Kinshasa and the rest of the west only with the support of troops from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola. The three southern nations lent their forces when rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda took up arms to oust late Congo President Laurent Kabila in 1998. Rwanda, Uganda and their rebel allies quickly captured the biggest share of Congo, including the fertile Equateur province up north, where 60% of the country's food comes from in normal times.
Upward of 1.7 million Congolese are estimated to have died in the rebel-held east, many of them civilians who perished of hunger and disease after being uprooted or cut off by the conflict. But food is scarce in Kinshasa as well. Some families get by on less than one full meal a day, eaten late in the day so as to go to sleep with a full stomach. Rice imported from Pakistan and Vietnam is easier to find than the staple starch, manioc, from Congo's interior. Forced by shortages to innovate, many have substituted rice in the making of their traditional meal, fu fu, said Olivier Bonte, Kinshasa head for the Catholic charity Caritas. For those with money, flights from Europe keep fresh supplies of steak, cheese and fresh endive rolling in. "Everything that comes is for a certain class," said Vital, the merchant. "Beans, manioc don't come."
With the currency at one-fifth of its official value and falling, and money and jobs hard to come by, much of the city gets by on backyard vegetable gardens - or the kind of four-legged fare Byakadwa sells. "I buy [dog] because it's meat," said Bernadette Misenga, mother of three children and the widow of a Congo soldier killed in 1999. "The other meats are too expensive." Like many in Kinshasa, Misenga came to the capital when war and her husband's death forced her to leave her home province, thinking jobs and food would be easier to find here. The UN Security Council plans to send 3 000 troops in coming months to monitor the promised disengagement of all the warring forces in Congo. To restore transportation to the capital, the UN mission has made reopening the Congo River a main objective, said Kamel Morjane, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy for Congo.
|Jonathan Moyo loses|
4/18/01 9:04:47 AM (GMT +2)
HIGH Court judge,
Justice Moses Chinhengo, yesterday dismissed with costs an attempt by Jonathan
Moyo, the Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for
Information and Publicity, to bar The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper from
reporting the details of the much-publicised allegations of fraud at the Ford
Foundation in Kenya.
In dismissing the case,
Justice Chinhengo said: “Jonathan Moyo’s application must be dismissed with
costs because on the basis of the law he has failed to establish a clear right.
I am satisfied that the interpretation of the summons by The Zimbabwe
Independent is correct. I, therefore, refuse to grant Moyo the final interdict.”
Moyo was seeking a court order to prevent the weekly newspaper from reporting details of the proceedings against him in the Kenyan High Court.
Moyo’s lawyer, Advocate Anele Matika, told the court that the summons to Moyo filed in the Kenyan High Court did not mention allegations of fraud against his client. Matika said the matter was sub judice because it is before a court of law.
However, Justice Chinhengo ruled that allegations of fraud against Moyo were clearly stated in the summons.
Chinhengo said: “In substance, the summons allege fraud and misappropriation of money against Moyo. I am quite satisfied on proper reading of the summons, The Zimbabwe Independent was correct that Moyo was implicated in the misappropriation of funds. But the allegations are subject to the proceedings in the Kenyan High Court.”
The judge said the proper remedy for Moyo was to sue for damages as he has already done.
“Moyo cannot reasonably contend that he has no remedy because he has instituted defamation charges,” he said. “The Zimbabwe Independent have shown that they can set up a defence in the defamation case.”
The judge said Moyo should show that irreparable harm has been done to him for the court to give him a final interdict and that a clear right is established in such a matter.
“He seeks the court to interdict articles he has not seen, that are not written and not before this court,” Chinhengo said. “Zimbabwe is a young democracy and nation and should guard the freedom of expression that was won through the struggle against colonialism.”
Matika had told the court that the four articles written so far indicated the newspaper was bent on tarnishing the image of Moyo, a former employee of the Ford Foundation.
Matika said as a government minister, a ruling party office-bearer and an academic of international repute, Moyo’s reputation should be protected.
Chinhengo said the right to personal dignity should be balanced with the right to freedom of expression.
He said it was the duty of the court to determine the overriding right which depends on different circumstances that the court may face.
Advocate Eric Morris, for the newspaper, said if there were no allegations of fraud against Moyo, why would the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation be asked to investigate him as reported by The Daily News last Wednesday.
Moyo is among five other people being sued by the Foundation in Kenya in which the donor is seeking to recover about $6 million from a suspected fraud.
Mutahi Ngunyi, the executive director for a Nairobi-based non-governmental research organisation, the Series on Alternative Research in East Africa (Sareat), said an audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers last year revealed that officials at Ford in Kenya would forge letters and budgets purportedly coming from Sareat.
Ngunyi said on disbursement of the funds, instructions would be given to them to transfer the extra funds to Moyo and other officials.
Herald court reporter, Innocent Goredema, who was covering the Moyo case said, as he emerged from the court: “Now how do we report this one?”
The Herald has been used by Moyo to present to the public a picture of the case favourable to Moyo.
SEVERAL MDC supporters
in Glen Norah are nursing injuries following weekend clashes with the riot
Two youth leaders have fled
their homes to escape a crackdown on opposition supporters in the suburb.
|Moyo vows to target individual journalists|
4/18/01 9:12:27 AM (GMT +2)
JONATHAN Moyo, the
Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for Information and
Publicity, has said individual journalists are to be targeted for unspecified
“You ain’t seen nothing
yet,” Moyo, who is Zanu PF’s deputy secretary for information and publicity, is
reported to have said to Daily News political reporter Sandra Nyaira on
“We are now going to target individual journalists.”
Nyaira met Moyo in Mt Darwin where the two attended a house-warming party thrown by the Member of Parliament for Mt Darwin South, Saviour Kasukuwere.
It was at this function that Vice-President Joseph Msika urged Edgar Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF.
Msika, the guest of honour at the party, urged Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF, saying he had left the party in 1988 because of selfishness on both sides.
Tekere is a former secretary-general of Zanu PF.
In a lengthy story published on the front page of The Herald yesterday, Moyo refuted the story and attacked the newspaper as a mouthpiece of the British government.
He also attacked Nyaira’s performance as a journalist.
Yesterday Nyaira said she stood by her story.
She said the statements she attributed to Msika, as published yesterday, were accurate.
“Contrary to the statement by Professor Moyo that Msika did not urge Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF, the statements attributed to the Vice-President in The Daily News story are accurate,” she said.
When he delivered his speech, Msika started by acknowledging the role of traditional chiefs in society before speaking about the land question and the need for the government to resettle as many families as possible on acquired farms.
He then attacked some war veterans for their arrogance, which he said made them believe they were more important than everyone else in society.
He then turned to Tekere, who was sitting at the high table, and acknowledged the role the latter played during the liberation struggle.
Msika said: “He is a revolutionary. Haana problem yaakaita, akatukana chete chete nesu,” meaning the only reason why Tekere left Zanu PF was a misunderstanding with his colleagues in the party.
“It was only because of selfishness on the part of the Zanu PF leadership and yourself that you decided to quit the party,” Msika said.
“Let’s bury our differences and work together. Look around you - the country you fought for is about to go back to the whites.”
Msika said Tekere had never denounced the revolution.
At the end of the party Nyaira says Moyo confronted her and enquired whether The Daily News was paying salaries on time.
Moyo then enquired about the progress being made in efforts to replace the newspaper’s printing press, destroyed in a bomb explosion on 29 January.
“He then became aggressive,” Nyaira said. “He said the newspaper would not survive as long as he was alive.”
Daily News driver Shadreck Mukwecheni, who accompanied Nyaira to Mt Darwin, said: “I was there when Moyo threatened to attack individual journalists within the paper. I heard him say ŒYou ain’t seen nothing yet’ as he walked to his car.”
Mukwecheni says Moyo had not arrived at the Kasukuwere homestead when the Vice-President made the speech.
“The Vice-President started his address just after 11am,” Mukwecheni said.
“I saw Minister Moyo arriving in the company of Mr Phillip Chiyangwa and their wives after 2pm. Minister Moyo certainly did not hear the Vice-President speak.”
Daily News Editor-in-Chief, Geoffrey Nyarota, yesterday said he was concerned by Moyo’s new threats.
“These threats are a cause of great concern to us at The Daily News,” he said.
“I thought we had seen everything there was to see when the bomb exploded in our factory in January.
“Now the minister says there is more to come. I think his remarks are most unfortunate. The last time Moyo threatened The Daily News our printing press was bombed within 48 hours.”
Nyarota said it was sad that in a country as enlightened as Zimbabwe a government minister should, with impunity, threaten citizens who are going about their lawful business.
“Moyo claims The Daily News and its staff are all discredited,” said Nyarota. “It must have been a cause of immense embarrassment, or at least a very humbling realisation, for him to discover that The Daily News political reporter was the only journalist invited to this party attended by Zanu PF heavyweights.
“It appears that Moyo’s problem is essentially that he is out of touch with reality.
“He keeps on accusing The Daily News of sponsorship by the British government.
“Unless Professor Moyo can produce any shred of irrefutable evidence to back this allegation, he is no different from any other old-fashioned liar.
“To have in charge of dissemination of government information, a man who takes such a very dim view of the need to always tell the truth, is dangerous.”
|125 000 children on farms not attending school|
4/18/01 9:13:06 AM (GMT +2)
ABOUT 125 000 children
living on the farms are not attending school because there are no schools on the
The Farm Community Trust of
Zimbabwe (FCTZ), a non-governmental organisation that focuses on the welfare of
families living on the commercial farms, said due to their limited access to
education, most school-age children on the farms were victims of abuse,
especially sexual abuse and forced labour.
The organisation said: “Schools on large-scale commercial farms in Zimbabwe lack standard educational resources and facilities, resulting in almost half of the children either not enrolling at all or terminating their education careers prematurely.”
The organisation said about 210 000 of the estimated 350 000 children attending primary school on the commercial farms travel a distance of between six and 25km to the nearest school.
The majority of the farm schools are not registered with the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture since they are located on private property.
Most of the teachers are not trained.
“Primary schools on commercial farms in Zimbabwe are by and large unregistered and have scarce resources. This makes it difficult for less qualified teachers to conduct and supervise meaningful learning under such conditions,” said Elizabeth Gwitira, the FCTZ basic education programme advisor.
“All farm schools are in dire need of instructional and learning material.
“No meaningful learning can take place without textbooks, exercise books and other learning materials.”