Minister's son stops church-run feeding scheme Thur 10
February 2005 GWANDA - About 300 children in Gwanda town, 126 km south of
Bulawayo, could starve after local ZANU PF activists, among them the son of
deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Abednico Ncube, ordered a church-sponsored
feeding scheme stopped.
Deputy mayor Petros Mukwena told
ZimOnline that the ruling party activists last month ordered the Lutheran
Church to stop feeding the pre-school children accusing the church of being
sympathetic to the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
"ZANU PF activists decided to stop the Lutheran Church from
running child supplementary feeding programmes because they believe the
church is working with the MDC," Mukwena said.
"The church has
been providing nutritional meals and porridge to two pre-schools around the
town. In all, at least 300 children were affected and are in desperate need
of food aid right now," he added.
Mukwena said the town council was
unable to find an alternative donor to supply food to the children with most
non-governmental organisations scaling down operations in the area and
across the country.
A Lutheran Church official, who did not want to
be named said ZANU PF activists, among them Ncube's son, Leslie, raided the
feeding centre offices and chased the staff away.
surprised to hear that the son of deputy foreign affairs minister Abednico
Ncube had led the team that chased our staff out of the office and locked it
up," the church official said.
The Ncubes could not be reached for
comment yesterday but a member of ZANU PF's provincial executive, Robson
Mafu, defended the stoppage of the feeding programme saying it was because
the programme was being run by anti-government elements.
said: "It was stopped because it was running around with anti-government
plotters. Subversive organisations will not be allowed to exist here, and
they surely cannot be allowed to feed our children."
located at the heart of the drought-prone Matabeleland South province and
vulnerable groups in the town such as children and people living with
HIV/AIDS have for years relied on churches and international aid
organisations to supply them with food. - ZimOnline
ZANU PF unleashes youth militia into MDC stronghold Thur 10
February 2005 KAMATIVI - The government has deployed more than 2 000 of its
controversial youth militias at Kamativi in the opposition stronghold
Matabeleland North province ahead of a key general election next
The youths, accused by churches and human rights groups of
hunting down, torturing and raping opposition supporters, have already begun
patrolling villages in Binga, Hwange, near the tourist resort of Victoria
Falls and other parts of the province.
Opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party legislator for Hwange West constituency
Jealous Sansole yesterday told ZimOnline that people in his area were now
afraid to attend meetings by his party since the deployment of the
The opposition legislator also said the youths have been
illegally registered to vote in his constituency under which Kamativi
"People are scared of attending our meetings since word
spread around that the youths were returning. We are even more concerned
that these militias have been registered to vote here despite the fact that
they come from other constituencies," Sansole said.
Electoral Act, voters are registered in the constituency that they live and
in a parliamentary election should cast their ballot only in that
ZimOnline could not independently verify Sansole's
claims that the pro-ruling ZANU PF youths had been registered to vote in
Hwange West constituency.
Deputy Youth Minister Shuvai Mahofa
denied that the deployment of the youths in an opposition area ahead of an
election could intimidate voters. She said the deployment was routine but
added the youths were free to canvass support for the ruling ZANU party
because they belonged to the party.
Mahofa said: "Kamativi is
the Matabeleland North base for the national youth service programme. This
is a routine deployment. Besides, I do not see anything wrong if they decide
to campaign for ZANU PF because they are loyal party and national
The youths, trained by the government under a programme it
says is meant to inculcate discipline and patriotism in young Zimbabweans,
are among the worst perpetrators of human rights violations in the
In a damning report on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe,
the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights also singled out the
youths among chief human rights abusers and called for their disbandment.
The report was formally adopted by the African Union last week. -
IMF meets to seal Zimbabwe's fate Thur 10 February
2005 HARARE - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board decides
next Wednesday whether to give Zimbabwe another stay of execution or to boot
the crisis-ridden southern African nation out of the fund.
Bretton Woods institution last October shut down its Zimbabwe offices
because of failure by Harare to pay outstanding debt which at the moment
stands at US$280 million.
But the board held back from recommending
compulsory withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the IMF to allow the country another
chance to repair relations with the multilateral institution.
Zimbabwe has not had an IMF-sponsored programme since 1999 when the money
lending institution cut balance-of-payments support over differences with
Harare on fiscal policy, land reforms, human rights and other governance
The expulsion of Zimbabwe from the IMF would escalate the
country's isolation from the international community with most donors and
development partners likely to take a cue from the institution and cut
whatever little aid is trickling to the country. -ZimOnline
HARARE - In an unprecented
move never before seen in the Zimbabwean judicial system, a Harare court
yesterday made a "in camera" sentence on three locals accused of spying for
a foreign nation.
The three, banker Tendai Matambanadzo,
ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo and Zanu PF director of
external affairs, Itai Marchi were in court when sentence was read to
Court officials, however, later revealed that the
magistrate had handed Dzvairo the stiffest sentence, of six years
imprisonment, with the other two receiving five year jail
Magistrate Peter Kumbawa initially ruled that relatives
and the media be allowed to hear the sentence, arguing that: "In our culture
when one is arrested it has a bearing on many more in the family whose
livelihood depend on that person. So I believe it is only fair that the
public be allowed to listen in."
But he ruled that whatever
proceedings took place were not to be published, either in newspapers or
However, on protestations from state
representative Morgen Nemadire, Kumbawa gave in and asked that proceedings
be held in camera, as has been the case from the onset.
Outside the court, Nemadire told journalists at the close of the judge's
address that sentence had been delivered and pronounced.
because of the differences in the various degrees of moral reprehensibility,
the accused have received various and different prison terms," Nemadire
said. He refused to disclose the prison terms, citing the "sensitivity of
But it emerged from court officials that Zimbabwe's
ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Dzvairo, received the stiffest sentence
of six years imprisonment, while Matambanadzo and Marchi were sentenced to
five year jail terms.
The three, who were arrested on 8
December, 2004, pleaded guilty to charges of selling intelligence
information to foreign spies. However, their attempts to change their pleas
to not guilty were turned down by the court.
Selby hwacha of Dube, Manikai Hwacha said he was under instructions from his
clients to appeal both the pending issue of guilt and the
"In the circumstances, the public knows that the
accused are not satisfied with circumstances under which their guilty pleas
were recorded, and they look at the case more from being innocent than
guilty of the preferred charges," Hwacha said.
were being charged together with ruling party Zanu PF provincial chairman
Philip Chiyangwa and the party's deputy security officer Kenny Karidza. The
trial of the other two is continuing.
HARARE - The jailed
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Member of Parliament for Chimanimani
constituency, Roy Bennett, is likely to be released from prison at the end
of next month - seven months earlier than expected.
According to parliamentary rules, Bennet could say goodbye to Mutoko Prison
if President Mugabe goes ahead and dissolves parliament on March 30, 2005, a
day before Zimbabwe's general elections.
Bennet was jailed for
one year by a Parliamentary Committee of Privileges after he was found
guilty of assaulting another MP, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa during a parliamentary debate.
According to a
University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and human rights activist, Dr. Lovemore
Madhuku, Zimbabwean law stipulates that any jail sentence imposed on a
member of parliament should come to an end as soon as the sitting parliament
that imposed the sentence is dissolved.
The present parliament
is due to be dissolved on March 30 to pave the way for elections scheduled
for the next day.
Bennet, who has been nominated by MDC to
fight to retain his Chimanimani seat despite his imprisonment, has so far
served three months of his 12-month jail term. Efforts to have him released
on bail pending his appeal against conviction have failed.
Media reports have indicated that the outspoken parliamentarian has now
sustained blisters on his hands because of hard labour in the remote prison.
He is also said to be battling both physically and mentally with the
conditions at Mutoko Prison.
Although appeals have been
made by his lawyers that their client is likely to suffer irreparable
prejudice, there appears to be no movement by the judiciary to settle the
Bennett case, with the High Court allegedly delaying processing the
application to review the Parliamentary procedure that resulted in Bennett's
High court judge Justice Charles Hungwe has
still not passed judgment in a case brought before him in November last year
by Bennett, applying for bail, pending the outcome of the Review
Although a Supreme Court challenge has been lodged
on the grounds that Bennett was denied a fair trial as guaranteed by
Zimbabwe's constitution, no date has been given by the court to hear this
case despite its obvious urgency.
Legal experts have
indicated that Bennett's nomination to fight for his parliamentary seat from
jail is in order since his incarceration was not as a result of a criminal
Bennett will go down in Zimbabwe history as the first
candidate to fight for a seat in parliament without being afforded the
opportunity to campaign for it, due to his languishing in
Bennet currently represents Chimanimani constuency
after winning the seat in the 2000 parliamentary elections when he defeated
Zanu PF candidate, Munacho Mutezo.
In the forthcoming
elections, Bennett is set to battle it out with economist Dr Samuel Undenge,
who controversially won the ruling party's primary elections after beating
Mutezo and Misheck Beta.
THE spin doctors of the
latest government megabank, the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group, have painted
an incredibly glowing picture of its prospects. A story in the government's
chief mouthpiece, The Herald, says ZABG "is set to transform the face of
banking in the country by offering the most competitive business conditions
in the industry".
The mouth-watering details then follow: the
bank will lend money at 105 percent, 5 percentage points below "perennial
cheapest lenders Standard Chartered Bank".
government-controlled bank may not fare any better than any of the other
parastatals which have nearly bled the country dry with their profligacy
with public funds.
Granted, a few of them have done relatively
well, but the overall assessment of their performance suggests the taxpayer
has been ripped off.
Over the last few years, but particularly
after 2000, the government has made no secret of its intention to virtually
halt the privatisation of the wasteful parastatals.
anything, the government has now launched a widespread programme of taking
charge of agriculture and banking. The reason is not that it has discovered
a new talent for managing large enterprises.
Mostly, the reason
is political. In the banking sector, the revolution" started with Gideon
Gono's arrival at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
It is Gono who
engineered the formation of the ZABG.
In the process, he
infuriated the owners of the banks forced into this marriage of
inconvenience. A number of them have gone to court to prevent their forced
inclusion into ZABG.
What that will do to the credibility of
the banking sector remains to be seen. But it is obvious that not many
foreign investors will be keen to come to Zimbabwe until the financial air
has been cleared up.
What taxpayers must worry about is whether
the ZABG will not go the way of other financial parastatals. Agribank is not
exactly the roaring success that it was hoped to be and Zimbank, which
replaced the old Nedbank of the UDI era, has not distinguished itself as one
of the most trusted banks in the land.
At some stage, the
government, in setting up the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe (PAZ), had
signaled a refreshing confidence in partnering the private sector in the
development of the country. But its political direction so offended so many
potential supporters, the PAZ may have become redundant.
any case, the role of the private sector in the economy seems to have been
relegated to a distant also-ran. The portents are bleak.
rest of the world, even the former communist economies, are entrusting
development more and more into the hands of the private sector. Most
appreciate the hazards of unbridled control of the economy by the private
sector, but even they are aware that the days of a centrally-controlled
economy are as dead as communism itself.
Harare - Two Harare
City Council employees face disciplinary action from Town Clerk Nomutsa
Chideya after they cut off water supplies to a government minister in Harare
Water was disconnected from the house of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo,
after his alleged failure to settle a $3 million bill.
Chombo has made headlines by suspending Harare's mayor and most of its
councillors on the grounds that they were failing to deliver services to the
The workers, identified as Willard
Mubvumbi and another only as Pachawo, are both meter readers. They refused
A senior council official at Rowan Martin Building,
the city council's revenue authority headquarters, yesterday told The Daily
News Online a disciplinary hearing was pending against the two employees who
participated in one way or the other in disconnecting water services to the
minister's residence at 20 Clairwood Road, Alexandra Park .
Chombo, according to the council officials, owed the council nearly $3
million in unpaid water charges.
"Their supervisor, Mr
Makwembere, asked the two workers to submit written narratives of the events
leading to the water termination at the minister's house," the official
said. "We are simply waiting to see what action the town clerk will take
against the two men. He simply directed that he needed a written
On Monday Mubvumbi and Pachawo submitted their
responses to Chideya but no action has been taken yet.
senior official explained that on Friday Mubvumbi was assigned to go out in
the Borrowdale area to disconnect water services to the residences of all
people who owed the cash-strapped Harare City Council money.
"Mubvumbi went on to the minister's residence without knowing he had got
into Chombo's premises," the source said. "After he finished work he left
for his home only to return on Monday facing a reprimand from his superiors
who accused him of carrying out unassigned tasks."
Chideya refused to speak to The Daily News Online when contacted for
Leslie Gwindi, the council's public relations manager,
also refused to comment. He initially promised to furnish this reporter with
details of the case but when contacted later his mobile phone went
The Harare City Council has been facing financial
problems and has failed to deliver essential services to the residents like
Services delivery has deteriorated since
the dismissal of first democratically elected Harare Executive Mayor,
Engineer Elias Mudzuri, in April 2003 by the government for alleged
incompetence, financial impropriety and alleged mismanagement of council
Chombo has since appointed commissioners to run the
city, a move seen as an attempt to undermine the political support for the
local authority, which is dominated by the opposition MDC.
OPPOSITION MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's return to Masvingo Central constituency after causing a furore
when he reportedly conducted a disputed primary election last month, was
marred by violence and demonstrations that left some party supporters
injured, police and eyewitnesses in Masvingo said
Tsvangirai's bodyguards and party youths allegedly went on
the rampage, beating up anyone who dared force their way into the venue
where the MDC leader was convening a meeting to chisel out differences in
the political hotbed of Masvingo Central. The rifts emerged in the
aftermath of incumbent MP Silas Mangono's loss to represent the MDC in the
March 31 general elections. Mangono lost to lawyer Tongai Matutu in an
election allegedly overseen by Tsvangirai. As a result of the skirmishes,
Tsvangirai reportedly left the meeting in a huff through the backdoor as
tempers skyrocketed. Tsvangirai, who kicked off his party's campaign in
Masvingo province, held a constituency meeting at 5pm at the Civic Centre
Hall, but all hell broke loose after some senior party members were barred
from entering the venue. Opposition party insiders said the major purpose of
the highly charged meeting was to resolve the impasse between Mangono and
Matutu. Mangono has since received temporary reprieve after the MDC's
national council ordered that the management committee investigate the
matter. Said a source who attended the meeting: "His visit was met with
peaceful demonstrations by party supporters who were holding placards
screaming, 'No to dictatorship - we want free and fair primary
elections'." The source said Tsvangirai evaded the demonstrators who were
massed outside the hall by entering straight into the venue of the meeting
without bothering to hear their grievances. But that did not deter the
disgruntled protestors, who continued chanting slogans denouncing
"dictatorial" tendencies by the party leadership and demanding that
Tsvangirai address them. "He was angry when he entered the hall and suddenly
his bodyguards and youths assaulted the demonstrators and people who were
seeking audience with him. One woman, a councillor named Franscica Shea of
Ward 3, sustained a fractured hand and was rushed to Masvingo General
Hospital. "She reported the matter to Masvingo Central Police Station," the
source claimed. The demonstrations reportedly turned nasty amid claims
that ward chairperson, Afiel Gono, lost his teeth in the skirmishes, while
Cllr Misheck Gapare was also injured and whisked to the provincial referral
hospital. Shea confirmed she was indeed assaulted by the youths. "I was
assaulted by the youths when I was trying to get into the hall where the
meeting was being held as I am in the structures of the party in Masvingo
Central. As I speak now, I am in Masvingo General Hospital where I am
receiving treatment. "Vakandirova nehwamanda (They beat me up using a kudu
horn) and I reported the matter to the police. Tsvangirai akatobva achitiza
pahall pacho (Tsvangirai bolted from the meeting) as people were
angry." According to Gapare, Tsvangirai's bodyguards, and youths believed to
be from Matutu's camp, assaulted demonstrators while Kuwadzana legislator
and national youth chairman Nelson Chamisa watched. An irate Gapare said:
"We only heard through rumours that Tsvangirai was coming to address the
problems in Masvingo Central and when we heard he was addressing a meeting
at the Civic Centre, we went there, but were barred from the meeting by
party youths and Tsvangirai's bodyguards. "The people then started singing
outside, protesting and demanding to talk to the president. They
(Tsvangirai's bodyguards and the youths) responded by beating up everyone,
yet we wanted the president to explain the exact situation to us. We feel
Tsvangirai is not being honest with us in this matter. We thought he was
coming to solve the problem but he has instead ended up creating more
problems for the party in Masvingo." Tsvangirai is reported to have
overturned the MDC national council's decision to investigate the dubious
circumstances surrounding Matutu's victory by declaring him the candidate
for the March 31elections. "He overturned the decision by the national
council and declared Matutu candidate for the election," another source
said. "He said if Mangono wanted to stand as an independent candidate, he
should do so and would lose, as the people would simply vote for the party,
not individuals," added the source. Mangono yesterday insisted he was
going to stand as the MDC candidate for Masvingo Central. "I spoke to the
people and they expressed their anger and disappointment over events in
Masvingo Central. The people that Tsvangirai refused to address advised me
to stand as an MDC candidate for Masvingo Central. I will not stand as an
independent candidate as I am a full member of the MDC. I have now left the
matter in the hands of the people," said Mangono, who also confirmed that
violence occurred at the Civic Centre that day. Police in Masvingo confirmed
that violence erupted during the MDC meeting addressed by Tsvangirai at the
Civic Centre Hall. "Violence occurred when factions within the MDC clashed
during a meeting at the Civic Centre, but we have not yet arrested anyone.
A woman was injured and has since reported the matter to the police in
Masvingo," said Partson Nyabadza, the provincial police
spokesperson. Yesterday, MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said: "I have
heard that rumour, but the truth of the matter is that I don't have the full
details. So I cannot confirm." Nyathi said he had no clue on the progress
the party had made in resolving the "Mangono-Matutu debacle" in Masvingo,
referring all questions relating to primary elections to organising
secretary Esaph Mdlongwa. Mdlongwa said: "I don't know the progress they have
made so far on the Mangono case but the president (Tsvangirai) is in
Masvingo. They haven't come back to update me on the progress they have
made." Efforts to contact Chamisa or William Bango, Tsvangirai's personal
assistant, were fruitless yesterday. The Daily Mirror is reliably
informed that Tsvangirai and Mangono ignored each other throughout the
AN agro-based company directed
by former deputy minister Tony Gara faces eviction from the Willowvale
Industrial area after being dragged to court on allegations of failing to
pay nearly $10 million in rentals for the past three months. Gara, the
former local government, public construction and national housing deputy
minister and his brother, Willis, are directors of the company called AOG
Agri Products (Pvt) Limited. The firm risks eviction from a factory in one
of Harare's industrial areas for allegedly not paying rentals since October
last year. In a case filed at the Harare magistrates court on November 3 2004
by Nyaruti Property Investments (Pvt) Limited, the applicant wants AOG Agri
Products evicted and pay damages. According to the summons, the applicant
wants the court to grant: "an order confirming the cancellation of the lease
agreement between plaintiff and defendant in terms of which plaintiff leased
to defendant property known as Factory Unit 3, Stand 329 Affirmative Way,
Willowvale, Harare.an order for the ejectment forthwith of
defendant." According to the summons, the Garas must pay nearly $2,3 million
for October 2004 and another $2,2 million every month since November last
year till date of eviction making a shortfall of $9,9 million. The applicant
is also demanding an interest of 2,7 percent from due date to date of
payment for the property, whose lease agreement was signed in June
2001. However, AOG Agri Foods maintain that their bill is clean, and as far
as they are concerned, they owe Nyaruti Property Investments
nothing. "This is disputed. Defendant did not at any time fail to pay rentals
as is alleged. This is disputed. No due notice to vacate was ever given to
defendant," reads part of the plea. Gara was recently barred from contesting
in Zanu PF primaries after receiving a no-confidence vote from the Harare
provincial coordinating committee. The constituency seat he was eying,
Mbare, went to city of Harare commission member Tendai Savanhu.
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa onTuesday
filed his opposing affidavit in the Supreme Court against an application by
some Zimbabweans in the diaspora seeking to order the government to allow
postal voting in the March general elections. In their urgent chamber
application (SC.22/05) filed nearly two weeks ago, Jefta Madzingo and six
others, all residents in the United Kingdom cited Chinamasa and the
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede as the first and second respondents
respectively. The Electoral Supervisory Commission and the Attorney General,
Sobuza-Gula Ndebele were cited as the third and fourth respondents. In
his opposing affidavit Chinamasa, represented by Ernest Jena of the Civil
Division of the AG's office, argued that the matter was not urgent and that
it was impossible for the respondents to satisfy the applicants' demands
before the elections. He said: "I am advised by my legal practitioners
that this matter is not urgent. Provisions which are the subject of this
application have been in the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:01) which came into
operation on the 28th of March 1990 and have been carried over to the new
Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13). "It is clear this matter raises issues
which would require an overhaul of the electoral laws and mechanism
thereto. "For respondents to satisfy, the prayer sought by applicants, if
granted by this Honorable Court in time for the forthcoming Parliamentary
Elections, appears, in my humble view, far fetched and
impossible." Chinamasa added that it was not necessary to deal with the
matter as an urgent one since the framework for the general elections was
already in place. The applicants, who have constituted themselves into a
group called the "Diaspora Vote Action Group", sought an order to declare
their exclusion from the eagerly awaited March polls null and void. About
3,4 million Zimbabweans are resident outside the country. "The applicants
and all registered voters resident outside Zimbabwe be and hereby declared
eligible voters in all parliamentary and Presidential elections. "The
respondents be directed to set up structures to allow and enable registered
voters outside Zimbabwe to vote in the forthcoming parliamentary elections
and all future general elections thereafter," read the court order sought by
the applicants. In his founding affidavit, Madzingo argued that in terms of
Section 58 of Zimbabwe's constitution and other electoral laws, denying
Zimbabweans abroad the right to vote in national elections back home was
discriminatory and without basis at law. "I contend that as a Zimbabwean
in the diaspora, I am entitled to vote in the upcoming general elections and
I believe that the provisions of Section 20 of the Electoral Act Chapter
2:01 accepts that certain voters may not at all times be in their normal
constituencies as and when general elections are held and I believe that the
provisions of Section 20 of the Electoral Act Chapter 2: 01 accepts that
certain voters may not at all times be in their normal constituencies . . .
once the government expects us to participate in the economic and social
development of the country, it must of necessity ensure that we also
participate in the country's political process," Madzingo
said. Chinamasa, however, said the constitution of Zimbabwe in section 58 and
Schedule 3 provided for the qualification and disqualification for
registration as a voter. "According to the constitution of Zimbabwe a
person has to be a citizen of Zimbabwe or permanent resident in Zimbabwe to
qualify as a voter. "The Constitution of Zimbabwe further empowers the
prescription of residence qualifications in Electoral Law. Our Electoral Act
(Chapter 2:13), in turn provides for disqualification on grounds of
absenteeism from Zimbabwe for twelve months or more, among other reasons,"
he said. Madzingo also argued that the government had initiated programmes
clearly showing that Zimbabweans abroad were an integral part of the
country's economic and social life and, therefore, should not be excluded
from voting. He mentioned the Homelink initiative and the Diaspora Housing
Scheme, in which Zimbabweans outside the country remit foreign currency and
are encouraged to buy homes in the country through the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ). Madzingo also said the government fully accepted that all
citizens were entitled to participate in the country's political and
electoral processes by being signatory to various international legal
instruments. He cited the Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic
elections, the African Charter of Human and Political Rights and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On the Sadc Guidelines for
democratic elections, Chinamasa said they were only "a roadmap to guide
countries during the conducting of their elections in terms of their
laws." He added that the guidelines were not legally binding. "They are
not a protocol. They are not enforceable or amenable to enforcement. The
Sadc Guidelines and Principles are a political document pegging out for the
region, a roadmap which we must all follow towards a perfect democratic
future," Chinamasa said. Harare lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor and
Immerman represents the applicants. The Supreme Court is yet to set the
date for the matter to be heard.
Sibanda in Bulawayo issue date :2005-Feb-10
RESIDENTS of Bulawayo,
Matabeleland north and south will only be able to benefit from the mighty
Zambezi River in 2007 when construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be
completed, an expert has said. The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project chief
engineer, Dinga Tshabalala, made the revelation during a tour of the dam
site by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono recently. If the
project is completed, it has the potential to turn the parched Matabeleland
region, hit by perennial water woes, into a green belt. Tshabalala urged the
central bank and the government to commit themselves financially for the
fruition of the project "I am sure that with your continued support in the
coming years, this project would become a reality. We are looking at
concluding this dam in the coming two years after which it would be handed
over to the government and also to other key stakeholders. "We still have
two other phases that we are going to go through and I believe that the two
would be the most taxing phases of the dam construction," Tshabalala
said. Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo praised the central bank for
funding the venture. He said now that a financial commitment had been
undertaken there was no going back on the project. "I am grateful that we
are here today to realise the start of a dream that was started in 1912. It
is an open secret that since then, successive governments have been talking
about the Zambezi Water project but they have not committed themselves
financially to the project. "The tour by the RBZ governor is so important in
that it really shows that the central bank governor is committed to making
sure that the dreams of the thousands of people of Matabeleland will now be
a reality once this pipeline is completed and we applaud (Dr.) Gono for the
move to come down and see for himself the situation on the ground," Nkomo
said. MZWP chairman Dumiso Dabengwa said the RBZ's commitment meant the long
overdue project would finally materialise. "We have been facing financial
constraints over the years and that is why some people have been asking what
has been happening to the project. Now with the support that has been
granted by the central bank, I would like to promise the nation that we will
not fail," said Dabengwa. "This is the opportunity for those in the
agricultural industry to start looking at which projects they are going to
embark on so that when the project is completed, it will be all systems go
and the province would be abuzz with developmental projects." Gono called
on all stakeholders to rally behind the venture, as it was the mainstay upon
which the economic fortunes of Matabeleland could be turned around.
THE long awaited Harare City
Council 2005 budget is now complete and is expected to be presented to the
commission today or tomorrow before it's made public, council officials told
The Daily Mirror yesterday. Presentation of the city's budget has been
suspended thrice because of abrupt suspensions of and subsequent
resignations by MDC councillors who cited Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo as the root cause of the capital's woes. Town clerk Nomutsa
Chideya confirmed amendments to the budget had been finalised, but referred
further questions to spokesperson Leslie Gwindi. "We have finished the whole
process (drafting the budget), but talk to Gwindi he will provide you with
more information," he said. Gwindi said the process had been completed and
was now awaiting its presentation by the council's finance committee to
commission running the capital's affairs for adoption. "It has been
completed and the draft has to be presented before the commission for
adoption before its presentation to the public," Gwindi said. "I don't have
the date at the moment, but call me again tomorrow (today) in the
afternoon." The delay in drafting of Harare's budget was caused by the firing
and subsequent resignations of most councillors in the then MDC dominated
council leading to the collapse of council operations. Chombo only
appointed a commission to run the affairs of the council last December, way
after most city councils had presented their proposals to the government for
approval as stipulated in the Urban Councils Act. The city fathers have since
asked the government to allow them to implement quarterly increments
suspended last year with a view to improve the precarious financial
position, but the request fell on deaf ears. Chombo could, however, not be
reached for comment yesterday while his deputy Chief Fortune Charumbira
referred questions back to his boss.
Correspondent in Bulawayo issue date :2005-Feb-10
mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube yesterday attributed the city's poor service
delivery to councillors' failing to understand "basic and fundamental
issues" in the operation of local authorities. Addressing journalists during
a breakfast meeting he called for various media houses, Ncube (pictured)
said some councillors were vocal on trivial issues and in most cases played
to the gallery, instead of finding solutions to a myriad of problems faced
by the city. "The standard of debate among some of the councillors that sit
in the chamber at times leaves a lot to be desired. Some of the councillors
do not debate issues, but concentrate mainly on waffling," Ncube said. He
added: "It is even a scary experience even before one opens their mouth. You
eventually know that one is going to waffle before they open their mouth.
Someone might spend an hour talking and you will discover from the hour they
would have spent, only the speech they would have made in ten minutes makes
sense." Ncube said most of the councillors spent precious hours "talking
rubbish" and tarnishing each other's images, at the expense of discussing
socio-development issues for the city. "The calibre of some of the
councillors here is questionable and that is why there is need for those
aspiring to be councillors to have at least O Levels. You will not be
surprised to find out that most of the councillors we have do not have even
Grade Seven, yet they are given the task of discussing issues that affect
the council and also to plan for the city," Ncube added. He also bemoaned
the lack of discipline in some of the councillors in the chamber, averring
that some of them boycott meetings for five months, only to emerge in the
sixth month to avoid being ejected from council as per provisions of the
Urban Councils Act. Turning to the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP)
- earmarked to benefit Bulawayo more than any other part of the region -
Ncube said his council had taken a back seat on the project and allowed the
government to oversee it. "That (MZWP) is now a government-funded
programme and we decided to let the government do its part. We will come in
when our part also comes, as the water to be drawn from the Zambezi would be
pumped to Bulawayo, which is our jurisdiction as a council. "Therefore,
there are plans to construct a treatment plant in Cowdray Park suburb where
the water would be purified before being fed into the city's main water
source," Ncube said.
Fortune Mbele Court Reporter issue date :2005-Feb-10
30 Zanu PF youths last Saturday allegedly took over a police base in Norton
in a bid to rescue a colleague who had been arrested on charges of political
violence, a Harare magistrate, Cremmah Chipere, heard yesterday. The youths
were arrested the following day and charged for breaching provisions of the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA). Prosecutor Ndabezinhle Moyo told the
court that the youths, led by Shepherd Tsomondo - husband to the ruling
party's one-time aspiring candidate for Manyame constituency Bybit Tsomondo
- stormed the police base to rescue their colleague. Allegations are that
Tsomondo and his gang were tipped that MDC members were in Katanga township
and decided to carry out an investigation, which yielded nothing. After
failing to locate the MDC members, the youths indiscriminately attacked
people in Katanga they perceived to be members of the opposition. They
also attacked their properties. During the attack one of the youths was
arrested and taken to a police base, where the rest allegedly followed,
seeking his release. They allegedly assaulted members of the police force
using stones and stabbed one of them with an unidentified object. The
police allegedly scurried for safety and sought reinforcements, while
Tsomondo and the youths took over the base. The youths were reportedly
subdued after police reinforcements from Norton Police Station
intervened. Tsomondo and the youths were not asked to plead and remanded
in custody to today for a ruling on their bail application. Catherine
Muzavazi, representing Tsomondo and ten of the accused persons, argued that
the incident was not politically motivated, arguing that Tsomondo was only
trying to quell a simple misunderstanding between the complainant and the
youths. However, opposing the bail application, Moyo said there was a
possibility of the accused committing similar crimes against the backdrop
of the election mood. "The political wave that we are in and the poll dates
having been set, this is a volatile period and for that reason it will be
premature to grant the accused bail," Moyo said. He added that President
Robert Mugabe had openly declared zero tolerance on political violence.
Zimbabwe: `Pay Hikes for War Vets And Traditional Chiefs Could Slow Down
UN Integrated Regional Information
February 9, 2005 Posted to the web February 9,
The Zimbabwean government's decision to award a large
increase in pension payouts to former liberation war activists from this
month is expected to have long-term repercussions, economists told
The minister of public service, labour and social welfare, Paul
Mangwana, announced last week that former nationalists who had been detained
by the colonial government would receive a hike of more than 1,000 percent
in their state pensions as a once-off payment.
Gideon Gono, governor
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), warned the government last year that
such a large payout would throw plans to reduce inflation off
Compensation under the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and
Restrictees Act, awarded to thousands of people who were detained,
restricted or imprisoned by the colonial government, will reportedly run
into trillions of Zimbabwean dollars.
The independent Standard
newspaper said the once-off payments would be worth Zim $10 million (about
US $1,654) each, amounting to Zim $60 billion (US $9.9 million). There are
reports that former detainees who did not register with the veterans
association are now scrambling to do so, which could push the number of
beneficiaries to 25,000, raising the bill to US $41 million.
the government also reportedly raised the allowances and salaries of headmen
and village heads by 150 percent, with effect from January.
Most of the
former liberation soldiers have remained loyal to the ruling ZANU-PF, while
village chiefs have been important to the party's strength in the
Economist and member of the RBZ's advisory board, Eric
Bloch, said the payouts made more political than economic
"That is blatantly an act of vote buying ahead of elections in
March, and that will have a negative impact on the government's deficit, as
it will have to resort to more borrowing. The decision will counteract the
bank's efforts to fight inflation," Bloch told IRIN in an
In 1997, the government made an even larger payout to war
veterans after they protested their living conditions - a move that had
disastrous consequences for the economy.
Tendai Biti, secretary for
economic affairs of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, claimed,
"The doling out of millions of dollars for purposes of political survival is
an indication of how insensitive the ruling party is. It does not matter to
them if the economy is affected by their ill-advised decisions. All they
care about is remaining in power."
[ This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations ]
Zimbabwean international athlete who has won several awards in regional
competitions as a female athlete has been arrested after it was discovered
that he is a man, reports said on Wednesday, AFP reports from
Samukeliso Sithole, 17, was arrested last week after a female
friend, who had undressed in full view of the athlete, found out that he was
a male, the state dailies The Herald and Chronicle said.
lodged a complaint with the police and Sithole was arrested for alleged
impersonation and offensive behaviour.
Sithole, however, insists that he
is a woman, even though a medical doctor has confirmed that he is a
He told the court during an appearance on Tuesday that he was born
with both male and female organs and a traditional healer gave him herbs
that helped him become 100 per cent woman.
Because his parents
neglected to pay the traditional healer his full fees, his male organs
recently grew back, Sithole said.
In recent years, Sithole has taken part
in international youth athletic events such as hurdles, javelin, shot putt
and triple jumping.
In June last year, he won a gold medal for Zimbabwe
at a regional athletics tournament in Botswana where he competed as a
He also scooped up five medals in Mauritius last year.
has been ordered to return to court on March 3 for another hearing.
Spy case a sign of historical tensions with Pretoria
[ This report does
not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The espionage case in which three Zimbabweans were jailed
this week for selling state secrets to South Africa has underlined a
historical tension between the two neighbours, according to
The three informants, convicted of breaching Zimbabwe's
Official Secrets Act, were this week sentenced to between five and six years
in prison by a regional magistrate in the capital, Harare.
ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo, was slapped with an
effective six years behind bars, while ZANU-PF director for external affairs
Itai Marchi and former Metropolitan Bank company secretary Tendai
Matambanadzo were each jailed for five years. Philip Chiyangwa, a ZANU-PF
legislator and President Robert Mugabe's nephew, is awaiting trial on
Historical and ideological differences have
characterised the relationship between South Africa's ruling African
National Congress (ANC) and ZANU-PF.
"Traditionally, ZANU has always been
an ally of [South Africa's] Pan Africanist Congress, while the ANC had been
an ally of PF-ZAPU [ZANU's uneasy partner during the liberation war],"
former government minister and Matabeleland North governor, Welshman
Mabhena, told IRIN.
As Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis unfolded
in 2000, with controversial legislative elections and a violent land
distribution programme, South Africa found itself with limited intelligence
"The ANC had to gather information through covert
means to understand the developments within the ZANU-PF," said Chris
Maroleng, an analyst with South Africa's Institute for Security
South Africa needed information to assess whether "progressive
forces open to engagement" within the Zimbabwean ruling party were in the
ascendant, which would help them in their talks to resolve the political
standoff with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said
"This [espionage] trial [exposed] that the relationship between
the two governments has never been as sound as portrayed," noted Mabhena.
"The Zimbabwean government has obviously been misleading the South Africans
about the so-called peace talks with the opposition and, in the process,
leading the ANC leadership up the garden path."
South Africans fear for Zimbabwe land after deal
February 09, 2005, 15:45
White South African farmers fear
they could lose their land in neighbouring Zimbabwe after officials failed
to sign a deal today intended to protect them from controversial land
seizures. Several South African farmers have already lost land under
Zimbabwe's policy of confiscating white-owned farms for redistribution to
landless blacks and other farms have been earmarked for expropriation.
Pretoria has tried to negotiate a pact with Harare to protect them, but
South Africa's Star newspaper said today the signing had been delayed for a
third time. Officials in South Africa and Zimbabwe were not immediately
available for comment.
But Lourie Bosman, president of farmers' union
Agri South Africa, said Zimbabwe officials had on several occasions
indicated they did not believe South Africans should be exempted. "I think
the statements that we received from the Zimbabwe government is that the
land reform process doesn't take citizenship into account. That is what
worries us," Bosman said. Bosman also said hundreds of South African farmers
owned land in Zimbabwe, drawn by its favourable soil and
South Africa's Trade and Industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said
in November the pact, first mooted three years ago amid fears that South
African-owned property would be confiscated, was close to being signed. But
The Star newspaper reported that the signing was put off twice last year due
to the unavailability of officials from both countries. It did not say why
today's signing, due to take place in Cape Town, had been called
It added that 15 South African-owned properties in Zimbabwe had been
earmarked for expropriation. South Africa is Zimbabwe's most important
trading partner. Officials say the agreement would allow South African
farmers to take legal action if their property was seized. They would also
be allowed to refer any investment related dispute to international
arbitration. Critics of Zimbabwe's land-seizure policy say it has ruined the
country's agricultural sector which was once the backbone of the economy. -
'Soviet-Style' Farming Policy Mooted to Feed Zimbabwe
February 9, 2005 Posted to the web February 9,
Dumisani Muleya Johannesburg
ZIMBABWE's Reserve Bank has
turned the spotlight on the deepening food shortage in Zimbabwe as officials
confirmed that up to 15 children and elderly people have died of
malnutrition in the second city of Bulawayo last year.
At least 14
people, most of them children aged between three and four years, died last
month, Zimbabwean health officials have confirmed.
Bulawayo mayor Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube has confirmed that the deaths in the city were due to
The bank has recommended the state urgently implement a
command economy agricultural policy to boost production and prevent further
The Soviet-style agricultural production system is expected
to be launched soon, after the central bank's call for urgent, radical
measures to resuscitate the collapsed sector.
The central bank has
said there is now a "compelling case (for) command agriculture" in order to
ensure food security.
"Without such a system the farming community may
trend (sic) towards production of nonfoods crops, which threatens food
security," the bank said.
Official sources said the scheme would start
soon in view of the recurrent food shortages, with the state deciding what
crops farmers should grow and when. Under the system, the state would
provide funding, seeds and equipment to farmers.
organisation, Famine Early Warning Systems Network, said last month that
5,8-million Zimbabweans - almost half the population - would need food aid
before the next harvest in April.
Under the new system, farmers would be
bound by official contracts to produce stipulated targets of particular
State agencies would monitor farmers' activities.
proposed system recalls the collectivisation of agriculture in Soviet Russia
under Joseph Stalin from 1928, which ended in overall state control of
agriculture. During this process, property owners were "liquidated" in their
thousands and famine dominated the lives of millions of Russian
Food production dropped drastically; at least 4-million
died in the resulting famine (mostly in Ukraine). But Stalin succeeded - in
1936 about 90% of Soviet agriculture was collectivised.
however, was very low. The existence of famine was denied and those who
talked about it were treated as counter-revolutionary
Zimbabwe's agricultural sector is in ruins following wholesale
land seizures by government which began in 2000.
large-scale mostly white-owned commercial farms were confiscated, often
violently, by President Robert Mugabe's government during a land reform
campaign which worsened the country's political and economic
At least 15 white farmers were killed by state-sponsored farm
invaders during the state land grab, and tens of thousands of farm-workers
were displaced. In the process, commercial agriculture and food production
dramatically shrunk, leading to serious food shortages.
President Festus Mogae met Zimbabwean's Minister of Special Affairs, John
Nkomo, in Botswana yesterday.
Nkomo, who is also chairman of the ruling
Zanu (PF), was accompanied by the Zimbabwean ambassador to Botswana,
Phelekezela Mphoko, and other officials. Mogae was joined by Minister of
Foreign Affairs Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe, Minister of Presidential Affairs
Phandu Skelemani and other officials.
Mogae was briefed on developments
in Zimbabwe and the meeting closed with assurances from both sides of a
"mutual desire to further consolidate the longstanding friendship and
February 9, 2005 Posted to the web February 9,
AFRICAN Union (AU) members have officially
sanctioned a human-rights assessment highly critical of President Robert
Mugabe's human rights record, ZWNews quoted the Cape Times as reporting
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said on Monday that the
executive council of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights
adopted a report - tabled in December 2001 - on Zimbabwe's poor treatment of
its citizens, and the report "was now part of the AU's official
"We hope that the Zimbabwean government takes notice of the
recommendations from the AU," Arnold Tsunga, director of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights, was quoted as saying this week.
recommended the following changes:
The judiciary be made fully
The youth militia, known as "green bombers", should be
dismantled and their camps closed.
A review of sections of repressive
security and media laws.
A fully independent electoral commission be set
up and police be freed of political control.
organisations should be allowed to operate freely.
Engaging Zimbabwe While it may be difficult to
make headway with Zimbabwean government officials ("Safety In Numbers," Feb.
2), it is certainly possible, nonetheless, for the Canadian government to
play an effective role in working with other African governments and
inter-governmental organizations to achieve a resolution of the crisis in
Zimbabwe. Amnesty International and a number of other Canadian NGOs visited
Zimbabwe and South Africa in May/June 2004 and in consultation with civil
society there produced a report and numerous recommendations for action on
the part of the Canadian government.
Unfortunately, we have yet to
receive a response to our report from FAC despite months of repeated
requests on our part. As to the Zimbabwean Ambassador's claim that Canadian
parliamentarians should verify human rights allegations with him, we have
always encouraged the twinned Canadian MPs to engage with Zimbabwean embassy
officials and they have most certainly done so in the past as has our
organization. The key to the success of our MP Twinning Campaign remains the
commitment on the part of Canadian parliamentarians to show solidarity with
their at-risk Zimbabwean counterparts and to advocate on their behalf for
governments to promote and respect the human rights of all
Alexis Kontos Southern Africa Coordinator Amnesty
Worship resumes in troubled Zimbabwe
Anglican parish Geneva
February 08, 2005 [Ecumenical News International] An Anglican parish in
a Zimbabwean township has held its first service since December last year
when church members boycotted church services in protest at the suspension
of their resident priest. The service on January 30 at St. Francis
of Assisi Church in Glen Norah township, Harare, was led by Paul Gwese whose
suspension had been lifted the previous week.
suspended by Harare's Anglican bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, after the priest
allowed opposition lawmaker Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga to make a
donation during a thanksgiving service on December 16.
peace at the church," churchwarden Bernard Nengomasha told journalists after
the service on January 30.
Still, the priest would be leaving the
parish, Nengomasha indicated.
"We had a normal service led by
Pastor Paul Gwese as a farewell to the church," he said.
not immediately clear where Gwese was going but Nengomasha denied reports
that Gwese had been transferred to another parish in Mhondoro, a village 100
kilometres northwest of Harare.
"He is going to do something
elsewhere," Nengomasha said.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who made the
donation to the parish, is the member of parliament for Glen Norah and
foreign affairs spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Kunonga has made no secret of his support for the
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -- Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party.
He once described opponents of President Robert Mugabe as "dogs barking at
Following Gwese's suspension, members of the parish
at St. Francis sought a meeting with Kunonga but he snubbed
Two weeks ago, angry parishioners staged a demonstration
outside a cathedral in central Harare where Kunonga was attending a church
[Stringent laws controlling media in Zimbabwe prevent
effective reporting in the country.]
TWO Kingdom Bank Westgate branch
tellers who allegedly connived with a briefcase company to defraud the
financial institution of $167 million were arrested last
Thursday. Phillip Gambiza (27) of Kuwadzana and Edmore Munyanyi (22) of
Warren Park were assigned by Kingdom Bank to receive and verify new account
opening forms and give cash to account holders on demand. Some time in
October last year, Gambiza and Munyanyi allegedly connived with one Nyagotsi
of a shelf company named Drainjet Investments and opened an account for the
firm with the bank. On January 26, Nyagotsi allegedly deposited a fraudulent
cheque worth $167 million drawn on a Zimbank account belonging to
Renaissance Asset Management. Nyagotsi, still at large, then allegedly
withdrew $100 million on January 31 and $40 million on February 2 this
year. When the alleged offence was discovered only $27 800 00 was left in the
account.Gambiza and Munyanyi were not asked to plead to two counts of fraud
when they appeared before magistrate Cremmah Chipere on Monday. The
suspects were remanded to February 21 on $2 million bail each.
ZIMBABWE's opposition political parties are fuming over the
government's delay in inviting foreign observers into the country for the
March 31 general elections saying the impediment was an indication that
there were skeletons in its cupboard. Zimbabwe holds its sixth
parliamentary polls on the last day of next month, but so far no foreign
observers have been invited despite a promise in Parliament to do so by
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in December last year. The Southern
African Development Community's (Sadc) guidelines on the holding of free and
fair elections stipulate that observers should be in a member country three
months in advance. In an interview with The Daily Mirror yesterday, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the MDC shadow foreign minister said she contacted
the African Union (AU) and Sadc whether both had received any formal
invitation from the government but the answer was an emphatic no. "We
have been in contact with the AU and the Sadc Parliamentary Forum, but they
have not been invited as yet. It shows that government is not serious about
the issue of observers at all," she said. Zanu (Ndonga) spokesperson Reketayi
Semwayo echoed Misihairabwi-Mushonga's sentiments and expressed concern that
one of Zimbabwe's oldest political parties was deeply worried by the
government's dilly-dallying on the issue of inviting observers. "Time is
running out and as a political party that is going to contest the election
next month we are worried. We do not even know who is going to observe the
polls," Semwayo said. "We have questioned the ministry concerned about that
issue but it is unfortunate that they think we are troublesome. We are
saying as a nation we are mature but is this maturity?" NAGG president
Douglas Chihambakwe was of the opinion that the delay in inviting observers
was synonymous of the long serving Zanu PF government's trickery when it
comes to election. He said it was up to the opposition parties to press
government to invite observers. "It's not reluctance, it is politics at
its best. This clearly explains what type of government we are dealing with.
The Zanu PF led government is a trickery. They are not worried at all about
the issue of observers because they know they won't lose anything with
observers coming or not," he said. The opposition parties were unanimously
agreed that observers should have been here from the day voter registration
kicked off. For them to be present on the day of the elections was
"purposeless," the opposition concluded. Chinamasa could not be reached for
comment yesterday, but last month the minister told a press conference soon
after the Zimbabwe Election Commission was put in place that foreign
observers would only be invited after President Mugabe proclaimed the
election dates. "We have to set our institution in place before we invite
observers," Chinamasa said then.
THE Municipality of Chegutu
says it needs at least $2,5 billion to improve ageing sewer and water
purification plants, which have seen the council fail to provide adequate
water supplies to residents in the small farming town about 100km west of
Harare. The town's executive mayor Francis Dhlakama said on Monday that the
Mupfure purification plant was dilapidated and needed urgent
attention. "The demand for water has grown and we are failing to supply water
to residents as there are continuous breakdowns at our water treatment
plants. The water works at Mupfure should have been upgraded a long time ago
and we now have to implement the design strategy that was drawn up last year
to improve water reticulation," he said. Dhlakama said they would
approach the market to borrow the $2,5 billion, which he said was inadequate
to overhaul the systems completely. The sewer plants were old and needed
upgrading, he added. "The $2,5 billion is still little to completely overhaul
the water systems, but there are constraints that hinder us from borrowing
what we would wish to borrow," he added. Local authorities seek the
approval of residents when borrowing money as stipulated in the Urban
Councils Act. However, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has
discouraged councils from borrowing
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai at the
weekend kick-started his party's March parliamentary election campaign in
Masvingo province, with the intention of wooing support from the
pre-dominant Zanu PF strongholds, the rural areas. The opposition last week
announced that it would contest the March 31 general elections, having kept
the nation guessing for five months, after suspending taking part in any
election in Zimbabwe until the southern African nation fully implemented the
Sadc protocol governing democratic elections. After lifting the
suspension, the MDC said it would concentrate its campaign more in the rural
areas, as it digs for the fight for its life in the parliamentary election.
On Sunday, Tsvangirai's campaign team was in Gutu, before going to Zaka and
Chiredzi the following day-contrary to reports in the government controlled
media that he had left for the Americas. The team yesterday took its glitzy
campaign to Masvingo town, where Tsvangirai was last night expected to
resolve the opposition's problems in Masvingo Central constituency.MDC
organising secretary Esaph Mdlongwa confirmed to The Daily Mirror on Monday
that Tsvangirai was in Masvingo province campaigning for the opposition
party. He said he was not sure whether the opposition leader would deal
with the Masvingo Central case.Mdlongwa said: "He is visiting the whole of
Masvingo province and is in charge of that province. This is campaigning
time." Tsvangirai is alleged to have conducted a primary election in
Masvingo Central last month, which saw incumbent legislator Silas Mangono
losing poll to lawyer Tongai Matutu. Mangono had since filed an appeal with
the MDC's national council, which last week ordered a probe into how the
intra-party poll was handled. Sources within the MDC yesterday said
Tsvangirai was expected to meet the aggrieved parties last night at
Masvingo's Civic Centre to resolve the dispute. Mangono yesterday said of
the latest development: "I don't know anything about that." A reliable
source in the province yesterday said Matutu's camp had invited party
supporters to meet with Tsvangirai.In a document that was leaked to The
Daily Mirror last week, Mangono claimed that the opposition party leader had
ambushed him when he personally conducted the primary election in his
constituency without his knowledge.
Zimbabwe expels trade unionists Thur 10 February 2005
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government yesterday deported two officials of the
regional Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SCTUCC) who were
in the country to meet the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
The officials, Bobby Marie and Wilhelmina Trout, arrived at
Harare International Airport aboard a South African Airways flight yesterday
They were coming to meet ZCTU officials today and
tomorrow to plan for the setting up of a Southern African Trade Union
Co-ordinating Council leadership academy in Harare in April.
But in the same way Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) leaders
were booted out of Zimbabwe last week, the two officials were intercepted by
immigration officials and secret service police who grilled them on the
purpose of their visit to Zimbabwe.
After not less than two
hours, the SATULA officials were bundled out of the airport and back onto
the SAA plane that had brought them to Zimbabwe in the first
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, in charge of
immigration, last night said he was not aware of the deportation of the two
He told ZimOnline: "In all fairness, you would not
expect me to get to know everything that happens in all departments that
fall under my ministry . . . immigration officers can make their judgments
and deport if they are suspicious of the motives of anyone coming into the
ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibhebhe accused the
government of being overzealous in its handling of anyone it wrongly or
rightly perceives as a potential opponent.
He said: "It baffles
the mind to think that one needs government clearance in order to plan for a
trade union leadership academy.
"We are obviously disappointed that
the meeting failed to take off as these officials have already been deported
and that the leadership academy might not (be set up) in
COSATU secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi and his
15-member delegation were last week deported and declared persona non grata
after attempting to enter the country to meet ZCTU leaders and to assess
whether conditions exist for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe next
month. - ZimOnline