Dumisani Ndlela THE government is
moving closer to imposing strict controls on the country’s embattled foreign
currency market, with cabinet expected to go through proposals from the Minister
of Finance on Tuesday. This comes amid reports the country had defaulted on a
debt due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The government, which
generates no foreign currency from its own business, is in a critical state as
the private sector now preferred to dispose of its foreign receipts on the
The reported default signifies the mounting of the
country’s foreign currency woes as the government tried to keep its account with
the IMF current, choosing rather to default on other foreign debt repayments
including those to the World Bank which are already in arrears.
repayments to the IMF have hitherto been given priority status since
international investors and donors take their cue from the IMF’s credit rating
on a country.
This rating is based on the country’s ability to service
its debt with the Bretton Woods institution.
Sources said there may have
been a strong political feeling that it was useless to continue repaying debts
to the IMF if the institution was not going to change its stance on Zimbabwe.
“The feeling is that we’ve already lost; it’s not a win-win situation,”
said a source closely following the issue.
“The government feels that it
makes no sense to continue paying the IMF when we don’t have the currency and if
we are not going to receive anything from them it would be better to channel the
money to more urgent commitments.”
The IMF has refused to give Zimbabwe
fresh assistance to prop up its ailing balance-of-payme-nts position. A stand-by
agreement signed between the country and the IMF collapsed just a month after
being approved in August 1999, resulting in a flight of international capital
from major donors and investors.
Sources said cabinet was expected to
study proposals on the exchange rate situation at its next meeting. But
economists warned against a return to a fixed exchange rate system just because
the government was becoming increasingly frustrated with free market practices.
President Mugabe’s statement this week in a television broadcast
represented the strongest cue as to the direction of the country’s foreign
currency market, sources said.
Sources said Reserve Bank governor
Leonard Tsumba and Finance Minister Simba Makoni have been meeting regularly to
consider the market’s views on the way forward.
They have since come up
with a position, sources said, and this would be tabled before cabinet by Makoni
at the Tuesday cabinet meeting. “A fixed exchange rate system is coming but
people are pinning hopes on developments at the tobacco auction floors,” a
market source said. “They hope the government will wait to consider inflows from
the auction floors first. If there is no improvement on the forex inflow, they
will fix the dollar.” The source said Mugabe’s sentiments on the foreign
exchange market were likely to prevail at the next cabinet meeting, but cabinet
was likely to hold a decision to fix the rate until the floors run for a week or
month. Mugabe said this week the government would, sooner or later, be
forced to direct that all foreign currency be expended with government approval
as exporters were diverting receipts to the parallel market. He said the
parallel market was enjoying heavy support from the commercial banks.
Sources said the government was apparently worried that it was not
getting much of the foreign currency that was coming into the country to help it
meet commitments it considered to be of “national interest”.
commitments include payment of salaries and services at the country’s foreign
Dumisani Muleya/Brian Hungwe/Busani Bafana GOVERNMENT is livid about the hitches encountered during this
week’s 21st Independence anniversary celebrations, particularly in Harare and
Bulawayo where the communication systems failed.
Home Affairs minister
John Nkomo said he was waiting for a national report on the commemorations
before appropriate measures are taken against those responsible for the failures
which Zanu PF regards as sabotage.
Nkomo was particularly riled by the
failure of the public address system in Bulawayo which forced him to resort to
an antiquated loud hailer which was barely audible even to those near him.
“That was the work of saboteurs,” Nkomo told the Zimbabwe Independent in
“Nobody wanted to take responsibility for the problem. I will
be talking to the chairman of the (celebrations) committee. It’s not fair on the
people who came to this important event,” he said.
Government invested a
lot of money, time and energy in organising the event. It spent the whole week
vigorously trying to stir nationalist sentiment as the celebrations approached.
Normal programming in the electronic media was suspended as state radio
and television stations were saturated with revolutionary propaganda and turgid
documentaries.the country were round-ed up and forced to prepare, North
Korean-style, for the national celebrations. The whole plan apparently was to
puff up the president’s waning image.
Introductory remarks by officials
at the National Sports Stadium confirm that. Mugabe was introduced as “a man who
on the basis of principle is prepared to sacrifice himself for the good of the
But organisers of the Bulawayo celebrations blamed Professor
Jonathan Moyo’s Department of Information and Publicity in the President’s
Office for its failure to secure a public address system for the occasion.
The department’s public address system for Bulawayo was damaged last
month and had not been replaced.
Bulawayo Independence organising
committee chair, acting mayor David Ndlovu, denied responsibility for the fiasco
while Information department officials also tried to wriggle off the hook.
“It was their responsibility (Information department) to hire a system
for the Bulawayo celebrations,” Ndlovu said. “We told them at a meeting that
they will need to hire a system and their representative never came back to us,”
Presidential spokesman George Charamba, clearly irritated by
questions as to what went wrong, proved unhelpful.
“There was a power
failure in Harare. You know that it’s Zesa’s responsibility. That was a
different problem from that of Bulawayo. If you have already spoken to Minister
Nkomo why are you phoning me? You just want to waste my time,” he fumed.
Charamba claimed the organisation of the event had nothing to do with
A member of the Bulawayo organising committee however
said the Information department should “stop being a nuisance because it was
involved”. Nkomo said he was anxious to know what exactly went wrong.
“I’m waiting for an explanation (from Bulawayo). Everybody was
professing ignorance about what was going on. All those people who were there
became stupefied because they did not know what was happening.”
Harare the chaotic celebrations encountered a 30-minute power cut that left
President Mugabe temporarily voiceless. The sound system failed as Reverend Noah
Pashapa appealed to God to bless independent Zimbabwe.
scampered around as electricity engineers made frantic efforts to restore power.
In the interim, entertainers were summoned to keep the subdued crowds awake.
When the power finally came back on, the announcer suggested that saboteurs were
The youths were charged for “conduct likely to provoke a breach
of the peace”, the MDC said.
“Some were subjected to brutal attacks by
police officers who used clenched fists and baton sticks...The youths were
packed in groups of 33 in one cell designed to accommodate six people,” the
opposition claimed. Police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Bothwell
Mugariri said that the arrested people had contravened a section of the
Miscellaneous Offences Act.
Mugariri said the red cards were likely to
offend “other people” resulting in violence.
“These were Independence
celebrations, there was no need for one to bring a red card,” he said. Mugariri
said there was no problem for Zanu PF supporters to bring their party symbols
since “their president was going to make an address”.
TWENTY-ONE years on and Independence celebrations seem
tawdry. The self-satisfied elite who have grown rich on the pickings of a once
prosperous nation preside jealously over what remains. But apart from the
rent-a-crowds obliged to listen to hours of lies and excuses from their
“leaders” in return for a soccer match, there is no evident enthusiasm for what
Zimbabwe has become.
Why should there be? With schools churning out
youths destined for unemployment or exile and healthcare in a state of advanced
decay, even the much-trumpeted gains of the 1980s are a distant memory.
Those responsible for having betrayed the promise of 1980 appear
defiant, determined to inflict further damage in order to punish critics — real
and imagined — and ensure only their “children” inherit the spoils. Paranoia
has replaced policy, slogans have replaced delivery, and a spurious nationalism
has replaced the national ideals of 1980.
Where Zimbabwe once offered
the prospect of a prosperous non-racial democracy, it is now universally
perceived as a prostrate basket case governed by a gang of thieves who openly
espouse racism. In the last 10 years we have been overtaken by Botswana,
Namibia, and Mauritius in terms of per capita GDP. Only Mozambique lags behind
us and it is rapidly catching up!
Zimbabweans are told land is an
effective substitute for a successful economy. Scratching at the surface,
without infrastructure or guidance, they are expected to provide what a century
of investment and agricultural progress once produced. They are likely to be
We have taken our self-sufficiency in food for
granted over the past 21 years. This year we shall be able to weigh the cost of
undermining commercial farming. Production will be down between 20-30% according
to Sadc’s Early Warning Unit and the CFU. Maize will have to be imported. And
big forex earners like tobacco will see diminished receipts.
fuel and power will be harder to procure. No lenders will be prepared to help so
long as anarchy prevails. President Mugabe’s claim to be fighting British
colonialism, the centre-piece of his address on Wednesday, is regarded by most
Zimbabweans as a rather pathetic throwback to an earlier era when he enjoyed
As an excuse for the corruption, violence and downright
misrule of his regime it sounds like a stuck record. Britain has said repeatedly
it is prepared to provide funding and mobilise international support for land
reform. But it has to be a programme that is lawful, transparent and aimed at
poverty alleviation, not one that compounds Zimbabwe’s decline.
is Mugabe and his cronies are directly responsible for the mess this country is
in. They have misused, lost and squandered the country’s rich resources and are
now looking for somebody to blame.
Everybody seems to know this except
Mugabe himself who appears to inhabit a fictional country lost in time. At the
opening of the new airport building last week he imagined that all the tourists
were flying back!
Even his inner circle are repeating his mantras
without any real conviction. The more sensible ones are conspicuous by their
silence. His decision to stand for re-election shows what little faith he
has in his bankrupt party.
The president says he values national unity,
yet his policies have done more to divide Zimbabweans than even Ian Smith’s
government managed to do. But while he holds the rural poor captive, demography
is not on his side. The young, flooding into the cities, know why they are poor
and unemployed. And they know why his friends are rich and powerful.
latest broadcasting restrictions are designed to prevent these inconvenient
truths from spreading. Mugabe rules by repression, much as Smith did.
Significantly he resorts to the same legislation. But in many respects his
regime has become more brutal.
Last week lawyers seeking to learn the
fate of witnesses who have been intimidated for signing electoral petitions
which the opposition has brought to court, were savagely attacked in the
presence of police officers and then beaten again by policemen at a police
station when they attempted to lodge a complaint. In between the beatings they
were given a lecture by the senior police officer present on what happens to
people who support the opposition.
Not only did the government attempt
to block the petitions from coming to court last year, it launched a vicious
campaign this year against the judiciary when it upheld the right of appeal. It
has also attacked the press whose reports have exposed it for the terrorist
organisation it has become.
The number of businesses closing because
they have been driven to the wall by a hostile economic environment now number
hundreds this year alone. Over 400 closed last year. Zanu PF’s decision to
unleash war veterans against business owners will simply deter all future
investment and contribute to the legions of the unemployed.
his inner circle have much to answer for. They are the victims, not of external
powers as they like to pretend, but of their own greed and lust for power. That
is the real tragedy as we marked Independence Day this week. Our Independence
has been stolen and abused. The culprits remain at large — for the time being.
At least we know who they are.
ALMOST a year ago, just after the first
horrendous politically motivated murders of MDC activists and farmers had
occurred, I sent out a “message of hope”. In it I posed the question whether
there was any hope for Zimbabwe or whether it was simply destined to an
inevitable slide into anarchy. One year on Zimbabweans are still faced with the
Violence is a consequence of Zanu PF’s fear of losing the
presidential election. Zanu PF is a party that uses the facade of democracy when
it feels secure but will increasingly resort to violence when it feels
The increased violence we have witnessed throughout the
country in the last few months is the best possible indicator of Zanu PF’s sense
of alarm. Indeed I have been amazed to see how widespread the violence has been:
even in areas like Muzarabani, where I thought the MDC was relatively weak, we
have seen violence which indicates that even there Zanu PF feels threatened.
Violence did not work last year as much as Zanu PF hoped it would.
Despite the violence, MDC won 57 seats countrywide. This shows that whilst Zanu
PF can employ violence successfully in by-elections, it cannot deliver it
“effectively” enough countrywide to win.
Secondly Zanu PF has not been
able to deliver on its threats to deliver further violence if people did not
vote for it. For example Gukurahundi 2 was threatened against the people of
Matabeleland if they did not vote for Zanu PF. It did not happen and indeed
cannot happen again, and that fact has been noted, not just by the people of
Matabeleland, but also by the entire nation. Thirdly, violence has backfired and
created enormous problems for Zanu PF which in itself has created an entirely
new reason for hope.
Zanu PF is panicking and that is why we are
experiencing increased violence countrywide. Bizarre as it is, in the use of
violence there is hope.
Had violence commenced earlier than it did, the
MDC may never have got off the ground, but fortunately the MDC horse had already
bolted. Despite the violence, the beatings of MDC MPs and supporters, the arrest
of MDC leaders, the grenade attack on the MDC offices, the withholding of
finances, the Political Parties (Finance) Act, the searches at MDC offices and
at the homes of MDC leaders, the lack of coverage on radio and TV, the
propaganda war waged against the MDC, the loss of Bikita West and Marondera
West, the inability of MDC MPs to block oppressive legislation in parliament and
despite all the various efforts of Zanu PF to crush the MDC, the fact remains
that the MDC is far stronger now than it was a year ago.
Not only has
the horse bolted, but it has now strengthened and bred! A few weeks ago I was
privileged to go to an MDC policy planning retreat in the Matopos. I came away
feeling absolutely exhilarated because of the sense of unity under Morgan
Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda’s leadership, the sense of unity of purpose from
the entire leadership and the sense that the MDC had really come of age and was
now ready to govern — none of which could be said last year.
contrast in the Zanu PF camp all we see is increased division in their ranks,
purges and shattered promises (the so-called technocrats including Simba Makoni
et al have not delivered and have in fact compounded the problems Zimbabwe is
facing). Zanu PF has only two things to offer Zimbabwe: violence and economic
Last year the MDC was campaigning from ground zero. It had no
seats, no infrastructure, no credibility as a viable party either locally or
internationally. From ground zero it won 57 seats. A year on it has 56
seats, an infrastructure countrywide and is recognised locally and
internationally (the ANC is now talking to us). In other words in the run-up to
the presidential election we start from an entirely different level — we now
have a powerful springboard to mount an even more effective presidential
election campaign than we did in the parliamentary election.
International opinion against the Mugabe regime has hardened
dramatically. Ironically most of the hardening of opinion has not been the work
of the MDC but of Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo and the rest of those within Zanu PF who
are committed to holding on to power using any means.
Had Zanu PF left
the MDC alone, not bombed the Daily News, not threatened the judiciary, not
expelled foreign journalists, not sought to undermine the CFU, not passed the
Broadcasting Act, I doubt very much whether the Commonwealth, EU and others
would have paid much attention to Zimbabwe. Most of those who were ambivalent,
or neutral, or disinterested last year are now acutely aware of the problems and
determined more than ever before to do something.
Zanu PF is
increasingly divided. First we saw the eradication of most of Zanu PF’s
moderates in its primary elections, something which caused those former Zanu PF
MPs to form their own new political grouping. Then we saw immediately after the
election the alienation of much of the old guard in the appointment of Mugabe’s
In the past few months we have seen the purging of more
moderate leaders at provincial level and their replacement by war veterans.
In essence what has happened is that the party’s support base has been
whittled down to its core, namely the war veterans, and even then not all of
them, only the radical element.
Mugabe has surrounded himself with a few
hardline war veterans and ambitious politicians who are beholden to him and who
do not have the ability to win any constituency in their own right. But in the
process Mugabe has seriously alienated whole swathes of Zanu PF supporters.
These divisions are increasingly obvious to us in parliament. Recently
we were subjected to the spectacle of the present Minister of Justice, Patrick
Chinamasa (one of those appointed MPs), heckling a former Minister of Justice
(and Zanu PF’s brightest brain in parliament by a long shot), Eddison Zvobgo
when the latter criticised the broadcasting regulations as being
And in many of the parliamentary committees we see
growing evidence of Zanu PF MPs (elected ones that is) who are increasingly
disillusioned with the course being taken by their leadership. But there is one
further and major division within Zanu PF which was not a factor in the
parliamentary election, and that is over their choice of their presidential
In fact it is a no win situation for Zanu PF because unlike
the overwhelming consensus within the MDC regarding the Tsvangirai/Sibanda
ticket, it does not matter who is chosen to represent Zanu PF — whatever the
choice it will not be supported by some significant segment of the party.
Mugabe or Mnangagwa will not get support in Matabeleland, parts of
Masvingo and Manicaland. Makoni will not get support from Mnangagwa and from
areas outside Manicaland and so on. And the divisions within Zanu PF can only
grow; this is not a party which has a reputation for arriving at a consensus
through rational debate, it has always had a leadership which has bludgeoned its
We are in the majority because 52% of voters in June voted
for change despite the violence, intimidation and rigging. Since then the
economy has spiralled down further and Zanu PF has not delivered on a whole
range of issues.
Countrywide we are seeing ever greater numbers of
people attending MDC meetings. Recently Morgan Tsvangirai addressed huge
meetings, attended by tens of thousands of people (not Jonathan Moyo figures but
those assessed by the media!) at venues as far flung as Buhera, Maphisa,
Tsholotsho, St Marys and Bulawayo.
Last year I observed that “if the
majority of Zimbabweans agreed with the violence and Mugabe’s tactics we would
be in trouble” and that there was only “a tiny, rabid and, increasingly
deranged, minority” directing the mayhem. Rural people have noted that Zanu PF
has been unable to “deliver on its promise” to retaliate against entire
constituencies who voted against it.
Gukurahundi 2 has not happened
against the people of Matabeleland or Manicaland or urban dwellers. Yes there
has been violence directed against some of these constituencies but the vast
majority of those who voted MDC have not been affected by it.
And as I
have said before, the drift of political thought in Zimbabwe has always been
urban to rural, not vice versa. The rural populations who voted for Zanu PF last
year have much more food for thought come the presidential election. The process
of change is unstoppable even in the face of massive violence.
many in our midst who are tired after over a year of violence and “wicked
schemes”. There are many who feel they cannot wait until the end of March next
year (when the presidential election must be held by). There are many who
believe that the best solution is to take the law into their own hands.
There are many who believe that only a call to arms will work in
dislodging this murderous regime from power. The encouragement is that just as
the consequences of evil rule is inevitable, so too is the promise that if we
patiently commit ourselves to grinding out this hardship peacefully through the
ballot before we know it this entire wicked bunch will be swept away. Their day
is indeed coming.
Zanu PF has created the ultimate Catch 22 for itself.
In sowing what it thought would be the seeds of destruction of the opposition
and in blending the land issue with violence, Zanu PF has done severe damage to
the economy. As a result Zanu PF now cannot deliver on the land issue without
forfeiting its violence strategy because the international community will not
fund this illegality.
And yet Zanu PF cannot afford to suspend its
violence partly because it is irreversible (dead people cannot be brought back
to life and the legal consequences for the murderers will not go away) and
partly because it knows that without the use of violence the presidential
election will be lost overwhelmingly.
The undermining of the judiciary
and its ongoing subversion linked with the Swanepoel/Bredenkamp “initiative” is
undoubtedly Zanu PF’s desired way of wriggling out of its predicament. For if it
can get the judiciary to look the other way in the face of breaches of both the
Land Acquisition Act and the criminal law and get the CFU to give Zanu PF a
“clean bill of health”, Zanu PF believes it can get the international community
on board, fund the land programme, get some semblance of order back to the
productive sector and yet continue to oppress the MDC and its supporters.
I am convinced that Mugabe and his henchmen will use whatever means they
deem necessary to cling to power. This is, after all, an end game for them: they
have everything to lose. They know that if they lose not only will their corrupt
activities be exposed but they will also have to face the legal consequences of
their violent 21-year tenure of power.
In these circumstances what can
we do? I am aware of the one school of thought promoted by the Bredenkamps of
this world and also by some in the business sector — that a Zanu PF victory in
the presidential election will be the best way out so that the violence can stop
and life can get back to normal. In fact it has been reported back to me that
some in this camp are even predicting and promoting a Zanu PF victory. It is a
seductive line of thinking but is fatally flawed in the following respects.
It ignores the overwhelming desire of the vast majority of poor black
Zimbabweans for fundamental change and, perhaps more importantly, the now deeply
rooted anger against Zanu PF and its hierarchy.
It assumes that the vast
majority will just accept a flawed electoral process and the prospect of a
further 21 years of violent, corrupt and despotic rule. This thinking betrays
how out of touch the Bredenkamps of Zimbabwe and other whites are with the
deeply held feelings of poor black Zimbabweans. It is the same thinking that led
Rhodesians to believe in 1980, ironically, that Zanu PF could never win an
overall majority then.
In the last few years Zimbabwe has experienced an
unprecedented brain drain. It is a serious mistake to think that this is
confined to the white community. The cream of our black professionals have left
the country. The reality is that what is a brain drain trickle now, will become
a flood in the event of a Zanu PF victory. Furthermore if Zanu PF wins the
presidential election very few of our professionals, who have left, will see any
hope for the future and they will not return as we desperately need them to.
The way ahead then is not to entertain naive thoughts about a “middle
road” or a “reformed Zanu PF”. There is no middle road and no prospect of a
reformed Zanu PF — it is violent and corrupt to the core. Likewise any thoughts
that the rich may have that they can ride the storm and ignore the reality of
what is going on around them.
The only way ahead is to commit ourselves
to getting through this final tough lap on the road to democracy without
compromising our principles. We can be very proud of those Zimbabweans who have
stood up to evil in the past year. Looking back we can see that MDC members,
leaders and parliamentarians, the trade unions, the judiciary, farmers and poor
rural and high-density dwellers have stood firm.
Now is the time for
everyone to stand up for what is right. No one promises that it will be easy but
if we love this country and want a future in it for ourselves, our children and
our grand children, we have no choice.
Zimbabweans done to deserve a vice-president for life? We are already plagued by
a president who refuses to go. But at least he has some claim to being elected,
even if it was a long time ago. Joseph Msika, on the other hand, ducked the
polls last June because he knew what the outcome would be.
Now he says
he will cling to office, together with Mugabe and Muze-nda, because they want to
ensure the country is left in safe hands.
“Many of you have been saying
we must now go,” he admonished supporters in Mt Darwin. “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.”
In other countries leaders’ terms are determined by
constitutions and democratic verdicts. Here they inform voters how long they
intend to stay in power!
Borrowing the lyrics from singer Steve Makoni’s
Handiende, Msika declared: “Handiende, handiende! Ndinogarira vana vangu (I will
not go, I will not go. I will stay for the sake of my children).”
children are these? The legions of streetkids who have no future because of Zanu
PF? The children of farm workers who have been dispossessed by land seizures? Or
the tens of thousands of youths in the townships who cannot find work because
Zanu PF’s disastrous economic policies have condemned them to a life of
When is somebody going to tell the three old delinquents
that their time is up? That you need more than thuggery and claims of “sellouts”
plotting against you to win the nation’s confidence.
Who did the Civil
Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe hire to do their public relations for the opening
of the new Harare airport terminal last Thursday? CAAZ took out huge full-page
ads in the press to mark the opening. But they seemed to be rather confused in
The publicity material told us that Central African Airways
operated for 21 years “following the independence of Malawi and Zambia”. In fact
it operated for 21 years prior to the independence of Malawi and Zambia.
The new airport was necessitated by an increase of 300% in passenger
flows “during the peak years” after Independence, the publicity material claims.
But it omits to tell us how the figures today compare with those “peak years”.
Zanu PF’s scorched earth policies have seen most airlines abandoning Harare.
What is the point of coming here when there is no fuel and no tourists to bring?
Mugabe says he is the “best hope” for his party. But the deserted
airport says it all. Indeed, perhaps a suitable name for the new terminal would
be Mugabe’s Last White Elephant.
Some people may benefit, however.
Muckraker gathers that tenders for running shops in the cavernous terminal
building are being handed out with the customary absence of transparency.
The Herald last week carried an opinion piece headed “Let’s not open old
wounds”. It was a full frontal attack on MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for
visiting the graves in Matabeleland of those killed during the Gukurahundi era.
“Analysts” were quoted warning against “disturbing the peace the country
has enjoyed since Independence”.
And who were these “analysts”? Well one
turned out to be Jonathan Moyo saying Tsvangirai was “fulfilling a white
agenda”. This became a convoluted rant against Tsvangirai for following “white
liberals” who had supported the liberation struggle “in the hope that it would
The logic of this rather contradictory position was not fully
explained but it seems the MDC are “terrified that nationalist leaders have
remained united after the Unity Accord”.
Another “analyst” cited was Dr
Godfrey Chikowore, a UZ lecturer in international relations, who has been quoted
before in the Herald as supporting Zanu PF’s agenda. He said “the implications
of stirring up emotional issues would be costly and the government should not
allow that to happen”.
“People should not try to drive the country back
into anarchy using the philosophy of dividing people, which was used by
colonialists,” he declared.
What is remarkable in all this is the way it
completely ignores what the people of Matabeleland had to say about the Unity
Accord at the last election. They voted as one against Zanu PF politicians
hanging on to the accord as a political lifeline.
Not a single Zanu PF
leader survived the electoral landslide in that part of the country last June.
And the accord’s most vocal beneficiaries such as Joseph Msika and John Nkomo
didn’t dare stand for election because they knew what would happen. They owe
their positions instead to President Mugabe’s patronage.
The Herald and
its “analysts” completely ignored this popular verdict and instead stuck
doggedly to a cynical power-sharing arrangement that voters have consigned to
the dustbin of history.
As for “driving the country back into anarchy”,
exactly who has been doing that very successfully over the past year?
Let’s be clear on this. The Herald and its ministerial manipulators are
only worried about “opening old wounds” when doing so might expose Zanu PF as a
murderous party with something to hide. Last week war veterans were warning the
people of Tsholotsho of a return to the Gukurahundi if they turned out to
welcome Tsvangirai. And the Herald carried a feature just recently showing black
people being hanged by settlers in the first Chimurenga.
Zanu PF is
evidently only too happy to open old wounds when it suits its agenda. It just
doesn’t want to open those that may prove embarrassing at the polls.
were interested to see how the government’s public relations machine is engaging
in downright lies to claim that the region is expressing solidarity with
Zimbabwe over land reform. Tanzania’s President Benjamin Mkapa was quoted last
week as urging the international community to help find a lasting solution to
the land dispute. Mkapa said the issue “must be handled carefully in the
interests of all stakeholders”.
Is that what is happening now? Is it
being handled “carefully”, and are stakeholders being consulted?
Made is on record as refusing to speak to the CFU. What has the government’s
response been to the UNDP?
Regional leaders are very anxious not to be
seen attacking Harare. But their public pronouncements that Zimbabwe needs to
patch up relations with the international community and find common ground
inside the country are clearly not an endorsement of the current scenario.
“Several other countries, including some from Europe,” the Herald told
us, “have come out in full support of the government’s unwavering stance on the
land redistribution programme.” This includes neighbouring South Africa, the
Really? Which European countries support the government’s
land programme? If they mean France we would like the opportunity to put it to
the French embassy that the government claims they support the current
lawlessness. As for South Africa, President Mbeki said last October that
Zimbabwe’s land invasions were “wrong” and would never be allowed to happen in
South Africa. What could be clearer than that?
We have repeatedly warned
in this column of strange little groups masquerading as part of civil society
which suddenly spring to life when Zanu PF needs allies in its struggle against
Last week two “reverends” with a history of support for
Zanu PF’s agenda launched a broadside against the National Constitutional
Assemby over its management of donor funds. The “Rev” Johannes Ndanga of the
Afrika Dialogue said there was a need to investigate the organisation in the
wake of “numerous allegations” being levelled against it by affiliated bodies.
The “Rev” Noah Pashapa, who heads something called Concerned Christians,
joined in the attack saying the NCA should open its books to the public.
This would seem fair enough. It is important for the NCA to demonstrate
maximum transparency. But what we were not told in the story was that Ndanga and
Pashapa have an axe to grind. They are not independent commentators. Pashapa, it
will be recalled, advised voters last year to say “Yes” to a constitutional
blueprint that had been extensively doctored by President Mugabe and his
ministers to incorporate their agenda at the expense of what the public had said
in the commission’s outreach campaign.
Ndanga’s Afrika Dialogue is an
undisguised co-religionist of Zanu PF. Its chief spokesman is “Professor”
Tafataona Mahoso. We have never heard Ndanga or Mahoso calling for an
investigation into the billions of dollars that go missing every year in state
corruption and misallocation of public funds.
The public rejected
Pashapa, Ndanga and Mahoso’s advice in the referendum. Like so many ruling party
supporters, they are as bitter as hell with the NCA and MDC for having spurned
their pernicious policies. That is why we can safely assume they are not in the
least bit concerned with a democratic constitution but with helping their
friends in government get their own back.
The “numerous allegations”
against the NCA almost certainly come from the same people. As for the
unprincipled position of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, this shouldn’t
surprise us at all. It is headed by known allies of President Mugabe.
Anglican Bishop Jonathan Siyachitema collaborated in heading the
constitutional commission when he had no mandate to do so. And his successor
Norbert Kunonga, who it is alleged actively canvassed for his own candidacy in
the recent elections for Anglican bishop of Harare, last week slammed the phone
down on a journalist who had asked him if it was true that he had strongly
opposed a church initiative to commemorate the death last Easter of David
Stevens and other victims of Zanu PF violence.
When the chapter of this
period is written, it will be recorded that the churches — the Anglicans,
Baptists and ZCC in particular — collaborated with evil to block the march of
justice and democracy.
The Zimbabwe Mirror appears to have ruffled some
ministerial feathers with its story that Zanu PF was planning to amend the
constitution in order to appoint a prime minister. This seemingly innocuous (and
far from new) story excited a torrent of invective from Jonathan Moyo who raved
about “unethical conduct” and newspapers driven by “malice”.
avalanche of bile descending upon the Mirror emanated from a statement by Zanu
PF’s Deputy Secretary for Information and Publicity. While the author’s
trademark style was immediately evident to all, only in paragraph four was he
identified when what seems like an accidental “said Prof Moyo” slipped into the
“This is yet another telling and shameful example of how some
sections of the media have sunk to the bottom of unethical and unprofessional
conduct through story creation and event inventing driven by sponsored malice,”
the statement said.
“The fiction behind the story is made worse by the
preposterous speculation that the so-called proposal to amend the constitution
is allegedly designed to position the Speaker of parliament, Cde Emmerson
Mnangagwa, to succeed President Mugabe.
“It now appears,” the statement
went on, “that there are some media circles that are competing to write and
publish false stories of this (sort) and enough is enough.”
absolutely no need to amend the constitution in order to have a prime minister
if that were deemed necessary, the statement said. It fulminated against the
Mirror for claiming that the politburo had weekly meetings and pointed out there
was no meeting last Wednesday, as suggested by the paper.
this extraordinary outburst? The Mirror’s story fell well within the realm of
legitimate speculation. It is not the first time Mnangagwa’s name has been cited
in connection with the PM’s post. Then again, so has Moyo’s. None of this
amounts to heresy. A simple line saying the government had no plans to appoint a
prime minister would have been sufficient.
The Mirror must have touched
a raw nerve to warrant a response that was as off the wall as this one. Here is
a paper whose editorial policy, judging by its response to the Kabila boycott,
is about as close to Zanu PF as it is possible to get. It denounces the MDC on a
weekly basis. Yet it is treated to a fire-and-brimstone rave that is usually
reserved for the genuinely independent press.
An example of this was
provided on Tuesday when Moyo reacted to a story in the Daily News that Msika
had begged Edgar Tekere to return to the Zanu PF fold. The professor, whose
statements are showing growing signs of dementia, described the paper as a
“British propaganda mouthpiece”. He managed to get the label
“counter-revolutionaries” into the statement together with “Rhodesian
activists”, “oppositional press”, and “British masters”.
Then there was
“hogwash” and “outrageous”, not to mention “preposterous”, a description perhaps
better applied to his own increasingly incontinent emissions. Moyo claimed that
people are now going around saying; “Stop lying like the Daily News”.
Are they? Have you heard anybody saying that? Or are they saying with
reference to a particularly far-fetched claim: “That sounds like a Moyo”!
Having released what he clearly thought was a particularly barbed dart
at the Daily News, Moyo asked: “Need we say more?”
Mazowe - On Makay Farm 1000 head
of cattle have been removed from the paddocks, labour chased from repairing
fences, and police failed to respond.
Centenary - After workers had
left to play football at another venue, invaders entered the compound and
assaulted the women and children, some of whom were taken to hospital for
Trelawney - A delegation arriving at Dulwich in a police vehicle,
informed the owner that 76 families were to be settled on that farm on 20th
Doma - On Monday 9 members from
Agritex arrived on Riversdale and The Glen to peg arable land for settlement of
25 people. One illegal occupier has ploughed +/- 20 ha on Riversdale to plant
sugar beans and refused to isolate it from the adjoining grazing with a fence,
telling the farmer to return to England.
- Two more Section 8's have been issued. On Parklands invaders intend to use
half the irrigation to grow 400 hectares of wheat. They are armed with AK47's.
On Serui Source police have failed to react to the chopping of gum plantations
for the construction of huts in the lands. There
appears to be movement onto farms that have not been invaded before, or listed,
and pegging is ongoing.
Chegutu - Prevention of land prep for wheat occurred on
Tiverton on Tuesday.
Bromley/Ruwa/ Enterprise - Section 7 Orders have been delivered to Chinyika, R/E of Belvadore
and Northfield. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare visited farms on the
- Land invaders have removed all of the cattle
from Gwaai Farm. They prevented the planting of flowers and proceeded to plant
their own crops instead.
Macheke/Virginia - A number of
cattle were slaughtered over the weekend. War vet Matsatsi ordered farmers to
allow the workers to help themselves to meat to be consumed at Independence
Celebrations. Two farmers provided their labour with meat as well as transport.
The labourers returned saying that they had been instructed to collect another
cow. One of the tractor drivers who had been told to return home before dark
due to lack of lights on the vehicle, was detained until after dark.
- A reaction team was deployed to investigate gunshots on Rapako Farm.
individuals were arrested on Fells for theft of citrus. On Alpha Farm a cow was shot but recovered and handed over to the
farm labour for Independence celebrations. An attempted theft was foiled on Lifton farm. On Poltimore Farm old houses are being reconstructed as invaders
return to the farm. A mountain bike was stolen from
Liliefontein but was later recovered in Village 2. Investigations continue.
Two maize thieves were arrested on Torre Farm.
3 weapons were stolen from Lustleigh Farm yesterday
and investigations are in progress. Three
individuals were arrested on Bolton farm for theft of
Today's Herald story, "Witch-hunt ends
in tragedy" covers a story about a Shamva commercial farmer and his workers who
beat two farm workers to death after a witch doctor implicated them in theft.
The story is essentially accurate but the farmer in question is a non-member
indigenous farmer. There will be communication with the Provincial police
spokesperson to rectify the inevitable misinterpretation that this was a white
PRESENTATION ON WEMBLEY COLLEGE, GREYTOWN,
WEMBLEY COLLEGE Wembley College is a new
school which was established in Greytown in the Natal Midlands of South Africa,
some five odd years ago. It offers a Cambridge qualification commencing at grade
1 and ending with A levels and/or HIGCSE. Classes are limited to a maximum of 25
pupils per class and sport and cultural activities are regarded as priorities.
Being a new school they are in the process of building up numbers and would like
to do a recruitment drive in Zimbabwe. Accordingly the schools Headmaster, Mr.
Ian Corbishley will be in Harare on Tuesday the 24th April to give a
presentation to any interested parents. He tentatively intends to give a
presentation at about 12.00 p.m. on this day at a venue still to be decided
upon. Please contact Mr. Corbishley at 00 27 33 4132677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
should you like to attend or arrange an appointment to meet
Almost a year ago, just after the first
horrendous politically motivated murders of MDC activists and farmers had
occurred, I sent out a "Message of Hope". In it I posed the question whether
there was any hope for Zimbabwe or whether it was simply destined to an
inevitable slide into anarchy. One year on Zimbabweans are still faced with
the same question. Last year I answered the question by giving six reasons
why there was still hope. One year on it is necessary to revisit those
reasons and to give further reasons why there is still hope for Zimbabwe.
1. The violence is a consequence of ZANU(PF)'s fear of losing
Last year I warned of a long, hard and rocky road
we had to travel in our journey to achieve democracy. Very few Zimbabweans
appreciated just how hard that road would be, especially those Zimbabweans
living in the north and east of the country who had never experienced the
true nature of ZANU(PF) as those from Matabeleland had in the 1980s. We all
now know the real ZANU(PF) - it is a party that uses the facade of democracy
when it feels secure but which will increasingly resort to violence when it
Last year I said that the increased ferocity of the
violence was in itself sign of hope because, ironically, that in itself was
the surest sign of what ZANU(PF) itself thought of its chances of winning,
or, more accurately, of losing. Nothing has changed and the increased
violence we have witnessed throughout the country in the last few months is
the best possible indicator of ZANU(PF)'s sense of alarm. Indeed I have been
amazed to see how widespread the violence has been: even in areas like
Muzarabani, where I thought the MDC was relatively weak, we have seen
violence which indicates that even there ZANU(PF) feels under
But there are several aspects regarding violence that one could
not say confidently this time last year. The first is that violence did not
work last year as ZANU(PF) hoped it would. Despite the violence the MDC won
57 seats countrywide. Whilst ZANU(PF) can employ violence successfully in
by elections it cannot deliver it "effectively" enough countrywide to
win. Secondly ZANU(PF) has not been able to deliver on its threats to
deliver further violence if people did not vote for them. For example
Gukurahundi was threatened against the people of Matabeleland if they did
not vote for ZANU(PF). It did not happen and indeed cannot happen again, and
that fact has been noted, not just by the people of Matabeland, but also by
the entire nation. Thirdly, the violence has backfired and created
enormous problems for ZANU(PF) which in itself has created an entirely new
reason for hope (see below!)
ZANU(PF) is panicking and that is why we
are experiencing increased violence countrywide. Bizarre as it is, in the
use of violence there is hope.
2. The MDC horse has already
Last year I wrote about the fact that had violence
commenced earlier than it did the MDC may never have got off the ground, but
that fortunately the MDC had horse had already bolted. One year on that holds
even truer. Despite the violence, the beatings of MDC MPs and supporters, the
arrest of MDC leaders, the grenade attack on the MDC offices, the withholding
of finances, the Political Parties Finance Act, the searches at MDC offices
and at the homes of MDC leaders, the lack of coverage on radio and TV, the
propaganda war waged against the MDC, the loss of Bikita West and Marondera
West, the inability of MDC MPs to block oppressive legislation in Parliament
and despite all the various efforts of ZANU(PF) to crush the MDC, the
fact remains that the MDC is far stronger now than it was a year
Not only has the horse bolted but it has now strengthened and bred!
A few weeks ago I was privileged to go to an MDC policy planning retreat in
the Matopos. I came away feeling absolutely exhilarated because of the
sense of unity under Morgan Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda's leadership, the
sense of a unity of purpose from the entire leadership and the sense that the
MDC had really come of age and was now ready to govern - none of which could
be said last year. In stark contrast in the ZANU(PF) camp all we see
is increased division in their ranks, purges, shattered promises (the so
called technocrats including Makoni et al have not delivered and have in
fact compounded the problems Zimbabwe is facing) and only two things to
offer Zimbabwe: violence and economic collapse.
But there is a
further important fact to consider. Last year the MDC was campaigning from
ground zero. It had no seats, no infrastructure, no credibility as a viable
party either locally or internationally. From ground zero it won 57 seats. A
year on it has 56 seats, an infrastructure countrywide and is recognised
locally and internationally (the ANC is now talking to us). In other words
in the run up to the Presidential election we start from an entirely
different level - we now have a powerful springboard to mount an even more
effective Presidential election campaign than we did in the Parliamentary
3. The penny has finally dropped in the international
Last year I wrote that after many years in the
"political wilderness", after many years of our warnings about the true
nature of the Mugabe regime falling on deaf ears, there was for the first
time "massive antipathy towards Mugabe". One year on how much more so is the
case. Indeed at Christmas I wrote about this and even since then it is
astonishing how international opinion against the Mugabe regime has hardened
dramatically. Ironically most of the hardening of opinion has not been the
work of the MDC but of Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo and the rest of those within
ZANU(PF) who are committed to holding on to power using any means. Had
ZANU(PF) left the MDC alone, not bombed the Daily News, not threatened the
Judiciary, not expelled foreign journalists, not sought to undermine the CFU,
not passed the Broadcast Act I doubt very much whether the Commonwealth,
EU and others would have paid much attention to Zimbabwe. The fact remains
that one year on most of those who were ambivalent, or neutral, or
disinterested, last year are now acutely aware of the problems and
determined, more than ever before, to do something. Last year ZANU(PF) could
take comfort in the fact that the Commonwealth, the ANC and others were
prepared to turn a blind eye to rampant human rights abuses perpetrated by
ZANU(PF). That is no longer the case.
If any proof is needed of
this change one need look no further than the recently passed Political
Parties Finance Act which seeks to ban foreign funding of political parties.
That Act is an admission by ZANU(PF) that the MDC is now recognised and
supported by the international community and, almost just as importantly,
that it is now viewed as a pariah party that has no prospect of attracting
international support as it has done up until now. Indeed the Political
Parties Finance Act contains a very important message to those in Zimbabwe
who are still ZANU(PF) apologists, or who believe that a ZANU(PF) victory is
inevitable (and therefore should not be opposed) :the Act is an admission
that a ZANU(PF) government no longer has the ability to attract international
support, not just for its own funding but also for the country at large. This
is a theme I shall come back to at the end.
4. ZANU(PF) is
Last year I spoke of the dangerous tactic
employed by Mugabe in using the likes of Hitler Hunzvi to campaign and of
the fact that that was likely to divide ZANU(PF). I said that thinking
people within ZANU(PF) knew that Mugabe's strategy would devastate the
economy and I asked the question as to how long "sane people" would stay on
board the ZANU(PF) ship. It has been astonishing to observe how Mugabe has
divided and whittled down the support base of ZANU(PF) in just one
First we saw the eradication most of ZANU(PF)'s moderates in its
primary elections, something which has caused those former ZANU(PF) MPs to
form their own new political grouping. Then we saw immediately after
the election the alienation of much of the old guard in the appointment
of Mugabe's new cabinet. In the past few months we have seen the purging
of more moderate leaders at Provincial level and their replacement by
war veterans. In essence what has happened is that the party's support base
has been whittled down to its core, namely the war veterans, and even then
not all of them, only the radical element. Mugabe has surrounded himself with
a few hard-line war veterans and ambitious politicians who are beholden to
him and who do not have the ability to win any constituency in their own
right. But in the process Mugabe has seriously alienated whole swathes of
These divisions are increasingly obvious to us
in Parliament. Recently we were subjected the spectacle of the present
Minister of Justice, Chinamasa (one of those appointed MPs) heckling a
former Minister of Justice (and ZANU(PF)'s brightest brain in Parliament by
a long shot), Zvobgo when the latter criticised the Broadcasting regulations
as being unconstitutional. And in many of the Parliamentary select Committees
we see growing evidence of ZANU(PF) MPs (elected ones that is) who are
increasingly disillusioned with the course being taken by their leadership.
I chair the Parliamentary Justice Committee (which has a majority of
ZANU(PF) members) and I have been intrigued to note the unanimity of thought
on most issues. My MDC colleagues who sit on other committees report similar
developments in their committees.
These divisions will have
catastrophic consequences for whoever is the ZANU(PF) candidate in the
Presidential election. Parliamentary (single constituency) elections are
often won because of the enthusiasm or personal popularity of the individual
candidate. Because an individual's own political career is at stake a person
competing for a Parliamentary seat will work hard to ensure that he wins.
Likewise voters will often vote for an individual even if they don't
particularly like the party he or she represents. And there is the rub for
ZANU(PF): for in alienating the old guard, in disenchanting newly elected
ZANU(PF) MPs, by relying on war veterans to do their violent campaigning
many who worked for and voted for a ZANU(PF) victory in the Parliamentary
elections will not do so in the Presidential elections.
But there is
one further, and major division, within ZANU(PF) which was not a factor in
the Parliamentary elections and that is over their choice of their
Presidential candidate/ticket. In fact it is a no win situation for ZANU(PF)
because unlike the overwhelming consensus within the MDC regarding the
Tsvangirai/Sibanda ticket, it does not matter who is chosen to represent
ZANU(PF) - every choice will not be supported by some significant segment of
the party. Mugabe or Mnangagwa will not get support in Matabeleland,Zvobgo
areas and Manicaland. Makoni will not get support from Mnangagwa and from
areas outside Manicaland and so on. And the divisions within ZANU(PF) can
only grow; this is not a party which has a reputation for arriving at a
consensus through rational debate, it has always had a leadership which has
bludgeoned its way ahead.
5. We are in the
Last year I said that "despite all the violence and
intimidation the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans
want change". One year on nothing has altered. Indeed if anything poor people
and rural people want change even more now. 52% of voters in June voted for
change despite the violence, intimidation and rigging. Since then the
economy has spiralled down further and ZANU(PF) has not delivered on a whole
range of issues.
Countrywide we are seeing ever greater numbers of
people attending MDC meetings. Recently Morgan Tsvangirai has addressed huge
meetings, attended by tens of thousands of people (not Jonathan Moyo figures
but those assessed by the media!) at venues as far flung as Buhera,
Maphisa, Tsholotsho, St Marys and Bulawayo. On a more modest level my
last constituency report back meeting in Bulawayo was packed to overflowing,
in fact I had the largest attendance ever at that particular venue, even
bigger than any meeting held in the run up to the election last year.
My Parliamentary colleagues report similar support throughout the
I am also struck by the intensity of working class people when
they approach me in the street or speak to me at check-out counters at
the supermarkets. They are clearly more determined than ever to effect
change. In fact I have frequently observed at recent meetings that the crisis
of confidence problem in Zimbabwe is very much a white and middle
class phenomenon, for there appears to be no such crisis amongst poor black
people who know what has to be done and who are quietly preparing for the
time to go and vote.
Last year I observed that "if the majority of
Zimbabweans agreed with the violence and Mugabe's tactics we would be in
trouble" and that there was only "a tiny, rabid and, increasingly deranged,
minority" directing the mayhem". That has been borne out by the facts:
recently I asked the CFU to tell me how many people they estimated were in
occupation of commercial farms, the reply was approximately 25000 people,
nowhere near the ZANU(PF) propaganda that 50000 families were in occupation.
25000 people is half of one Parliamentary constituency to put the number in
perspective. And many of those have been threatened or lured with false
promises to occupy. In other words of the over 7 million people who live in
the rural areas only some 25000 have benefited from what is the pivot of the
ZANU(PF) election campaign. The rest have seen bus fares soar in price,
along with the increase in the price of all basic necessities and the
crumbling of state services all around them. That is why MDC rallies in the
rural areas are attracting more people than ever before.
and as I alluded to earlier, rural people have noted that ZANU(PF) has been
unable to "deliver on its promise" to retaliate against entire constituencies
who voted against it. Gukurahundi 2 has not happened against the people of
Matabeleland or Manicaland or urban dwellers. Yes there has been violence
directed against some of these constituencies but the vast majority of
those who voted MDC have not been affected by it. And as I have said before
the drift of political thought in Zimbabwe has always been urban to rural not
vice versa. The rural populations who voted for ZANU(PF) last year have much
more food for thought come the Presidential elections. The process of change
is unstoppable even in the face of massive violence. The majority I spoke
about a year ago has grown.
6. There is ancient wisdom which
Last year I wrote about the inevitable
consequences for rulers who violate God's fundamental principles of
governance. I quoted Isaiah 1:31 which speaks of how mighty men become
tinder and their own works become the spark of their own
In the past few months at many meetings and in Parliament I
have quoted Psalm 7: 14-16 and those words bare repeating today
"He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth
to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit
he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes
down on his own head."
That is just what has happened in the past
year. Mugabe and his henchmen have sown the seeds of their own destruction.
As I pointed out above in seeking to destroy the opposition in all its many
forms by bombing the Daily News, attacking the Judiciary and so on ZANU(PF)
have incurred the wrath of the international community, have strengthened the
resolve of those in opposition and have irredeemably weakened their own
Last year I spoke of the historical precedents which make
these words, written thousands of years ago, a reality. One year on I am
more convicted than ever of the stunning truth of this ancient wisdom. The
evidence is before our very eyes.
But there is yet more ancient
wisdom which is particularly pertinent at this stage of our Nation's
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do
not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked
schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it only leads
to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will
inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you
look for them they will not be found. The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he
knows their day is coming." Psalm 37: 7-13
There are many in our
midst who are tired after over a year of violence and "wicked schemes". There
are many who feel they cannot wait until the end of March next year (when the
Presidential election must held by). There are many who believe that the
best solution is to take the law into their own hands. There are many who
believe that only a call to arms will work in dislodging this murderous
regime from power. These words speak very powerfully to all those who fit
into any of the abovementioned categories.
The encouragement is that
just as the consequences of evil rule is inevitable so too is the promise
that if we patiently commit ourselves to grinding out this hardship
peacefully through the ballot before we know it this entire wicked bunch
will be swept away. Their day is indeed coming.
Which leads me to the
seventh reason for hope, not mentioned last year.
has created the ultimate catch 22 for itself.
In sowing what it
thought would be the seeds of destruction of the opposition and in blending
the land issue with violence, ZANU(PF) has done severe damage to the economy
and has incurred the wrath of the international community. As a result
ZANU(PF) now cannot deliver on the land issue without forfeiting its
violence strategy because the international community will not fund this
illegality. And yet ZANU(PF) cannot afford to suspend its violence partly
because it is irreversible (dead people cannot be brought back to life and
the legal consequences for the murderers will not go away)and partly
because it knows that without the use of violence the Presidential election
will be lost overwhelmingly.
They are left with three
a) To continue with their present policies unabated but that
will mean they have even less capacity to deliver on the land issue and will
incur the wrath of increasing sectors of the international
b) To suspend the violence and to proceed with the land
programme within the confines of the law, with the consequences mentioned
c) To continue the oppression but get key sectors of Zimbabwean
society, such as the Judiciary and the CFU to negotiate and to turn a blind
eye to systematic violence perpetrated against other sectors of society,
thus securing the international assistance they require to deliver on
the pillar of their election campaign, namely land - in other words to
have their cake and eat it.
The only way out of the catch 22 created
by the first two options is by means of the third option. The undermining of
the Judiciary and its ongoing subversion linked with the Swanepoel/Bredenkamp
"initiative" is undoubtedly ZANU(PF)'s desired way of wriggling out of its
predicament. For if it can get the Judiciary to look the other way in the
face of breaches of both the Land Acquisition Act and the criminal law and
get the CFU to give ZANU(PF) a "clean bill of health", ZANU(PF) believes it
can get the international community on board, fund the land programme, get
some semblance of order back to the productive sector and yet continue to
oppress the MDC and its supporters.
Fortunately ZANU(PF) has
misjudged the naivety of the international community and the resilience of
many sectors of Zimbabwean society including the Judiciary and the farming
community. And in that lies hope because ZANU(PF) now have to face the catch
22 square on and there is no way out for them: they will have to confine
themselves to the first two options and both are extremely perilous courses
of action for them.
Last year I ended by stressing that whilst
striking an optimistic note it was important to remember that violence and
human rights abuses would continue and indeed escalate as ZANU(PF) became
more desperate. Nothing has changed and I am under no illusions whatsoever
that Mugabe and henchmen will use whatever means they deem necessary to cling
to power. This is, after all, an end game for them: they have everything to
lose. They know that if they lose not only will their corrupt activities be
exposed but they will also have to face the legal consequences of their
violent 21 year tenure of power.
In these circumstances what can we
do? I am aware of the one school of thought promoted by the Bredenkamps of
this world and also by some in the business sector: that is that a ZANU(PF)
victory in the Presidential election will be the best way out so that the
violence can stop and life can get back to normal. In fact it has been
reported back to me that some in this camp are even predicting and promoting
a ZANU(PF) victory. It is a seductive line of thinking but is fatally flawed
in the following respects.
a) It ignores the overwhelming desire of
the vast majority of poor black Zimbabweans for fundamental change and,
perhaps more importantly, the now deeply rooted anger against ZANU(PF) and
its hierarchy. It assumes that the vast majority will just accept a flawed
electoral process and the prospect of a further 21 years of violent, corrupt
and despotic rule. This thinking betrays how out of touch the Bredenkamps of
Zimbabwe and other whites are with the deeply held feelings of poor black
Zimbabweans. It is the same thinking that led Rhodesians to believe in 1980,
ironically, that ZANU(PF) could never win an overall majority then. I
personally cannot claim to be an expert in the feelings of poor black
Zimbabweans; I can only comment with authority on what I see and hear in the
high density suburbs in my constituency and what I hear from my MDC
colleagues. But I believe that I am much better in touch with the reality of
what is going on on the ground than people who are almost completely
untouched by the devastating consequences of Zimbabwe's economic
b) It ignores the new reality in world politics. The world will
simply not look the other way this time. The thinking is that once the
Presidential elections are over and ZANU(PF) has won, sane policies will be
implemented by the new ZANU(PF) President and the world will simply forgive
and forget. There is no longer any cold war and there is no motivation to
turn a blind eye to massive human rights violations. The nations which truly
count in the world, the nations which have the power to open the IMF and
World Banktaps, will simply not cooperate until there is a full restoration
of the rule of law, and that means not just a peaceful and lawful land
reform programme but also the bringing to book of all those responsible for
murder. Those who believe that if the land issue is resolved in isolation,
funds will flow to Zimbabwe are woefully mistaken.
c) It ignores the
depressing reality of middle class thinking in Zimbabwe. In the last few
years Zimbabwe has experienced an unprecedented brain drain. It is a serious
mistake to think that this is confined to the white community. The cream of
our black professionals have left the country. The reality is that what is a
brain drain trickle now, will become a flood in the event of a ZANU(PF)
victory. Furthermore if ZANU(PF) wins the Presidential election very few of
our professionals, who have left, will see any hope for the future and they
will not return as we desperately need them to. The point is that those who
advocate the expedient route of a ZANU(PF) victory ignore the reality that
if that happens, Zimbabwe as we know it today, even in its depressed and
chaotic state, will be utterly destroyed and the rich who are promoting
this thinking will be left as tiny islands in a sea of desolation. This is
not a threat: it is simply a predictable consequence.
The way ahead
then is not to entertain naive thoughts about a "middle road" or a "reformed
ZANU(PF)". There is no middle road and no prospect of a reformed ZANU(PF) -
it is violent and corrupt to the core. Likewise any thoughts that the rich
may have that they can ride the storm and ignore the reality of what is going
on around them.
The only way ahead is to commit ourselves to getting
through this final tough lap on the road to democracy without compromising
our principles. We can be very proud of those Zimbabweans who have stood up
to evil in the past year. Looking back we can see that MDC members, leaders
and Parliamentarians, the Trade Unions, the Judiciary, farmers and poor
rural and high density dwellers have stood firm. Now is the time for
everyone to stand up for what is right. No one promises that it will be easy
but if we love this country and want a future in it for ourselves, our
children and our grand children, we have no choice. However together, in all
the wonderful meaning of that word, rich and poor, black and white, Shona
and Ndebele, urban and rural, we will complete the change to a better life
for all. The power to do so is truly in our hands.
David Coltart MP Bulawayo South Movement
for Democratic Change 16th April 2001.
that the views expressed in this message are my own and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the MDC
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THE MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI ON THE OCCASION OF ZIMBABWE'S 21ST ANNIVERSARY OF
(Harare April 18, 2001)
My fellow Zimbabweans;
congratulations on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of our independence.
Sadly this has to go down as one of the most depressing moments in our
history. The aspirations of the war of liberation remain unfulfilled. Instead
your health care, security, education for yourselves and your children, your
job and your home stand threatened.
Since the beginning of the crisis
that is afflicting Zimbabwe, both urban and farm workers, their families, the
communal people and indeed farmers and both established and emergent
businesses have shouldered an immense burden. This burden we have together
carried with courage and focus. All Zimbabweans want change for a better
The government, in its desperation for self-preservation has,
through its various structures and functionaries, (including state
apparatus), subjected all to sustained acts of intimidation, arson, torture,
rape and even murder. There has been massive destruction of property,
disruption of income generation projects and business. As a result Zimbabwe
stands polarised along party, racial and social lines.
I am convinced
that all Zimbabweans want to see landmark change in our country - change that
will deliver a better life for all. We all seek change that will lead us all
into economic prosperity, sustainable racial as well as social equity and
political stability. A change that will deliver health, security to all,
education for our children, financial security, more jobs and home
To this end MDC from its inception has always recognised that
the existing imbalance in the racial landholding is obscene. The MDC also
recognises the existence of the racial inequity in among others, industry,
commerce as well as the service sectors. As the only social democratic party
in the country we also note with concern unacceptable incomes gap in general
and the high incidence of poverty and dependence amongst the
communal dwellers. However, change in land and economic distribution
and utilisation in Zimbabwe must be based on a sustainable programme. Our
land reform programme will complete that change and deliver a better life
for us all.
The MDC land reform will not only focus on redistribution
but will also include empowerment through title deeds to both the resettled
and communal land holders, transformation of subsistence farming into viable
commercial units, the provision of infrastructure, services and availing
finance to these units. I am aware that feelings of uncertainty, anxiety
and at times despondency in the nation are high. We must unite and give
strength and reassurance to all Zimbabweans. Good will triumph over evil as
long as we stay strong and committed to change.
This sad situation
calls for a united effort in dealing with the problems we face. It calls for
all of us to desist from being ordinary Zimbabweans. Each one of us must feel
moved and duty bound to bring about change to this situation. Zimbabweans
have to put Zimbabwe first. Our country must come first before loyalty to
political parties. We have to think about the future of this country and our
children. We can achieve this if we focus on national values. These are
freedom, justice, social welfare and the well being of all Zimbabweans to
pursue these values.
All Zimbabweans must push for a people driven
constitution, which will form the basis of good governance and distribution
of national resources.
We at the Movement for Democratic Change are
committed to working together with you to complete the change. Together we
can turn the fortunes of the economy and deliver jobs, security, health care,
and education for our children to enjoy a better life. There was never a time
when the people needed to be more united than now. Attempts to polarise the
nation now must be resisted. Together we will complete the change for a
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe received a
backdated 25 percent pay raise on Friday. An official government notice said
Mugabe's combined salary and allowances, backdated to January 1, were increased
to Z$1,6-million a year, up from about Z$1,3-million. The average income of
ordinary Zimbabweans has declined in recent years to about Z$15 000 Zimbabwe a
year. About 70 percent of Zimbabwe's 12,5-million people live below the
international poverty line. Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis
since independence in 1980. Inflation has reached 70 percent and more than half
the eligible work force is unemployed. Mugabe's presidential salary is untaxed
and he also receives a housing allowance of Z$196 000 a year. Mugabe lives in an
official state-owned residence but has commissioned the building of a private
mansion in northern Harare at a cost of more than Z$50-million. The salaries of
Mugabe and top officials were doubled in 1999 soon after doctors and other
government employees were awarded 30 percent raises after a series of bruising
From The Financial Gazette, 19
Company Chiefs Flee War
Harare - Two Pakistani businessmen with investments worth more
than $200 million in Zimbabwe have fled the country as widening attacks on
businesses by the governing ZANU PF party's war veterans begin to take their
toll, it was established this week. A source at Leno Trading, a registered
company that has been operating more than 60 emergency taxis that ply Harare
township routes, said the firm's chief executive Imran Choudray had fled back to
Pakistan following an attack on his home and the grounding of his business.
Choudray's partner, another Pakistani businessman only known as Choukat, has
also fled Zimbabwe but his where-abouts are unknown.
The two businessmen have invested more than $200 million in a
commuter taxi transport business since their application was approved by the
Zimbabwe Investment Centre in 1992. They had both since acquired Zimbabwean
citizenship. Leno Trading has been embroiled in a labour dispute with some
workers who were sacked after going on an illegal strike last October. Although
the workers lost their case in court, they appealed to the Harare chapter of the
war veterans' association which immediately impounded the whole fleet and
grounded it at the ZANU PF head office in Harare's Rotten Row.
Mediation efforts which at some stage involved former ZANU PF
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa seemed to have solved the problems
when Leno was forced and agreed to pay the sacked workers at total of $450 000.
A copy of the agreement drafted by ZANU PF and signed by the workers as well as
Leno and the ruling party shown to this paper shows that the workers were
divided into four categories. It is not clear how ZANU PF devised the categories
but those from the first to the third categories were paid varying sums of
around $15 000 each, with the lowest getting $2 000, while those in the fourth
category were told to report back to work. According to the ZANU PF-brokered
agreement, the sacked workers on getting paid would cease all claims against
Two weeks ago, the dispute resurfaced when the same group of
workers approached the new war veterans' executive led by Mike Madiro. The
Madiro executive is alleged to have told the workers that the money they were
given by Leno as compensation was too little and immediately assembled some
youths who ground to a halt all operations of the company. It was not possible
this week to get comment from Madiro or his deputy, Chris Pasipamire, who is
said to be heading new pay talks between the war veterans and Leno. Some of the
sacked workers then invaded Choudray's home in Harare's Avondale, where they
beat up his domestic workers and vandalised property. The businessman and his
family, fearing for their lives, immediately took a plane out of Zimbabwe to an
unknown destination but are now suspected to have returned to Pakistan. Efforts
to contact Choudray for comment failed this week.
Meanwhile 34 of the minibuses that were grounded at the ZANU PF
head office have now been dumped at Harare Central Police Station after it was
discovered that they had all been vandalised and were several parts missing. All
the minibuses at the police station have their tyres slashed. Sources within
Leno say the company is about to fold because its owners believe that the
situation in Zimbabwe has become untenable and might be exploring the
possibility of transferring the remainder of their resources to some
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC)
says it has asked its regions to compile a report on the effect on business of
the harassment of its members by a faction of war veterans led by Chenjerai
Hunzvi. ZNCC president Danny Dube said although no particular case had been
brought to his attention, the business organisation had decided to ask its
regional offices to compile a report on the extent of the harassment and is
still waiting for a response. In the past few months, several Zimbabwean
companies have been invaded and managers assaulted by the veterans, who are
increasingly taking over the role of trade unions in the run-up to crucial
presidential elections due next year. The invasions, which follow those of
private farms across the country last year by the veterans, have coincided with
disclosures by Hunzvi that ZANU PF is setting up "mobilisation bases" in all
urban constituencies to back President Robert Mugabe's presidential campaign.
Hunzvi said the bases would staffed by the veterans, who last year led a reign
of terror against Zimbabweans living and working in rural areas, including
farmers and their workers, ahead of the landmark June general election narrowly
won by ZANU PF.
From The Star (SA), 20
Zimbabwe re-introduces price support
Harare - Zimbabwe's government will once again guarantee a
floor price for gold in a bid to prop up ailing mines and secure desperately
needed foreign currency, said a government statement on Friday. "Government is
fully aware of the viability problems that are currently facing the gold mining
industry," said the statement from the president's office. "Gold production
peaked at 25 203 150kg in 1999 but the projected 2001 figures show a decline of
about 21 percent to approximately 20 015 100kg. If this trend is not arrested,
the importance of gold as one of the prime foreign currency earners is likely to
continue decreasing," it said.
The floor price will be pegged at R2 781,73 per kilogram,
compared to the current trading price of about $264, said the statement. The new
scheme means the government will pay out the difference between its floor price
and the world price to gold producers, but in Zimbabwean dollars rather than
United States dollars. The official exchange rate has been pegged at Z$55 to $1
since October, but the unofficial parallel rate has soared to about Z$115.
Producers still have to import critical supplies in foreign currency, which they
are forced to source from the parallel market because of a severe shortage of
foreign exchange in Zimbabwe. The government only allows gold producers to keep
20 percent of its foreign currency earnings. Inflation, currently about 57
percent, has also raised operating costs. Several of the nation's gold mines,
including one of the largest, Falcon Gold Zimbabwe Limited (Falgold), have
suspended mining operations due to the harsh economic conditions.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 20
Zim close to fuel
Zimbabwe is close to signing a fuel deal with US financial
institutions but National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) officials first want
to terminate the monopoly that Kuwaiti company Independent Petroleum Company has
enjoyed over the past two years, the Zimbabwe Independent heard yesterday.
Sources in the fuel industry said Zimbabwe was keen to negotiate new fuel deals
in anticipation of foreign currency inflows from tobacco receipts. The tobacco
auction floors open on Tuesday. The sources said two more facilities, one
involving the French, were likely to be concluded before June.
The sources said the deal with the Americans should see the
banks providing an advance loan which should be enough to provide Zimbabwe with
at least four months supply of fuel. The government would guarantee the loan.
The sources refused to provide the names of the banks saying this would scuttle
negotiations. The facility would be available for six months at the end of which
Noczim would be required to pay back the money in full plus interest. The issue
of revising the IPG contract is being dealt with by the Office of the President
which was instrumental in the negotiation of the initial agreement with the
"Noczim is keen to return to the old situation where it could
procure fuel from anyone," a source said. "IPG is not being dumped completely
but it will have to be competitive if it is to continue supplying fuel to
Zimbabwe." IPG’s supply deal has often been regarded as a sweetheart deal
between the suppliers and the Office of the President due to high charges that
are built into the price of the commodity. As a result of the numerous levies,
Zimbabwe now has the most expensive fuel in the region. Last month Mines and
Energy minister Sydney Sekeramayi told parliament that IPG fuel was expensive
because of levies charged to cover the high risk factor of doing business with
Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, three local banks - Standard Chartered, Stanbic and
Barclays Bank – have made available US$4,3 million for the purchase of 15
million litres of IPG fuel which was either locked in the pipeline between
Feruka and Harare or in storage tanks in Mutare. The forex was made available at
the official rate.
From The Daily News, 20
Mugabe warns Chief Chiweshe's
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has threatened unspecified action
against people who beat up Chief Chiweshe in Centenary last Sunday. Speaking to
about 30 000 people celebrating Zimbabwe's independence at the National Sports
Stadium in Harare on Wednesday, he said beating up a traditional leader was
anathema in Zimbabwe. "It has never happened before," he said. The attack was
blamed on MDC supporters. Chief Chiweshe was accused of leading the disruption
of the burial of Ndoga Mupesa, an MDC member in Chiweshe last week. Mugabe said:
"I want to warn the people responsible for assaulting the chief that they are
going to get it . . ." Two MDC members have been arrested while Zanu PF
supporters in Centenary have already started attacking members of the opposition
party in apparent retaliation for the assault on Chiweshe. Mugabe's speech,
delayed by one hour after a power failure at a substation near Warren Hills Golf
Club, covered the land resettlement programme, the Aids scourge and the DRC
In Bulawayo, David Ndlovu, the acting mayor, accused the
government of giving priority to Matabeleland North independence celebrations at
the expense of those in Bulawayo. He said the celebrations in the city were
poorly organised. About 8 000 people, mostly children, turned up at White City
Stadium. There was no entertainment. In attendance were Dumiso Dabengwa, former
Minister of Home Affairs, John Nkomo, the Zanu PF national chairman and former
MPs Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Sithembiso Nyoni. In Gweru, about 7 000 people
celebrated at Mkoba Stadium, among them MDC and Zanu PF MPs. Midlands governor,
Cephas Msipa, read Mugabe's speech. In Mutare, about 25 000 people reportedly
crammed Sakubva Stadium for the celebrations. Manicaland governor, Oppah
Muchinguri, read the speech. Some farmers in Marondera and Raffingora said their
workers were forced to attend the celebrations. A tractor carrying farm workers
at Nyagambe farm in Marondera was ordered back to collect more people. "They
said the people were not enough," said a worker. The celebrations were held at
Marondera's North Club, taken over by war
From The Star (SA), 18
DRC peace shaky after cabinet
Kinshasa - The Congo River was closed to traffic at Kinshasa on
Monday while troops continued a security operation. The river is the frontier
between the DRC and the Republic of Congo and is closed during periods of
insecurity. Diplomatic sources reported shooting at the airport and close to one
of the presidential palaces on Tuesday. There were rumours that the shooting
might have been connected with an attempted coup. A diplomatic source said there
might be resistance to the cabinet changes announced at the weekend. The new
Information Minister, Kikaya Bin Karubi, advised reporters who contacted him to
refer to his predecessor, Dominique Sakombi, who was sacked by President Joseph
Kabila in the reshuffle. Sakombi confirmed that a security sweep that started
last week was still ongoing. "There are too many armed bandits in town," he
said. A presidential guardsman said a faction of the military had been planning
to liberate some imprisoned generals who have been detained in connection with
the assassination of the late president Laurent Kabila.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 20
Mineral Wealth Incentive For DRC
Involvement - UN Report
Harare - The late Congolese leader Laurent Kabila used the vast
mineral resources of his country as an incentive to court the support of the
Zimbabwean government in his bid to ward off rebels challenging his regime, a
United Nations report released this week shows. It also reveals that a
joint-venture company linked to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces helped itself to
some of the Congo's richest mines. A panel of experts commissioned by the UN
Security Council to probe the plunder of resources in the DRC said Zimbabwean
companies and decision-makers benefited from the scheme. The report said other
allied forces in the DRC - Namibia and Angola - financed their war effort in the
Great Lakes region from their defence budgets. "Among all its allies, Zimbabwean
companies and some decision-makers have benefited most from this scheme," the
report states. The report says Zimbabwe received "interesting" mining
concessions in the DRC and Zimbabwean companies, using their influence with the
DRC government, developed business partnerships with private companies and
"The panel has enough elements and evidence to suggest that the
government of the DRC under the late President Kabila gave strong incentives in
the form of access, exploitation and management of mineral resources," the
report said. "These incentives in turn convinced the Zimbabwean authorities to
remain engaged in the DRC. The incentives have however been so important that
the whole balance of mining industries is likely to be affected. The question in
the region is which course of action will sidelined companies take in the future
to guarantee their presence in the mining sector?" the report asks.
Zimbabwean politicians and pro-Zanu PF business people have
interests in the mining industry in the Congo but they have often denied their
involvement or have refused to explain the nature of the transactions in the
DRC. It has always been the contention of the Zimbabwe authorities that the
intervention in the DRC had nothing to do with the quest to exploit the mineral
wealth of that country. Instead it was portrayed as a legitimate cause to
restore the sovereignty of that country. The investigating team had problems
obtaining information from the Zimbabwean authorities who were described as
The UN report chronicles Zimbabwe's business ventures in the
DRC. Zimbabwe is involved in Sengamines through a private company, Operation
Sovereign Legitimacy (Osleg) whose shareholders are army supremo General Vitalis
Zvinavashe, former Defence permanent secretary Job Whabira, Onesimo Moyo of the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and Isiah Ruzengwe of the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation. The company entered into a partnership with the
late Kabila's company Comiex to form Cosleg. "Through Cosleg, Zimbabwe (Zanu PF)
could exploit and market minerals, timber and other resources of the DRC," the
"Reliable sources told the panel that a Zimbabwean delegation
headed by the Minister of Justice, Emmerson Mnangagwa, visited the Kasai region
to see the various mining concessions given by the late Kabila to Zimbabwe
Defence Forces as barter payment for its military support," the report says. The
panel heard that the Zimbabweans did not have the financial resources and
technical expertise to exploit the mining concessions. Zimbabwe then invited an
Oman-based company - Oryx Natural Resources - to offer support. The marriage
resulted in the birth of Oryx Zimcon, which then formed another joint venture
Instead of selecting one of the various mines belonging to
Cosleg to start its investment, Oryx Zimcon wanted the best mines which
initially belonged to Congolese mining parastatal Miba. "At the request of the
ZDF and on the advice of ministers Victor Mpoyo and Mwenze Kongolo, the late
president transferred two of Miba's richest concessions - the Kimberlite
deposits in Tshibua and alluvial deposits in the Senga Senga River - to Oryx
Zimcon. Oryx Zimcon and Cosleg together created Sengamines," the UN report says.
The report further states: "The ease with which the Tshibua and Senga Senga
River concessions were given to Oryx without due regard of the legal
requirements and the preferential treatment given to Oryx show the determination
of the former government of the DRC to reward some of its
Harare - The spacious house set in a quiet
street lined with pine trees appears an unlikely base for a terror campaign. But
a notorious henchman of President Mugabe has been installed in a government
property in a smart area of Zimbabwe's capital and has begun systematically
intimidating the neighbourhood. Joseph Chinotimba, who styles himself "commander
in chief of white farm invasions" and is awaiting trial for attempted murder, is
a new arrival in Harare's pleasant suburb of Marlborough.
His presence in Loughborough Road is
betrayed by the gangs of youths wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Mr Mugabe's
face who loiter on street corners near the house they call "base camp". Mr
Chinotimba, 48, was an obscure security guard working for Harare city council.
But he has become a key figure in the ruling Zanu-PF party. He helped mastermind
the violent occupation of more than 1,700 white-owned farms last year. During
the parliamentary election campaign, Mr Chinotimba led the shock troops of the
Mugabe regime in an onslaught against the opposition MDC that claimed 37 lives
and secured a narrow victory for Zanu-PF. Yet the countryside bore the brunt of
the intimidation and every seat in Harare fell to the MDC.
Mr Chinotimba owes his sudden prominence to
Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, leader of the War Veterans' Association. The
president's chief rabble-rouser ensured that Mr Chinotimba was elected political
commissar of Zanu-PF's Harare branch and ordered him to carry the terror
campaign against the MDC into the capital. Now Mr Chinotimba has been deployed
there and ordered to bring its citizens into line, using the same violent
methods, before the presidential election due next year. Marlborough is a
racially-mixed area and his new home was once a government orphanage. It is now
packed with thuggish henchmen who share his fanatical loyalty to the
Judith Moyo, a local resident, described
seeing her new neighbours last Sunday at 6am. She said: "I saw about 100 men
marching down the road in four ranks. They were chanting Zanu-PF slogans. I was
terrified because I know what these guys can do." Mr Chinotimba left his last
home after allegedly shooting his next door neighbour, whom he had accused of
supporting the MDC, and leaving her seriously injured. Both of his immediate
neighbours in Loughborough Road have already fled. Miss Moyo said: "We are all
living in fear. We cannot even talk freely in our own homes. We hear
Chinotimba's men shouting and chanting all the time. When the presidential
election comes, they will be after us. They are starting to rig that election
From The Daily News, 19 April
30 village heads defy war vets to
attend MDC rallies
Buhera - About village heads and headmen in Buhera South defied
threats by war veterans to attend an MDC rally addressed by party leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, at which he called for change. The government recently raised
traditional leaders’ monthly allowances and promised them other perks, including
construction of roads to chiefs’ homesteads. But dozens of village heads and
headmen from Buhera South defied intimidation from Zanu PF activists to attend
the rallies addressed by Tsvangirai on Tuesday and yesterday.
Among those who attended the meetings at Muzokomba and Manhuru
townships near Murambinda growth point was Chief Muzokomba. "This is a positive
development," Tsvangirai told The Daily News. "People are being converted,
especially the elderly." Tsvangirai observed that village elders had borne the
brunt of political violence and intimidation in the run-up to the June
parliamentary election and their votes were crucial. "They have the power in
their vote to change the leadership," he said. "Mugabe does not hold the destiny
of this country in his hands."
Government critics say the new perks for traditional leaders,
announced by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, Ignatius Chombo, in Mutare, were designed to gain support for Zanu PF
ahead of next year’s presidential poll. Tsvangirai was in Buhera South and
Buhera North constituencies held by Kumbirai Kangai and Kenneth Manyonda of Zanu
PF respectively. Kangai’s rural home is at Dyarima, about seven kilometres from
Manhuru township where Tsvangirai addressed a meeting yesterday.
The traditional leaders’ presence at the gatherings, comes
barely three weeks after acting headman Garepi Chirozva of Kandenga area was
allegedly stripped of his symbolic badge by ex-combatants who accused him of not
urging his people to attend a Zanu PF meeting in the area. Chirozva is the elder
brother to Chief Nyashanu. The war veterans still have the badge and the matter
is expected to be discussed before local district administration officials on 15
May. Police, fearing clashes between the ruling party’s activists and MDC
supporters, maintained a heavy presence at the Muzokomba rally. However, the
police were conspicuous by their absence at Manhuru where an alleged war veteran
produced a knife and threatened to disrupt the gathering. But he was overpowered
by MDC youths and chased away.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 20
Mujuru stalls CIO
Former Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), retired
General Solomon Mujuru, long believed to be a power broker behind the scenes,
has again flexed his muscles to prevent the axing of CIO boss Rtd Brigadier
Elisha Muzonzini from the spy agency, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt. It
was Mujuru who recommended to President Mugabe the appointment of both Muzonzini
and his deputy, Happyton Bonyongwe, in November 1998 after then director-general
Shadreck Chipanga and his deputy Lovemore Mukandi, were fired.
The Independent reported in February that Muzonzini was due to
leave the spy agency by the end of March. His removal was reportedly
masterminded by the defence forces supremo, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, with the
concurrence of Vice-President Simon Muzenda. Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United
Nations, Tichaona Jokonya, had been tipped to take over from Muzonzini. Sources
said there had been a clash between Mujuru and Zvinavashe over Muzonzini’s
removal, with both wanting to influence the appointments of new CIO
It is understood Mujuru told Mugabe at a meeting last week that
the axing of Muzonzini would have serious repercussions for state security and
the survival of Zanu PF. Mujuru said Muzonzini had sharpened the intelligence
network ahead of the crucial 2002 presidential election. The meeting was
reportedly attended by Air Marshal Perence Shiri, Secretary to the Cabinet
Charles Utete, Muzonzini and Bonyongwe. Minister of State for Information
Jonathan Moyo, whom the Independent understands was also present at the Zimbabwe
House meeting, was later asked to excuse himself from the deliberations. Mujuru
yesterday denied having anything to do with the matter. He referred the
Independent instead to the two CIO directors involved.
However, it is understood Mujuru had been approached by
Muzonzini to seek his backing on the impending purge which had targeted the top
echelons of the organisation. Mujuru then sought an immediate audience with
Mugabe to express his reservations about axing Muzonzini and an accompanying
purge at Chaminuka Building, the spy agency’s headquarters. Intelligence sources
told the Independent that Mugabe was noncommittal at the meeting. "He just said
he had heard their concerns and would look into the matter," a source said. The
sources told the Independent that clandestine operations, masterminded by both
Muzonzini and Bonyongwe, were underway in the CIO in preparation for the
presidential election. The nature of the preparations were however not clear. It
was argued by Mujuru that in the light of the "preparations", Muzonzini should
stay. "The presidential election is the most crucial election in the history of
the party. The CIO is going to play a pivotal role and Mujuru argued that
intelligence officers should not be shuffled like a deck of cards, especially
towards the election," the source said.
Minister of State Security Nicholas Goche was reported to be in
a marathon of meetings yesterday when the Independent made inquiries about the
developments within the CIO. Muzonzini was reportedly out of town and Bonyongwe
did not return calls. Contacted for comment, Mujuru said the Independent should
seek a comment from the president on the matter. Asked about the meeting over
the fate of both Muzonzini and Bonyongwe, Mujuru referred the paper to the two
CIO directors saying they would be in a better position to comment. "Ko iniwo
ndinopindawo papi ipapa? Handizvizivi (Where do I come in? I know nothing about
that"), Mujuru said before switching off his cellphone.
From The Financial Gazette, 19
"ZANU PF after
Edgar Tekere, the firebrand former secretary-general of ZANU
PF, has confirmed that Vice President Joseph Msika invited him to rejoin the
governing party at a ceremony in Mount Darwin at the weekend and blasted
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as a liar. Tekere told the Financial Gazette
by telephone from his Mutare home yesterday that Msika had indeed "invited and
urged me to rejoin ZANU PF", the party he left in a huff in 1988. President
Robert Mugabe sacked the former guerrilla leader, at the time ZANU PF’s second
most powerful politician, for persistently criticising his policies. Tekere
later formed the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM), an opposition party which made a
feeble attempt to dislodge ZANU PF during the 1995 general election. He quit ZUM
last year and immediately announced his retirement from active politics. Since
then there have been numerous attempts - most of them from senior ZANU PF
politicians from his home-land of Manicaland such as Didymus Mutasa - to try to
lure him back into the ruling party.
Yesterday Tekere charged that Moyo was a "liar and a mad
person" after the minister denied that Msika had invited him to rejoin ZANU PF
at the ceremony in Mount Darwin. "Maybe these people in ZANU PF were annoyed
that the reports said Msika begged me to rejoin the party," said Tekere. "In
fact, it was an invitation and Msika urged me to rejoin, he did not beg me."
Speaking in Shona, Tekere said he had seen Moyo’s statement and was convinced
that "the minister is mad". He refused to comment further on Msika’s invitation.
Msika is reported to have invited Tekere back into the governing party last
Saturday saying: "Let’s bury our differences and work together. Look around you,
the country you fought for is about to go to the whites." Moyo has denied that
Msika ever made such remarks, blasting the Daily News which published the report
on the vice president’s speech earlier this week. Msika was not available for
From The Financial Gazette, 19
Thousands left stranded at National
Thousands of people bussed into Harare from nearby towns by the
ruling ZANU PF party to attend Wednesday’s main independence celebrations in the
capital were left stranded after they failed to get transport back home. ZANU PF
hired a fleet of ZUPCO buses to transport people from within Harare and the
surrounding towns to attend the independence celebrations addressed by President
Robert Mugabe at the National Sports Stadium. After the celebrations in the
evening, thousands of people milled around the stadium complaining of lack of
transport. Many of the buses which had ferried them to the stadium in the
morning were nowhere to be seen.
Stalin Mau-Mau, the ruling party’s information head for Harare
province, said yesterday it was possible that some people experienced
transportation problems after the event because "there were many people who had
to be ferried back to their homes". Mau-Mau, who estimated the crowd at the
stadium at 50 000, said however not all the people were ferried to the stadium,
saying about half used their own means to attend the celebrations marking
Zimbabwe’s 21st independence anniversary. "Hosting a big occasion like that you
are bound to have some hiccups and some people might have experienced transport
problems back home, but all in all the event was a resounding success," he told
the Financial Gazette.
ZANU PF, seeking to bolster the attendance at the celebrations
which for years have been boycotted by members of the public, ferried people
from Harare’s high-density suburbs, Chitungwiza, Norton, Bindura and other
outlying towns. Hundreds of school children were brought in from all the
country’s provinces. The organising committee headed by Education Minister
Samuel Mumbengegwi ordered the stadium’ s gates to be locked at 1 pm to ensure
that many people were seated ahead of Mugabe’s speech and not to come in later
to watch a free soccer match, the main attraction of the celebrations. ZANU PF
officials alleged sabotage by its enemies after a power failure, common in
Zimbabwe these days, forced Mugabe to delay delivery of his speech. After the
celebrations, a group of ZANU PF youths stormed the VIP section looking for
party officials from Harare province demanding payment of $1 500 allowances
which they had been promised.
In Bulawayo, ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo was
embarrassed by the low turnout at the White City Stadium as well as the failure
by the organisers of the celebrations to provide a public address system. Party
officials at the stadium attributed the chaotic celebrations to acts of sabotage
by supporters of the opposition MDC allegedly working for the Bulawayo City
Council, which hosted the celebrations. But David Ndlovu, the acting mayor of
the city, rejected the charge. "Somebody has to explain what happened but it is
wrong to blame my council and officials," he said. "In any case, my council does
not provide the public address system, which is the responsibility of the
ministry of information. That’s where the buck stops," he added. ZANU PF
officials from the Bulawayo province were heard publicly chiding each other
about the poor organisation and low attendance. "This is chaotic and heads must
roll in the Bulawayo ZANU PF province," said Sainet Dube, a ZANU PF councillor
and a member of the celebrations’ organising committee.
From the MDC, 19
Red card carriers
On 18 April, at least 189 MDC youths were assaulted and
detained overnight without any food by the Zimbabwe Republic Police for carrying
red cards in their pockets. They were arrested in the morning as they sought to
enter the National Sports Stadium to celebrate Zimbabwe’s independence. This
morning they were released upon being forced to sign admission of guilt forms.
Their crime was pencilled down as "Conduct likely to provoke the breach of
peace". Some were subjected to brutal attacks by police officers, who used
clenched fists and baton sticks against the youths while in custody. The youths
were packed in groups of 33 per cell which was designed to accommodate only six
people. It is significant that this arrest took place on independence day as it
underlines the fact that the people of Zimbabwe continue to lose rights to a
wide range of freedoms. Has carrying small plastic cards now become a criminal
The Zimbabwe Independent, 20 April
No Independence celebrations for
As Zimbabweans from all walks of life marked 21 years of
Independence on Wednesday, David Olds, whose brother was murdered by war
veterans on Independence Day last year, has questioned why he should attend the
festivities when government is fighting commercial farmers. Olds’ mother was
also shot dead last month. "Why should I go?" asked Olds this week. "We are
‘enemies of the state’ and those were Mr Mugabe’s words. What celebration is
there when they killed my brother a year ago on Independence Day?" In Bulawayo,
acting executive mayor David Ndlovu kicked off the celebrations calling for
whites to play their part in the commemoration of Zimbabwe’s Independence. "We
have invited them but if they do not heed the call what can we do?" Ndlovu asked
after celebrations at White City stadium attended by about 5 000 people.
Nyamandlovu rancher Martin Olds (42) was killed in a shoot-out with armed war
veterans on his farm on April 18 last year.
"The land is no longer an issue because government has been
offered payment for it," said David Olds. "I am a Zimbabwean and I love my
country. The only problem is that I have a white skin and happen to be
associated with farming." Olds said the land issue had been so politicised that
even if the British government offered payment - in pounds sterling – for the
farms, President Mugabe would spurn the offer. "I do not support the MDC or Zanu
PF. I am apolitical," said Olds, whose mother Gloria was gunned down at her
Nyamandlovu homestead last month.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 20
US court to hear Mugabe
A New York district court will on Monday hear arguments on why
the US should not grant President Robert Mugabe immunity from prosecution in a
civil case filed by victims of political violence in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe
Independent has learnt. The State Department had granted Mugabe immunity on the
basis of his being a head of state. The applicants - Elliot Pfebve, Agnes
Chiminya, Evelyn Masaiti and Maria Stevens - have argued that the immunity was
not valid considering the gravity of the allegations Mugabe was facing in
Zimbabwe. Spokesperson for the applicants Topper Whitehead said that their
lawyers, Cooper, Carvin and Rosenthal, based in Washington DC, filed the papers
and would be arguing the case before Judge Victor Marerro in the southern
district of New York. "In response to the US State Department suggestion of
immunity, we have prepared a valid and very strong argument on why he (Mugabe)
should not be granted immunity from some of the worst political crimes committed
in the country," Whitehead said.
Pfebve lost his brother in pre-election violence that
characterised the June parliamentary election. He was allegedly killed by Zanu
PF supporters in Mt Darwin. Chiminya’s husband, Tichaona, was killed by a petrol
bomb allegedly thrown by a CIO operative, identified in the High Court as Joseph
Mwale, and a war veteran identified as Cainos Tomu Kitsiyatota Zimunya. Stevens
lost her husband, David, a commercial farmer after he was shot and killed by war
veterans. Masaiti’s in-laws homestead was burnt to ashes. The applicants are
claiming US$45 million from Mugabe as compensation. "These are punitive damages
for murder. You cannot put a price on the life of human being," Whitehead said.
Stevens told the Independent that the applicants were demanding compensation
from Mugabe to help victims of political violence orchestrated in the run-up to
last year's parliamentary election.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 20
Zim investments safe, says
The DRC government recently assured Zimbabwean investors in the
Kasai province that their businesses were safe and that there would be no riots
against Zimbabwean companies in the region. A recent issue of the pro-government
French- language newspaper l’Avenir said outgoing DRC Justice and Parliamentary
Affairs Minister Mwenze Kongolo had given an assurance that the Senga Senga
population near Mbuji-Mayi would not rise against Zimbabwe’s exploitation of
diamonds in the Kasai Province. Zimbabwe is involved in a joint venture company
with the Congolese government to mine diamonds in the mineral-rich province.
Apart from diamond mining, there are also Zimbabweans in the retail business in
Kongolo said the mining initiative was meant to develop the
South-South co-operation agreement signed between the two countries in December.
Sources in the DRC said the politically-charged atmosphere in the Senga Senga
area had threatened the exploitation of the diamond reserves by Sengamines - in
which Zimbabwe was a partner. Last month the governor of Kasai Oriental
province, where the Sengamines deposits were located, Paul Kabongo Misasa, was
fired on allegations that he was inciting the Kasaians against Zimbabwe’s
involvement in the mining of diamonds in the province. Sources in the DRC said
Kabongo Misasa had quarrelled with Senga-mines boss Jean-Charles Okoto
Lolakombe, a former foreign affairs minister, with the latter accusing the
governor of harbouring anti-Zimbabwe sentiments.
Despite the assurances, analysts said, the tension could remain
as the Kasai people had repeatedly complained they had not been benefiting from
the exploitation of resources in their region. Last year, Kasaians alleged that
Zimbabwean troops in the province were put on full alert to deal with any
protest against foreign involvement in the diamond mining sector. There was also
the question of the location of the Sengamines headquarters in Kinshasa, which
the people of Mbuji-Mayi said was unfair as this entailed the translocation of
riches to the capital. Analysts said there was now a real danger that Zimbabwe
would become embroiled in the ethnic politics of the DRC. "Beyond the current
conflict, the main question deriving from this situation is whether Zimbabwe can
sustain diamond operations in such a politically charged environment," Mukeba
Lufuluabo, a Congolese analyst based in the United
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is appealing for
financial contributions to enable the party to effectively campaign for
democratic change in Zimbabwe. The forthcoming Presidential Elections will
require considerable resources and effort from the MDC. The formidable
challenges prevailing in Zimbabwe call for the sustained and committed
participation of all people who value the return to democracy and law and
order in Zimbabwe.
Consider that Zimbabwean politicians have made the
following statements: "Those who support MDC must watch out because death
will befall them" - Mugabe 16/3/2000 "We will move door to door killing
like we did Chiminya. I am the minister responsible for defence therefore I
am capable of killing" - Mahachi 2/6/2000 "Those who do not understand
must be beaten until they do understand" - Mahachi 2/6/2000
has launched an online donation facility on the official MDC website www.mdczimbabwe.com. This is a secure and
confidential facility. We respectfully ask you to consider making a donation
online in support of the MDC's initiatives.
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