|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Harare - Zimbabwe wants to amend its Land Act to
make it easier for
President Robert Mugabe's government to forcibly acquire white-owned farms
for redistribution among blacks, the official Herald newspaper reported on
The paper said the amendments were meant to "consolidate the gains of land
reform and remove remaining bottlenecks in the acquisition process".
A major amendment would be the abolition of a requirement that the initial
notice of acquisition should be served personally upon the owner of the land
to be acquired. The notice would now simply be published in a government
"This (earlier) provision has proved difficult to implement under the land
reform programme because often the owner no longer occupies the land and
cannot otherwise be located," the Herald quoted the amendment bill as
Mugabe stirred controversy in 2000 when he allowed militants loyal to his
ruling Zanu-PF party to occupy white-owned farms in support of his
government's land reforms.
He says land reform is meant to correct ownership imbalances created by
colonialism, which put the bulk of Zimbabwe's prime farm land in the hands
of minority whites.
The government has previously accused white farmers of resorting to legal
technicalities to slow down its compulsory acquisition of their property
under the programme.
Critics say that although land reform has benefited thousands of peasants,
it was government ministers and senior officials from Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF government who seized the most productive farms.
Aid agencies say disruption to agricultural activity caused by the farm
seizures is partly to blame for chronic food shortages likely to affect more
than five million Zimbabweans by year-end.
Mugabe, 79, denies that skewed government policies have ravaged the economy,
but says it has been sabotaged by his local and foreign critics in
retaliation for the land programme.
Zimbabwe Law Society Outraged by Forced Withdrawal of Judge for Newspaper
01 Dec 2003, 16:58 UTC
Zimbabwe's law society says it is outraged that the judge who
ruled in favor
of the Daily News in October, was forced to withdraw from the case just days
before he was to hold hearings on the paper's request to enforce his
judgment. Another judge was appointed to hear the case.
Judge Selo Nare was sent from Zimbabwe's second city Bulawyo to hear the
Daily News'application in Harare. The newspaper, Zimbabwe's only independent
daily, had asked the court to enforce its earlier ruling that the government
media commission that grants licenses to journalists and news media was not
But the judge who was to hear the enforcement application withdrew from the
case last week. His decision followed reports in the government-controlled
media that he had been overheard telling a nurse before the hearing that he
would rule in favor of the Daily News.
The Zimbabwe Law Society said over the weekend that the state press attack
on the judge, was "contemptuous, unwarranted and calculated to bring the
administration of justice into disrepute." The Law Society also charged that
the state news media campaign is "part of a wider, deliberate, systematic
and sustained general attack on the judiciary to manipulate it, reduce its
independence and weaken national institutions vital for the restoration of
the rule of law and democracy."
The Daily News legal advisor, Gugulethu Moyo, said Monday she did not know
when judgment on the application would be handed down by the replacement
The judge himself said he did not have a typist in Bulawayo, and would have
to write the judgment by hand, and then send it to Harare to have it typed.
This, he said, would take some time.
The Daily News, which was often critical of President Robert Mugabe's
government, was banned last September because, according to the government,
it did not obtain a proper license from the media commission. Its offices
were shut down and its equipment confiscated. The newspaper has been
challenging the ban on its publication in the courts ever since.
From Business Day (SA), 1 December
Commonwealth: to be or not to be
London - To its critics, the Commonwealth is a toothless talking
holds little sway in global affairs, but supporters maintain it can still
play an important role in the world in battling poverty and promoting
democracy. The collection of 54 nations - former British dominions,
colonies, dependencies and other territories, plus Britain itself and
Mozambique - achieved prominence in the 1970s with its tough stance against
apartheid in South Africa. More recently, however, it mostly makes headlines
when it expels member nations which have breached its supposedly shared
fundamental values - overshadowing its respected work on election monitoring
and the writing-off of the crippling debts of its smaller members.
Detractors point to its clumsy handling of the thorny issue of Zimbabwe as
evidence that the Commonwealth packs no punch. Zimbabwe was suspended from
the Commonwealth in March 2002, but only after years of wrangling over what
action to take over President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms and
political violence. "The Commonwealth matters, particularly to our members
that we assist and help," Commonwealth spokesman Joseph Kibazo told AFP
ahead of Friday's opening of the biennial Commonwealth summit in Abuja.
Kibazo pointed to the fact that Nigeria - ousted in 1995 after it sentenced
to death the outspoken writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and a group of fellow
activists - now is not only back in the club, but hosting the summit. "This
just shows what can happen," he said. "Up to 1999 Nigeria was suspended.
Four years later it is the host."
But the Commonwealth is also not the beast it used to be. Staff at the
Commonwealth Secretariat, the executive arm, based in London, has plummeted
from 420 in 1990 to some 270 today, as the main donor countries - Australia,
Britain and Canada - quietly cut back their contributions. "The situation
has seen a significant run down in recent years," said Richard Bourne, a
Commonwealth expert at the University of London. "I don't have an anxiety
that the Commonwealth is going to die tomorrow," he said. "The issue is
really about how it is going to be effective, and made more effective, in a
very competitive world where there are lots of international organisations."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair now meets his European colleagues at EU
summits eight times more often than he meets all his Commonwealth
counterparts, and his Group of Eight partners four times more often. "Unless
people put effort in, it won't pack a great punch," Bourne said.
While a core Commonwealth aim is to alleviate
poverty, its assistance fund
has lost 40% of its capital since the 1990s and now has little over 20
million pounds in its coffers. The good the Commonwealth can do, however, is
evident in Nigeria where it has helped people to recover from the ravages of
a five-year military dictatorship. "They have a completely different take"
on the Commonwealth, with President Olusegun Obasanjo's government setting
up Commonwealth clubs in high schools and launching a programme to promote
public awareness of its role, Bourne said. He suggested that developments in
Zimbabwe - whose president Mugabe has not been invited to Abuja - could hold
the key to the re-emergence of the Commonwealth in global affairs. "The
Commonwealth moves forward with crisis in the background," Bourne said.
"This was the case with apartheid. It was the case with the end of the
Nigerian dictatorship. I very much hope and expect that the same will be the
case in Zimbabwe in the next two or three years," he said.
Zimbabwe Ruling Party Wins Parliament By-election - Radio
Copyright © 2003, Dow Jones Newswires
(AP)--Zimbabwe's ruling party claimed a parliamentary
seat formerly held by the opposition in a weekend by-election, state radio
Ishmael Mutema, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, polled 9,382 votes in the
provincial town of Kadoma, compared with 6,038 for opposition Movement for
Democratic Change candidate Charles Mupandawana, the station said.
The vote Saturday and Sunday was called after the death earlier this
year of opposition lawmaker Austin Mupandawana, the father of the defeated
Campaigning was marred by violence, with the two parties trading blame
for the clashes in the town 140 kilometers southwest of the capital, Harare.
The poll left the opposition with 54 of Parliament's 120 elected
President Robert Mugabe appoints an additional 30 lawmakers, giving
the ruling party a sweeping majority it has used to pass harsh new media and
Mugabe has stepped up a crackdown of dissent in the troubled southern
African country, arresting opposition leaders and shutting down the
country's only independent daily newspaper.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 01, 2003 10:41 ET (15:41 GMT)
Measures to Tap Forex From Locals Living Abroad Reach Advanced Stage:
The Herald (Harare)
December 1, 2003
Posted to the web December 1, 2003
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Dr Herbert Murerwa says proposals
to effect measures aimed at reconciling foreign currency through the formal
financial system from Zimbabweans living in the diaspora have made progress.
"Plans to implement such mechanisms are at an advanced stage and will be
disclosed in the (Reserve Bank) Governor's statement," Dr Murerwa said in
his 2004 budget presentation last month.
The recently appointed Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, with a mammoth
task ahead of him, is this month expected to announce a new monetary policy
that is expected to drive the country out of its current economic
The Minister said the central bank had since set up structures to conciliate
significant amounts of foreign exchange from non-resident Zimbabweans as the
country battles to clog all foreign currency leaks.
Large sums of foreign currency from Zimbabweans staying overseas have been
flooding the thriving parallel where higher rates are being offered.
"Government, through the RBZ, has put in place institutional structures and
implementation modalities to mobilise foreign currency from non-Zimbabweans
through the formal financial system," said Dr Murerwa.
However, economic commentators have expressed reservations over the
implementation of the proposals saying the Minister had not elaborated on
the craft-ship he would engage to harness such foreign exchange.
"The formal market has first to be more attractive than the parallel for
non-resident Zimbabweans to channel their foreign currency into it. However,
this is highly unlikely as a higher rate of exchange offered by the formal
would result in the parallel rate rising even further," said a local
He said there was need for the Reserve Bank to draw lessons from other
countries such as Egypt, which have effected such policies and measures.
"The central bank should offer incentives such as assets for future benefit
for those in the diaspora as beating the black market seems impossible,"
said the economist.
Zimbabwe is currently exploring all avenues in a bid to conjure up the
country's near-dry foreign currency reserves.
Dr Murerwa has also announced a number of measures the Government would soon
implement for the remittance of all foreign currency "due to the country".
Among them include amendments to the Exchange and Control Regulations in an
effort to harness foreign currency from locally registered companies with
Export Processing Zone status that have been retaining 100 percent of their
Mugabe exit off agenda at Zimbabwe party congress
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Dec. 1 — Zimbabwe's ruling party on Monday moved to
speculation it will use its congress this week to debate the successor to
President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party holds its annual conference at the end of the
week and some political analysts say Mugabe -- in power for the last 23
years -- may use it to give pointers on his future, including his preferred
But Nathan Shamuyarira, ZANU-PF's information secretary, told state
television on Monday the widely-talked about ''succession issue'' was off
the agenda for the four-day congress that opens on Thursday in the southern
town of Masvingo.
''The succession issue is not on the agenda because the national
conference does not elect leaders -- it is not an elective conference,'' he
said, adding that the task of choosing new leaders would fall to a congress
Mugabe, 79, has been in power since independence from Britain in
1980. Early this year he encouraged ZANU-PF to begin debating who should
succeed him, sparking speculation he planned to quit as president before his
current term ends in 2008.
But in September Mugabe disbanded the committee spearheading the
debate. He said it was causing party divisions, but political analysts say
he probably dissolved it to take tighter hold of the succession debate after
the death of one of his two deputy presidents.
But they say he might still quit in the coming year and will be using
party conferences to gauge the best way of going.
The Masvingo conference takes place amid a deepening economic crisis
that many blame on government mismanagement and at a time of increased
international isolation over policy and Mugabe's re-election last year,
dismissed by critics as rigged.
Shamuyarira said the conference would discuss economic problems,
Mugabe's three-year-old land seizure drive and early preparations for
parliamentary elections due by March 2005.
Australia says world must not bow to Zimbabwe threat
CANBERRA, Dec. 1 — Australia urged the international community on Monday not
to be intimidated by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe after he threatened
to quit the Commonwealth if membership threatened his African country's
Zimbabwe was suspended from the 54-nation Commonwealth last year
after Mugabe was accused of rigging his own re-election. He has not been
invited to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Abuja in
Nigeria from December 5-8.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the situation in
Zimbabwe was deteriorating and Mugabe had done nothing to encourage the
group of mainly former British colonies to lift the suspension.
''I hope that the international community will join with Australia
and not be intimidated in any way by the taunts or the policies of President
Mugabe,'' Downer told parliament.
At the weekend, Mugabe suggested Zimbabwe could quit the Commonwealth
if the country had to give up its sovereignty to be readmitted.
The Zimbabwe issue has dominated preparations for the Commonwealth
summit and threatened to split the group along racial lines.
Mugabe accuses what he calls the ''white'' section of the group --
led by Australia and Britain -- of pursuing a vendetta because of the
government's seizure of white-owned farms.
Downer praised Nigeria for not inviting Mugabe despite several other
African members trying to include him.
Australia has said it will support the re-admission of Pakistan --
which was suspended from the Commonwealth in 1999 after a military coup put
General Pervez Musharraf in power -- because a general election in 2002 had
However lifting Pakistan's suspension is opposed by some countries,
Strike organisers taking people for granted
CONSIDERING all the abuse, corruption,
mishandling, exploitation and
maltreatment we have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of Robert
Mugabe and his illegitimate government, one would think the suffering
Zimbabwean rank and file would jump at the opportunity to stage an organised
strike or job stayaway as an - expression of our disapproval.
It is sad that fewer and fewer people in Zimbabwe now heed calls to
The Zimbabwe Congress Of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called for a job stayaway
last week hoping that the "masses" would heed the call and would, in turn,
force the government to release ZCTU leaders arrested for organising the
earlier demonstrations. It was a flop, a failure that should not have been.
This sad trend started several strikes ago and is unfortunately
getting quite progressive. It is also beginning to appear as if we, the
oppressed Zimbabweans, are gradually becoming collaborators in our own
oppression, defeat and uselessness.
Meanwhile, our very unpopular government which has always excelled
more in proscribing than in listening, is pleased by such failures to
mobilise the masses.
Jonathan Moyo, a nondescript functionary masquerading as a Minister of
Information and Publicity in the Presidents' Office, is fond of saying that
the people are now awakening and are starting to believe in the ruling ZANU
PF party again.
Pathetic, wishful thinking!
Moyo, it must be said, seriously entertains obnoxious political
aspirations and possesses more fabricated optimism than insight. Even his
boss, Mugabe who holds a thunderous opinion of himself and who has since
cast aside the role of avuncular counsellor to a disintegrating nation and
populace, knows better although neither will admit it.
The failures of these strikes have absolutely nothing to do with the
people starting to believe in the government again.
The failure of these strikes is the fault of the oganisers who, like
our compatriots in the diaspora, have become too patronising and take the
Zimbabwean people for granted.
The organisers just declare the dates to stage strikes and expect the
people to participate. Those who call for these strikes and stayaways do not
offer enough information, time and contingency plans if, say, things go
They don't sit down to think of the consequences and how to minimise
the effects on the participants. They do not show they care for the people
as much as they do for a successful outcome.
When the current opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was
Secretary-General of the ZCTU, calls to strike were well heeded. Even after
the opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) was formed, people
responded well to calls for demonstrations, strikes and stayaways.
Then other groups started trying to use the same tactics. In this
regard, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) under the chairmanship of
Dr Lovemore Madhuku, jumped into the fray asking people to stay away from
work to press the government for a new constitution.
In some quarters, Madhuku is accused of having personalised the NCA to
such an extent that even the full page adverts inserted in some newspapers
bearing the NCA emblem bore his signature alone thus failing to convey a
collective NCA decision to call for a stayaway or demonstration.
Even Mugabe, in that infamous television programme with Supa
Mandiwanzira, mocked the NCA as an organisation chaired by Madhuku and whose
membership consisted of only Madhuku.
In between, the ZCTU would also call for stayaways.
Thus, too many strikes and stayaways are called too often without
giving people adequate notice, information and preparations. People need to
plan well and, in between, need time to recover from the previous job
action, to pace themselves.
They are very willing to make sacrifices but organisers should plan
well. People did not fail both organisations. Both organisations failed the
Our unemployment rate is believed to be between 70 and 80 percent.
Most people are self-employed in the informal sector.
Last week when the 2004 budget was presented, our inflation rate stood
at more than 525.8 percent. The amount of money an individual can withdraw
from their bank account is limited to a daily maximum.
If a two-day strike is called, one will need to make several
once-a-day withdrawals to have enough cash to last a couple of days. The
maximum daily withdrawals make this extremely difficult.
And the government itself applies a full Nelson on the people by
making sure that supermarkets with close ties to the ruling party get some
scarce commodities delivered to their shops on the days of the stayaway.
Meanwhile, many will be beaten up, arrested and tortured. The people
here in Zimbabwe are doing the best they can under the circumstances.
I really salute them. But the nearness of the danger makes us cool and
clear headed. Our compatriots in the diaspora must take great care and avoid
careless and irresponsible incitement of the people here.
We are in more danger and are under more severe pressure than they
are. While they may be home-sick, we are home. Period! It is quite easy to
write articles under assumed names from a base in Canada or the US or to
preach to us through external radio stations urging us to do this or that.
Mugabe's brutality, callousness and notoriety are a matter of public
record and stand there in merciless clarity as monuments to a soul soaked in
the extremities of inhumanity. We know when, how far and how much to push.
This corrupt government will fall. That is not in dispute at all. But
we want to try not to lose too many of our compatriots in the process.
Only last week, I was so envious of the citizens of Georgia, one of
the former Soviet republics. They toppled their president Eduard Shevadnadze
in a popular uprising.
Apart from misrule and corruption, Shevadnadze was accused of stealing
elections. Sounds familiar?
And you thought only Mugabe and Olusegun Obasanjo could do it! If our
compatriots were so inclined, we would be a free people today. I fear we are
accepting too much nonsense from this government and are doing too little to
rectify problems inflicted on us.
Since the international community has abandoned us, maybe one day
soon, we will hear our own cris de caeur and, like the Georgians, rid
ourselves of these political dinosaurs who are relics from the past and are
now painful, sad symbols of tainted souls.
By Tanonoka Joseph Whande
New Zealand Herald
Editorial: McKinnon unlikely to be unseated
The late bid to oust Don McKinnon as
Commonwealth Secretary-General does not
seem to portend well.
On the surface there appears grounds for renewed fears that Robert Mugabe
will succeed in splitting the Commonwealth along racial grounds at this
week's leaders' summit in Nigeria. In reality, however, the most notable
feature of the Zimbabwean-inspired challenge to Mr McKinnon has been its
inability to win support from quarters that could once have been relied
upon. What, we hope, may yet emerge from the Abuja summit is not a new
Secretary-General but a show of sense and sobriety by the Commonwealth's
The scene for such a welcome transformation has been set by the host nation.
Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, was one of the troika of leaders
appointed to recommend the Commonwealth's response to Zimbabwe and, more
particularly, Mr Mugabe's abuse of human rights and democracy. At the
outset, he allied himself with South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, and against
Australia's John Howard. Earlier this year, the pair demanded, quite
irrationally, an immediate end to the suspension of Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth, on the grounds that matters had improved greatly there.
It might, therefore, have been expected that South Africa and Nigeria, the
heavyweights among Africa's Commonwealth nations, would also engineer a
plausible bid to unseat Mr McKinnon, based on his supposed bias against Mr
Mugabe. Such a challenge would draw strength from bonds cemented during
their independence struggles, and a new resolve by Africa's leaders to act
collectively on the international stage through the African Union. But South
Africa and Nigeria now no longer see eye to eye on the issue, as evidenced
by Mr Obasanjo's decision not to invite Mr Mugabe to the summit. In effect,
Nigeria has turned its back on the Zimbabwean leader.
That split makes Mr Mbeki a central figure in Abuja. As much as traditional
bonds tie him to Mr Mugabe, and to the bid to overthrow Mr McKinnon, he,
like Mr Obasanjo, must recognise that support for the Zimbabwean despot is
no longer tenable. The realities of international politics and economics,
and Mr Mbeki's keenness to embrace them, demand that human rights and
democracy are restored in Zimbabwe.
In particular, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, an initiative
to extricate the continent from crippling underdevelopment by cultivating
relationships with highly industrialised countries, is being held hostage by
Mr Mugabe's regime. American and European financiers have little interest in
the concept until they are satisfied with the continent's governance. And
they can have little confidence in Africa's willingness to orchestrate
change until errant states are accorded "peer review", as required by the
partnership's founding document.
South Africa must now acknowledge that international reality. As it must
concede that the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated since Mr Mugabe's
fraudulent re-election. The price of his rule is now famine, rampant
inflation, soaring unemployment and ongoing land invasions. Quite simply,
there is no case for the lifting of Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils
of the Commonwealth.
Nor is there a case for ousting Mr McKinnon as Secretary-General. In
attempting to grapple with Mr Mugabe, he has carried a burden that could
have been lightened considerably by the major African nations. In failing to
provide that backing, they have failed themselves. The restoration of good
governance in Zimbabwe will clear the way for an improvement in the often
pitiful circumstances of their people. At Abuja, Africa has the chance to
show that Mr Mugabe stands alone.
New Zealand Herald
Nigerian leader critical in Zimbabwe crisis
By HELEN TUNNAH
When Nigeria's murderous dictator Sani Abacha died - talk suggests from an
impotency drug overdose - it signalled the hoped for end to his country's
status as an international pariah.
Four years ago it was Nigeria which was the Zimbabwe of the Commonwealth,
under suspension for extensive human rights abuses and political killings
under General Abacha's military rule.
Defiant of world opinion, he had stayed at home during Auckland's summit for
Commonwealth leaders in 1995, overseeing the execution of nine Ogoni
activists, including writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, for their protests over the
devastation of their land and resources by foreign oil companies.
Suspended immediately, Nigeria was welcomed back to the Commonwealth only
after Abacha's sudden death in 1998 and elections the following year which
returned another former military ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo, to power.
Now he features as the man critical in resolving the Zimbabwe crisis
confronting not only the 54-country Commonwealth, but the ability of
poverty-crippled Africa to attract foreign investment and aid from the
world's major players, the United States and the European Union.
Irrespective of its return to the fold, Nigeria remains a country riven by
centuries-old ethnic rivalries and religious tensions between Christians and
Those clashes provided the world with its enduring image of the deprivations
of Africa, when more than a million people died during the Nigerian blockade
and bombing of secessionist Biafra during the war of 1967-1970.
It was during that conflict - in which the world's powers armed Nigeria
while turning a blind eye to its using starvation as a weapon - that Mr
Obasanjo made an impact within the Nigerian Army. It later helped him accede
to power in 1976 for his first three-year term as President.
Later jailed by the Abacha regime, he has emerged alongside South Africa's
Thabo Mbeki as one of the authorities of sub-Saharan Africa, hoping to spark
a new assertiveness by African and other developing nations.
South Africa and Nigeria joined other G20 nations to disagree with developed
nations at world trade talks in Mexico in September over the summit's
For Nigeria, the frustration of those collapsed trade talks and perceptions
of pointless rhetoric over key issues such as cuts to agricultural subsidies
and disputes over patents for much-needed pharmaceuticals, is reflected in
the theme of this week's summit hosted in its capital Abuja, "development
The west African nation boasts 20 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa's
population, but suffers extreme poverty. An estimated 70 per cent of its 123
million people survive on less than $US1 a day.
Life expectancy is just 52 and is expected to plummet with Nigeria listed
alongside India and Pakistan as the countries most likely to suffer the next
wave of HIV/Aids.
Already the infection rate is 5.8 per cent a year, with three million
Nigerians HIV positive.
Human rights abuses and official corruption are rife. This year's
presidential elections reportedly left hundreds dead and in some areas the
fear of violence was so great, no one turned out to vote.
The police, themselves the victims of rampant crime, last year launched
Operation Fire with Fire to try to combat the violence. They shot dead more
than 200 "suspects" in three months.
President Obasanjo has himself been criticised for failing to take action
against soldiers implicated in two military massacres in 1999 and 2001, in
which hundreds of unarmed civilians were killed.
And still no one has been held to account for last year's Miss World riots
where 205 died in fighting between Christians and Muslims.
Ethnic unrest is increasing in oil rich regions, stemming from anger that
the profit from the resource is going offshore with the multinational oil
companies, or lining the pockets of a privileged elite. Oil company workers
have been taken hostage with those same companies implicated in the
suppression and deaths of protesters.
Human Rights Watch suggests the world's economic powers, such as the US,
have an eye on those oil riches and need a part-Muslim nation's support in
the "war" against terror, so fail to reprimand Nigeria about its human
Although there had been hopes that might change with the establishment of
the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad), sceptics among
non-government organisations suggest the strategy is doomed to disappoint.
The partnership, driven by Nigeria and South Africa, aims to stamp the
continent's mark on the delivery and use of donor funds and foreign
Its primary lofty goal is to eliminate poverty, through increased
privatisation and foreign investment to drive economic growth and trade.
Nepad also requires a significant boost in donor funding, mainly from
developed nations, but with strings attached.
The proposal includes a peer review mechanism, through which errant states
can be held accountable for their adherence to the principles of good
governance and democracy.
Zimbabwe, where torture, violence and hunger remain prevalent under
President Robert Mugabe, will be the first test for those mechanisms, which
allow one African country to initiate good behaviour reviews against
US President George Bush, during his tour of Africa this year, reinforced
the tying of aid to governance, indicating peer review will be critical in
decisions for handing over any new money despite public approval of Nepad's
Action Aid's Nigeria director Charles Abani is wary of the worth of Nepad,
saying endemic corruption needs to be addressed before ordinary people can
hope to benefit from increased privatisation.
Is was the same old framework.
"The whole strategy is based around a global, capitalist structure," he told
the Herald from Abuja.
"But there are concerns about the process in Nigeria, the management of a
deregulated economy and delivery of services.
"There isn't a clear framework within which privatisation and deregulation
is taking place.
"When Nigeria is this poor and the massive corruption is not addressed,
issues of equity don't feature very highly."
He said there was also opposition to further deregulation in the petroleum
sector, backed by President Obasanjo, with concerns that would mean even
greater exploitation by foreign companies with less wealth to lift Nigerians
out of extreme poverty.
"Who is gaining from this, how much can we gain or will only a few Nigerians
Oxfam's New Zealand executive director Barry Coates believes the Nepad
process is already in trouble.
"It's more of a donor document. It was something in order to leverage more
money from donors for Africa, rather than talking about the way Africa
should be developing in the future."
He said the programmes of trade liberalisation and privatisation promoted
under Nepad effectively reflect policies which have not worked that well in
Africa in the past, or have failed to provide social benefits.
"There's kind of a problem of some real fly-by-night foreign investors who
have come in, taken the money and run."
But he says post-Mexico, developing countries are more willing to challenge
the US and EU to honour trade pledges, particularly reducing agricultural
subsidies, and that should be reflected in a strong statement on development
and trade from leaders at the Abuja summit.
President Obasanjo, as host of the summit, will be the voice behind any
statements on trade, which will probably be released through the summit's
That will allow him to claim increased credibility on the world stage which,
combined with the sending of peacekeepers to help resolve conflicts in other
west African states, such as Liberia, confirms Nigeria's rehabilitation as a
regional and internationally acceptable heavyweight.
'Holding back Mugabe no easy task'
LAGOS - Nigeria's decision not to invite Zimbabwe to the upcoming
Commonwealth summit in Abuja "was not easy", President Olusegun Obasanjo
"It was not an easy decision. I believed I would be more wrong to invite
Zimbabwe than not to invite Zimbabwe. I prefer to be on the side of not
inviting Zimbabwe," he said late Wednesday in a live television interview.
Obasanjo said the decision not to invite Zimbabwe to the summit, due to
begin Friday in the Nigerian capital Abuja, was largely driven by the
failure to agree on the issue by a Commonwealth troika for the southern
Obasanjo sits on the troika together with South African President Thabo
Mbeki and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
"We could not come to a compromise. So as we had not concluded at the last
meeting, then it would be wrong for me to invite Zimbabwe," he added.
Obasanjo said that the summit of Commonwealth heads of state and governments
(CHOGM) will also deliberate on Zimbabwe's suspension from the 54-nation
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth councils in March last year
following a presidential election which many outside observers said was
marred by ballot-rigging and intimidation.
Since then, leading Commonwealth members have disagreed sharply over the
issue, with Nigeria and South Africa seeking to encourage reforms by
inviting Zimbabwe back into the fold and Australia urging its full
Chiwenga Appointed ZDF Commander
November 29, 2003
Posted to the web December 1, 2003
LIEUTENANT General Constantine Guveya Chiwenga has been appointed the
Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, said
President Mugabe had promoted Lt Gen Chiwenga to the rank of General and
appointed him Commander of the ZDF.
becomes the second Commander of the ZDF after Gen Vitalis
Zvinavashe who retires at the end of this year.
Major General Philip Valentine Sibanda has been promoted to Lieutenant
General and takes over from Gen Chiwenga as the Commander of the Zimbabwe
The appointments are with effect from January 1 2004 and are tenable for
Born in Wedza on August 25 1956, Gen Chiwenga joined the liberation struggle
at the age of 17 and received military training in Zambia and Tanzania.
In 1974 he was appointed member of the Zanla General Staff and rose to
become a member of Zanla High Command as deputy commissar in 1978.
During the cease-fire period, Gen Chiwenga was appointed to the cease-fire
monitoring team assigned to Manicaland in January 1980 before moving to
Masvingo in June.
He joined the Zimbabwe National Army in August 1980 and was posted to
headquarters 1 Brigade as a senior staff officer.
In March 1981, he attended and passed a senior officers orientation course
at KGV1 Barracks before being commissioned as a brigadier on April 16. He
was later appointed Commander of 1 Brigade in July of the same year.
Following his successful completion of the intermediate staff course at the
Zimbabwe Staff College in December 1984, Gen Chiwenga was appointed
Commander of 5 Brigade.
In October 1987 he was appointed Brigadier-General at the army headquarters
until his promotion to the rank of major general, where he became the Chief
of Staff (Administration and Quartermaster).
He was later promoted to lieutenant general in 1994, taking over from Gen
Zvinavashe as the Commander of the ZNA when the general was promoted to
become the first Commander of the ZDF.
Under the new structure, the defence forces were divided into two branches,
the army and the air force, with their commanders reporting to the Commander
of the Defence Forces.
Lt Gen Sibanda was attested into the ZNA in 1980 and promoted to major
general on June 1 1992.
He was in 1994 the commander of the Zimbabwe Staff College and later
appointed the Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff (Administration).
Gen Sibanda had an illustrious career in peacekeeping operations and raised
the Zimbabwean flag high when he was appointed the overall commander of the
United Nations peacekeeping mission in Angola in September 1995 until late
He later led the Sadc Allied Forces in the Operation Sovereign Legitimacy
campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo for four years during which
Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola helped the DRC repel a Ugandan and
Air Marshal Perence Shiri's term of office as the head of Air Force of
Zimbabwe has been extended for a year with effect from January 1 2004.
He was promoted to air marshal on September 1 1992 following the retirement
of Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.
His term of office was first extended for a year in December 2001 together
with that of General Zvinavashe.
In 1989 Air Marshal Shiri was promoted to Air-Vice Marshal Chief of Staff
(Supporting Services) and later became air marshal in August 1992.
President Mugabe also promoted five colonels to the rank of brigadier
general with effect from November 25 2003.
These are Colonels John Chris Mupande, Godfrey Chanakira, Charles Tarumbwa,
Charles Maredza and Etherton Shungu.
Brig Gen Mupande was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army in 1980 and
appointed to the commissioned rank of lieutenant that same year.
He rose through the ranks to colonel in 1996 and is the current Director of
Training at the Army Headquarters.
Brig Gen Chanakira was attested in 1980 and appointed to the commissioned
rank of lieutenant that same year and rose through the ranks to become
colonel in 1990. He is currently Brigadier Quartermaster Staff based at Army
The current Judge Advocate at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Headquarters Brig
Gen Tarumbwa was attested in 1980 and appointed to the commissioned rank of
lieutenant that same year. He was later appointed colonel in 1990.
Brig Gen Maredza who commands 5 Brigade was attested
into the ZNA in 1982 as
lieutenant and appointed to the commissioned rank of lieutenant that same
year. He became a colonel in 1996.
Brig Gen Shungu, who commands Artillery Brigade was attested in 1981 and
commissioned the same year. He was promoted to colonel in 2000.
Dec 1 2003
By Ryan Parry
businessmen are paying up to £40,000 to slaughter
endangered animals on hunting holidays to Africa, North America and Eastern
These "trophy hunters" are forking out huge sums to blast rare rhino,
lions and elephants on the highly-organised safaris.
Wild game are tracked, killed and then stuffed so clients can ship
their bloody souvenirs home.
And the venture - which amazingly is not illegal - is being organised
by travel firms in the UK for more than 700 British customers every year.
Companies specialising in safaris and sporting holidays are
advertising the slaughter packages over the internet and customers can book
online using a credit card.
One website, www.sporting agent.com, offers VIP clients the chance to
slaughter the "Big Five" - buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino from
less than £300 a day.
The packages, known as trophy hunts, offer trips to the world's most
exotic locations to hunt and kill wild game.
Other animals being offered as targets include cheetahs, hippos, polar
bears, grizzlies and mountain lions.
This shocking "entertainment" has been exposed by investigators from
animal rights group League Against Cruel Sports.
Records of permits obtained for importation of 'trophy parts' back to
the UK reveal that in the past six years at least 40 African elephants, 32
leopards, 26 American black bears, 18 polar bears, 16 cougars, 10 grizzly
bears, seven cheetahs, six lions and six hippopotamuses have been killed.
In a two-month undercover investigation League workers posed as
wealthy thrill-seekers looking for a new challenge.
T HEY approached a string of reputable UK travel firms and were
shocked at what they discovered.
Berkshire-based firm Roxton Bailey Robinson is one of many companies
which specialises in sport shooting, safaris and fishing holidays.
But when investigators rang Roxton they were offered the chance to
travel to British Columbia in Canada to shoot up to six grizzly bears.
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
grizzlies are listed as vulnerable to exploitation for their trophy parts.
Not surprisingly, Roxton makes no mention of this activity on its main
website or in its brochures.
On a different occasion, investigators walked into the Roxton shop in
Hungerford, Berkshire, and secretly filmed a sales assistant offering them a
chance to shoot baboons and zebras at the Ant's Nest game reserve in South
Africa's Northern Province.
Employee Colette Ingledew said she could arrange a trip for as little
as £180 per person.
She described how hunters would get up "really early" to track and
kill game animals for either trophy purposes or culling.
Hunters there can choose to track and kill a range of species,
including baboon (trophy fee £40), eland, oryx, impala, waterbuck, jackal,
warthog (trophy fee £145) and zebra (trophy fee £550) either by stalking on
foot with a rifle or on horse back.
Last night a Roxton spokeswoman denied the company had any involvement
in trophy hunting.
She said: "We do not sell hunting, we don't book hunting, we don't
encourage people to go hunting.
"We are an eco-safari company. If you want to go and look at elephants
or look at crocodiles, that's not a problem."
Another large firm linked with trophy hunting trips is Holland and
Holland, the royal gunsmith based in Mayfair and best known for supplying
guns to the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.
It has also supplied shotguns to celebrities such as Madonna and her
husband, Guy Ritchie.
The firm boasts of its long history of hunting in Africa, saying: "In
the last 100 years it is probable that more game has been shot in Africa by
visiting sportsmen and professional hunters using Holland and Holland rifles
than any other make."
It adds that its Kihurumira camp in Tanzania is one of the best in
Africa, claiming, "you have the best opportunity possible for an extremely
successful hunt, particularly for elephant, buffalo, big black-maned lion,
leopard and kudu... due to the abundance of game and the massive area that
is seldom reached by hunting parties.
"Quotas for certain animals are generous and trophy fees are generally
Posing as customers, investigators approached Holland and Holland and
were told they could hunt down a male elephant at their Matetsi camp in
Zimbabwe for the trophy fee of £10,000.
And on different occasions staff offered the chance to hunt cheetah
for £2,000, crocodile for £2,000, hippo for £2,000 and lion for £4,500.
Prices quoted by Holland and Holland for package trips in Tanzania,
Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa start from £240 per person, per night,
including full board, airport transfers, safari fee, a licensed professional
hunter, a tracker, skinning of trophies and government and other licensing
fees. Dead trophy animals are shipped to South Africa where they are
stuffed, mounted and sent back to the UK by a specialist taxidermist.
Bizarrely, when we rang Holland and Holland asking to speak to
somebody about trophy hunting they said they had stopped doing trips last
December and directed us to speak to Roxton.
Roxton later described this as a "miscommunication".
They claimed to arrange all package holiday deals for Holland and
Holland but to have nothing to do with hunting trips of any description.
Another London-based firm, Pemba Adventures, specialises in tailor-made
sporting holidays to New Mexico and the American South West but
investigators quickly established that the company can also arrange fox
hunting-style trips in which mountain lions are hunted with vicious dogs.
Pemba also boasts of being able to arrange the hunting of the
protected black bear.
Last night Rupert Mayhew freely admitted his company arranges hunting
He said: "It's not illegal, it's all about animal quota.
"January is the best time of year to hunt mountain lion. The hunters
use snow in the mountains to track the cats.
"It is much easier to hunt on horseback... but we can arrange to hunt
He added: "Either way, it is an exhilarating experience."
Another company, the Arctic Discovery Outfit, based in Cumbria offers
the chance to track and kill moose in Lapland.
They use unleashed dogs, controlled by handlers who wait until a moose
has been located and bolted before shooting it with rifles.
The firm offers hunting in the "beautiful unspoilt wilderness with
ancient forests, big mountains, high fells and crystal clear rivers",
adding: "the supply of game is very good."
A SPORTING agent responded to our investigator's inquiry with a
breakdown of trophy prices.
Mark Curtis told us it would cost us £40,000 to shoot rhino, £7,500
for lion and leopard, £6,999 for buffalo and £10,000 upwards for elephant.
This hard-hitting investigation will send shockwaves through the world
of wildlife conservation.
A report compiled by the League Against Cruel Sports is published
today revealing that trophy hunting is expanding internationally.
The report, Wild About Killing, claims that in parts of South Africa
trophy hunting represents almost 70 per cent of the annual revenue brought
in from foreign tourism.
The region is also believed to have 4,000 big game reserves catering
for hunting, with over 50 million acres devoted to game ranching.
Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports,
said: "Trophy hunting is a bloody business. It starts in the UK, with
organisations that promote it, and organisations that sell it.
"If people knew more about this awful business they would demand it be
"The League aims to put the facts before the people, by naming and
shaming those involved in this vile sport."
A World Wildlife Federation spokesman said: "Amazingly, anyone can
shoot a lion or an elephant within the law if they have enough money.
"Travel companies can easily get hold of the relevant hunting permits
and African governments sell the animals off to gain revenue."
Mugabe may appoint deputy at congress
December 1, 2003
By Basildon Peta
Independent Foreign Service
Zimbabweans will finally get to know President Robert Mugabe's likely
successor when the Zimbabwean leader appoints a new vice-president to
replace the late Simon Muzenda at the party's annual congress.
There is almost universal consensus both among Zanu-PF insiders and
outsiders that whoever is appointed to replace Muzenda will be the man to
succeed Mugabe when he eventually steps down.
Although Mugabe has dragged his feet on appointing a new deputy, and
the position remains unfilled two months after Muzenda's death, he now must
make a determination at the party's conference, which opens on Thursday.
Although in theory the late vice-president's post should be filled
through an election of delegates attending the congress, it will in reality
be filled through appointment by Mugabe.
Delegates from the party's 10 provinces have little choice but to
endorse the candidate the president wants. That has been the tradition in
The person who will emerge as the party's vice-president will also
become deputy president of the country.
It is likely that Mugabe's favourite, Speaker
of parliament Emmerson
Mnangagwa, will be the new deputy president, failing which retired army
commander Vitalis Zvinavashe will take the post.
Zanu-PF chairperson John Nkomo is another serious contender, although
it is unlikely Mugabe will consider him.
Party insiders say Mugabe does not intend to quit the leadership of
his party at the conference, as was widely predicted earlier this year.
Meanwhile voting ended yesterday in the Kadoma Central constituency in
western Zimbabwe amid reports of violence. The opposition Movement for
Democratic Change claimed Zanu-PF supporters fired at its supporters to keep
them away from polling stations, while Zanu-PF also claimed opposition
violence against its supporters.
Zanu-PF is desperate to wrestle the seat from the MDC, as winning it
would help Mugabe to gain the two-thirds majority he needs to determine the
terms of his succession when he decides to quit as president.
Globe and Mail, Canada
Africa's AIDS orphans grow up fast
By STEPHANIE NOLEN
From Monday's Globe and Mail
Mudzi, Zimbabwe — Memory Marengu is up each day before dawn. She goes to the
borehole to pump a pail of water, then washes her pots and pans. She fetches
firewood, then boils sadza, a mush of corn flour from the maize she grew,
for the three children who share her reed bed mat. She sweeps her two-room
cinderblock shack and then rouses the children and bathes them. And then
they all set off to walk three kilometres to school.
After a day struggling with sums and maps in Grade 11, Memory walks home,
fetches another heavy jug of water, washes the children's school uniforms,
weeds and hoes her small garden plot, makes more sadza, washes more dishes,
puts the children to bed, and squeezes into the last space on the mat. She
is 15 years old, and bone thin.
"I am the eldest so I must do everything," Memory says flatly. "The hardest
part is that I have to work as well as go to school — and at school, I
cannot concentrate, because I am worried about all the things I must do."
Memory's mother died a year ago, her father in 1996. Memory isn't sure what
killed them, just that they were sick, then suddenly dead. But the
neighbours know: "Of course, it was AIDS," one woman says quietly.
Memory's is the new face of childhood in Africa. There are 11 million
children under 15 who have lost one or both parents to HIV-AIDS, Unicef said
in a report on the orphan crisis last week — and across the continent, the
orphans are poorer, sicker, and less likely to go to school than children
with parents. They dream less, play less and learn less, and they frequently
fall prey to abuse, theft and exploitation by relatives and other adults in
In Zimbabwe, 761,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS. With a third of
all adults infected, at least four million more have parents who are living
with HIV-AIDS and are not being treated. In a country that is economically
devastated, politically fractured and deteriorating by the hour, the AIDS
orphans are desperately vulnerable.
Many of the orphans are taken in by their extended families, at least at
first. But as more and more people die of AIDS (3,000 a week currently do so
in Zimbabwe), the children are orphaned again and again — taken in by aunts
who later die, then sent to grandmothers who later die. More and more end up
in households headed by fellow children, often the eldest sibling trying to
hold things together and perhaps an aunt or a neighbour looks in from time
"I have had to accept that I can do it — even if I say I can't, there is no
one else to do it," Memory says.
Memory has charge of her brother Prudence, 11, plus a 12-year-old niece and
a seven-year-old nephew. One of her older brothers has gone to pan for gold
near the border — the only work available — and he brings her money to pay
their school fees and buy some food. Memory has two older sisters, but they
left their children here and went to the city, and haven't come back. It's
shocking, but not an uncommon story these days: the strain of AIDS is
causing all manner of behaviour that would have been unthinkable just a
"When the parents die, you have neighbours or relatives who come and take
their possessions, or they turn the children out from the house," says
Shorai Mashiripiti, who manages orphans affairs on the local council.
"People are not sharing, not taking care, maybe because the situation is so
hard for people these days."
Few rural Zimbabweans have wills protecting their children's rights, and
children's births are often not officially recorded, leaving the young ones
with no access to social services. There are also reports of rising sexual
abuse of these children, and the Unicef report found orphans in huge numbers
doing the worst forms of labour — digging in quarries, selling sex or
working as domestic slaves.
The government does have a program to pay the school fees of orphans, but
there are on average five times more orphans than there are funds at each
school. And fees are set to quadruple next term because of the country's
550-per-cent inflation rate.
At the nearby district council office, AIDS co-ordinator Sebastian Manjengwa
surveys the newest statistics with a rising sense of panic. He has a few
thousand dollars at his disposal, but needs to pay the school fees of 15,000
AIDS orphans this coming term.
"Perhaps I can pay fees for half of them — but then the headmasters say to
me, 'They come to school and they are starving,'." he said. "There is no
food for them."
Like all infected Zimbabweans, orphans with HIV are entitled to free medical
care, paid for out of a unique national AIDS levy. But few of the children
go to clinics; they lack the money to fill prescriptions, and in any case
most clinics have had empty drug cabinets for months, the distribution
network paralyzed by a national cash crisis and fuel shortage.
Memory's parents were subsistence farmers, poor by any standard, yet Memory
is bitterly nostalgic for life when they were alive. "I had schoolbooks, I
had clothes, I had only to ask them for things and I got it," she recalls.
But it isn't just the books and clothes. "Now, when there is a problem, I
have no one to tell."
One of the few places trying to help such orphans is the Dzimwe Training
Centre, funded in part by the Canadian International Development Agency. The
centre teaches the 600 orphans who use its services to grow nutritious food,
and gives them a hot meal every couple of days and extra help with school
lessons. But Anna Chidavaenzi, who supervises the orphans, also tries to
make sure they get something else.
"We have these women we call volunteer mothers, and they talk to the girls
about their personal problems — they can be 13 and get their period and they
don't know what it is and they've got no one to tell and they're so scared,"
The "volunteer mothers" also teach the small children traditional songs and
tell them folk tales, scold the little ones when they fight and keep an eye
out for kids who look like they need advice — a few hours of parenting each
week. "It's not much," Ms. Chidavaenzi said. "It's barely anything."
It is something, however. If Prudence Marengu had one wish, he would like a
satchel to take his books to school. And Memory?
"I wish I had a car," she says. "Because I would take these children to my
sisters in the town and give them to my sisters. Because they are draining
Zimbabwe 'should not be isolated'
By Christopher Munnion in Johannesburg
Foreign ministers from southern
Africa yesterday urged the Commonwealth not
to isolate Zimbabwe, but did not lobby for President Robert Mugabe to be
invited to the Commonwealth summit in Nigeria this week.
Mr Mugabe had lobbied fellow African leaders for an invitation to the
gathering of 54 nations which opens in Abuja on Friday.
After a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, the foreign
Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa agreed only to urge the Commonwealth
not to isolate Zimbabwe.
The Commonwealth, they said, should persuade the Zimbabwean government "to
engage in constructive dialogue with stakeholders in that country",
including white farmers, business leaders and the opposition Movement for
Zimbabwe was suspended by the Commonwealth last year after it heard charges
that the elections that returned the Mugabe regime to power were marred by
violence, intimidation and massive vote-rigging.
The 79-year-old leader is reported to have been enraged by the refusal of
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, who is hosting the conference, to
offer him an invitation.
ZIMBABWE: Workers' resistance `on the rise'
BY NORM DIXON
Thousands of workers across Zimbabwe joined anti-government protests on
November 18, despite threats of police repression prior to the marches and
the arrest of scores of trade unionists on the day. Police brutally beat
hundreds of protesters as they dispersed the demonstrations. However,
according to Munyaradzi Gwisai, a leader of the International Socialist
Organisation (ISOZ), the protests revealed a renewed preparedness among
workers to confront President Robert Mugabe's authoritarian capitalist
The national stayaway and associated demonstrations were called by the
250,000-member Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to protest against
the ever-rising cost of living (annual inflation is running at more than
500%, and projected to reach 700% next year), high taxes on workers' incomes
and continued violation of trade union rights by the Mugabe regime. It was
timed to coincide with the government's annual budget.
Assistant police commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena warned on November 17 that
the police were prepared “to deal with such rogue elements”. In the early
hours of November 18, police arrested and severely assaulted prominent ZCTU
leader Peter Munyukwi. David Shambare, who organised industrial action by
unionists at the national Railways of Zimbabwe, was also picked up.
Police also raided a ZCTU general council meeting in the capital Harare and
arrested eight leaders, including ZCTU vice-president Elias Mlotshwa and
teachers union leader Raymond Majongwe. Eight union leaders were reported
arrested in the central Zimbabwe city of Gweru, and one each in Bulawayo and
Gwanda, in southern Zimbabwe.
Despite the arrests, workers braved certain repression to gather at noon in
most major Zimbabwe cities. In Harare, several hundred workers were
confronted by hundreds of baton-wielding riot cops deployed on every street
corner. Around 40 unionists and democracy advocates were arrested under
Zimbabwe's draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Those seized included ZCTU president Lovermore Matombo, ZCTU
secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe, ZCTU vice-president Lucia Matibenga,
National Consitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku and well-known
progressive academic Brian Raftopoulos.
In Bulawayo, more than 10,000 workers gathered outside the government's
offices to hand a petition to the provincial governor. They too were met
with riot cops and police dogs. At least 10 protesters were detained. In the
small city of Mutare, several hundred workers and their supporters mobilised
and more than 300 arrested. In Gweru, about 100 people demonstrated.
The ISOZ's Munyaradzi Gwisai told Green Left Weekly in an email that the
Bulawayo protest was the largest and most militant demonstration in Zimbabwe
for many years: “Workers and township women — some with children on their
backs — took on the police in inspiring struggles. Many shops and factories
closed in the city as workers heeded the call for action.”
Gwisai believes that the reason why the Harare protest was small was due to
a lack of leadership on the day caused by the detention of key ZCTU leaders
that morning. However he also pointed to deeper problems: “In Harare, the
ZCTU unions are in poor shape. Most of their leaders have become alienated
from the rank-and-file membership due to massive donor funding over the last
few years. This has massively corrupted the full-time officers and a layer
of worker activists. Together with the pacifist policies of the
pro-capitalist Movement for Democratic Change [opposition party], this has
meant that hardly any mobilisation took place.
“It is no coincidence that the largest contingent of workers who turned up
in Harare came from the relatively small printing workers' union — in which
radical worker activists working with the ISOZ recently won leadership of
the union. That union organised a special meeting for its rank and file
leaders the day before the demonstration, which was also attended by ISOZ's
Harare leaders and student leaders. They issued joint call to mobilise.
“The tobacco workers' union also has a new militant, young leadership, which
was able to bring out workers for the Harare protest. The older, more
established ZCTU union leaders never really intended to organise the mass of
workers to protest, but instead intended to have a symbolic demonstration at
which they and key civic leaders would get arrested. A number of them
literally offered themselves up for arrest to the police... A labour forum
[mass meeting of worker activists] held two weeks earlier to promote the
stayaway was attended by less than a hundred workers.
“On the other hand in Bulawayo and Mutare, away from the capital, the
problems of union corruption are much less, and the mobilisation of workers
has been much better. Both cities had very big labour forums prior to the
action, attended by more than 1000 workers.”
Gwisai told GLW that overall, the good turnouts for the protests may be a
turning point. “The actions have built confidence of workers, especially in
the towns and among the members of the unions which actively participated”,
However, a two-day stayaway called by the ZCTU for November 20-21 to protest
the arrests was largely a failure. Gwisai said the ZCTU's call was “hasty
and premature, for it was necessary to take a breather and call for labour
forums to assess the situation, reorganise and build another action in a
much stronger and more coordinated manner than before”.
“However, it seems that the spirit of resistance is clearly on the rise and
the next few months are going to be very important in the unfolding
struggle. A key aspect of this is going to be the area of leadership, in
particular, whether the rank and file of key unions will be able to break
through the suffocating disorganisation and passivity of the union
bureaucracies. If this occurs, then we could be in for very exciting times”,
Moyo hails national youth programme
The National Youth Training Programme launched by Government three years ago
has been a success that the nation must be proud of as it has produced young
people with a vivid understanding of the country's revolutionary history.
"Despite attempts by local and international detractors to soil the
programme the Government was committed more than ever to seeing the
programme continuing because it created complete individuals," said the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Prof Moyo who was guest of honour at a pass out parade for 550 National
Youth Service graduates at Mushagashi National Youth Training Programme in
Masvingo last Friday said the programme was not only about learning drills.
"The programme is a success which the nation should be proud of because it
produces people who have the orientation and ideological understanding of
"It is not only about drills, but to the programme creates a complete
individual who is self conscious of the society and country which one lives
in, that is why it is a success", said Prof Moyo.
He said the programme was irreversible just as the land reform programme
dubbed "Third Chimurenga".
Prof Moyo said in the past few years two things significant to the country
happened namely the launch of the National Youth Service Programme and the
agrarian reforms to reclaim land from the minority whites to the black
"There had been many attempts to launch the programme since independence
until the Government finally managed it three years ago.
"The programme has now become irreversible and steps are being taken by
other ministries to introduce courses that have critical components of the
National Youth Training Programme and nobody should call himself or herself
a graduate without that course" said Prof Moyo.
He said it was important that the National Youth Training Programme came at
a time when Zimbabwe had attained economic independence through the land
reform programme, which needs to be defended.
The demonisation of the programme was a desperate attempt by those afraid of
its envisaged successes and benefits. This made the Government to resolve to
continue the programme.
Prof Moyo said the Government was aware of the inadequate funding and
appealed for more funds to be channelled towards the programme.
So far about six National Youth Training Centres have been established
throughout the country and since the inception of the programme three years
ago over 15 000 graduates have been produced.
Zim Student Flees To Botswana
12/1/2003 12:36:46 AM (GMT +2)
FRANCISTOWN: A 22 year-old Zimbabwean student and opposition activist
has fled to Botswana saying that his life is in danger. Jason Zulu Chavura,
told Monitor on Saturday that he jumped the border into Botswana because the
dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives were targeting
him for his political activities.
Communication student at Citmar University in Bulawayo, is an
activist of Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC).
He has been the MDC youth leader in Matebeleland-North (Lupane district).
Last Saturday he handed himself to the Central police station in Francistown
seeking “political asylum”, because his life was in danger.
Chavura visited Mmegi Francistown bureau office on Saturday morning
and said he has had a harrowing experience at the hands of the CIO. “Due to
the ever plunging political situation in our country, my whole world has
been shattered by an evil man who claims to be a true Africanist and a
believer in democracy,” he said.
He claimed the CIO operatives have been trailing him mainly because he
saw them killing his brother who was a staunch MDC supporter. He said his
troubles started when he and his elder brother decided to join the MDC in
pursuit of “meaningful changes”. His troubles increased when they helped
organise a stay away by the MDC early this year.
“It was exactly 12 past mid-night when we were awoken by a loud bang
on the gate. We were puzzled because no one visits people during that hour.
The visitor did not even bother to use the inter-communication system. The
gate was smashed down by a huge truck, and from our bedroom window, we could
see about 10 men running towards our house,” he said. He revealed that the
attackers forced them to open the door, threatening to shoot if they
disobey. “When my brother opened the door, he never had a chance to ask
about their business. He was knocked down by a heavy boot on his face and
eight of the men were brandishing pistols and the other two had AK 47s,” he
claimed. He alleged that they were bundled in the back of a truck, driven
away and thrown inside a dark room for four days without food and water.
“Torture became our food. Everyday we received four cuts and I presume we
stayed there for a week before we were taken out for interrogation,” he
said. They were accused of being British puppets “misguided by the son of
Blair”. “They burnt us with hot irons on the back. We were whipped with
sjamboks and forced to sing, ‘We love Mugabe’”, he said.
Chavura claims to have witnessed the CIO operatives killing his
brother. “I saw them. I tried to call for help but my calls were shattered
by gunshots. They shot him three times. I fainted until I opened my eyes on
a hospital bed,” he said. When he recovered he was told that he has lost a
lot of blood through bleeding following an accident. He wondered which
accident the doctor was talking about.
Following his recovery, he went back to the college but was prevented
from talking to people and going for youth conferences because the CIO
operatives were with him always. “I tried to relate this story to the only
independent newspaper in Zimbabwe- the Daily News- to no avail as I was
followed everywhere,” he said. The day Chavura was supposed to die, he was
saved by a Good Samaritan who drove him to the Plumtree border and warned
him never to come back. “I jumped the border and walked for three days
without water or food until I reached Francistown. I now have a week without
food and a proper bath,” he said.