Nigeria 'helping Britain fund Zim opposition' ††††††††† August 08
2004 at 01:50PM
††††† 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 ZIM$200-million (about R225-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.
Zimbabwe law, political parties are prohibited from accepting funds from
††††† The MDC rejected the allegations, denying ever
meeting Nigerian officials in Zimbabwe. "The allegation is completely without
any merit," said MDC spokesperson William Bango.
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
††††† 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
††††† "Some of the farmers are known to be hardcore MDC supporters
and financiers who are also linked to British intelligence," said the
††††† Nigerian embassy officials in Harare were not
immediately available for comment on Sunday.
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert
Mugabe's spin doctor Jonathan Moyo is in trouble over a state farm he bought
against government policy.
Official sources said authorities in charge of
the land reform programme were investigating how Moyo - who has been named in
a government report as having four farms - bought farms allocated to him by
the state. It is illegal to buy state-owned land in
According to Agriculture Ministry documents shown to the
Sunday Times, Moyo bought Paterson Farm for a mere Z6-million (R5 000) in
2002 despite the farm being owned by the state. The documents also indicate
that Moyo was also offered another large farm, Hwange.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, who offered Moyo the farm in a letter,
refused to comment on the issue. Moyo has denied ownership of all but
Meanwhile, tension is rising between Zanu-PF and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over proposed electoral reforms ahead of
next year's general election.
Zanu-PF has been trying to steamroll
the MDC and civic groups into accepting its electoral proposals so that the
party can be seen to be embracing reform before the March
The MDC says the "piecemeal" reforms were designed to
camouflage vote-rigging and buy political legitimacy. MDC secretary-general
Welshman Ncube said his party had rejected Zanu-PF's arbitrary proposals. He
said Zanu-PF should stop repression and violence if it was serious
about electoral and political reform.
But political repression is
Last week MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's house was
ransacked by police who claimed to be looking for arms. This week four trade
unionists were arrested for addressing a meeting without police clearance.
Laws to control NGOs, telephones and the Internet are looming.
Hunger claims more lives By Savious Kwinika in
.Children worst victims of malnutrition BULAWAYO - AT least 62
more people in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, have succumbed to
death as a result of food shortages, bringing the reported total this year to
more than 150.
News of the deaths comes as the battle for food
statistics between the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
While figures for the other urban areas cannot be readily
established, the latest report from Harare's City Health Department says
results of a survey by the Zimbabwe Food Vulnerability Assessment Committee,
in which the capital was included, demonstrated that in Harare most
high-density areas comprised vulnerable people.
"There was a
noticeable deterioration in the nutritional status of the City of Harare's
primary school children during 2003. Chronic under-nutrition had again
increased substantially during the year, especially for the children," the
The revelations come at a time the government is insisting
that the country has enough food to feed its citizens until the next
The World Food Programme (WFP) has started retrenching some of
its workforce of 230, after President Mugabe told the international donor
community that the country has harvested sufficient grain for its domestic
requirements and will therefore not need outside assistance. He said it would
be appreciated if the international donor community took its operations
According to the City of Bulawayo Health minutes made
available to The Standard last week, 29 people, including children under the
age of five, died of malnutrition in July. Twenty-one died in May, while 12
died in June. In March alone 63 deaths were recorded. Prior to that 27 deaths
from malnutrition were recorded in Bulawayo. The figures for April were
not immediately available.
The minutes indicate that out of the 29
deaths in July, 21 were children under the age of five, six others were
between 15-19, while one was aged 60 years.
Of the 29 people, 17 were
female while 12 were male.
Bulawayo Executive Mayor, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, last week confirmed the 29 deaths were as a result of
"It's true that 29 people died as a result of hunger but it is
not the council duty but that of the government to feed the
"This definitely needs a holistic government approach if we are
to save life. However, as the local authority we are doing everything within
our means to feed children under the age of five and some elderly people
above 50 years," Ndabeni-Ncube said.
He said the Bulawayo City Council
was presently compiling the list of people who succumbed to hunger in the
city with the intention of publicising the report at the end of the
Bulawayo City Council health director, Dr Zanele Hwalima, who also
confirmed the deaths, said the people, mostly children, succumbed to
malnutrition due to lack of a balanced diet.
The deaths comes at a
time when the government has told the international donor food organisations
that the country has enough food to take it to the next harvest
The government claims have been widely disputed by
independent non-governmental organisations.
Pay up or face transfer: teachers threatened By Valentine
TEACHERS in Masvingo province say they are being forced to pay
money for the preparations of the National Youth Games in 10 days'
Some of the teachers said Zanu PF youth militias were going around
schools demanding the contributions from each and every teacher at any
institution. They could only speak on condition of anonymity because of fear
The youth games are scheduled to run from 18 to
22 August in Masvingo province.
The Standard understands that
initially letters from the regional education offices in the province were
sent to most of the schools. The letters appealed for contributions from
everyone in order to ensure the event was a success.
headmasters are being asked to pay $20 000, while teachers are required to
pay $15 000.
"We have been forced to pay the money and there is nothing
we can do. They told us if we do not pay we were going to be transferred and
find somewhere to teach," said one teacher who declined to be
Cornelius Chigome, the provincial executive officer for the
Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta), confirmed that they had received
reports from disgruntled teachers but refused to give more
"Yes, we have received a number of reports from teachers who
have been asked to pay money for the games, but if you need a comment call
our head office," Chigome said.
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary
general for Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told The Standard
that a number of teachers had complained to his organization about the forced
"Those reports are from across the country. It's not
Masvingo alone that is being affected by this problem. Teachers from
Chimanimani, Goromonzi, Ruwa, Bindura, Kariba and many other districts have
been subjects of these aggressions each time there is a national event,"
The Youth Games were revived last year by the Sport and
Recreation Commission (SRC) with the objective of identifying sporting
Police use POSA to block MDC rallies By our own
POLICE have used the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) 11 times
over the last two weeks to bar Movement for Democratic Change president,
Morgan Tsvangirai, from meeting the party's rural constituency leadership,
The Standard has established.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango,
said police barred meetings, which had been scheduled for rural
constituencies of Bikita East, Bikita West, Masvingo North, Gutu South, Gutu
North, Gokwe Central, Gokwe East, Gokwe West, Kadoma Central, Silobela and
He said,"The reasons given by the police vary from place to
place. The most common is that there is a shortage of manpower or Zanu PF
also wants to use the same venue or that the officer who is supposed to give
the go-ahead is off duty."
Thomas Bvuma, the spokesperson for the
Electoral Supervisory Commission, when approached for comment on the
allegations, said: "The MDC should bring that issue to the attention of the
chairman of the Electoral Supervisory Commission, who would then institute
Reginald Matchaba-Hove, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, said: "If the MDC is being barred from holding
meetings then, it underscores the need to have fundamental reforms which will
address issues like freedom to campaign and freedom of the
"With the prevailing political situation, the environment is not
conducive for holding free and fair elections."
Tsvangirai told The
Standard last week that he had launched a campaign onslaught on rural
constituencies ahead of the March 2005
Sources in Zanu PF said Tsvangirai's
interview with this newspaper had caused panic in the ruling party corridors
as he revealed that he had gained a lot of ground in constituencies such as
Mvurwi, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Mt Darwin and those in Mashonaland East
Traditional leaders and spirit mediums (masvikiro) have also
attended Tsvangirai's meetings.
The barring of the meetings had
already cast doubts on whether the general elections in eight months time
would be free and fair, the MDC says.
"Tsvangirai believes the police are
abusing their powers in denying a political leader of his stature, with
millions of supporters and followers, the right to performhis national
"He has no option other than to put a test case in the courts to
get clarity on the police interpretation of POSA. He says POSA merely
requires political parties to inform the police as a formality, not to ask
for their approval to hold meetings."
In Tsholotsho Zanu PF disrupted
two rallies organised by the MDC on Friday morning.
The two rallies
were at Mbamba and Nkunzi business centres, 60 kilometres south of Tsholotsho
The incident happened in the presence of police manning the
place when Zanu PF Tsholotsho district chairman, June Nkiwane openly blocked
MDC Member of Parliament, Mtoliki Sibanda, from addressing the people.
Nkiwane turned the MDC rally into a Zanu PF meeting.
spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, could not be reached for a comment while his
deputy, Oliver Mandipaka, was said to be on leave.
The barring of MDC
meetings comes just a week before the SADC conference on Principles and
Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in Mauritius. The principles call
for the holding of free and fair elections in which political parties should
be given equal opportunities to participate in elections.
Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson, said the barring of his party's meetings at a
time when the government was talking about introducing electoral reforms,
should serve as a reminder that the government was not serious.
said,"Electoral reforms would be useless if there is no
democratic environment for political parties to participate
"The barring of our is backward and primitive and shows how
Zimbabwe is out of step with the rest of the civilised community, including
the SADC region where there is a discernible movement away from oppression
Nyathi said as soon as the date of the general
elections is announced, the MDC would hold consultations and decide on
whether to participate or not, based on the prevailing political
He said an MDC delegation led by the deputy secretary-general,
Gift Chimanikire, had just returned from Mauritius where they briefed
sections of the SADC leadership on the political environment in Zimbabwe.
Shamuyarira distances himself from AIPPA By Caiphas
ZANU PF secretary for information and publicity, Nathan
Shamuyarira, says he does not support the current oppressive media laws,
which muzzle the press as well as suppress the free flow of
Shamuyarira, a former journalist by profession and first
Minister of Information in independent Zimbabwe said the present regime of
laws was unhealthy for a democracy but he fell short of saying what he will
do to ensure freedom of the Press.
"I am a journalist and I would
like to see information flow as much as possible. I personally don't support
the restriction of the media as long as it is objective," Shamuyarira
The Zanu PF information chief was responding to questions raised
from the floor at a regional conference on initiatives on electoral reforms
organised by the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) and the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) in Victoria Falls last
Some of the laws that curtail media freedom in Zimbabwe are the
Public Order and Security Act (Posa), Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA).
into law in 2002, POSA provides for the prosecution of the media, journalists
and individuals for making statements which might cause “fear, alarm and
despondency” in the country.
It also contains a provision banning
publication or communication of statements which are deemed to be offensive
in certain respects to the Zimbabwean State or to the President or which
endanger public order, regardless of whether the information is true or
AIPPA makes it mandatory for all local and foreign media houses to
register with the Media and Information Commission (MIC) as well as making it
a criminal offence for media practitioners to “abuse journalistic
Shamuyarira’s statement flies in the face of the government’s
vigorous efforts to muzzle the Press in the country. Over the past few years,
the government, through the Ministry of Information and Publicity in
the President’s Office, headed by Jonathan Moyo, a non-journalist,
has intensified efforts to gag the media, particularly the private
Since last year, the MIC has closed down three major newspapers
namely The Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday and The Tribune. Several
community newspapers have also folded up after failing to raise the required
amounts of money to register with the government-appointed
Shamuyarira, however, bemoaned the death of good journalism both in
Zimbabwe and internationally, saying the current polarisation of media was
not good for free flow of information and freedom of expression. “That
journalism has now been thrown into the gutter here in Zimbabwe and in the
West. In the old days, we used to regard the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) as the benchmark of good journalism but it is no longer the same,'
said Shamuyarira, former editor of the African Daily News in the
The conference, attended by both Zanu PF and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) senior officials, was meant to create a platform on
which participants shared experiences on electoral reforms and principles in
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Zanu PF youths terrorise traditional leaders By Valentine
HEADMAN Eliah Murape, (82) of Domboshava was attacked at night by
suspected Zanu PF youths and had his traditional badges of office confiscated
after he attended an MDC rally a fortnight ago, The Standard has
Murape's relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
suspected Zanu PF supporters had indicated that they wanted to appoint a
youth leader from the area to the position of headman.
relative said: "They came during the night and they took away his badge and a
golden chain that he wears when he is presiding over matters. He was told
that he had been removed from the post with immediate effect."
according to sources, was attended by more than five thousand people who
witnessed Zanu PF youths fighting against each other after trading
accusations of letting the MDC go ahead with its meeting.
for a comment headman Murape said he did not want to comment since the matter
was still pending.
“I can not tell you what I am thinking right now. But
I know what they did is not constitutional. I don't have anything against my
superiors," said the headman, who says he has held the post for more than 34
Another traditional leader, a Zimbiru, a village head in
Domboshava was also reportedly attacked by the youths last week after an MDC
rally was held in the village.
The attacks come at a time the
opposition is making in-roads in rural areas, formerly considered a Zanu PF
stronghold, in preparation of the March 2005 parliamentary
In what is widely seen as a campaign gimmick, the government
recently awarded the traditional leaders hefty monthly allowances of up to $1
million each — more than the minimum wage of an average
Headmen were awarded 40 percent of that amount, with village
heads also getting allowances from the State.
Fortune Charumbira, the
Deputy Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing, who
himself is also a traditional chief in Masvingo, said he was unaware of the
victimisation of traditional leaders in Domboshava.
"We have not yet
received a case like that, if that person you are talking about is a real
headman I think I should have been informed. "Charumbira said.
Hands off private schools, parents tell Chigwedere By our
THE Ministry of Education and Culture should keep away from
privately run schools and instead direct its energies towards improving
dilapidated rural and urban schools, parents of children attending private
schools have said.
They said if the ministry’s motives in its war against
private schools was racially motivated, the government was barking up the
wrong tree because 80 percent of students attending private schools were
black. The parents who spoke to The Standard are all black.
May, the government slashed school fees at private schools saying they were
too high and unaffordable.
Many schools are in a quandary as they had
budgeted for higher incomes. Many might close down as a result.
highly charged meeting held last week in Harare, between parents and
the Minister of Education Aeneas Chigwedere and senior officials from
the ministry, saw parents telling Chigwedere off for interfering in the
running of private schools.
His meddling has resulted in one of the
schools, Eaglesvale, being pushed to the brink of collapse.
tried to win the support of the parents by saying he wanted to protect them
from schools but his arguments were shot down by the parents.
not the minister of parents, you are the minister of education," one irate
parent told Chigwedere.
A headmaster at one of the private schools said
private schools were the only functional educational institutions because
government-run schools had collapsed.
“The government says it wants to
improve the situation in private schools but how can you improve something
that is already perfect?”
Another parent, who attended the meeting, said
there were fears that the educational system in Zimbabwe could totally
collapse if Chigwedere continued meddling in the affairs of private schools
as had almost happened at Eaglesvale.
An official at one of the
private school boards said they did not understand why the ministry wanted to
interfere in the operations of private schools.
“It is the parents who
decide through a vote on the fees they pay. The parents, including senior
people in government are prepared to pay high fees for quality education for
their children and are not happy with Chigwedere’s continued
Another parent said she had removed her children from
government run schools because of their poor state.
government-run schools have functioning libraries, laboratories and other
necessary educational requirements. Private schools are well equipped and I
am prepared to pay a lot of money to ensure that my children have quality
education," she said.
Since being appointed Minister of Education in
2000, Chigwedere has concentrated his energies on peripheral
He tried to introduce one uniform for all pupils in the country,
attempted to change names of schools with mainly English names and meddled in
the Zimbabwe Football Association.
His experiments have failed
dismally, many Zimbabweans say.
Zanu PF, MDC dogfight for votes By Caiphas
WITH the political temperature rising ahead of next year's
general elections, Zanu PF has intensified its campaign to gain acceptance in
urban centres while the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) battles to win
the hearts of rural dwellers, largely seen as sympathetic to the ruling
The two rivals have practically invaded each other's turf as the
battle for national political supremacy, ahead of the March 2005 plebiscite,
Presently in urban areas, the political pendulum is tilted
in favour of the opposition MDC, the only party that has seriously threatened
President Robert Mugabes's 24-year-old uninterrupted rule.
party appeals to the people in the countryside and has only one MP in Harare
and Chitungwiza, Christopher Chigumba of the
Currently, Zanu PF is trying hard to shake off
its image as the architect of economic destruction and a gross violator of
human rights, pinning its re-election hopes on the land reform programme. It
has also added the fight against corruption, which has so far netted only
junior members of Zanu PF, on its re-election campaign programme.
ruling party blames all other problems ravaging the country on Zimbabwe' s
former coloniser, Britain.
For its part, the MDC is pleading with people
in rural areas to dump Zanu PF, which has been ruling since 1980, promising
to revive the economy, respect the rule of law as well as re-engaging the
In an effort to win the hearts of the suffering
urbanites and control the cities, the ruling Zanu PF government has pursued
populist but unsustainable scorched-earth policies.
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius
Chombo, govern-ment ordered Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare City Council freeze
rates, service and supplementary charges despite the negative implications on
the cities concerned.
Chombo, who fired ex-Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri and
more recently, sacked 13 MDC councillors, also directed the three cities to
revert to January 2004 figures, a move that has seriously compromised service
In the high-density areas such as Zengeza, Mufakose, Kambuzuma
and Mufakose, Zanu PF officials has set up health centres giving people free
medication although government hospitals and clinics have virtually run out
Zanu PF spokes-person, Nathan Shamu-yarira, could not be
reached for a comment last week.
Mike Davies of the Combined Harare
Residents' Association (CHRA) said Zanu PF was using deceit, chicanery and
unsustainable populist projects to court the suffering residents for their
votes. He condemned the dismissal of democratically elected council
representatives by Chombo for the furtherance of a Zanu PF political
"We know Zanu PF is campaigning vigorously and maneuvering to
gain control of urban centres but it should do it without firing
elected †representatives," said Davies, who attributed the installation of de
facto mayors (governor) in Harare and Bulawayo in the name of governors to
an effort to disenfranchise the opposition.
While Zanu PF has been
preoccupied with sprucing up its battered image in urban centres, MDC has,
for the first time, taken its campaign to the rural areas, in an effort to
crack the ruling party's dominance. So far, the opposition party has held
three star rallies in Buhera, Mashonaland East and in Mvurwi, where MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai escaped an attack from Zanu PF
Tsvangirai has vowed to win the next elections.
can not afford to remain an opposition party. It would be like a still-birth,
it's futile. We will have to be a ruling party by way of having a majority in
Parliament," Tsvangirai said while addressing a rally in Buhera
MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba-Nyathi, said despite acts of
intimidation and violence by Zanu PF militia and State security agents, its
rural campaigns are bearing fruit. He claims the MDC had recruited a number
of Zanu PF supporters ahead of next year's election.
"The chiefs are
only individuals in a sea of poverty. We are not overly worried about chiefs
and other traditional leaders because they are not in charge of the hearts
and minds of voters," the MDC spokesperson said.
The MDC said it was not
worried about the influences of chiefs, who recently received huge allowances
from government, because it had devised other means of gaining support of
people in rural areas.
For the two parties, next year's polls are
decisive as a loss could mean condemnation to political oblivion.
is feared that the next election might turn violent, particularly
after Mugabe's remarks at the Fourth Zanu PF National Youth Congress early
"If we lose the elections, I will expect you in the Youth
League to be answerable," Mugabe told the youth militia, who have been blamed
for intimidation and violence during election time.
THE reluctance by senior government and ruling party officials
to surrender ownership of multiple farms dares the top leadership in this
country to act against them. Their defiance is a betrayal of the principles
of equality, fairness and justice, for which the heroes who are buried at the
national shrine and who are being remembered this week sacrificed their
It is an insult and a mockery to the sacrifice and contribution by
the heroes of the liberation struggle that those of their surviving
colleagues are the ones at the forefront of amassing such wealth for
themselves at the expense of the majority in whose name the struggle for
liberation was waged.
In a sense, the presidency has been gifted an
opportunity to demonstrate its intolerance for officials with avaricious and
On several occasions, the president has appealed
to multiple farm owners - instead of ordering them- to surrender the
additional farms in fulfillment of the principle of one- person
It is possible that the defiance by some of the ministers and
officials arose because the president chose to appeal, rather than directing
those guilty of multiple farm ownership, to surrender them. He should have
put his foot down right from the beginning.
The response from those
concerned has been to seek to disguise multiple ownership of farms by
registering the properties under their spouses, children or
So far two land audits have unearthed the extent and level of
greed among the ministers, government and ruling party officials. The
decision to haul those accused of multiple farm ownership before disciplinary
hearing seeks to give them a fair chance or the right to defend
However, the findings of the two land audits should have
provided enough ammunition for the presidency to take swift and unequivocal
action against those found to have flouted the one-man one-farm principle,
but continue to demonstrate reluctance to surrender the additional
Those bent on clinging to more than one farm are the real
saboteurs. They are openly defying the principle of fair distribution of
resources that the heroes at the national shrine and others who perished in
foreign lands are being remembered for this week.
Those refusing to
relinquish the excess farms are the real enemies. They have no qualms about
amassing such wealth, while condemning the vast majority of Zimbabweans to
the overcrowded and unproductive communal areas.
Politicians who refuse
to give up the additional farms they hold are not better than those accused
of subverting the economy through externalization of foreign
There is, however, a serious danger in appearing ambivalent,
when it comes to dealing decisively against the multiple farm owners. In the
early 1980s, the Leadership Code suffered a stillbirth because of the same
level of avarice now being exhibited by those with multiple
However, if the intention is not to allow those owning many farms
enough rope to hang themselves, then the real danger could be resistance
designed to ensure the status quo continues.
In the face of serious
penalties being threatened, the multiple farm owners could become
co-conspirators in seeking a regime change in a bid to safeguard their
It is for this reason that the presidency needs to take
the bull by the horns and deal with them once and for all. After all, they
cannot complain that they were not fore-warned.
The same multiple farm
owners are among the major beneficiaries of state loans to the new farmers.
Unfortunately the resources have been diverted towards sustaining a lavish
Part of the fall in crop production this year is not because
the resources aren't available. It is because they have simply been extended
to undeserving people. It will be recalled that soon after
independence, Zimbabwe recorded a bumper harvest. The reason for such a
record performance was that villagers had access to seed packs and
The expertise these same villagers have garnered
over the past three decades in making Zimbabwe agriculturally
self-sufficient, would have transformed agricultural production from those
previously from the communal and small-scale sectors, if only they were among
the new farm owners and beneficiaries of state loans to the farming
The villagers and small holder farmers are unable to make a
meaningful contribution to the country's agricultural production because they
are neither the beneficiaries of the land reform programme nor the recipients
of state loans for the agricultural sector.
Failure to act against the
multiple farm owners will affect credibility. It can only suggest that those
the nation expects to act decisively have been compromised.
We don't want no education overthetop By Brian
THE government will take over the running of private schools even
though it doesn't really want to, said an official in the troubled central
African nation this week.
The move follows the limiting of school fees
and the subsequent bankrupting of at least one private school in the
Private schools, which educate the troubled central African
country's middle classes, have been battling hyperinflation for several
years. They have also been providing what is widely agreed to be one of the
world's finest education systems - often to the children of members of the
"It is a case of biting off their noses to spite their
faces," said one educationalist.
Still, in a case of typically
troubled central African logic, Zany education officials said they both would
and would not take over private schools.
Analysts said that this was
because they did not know what to do. While low school fees were initially
thought to be an election winner, the Zany policy makers have now discovered
that people actually take their children seriously and don't mind paying for
They had also discovered that the troubled central African
nation has a substantial middle class. This was said to have come as a huge
surprise to most Zany officials who thought the troubled central African
nation consisted entirely of peasants, a few middle class parliamentarians
and a dwindling number of Blair's lavatory attendants.
realisation that most pupils at increasingly panicked private schools in the
troubled central African regime are indigenous has sent a wave of confusion
through the ranks of a Zany Party. Anxious to lure back urban voters who long
since defected to the More Drink Coming Party, it is suggested that the Zany
Party is unsure what to do next.
One solution was to make private schools
increase class sizes, reduce the number of teachers and remove costly
facilities. But angry parents pointed out that this would turn their good
schools into bad schools and make them indistinguishable from schools in the
Still, most analysts agreed that the problem would
disappear in time.
"It's a question of saving face," said a political
analyst who cannot be named because he doesn't want to spend 28 days in
police cells, death or both. "They made an understandable mistake, but
because it was an official mistake, no one can admit it was a
This means much agonising will take place before schools,
parents and Zany officials with children at private schools muddle through
the loopholes until a solution is found.
At the end of the day, a
compromise will be found because schools are not farms," said one teacher,
adding, "Nobody wants to take over something that involves a great deal of
hard work and very little opportunity to make money."
quick survey conducted by Over The Top revealed that 90 percent of parents
were mildly concerned, but said that they would willingly donate money to
schools to bridge the divide between the fees charged and the amount
It is not illegal to donate money to anyone except the More Drink
Coming Party," said one parent.
Nevertheless, OTT can dismiss
speculation that the move against schools was designed to encourage the paler
citizens of the troubled central African nation to seek greener pastures.
This is because a quick look at any school reveals there aren't that many
What actually happened was that a little known
minister thought he'd do something to make a name for himself with a populist
move. He did make a name for himself, but the move proved to be universally
ALLOW me to comment on the article: 'National dress on cards'
in The Herald of July 29 2004. Do we really need to spend $300 000 000,00 on
some kind of "national uniform" competition (Does this remind you of a
national school uniform?) when millions do not have enough to eat? Do we
still have a conscience in this country?
This is the same ministry
that insists that school fees at government schools are $350-00. Their
schools have been destroyed due to these bankrupt policies and they now want
to destroy the private schools that still cater for those of us who have
chosen to remain in our beloved country.
Airways (BA), Europe's biggest airline, will from tomorrow raise its airfares
on the Harare-London route as the travel industry gears itself for a hectic
BA, which only recently resumed its three-times-a-week, non-stop
direct flights between Harare and London in a vote of confidence in Harare,
will increase its fares by between US$100 and US$300. Economic analysts
believe the fare hike is meant to take advantage of the tourism calendar,
which goes into its peak period from July until January.
trip to London will now cost between US$900 and US$1 345 while a return
ticket is now priced at US$1 150 and US$1 303 in the airline's economy class.
Prior to the increase tickets were selling at between US$633 and US$900. A
special fare in an Air Zimbabwe economy class costs US$5 200 for a one-way
trip to London and US$2 900 for a return ticket.
Although BA General
Manager R Burbano could not be reached as he was reported to be out of the
country, officials at BA said escalating costs among them aviation fuel had
influenced the new airfares, coupled with an anticipated growth in
"At present our flights are fully booked. This could be so
because the month of August is a high season," the officials
World oil prices have been zooming higher because of the supply
tension from the Middle East. Oil prices for September deliveries surged
US$1,05 to reach a 21-year high of US$43.80 a barrel. Most international
airlines have flagged up the cost of fuel to shareholders when releasing
Meanwhile, in its latest travel advice the British
Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned its citizens to exercise caution and
avoid unnecessary travel in all urban areas in Zimbabwe.
you to exercise extreme caution when travelling. Because of current
uncertainty in the security situation and the shortages of food, we strongly
advise against independent travel (particularly backpacking)... it read in
Dollar traded weaker on the street last week, as the parallel market reacted
to Governor Gideon Gono's controversial decision to stop foreign currency
payments through the Homelink system.
The dollar last week fell to $7 500
from levels of around $7 000 on the US Dollar, and slumped to $11 000 on the
British Pound. The Dollar traded at $5 554 on the US Dollar and $10 215 on
the Pound at Thursday's official auction.
Bank dealers said the
movement on the unofficial foreign currency market was in reaction to Gono's
announcement at the second quarter monetary policy review. Gono said central
bank would ban the payment of repatriated Homelink funds in hard currency,
saying the system had been subject to abuse.
"It is a policy reversal, as
far as the market is concerned. It basically means we are back where we
started," a dealer with a local commercial bank said.
The dealer said
he expected the dollar to continue trading weaker in the coming weeks, in the
absence of any significant improvement in inflows from exporters. Three
leading exporters - Interfresh, Cafca and Steelnet - have in recent weeks
released data showing how much the prevailing forex regime has hurt
Under the Homelink facility, in its initial form,
recipients of foreign currency had the option of receiving their funds either
in hard money or the Zimdollar equivalent at the Diaspora rate, or the
auction rate, depending on whichever rate is higher. Gono pushed the Diaspora
rate to $5 600 at the review, after the previous $5 200 had been surpassed by
the auction rate.
Critics however say Gono's new Diaspora level has been
taken as a signal to parallel market dealers that the Zimbabwe dollar was
overvalued. Gono acknowledged this fact, trying to talk up the struggling
local currency by emphasising improved forex earnings.
the new stance by central bank would discourage remittances from Zimbabweans
living outside the country, whom the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has targeted in
a series of road shows outside the country.
Gono also acknowledges that
the black market will be difficult to kill: "Closer exchange control
surveillance by Reserve Bank staff is underway to clamp down on errant
foreign exchange dealers."
MDC must act on wayward Chombo Sundayopinion By Phillip
ONE indicator of thriving democratic governance are the notions
of devolution or decentralization of power which all emphasise
that democratically elected councillors at local governmental level are left
to make their own decisions without the intrusion of the
However, Ignatious Chombo, Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing Minister's antics have left local governance in Zimbabwe in
a state of quandary.
In one of a series of its critiques of the
ongoing crisis in local governance, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition issued a
strong statement on June 2, 2004 condemning the intrusion of minister Chombo
in the running of the City of Harare.
The statement read: "The
continued government's intrusion in the running of the affairs of the City of
Harare since the assumption of office by a democratically elected council in
March 2002 is a serious cause for concern.
The interference smacks of
government's utter hypocrisy on its commitment to democracy."
past, the Zanu PF government has gone to town on its claims that no one has
any right to lecture it on democracy and good governance. One of the basic
tenets of a thriving democracy, that even the freshers pursuing government
and political science studies at university have been asked to memorise by
lecturers, is one given by the former United States President, Abraham
Lincoln that democracy is "government of the people, by the people and for
The fundamental feature of democracy is that the citizens
are afforded an opportunity to choose a government or leaders of their choice
without any form of coercion exerted on them. It therefore means that both
the quality (how free and fair are the elections) and quantity (how regular
are the elections held) remain crucial indicators of thriving democracies and
that once elected there can be no flimsy excuse to remove the elected
political leaders because they either belong to this or that political party
or some other tribal or ethnic faction because the people would have
The machinations by Zanu PF to meddle in the administration of
cities and towns that are run by MDC mayors and councillors are indicative of
a government that has failed to appreciate the basic tenets of
democracy especially the fact that the citizens have every right to be
governed by an MDC mayor or councillor.
Many people remember how the
state unleashed its functionaries, including the army, police, the war
veterans and the youth militia on the residents of Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe
and Mutare to mention a few areas after the announcement of the results of
the June 2000 poll accusing people from these areas of voting for "the wrong
party and wrong candidates".
A reign of terror was unleashed relentlessly
on the people who were suspected to be sympathizers or followers of the
To date, minister Chombo has suspended and fired a dozen MDC
councillors and one mayor. The other councillors that have not been either
sacked or suspended have been subjected to various forms of coercion by the
The mayor of Harare, Engineer Elias Mudzuri, who was convincingly
elected in March 2002 on an MDC ticket, beating Zanu PF's candidate Amos
Midzi, is being haunted by Chombo, the same with Francis Dhlakama, the MDC
mayor for Chegutu. Mudzuri and other MDC councillors have been dismissed on
trumped up charges of incompetence.
Government's dismissal of the
democratically elected councillors and mayors flies in the face of the
residents who voted into office these leaders. To say the least, the attempt
by government to have all MDC-dominated cities and towns run by kangoroo
committees composed of people who are sycophants of the Zanu PF regime
exposes the regime for its desperate attempt to impose itself on the
The citizenry has no obligation to obey any government or
leadership that imposes itself on the people. The resident associations and
other civic groups have a duty to mobilize against the committees that are
being imposed on the people by Chombo and demand their right to be governed
by legitimate leaders.
Equally the same, the MDC has to be re-oriented
towards politics of civil disobedience. The leadership of the MDC has to
learn one lesson that the history of the MDC is rooted in both the labour and
student union movements and that these remain two critical pillars of support
for the party, that need to be continuously oiled and energized. Unlike
before, the MDC has a legitimate struggle to fight against Chombo and the
Zanu PF regime, because it is being denied the right to govern when the
electotare has given them it the mandate to do so.
Before the advent
of the MDC, councils were run predominantly by Zanu PF and these were riddled
with corruption, ineptitude and nepotism. The Solomon Tavengwa-led executive
ran down the city and during this period Harare was highly- potholed with
poor street lighting and poor or no refuse collection.
To me this amounts
to inefficiency but because Tavengwa was a Zanu PF functionary, the
government did not adopt the high-handedness they now want to exercise on MDC
mayors and councillors.
Councillors and mayors are city fathers who are
supposed to serve the interests of all residents regardless of political
affiliation. If not careful, the MDC might be frus trated in urban
constituencies in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, not because Zanu
PF is now popular but because people may start to think that the opposition
party no longer has capacity to deliver positive political
Resorting to the courts to seek redress will not pay any dividends
because of a perverted judicial system in the country that only serves as a
rubber stamp machinery of executive decisions. The election petitions that
the MDC lodged with the High Court to seek the nullification of both the
results of some constituencies in the 2000 parliamentary elections and the
2002 presidential plebiscite are still hanging.
The separation of
powers doctrine, which is important in defining democracies, is non-existent
in Zimbabwe, since President Mugabe and his ministers are endowed with
excessive powers that empower them to legislate even in elections (at
whatever level), in which they are participants.
Conspiracy theories spell tragedy in Zimbabwe Sundaytalk
with Pius Wakatama
WORDS fail me as I try to describe the mad frenzy our
political leadership is now in as they desperately try to defend their
indefensible position. On one hand they claim that they brought democracy to
Zimbabwe while on the other hand they are busy destroying the last few
vestiges of democracy that we still have.
At the same time they flail
and spit venom at anyone, no matter how well-meaning, who dares to question
what they are doing. The whole world should just agree with them that all of
Zimbabwe's problems, economic or otherwise, emanate from the "evil western
imperialists." If you are African and question this conclusion, then you must
be a puppet of the West with a colonised mind.
Commonwealth tried to rein in President Robert Mugabe's human rights abuses,
he left the club in a huff, blaming western powers for demonising him because
he had taken white-owned land to give to landless blacks. Now it is the
African Union which is under fire. Whether he will lead Zimbabwe out of the
organisation too, remains to be seen.
In the meantime his spokesmen in
the form of the "Three Musketeers," Dr Tafataona Mahoso, Prof Jonathan Moyo
and Dr Stan Mudenge are indirectly attacking the African Union saying that it
is being used by the West as a tool against Zimbabwe.
What happened is
that in trying to helpfully intervene in the continuing Zimbabwean saga, the
African Union's Commission on Human and People's Rights sent a mission to
Zimbabwe to see for themselves. They did not want to rely on second or
third-hand reports which could be biased.
Since Zimbabwe is a valued
member of the African Union and Mugabe is a pan-Africanist with an impeccable
liberation war record, one assumes that they left for Zimbabwe with all good
intentions and without any hidden agenda. After all President Mugabe himself
had often said: "The West should leave Africans alone to solve their own
problems." This is exactly what they were trying to do.
An AU mission,
composed of a carefully selected team of African human rights experts,
visited Zimbabwe in 2002. They talked to various sectors of the Zimbabwean
community including government, human rights groups and the opposition. Then
they left, prepared their report and handed it to the ACHPR.
report rejected outright the Zimbabwe government's claim that the land issue
was at the centre of the political and economic crisis that had engulfed
Zimbabwe for the past five years. It indicated that there was sufficient
evidence placed before the mission to suggest pervasive human rights
violations . It also said: "The mission is prepared and able to rule that the
government cannot wash its hands of responsibility for
At the AU Heads of State and Government summit held
in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month, the council of ministers refused to
adopt the report because Zimbabwe needed time to study it and to respond to
the issues raised. This is despite the fact that the government received the
report some time ago.
Since the Addis Ababa summit, Zimbabwe has been
in a frenzy of rather senseless anger. Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa
said it was a mischievous report prepared by a commission funded by the
European Union which has taken a hardline stance on Zimbabwe and imposed
sanctions on senior government ministers.
Dr Tafataona Mahoso, also
known as the "Nutty Professor" really went to town on his vitriolic attack on
the AU commission. In The Sunday Mail of July 18, 2004, he berated the ACHPR
in his usual verbose and windy style.
By the way a chap once remonstrated
with me for using words he did not understand. He said he needed a dictionary
beside him to understand what I was saying. To him I say, verbose means using
too many unnecessary words and windy means given to prolonged, empty and
meaningless talk which is unrelated to the subject at hand. Avoiding these is
the basic element of good writing. Don't ask me why our professor of
journalism has not learnt this basic lesson. Ask the university from which he
claims to have earned his doctorate.
In the article, Dr Mahoso
writes:" Humanitarian intervention and regime change are not new concepts.
They have a long history going back for centuries. In modern times, Adolph
Hitler stands out as a pioneer and genius at using lies to incite wars in the
name of humanitarian intervention and regime change. Those comparing George W
Bush and Tony Blair with Hitler are doing so because of their knowledge of
"Hitlerian strategies and tactics are still being used.
Reports of the abuse of the report of the so-called African Commission on
Human and People's Rights in Addis Ababa recently portray British agents and
their African collaborators trying to smuggle the report into the African
Union by by-passing legitimate structures and procedures. These reports also
say that the smuggled report included damning chapters on Sierra Leone,
Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Zimbabwe: but the British agents, their
African collaborators and the apartheid Press in South Africa decided to
focus only on the chapter on Zimbabwe.
"Pan-Africanists who want to
take seriously the Organisation of African Union (OAU) and its successor, the
AU, find the debate over the fraudulent report quite confusing and
demoralising because of the failure of the African journalists, especially,
to go beyond the shallow events in the story: that is, that the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights held some hearings and produced a
fraudulent report with the assistance of the British, other donors and some
racist (non-governmental organisations) NGOs. What is missing from the story
is the fact that this report is the latest in a series of lies, especially
about and against Zimbabwe.
The professor goes on and on to talk about
Archbishop Pius Ncube, ZW News, Amani Trust, Zimbabwe NGO Forum, Hillary
Andersen and Geoff Nyarota. These are portrayed as collaborators who are
working with the British and the Americans and their allies to bring about
regime change in Zimbabwe through violent means. One has to admit that Dr
Mahoso has an unusually fertile imagination which enables him to depart from
real life and transports him into a make-believe world populated by evil
conspirators who are all out to destroy Zimbabwe.
He continues: "But
what is important is to understand the history and purpose of these so-called
reports on humanitarian catastrophes. The purpose is clear and simple; to
enable the US, the UK and their coalition of killers to replace the UN
Charter with the Declaration of Human Rights; to return international
relations to the colonial era, that is before 1945, by replacing the concepts
of "non-intervention' and crime against peace with the doctrine of unilateral
He then concludes, ... "The UN Charter does
allow sovereign States to enter into alliance with other States for the
purpose of repelling or discouraging an aggressor. But a political party such
as the MDC in Zimbabwe, can not lawfully invite a a foreign power to help it
overthrow a constitutionally elected government. Such conduct is not only
treasonous, it is a gross provocation against peace and the action of the
invited power would constitute a gross crime against peace in terms of the UN
Phew ! - Just where does the MDC come in? Who said the
opposition party was inviting a foreign power to intervene in Zimbabwe? After
reading Dr Mahoso's diatribe, I have come to the conclusion that anyone who
takes him and his conspiracy theories seriously needs to have his or her head
examined. My only fear is that there may be enough demagogues out there who
may believe his junk and try to do something about it thus igniting a fire
which may end in real tragedy for Zimbabwe.
Mauritius will soon be hosting the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) conference. This high-level summit will
provide the opportunity for SADC members to harmonise policies on a broad
range of subjects, such as crime, immigration and AIDS. The latter has struck
sub-Saharan Africa with such savage swiftness that one could be forgiven for
thinking that the disease had been specially designed for the region. Such is
the magnitude of the epidemic that we have come to consider it as a "fait
accompli", a pitfall inherent to life in Africa. At least one doesn't have
the time or luxury to get bored. Staying alive is incredibly time- and
energy-consuming. This same lassitude can be extended to poverty, war and
malaria. The fact that HIV-AIDS ranks a mediocre third on the hit parade of
African killers gives a glimpse of the obstacles that the continent has to
overcome if it is to emerge from decades of misery and suffering. Add to this
the propensity of powerful interests to utilise Africa as the theatre of
their struggles to secure precious minerals and one is left with an
overwhelming sense of gloom. This was illustrated in a recent UN report,
which stated war as the primary hindrance to development in Africa. Humankind
has demonstrated cruel zeal in its wanton destruction and degradation of the
continent that gave birth to it. It must be something
Mauritius' response to HIV-AIDS has been, if not beyond
reproach, one of the most coherent and accessible. War is unknown to us and
malaria inexistent. The same can be said for the respect of basic freedoms
and rights that we enjoy daily. The only other country in the region that can
boast of over three decades of genuine democracy is Botswana. Is it a
coincidence that two of Africa's tiniest swathes of land are also its most
stable? Probably not. We will soon be welcoming Zimbabwe president, Robert
Mugabe. Good old Bob! It's been a while since the last time we had an
original African despot on our soil. Rarely in recent history has Louis IV's,
"L'…tat c'est moi", so appropriately fitted one man. The numbers speak for
themselves. Three million Zimbabweans have taken refuge in South Africa, one
million in the UK and 500 000 in Botswana. Zimbabwe's a beautiful country so
it wasn't for a change of scenery that over three and half million people
decided to pack their belongings and migrate.
If Mauritius wasn't
so far away and the price of plane tickets so prohibitive, we would probably
also be the recipient of a flood of Zimbabwean refugees fleeing oppression
and starvation. An estimated three million Zimbabweans rely on food aid for
survival. That number could escalate to five million in the near future. Wild
animals, like elephants, are being slaughtered for food and there are not
even enough of those to go round. Only a decade ago, Zimbabwe was known as
the "Breadbasket of Africa". Such reversals of fortune are usually reserved
for Greek tragedies and, chances are, even Sophocles would have been
hard-pressed to come up with such a dťnouement. The SADC conference will be a
wonderful opportunity for the region's leaders to give Bob a good talking to.
The conference being reserved for Heads of State, Zimbabwe's opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is currently on a
mission in Mauritius to raise awareness, won't be allowed to make official
representations. It will be lobbying hard, though. Not for anything drastic,
mind you. All it is asking for is that next year's elections be "free and
fair" and that the people of Zimbabwe be allowed to choose their next leader.
Given Mugabe's recent track record, he's understandably not too keen on
offering them that opportunity. Wouldn't it be nice if, amidst all the
diplomatic pomp, a few leaders got up and asked Bob what the hell he is
doing! Africa is beset with ills but the plight of the Zimbabwean population
is one that Africa itself has the capacity to alleviate.
Tuku takes his subtle, discreet protest to UK
By Ray Matikinye Last updated: 08/09/2004
05:25:13 ZIMBABWE'S most popular musician Oliver Mtukudzi is in the United
Kingdom to remind the thousands who have fled of the economic rot that has
beset their mother country through song and dance.
For the duration of
the show, Zimbabweans will yearn for home, imbued with nostalgic memories of
how things were and should have been since the days Mtukudzi sang: "Nyika
yedu ye Zimbabwe" at independence from Britain in 1980, celebrating a new era
for Zimbabwe and anticipating better times.
How times have
Tuku's musical thrust has changed too as has the psyche of the
urban poor who went on rampage in Harare's working-class suburb of Mabvuku
when the price of bread was increased to Zim $50. Now breads costs 70 times
as much at $3 500 a loaf but state brutality at the behest of an intolerant
ruling elite has sapped the energy of the people to protest.
grudgingly accept daily price increases without even mute protest, fearful of
a crackdown by state agents. Tuku denies the lyrics of his music disparages
the inept, corrupt, political elite who have run the country's economy into
the ground over time through graft and mismanagement. Life has become more
miserable for the ordinary citizen in the past decade than at any other time
in post independent Zimbabwe.
"People interpret my music they way they
want." Tuku insists.
But listening to some of the songs on his Vhunze
Moto album, one is left in no doubt that Tuku is one of the most subtle,
discreet protest musicians around. He seems to embroider his critical lyrics
effortlessly, ably putting his message across to the discerning
Unlike his contemporary Thomas Mapfumo the chimurenga music guru who
is rather brazen, brusque and truculent in his criticism, Tuku seems to have
a mission to give most of the Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom a chance
to listen to his pedigree lambaste of the country's political elite and
its cheerleaders in Yave Mbodza - a song highly critical of the
inherent political chicanery and hypocrisy Mugabe and his cronies have
become legendary for.
Rather routinely, Mugabe has been adamant all
he, his lieutenants and his party do is champion the cause of the poor
peasant; all he does is for the benefit and in the interests of the
Tuku poignantly illustrates and exposes the insincerity of
such pronouncements: "Vanotsengera mwana Asi ivo vomedza". From the abuse of
the War Victims Compensation Fund, the VIP Housing Scheme and recently the
Land Reform Programme the repertoire of Mugabe's band' has not changed a
What Mugabe has done is allow his self-serving cronies to abuse the
trust of both the independence war fighters and the hapless peasants for
whose benefit the programmes were purportedly initiated.
In one of his
instructive commentaries, South African deputy chairman of the South African
Institute of International Affairs, Moeletsi Mbeki had this to say: "The one
African politician who claims to act in the interests of peasants, Zimbabwe's
Robert Mugabe, has reduced the once-proud and almost self-sufficient
Zimbabwean peasants to paupers who now have to be fed by the United Nations'
World Food Programme."
Herein lies Tuku's apt message: "Vanotsengera
Mwana Asi ivo vomedza". At the moment, there is hue and cry over ministers
and other senior government officials refusing to give up the multiple farms
they corruptly grabbed ahead of land-short peasants. The current situation
regarding land redistribution begs the question "Do all the shady programmes
Mugabe puts in place "on behalf of the peasants" benefit them?
recent address to the London Business School Mbeki says Africa's peasants are
prey to the forces that have the ability to form political organization and
therefore control the state. "Through marketing boards, taxation systems and
the like, the political elite diverts the savings (accumulated by the
peasants) to finance its own consumption and the strengthening of the
repressive instruments of the state.
Listen to Gondo and you are left in
doubt Mbeki and Tuku are singing from the same Book of Common Verse albeit
for different audiences through different media.