|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
was made homeless at the height of Zimbabwe's chaotic
land-reform programme, which began in 2000. He was a foreman at Tate's Farm,
about 120km north of the capital, Harare.
His employer fled following the violent farm invasions by pro-government war
veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation struggle. Gondo says he has decided
to stay put on the farm since he has nowhere to go.
"My parents worked at this farm for the whole of their lives. My father came
from Mozambique as a teenager. He married my mother here and I was born
here. There is nowhere I can call home besides this place," said Gondo, who
was born on the farm 50 years ago.
Like Gondo, many of the former farm workers have foreign backgrounds. Some
came from Zambia and Malawi. And most of them cannot return to their
countries of origin, given the huge transport fares and settlement expenses
involved. Others, who are second generation in Zimbabwe, have lost contacts
with their relatives, if they have any, in their countries of origin.
Winnet Banda, a widow, is also holed up at her former employer's farm. She
hopes one day, David Smith, her former employer, will come back. Banda lost
her husband four years ago.
"Mr Smith was a good man ... a very good man, indeed. He used to give us
food every month-end. Now things are bad. I will die here because I have
nowhere to go. My hopes are now on the elections. Maybe after the next
election Mr Smith will be allowed to come back."
Zimbabwe's controversial land-reform programme has not spared children
either. Their parents, who are already financially crippled, cannot afford
their school fees. Some of the children have vision and dreams. One of them,
Tinashe (12), who is showing signs of malnutrition, says when he grows up he
wants to become a medical doctor so that he can look after his mother.
The former farm workers get some help from the Farm Community Trust of
Zimbabwe (FCTZ), an NGO in Harare. The group's spokesperson says the new
settlers, who have been allocated land by government, are increasingly
becoming impatient with the farm workers' continued presence on their
property. They are now threatening them with eviction.
About 200 000 former farm workers, with their estimated one million
dependants, spend most of their time searching for work or food. About 94%
of Zimbabwe's commercial farmers were issued with eviction notices.
FCTZ's Takaitei Bote says her organisation provides food to the farm
"We have moved in as an organisation to respond because they [farm workers]
have become very vulnerable. We've had to move in with a general feeding as
well as a supplementary feeding programme.
"The general feeding programme is targeting 100 000 farm workers with
rations of mealie meal [maize flour], cooking oil and dry beans. With the
children aged between six months to 12 years we are running a supplementary
programme at pre-schools and primary schools as a way to mitigate the impact
of the crisis on the farm worker households.
"They need all the assistance that can be made available to them because
they are in such a difficult situation," Bote said.
To make ends meet, some of the former farm workers in Mashonaland Central
Province, about 120km north of Harare, have started panning alluvial gold
along Mpfurudzi River.
Some of them are unaware of the effects of their panning, which include
erosion and possible siltation of the river. Some panners say they have no
choice as they have no other means of survival.
Josephine Zulu says she has 11 children whose father died of Aids last year.
They live in a temporary shelter along the Mupfurudzi River, with three
children, who have also begun panning.
"We're panning because we want to survive. If we cannot pan gold then we
will die of hunger. When war vets took our farm, I could not find any job. I
have to look after all these children and the children have also to help me
to pan gold," says Zulu.
Some displaced former farm workers and their families live around Harare.
Though born in Zimbabwe, they are not regarded as citizens and should,
according to President Robert Mugabe, go back to where they came from.
About 30% of the 2 900 white farmers issued with eviction notices have left
the country to explore farming opportunities in Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda,
Botswana, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. -- IPS
Mail and Guardian
Fur flies over Zim animal torture report
Riaan Wolmarans and Mmanaledi Mataboge | Johannesburg, South Africa
09 February 2004 13:48
The Zimbabwe National Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(NSPCA) has reacted strongly to a feature published by the Mail & Guardian
Online in mid-January about the fate of former pets and farm animals in
The article, titled "Zimbabwe's animal victims find refuge in SA", described
how one Labrador puppy, called Batty, had his eyes gouged out, reportedly by
ruling-party militants. The dog wandered around the bush for days before he
was rescued by animal rights activists and airlifted to South Africa.
There he was treated at the Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre in Pretoria, the
"At least 5 000 white-owned farms have been seized in Zimbabwe since the
redistribution programme started. Dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, geese,
swans, horses and cattle have been slaughtered in the ensuing chaos," it
The article described how many animals were left behind when white farm
owners were forced off their land in Zimbabwe, only to be tortured or
killed. Many of these were said to be flown to South Africa for treatment or
to be reunited with their owners.
However, the Zimbabwe NSPCA said that Batty the Labrador pup did not have
his eyes gouged out by war veterans, but was brought to a SPCA clinic by its
owner, who had noticed something wrong with the dog's eyes. The owner then
decided not to keep the dog.
The SPCA had trouble placing the dog with a new owner, and eventually a
veterinarian at the Avondale veterinary practice decided to remove Batty's
sightless, underdeveloped eyes.
Only after his operation Batty was sent to the Wetnose shelter in Pretoria,
the Zimbabwe NSPCA claimed.
It also pointed out that Zimbabwe NSPCA inspectors and the police are the
only people authorised to rescue animals from farms. The original article
said the dog was "rescued by animal rights activists", and neither the NSPCA
nor the police rescued the dog.
"It is the height of irresponsibility for Wetnose to claim that war veterans
mutilated the dog, when they did not. Statements such as this could severely
jeopardise our work with animals on farms," the NSPCA said.
"Hamsters, rabbits, geese and swans have not been 'slaughtered in the
ensuing chaos' ... but have simply been mentioned ... as being among the
variety of animals that our team has rescued," it added.
The Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre in South Africa did not respond kindly to
the Zimbabwe NSPCA’s response to the Batty story.
In a written statement, Wet Nose said it has been involved in the rescue of
Zimbabwe animals for the past three-and-a-half years and has found new homes
and reunited more than 1 500 animals with their owners who had lost their
“Meryl Harrison [chief inspector of the Zimbabwe NSPCA] has no right to put
false facts into writing and try and discredit our organisation or our work
whereby so many animals have benefited,” said Tracy Forte, a member of the
Wet Nose board of directors, in the statement.
Forte said Wet Nose has a taped conversation with Harrison, which was
recorded last week and contains “many false allegations and many
She said her organisation is now seeking legal action on the matter.
“One cannot send a press release to the media stating: this is the true
facts -- and then say ‘I assumed’,” she said.
“It is the height of irresponsibility for someone in her position to make
false accusations when not having all the facts and to try to blacken other
organisations' good work,” said Forte.
Wet Nose also attached a letter from Gary Stevens, the veterinarian who had
In his letter, Stevens said in February 2003 a dog had been brought to
Avondale veterinary surgery by Friend Animal Foundation.
“The dog had a few bruises but the main injuries were to the eyes. Both eyes
had been severely mutilated,” he said.
After treating Batty and taking it back to the Friend Animal Foundation, the
dog was sent to Wet Nose in South Africa.
“I personally did the export certificate,” he said.
The dog that had a natural problem with its eyes had been a different one,
according to Stevens.
“Several weeks later, in the middle of March, I saw a different puppy from
Friend Animal Foundation. This puppy had a condition called microphthalmia,”
This is a condition where the eyeballs did not develop properly and the dog
would have been blind from birth.
“We elected to take the eyes out to improve the dog’s quality of life,”
He did not know what happened to the dog after he had treated it.
Wet Nose said Stevens has also indicated that he was considering legal
action against Harrison and the Zimbabwe NSPCA for bringing his work and his
practice into disrepute.
Forte concluded by saying Wet Nose's time should be spent on animals, rather
than on statements that aim to discredit it.
“We have the animal’s best interest at heart and do not have time for such
pettiness and false accusations.”
From ZWNEWS, 9 February
A commonplace event
punishment and retribution wreaked with impunity against anyone
thought not to be wholehearted supporters of the ruling party, and with the
almost total collapse of the rule of law, rape has become a commonplace
event. Two reports in recent days describe how.
On Saturday, The Daily Telegraph
reported a spate of rape attacks in
Manicaland province since Christmas. Three weeks ago, Gisela Honeywill told
the Telegraph, she was raped by one of a group of men who broke into their
home at night in Rusape, south east of Harare. The men searched for
valuables, and when they found only a few South African rand, they became
angry, and it was then, Mrs Honeywill said, that she was dragged into a
bedroom and raped by a "small fat man". The attackers were wearing Zimbabwe
Republic Police jackets. No-one came in response to the screams of the
Honeywills' screams, not even the policeman guarding a house just down the
street belonging to leading Zanu PF politician Didymus Mutasa. Three days
later in the mountain resort of Juliusdale, an 18 year-old schoolgirl and
her mother were attacked by a group of three who were also angered when they
could not find valuables and foreign currency. The two were tied up and
threatened with rape, again by a man described by their assailants as "short
and squat". A week ago, north of Mutare, a 14-year old farmer's daughter was
threatened with rape because a gang, again led by a "short fat man", could
not find foreign currency when they broke into their house in the evening. A
guest at the house told them there were US dollars in her car, which the
gang took and left. There have been several other similar attacks in the
Mutare area, including a teacher who had boiling wax poured onto her legs.
Writing in the London Sunday Times yesterday, Africa
Hill reported on interviews with former members of the youth militia - the
Green Bombers - who had deserted and fled to South Africa. One, Bongani
Moyo, described how he had been persuaded to join the militia, run by the
Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, on the
promise of a job once he had completed the three month period of national
service. Moyo said he had been forced to rape women who were brought to the
militia base to punish them for supporting the opposition. "I was deployed
to a rural area near Bulawayo and that is when I died as a human being,"
Moyo said. "We would be sent out into the countryside to punish people who
support the opposition. We even beat mothers whose children had been seen at
(opposition) meetings. I was living in hell 24 hours a day, but I had no
feeling left for anything, even for myself." "Then the commanders started
bringing captives to our base, people they said needed to be punished," he
said. "It started with beatings but then a man who had spoken out against
Mugabe at an opposition rally was strangled in the camp. That is when I knew
I had to leave."
Moyo denied taking part in the killing, but said he had been given no
alternative but to rape women who were transported to the camp after
attending rallies organised by the MDC or being found with party cards. "I
was not brave enough to refuse, so I did what I was told and I fear now that
I must have Aids." Asked how many women he had raped, Moyo said it had been
"many" over a period of months. When pressed further, he started shaking,
and fell silent. Moyo's account was backed up by two other deserters.
Shadreck Nsimbi, 21, who escaped to South Africa eight months ago, said he
was recruited in 2002 while studying for his O-levels. He was told that if
he became a Green Bomber he could skip his exams and be trained as a
schoolteacher. "But once I joined, there was no real training in anything
except physical exercise and propaganda," he said. "We were beaten for no
reason and our food was not enough for even a small dog." Charlie Dube, 24,
who joined the militia after being told it was the only way of securing a
place at a state-funded college, also spoke of indoctrination and
maltreatment. He was beaten regularly and, in what was a common punishment,
was forced to strip and masturbate in front of his squad. "We were taught
that the MDC were evil people who would sell the country to foreign business
and turn us into slaves," he said. "To destroy them was (considered) a
service to all Zimbabweans."
Posted on a message board
Just heard that Andy V.D. Ruit was shot killed by intruders at his Glen
Lorne, Harare, home last Wednesday. Andy was a sailing buddy of mine. We
sailed Finns together. I had lost touch with him for the last few years. He
was an architect. His wife, Felicity, was shot and wounded trying to protect
her husband.She is at present in hospital. She was seriously wounded in the
side but will survive All this happened in front of their school aged
children.The intruders were after forex. Andy died for ZAR160.
He was one of the kindest & gentlest men I have met. So sorry and Felicity
you are so brave.
Stewart Against England Touring Zimbabwe
By Alastair Moffitt, PA Sport
England should call off their planned tour of
Zimbabwe, according to former
captain Alec Stewart.
Doubts have surfaced recently over whether England should tour the African
nation, which is ruled by controversial president Robert Mugabe.
England boycotted a World Cup match in Harare in 2003 but planned to tour in
October this year, prompting objections from politicians and human rights
The England and Wales Cricket Board appeared to be close to cancelling the
tour in recent weeks but international cricket chiefs have warned of
political and financial repercussions should that happen.
Stewart believes England would be wrong to tour Zimbabwe.
He told ITV News: “In my opinion, unless things have improved from 12 months
ago when we didn’t go in the World Cup then I don’t think the tour can go
ahead, so no I don’t think the tour should go ahead.
“We are all about playing cricket and it’s all about entertaining people and
going out there an doing the job, but is one game of cricket or a series of
games of cricket more valuable than someone’s life?
“I think you look at each case individually and I personally think the tour
won’t go ahead.
“I think that is very sad because I’ve been to Zimbabwe and I’ve played
cricket in Zimbabwe and it’s a nice country and there are a lot of nice
However, Stewart, who was part of the England squad who forced the issue
with the ECB over the World Cup match at the last minute, had praise for the
way the governing body have handled the issue this time around.
He added: “The good thing is the ECB are giving it a good nine months – they
should be patted on the back for that.”
Zimbabwe: Mozambican Traders Allege Harassment At Border
Integrated Regional Information Networks
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
Attempts by the Zimbabwean authorities to stamp out smuggling across its
eastern border with Mozambique have resulted in increased friction with
Mozambican traders, who accuse immigration officials of harassment.
Mozambican cross-border traders, mostly women, at the Forbes border post
told IRIN that they were excessively searched and allegedly sometimes beaten
by the Zimbabwean police.
A Mozambican trader, Maria Duncas, told IRIN: "The Zimbabwe police and the
soldiers are cruel. They ask us to remove our clothes when searching us ...
most of the time the body search is done by men. We complained to the
governor of Manicaland province, but the soldiers are not changing their
The traders have threatened to march from the Forbes border post to Mutare -
about 30 km away - to protest to Zimbabwean officials over the alleged
Last year the Mozambique government launched an inquiry into claims that a
Zimbabwean soldier had shot and killed a trader returning to Mozambique from
At the time, the governor of Mozambique's western Chimoio Province, Dario
Jane, said his government had contacted Zimbabwean officials to verify the
killing, and allegations of abuse of Mozambican civilians by Zimbabwean
The acting director of public relations for the army, Sipho Masuku,
confirmed this week that a Zimbabwean soldier had accidentally shot a
Mozambican national near Nyamapanda border post in December.
Masuku said when the incident happened, the trader was attempting to cross
the border from Zimbabwe into Mozambique with a group of people while
carrying illegal goods. "They were found in the bush and ordered to stop,
but they started running away. That is when one of our guards accidentally
discharged his firearm and shot him."
Price controls imposed by Zimbabwe on basic foods, such as cooking oil, salt
and other products, have made it a cheap alternative for Mozambicans.
Traders try and smuggle the goods illegally across the border to avoid
customs controls, which the Zimbabwean authorities say is fuelling shortages
for local consumers.
The scale of the smuggling has reportedly led to sales of more expensive
Mozambican-produced sugar dropping significantly.
Zimbabwean soldiers were deployed to help customs officials control the
border crossing points. In a joint operation between the two countries,
several illegal traders were arrested, Masuku said.
IRIN was told that some smugglers were caught and taken to Grand-Reef
Infantry battalion, about 20 km from the Zimbabwean border city of Mutare,
for corporal punishment before being asked to pay about Zim $30,000 (US $10)
Zimbabwean officials have also accused Mozambican traders of hoarding
At the height of Zimbabwe's cash crisis last year, a high-powered delegation
of Zimbabwean businessmen traveled to Manica, a Mozambican town about 30 km
from the border, to reportedly locate local currency rumoured to be in
circulation in the neighbouring country.
Zimbabwe Political Parties Deny Reports of New Talks
09 Feb 2004, 16:02 UTC
There is confusion in
Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition about
claims by South African President Thabo Mbeki that the two sides have agreed
to start a dialogue. President Mbeki told supporters Sunday that the
Zimbabwean parties have agreed on an agenda for negotiations leading to
Zimbabwe's justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said Monday he knows of no new
developments on any dialogue or talks with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. Mr. Chinamasa has been appointed by the ruling Zanu PF
party to be its main negotiator with the opposition.
He said the South African government should be asked about President Mbeki's
The opposition party's secretary general, Welshman Ncube, says the only
information he has had about any dialogue comes from the South African media
quoting President Mbeki.
President Mbeki visited Zimbabwe in December to try to facilitate talks
between the two parties, and extracted a public concession from Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe that dialogue with the opposition was necessary. Mr.
Mbeki has told several foreign leaders, including President Bush, that a
process designed to address Zimbabwe's political and economic problems would
be in place by June.
On Sunday, Mr Mbeki told the South African Broadcasting Corporation that a
draft agenda for talks was agreed to in December, and that the start of the
dialogue was delayed only because senior officials from both sides were on
But in Zimbabwe, both sides deny an agenda has been agreed to or that any
talks about talks are in progress.
Mr. Chinamasa and Mr. Ncube both say they met each other for a series of
discussions on a possible new constitution earlier last year. But they say
those discussions ended more than seven months ago.
Zimbabwe's next parliamentary elections have to be held by July of next
year. Mr. Ncube says the opposition wants electoral reform before that
voting to be part of any inter-party talks.
He said if there is no reform of the electoral processes, the Movement for
Democratic Change leaders would debate whether to participate in the
Editors unite over Zimbabwe's harsh media law
February 09 2004 at 10:39AM
South African editors are to seek a meeting
with the department of foreign
affairs to express concern over the recent court ruling that has closed
Zimbabwe's only independent newspaper, the
The council of the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) strongly
condemned the Zimbabwean Supreme Court ruling and called for urgent
reconsideration of the judgement.
Sanef's quarterly council meeting in Cape Town called on the South African
government to condemn the decision as it not only contravenes the freedom of
expression principles of Zimbabwe’s
constitution, but also those contained in protocols adopted by the South
African Development Community and the African Union.
The Zimbabwean Court held that the Access to Information and the Promotion
of Privacy Act, which forces newspapers to register and journalists to be
accredited with the government-appointed Media and Information Commission,
did not violate constitutional rights of free expression.
One judge dissented, maintaining the view of the Independent Journalists'
Association of Zimbabwe that the media laws could in fact contravene these
Sanef said it views the judgement as placing Zimbabwean journalists under
direct control of the government, which effectively spells the deathknell of
independent journalism in Zimbabwe. This view is also held by numerous
international organisations which have also protested against the judgement.
Sanef also agreed to:
continue its role as Amicus Curae – friend of the court – in any appeal
to the Constitutional Court in the matter of Ranjeni Munusamy vs the Hefer
Commission and the Free State High Court’s ruling which says that
journalists can be called to testify in legal proceedings as a first resort.
The organisation underlined that its interest in the matter is to protect a
cardinal journalistic principle which is in the public interest and a free
flow of information and protection of sources.
and publicise general principles and guidelines for the conduct
confidential briefings. This follows controversy
surrounding the briefing by the National Director of Public Prosecutions to
a selected group of editors in 2002.
.. urgently seek a meeting with the Minister of
Safety and Security and the
Commissioner of Police over blockages in the free flow of information to the
public via the media, particularly in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
If No One Knows, Then It Can't Be Happening
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
THERE are no lengths to which the nutty
misinformation minister in a
troubled central African nation won't go. Not content with closing down
newspapers, deporting journalists and banning radio and television stations,
the junior minister now wants troubled central Africans to stop using the
Well, perhaps that's an exaggerationÉ but he does want to stop everyone
using telephones that aren't under his direct control. This is because the
wacky minister believes privately owned telephones are subversive. So do the
spectacularly insane leaders of North Korea, Cuba and Burma, which tells you
everything you need to know about the misinformation minister's perceptions
of individual freedom. The latest bout of Stalinist nonsense began when a
local cell phone operator received a fax telling it to close down. The crazy
communication would have effectively left tens of thousands of troubled
central Africans cut off from essential dialogue with relatives in the
Still, you can understand the muddled misinformation minister's reasoning.
Right under his nose he sees a privately owned cell phone company and it's
making money. It may not work terribly well (and indeed it doesn't) but it
works more often than the one owned by the Zany government. It also makes
more money Ñ and that has to be galling. It's particularly galling because
in the modern troubled central African basket case, making money is the
prerogative of the Zany Party. In fact, it is the ruling party's intention
to make money a Zany monopoly. This means that Zany money will be good and
all other money will be subversive. But there is, of course, another reason.
The manic minister likes to listen to other people's telephone calls. This
can be tiresome and bureaucratic if the telephone company doesn't belong to
the Zany Party. If, though, the minister already owns the telephone company,
listening in becomes simpler, cleaner and far easier. No one has to be told
and no one needs to know. The last and most important reason for closing
down telephone companies is the oldest of them all property is theft, unless
it is Zany property in which case it is enlightened and progressive and for
everyone's benefit. That is why hospitals with nothing but aspirins, schools
with no books, potholed roads and power cuts are so good for us.
We should all be very grateful the Zany Party is doing such a marvellous job
and we should look forward to the day it nationalises all private business
so that nothing works ever again. Of course, it would be impolite and untrue
to suggest, even for a second, that the loony minister wants to close
telephone companies because he's jealous. It has nothing to do with the fact
that no one wants to use the government-owned services, or that private
companies are more efficient and cash-rich. Still less should troubled
central Africans trouble themselves with the notion that the moronic
minister will do anything but an efficient job when he takes over privately
owned business empires. Of course he will after all, his radio stations and
newspapers are models of propriety and profit, or so he tells us. The fact
that the people working for the minister might disagree just means they're
unrepentant reactionary subversives.
As to the rumour that the Zany party wants to take over the telephone
company because it needs the money; well, that's obviously untrue because
the Zany Party is the people's party and it does nothing for itself. Well,
yes, it does buy a few Kompressors and the occasional business class air
ticket, but you don't really expect them to move around on bicycles like
everyone else, do you?
Lawyers appalled by Zimbabwe court
February 09 2004 at 02:06PM
General Council of the Bar of South Africa on Monday called a
judgment by the Zimbabwe Supreme Court, requiring journalists to hold
licences issued by the state upon pain of a mandatory two-year jail sentence
without the option of a review, a double blow to justice.
"This latest assault on freedom of expression in Zimbabwe is all the
more disconcerting for it being perpetrated in a judgment written by the
Chief Justice of that country," the advocates body said in a statement.
"Thus the judgment is not only a blow to freedom of expression, but
also to the independence of the judiciary, and is to be doubly deprecated.
"The General Council of the Bar calls on all civil rights groups
within and outside of Zimbabwe, and all voluntary association of lawyers, to
continue to oppose by all reasonable means at their disposal the violations
of basic human rights persistently perpetrated by the Government of
Zimbabwe," the statement added.
'the judgment is not only a blow to freedom of expression'
The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) expressed similar
sentiments on Sunday when it said it would seek a meeting with the
department of foreign affairs to express concern over the ruling that has
effectively closed the Daily News in Zimbabwe.
Sanef also called on the South African government to condemn the
decision as it not only contravened the freedom of expression principles of
Zimbabweis constitution, but also those contained in protocols adopted by
the South African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).
But Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Monday told a
Parliamentary news briefing that she did not understand how the registration
of the media with the government could lead to interference with their
She said Harare's requirement that the media be registered did not
necessarily strip the media of its freedom.
"I don't see how that would in itself translate to control of the
media, unless we could say here and here and here the government has refused
a legal application," Dlamini-Zuma said.
SABC television news reported that she added that the freedom of the
media would only be an issue once the government refuses to register a media
organisation, which a court of law had ruled should be registered. - Sapa
Dlamini-Zuma: Zimbabwe media laws not an issue yet
February 09, 2004, 12:18 PM
The South African government says placing laws requiring the registration of
all media institutions in the Zimbabwean constitution does not mean that
elections in that country will be free and fair.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the foreign affairs minister, says she does not
understand how the registering of the media with the government could lead
to interference with their duties. Zuma says the government's requirement
that the media be registered does not necessarily strip the media of its
freedom. "I don't see how that would in itself translate to control (of) the
media, unless we could say here and here and here the government has refused
a legal application."
She says the freedom of the media will only be an issue once the government
refuses to register a media organisation, which a court of law has ruled
should be registered. "... and the courts have said that the government
should register that media but the government refuses to apply what the
courts have ruled, then we can talk about it."
The Zimbabwean government announced earlier that the laws that seek the
registration of all the media institutions would be put into that country's
Zimbabwe journalists to seek clarity on ruling
February 09, 2004, 08:37 AM
Journalists from the Daily News, Zimbabwe's independent newspaper, will go
to court today to seek clarification on a Supreme Court order, which banned
reporters from working without media accreditation. Gugulethu Moyo, the
newspaper's legal advisor, said an urgent application would be filed in the
High Court to seek an order to determine the rights of journalists.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that it was a criminal offence for a
journalist to practice in Zimbabwe without official accreditation from a
government-appointed media commission. It endorsed legislation tightening
government control over the media, ruling the laws did not violate free
The ruling meant that journalists would have to get permission from Jonathan
Moyo, the Information Minister, to work as independent journalists, by means
Peta Thornycroft, the SABC correspondent in Zimbabwe, said the Daily News's
journalists would today seek assurance that they would not be arrested if
they went to work while the media commission decided on whether they would
be registered. They were refused registration last year.
According to the court ruling, working as journalist without permission from
the information minister would result in a stiff prison sentence.
Zimbabwe dollar gains 'undermine
February 9, 2004
By Stella Mapenzauswa
Harare - Zimbabwe's new foreign currency auctions have helped ease a
critical shortage of foreign currency, but analysts say the local dollar's
steady gains undermine the viability of exports.
Chronic shortages of hard currency over the past five years are among
the main causes of an economic crisis widely blamed by critics on President
Robert Mugabe's fiscal policies, and has hampered imports of fuel and raw
materials for the manufacturing sector.
In a bid to lure foreign currency holders from a thriving black market
where, in December, the US dollar fetched Z$7 000, the central bank
introduced a new auction last month where the dollar debuted at Z$4 196.58,
well above the official peg of Z$824 to the greenback.
But the local dollar has steadily gained at the auctions to Z$3
573.31 - well below the Z$4 000 rate economists say exporters need to break
"If the auction rates remain at current levels, exporters will be
forced to keep their money offshore," commercial bank NMB warned in a
"Although activity has remained significantly low on the parallel
market, activities might be resumed as exporters look for survival
strategies," NMB added.
The central bank insisted that the auction rate
reflected true supply
and demand, but economists said the authorities could be deliberately
keeping a lid on trading levels to stem inflation - currently hovering
nearly 600 percent but seen peaking at 700 percent by March.
"These exchange levels are ... not sustainable, especially given the
inflation differentials between Zimbabwe and her major trading partners,"
said Harare-based economist Witness Chinyama.
Analysts said another reason current levels could not hold was a slump
in interest rates to around 100 percent from 600 last month, which might see
speculators borrow cheap Zimbabwe dollars to buy US dollars as a hedge
"The Reserve Bank should make concerted efforts to avoid the current
liquidity surpluses that have depressed short-term interest rates," finance
house DCZ said in its February economic review. - Reuters
Death blow for media freedom in Zimbabwe
February 08 2004 at 11:24AM
The death of media freedom in Zimbabwe is being
mourned after a Supreme
Court ruling effectively put journalists under government control.
The ruling, which upheld restrictive media laws controlling local
journalists and foreign correspondents, gave Jonathan Moyo, the information
minister and President Robert Mugabe's spin doctor, the power to decide who
works as a journalist.
Only one supreme court judge, Justice Wilson Sandura, disagreed with the
findings, calling them "unconstitutional".
The judgment was written by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, a close
friend of Mugabe, who served in his cabinet after independence.
In future, journalists working without licences will face a mandatory
two-year jail sentence without the option of review. The judgment nullified
lower court judgments that had ordered that the government's Media and
Information Commission - established to license journalists - be disbanded.
Friday's judgment saw the immediate closure of the country's biggest and
only independent newspaper, the Daily News, because its journalists had long
been refused licences to work. The ruling meant imprisonment if they had
continued to bring out the newspaper.
Abel Mutsakani, the managing editor of the Daily News and president of the
Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe, which brought the
unsuccessful supreme court application challenging the constitutionality of
the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, said:
"This is the final nail in the coffin of the independent press. We are
devastated and heartbroken.
"To say we are in mourning is probably an understatement. How can anyone
expect to work as an independent journalist anymore when government has been
vested with arbitrary powers to license journalists?"
"It's completely disgusting when the supreme court of the land itself
becomes or behaves like a criminal institution," said one lawyer, who asked
not to be named.
By giving the government powers to license journalists, in violation of
constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression, the supreme court has
"dishonestly and wantonly" abdicated its role as the supreme upholder of the
human rights of citizens, the lawyer said.
The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe and many international media
bodies, including the Southern Africa Journalists Association (Saja),
condemned the ruling.
"Surely even those judges who see their role as being to appease the regime
of Robert Mugabe only, must at times be restrained by their conscience in
the long-term interests of their own country in which their children live,"
said the Saja.
Lovemore Madhuku, a University of Zimbabwe constitutional law professor, who
also heads the largest Zimbabwean civic group, the National Constitutional
of Zimbabwe (NCA), said the judgment was nothing more than "a clear
endorsement of the governing regime, passed without any regard to basic
principles of legal interpretation".
Moyo, however, praised the judgment and vowed that Zimbabwe would also not
relax measures preventing foreign journalists from residing permanently in
the country. "We have no apology to make," Moyo said. "We do not want to
flood our country with foreign media representatives when we have a flood of
Zimbabwean journalists with no jobs."
Mugabe introduced the laws after his controversial re-election in March
2002, a move critics said was aimed at silencing opponents as the country
struggles with a deep political and economic crisis.
Dozens of journalists have already been prosecuted under the act. "I am
delighted about the decision of the supreme court," Moyo said. He said the
government was forced to act after realising that western powers wanted to
use the foreign media in "their campaign for unconstitutional regime change"
In his judgment, Chidyausiku ruled that section 20 of the Zimbabwean
constitution, which guaranteed freedom of expression, did not guarantee the
freedom of the press as well. He also said journalists were not above the
law and that they should be subjected to government regulatory control.
Supreme Court judge Sandura, the sole survivor of Mugave's purging of the
bench over the past three years, said it was unconstitutional for
journalists to be forced to be accredited buy a government media commission.
He said this was because the constitution empowered citizens to "hold
opinions, receive and impart ideas and information without interference",
unless state restrictions were reasonably justified in a democratic context.
Sandura also disagreed with the notion that freedom of expression does not
cover freedom of press.
Fertiliser Prices Soar
The Herald (Harare)
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
AGRICULTURAL retail outlets are cashing in on the shortage of fertiliser by
charging exorbitant prices thereby dealing a huge blow to farmers who are
battling against rising agro-input costs.
A survey by The Herald at the weekend showed that most retail outlets in
Harare and Domboshava were charging between $75 000 and $120 000 per bag of
Ammonium Nitrate instead of a fair price of at least $62 000.
Compound D was being sold at between $95 000 and $130 000 per bag.
The survey revealed that the traders were profiteering since they were
buying a bag of AN at a wholesale price of $49 000 while the wholesale price
of Compound D was between $66 000 and $86 000.
Traders interviewed attributed the high prices to transport costs.
"You know I have to fork out a fortune in order for me to transport
fertiliser from the suppliers in Harare to Domboshava, so I have to sell it
at realistic prices in order for me to remain in business," said a trader in
Domboshava, near Harare.
He said he was doing a good service to the community, as it was more
difficult for farmers to buy the fertiliser in Harare as most of them ended
up buying the commodity from unscrupulous dealers at Mbare Musika.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union vice-president Mr Wilfanos Mashingaidze took a swipe
at the traders who were ripping off farmers.
"This is purely exploitation because very few farmers are in a position to
buy the fertlizers at such high prices," he said.
"We urge farmers to form commodity associations so that they can buy inputs
directly from the suppliers instead of dealing with these middlemen."
Fertiliser shortages still persist on the market owing largely to the
shortage of foreign currency to source inputs and industrial spares needed
to boost production to meet a growing agrarian reform-induced demand.
The industry has a capacity to produce 200 000 tonnes but is operating at 65
percent capacity owing to the shortage of foreign currency, fuel, coal and
erratic electricity supplies.
Demand for fertiliser surged to more than one million tonnes a year, up from
500 000 tonnes a few years ago largely due to the agrarian reform.
Sherwood White Farmers Now Hostile - Muchena
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
SOME white commercial farmers at the Sherwood Block in Kwekwe who have been
a model of the success of the policy of co-existence with newly resettled
farmers have abandoned this policy in favour of confrontation, a member of
the national land inspectorate, Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena, has said.
In an interview in Gweru recently, Air Vice Marshal Muchena said while at
the height of farm occupations, commercial farmers in Sherwood were at the
forefront of co-operating with the their new neighbours, that policy had now
been discarded as the farmers are now reluctant to share farming implements
with new resettled farmers who were allocated land under the A1
Air Vice Marshal Muchena said because of the new attitude, new settlers
would not be able to produce as much crops as they did in the initial phases
of the fast track resettlement programme.
He said there is need to replan the resettlement model in Sherwood from A1
to A2 as the latter would be better placed for farmers to source funding
He said A1 farmers could at most get $3 million in bank loans, which was not
enough for farm development.
"Sherwood last year was exemplary in terms of co-existence but that
co-existence is no longer there. During the occupations, farmers were
co-operative by sharing their equipment but this is not the case now.
"We recommend that Sherwood be planned into A2 so that new farmers can
source money to develop the farms because A1 self-contained units can not
sustain it," said Air Vice Marshal Muchena.
The vice marshal said the inspectorate noted that technical expertise was
not taken into account when resettling people in the province and added that
people settled in areas unsuitable for cropping would have to be relocated.
He cited as an example of the A1 self-contained plots in the Somabhula area.
The plots measuring an average of 30 hectares were not viable as the area
was good for cattle ranching.
Air Vice Marshal Muchena said land in Mvuma's Central Estates could also not
sustain commercial farming on the 200 hectares, which farmers were allocated
and there was a need to double the hectarage.
The inspectorate was also worried that some people who were given land in
mineral rich areas had turned to gold panning instead of farming.
He said all such people should be removed and the land given to genuine
Air Vice Marshal Muchena said although war veterans spearheaded farm
occupations, time had come for them to recognise structures set up under the
Rural District Councils Act and Traditional Leaders Act.
Decentralisation of Issuing Identity Documents Progressing - Mohadi
The Herald (Harare)
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
THE Ministry of Home Affairs has secured funds for the much-awaited
decentralisation of the issuing of birth certificates and other registration
documents, a Cabinet Minister has revealed.
In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police Tourism Unit in Victoria Falls on Friday, the Minister of Home
Affairs, Cde Mohadi, said the decentralisation process had already begun and
was likely to be completed before the end of the year.
"The programme has been on the cards for a long time but we have had a
problem with resources. We have now identified resources for the programme
and work is already being done," he said.
Cde Mohadi said his Ministry was using some of the funds it was allocated in
the 2004 national budget for the decentralisation programme while seeking
"Birth certificates will be issued at schools, clinics and Government
offices. The process of identifying the institutions has also started," said
The Government approved recommendations for hospitals to issue out
information to the RG's Office so that newly-born babies are registered soon
Under the proposals, district registry staff would camp in selected areas
for specific days for the purposes of issuing birth certificates.
Many children have failed to enroll at school or register for public
examinations because they did not have birth certificates.
Cde Mohadi, however, said Government was doing its best to ensure that all
national registration documents were issued out with speed as evidenced by
the 24-hour shift introduced by the RG's office.
He said documents were now being processed with greater speed.
ZDF to Embark On Major Drive
The Herald (Harare)
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces will soon embark on a major drive aimed at
having, among other things, agro-driven self-sufficiency, equipment
replacement, and improved conditions of service for its personnel.
That programme would also see the armed forces embarking on a research,
development programmes and training of the ZDF personnel.
Speaking at a farewell reception organised for the new commander of ZDF and
retired generals, General Constantine Chiwenga said he would soon announce
his vision and strategy for the defence forces to remain one of the best in
"I will soon be pronouncing my vision and strategy relating to training,
equipment replacement, improvement of conditions of service, agro-driven
self-sufficiency and the urgent need for an active and effective research
and development programme," he said.
Gen Chiwenga took over from Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe who retired in December
last year after heading the country's defence forces for nine years.
Lt Gen Philip Sibanda replaced him as the commander of the ZNA.
Amongst the many generals who retired from the defence forces are Gen
Solomon Mujuru, the inaugural commander of the ZNA, Major-Gen Jevan Maseko,
former Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai and Lieutenant Gen Michael
Many of them retired over the past few years to join civilian life as
diplomats, Government officials and private businessmen.
Gen Maseko is now the country's ambassador to Cuba. The former commander of
the Airforce Cde Tungamirai is the new MP for Gutu North, while Lt Gen
Nyambuya is the new Governor of Manicaland. Gen Chiwenga commended the ZDF
for the professionalism it displayed in the role it played in the country,
region and internationally.
Zimbabwe, he said, enjoyed the enduring reputation of one of the safest,
most peaceful and stable countries in the world.
"This remains true, even today, despite fabricated image that has been
painted abroad by Zimbabwe's local and international detractors of the land
reform," he said.
The ZDF excelled as an instrument of foreign policy in the expeditionary
operations in the Southern African Development Community and on United
Nations peace-keeping missions, Gen Chiwenga said.
"Our success as a defence force in all these endeavours always demanded a
collective effort from all of us," he said.
"Indeed, our ability to face and surmount future challenges will also depend
on our ability to preserve that cohesion and unity of purpose, whether we
are serving, retired or reassigned elsewhere."
The new ZDF commander warned the detractors of the country's sovereignty
saying his forces would not condone activities that threaten the aspirations
and gains of the liberation struggle.
"It is our constitutional and moral duty to defend the country against any
internal and external threats to its sovereignty, independence and
territorial integrity," Gen Chiwenga said.
The Minister of Defence, Cde Sydney Sekeramai, and high ranking Government
officials and other senior army officials attended the reception.
Satellite Schools Face Problems
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
FORGIVENESS Chimoyo, an eight-year-old Grade 3 pupil at Chiburi Primary
School at Bretten Farm in Mt Darwin, cannot properly read or write, but she
Her teacher, Miss Bybit Nhende, says she could have been performing
extremely well had she been lucky enough to attend a normal primary school.
The disadvantage Forgiveness faces is that Chiburi Primary School is a
satellite school established following the resettlement programme.
"The conditions here are affecting her learning," says Miss Nhende.
"We have very limited resources and the classroom is too dark for her to
read what is written on the blackboard."
In some cases Forgiveness and her classmates have to take turns to come near
the blackboard to read questions and go back to their places to write the
Pupils at Chiburi Primary School who number nearly 220 have never known the
inside of an actual classroom.
What they call their classroom is a disused tobacco barn ten metres high.
Dark, smelly, dusty and with no windows, the tobacco barn was meant to be a
temporary shelter, but Forgiveness and her classmates have been stuck in it
for the last three years.
Satellite schools established to compliment the land reform programme are
facing a number of problems.
The problems range from the shortage of learning materials such as textbooks
and exercise books to the shortage of trained teachers.
Basic requirements such as desks, benches, teachers' accommodation and even
ballpoint pens and pencils are not there.
"These barns are not comfortable at all for the pupils," says Mrs Natalia
Hwicho, the headmistress at Chiburi Primary.
"The tobacco dust is still inside the barns and children sometimes go for
days coughing because of the dust.
"The effects of the dust have been reduced now because of time, but when we
started in 2002 it was very bad. Pupils were missing lessons as they were
When the idea of satellite schools was started, farmhouses were supposed to
be turned into teachers' houses, but the situation is different at Chiburi.
"We are staying in the compound in farm workers' houses where there is no
electricity and running water," says Mrs Hwicho.
"There are two farm houses here one with 15 rooms and the other with 12
rooms, but they have been occupied by other people."
Those who are occupying the houses (names supplied) are reportedly refusing
to share the houses with the teachers, despite that they use less than a
quarter of the rooms. Most of the rooms in the farmhouses are actually
Mrs Hwicho says lack of accommodation was the major reason qualified
teachers were shunning the school. The school started with seven trained
teachers, but now only three remain and are complimented by the untrained.
As if problems facing the school pupils at Chiburi are not enough, their
parents want them quickly out of the barns.
The parents want to use the barns to cure their tobacco crop they expect to
reap very soon.
"Their parents have given us a notice to move the pupils out of the barns as
they want to cure their tobacco by the end of this month," says Mrs Hwicho.
"We are just waiting and we don't know what we will do if they insist. We
will just have to look for alternatives like taking the children under
The director in charge of schools and quality assurance in the Ministry of
Education, Sports and Culture, Dr Stephen Mahere, says satellite schools
throughout the country are facing similar problems.
The Government has set aside at least $2 billion for the development of
about 489 schools in the newly resettled areas as part of efforts to make
education accessible to children.
"We have been to a number of such schools and we have seen the same
problems," says Dr Mahere.
"All we are waiting for is to establish permanent resettlement patterns so
that we know where exactly to establish the schools."
But establishing the settlement patterns may take more than two years, which
means Forgiveness and her classmates may have to wait a little longer before
they have a proper classroom.
Dr Mahere says the ministry is appealing to stakeholders to help with
establishing proper structures in the resettlement areas.
There will be a donors' tour of some of the satellite schools on February 17
to appraise them with the problems faced there.
The United Nations Chidren's Fund that is arranging the tour says it wants
to mobilise funds from donors to assist.
"It is necessary to establish schools in these resettlement areas," says
UNICEF assistant project officer for education Mr Bernard Batsirai.
"It is the children who are suffering because they face a lot of problems
and this is what we are concerned with."
Since the start of the land reform programme, at least 65 684 children have
enrolled at the 489 schools established in makeshift structures.
A staff compliment of 1 490 primary school teachers and 358 for secondary
schools has since been deployed in the schools.
The Government last year unveiled a $801 package for the development of
farmhouses into clinics to compliment other infrastructure in the
At least 351 000 families were allocated land under model A1 while another
50 000 successfully applied under the model A2 scheme. Most of the families
moved with their children to the resettlement areas.
We Must Back Gono
February 9, 2004
Posted to the web February 9, 2004
We need to encourage a real man, a fighter, well meaning and determined to
take away shame and disgrace upon the nation.
Dr Gideon Gonos determination and calling should be likened to that of the
likes of Nehemiah, Caleb, Joshua and David from biblical times.
What every genuine Zimbabwean should be able to say is that "Gideon Gono, we
owe you all the support necessary to get the job done", he doesnt have to
We often talk about sprucing our image out there! But it is clear that we
should realise that more often than not we have been our own enemies.
Of course the physical Zimbabwe has not changed, but our national character
has been battered left, right and centre because of our own irresponsible
What we need to agree as Zimbabweans is that it is time to make corrections,
and a serious time indeed.
It must be said clearly and openly that the rot may have manifested vividly
in the financial sector, but it has taken root in many Zimbabwean hearts. It
is time for introspection and individual soul searching.
Yes, the Central Bank governor is the whistle blower, but more has to be
It is encouraging to note that there has been a great show of support from
the Presidency, in taking this radical and aggressive approach.
All of us need to co-operate and participate in the restoration of our
dignity and character as a nation, starting from where we stand, wherever we
are and whoever we are.
The situation should be taken seriously with a zeal and purpose to prosper
and develop the nation.
If we take this approach people must own up and confess their mistakes and
misdeeds and if amnesty must be offered to boost confidence, so be it.
If we are bonafide citizens, genuine Zimbabweans and nation builders we need
not to be smoked out and hunted down, but let us come forth and build that
The purpose must be clear, it is not about decimating some flamboyant
characters and settling some petty jealousies and grudges.
Let every Zimbabwean be bigger than that, especially the leaders in all
socio-economic sectors of the country.
Small mindedness has been one of our major obstacles in our endeavours to
finding solutions to our problems and challenges.
We need to see beyond personalities, crisis, anxious moments, and fix our
hearts on the greater agenda of building a heritage and glory for
generations to come.
Our ancestors were like that, we celebrate their exploits and they make us
It is our turn to bear the mantle and lets be proud to take the
Nanga nyoro inoodza maronda. This has been our biggest setback, we lacked a
man, brush and radical to clean up our wounds, salt them up and set them on
a healing course.
Thank God, Gono is one, and we need more of such men. Many times we have
blown our own trumpet about insignificant achievements.
Brilliant ideas and plans have wound up in the trash yard for our lack of
selfishness, honesty and discipline.
Corruption must go, I agree with the President. Fortune seekers are not
nation builders". To the President, Government and politicians I say keep
your political commitment and support.
To captains of industry and business, take the opportunity and consider your
This business of tips, bribes and kickbacks is the cancer that has ruined
our economy. It must be dealt with at every level, once and for all.
Clean the house Gono, drive out the rogues, thieves and money changers,
Zimbabwe is a house of honour.
Even our Lord Jesus was not kind with these money changers. Real sons of the
soil are saying, "Thine are we oh! Gono, we are with you all the way to the
Daily News online
Deteriorating rule of law fuels economic collapse in Zimbabwe
It is 4.30am and
pitch dark as we dutifully stop for a red light at
the corner of Samora Machel and Rotten Row in downtown Harare. We're in two
cars, heading for the border. Seconds later four bandits sprint to our
vehicles, smash the windows and reach for our luggage.
They yank at the doors, wanting the
cars too. Luckily we're locked in,
having learned from a similar car-jack experience last year, and an
attempted theft in central Harare just two days before. We yell, hoot and
escape but don’t consider going to the police: they will do nothing.
Crime is spiralling out of control in Harare,
fuelled by collapse of
the economy and the rule of law. Indeed, ‘at the bottom of all our problems
is failure of the rule of law’, says Sternford Moyo, a leading lawyer and
former President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
‘Deterioration of the economy is directly linked to
the rule of law.’
The connection is
convincing: large-scale corruption, political
instability and mismanagement are to blame for economic collapse. There has
been a shocking cumulative fall of 33 percent in Gross Domestic Product in
the last six years, according to economist John Robertson.
In that period, he says,
manufacturing output volume dropped by 41
percent. Many firms are now working at less than 50 percent of capacity.
Mining output has declined by 29 percent. Transport systems and social
services such as health and education are in a critical state.
Moyo makes many connections between
this bleak picture and lack of the
rule of law, which has fallen victim to individual greed, political
ideology, and the systematic erosion of the justice system
One is the flight of investment from Zimbabwe
because it is perceived
to lack the rule of law. Among other things unsound economic policies,
product scarcities and a booming black market have fuelled runaway inflation
that is now over 600 percent.
economic mismanagement and failure to observe the rule of
law, Zimbabwe has stopped getting crucial balance of payments support from
the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Rigged elections, chaotic land
reform and gross human rights abuses –
the latter mostly committed by the police, military and paramilitary –
prompted the withdrawal of aid by most donor countries, which used to
attract large foreign exchange flows and aided development.
Lawlessness and instability have also crushed
tourism, which with
agriculture and mining once generated healthy foreign currency earnings.
Foreign tourism is virtually non-existent. Hotel occupancies are 20 percent
and mainly business. Meanwhile the poaching of wildlife – 80 percent of
which is believed slaughtered – is destroying this major tourist attraction.
Agricultural output is down by 47
percent in the three years since
Mugabe urged land-hungry people to force commercial farmers off the land.
Price controls on the staple food maize have discouraged production too,
while falling tobacco and other export crops have left Zimbabwe without the
foreign exchange to import food, and dependent on food aid.
Aid agencies estimate that five million people –
nearly half of
Zimbabwe’s population – will need food aid in the coming months. World Food
Programme spokesperson, Makena Walker, blames the ailing economy: rapid
economic decline, the closing of factories and high inflation, she said, had
rendered many more people unable to afford food.
‘To bring about a recovery in agriculture, property
rights and the
country's financial standing with foreign suppliers will have to be restored
’, Robertson says, along with credit lines and the repair of vandalised and
stolen irrigation schemes, equipment and other resources.
While most people have been impoverished, an elite
government has made a fortune on the forex black market, which discounted
the Zim$ by up to 80 percent, and by borrowing at regulated interest rates
way below inflation, which is over 600 percent.
Last year Mugabe tasked new Reserve Bank governor, Dr
with cleaning up the banking system and introducing a more realistic
Gono brought in two measures –
higher rates of borrowing and a forex
auction system aimed at crippling the thriving parallel market. Both have
been successful, but there is doubt about whether they will continue in the
face of growing resistance by the politically connected elite.
The reforms, says Robertson,
prompted the banking crisis of January
2004. ‘Steeply rising interest rates exposed the speculative nature of a
large proportion of borrowings, as well as the inadequate capital and
reserves of many banks.
‘Assistance had to be offered by the Reserve Bank to prevent the
failure of a number of banks, but the underlying distortions remain a threat
to the stability of the sector.’
Many Zimbabweans have also grown rich
through corruption. Among them
are scores of Zanu PF MPs, officials and ministers who snapped up farms
during the land-grab, and MPs and security force heads accused by the United
Nations of corruptly enriching themselves during Zimbabwe’s participation in
the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Last year Mugabe announced a crackdown on corruption, which among
other things resulted in the closure of ENG Capital Asset Management and the
arrest of Zanu PF provincial chairman, Philip Chiyangwa, one of ENG’s
shareholders. Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister July Moyo
has been accused of using cash from his department as collateral for a Zim$1
billion loan for a company owned by close associates, including the chair of
the National Social Security Authority. These are but two examples of
endemic official corruption, including asset stripping on a large scale, but
there is also doubt about whether the anti-corruption drive will extend to
more than a few sacrificial cronies. Political and economic problems have
eroded the effectiveness of Zimbabwe’s once highly respected legal system.
Because of the collapse of the rule of law, courts have become congested by
avoidable disputes, and are battling to handle commercial cases. They have
been bogged down by dozens of petitions related to alleged electoral
violence and fraud. Land reform has generated huge legal problems. The
Administrative Court has grown to three or four times its capacity pre-2000,
but is still unable to handle land cases – all of which could have been
avoided had land reform been carried out within the framework of the law.
Because the courts are unable to support the economy, debt recovery is
difficult and it has become problematic for companies to extend credit or to
resolve disputes through courts. Finally, says Moyo, failure to observe the
rule of law – especially by government, which often ignores judgements –
creates a culture of opportunity outside the law. Lawyers and judges are
viewed with contempt, and people break the law with impunity: a ‘very
dangerous trend’. Robertson adds, there is a critical need to review policy,
restore foreign assistance and exert strict economic discipline. Solutions
to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis ‘are now entirely political’. They also depend
on restoration of the rule of law.
column is provided by the International Bar Association. An
organisation that represents the Law Societies and Bar Associations around
the world, and works to uphold the rule of law. For further information,
visit the website www.ibanet.org
Ex-Leader Laments South Africa Democracy
Monday February 9, 2004 7:01 PM
By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS
Associated Press Writer
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) - Former President F.W. de Klerk, who
negotiated the end of the oppressive white-minority regime his party
created, warned Monday that South African democracy is being undercut by the
same racial divides of a decade ago.
``Our democracy, although stable, is not very healthy,'' De Klerk said in an
interview with The Associated Press, as South Africa celebrates 10 years
since apartheid's demise.
As campaigning begins for the country's third all-race elections on April
14, race and ethnicity remain the defining factor in party politics, De
Klerk said. The ruling African National Congress is assured a sweeping
victory in a country where blacks represent some 75 percent of the 45
million people, leaving minority-based parties to fight it out over a small
slice of government.
``I would have liked to see more of a realignment of politics ... to a much
more value-based dispensation,'' De Klerk said at his Cape Town-based
foundation, which is aimed at promoting reconciliation.
Despite the challenges, the 67-year-old De Klerk believes the country is on
the right track. The economy is growing, and remarkable goodwill exists
among South Africa's divergent peoples, he said.
With time, he predicted, political alliances will reform around policy
positions and the ANC will lose its overwhelming influence.
``The ANC alliance, with its two-thirds of the vote, was based on a common
purpose, and that was the end of the apartheid system,'' he said. ``That
cement is gone.''
The scion of an Afrikaner political clan, De Klerk stunned the world within
six months of coming to power in 1989 by freeing Nelson Mandela after 27
years in prison and legalizing the ANC. He then engaged in negotiations that
ended white-minority rule and saw Mandela elected South Africa's first black
president in April 1994.
His efforts won him a share of the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993,
but also cost his National Party its place at the pinnacle of power. Unable
to shrug off its apartheid history, the renamed New National Party saw its
share of the vote fall from more than 20 percent in 1994 to less than 7
percent in 1999.
De Klerk served as deputy president in a power-sharing government led by
Mandela, but quit the post in 1996 and resigned as party leader a year
later, saying he wanted to help the National Party break with the past.
``When tough political fights start, there is unfortunately still a tendency
to draw a caricature of the National Party,'' he said. ``In order to drum up
support, that apartheid ghost is given new breath.''
Since then, he has kept a low political profile, interrupted by a highly
publicized spat with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that
investigated apartheid-era atrocities. De Klerk refused to apply for amnesty
from the commission and was criticized by its chairman, fellow Nobel
laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for insisting he was unaware of widespread
torture and brutality by government security forces when he was president.
Perhaps feeling eclipsed by Mandela, De Klerk now is quick to point out his
party's role in bringing about peaceful transformation in South Africa.
``We, my old party, abolished apartheid, not the ANC,'' De Klerk said.
``When President Mandela acceded in 1994, he received a clean slate.''
De Klerk accused the ANC of encouraging a ``sort of new apartheid'' by
clinging to a rigid program of affirmative action. He also said the
government of President Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela, could have been
more aggressive about fighting AIDS in South Africa and urging political
reform in its tumultuous neighbor, Zimbabwe.
Ever the pragmatist, however, De Klerk welcomed his former party's election
alliance with the ANC as a needed ``consensus-seeking process'' in South
``The new South Africa is a much better place now than had we tried to cling
to a system which had become morally unjust,'' he said. ``I am positive
about our future.''
RBZ starts paying off external creditors
10 February 2004
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it has already started paying off the
The governor of the central bank, Dr Gideon Gono, said the move is aimed at
improving the country’s relations with the donor community and the
International Monetary Fund, IMF.
Dr Gono disclosed that he has held meetings with a number of creditors to
make arrangements on how best to pay them off adding that the central bank
has already started paying off the IMF.
Zimbabwe’s relations with the IMF and World Bank and other creditors had
turned sour since the country could not pay off the money it owed them.
Zimbabwe was suspended from voting and enjoying other rights from the
international body last year until the country had revised its fiscal
policies and payment methods.
Late last year during the presentation of the 2004 budget, Dr Gono said he
was going to revive the relations between Zimbabwe and the international
MDC slaps down Mbeki early poll claims
ZIMBABWE'S main opposition party on Monday refuted remarks by South African
President Thabo Mbeki that it has agreed to early elections.
The Movement for Democratic Change also rebutted Mbeki’s insistence that a
timetable for formal talks with President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party ZANU
PF party has been worked out.
Mbeki told South African radio on Sunday the two Zimbabwe parties “generally
agreed” to hold elections in March next year, three months before the
deadline for the polls.
He said a programme for talks drafted in December included an agenda for
formal negotiations on Zimbabwe’s deepening economic and political crisis.
Opposition secretary general Welshman Ncube said there had only been
informal contact between the two parties on what he called “talks about
No substantive issues were discussed, he said.
“It cannot possibly be true that there can be any agreement between the MDC
and ZANU PF to bring forward the parliamentary elections,” Ncube said.
Mbeki, who met separately with Mugabe and opposition leaders during a visit
to Harare in December, said yesterday that the beginning of formal talks was
only delayed by the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
In January, Mbeki also told visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
that Mugabe agreed to enter formal negotiations with opposition leaders.
Ncube, who headed the opposition side in previous failed talks, said then
that the opposition received no indication from Mugabe he was ready to
resume unconditional negotiations.
Ncube said today the ruling party was still was delaying the resumption of
“We do, nevertheless, agree with President Mbeki on the urgent need for a
process of formal dialogue to take place. We share his sentiment that
postponing the process is to the detriment of the people of Zimbabwe whose
suffering has reached unprecedented levels,” Ncube said.
Mugabe has sent the opposition no word on his position on any new talks.
Land redistribution triggers anthrax outbreak
February 09, 2004, 05:33 PM
Three people have died and close to 200 have been infected by an outbreak of
anthrax in Zimbabwe, according to the Science In Africa news website.
The outbreaks have been linked to the uncontrolled movement of cattle by new
settlers benefiting from the government's controversial land redistribution
"There is no way cattle diseases can fail to thrive when cattle are being
moved without permits from one part of the country to another," said a
senior official in the veterinary department, who preferred anonymity. The
outbreak, at present confined to the southeastern province of Masvingo, has
so far affected 191 people and caused the deaths of more than 60 head of
cattle since it emerged last month.
Tapiwa Magure, the Masvingo provincial medical director said, "the number of
cases of anthrax affecting people continues to rise at alarming levels. We
are also concerned about the effect it is having on livestock."
Anthrax is caused by a bacterium, bacillus anthracis, whose spores can
survive in a hostile environment for years, biding their time. Humans
generally acquire the disease directly or indirectly from infected animals.
Control in livestock is therefore the key to reduced incidence, according to
the World Health Organisation.
The cash-strapped Zimbabwean veterinary services department had launched a
vaccination exercise in the province to try and contain the disease, while
awareness campaigns had been launched. "We have dispatched more officials to
Bikita, the hardest hit district in the province, to try and contain the
disease," Magure said.
Zimbabwe's lack of foreign exchange to buy the vaccines had hampered the
government's efforts to control anthrax. The lack of money was also
responsible for the lack of action in the epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease
(FMD) that threatens the country's beef industry. Lucrative beef exports to
the European Union were suspended in 2001 after the first signs of a serious
Joseph Made, agriculture minister and the director of veterinary services
have reportedly travelled to Iran to source anthrax and FMD vaccines. -
Science in Africa
From The Sunday Independent (SA), 8 February
America wants SA to take activist role in Zim
The United States was still hoping South Africa
would "step up" and play a
more activist role in bringing change to Zimbabwe, the US government's top
African official said this week. Charles Snyder, acting assistant secretary
of state for Africa, said after being briefed by senior South Africa foreign
affairs officials that "the jury was still out" on whether South Africa's
Zimbabwe diplomacy would eventually pay off. He said in an interview in
Pretoria that the US had been impressed by the activist role South Africa
was playing elsewhere in Africa, such as Burundi. "And in that same context
we were hoping that South Africa would be even more active on the Zimbabwe
account. I think we are sympathetic and understand that it's always
difficult to be too brutal with one's neighbours. But sometimes it's
necessary to be frank. And to move them forward in a direction that is in
their interests and, in this particular case, also helps you as well. You
are neighbours for good or for ill and the disaster in Zimbabwe has the
potential and has in fact spilled over a bit already into South Africa.
President [Thabo] Mbeki has been fairly active on this account - but we're
hoping he will become more active as more African input is necessary."
Snyder said he had been reassured by the South African government this week
that there was "activity" going on in the negotiations between the ruling
Zanu PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. But the
government had given him no date when formal negotiations were supposed to
start. However he acknowledged that Americans were often too impatient for
results and should perhaps "let African time sometimes work". "I think the
jury is still out on this. I think we are still hopeful that President Mbeki
will help Zimbabwe find the way out of this."