Harare - Nigeria is being used by Britain as a conduit to
bankroll Zimbabwe's main opposition in a bid to unseat President Robert's
Mugabe's government in next year's legislative elections, a state-owned paper
said on Sunday. The Sunday Mail reported that Nigeria, through its diplomats
in Harare, had promised the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at
least Z$200-million for the March 2005 electoral campaign. The promise
reportedly was made at a meeting between top MDC officials, including its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Nigerian embassy officials in the capital on
July 28. Under Zimbabwe law, political parties are prohibited from accepting
funds from foreign donors. The MDC rejected the allegations, denying ever
meeting Nigerian officials in Zimbabwe. "The allegation is completely without
any merit," said MDC spokesperson William Bango. Relations between Zimbabwe
and Nigeria have soured in recent months - especially after Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to invite Mugabe to last December's
Commonwealth summit in Abuja and backed the decision to prolong Zimbabwe's
suspension from the Commonwealth. Tensions are also high with former colonial
ruler Britain over Zimbabwe's land reform program that saw thousands of
white farmers evicted from their land that was handed to landless blacks.
Some of the evicted white farmers have been given farmland in Kwara state
of Nigeria. "It is believed that these farmers have been instrumental
in securing British funding for the MDC, which is being channelled
through Nigeria," said the pro-government Sunday Mail. "Some of the farmers
are known to be hardcore MDC supporters and financiers who are also linked
to British intelligence," said the weekly paper. Nigerian embassy officials
in Harare were not immediately available for comment on Sunday.
Reform education to fight imperial propaganda: Mugabe
09, 2004, 16:47
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, today declared
that the country needs to change its educational curriculum to fight
propaganda of imperialists and reflect the country's national
At the commemoration of National Heroes today at the national
shrine he welcomed members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) that have defected to ZANU-PF. Under a new banner Sekesai Makwavarara,
the Harare mayor, has grabbed the limelight by crossing the floor, in time
for upcoming elections. The mayor says she quit the MDC because of bad
"Government continues to review the teaching syllabi in order
to ensure that the graduates of our education system are patriotic and loyal
Zimbabweans. We have noticed that in the past we were producing graduates at
university levels who in fact became enemies of the revolutionary struggle if
our institutions have the capacity to produce enemies they are ill-equipped
and should not exist," Mugabe says.
Not even my relatives will escape - Mugabe ††††††††† August 09
2004 at 04:40PM
††††† Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed
Monday that his seven-month-old anti-corruption crackdown would not spare his
††††† "We want to get our country completely rid of
corruption, we will get the financial sector cleansed of corruption, of those
who want to make money not tomorrow, not even today, but yesterday, those who
want to use crookish methods to enrich themselves," Mugabe said.
"So when government descends on corrupt characters, rogues among us, don't
cry when we arrest your relative who is a rogue, even if it's
Mugabe's relatives, he will be arrested if he is a crook," said Mugabe at a
ceremony to honour veterans of the liberation war against former colonial
††††† Mugabe's anti-corruption drive, launched in
January, has seen the arrest of prominent officials including finance
minister Chris Kuruneri, who is in custody on charges of illegally dealing in
††††† A provincial chairman of the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), James Makamba, was arrested
in February on similar charges.
††††† Several business executives have
been arrested, including 13 directors of a Zanu-PF company, while a number of
banking chiefs have fled, most of them to Britain.
††††† Zimbabwe has
over the past four years experienced severe shortages of foreign currency,
which the government blamed on a black market for hard cash.
black market developed because the official rate of exchange was kept for
years at 824 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar, way below the street rate of
around 6 000 to one.
††††† Foreign currency supplies have however
improved on the official market this year following the introduction of
regular auctions, where hard cash is exchanged at 5 600 to the US dollar. -
††††††††† HARARE, Aug. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe said here on Monday that the parliament has passed the bill to
establish Lupane State University, which will bring the total number of
state universities in Zimbabwe to eight.
††††††††† "In its initial
phase, the university's thrust will mainly revolve around the areas of
agricultural sciences, in line with the country's focus on agriculture as the
lifeblood of our economy," said the president, who spoke at the heroes
commemoration at theHeroes Acre in Harare.
††††††††† Mugabe lambasted
college graduates who, after completion of their studies, became enemies of
††††††††† "We have noticed that in the past we were producing
graduates at secondary and university levels who became enemies of the
revolutionary struggle. If our institutions have capacity to produce enemies
of the struggle they don't deserve to exist," saidMugabe.
said the government had not only increased access to education and training
at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, but had made remarkable strides in
improving the quality of such tuition, making the Zimbabwean education system
the envy of the sub-region and the world.
††††††††† Mugabe said the
government would continue to review the teaching syllabi in order to ensure
that the graduates were patriotic and loyal Zimbabweans.
pursuance of an education system that produces highly competent and globally
competitive Zimbabweans, the government hasset up systems to upgrade
polytechnics to degree awarding institutions," he said. Enditem
11:00 - 09 August 2004 ††††† Victim: Zimbabwean farmer Terry Ford's terrier
lies next to his body after he was murdered in 2002 Two years ago the WMN
highlighted the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans under the brutal regime of
Robert Mugabe. As London Editor Jason Groves reports, the situation today is
even worse - and the world appears not to want to listen
O'Dea is not happy. In fact, she's spitting blood, having spent the morning
trying to help a black Zimbabwean farmer extend his visa, only for him to be
arrested for visa fraud.
††††† "He's the victim of a visa scam by the
Mugabe Government," she raged. "They use it to raise money for the regime and
there are loads of people caught up in it. It makes me so
††††† The rights and wrongs of this particular case are going to
take some time to sort out. But Kathleen has good reason to be angry with
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF regime.
††††† Two years ago, the WMN
highlighted her case when, unable to take any more "dead bodies and
intimidation", she fled to the Westcountry. On one occasion, she says, she
was held hostage by Mugabe's henchmen at the farm of her friend Roy Bennett,
an MP with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Outside, Mr
Bennett's farm workers were "beaten to a pulp".
††††† The WMN also ran
extracts from the gritty, but inspirational prison diary of another friend,
Shane Kidd, who suffered beatings and inhuman conditions after lending his
support to the MDC. The articles generated a considerable public response
and, two years on, Kathleen says she feels stronger - although no less angry
- as she works to highlight the brutality and corruption of the Mugabe
††††† "The articles in the WMN gave me the confidence to fight
this," she said. "At the time I could not trust anyone - I had become
dysfunctional because of the trauma I had suffered.
††††† "Mugabe has
sacrificed one generation; now he is sacrificing another - I am fighting for
these children whose hair is turning orange from malnutrition."
Later this year Kathleen will deliver a "torture document" to Downing Street
in yet another attempt to shame the UK Government into action. The document,
containing graphic pictures from the 82 "massacres" allegedly conducted by
the Mugabe regime, is designed to shock.
††††† "This is the annihilation
of my race," Kathleen said. "Whether black or white, I'm a
††††† There is little doubt that Zimbabwe is a mess. Robert
Mugabe's regime has resorted to increasing levels of violence and
intimidation to cling on to power. Allegations of corruption are rife. Under
the controversial "land reform" programme, white farmers and their workers
have been evicted from the once rich farmlands of Zimbabwe, which are now
derelict. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, are starving. No one knows
how many have been killed.
††††† Many campaigners believe the UK, as
the former colonial power, has a unique responsibility towards the Zimbabwean
people. There is little love lost between the UK Government and Mugabe's
regime. But campaigners are furious that ministers will not do more, or even
say more, to bring about change - failing even to ban an England cricket tour
to Zimbabwe later this year.
††††† Even the EU's travel ban on Mugabe,
his ministers and officials has failed to prevent the regime promoting
itself. Last year Mugabe visited Paris at the invitation of the French
President, Jacques Chirac.
††††† Earlier this year campaigners were left
deeply frustrated by the Government's refusal to block a tour of the UK by
Gideon Gono, who in the past was Mugabe's personal banker. Mr Gono, now head
of Zimbabwe's central bank, was in the UK hoping to persuade Zimbabwean
expats to send money home through official channels. Although he is not a
member of the ruling Zanu-PF, many campaigners suspected he was fund-raising
for the regime and should be banned. The Government, however, said he was not
on the list of banned officials and could not be added at short
††††† This from a Government led by a Prime Minister who
described Africa as "a scar on the conscience of the world". It leaves
††††† "How many people have to be killed before we
speak out?" Kathleen demanded. "How many children have to be starved? How
many women have to be raped?"
††††† She is not alone. Andy Woodruff
spent a couple of years running a back-packing lodge in the Chimanimani
region of Zimbabwe in the late 1990s, where he came to know Roy Bennett.
Returning to Zimbabwe last year, he was horrified by what he
††††† "Zimbabwe is a forgotten story," he said. "If it was minus
ten two or three years ago, it is minus infinity now - it is
††††† "When I went back last year I came across quite a few
people I knew well enough. Some were still trying to cling to the last
vestiges of decency, but with others, when I looked into their eyes I just
saw a hollow space. They were just doing whatever they had to do to survive -
their spirit had been drained from them."
††††† Andy has helped set up
a new UK organisation, People B4 Politics, to support the hundreds of
thousands of Zimbabweans thought to be living here. He reckons there could be
as many as one million Zimbabweans in Britain, mostly black and often living
on the margins of society. Many are paranoid about the suspected presence of
Mugabe spies in the UK and the possible impact on their families at home if
they are caught doing, or saying, the wrong things.
††††† "No one
knows how many are here," he said. "Most of them get lost in the Government
system of cases and appeals and benefits.
††††† "They are trusting people
but they are simply not equipped to survive over here. Often they get pushed
into crime - working in the black market, prostitution or other crime. They
get pushed underground.
††††† "Virtually ever Zimbabwean wants to go
back. We want to give people some support, provide somewhere for them to talk
and help people get an education so that if they do go back they go back with
††††† The education element is important. Andy, who retains
a sense of optimism despite the gloomy situation, reckons the country could
provide a role model for other troubled African states if Mugabe can be
removed and the people given a chance.
††††† "If Zimbabwe can recover
from this situation with the principles of democracy put back in place then
it will fire a broadside across the bows of every other African leader," he
said. "People will feel emboldened to stand up to their
††††† It remains a big if. Andy and others concerned by the
situation in Zimbabwe are doing what they can to persuade our politicians,
and the media, to acknowledge the problem at all. But the only Zimbabwe story
to make the news here this year has been cricket.
matters in Zimbabwe, not least because Mugabe uses the visits of overseas
teams as an opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Recently there have
been allegations of political interference and "racial and
ethnic discrimination" in team selection, with the sacking of the captain,
Heath Streak, and the departure of virtually all the top
††††† But a planned series of one-day matches against England is
still scheduled, despite widespread concern about the message it would
††††† Andy Woodruff says that although the publicity surrounding
the row about the cricket tour is welcome, the issue itself is a
"diversion" ignoring the fact that millions of Zimbabwean are starving to
††††† Although many British politicians from all points of the
political spectrum are concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe, few have
††††† Neil Parish, Tory MEP for the South West, has
tabled numerous resolutions in the European Parliament and will join Kathleen
O'Dea when the "torture document" is handed to Downing Street.
The MEP has been energised about the situation in Zimbabwe since acting as an
EU observer in the 2000 elections, which were marred by government-backed
violence. But he concedes that there are few solutions that will not effect
those already suffering.
††††† "We need smart sanctions against Mugabe
and his regime - stop them travelling abroad, freeze their overseas assets,
make them hurt," he said.
††††† He also recognises the difficulty of
forcing Zimbabwe on to the agenda in a world suffering from compassion
fatigue - particularly when Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and others are making
their own claims on the world's compassion.
††††† "The situation is
worse than ever," Mr Parish added. "There are huge problems with food now, it
is not just the white farmers who have gone, the black farm workers have been
driven off as well and there is no one left who knows how to
††††† "Mugabe and his Zanu-PF have got hold of what food there is,
and unless you are a paid-up member of the party you do not get fed,"
he continued. "It is dire, but the tragedy for Zimbabwe is that the
world's attention always seems to be drawn away to somewhere where the
situation is even worse. We just have to keep plugging away, because Zimbabwe
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa
has warned white farmers who have resettled from neighbouring Zimbabwe that
they will be thrown out if they use speech that is deemed to be racist, a
state-run newspaper reported on Monday.
Mwanawasa, who was touring the
Mkushi farming bloc in central Zambia where most Zimbabwean farmers have
resettled, advised them to quickly learn how to cohabit with Zambians working
on their farms, it said.
He said certain words used to rebuke wrongdoers
carried racial overtones when used by white people against locals, the
state-run Zambia Daily Mail reported.
"In Britain you can tell [Prime
Minister Tony] Blair 'go to hell' but if you tell [Zambia's Agriculture
Minister Mundia] Sikatana 'go to hell' you will be deported," Mwanawasa was
quoted as saying.
The president however told the farmers his government
would not seize any of their property or farms if they were acquired
About 125 Zimbabwean white farmers have settled in Zambia,
according to unofficial figures.
Zambian Land Minister Judith
Kapijimpanga recently announced that Lusaka had not allocated any land to
white Zimbabwean farmers but they had bought the land from locals.
2000, Zimbabwe embarked on the controversial reform programme to
acquire millions of hectares of land from whites and redistribute it to
About 4 500 white farmers owned 70% of prime farmland in the
country, but now only around 500 remain as many have resettled in Zambia,
Mozambique, Uganda and Nigeria or have moved to Australia or New Zealand. -
††††† In his latest outburst at the United States and Britain,
President Robert Mugabe said the reasons for the invasion of Iraq were
nothing but lies.
††††† "Those who were telling lies about there being
weapons of mass destruction knew they were telling lies," Mugabe said in a
speech to commemorate guerrillas who died in Zimbabwe's 1972-80 war of
††††† Mugabe has repeatedly claimed that Britain and the
United States are working clandestinely to bring down his government and that
their interference is behind the political and economic chaos in
††††† He claims that the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change is bankrolled by British officials angered by the seizure of thousands
of white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans - charges
denied by both.
††††† The land reform programme, which Mugabe says is
aimed at redressing colonial injustices, has plunged the country into its
worst political and economic turmoil since independence from Britain in
††††† The country has experienced widespread political violence
and intimidation. Annual inflation hovers around 400%, and there are
critical shortages of basic goods.
Reporter Last updated: 08/09/2004 23:58:05 OUTSPOKEN Zimbabwe Archbishop
Pius Ncube, says he is not scared or intimidated by threats on his person
by senior politicians in the country and will continue speaking out against
any injustice in the troubled Southern African nation.
after President Mugabe on Friday intensified his attacks on the him while
addressing mourners at the funeral of former governor Mark Dube. Mugabe
accused the eminent cleric of joining hands with the former colonial power
Britain in a "satanic" double effort to oust him from power.
never have gone to Britain to invite Blair to please come and invade his
motherland, in the same satanic way Archbishop Pius Ncube and his opposition
colleagues are doing repeatedly today," Mugabe blasted.
said he was prepared to die defending the rights of the voiceless in the
"People are suffering and as long as they continue suffering Iam
going to talk," Ncube said. "I can't stop talking because it is a God given
duty that the Church must talk when people are suffering."
He said he
would not be deterred and frightened by any threats coming from politicians
and the state media.
"I have been attacked and ridiculed in the state
media and politicians are saying I always make political statements but the
truth is that as the church we shall always talk when there is injustice
around us," Ncube said."People are dying yet the government continues lying
saying there is enough food in the country and millions of people have been
forced to flee the country due to violence and poor
Archbishop Ncube also spoke about his alleged snub on
President Mugabe when he failed to turn up for a scheduled meeting with the
80-year-old leader in Bulawayo last month.
"The suggestion that I
snubbed Mugabe is unfounded since I was informed of the meeting a day
before by Governor Obert Mpofu but I requested that the meeting be held in
the afternoon," said Ncube. "I was shocked to be phoned at one oclock in
the afternoon and told that the President could not wait further for
President Mugabe had been waiting at State House for more than an
hour and Ncube did not turn up.
Archbishop Ncube has been vocal
against Mugabe's regime since the 1980's when more than 20 000 civilians from
the Ndebele minority tribe where butchered by a special army unit trained by
the North Koreans.
The cleric said it was unfortunate that he could not
cancel an earlier church service he was billed to address in the morning at
Esigodini,some 100 kilometres from Bulawayo,
"The service was planned
four months ago and could not be cancelled just like that and the planning on
the part of the government officials was poor since I was looking at meeting
with President Mugabe between three and four oclock in the afternoon,"he
Asked whether Mugabe had arranged the meeting to silence him Ncube
said he would never be silenced when people are suffering. He also revealed
that the government, at the height of the farm invansions in 2002, offered
him a commercial farm that he turned down.
Ncube said the government
sent the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo's wife, Johanna Mafuyana, with the
offer but he turned it down.
"MaFuyane came with the offer and said she
had been sent by the government to offer me the farm but I turned the offer
down because I felt that it was not proper to receive such a gift," Ncube
He said the farm he was offered by the government used to belong
to publisher and Zanu PF sympathiser Ibbo Mandaza and is situated in the
Turk Mine of Matabeleland North.
He however said he was still prepared
to talk to President Mugabe since he had already prepared guiding points for
"I am still prepared to meet Mugabe despite his feelings
about me, already there is a team of priests that I was suppossed to take
with me to meet Mugabe, the room for the meeting is still open," said
Staff Reporter Last updated: 08/09/2004 22:17:35 THE battle for the
control of Zanu PF has sucked in Lovemore Mataire, the editor of the party
mouthpiece, the Voice who has gone into the trenches on the side of a growing
army fighting the powerful Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
has launched an unprecedented attack on President Robert Mugabe's spin
doctor, describing him as "suffering from a serious megalomania disease (and)
trying to cover up for the time he was on the other side of the political
Mataire who is believed to favour the anti-Moyo lobby which has
Zanu PF information supremo Nathan Shamuyarira and national chairman John
Nkomo in its ranks was recently described as "ideologically confused" and
publishing "complete falsities" by Moyo.
"It is appalling that an
editor of an organ of the ruling party can get it so wrong," Moyo railed
following a story in the Voice which made reference to informal talks between
the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition MDC. Moyo has always insisted there
were never any talks, which differs from what Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa has said.
Responding to Moyo's statement, Mataire said he would
never be dissuaded from exposing individuals whose actions in Zanu PF were
contrary to the policies of the party and the government.
interview with ZimDaily, Mataire described Moyo's disruptive tendencies
within the party as "reactionary psychosis".
"These disorders which
persist for the month, at the end, making a mass attack against the ego, and
practically always leaving as their sequel, a weakness which is almost
visible to the naked eye, according to such evidence, the future of such
patients is mortgaged," Mataire blasted.
"People who watching in silence
are not stupid or dummies and those who had skeletons in their cupboards
start to huff and puff before creating unnecessary hullabaloo. Maybe it was
high time somebody stood up and said 'Look, indeed the emperor has no
Moyo, a former critic of Mugabe's government until he was
recruited, has been waging a personal war against his opponents within the
government and Zanu PF using the public media. He is believed to be
positioning himself to succeed President Mugabe when he retires, but his
opponents say he is an "infiltrator and saboteur" and are seeking to clip his
Staff Reporter Last updated: 08/09/2004 23:19:04 ZIMBABWE'S Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo has poured over $100 million in a space of a week in
the Tsholotsho constituency in rural Matabeleland as he intensifies efforts
to buy his way into the people's hearts ahead of key parliamentary elections
Moyo who comes from Tsholotsho, recently made donations
totalling $125 million to various institutions in the constituency where he
has declared himself as the sole Zanu PF candidate long before the party's
primary elections are conducted. It is believed the Zanu PF national chairman
John Nkomo has an interest in the sea.
Moyo donated over 700 blankets
worth $90 million to several health institutions and followed that a day
later with a donation of two computers and a printer worth $22,1 million to
A few days later the minister followed with another
donation of a computer and printer all worth $13 million to Tsholotsho
However questions have arisen on the source of the funds being
doled out by Moyo. Opposition officials want to know if the funds are
personal or state funds.
Sources say the total amount of money Moyo
has spent in the constituency since 2002 could be running into
A former Zanu PF legislator who lost the 2000 parliamentary
election but will now contest in Matabeleland South province said if the
funds were state funds it was unfair for Moyo alone to use the funds to his
"We are soon going to lobby the party's national chairman,
John Nkomo, to investigate where that money is coming from because at the
frequency it is being dished out it definitely can't be personal money and if
it is government money then we should also benefit from the campaign funds,"
said the former MP.
Max Mnkandla, the president of Zimbabwe Liberators
Peace Initiative (ZLPI) said the funds were unlikely to be from government,
adding that if that was the case, then they were ill-gotten
Mnkandla said the people of Tsholotsho had indicated that they
wanted national party chairman, John Nkomo, to represent them in the
2005 parliamentary elections, which explains Moyo's antagonism towards
"The people of Tsholotsho have said they want John Nkomo to stand
for them in Tsholotsho but Jonathan Moyo is bulldozing his way into
the constituency," Mnkandla said.
Mtoliki Sibanda, the opposition MDC
MP for Tsholotsho, urged a probe into Moyo's donations.
"The money he
is dishing out is clearly not his, he is abusing the Presidential coffers by
virtue of being in the President's office but what should be investigated,"
The frequency of Moyo's visists to Tsholotsho have
increased in recent weeks, and so has been his benevolence.
donations made in July, this year alone, Moyo donated medical equipment worth
$28 million before donating 1000 bags of cement worth $40 million to various
schools in the constituency.
He donated a further $2 million to cover
funeral costs for a chief who died in Tsholotsho two months ago.
minister has also established what he termed multi-million dollar scholarship
programme for disadvantaged children in the constituency. Just last week he
launched a football tournament in Tsholotsho to the tune of $15 million using
††††† Streak still pushing player protest 09/08/04 †††††
Former skipper intent on arbitration ††††† Deposed Zimbabwean cricket captain
Heath Streak is determined to push on with his players protest despite the
††††† The rebel players had resigned themselves to
settling their dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) through
arbitration after the re-election of two members of the board.
Ozias Bvute and Max Ebrahim, who have been at the centre of the
rebel player's complaints, retained their seats on the board at the ZCU's
annual meeting on Friday, with Bvute appointed head of marketing and Ebrahim
made convenor of selectors.
††††† "I'm not surprised that Bvute and
Ebrahim are still on the board," former Zimbabwe captain Streak told Reuters.
"It doesn't change my view in terms of what I think needs to be
††††† "For us, it's about going through that process and getting
the best possible resolution to our problems. That's the only way we're going
to solve things."
††††† Zimbabwe were forced to suspend their Test
programme until the end of the year, following ten consecutive losses by
their inexperienced squad who lost 10 consecutive matches to Sri Lanka and
When I grew up in Bulawayo, we were a very poor
family. My father was a rehabilitated alcoholic and my mother was raising a
family of 5 on one salary for most of the time. The first time I owned more
than shorts and shirts and a jersey or two was when I went to College and my
elder brother bought me a blazer. We lived in a government-housing scheme and
our homes were built out of compressed mud with cement plaster. Nothing much
to look at but it was home.
When we first moved there, the district
resembled an urban slum, no fences, broken windows, few gardens and rubbish
in the streets. Then one day we got a notice in the mail - from now on our
rentals would become payments under a new "rent to buy" scheme. In a few
years the place would be ours.
Even though I was only a young teenager I
will never forget the transformation that then took place in front of our
eyes. In a matter of months walls were built, gardens planted and people even
cleaned the streets outside their new gates. Homes were painted, windows
fixed and then even more substantial improvements started to appear. And all
it took was a short letter in the mailbox at the end of the drive.
you look carefully at the satellite images taken of Zimbabwe about 5 years
ago, you can see, almost as if they are painted in, the outlines of the areas
occupied under what is called "communal land tenure". This is because these
areas are almost universally over grazed and exhausted by years of poor
management and exploitive systems of agriculture designed in previous
centuries for an environment where there was always an abundance of empty,
virgin land to be occupied. When you had worked the land for a few years you
simply abandoned your pole and dagga huts and moved a few kilometers to a new
site where in a matter of weeks you could re-establish yourself and grow your
basic needs on virgin soils.
I left home at the age of 17 and went to
work on a farm, then to College and University and eventually I worked as an
economist with the main agricultural marketing organisation in the country. I
spent some years working in the "communal areas" and came to know and respect
the ordinary peasant farmers and their families. I also spent some three
years in an early resettlement scheme where we relocated some 250 000 people
from over grazed and exhausted areas in the country to virgin "State Land" in
the Gokwe District.
As a result of this experience I came to
appreciate the fact that security of tenure - in whatever form you find it,
is the basic key to development. Without it, the activities of men simply
create new and expanded deserts.
I was also alarmed in those days by the
huge disparity in incomes and quality of life between those who enjoyed
security of tenure and those who did not. I warned farming communities that a
barbed wire fence could not protect them from the pressures created by the
crushing poverty of neighbors denied security by the system they lived
Communal land tenure is the norm in Africa and in many countries
that became independent States after a few decades of colonial or settler
rule, the new governments nationalised private land holdings and undermined
the tenure systems introduced by those who had governed before them. In many
cases they extended this principle to all property - not just farmland but
also to industrial and mining activity. The Mulungushi Declaration in Zambia
in 1968 is one such example, the actions of the Mozambique and Angola
governments in 1975 are another. In Zambia, all investment stopped overnight,
farms and industries closed down and became derelict. In Mozambique and
Angola, the action simply compounded the problems created by the forced
flight of hundreds of thousands of the skilled elite that had run the country
It is no accident that Africa has the fastest
growing deserts in the world. The Sahara was once the grain basket of North
Africa and southern Europe. It is now a harsh wilderness of sand and rock. It
expands southwards every year and slowly pushes back the boundaries of the
Savannah lands that Africa is so famous for. The desert in Botswana spreads
slowly outwards into South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. It is no accident
that Africa remains a continent caught in a poverty and hunger trap from
which it seems almost completely unable, despite all the help it gets, to
Subsistence agriculture is just what it says it is - a
subsistence form of economic activity. Where it is conducted under a system
that gives the farmer and his family little or no security, then it also has
the added aspect of being an exploitive system, which will not maintain the
fertility and structures of the soils being used. Such farmers do not
behave irrationally - they farm in their own best interests - but they do
not plough back into their land the resources that are needed to keep
it productive, sowing the seeds of deserts and poverty.
the millions who live under these conditions become open to exploitation - by
everyone. By NGO's and Aid Organisations, by UN Agencies, by political
elite's and warlords and anyone else who has more power on the ground than
the people who live there. Dictators love landless peasants. They love
homeless people in urban slums, they fear people who have security and can
therefore be independent and can oppose their own exploitation by ruthless
and corrupt minorities.
This week we watched helplessly as the Zimbabwe
government continued with its systematic destruction of security of tenure.
Eric Harrison is losing his small farm -- he bought it 30 years ago and only
last year was he finally free of debt. He is 65 and is now being dispossessed
by political thugs financed and sent by senior figures in Zanu PF who are
stealing a Z$3 billion dollar orange crop while the Police watch.† We are
witnessing a hotel resort owner with a 99-year lease on his site, on which he
and his wife have built up a complete infrastructure for tourist visitors and
whose table is well known, being dispossessed by Zanu thugs. They are also
in their 60's and will walk away with nothing. Kondozi farm - 3 000 workers,
5 000 outgrowers, the largest single exporter of fresh vegetables to
Europe. The work of two men - one black, the other white, both Zimbabweans -
now taken over illegally by force. All exports halted and the equipment
being stolen. Billions of dollars of investment have gone down the drain.
The banks left holding billions of dollars of useless debt.
sentiments of those so dispossessed "we will never put our roots down
in Africa again."
"We are a sovereign State" Mugabe thunders at
rallies, yes we all know that - but with sovereignty comes responsibility and
by destroying the security of tenure in Zimbabwe, rather than extending it to
all who seek to make a living from this countries rich resources, he is
undermining the future of every African on the continent. We will all suffer
the consequences of his folly, rich and poor, white black or brown. He
extends his thesis by saying "we are taking back what is ours and was once
taken from us." Yes, but in doing so he is also making all Zimbabweans poorer
and more vulnerable and is tightening his hold on power as a corrupt
and ruthless dictator.
PLEASE RECONSIDER, ZIMBABWE ASKS GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT
AIDS Mon 9 August 2004
††††† HARARE -† Zimbabwe will appeal to the
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to reverse its decision
to withhold funding from the country.
††††† Harare was going to
approach the Global Fund before the August 18 deadline by which such appeals
should be lodged, UNAIDS official Hege Waagan told ZimOnline. UNAIDS is
assisting Zimbabwe with its application for funding from the
††††† Waagan said, 'We feel we have a chance. That's why we are
appealing.' The Global Fund is an international partnership, designed to
attract and manage financial resources to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. It was
launched two years ago by the G8 group of industrialised countries following
a call by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan for the creation of a "war chest"
to ††††† fight HIV-AIDS.
††††† Two years ago Harare successfully
applied for US$14 million from the Fund. The money, however, still has to be
††††† Sources in the donor community said President Robert
Mugabe's and his government's strained relations with the powerful G8
countries may have influenced the Fund not to approve funding for the
††††† The money Zimbabwe is seeking from the Global Fund is to
be used to expand the provision of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs from the 5 000
people receiving ARVs now to about 50 000 people within two
††††† 'The Global Fund money would have made a major difference in
people accessing treatment. Unless we get other funds we won't be able to do
so', Waagan said.
††††† Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV/AIDS
infection rates in the world with 25 percent of its 12 million people
infected with the virus.† At least 2 000 Zimbabweans die of AIDS related
sickness every week. ZimOnline
Mugabe has "reduced once proud Zimbabwean peasants to paupers"
≠ Moeletsi Mbeki Mon 9 August 2004
††††† JOHANNESBURG ≠ Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe has reduced the once proud Zimbabwean peasants to
paupers, says Moeletsi Mbeki, deputy chairperson of the South African
Institute of International Affairs.
††††† In a full page article in the
Johannesburg daily ThisDay, Mbeki, brother of South Africa's president Thabo
Mbeki, asks why Africans in sub-Saharan Africa are 'poor and getting poorer,
while most people in the rest of the world are becoming better
††††† Mbeki's starts from the premise that 'the private economy
sector is the driver of modern economic development'. In Africa (with the
exception of South Africa) this sector is 'predominantly made up of peasants
and, secondly, of subsidiaries of foreign-owned multinational
††††† 'Who represents the interests of the peasants in
Africa today?' Mbeki asks. 'The answer is nobody.'
††††† 'The one
African politician who claims to act in the interests of peasants, Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe, has reduced the once proud and almost
self-sufficient Zimbabwean peasants to paupers who now have to be fed by the
UN's World Food Programme.'
††††† Mbeki makes the point that to be
successful the private sector, peasants included, must be 'free to exchange
what they produce without let or hindrance, and that where they are able to
make savings, they are free to retain those savings and plough them back in
improved techniques or in other investment avenues as they may
††††† In Africa, however, 'the elite uses its control of the state
to extract the surplus or savings that, if the peasants were free to
retain, they would have invested in improving their production techniques or
to diversify into other economic activities. Through marketing boards,
taxation systems and the like, the political elite diverts these savings to
finance its own consumption and the strengthening of the repressive
instruments of the state.'
††††† In Zimbabwe, the state-controlled
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is the monopoly maize buyer and distributor in
the country, and tax rates are among the highest in the world.
Mbeki continues: 'A great deal of what Africa's political elites consume and
what the African state consumes is, however, not produced locally but is
rather imported. Elite and state consumption therefore do not create a
significant market for African producers but, instead, act as a major drain
of national savings.
††††† 'This is the secret of Africa's growing
impoverishment. The more the African political elite consolidate their power,
the more they strengthen their hold over the state, the more the peasants
become poorer, and the more the African economies are likely to regress or,
at best, mark time.'
††††† Among the remedies Mbeki suggests is the
abolishment of the 'so-called communal land tenure system, which in reality
is state land ownership'. Peasants, he says,† must become 'the real owners of
their primary asset, land' by introducing a freehold system. This is the only
way to stop the 'rampant deforestation and accelerating
††††† 'Secondly, peasant producers must gain direct
access to world markets, without the political elite acting as the
go-between. This means that cash crops must be auctioned by the producers
themselves rather than being sold first to state-controlled marketing
††††† Furthermore, Mbeki suggests 'new financial institutions
that are independent of the political elite' such as cooperatives, credit
unions, or savings banks. He calls upon 'foreign donors' to support such
initiatives rather than 'to sustain the political elites and African states
with budgetary support and the like.' ZimOnline
Selling pills -- fatal trade, or key to survival? Mon 9
††††† BULAWAYO/FRANCISTOWN -† In the dusty township of
Lobengula West, in Bulawayo city, 31-year old Thomas Nkomo (not his real
name) lies on a makeshift bed, exhausted and wasted.
mill around forlornly. It is evident they have given up hope Nkomo will
recover any time soon. The family does not have money to take him to
hospital. Even if they had the money there is no guarantee drugs will
be available at the government-run Mpilo Hosiptal, the city's biggest
public health institution.
††††† Nkomo is one of an estimated three
million Zimbabweans suffering from HIV/AIDS, out of a total population of 12
million. The epidemic is said to be killing at least 2 000 sufferers in the
country every week.
††††† With the help of donor groups Zimbabwe's
cash-strapped government this year began distributing anti-retroviral (ARV)
drugs to patients. But with only about 5 000 people able to access ARVs
provided by the government, the state's intervention has made little
††††† While government covers half the cost of a month's course,
the patient has to pay the remainder. With the price for a full course
ranging from two to three million Zimbabwe dollars many cannot even dream of
being able to afford it. An average worker takes home about Z$500
††††† Zimbabwe Activists for HIV and AIDS coordinator Believe
Dhliwayo last week told the press that only a few Zimbabweans were benefiting
from donor supported ARV programmes.
††††† But just across the
Zimbabwe/Botswana border, 200 kilometers south-west of Bulawayo, the
situation is different. In Botswana ARVs are easily available.
And the enterprising on both sides of the frontier have been quick to spot a
chance to make a fast buck smuggling the drugs into Zimbabwe where demand far
††††† Middle-aged Ndodana Moyo at Plumtree border post
on the Zimbabwean side told ZimOnline he was running a 'thriving business'
smuggling ARV drugs from a government hospital in the Botswana town of
Francistown into Zimbabwe.
††††† 'I am aware that this is illegal but
I believe it is for a good cause too. We are assisting people living with HIV
††††† Dozens of other Zimbabweans, like Moyo, clandestinely
buy drugs from health officials in Botswana and sometimes South Africa. The
drugs are smuggled through the porous border and resold in Zimbabwe at lower
prices than those at hospitals and drug stores.
††††† Moyo explains
that many beneficiaries of his smuggled drugs are the poor, who are unable to
afford to buy from the clinics or pharmacies.
††††† He says he was
introduced into the business by a Botswana government health worker who
offered to supply him with the drugs. 'I was staying with this man. He works
at Nyagabgwe hospital in Francistown. He used to tell me if I had a sick
relative, he could get ARVs for me.'
††††† Moyo says at first he was
reluctant, fearing the man might sell him counterfeit drugs that would
further endanger the lives of his prospective customers. After some time
evaluating the potentially money spinning venture Moyo says he decided to
give it a try.
††††† He bought a month's supply of tablets and gave them
to a relative who suffers from HIV/AIDS.
††††† A couple of months
later the relative began to show signs of improvement. That was the signal
††††† Today he says he has regular customers, none of whom
can afford to skip treatment. From a business point of view Moyo's market
continues to expand as the dreaded virus spreads.
††††† As he buys the
drugs for between P60 and P100 (or about Z$70,000 to Z$120,000) Moyo makes a
huge profit because he sells the medicine, he says, for anything between
Z$400,000 to Z$600,000.
††††† This may seem excessive for a month's
supply, but it is still cheaper than what patients must pay at the
††††† It is an offence for anyone to sell drugs without being
licensed to do so by the state. But it is a risk Moyo and many others are
prepared to take.
††††† At Nyagabgwe hospital, where Moyo gets his
supplies for his illicit operation, a government official said the
state-provided ARVs were not for sale to anyone regardless of nationality:
'Each month we get a certain allocation of drugs enough for the hospital's
patients. That some are finding their way on to the black market means some
people are not receiving their monthly course.'
††††† The government
official, who did not want to be named, added that it was not safe for
unqualified people like Moyo to distribute ARVs because recipients needed
constant monitoring by doctors or nurses. But judging by Moyo's thriving
drugs business it is clear safety is something some terminally ill patients
are prepared to forgo. ZimOnline
State slams Standard story on alleged food
Herald Reporter GOVERNMENT has dismissed as false a story
carried in yesterday's issue of The Standard newspaper claiming that several
people in Bulawayo had died owing to food shortages.
dismayed by a report in today's edition of The Standard claiming several
deaths in Bulawayo which the British-fronted tabloid newspaper alleges are
due to 'food shortages' in the country," said the Department of Information
and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
political motives behind this claim, which draws from minutes of
the MDC-controlled City of Bulawayo, are as ignoble as they are
The Government said the country was not facing food
"Zimbabwe does not face any food shortages, as alleged by
Bulawayo's British-sponsored MDC mayor, Mr Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, and his
Health Department director, Dr Zanele Hwa-lima, believed to be associated
with the British-backed so-called Doctors for Human Rights and whose report
makes no reference to death certificates indicating the actual causes of the
alleged deaths," the Government said in a statement.
"Hoping to catch
the attention of select Western countries known to be hostile to Zimbabwe, as
well as validate similar claims by Archbishop Pius Ncube - himself quite
unwell - the Bulawayo mayor seems unaware that he heads a lower tier of
Government, not an NGO (non-governmental organisation); indeed unaware that
as a City Father wielding executive powers in the Municipality of Bulawayo,
his responsibility is towards ensuring that improved food availability at
national level translates to greater food accessibility for urban families in
the City of Bulawayo."
The Government, said the Depart-ment, introduced
the office of executive mayor in metropolitan governance for ensuring that
urban councils countrywide effectively harness proceeds from ratepayers
towards fighting urban poverty, thereby raising welfare levels in the
"Any council that fails in this regard undermines its raison
d'Ítre and thus does not deserve a day longer in office.
Government, through the Ministries of Local Government and National Housing,
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Health and Child Welfare, is
going to institute a thorough investigation to establish the truth about this
matter which, if found to be true, would point to punishable gross negligence
and unfatherly and inhuman conduct on the part of the Bulawayo City Fathers,"
the Department said.
The Department said Government would take action
against a public figure who turns to falsehoods to gain political notice by
demonising the country, or falsifies records of serious council business to
arrest the political misfortunes of his or her party to the detriment of
national security and interest.
"It is cynical and highly
irresponsible for the Mayor to seek to use the poor who expect safety nets
from his council, to make a case for MDC-serving NGOs funded by well-known
anti-Zimbabwe Western donor nations working through the United Nations World
Food Programme," the Department added.
The Government also reminded the
media of its obligation to verify information before publishing it as
publication of falsehoods, however well-sourced, remain falsehoods, and thus
punishable in terms of the laws of the land.
The paper claimed that
more than 62 people had died in Bulawayo as a result of food
The newspaper quoted minutes of a council meeting in its story
where, it said, the most affected were children who, it said, had died
Kwara State Government has allayed fears of host communities of the white
farmers initiative that they would not be dispossessed of their lands by the
††††† Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General,
Alhaji Saka Abimbola Issa who allayed the fears, assured that the government
has ensured that communities involved in the initiative are not run over by
the white farmers.
††††† Issa who appeared before the state assembly
defended that the pact signed with Allen Jack, the leader of Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU) of Zimbabwe did not include the Certificate of Occupancy
(C of O) and the Rights of Occupancy (R of O).
††††† The commissioner
listed the seven part agreement named, Collaborative Agricultural Agreement
(CAA) which he noted replaced the initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
the governor signed with Jack.
††††† The commissioner confirmed that the
land leased to the white farmers was for 25 years in the first instance
renewable after for another 25 years.
††††† Citing paragraph 3 (a) of the
pact, Issa said a thousand hectares of land each was granted to each of the
35 farmers for 25 years.
††††† The legal luminary submitted that parts of
the agreement dealt with the loan granted to the farmers while the final part
deals in the dispute clauses.
††††† The commissioner revealed that the
pact foresaw the neglect of local farmers and has made adequate case for
††††† The case the pact made for the local farmers, Issa explained
was in the area of being taught the modern techniques and new technologies
which will be transferred to the local farmers to boost food
††††† In his testimony on the floor of the assembly, the
chairman of the Apex Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Chief Samuel
Gbadebo lauded the white farmers initiative of the Saraki
††††† He denounced allegation of marginalisation of the
local farmers in the scheme of things in the state and declared the to
farmers support for the activities of the Zimbabwean farmers in the