The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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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

††††† 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.

††††† Under Zimbabwe law, political parties are prohibited from accepting
funds from foreign donors.

††††† The MDC rejected the allegations, denying ever meeting Nigerian
officials in Zimbabwe. "The allegation is completely without any merit,"
said MDC spokesperson William Bango.

††††† Relations between Zimbabwe and Nigeria have soured in recent months -
especially after Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to invite
Mugabe to last December's Commonwealth summit in Abuja and backed the
decision to prolong Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth.

††††† Tensions are also high with former colonial ruler Britain over
Zimbabwe's land reform program that saw thousands of white farmers evicted
from their land that was handed to landless blacks.

††††† Some of the evicted white farmers have been given farmland in Kwara
state of Nigeria.

††††† "It is believed that these farmers have been instrumental in securing
British funding for the MDC, which is being channelled through Nigeria,"
said the pro-government Sunday Mail.

††††† "Some of the farmers are known to be hardcore MDC supporters and
financiers who are also linked to British intelligence," said the weekly

††††† Nigerian embassy officials in Harare were not immediately available
for comment on Sunday.

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Sunday Times (SA)

Moyo in hot water for buying state farm illegally



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 Zimbabwe.

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.

Then 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 Paterson Farm.

Meanwhile, tension is rising between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) over proposed electoral reforms ahead of next year's general

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 election.

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 increasing.

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.
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Zim Standard

Hunger claims more lives
By Savious Kwinika in Bulawayo

.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

News of the deaths comes as the battle for food statistics between the
government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) rages on.

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 report says.

The revelations come at a time the government is insisting that the country
has enough food to feed its citizens until the next harvest.

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 elsewhere.

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

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 hunger.

"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 nation.

"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 year.

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 season.

The government claims have been widely disputed by independent
non-governmental organisations.
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Zim Standard

Pay up or face transfer: teachers threatened
By Valentine Maponga

TEACHERS in Masvingo province say they are being forced to pay money for the
preparations of the National Youth Games in 10 days' time.

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 of

The youth games are scheduled to run from 18 to 22 August in Masvingo

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

School 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 named.

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 details.

"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 contributions.

"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," Majongwe said.

The Youth Games were revived last year by the Sport and Recreation
Commission (SRC) with the objective of identifying sporting talent.
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Zim Standard

Police use POSA to block MDC rallies
By our own staff

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 Hwedza.

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 investigations."

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 Press.

"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 parliamentary

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 province.

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 duties.

"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

The two rallies were at Mbamba and Nkunzi business centres, 60 kilometres
south of Tsholotsho growthpoint.

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.

Police 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

Paul Themba 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

He said,"Electoral reforms would be useless if there is no democratic
environment for political parties to participate equally.

"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 and

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 situation.

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.
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Zim Standard

Shamuyarira distances himself from AIPPA
By Caiphas Chimhete

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 information.

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 said.

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 week.

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).

Signed 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 false.

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 privilege”.

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 Press.

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 MIC.

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 1960s.

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.
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF youths terrorise traditional leaders
By Valentine Maponga

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 learnt.

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.

The 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."

The rally, 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.

When contacted 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 years.

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 elections.

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 worker.

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
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Zim Standard

Hands off private schools, parents tell Chigwedere
By our own Staff

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.

In 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.

A 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.

Chigwedere 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.

"You are 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

“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 interference."

Another parent said she had removed her children from government run schools
because of their poor state.

"Few 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 issues.

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.
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF, MDC dogfight for votes
By Caiphas Chimhete

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 party.

The two rivals have practically invaded each other's turf as the battle for
national political supremacy, ahead of the March 2005 plebiscite, rages on.

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.

The ruling party appeals to the people in the countryside and has only one
MP in Harare and Chitungwiza, Christopher Chigumba of the Zengeza

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.

The 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 international community.

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.

Through the 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 delivery.

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 of drugs.

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 agenda.

"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 supporters.

Tsvangirai has vowed to win the next elections.

"We 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 North.

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.

It is feared that the next election might turn violent, particularly after
Mugabe's remarks at the Fourth Zanu PF National Youth Congress early this

"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.
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Zim Standard


Failure to act puts credibility at stake

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 lives.

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 acquisitive tendencies.

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 one-farm.

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 relatives.

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 themselves.

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 farms.

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 currency.

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 farms.

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 ill-gotten gains.

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 lifestyle.

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 agricultural inputs.

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 sector.

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
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Zim Standard

We don't want no education
overthetop By Brian Latham

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 capital.

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 government.

"It is a case of biting off their noses to spite their faces," said one

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 quality.

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.

Still, the 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 state sector.

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 mistake."

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

Meanwhile a 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 needed.

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 pigment-challenged pupils.

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 unpopular.
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Zim Standard


National dress, another of our crazy ideas

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.

What is next I wonder?

Charles Zinyemba

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Zim Standard

BA raises fares
By Kumbirai Mafunda

BRITISH 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 season.

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.

A one-way 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 business.

"At present our flights are fully booked. This could be so because the month
of August is a high season," the officials said.

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 their financials.

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.

"We advise 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 part.
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Zim Standard

Zimdollar weaker
By our own Staff

THE Zimbabwe 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

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

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 profitability.

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.

Analysts say 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."
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Zim Standard

MDC must act on wayward Chombo
Sundayopinion By Phillip Pisirayi

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 executive.

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

In the 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 people."

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 spoken.

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 MDC.

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 regime.

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 electorate.

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

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 goods.

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.
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Zim Standard

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.

When the 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

The 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 these

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 that history.

"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 humanitarian intervention.

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 Charter."

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.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Comment from l'express (Mauritius), 6 August

From breadbasket to basket case in a decade

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 Freudian.

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.
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New Zimbabwe

Tuku takes his subtle, discreet protest to UK audiences

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 changed.

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.

They 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 ear.

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 people.

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 bit.

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?

In a 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.

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