"The Zimbabwe Situation" news page

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zealand Herald 8 August 2000

McKinnon's 'robustness' tested in Fiji

09.08.2000 -

LONDON - Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon has admitted his
May trip to Fiji during the country's hostage crisis was a failure.

Mr McKinnon went to Suva to get directly involved in negotiations with
coup leader George Speight, but his intervention did not hasten the
release of the hostages, who were finally freed late last month.

Mr McKinnon told the Times newspaper in London that while the trip
failed, "time and again they told us we have to resolve this ourselves,
there is nothing you in the Commonwealth can do for us.

"There were some pretty odd characters waving guns around, but I never
felt under threat. I didn't worry about it."

Mr McKinnon said he admitted to being "politically incorrect," which the
paper called a refreshing antidote to the blandness of his three

But it said his "All Black-style robustness" had been severely tested by
the Fijian coup and the Zimbabwe elections.

With the latter, he was loudly criticised for saying that it was
possible for the elections to be "fair and free." Looking back, he
conceded that "the elections were not free of intimidation and violence
was continuing."

Although he could speak out now, he still could not act, for the powers
available to the Commonwealth Secretary-General limited his freedom.
Given there was no military coup or cancelled elections, he said he
would not, could not, have done more.

"We are not here to recolonise Africa, we are not here to suddenly
impose a whole set of values on an African country because we don't like
what they're doing.

"They have to sort out themselves their own future, and they will do it
in their own way. Zimbabwe hadn't crossed the line, hadn't committed the
offence required for suspension."

He said previous quotes that "African politics is volatile at the best
of times" and distinguishing between "white people and African people"
which have portrayed him as a dismissive colonialist were taken out of

"I was politically incorrect, I agree. But I don't believe the
Commonwealth can ever do enough in Zimbabwe to satisfy the British media
or Her Majesty's Government."

He hoped some day to own a farm. "I have just deviated in my ability to
get there."



If you'd like to discuss the state of the Commonwealth with this
powerful and influential personage, fire away:

Don McKinnon :
Office Contact details:
Commonwealth Secretariat
Marlborough House
Pall Mall London SW1Y 5HY
United Kingdom
Tel: 0171-839 3411; Fax: 0171:839 9081;
Email: McKinnonD@Commonwealth.int

Back to the Top
Back to Index

August 21, 2000, Vol. 156 No. 8


View from the Veranda
Zimbabwe's farmers wait for clarity on land resettlement programs

I have a farm in Africa, southwest of Harare in the province of Mashonaland, that has been in the family since 1933 and now has a fourth generation of our grandchildren living on it. It has seen many events, including our wedding in 1965, one golden wedding celebration, family christenings and one murder, that of my wife's mother, killed in May 1980 in the aftermath of the liberation war that brought Robert Mugabe to power. So it is a place of potent memories, some happy and some sad. The veranda is a place where I go to think because it looks out onto my wife's garden of indigenous shrubs and trees and there is a peaceful feel to it. Today it is also a place from which one can see if any invaders are driving down the road to the farm.

For the first time in my life, the view from my veranda is not at all clear. I know there is legal process to be gone through so that the government may take over my farm to redistribute it to landless peasants. But I also know that the rule of law has been hopelessly subverted by the illegal farm occupations of the last six months. In the legal process I am entitled to a court hearing to defend my ownership and to be given time to make arrangements. Mr. Mugabe says he will pay for the improvements but not the land. But he has not told us how he will fund that payment, nor on what basis that valuation will take place or who will do it. The farm was the subject of an acquisition order in 1997 and we have not heard from the government since. But if this farm is resettled on the sort of haphazard basis that has been taking place recently, almost $1 million worth of agricultural produce - beef, pork, maize and tobacco - will not find its way to the market in the future, either locally or for sale on world markets. I further cannot see clearly what is going to happen to the 75 black families that work on this farm, some who have been here for three or four generations. There have been so many conflicting statements made on the subject by so many people that the farm workers cannot be blamed for being, like ourselves, completely confused.

We are now going into the planting season and we will be sowing our crops into fields already staked out illegally several times over by the so-called war veterans while the police stood by. There is no clarity on our legal rights to our property and the organs of the State are being used to frighten us and to interfere in producing food for the nation and providing livelihoods for our workers.

History is littered with this sort of anarchy. The Cultural Revolution in China comes to mind, as does the late Julius Nyerere's ill-fated ujamaa project in Tanzania. But I never expected my country to be afflicted with this kind of madness. There is unanimity on the need for land reform. There is land available and an agreement was drawn up in 1998 for a program of sustainable land resettlement which would have been financed by aid from Western countries. The government of Zimbabwe has failed utterly to meet the terms of that agreement.

People ask why we carry on. The answer is simply that we do not have another veranda. This is still our property and our home and our livelihood. We are citizens of Zimbabwe and are entitled to the protection of the law just like anyone else. We have made a large contribution to this country and wish to continue to do so.

The prospect from my veranda is brightened, however, by three things. The first is that the workers and their families on the farm are totally supportive of us. The second is the strong support and love that our own family has shown. We have two sons and a daughter-in-law involved in the family business and we have met and faced down challenges that not many people have had to handle. The third is that the people of Zimbabwe are now beginning to make their voices heard and show their opposition to the anarchy and lawlessness that stalk our country. The recent electoral setbacks for the ruling party were evidence of that.

So we take each day one at a time, with the realistic view from the veranda not so different from what it has been for the last 70 years or so. Our tractors are tilling the fields in advance of our next crops, the cattle have been well tended during our African winter and, when this madness is over, we hope we will be able to get on with doing what we do best: farming the land, raising livestock and earning some hard currency to sustain the country's economic activity.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


TIME Trail: Zimbabwe
Twenty years after independence, Zimbabwe is still riven by political and economic turmoil

Two decades ago when Zimbabwe won its independence, the country had the potential to become an African success story: fertile soil, abundant mineral resources and a new government that spoke of modernization and reform. But today Zimbabwe seems caught in a downward spiral of economic and political decline.

In April 1980, the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia was internationally recognized as the independent state of Zimbabwe. The country's new government was headed by the Zimbabwe National African Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), a group of African nationalists that had fought for a different kind of independence from that declared by Ian Smith's white regime in 1965 (TIME, Nov. 5, 1965). For almost 15 years Smith led settler-ruled Rhodesia in a rebellion against Britain,

Hulton Getty
Zimbabwean leaders Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo at a London conference in September 1979
while African nationalists -- including the ZANU-PF -- waged a bush war for black government (TIME, March 20, 2000).

ZANU-PF's former guerrilla leader, Robert Mugabe, became the first head of Zimbabwe, calling for "a new spirit that must unite and not divide." But while Zimbabwe had a new name and a new leader, it was still beset by old problems. The racial inequalities institutionalized by white rule persisted in the disparity between black and white incomes and black Zimbabweans wanted their fair share of the prime farming territory that had been carved up for white ownership by settlers from the 1890s onwards.

Mugabe opted for a conciliatory stance, pledging to redress racial and class injustices, redistribute land and promote economic development. But Zimbabwe was virtually bankrupt after the long war for independence and the economy was further weakened by the mass emigration of Europeans and a severe drought in the early 1980s. The slow pace of land reform led to particular tension in Matabeleland in southwestern Zimbabwe, the home of the Ndebele people and the heartland of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), the main opposition party and onetime allies with ZANU in the struggle against apartheid. But now, once more, they were rivals and the tensions between them and their ethnic groups increased as the government accused ZAPU's leader, Joshua Nkomo, of inciting violence in the region. The government began a prolonged military campaign against the dissidents that claimed thousands of lives (TIME, March 18, 1985).

It was not until 1987 that Mugabe and Nkomo resolved the feud, agreeing to merge the two factions into a single-party Marxist-Leninist government (TIME, Jan. 4, 1988). Mugabe became Zimbabwe's first executive President and the larger ZANU-PF went on to win the 1990 elections. After a decade in office Mugabe had come closer to his vision of one-party socialist rule, and he demonstrated the power of the state by cracking down on sporadic student protests in the early 1990s.

Chronic food and fuel shortages, inflation, unemployment, corruption, government inertia and the stalled program of land resettlement sparked widespread discontent in 1992. Another drought in Southern Africa added to the country's economic difficulties (TIME, May 4, 1992). And the discovery of evidence of atrocities committed by government forces in Matabeleland in the 1980s increased popular resentment. Despite the continuing political malaise, ZANU-PF won a fourth general election in 1995 and Mugabe was returned to office as President in 1996. His government was unpopular, but no opposition party was strong enough to pose a serious challenge.

Landowner Pippa van Rechteren and her daughters watch as protesters sing on the other side of an electric fence
Land remained an inflammatory and divisive issue. In 1992 Mugabe passed legislation that prepared the way for the compulsory purchase of land by the government, alienating both the white-dominated Commercial Farmers' Union and Western aid donors (TIME, March 23, 1992). He used land reform as a political rallying call again in 1997, when he pledged to seize white land in a bid to cool the fury erupting in the streets (TIME, Dec. 22, 1997). By now the once- promising economy was on the verge of collapse. Angered by low wages and escalating prices, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) went on a series of one-day strikes (TIME, Feb. 16, 1998 and TIME, Feb. 1, 1999).

Despite the dire economic situation, Mugabe made a costly committment of troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo in support of President Laurent Kabila's offensive against foreign-backed rebels fighting to overthrow his regime. Mugabe's response to the ZCTU protests was to ban strikes, and in February of this year he attempted to amend the country's constitution to further bolster his autocratic control and allow him to seize white farmers' land. But the political tide was turning and he was defeated in a referendum on the reform by a new political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and other opposition groups -- the first opposition victory in any vote since independence (TIME, Feb. 28, 2000). Undaunted, Mugabe pressed for and got parliamentary approval for the power to confiscate white-owned farms. It was a move that triggered diplomatic alarms and international condemnation (TIME, Apr. 17, 2000).

In an atmosophere of turbulence and intimidation, elections eventually took place in June 2000 (TIME, July 10, 2000) which saw Mugabe cling to power, but also marked the emergence of a powerful and unified voice of opposition. The ruling ZANU-PF party won 62 of the 120 directly-elected seats with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) winning 57 seats--a stunning result for the fledgling party led by Morgan Tsvangirai, whose ambitions for the presidency begin to look plausible. After 20 years in power, Mugabe has delivered neither the economic stability nor the social unity he pledged when he first took office. The country continues to be plagued by chronic shortages of food and fuel, and white farmers still live in fear that their farms will be seized. Mugabe's promise of "a new spirit that must unite and not divide" rings hollow in the wind of change that is blowing through Zimbabwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From NZ Herald 14 August 2000

Mau Mau vets seek recognition

NYERI-- Elderly men dressed in tattered suit jackets gathered on
Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of their rebel movement against
British colonial rule and pleaded for the Kenyan Government to lift a
decades-old ban against them.

The Mau Mau movement was outlawed by British authorities on August 12,
1950, because it was considered a secret society that was a danger to
the colony, and members were jailed, tortured and killed.

About 250 veterans of the movement, who have been largely ignored by
successive Kenyan Governments since the country's independence in 1963,
appealed for a field where they could build a Mau Mau Memorial Hall.

After the men sang revolutionary songs from the 1950s, 73-year-old
Ndung'u Gecheru, chairman of the Mau Mau War Veterans' Association, said
the group wanted recognition for the important role its members played
in Kenya's independence movement.

"How can we be dangerous to our country which we fought to liberate?"
Gecheru asked the crowd.

Former President Jomo Kenyatta, himself jailed by the British in 1952 as
a Mau Mau collaborator, did not lift restrictions on the rebel movement.
Instead, he reissued the ban in 1970 in an effort to consolidate power
and silence dissent.  President Daniel Arap Moi has left the ban in

The Mau Mau movement grew out of Kenya's Central Province and consisted
mostly of Kikuyu, the largest tribe in Kenya, who saw much of their best
land taken by white colonists. The movement gained notoriety during the
1953-1956 Mau Mau uprising, during which 11,503 alleged rebels were
killed, and British security forces suffered 167 casualties.

The Mau Mau also killed 32 European settlers, spreading terror in
colonial East Africa, but more than 1800 African civilians were killed
during the same period, many by British troops.

"The recognition of the Mau Mau is very important for this country. They
should die in honour, not in shame," said Wanyiri Kihoro, an opposition
member of Parliament.

Neither government officials nor leaders of the ruling Kenya African
National Union Party attended Saturday's ceremony and have not commented
on the group's demands.

A different group of Mau Mau veterans on Thursday presented the British
Embassy in Kenya with a petition demanding compensation for the deaths
of Mau Mau members, their families and land seizures associated with the
uprising. The group said that if they were not paid, they would sue the
British Government. -- AP


Back to the Top
Back to Index


Jonathan Moyo in trouble

8/15/00 11:37:05 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporters

Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity,
resigned as a visiting professor after receiving a disciplinary letter
from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) last month.

The university's legal advisors sent him a letter of "abscondment", a
first step in disciplinary action, to force him to engage with his
colleagues and report on progress on his research project.
Last night Moyo confirmed he had resigned from Wits.
"I resigned and Wits accepted my resignation," he said. "I resigned
because I had accepted an appointment in the government. They wrote to
me and asked me to return or they would presume me to have resigned. I
had agreed to return but then that was before my new appointment."
Two years ago, Moyo was given funding of more than $7 million from the
Swedish International Development Agency for a research project, reports
The Star newspaper in Johannesburg.
The money was paid to Moyo from the research account at Wits, which was
to administer his project. The project, anchored to the Department of
Political Science at Wits, allowed Moyo to call himself a visiting
On the basis of his association with Wits and the project, Moyo was
granted a work permit in South Africa. But in the last year, he has
rarely been in contact with Wits.
Instead, he took on a high-profile job to promote Zimbabwe"s proposed
constitutional reform. He then became a spokesperson and strategist for
Zanu PF in run-up to the last election in which the ruling party"s
majority was slashed from 118 elected seats to 62.
Wits sent a letter of abscondment to Moyo last month. Tom Lodge, head of
the Department of Political Science at Wits, said Moyo had now responded
by resigning.
After the election President Mugabe appointed Moyo to Parliament and
made him a Minister of State for Information in the President"s Office.
The Star said Moyo was funded with up to $10,5 million to complete his
research project at Wits but has so far failed to deliver any part of
it. It is understood that Wits will attempt to recover the money.
Moyo told The Daily News: "I started the project in 1998. We did
research workshops and meetings and the results of the research were
published by the Association of Political Science in Zimbabwe and by the
University of California in the United States."
He said the allegations were coming from "people making the usual
It"s a figment of their imagination. I wonder if these are the same
people who have been sending me threats".
Moyo said: "There is no reference to the money in their acceptance
Moyo had been living in an expensive house in Johannesburg"s upmarket
Saxonwold suburb with his second wife and children.
For more than a year during his contracts in Zimbabwe, he lived in a
suite at the upmarket Sheraton Hotel in Harare.
Moyo has refused to disclose how much public money he earned for
promoting the draft constitution or for his job as Zanu PF campaign
Moyo was a highly respected academic in Zimbabwe before he left the
country to work for the Ford Foundation in Nairobi.
He returned to Zimbabwe last year and surprised his former colleagues at
the University of Zimbabwe by suddenly embracing Zanu PF, a party he had
previously criticised in articles in newspapers and magazines for its
undemocratic performance at all levels of political life in Zimbabwe.
Moyo energetically courted the South African parliamentary team
monitoring the election and worked successfully to get better coverage
for Zanu PF from the SABC during the run-up to the Zimbabwean polls.


Mugabe now spends $1,5b a month to prop up Kabila

8/15/00 10:31:39 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporters

THE presence of Zimbabwe's 11 000 soldiers in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) is now estimated to be costing $1,5 billion a month.

Economists Eric Bloch and John Robertson, in separate interviews, said
the government was spending $50 million a day in the DRC.
The government, facing hard currency and fuel shortages, had been
spending up to $114 million a month to keep the soldiers in the DRC
before the devaluation of the dollar last month.
Bloch said the soldiers should be pulled out of the DRC at the earliest
possible opportunity as the cost of their continued presence would rise
to $18 billion a year.
"The withdrawal of the soldiers could benefit us in the form of foreign
currency needed badly to buy fuel and other import needs and to speed up
the reduction of inflation," said Bloch, an economic analyst and
director of companies based in Bulawayo.
"The government's withdrawal of the soldiers will improve our
relationship with the international community in general and would be a
major step forward towards the restoration of support by the
International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other donor agencies," he
The country's economic recovery programme would improve, he said.
"Having made the initial mistake of going into the DRC, we must now
minimize the costs by withdrawing without further delay," said Bloch.
Robertson, who runs a consultancy in Harare, described the continued
stay of the soldiers in the DRC as nonsense.
"It is ridiculous. That's way beyond our means as a country."
He said the high rate of inflation had to be brought down with a lot of
work needed to restore confidence in the economy.
"We are now looking at the consequences of the inflation, of the
depreciation of the dollar, high interest rates, rising unemployment and
the government's failure to meet its international obligations by
failing to pay its debts, that's a very serious issue," said Robertson.
Meanwhile, the United Nations will not deploy peacekeepers in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo until it has received security
guarantees for its personnel from all parties involved in the conflict,
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported last night.
Southern African development Community leaders are meeting in the
Zambian capital, Lusaka, to map the way forward in the DRC
conflict which is now in its third year.
Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia have deployed forces in that country to
help Laurent Kabila's government which has been besieged by rebels
supported by Rwanda and Uganda.
Zimbabwe has about 11 000 troops stationed in the DRC.
The ZBC report quoted Zambian President Frederick Chiluba as saying
Rwanda and Uganda continued to violate the ceasefire prevailing in the
DRC while the Organisation of African Unity secretary-general Salim
Ahmed Salim urged all leaders involved in the conflict to renew their
commitment to the peace process.
The United Nations said it had mobilised countries which were eager to
provide peacekeepers and was ready to move in if the safety of the
officers was guaranteed.


Tonnes of sugar cane go missing after war veterans, villagers raid
Chiredzi ranch

8/15/00 10:34:51 AM (GMT +2)

Daily News Correspondent, Masvingo

ABOUT 125 tonnes of sugar cane worth $140 000 was stolen last week from

Levanga Ranch in the Save Valley in Chiredzi while several rhinos are
feared dead.

The ranch was invaded by war veterans and villagers from Sangwe communal
lands who have declared it a "no go area".
The Save conservancy administrator, Graham Connear, told The Daily News
yesterday that 25 bundles of cane disappeared from the ranch as
villagers from Gudo area in Sangwe communal lands of Chiredzi invaded
the farm.
He said the cane was carried away in ox-drawn carts during the night by
villagers and former freedom fighters.
"War veterans have declared the ranch a "no go" area," said Connear.
"About 25 bundles of five tonnes each were stolen. The invaders are just
doing whatever they want and have threatened to kill anyone who sets
foot in the ranch."
He said because of the death threats, a farm manager had abandoned the
"Several rhinos are feared dead as uncontrolled poaching continues," he
He said because the invaders were hostile, it had become difficult to
conduct routine checks on the rhino population.
"We have managed to locate a few rhinos that were badly damaged by
There is no doubt that several have been killed and more are going to
die if the situation does not improve," he said.
He said the occupants had started allocating land among themselves and
cutting down trees indiscriminately in the process.


100 people including Banana in open prison

8/15/00 10:36:07 AM (GMT +2)

Court Reporter

ABOUT 100 people, including the former president, Canaan Banana, are
being held at Connemara Prison in Kwekwe under the open prison system.

Although the Zimbabwe Prison Service refused to give details yesterday,
a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Association for the Care and Rehabilitation
of the Offender (Zacro), Samuel Muyambo, said: "We have always advocated
for the open prison system."
He said about 100 prisoners were serving sentences for various
convictions at the prison.
"To some extent it overcomes the deficiency of the ordinary prison
system because it prepares the prisoner for life after prison. That is
something that the ordinary prison system is failing to do as it does
not prepare the person to rejoin society," Muyambo said.
He said the new system, on experiment at Connemara prison, allowed for
interaction between inmates and their families.
"Visitors are not restricted to the normal 30 minutes as under the old
system. It is so relaxed that the prisoner is allowed maximum time with
friends and relatives," he said.
Two weeks ago, Banana was spotted in Harare conducting private business.
He said he had been allowed to visit the capital on medical grounds.
Commenting on the introduction of community service, Muyambo said his
organisation welcomed it. "Community service is one of the innovative
moves that this country has taken. The families of the convicts have
benefited because they are with their families every day while the
person is serving his or her sentence. Government has saved millions of
dollars by not imprisoning offenders with minor crimes as it now costs
more than $2 000 a month to maintain a prisoner," he said.
Community service was introduced to help curb the burgeoning prison
Overcrowded prisons have led to the spread of communicable diseases such
as tuberculosis and HIV/Aids. In 1998, the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare was forced to vaccinate all prisoners at Chikurubi, Harare
Central and Bindura prisons against meningitis after three prisoners had
died of the highly infectious disease.


Defiant vets go ahead with land allocation

8/15/00 10:40:18 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

WAR veterans and suspected Zanu PF youths yesterday continued allocating
stands to people at Stud Farm in Mount Hampden, while in Kambuzuma the
pro-government supporters were busy cutting down trees and pegging for

A large number of people from Mt Hampden and elsewhere converged at the
farm yesterday morning, waiting to be allocated plots.
"Let those who want to talk continue doing so," said Abraham Mandeya,
"while some of us are actually taking the land. The time for talking is
now over, this is the time for action."
Mandeya, 30, a father of two, said he needs land on which to build his
house because he could not stand the idea of "dying a lodger, paying
money on a monthly basis when I can also afford to build my own house".
The ex-combatants have apparently ignored calls by war veterans' leader
Chenjerai Hunzvi, during the Heroes' Day holiday, for them to stop farm
invasions and allocating of stands and make way for a
government-sanctioned resettlement programme being implemented


Miners down tools over pay

8/15/00 10:32:54 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporters

ZIMBABWE lost about $20 million yesterday, most of it in foreign
currency, when 15 000 mine workers went on strike after the failure of
negotiations in a collective bargaining exercise, the mining industry
officials said yesterday.

Doug Verden, a spokesman for the Chamber of Mines, said about half of
the mines shut down yesterday after the Associated Mine Workers Union of
Zimbabwe called a work stoppage.
"About 15 000 workers are on strike and this is bad for the economy as
some of the mines could fail to recover," he said.
But Jeffrey Mutandare, the president of the workers' union, said the
strike would continue until the chamber agreed to negotiate this year's
salaries on the dollar value principle.
Workers at 17 of the 40 major mines, including Renco, the Lonrho group
and Shangani had joined the strike.
Also affected were Ripple Creek, Limestone near Redcliff and Buchwa in
Mberengwa, suppliers of iron ore to the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company
The three mines provide 100 000 tonnes of iron ore a month to Zisco.
If the strike continues, production at the giant steel works could grind
to a halt.
Workers from Ripple Creek and Limestone mines staged a demonstration in
Redcliff yesterday morning demanding a salary increase.
Verden said mining earned Zimbabwe $6,54 billion between January and
May, putting the cost of yesterday's strike at an estimated $20 million.
"The strike has several knock-on effects as some of the workers could
lose their jobs," he said.
The mining industry is one of the biggest earners of foreign currency,
raking in about $30 billion a year.
The strike comes at a time when the industry is under stress because of
serious foreign currency shortages which forced the recent closures of
Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), Eureka, Venice and Athens mines.
Mutandare said the miners worked in dangerous conditions and were
"We are not going back. There is no way the chamber could accuse us of
harming the economy when they are refusing to pay meaningful wages," he
Verden, however, said a determination issued by the labour court last
week had referred the dispute for compulsory arbitration, obliging the
workers not to go on strike before the matter was heard.
Negotiations between the chamber, representing the employers, and the
union,broke down two weeks ago.


Union asks guards to go back to work

8/15/00 10:38:17 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE Commercial Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (CWUZ) has urged all striking
security guards to return to work or face dismissal.

Phillip Matumba, a union spokesman said yesterday: "The action is
illegal and if they continue they will be served with a letter of
disposal from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social
The strike entered its second week yesterday.
The guards are demanding a wage increment of 150 percent as opposed to
the 45 percent awarded by their employers in July.
They said 45 percent was not enough to sustain them, considering the
harsh economic conditions in the country.
Matumba said the guards were being misled by a rival union, the Private
Security Workers' Union (Pisewu) which he alleged was illegal.
He said although it was a registered union, his union had appealed
against the registration of the rival union and the matter was still to
be heard.
Matumba said this meant that Pisewu had no right to call for a strike
and proposing a 150 percent increment.


Ex-detainees slam police over probe

8/15/00 10:43:14 AM (GMT +2)

Laurence Nkomo, Bulawayo

EX-POLITICAL prisoners have accused Nkulumane police of delaying
investigations into the alleged abduction of Patrick Nabanyama, a member
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), by a group of war veterans
on 19 June.

At an inter-district meeting of the Bulawayo branch of the Zimbabwe
Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees' Association (Zeppdra)
in Mpopoma, the branch chairman, Reginald Malinga, complained that the
police had taken a long time to investigate the matter.
"We are concerned that Nabanyama was kidnapped by war veterans from his
house on 19 June," he said. "Up to now, he has not been seen. The
Nkulumane police know what happened to him but they are not acting
swiftly enough."
Nabanyama was an election agent for David Coltart, the MDC MP for
Bulawayo South.
"If Nabanyama had been a Zanu PF member, the police would have
investigated the matter promptly and brought the culprits to book," said
Malinga. "What they did in Nabanyama's case was very unfair and
Five members of the Bulawayo province of the war veterans' association
have since appeared in court on charges of kidnapping Nabanyama. They
are Cain Nkala, 42, the provincial chairman, Simon Rwodzi, 48, Ngoni
Dube, 45, Frackson Ndlovu, 41, and Aleck Moyo, 50.
"Even if Nabanyama was an MDC member, the law must take its course. War
veterans were granted too much freedom by President Mugabe to be
lawless. We are concerned that a number of our members had been targeted
but escaped death by a whisker," he said.
Nabanyama was a member of Zeppdra, which suspects that he was murdered
by the war veterans and his body dumped at an undisclosed place.
"We want his remains to be shown to his family and the public," said
Malinga. "Our association is bitter about what happened to him and wants
his remains to be buried decently. His family is now suffering because
of his abduction."
"His children are now scared of strangers because they were present when
their father was kidnapped and bundled into a motor vehicle by some war
Zeppdra has since elected a committee of district and provincial
officials to set up a welfare fund to assist Nabanyama's family.


War vets arrested for alleged torture of victims at stadium

8/15/00 10:44:09 AM (GMT +2)

Daily News Correspondent, Bulawayo

THE police last week arrested two war veterans in connection with the
torture of civilians in a small room at Bulawayo's White City Stadium,
used as a torture chamber during President Mugabe's rally in the run-up
to the June parliamentary election.

John Ncube and John Hungwe Simbarashe, both of Nkulumane, were part of a
gang which assaulted civilians suspected to be supporters of the
Movement for Democratic Change at the stadium.
The ex-combatants are also accused of stealing their victims' property,
including cellphones and their identity cards in an apparent attempt to
prevent them from voting in the elections.
One victim, Themba Dube, yesterday said he had recovered his cellphone
although he was yet to get his identity card, jacket and a notebook.
He was beaten up inside the stadium when he was found with a diagram of
the stadium and was accused of planning to kill the President.
Police in Nkulumane said they were looking for the other members of the


CCZ urges buying clubs for price-hit consumers

8/15/00 10:45:09 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

ELIZABETH Nerwande, the director of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
(CCZ), has urged consumers to form buying clubs through which they would
go straight to producers to buy goods at wholesale prices, cushioning
themselves against the escalating prices of basic commodities.

Nerwande said in a statement the prices of nearly all products had
drastically increased, severely affecting nutrition among the
marginalized groups "The CCZ would like to demystify the notion that
consumers have to literally buy everything from retailers for survival.
"With the current trend of price increases and an unstable macroeconomic
environment, consumers should now be considering the possible options
for survival," said Nerwande.
She said the price of beef recently went up by 25 percent and the CCZ
was encouraging consumers to team up and pool their financial resources
to buy beasts directly from producers and share the meat.
"There is need for equitable distribution of natural resources in our
country to combat poverty which is now way over 70 percent," she said.
The CCZ urged the business community to demonstrate a high degree of
social responsibility and business ethics which, she said, they had done
for a long time.


ICFU calls for proper land reform blueprint

8/15/00 10:46:05 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE 1 500-member Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union (ICFU) has urged
the government to come up with a proper land reform programme for
Zimbabwe to continue producing food.

The commercial agriculture sector has since February been crippled by
land invasions by war veterans, resulting in the severe disruption of
farming activities.
The war veterans, supported by the government, have occupied more than 1
500 white-owned farms since the run-up to the election in June.
The union president, Thomas Nherera said while his association supported
the land reform programme, it felt there was need to devise a proper
system of resettlement.
The veterans have recently targeted black-owned commercial farms as
But Nherera said the invasion of the black-owned farms was not a threat
to his organisation because it was insignificant as very few such farms
had been occupied.
"The farm invasions have not alarmed us as we have held
behind-the-scenes discussions with the war veterans and the matter is
under control," Nherera said.
He said he was against the farm invasions as they were causing havoc on
the commercial farms.
President Mugabe has said he would not move the war veterans off the
farms as they were demonstrating "peacefully".
"If the land reform programme is done properly, there is a chance that
production would increase," Nherera said.
He encouraged people being resettled under the accelerated land reform
programme to use the land productively and take farming as a commercial
"Access to land is not an end in itself.
"The real objective is to ensure there is increased productive use of
land by all given access to this finite resource," Nherera said.
The government has said it would acquire about 3 000 farms under the
accelerated programme.
Nherera urged the government to help the new farmers with support
systems and credit facilities to achieve full production capacity within
the shortest possible time.


Disease outbreak looms at Murewa Prison, says MP

8/15/00 10:47:44 AM (GMT +2)

Political Reporter

THE government should immediately improve the situation at Murewa
Prison, where a major health disaster is looming due to overcrowding.

Murewa North MP, Victor Chitongo, told Parliament last week the prison
was failing to deal with a chickenpox outbreak due to the overcrowding.
"Murewa Prison is a disaster, Mr Speaker Sir," said Chitongo. "To the
Leader of the House whose Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs administers prisons, among other departments, I am asking for
his immediate intervention to save the situation."
The prison was constructed in 1936 for 140 inmates but it has 265
The female section, designed for five inmates, is holding 12 prisoners.
It had no coal or electricity stoves to cook for the prisoners.
"I wonder whether the minister is aware of the fact that this prison is
surviving on firewood hand-outs from well-wishers," Chitongo told
The situation was just as bad at Murewa Hospital, which has two doctors
instead of four and 46 nurses instead of 70.


Zimbabwe mounts world's biggest mosquito net

8/15/00 10:49:27 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

A MOSQUITO net believed to be the biggest in the world was last week
mounted at a site near Ruwa in preparation for the Roll Back Malaria
Conference due to be held in Victoria Falls this week.

A company which specialises in the manufacturing of products meant for
malaria control, said the mosquito net was produced at a cost of nearly
$200 000 and was billed to find its way into the Guinness Book of
The idea of the world's biggest mosquito net was meant to boost the
malaria awareness campaign.
Malaria is one of the world's worst killer diseases, which claims
thousands of lives every year, particularly children.


Tommy Sithole back at Zimpapers

8/15/00 11:39:15 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Former Herald Editor and Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) Editor-in-
Chief Tommy Sithole yesterday returned to the helm of Zimpapers by
taking over the chairmanship of the financially troubled newspaper

The government, the majority shareholder, dismissed the entire Nelson
Samkange-led board, whose last function yesterday was to appoint an
entirely new board, save for Jonee Blanchfield who served on the
outgoing board.
A terse directive issued by Honour Mkushi, chairman of the Zimbabwe Mass
Media Trust, yesterday gave no indication why the outgoing board had
fallen foul of government.
Mkushi ordered Samkange to convene a board meeting whose agenda was to
appoint eight new members. Samkange"s board was ordered to resign
immediately thereafter.
The new members are: Sithole, lawyer Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, academic Rudo
Gaidzanwa, Zimbabwe Rainbow Group chief executive Herbert Nkala,
consumer activist Elizabeth Nerwande, insurance executive Rachel Kupara,
Air Harbour Technologies executive Rose Mukogo and businesswoman
Samkange ran on a collision course with Matthews Kunaka, who resigned
two weeks ago as Zimpapers chief executive. Company secretary Allan
Choruma, who also tendered his resignation, is due to leave.
Sithole left Zimpapers this year after 19 years with the group. He
served as editor of The Chronicle in Bulawayo before moving to The
Herald where he rendered many years of faithful service. He was dropped
in mysterious circumstances and replaced in 1998 by former information
director, Bornwell Chakaodza.
Chakaodza recently also assumed the function of managing director
responsible for the newspaper division and was appointed simultaneously
to the Zimpapers board.
The changes yesterday effectively signal the end of Chakaodza's term as
a board member, making his possibly the shortest term of any Zimpapers
board member.
Recently there have been reports of rumblings among staff over the poor
performance of the company as a result of government interference which
rendered it difficult for Zimpapers executives to implement sound
management decisions in the face of increased competition in the
newspaper market.
Sales and advertising volumes of The Herald and other Zimpapers titles
have dropped drastically over the past year, since the launch of The
Daily News.
The price of Zimpapers shares has nosedived from 45 cents last December
to around 25 cents last week.


Back to the Top
Back to Index