Farmer 'beaten to death' in rural Zimbabwe February 10
2005 at 09:26AM
By Peta Thornycroft
Harare - One of
the last white farmers in the Banket area - about 80km north of Harare - has
been murdered. Norwegian-born Ole Sunde, 66, was apparently beaten to death
at the weekend, but his family do not know exactly how he died because
Zimbabwe no longer has a state pathologist.
On Wednesday his
daughter-in-law, who asked not to be named, said that there were signs of
struggle in the house, and Sunde was found dead on his bed, covered in
She said Sunde, who came to Zimbabwe about 30 years ago
but carried a Kenyan passport, had hardly been able to farm because of
political disturbances in the area, which used to be the top food producing
a.. Journalists Karima Brown and Peter
Fabricius report that South Africa's High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Jerry
Ndou, has played down concerns about the latest moves by the Zimbabwean
government against farms owned by South Africans.
involving 15 South African-owned farms are now going before the
administrative court in Harare to legalise the seizure of the
These cases appear to contradict an agreement with Zimbabwe
that land owned by fellow-members of the Southern African Development
Community would not be touched.
Mugabe supporters denied bail after weekend
10 February 2005
Thirty youths from President Robert Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF were denied bail on Thursday following their weekend arrest in
Zimbabwe for beating up opposition supporters and stabbing a police
The young Zanu-PF members commandeered cars from
local residents and attacked opposition supporters in the town of Norton,
west of Harare.
When police arrested one of the assailants,
the mob reportedly attacked a police station. One police officer suffered
serious stab wounds, according to the state-run Herald and independent
"The accused are facing a very serious offence that
is always prevalent during elections and releasing them on bail will put the
entire justice system into disrepute," Magistrate Cremmah Chipere ruled
during the court appearance of the 30 youths.
offence is violent and infringes on the rights of other people to personal
security," said Chipere.
A 16-year-old girl, arrested along
with the 30 other youths, was released.
and family members looked on in silence as prison wardens led the 30 youths
into the holding cells at the Harare Magistrate's Court.
A new court appearance was scheduled for February 25.
violence came ahead of the March 31 parliamentary elections, which will be
closely watched to gauge whether Zimbabwe will live up to its pledge to hold
free and fair elections.
The main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party has agreed to field candidates in the vote,
even though its leaders said it is doubtful that the elections will be
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and police
chief Augustine Chihuri this week warned against violence in the run-up to
"Any perpetrators will meet the full wrath of
the law. There will be no excuses, no one to run to," Chinamasa
Elections in 2000 and 2002 in Zimbabwe were marred by
violence and widespread allegations of fraud.
separate incident, rival factions of Zimbabwe's main opposition party
clashed on Wednesday in the southern town of Masvingo, according to media
reports and a party official.
Witnesses told the Mirror and
the Herald that violence broke out when MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
bodyguards blocked supporters of a lawmaker who lost in the party's primary
polls as they tried to barge into the meeting.
councillors were among those injured in the Wednesday clashes, according to
MDC youth chairperson Nelson Chamisa confirmed
the clashes, which he blamed on lawmaker Silas Mangono. He accused Mangono
of busing in supporters to disrupt the meeting.
Tsvangirai was having a meeting with officials from the party structures to
discuss the party's election campaign strategies for the province but Mr
Mangono, who was defeated in a free and fair excercise, brought his
sympathisers to disrupt the meeting," Chamisa said.
said no arrests have been made yet but they are investigating. --
"You hold between your
hands the jewel of Africa," said president of Mozambique Samora Machel to the
new leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, on April 18, 1980, the day this former
British colony gained independence; "and now, take great care...
" Zimbabwe sets a sad example of the difficulties of
exporting democracy to Third World countries.
More than 20 years
later, this country is one of the five worst nations regarding human rights.
Since Mugabe became President, the country has descended into complete
tragedy. When elected in 1980, Mugabe was invested of all the hope and
confidence of the population. But he quickly turned out to be a weak" leader
surrounded by a dishonest and corrupt administration. His promises to his
people were empty. This sad example shows yet again the difficulties of
exporting democracy to Third World countries. In spite of numerous
protestations and sanctions coming from the international community, the
leaders of such new-born "western style" democracies all too often fail in
Zimbabwe--formerly South Rhodesia--was once a thriving
British colony, with good transportation, modern and secure cities, a
thriving agriculture that included tropical fruits and corn, and increasing
exports. Precious minerals, including gold and chrome, were dynamic
All was not paradise, however. Though considered a paradise
for white people, South Rhodesia suppressed black people politically and
economically. When the nation eventually won its war for independence in
1980, the people eagerly hoped for a better future, regarded as possible
thanks to Zimbabwe's significant human and material resources. It didn't
happen this way, and the primarily responsibility for this failure lies with
Robert Mugabe, abetted by the astonishing silence of left-wing intellectuals
and the failure of the international community.
At first, President
Mugabe enacted laws to eradicate corruption, but he was never able to enforce
them. Instead, he has himself been progressively involved in corruption. In
1990, while a terrible famine was occurring in the country, the government
exported food and he personally benefited from the proceeds. Further, in the
absence of political will, all reforms for free public education have
In its 25 years of independence, Zimbabwe's democracy
has been foiled by Robert Mugabwe's increasingly repressive regime. A
parliamentary election slated for March 31, barring oversight from the US and
EU, is not expected to improve the situation.
The country's economy,
too, has been a disaster. In 2000, for example, the price of a woman's purse
was equal to the average citizen's monthly income.
suffered as well. Until 2000, Mugabe continued to refuse all agrarian
reforms, even though they were backed by the country's rich white farmers.
Then he decided to play a new role and started reform, but this has been done
harshly, with all white owners divested of their plantations. The country is
so poor, however, that the plantations' new owners have nothing to work the
Seventy percent of Zimbabwe's working-age population is
unemployed. The country is experiencing the exodus of skilled physicians and
nurses who are escaping from extremely poor working conditions.
face of all these setbacks, Zimbabwe is undergoing increasingly severe
political repression, even though it still calls itself "a democracy." The
CIO--the Central Intelligence Organisation, similar to Saddam Hussein's
"Republican Guard"--is a political police totally dedicated to Mugabe and in
charge of silencing and suppressing the opposition.
Zimbabwe's problems from the developed world has been inadequate. The US and
the European Union, for example, have been feeding Zimbabwe's population for
years, but have not dealt with the roots of the nation's problems. The coming
election can be expected to serve as evidence of this oversight: they are
unlikely to be free, fair and democratic. Members of Mugabe's party are
already pressuring citizens to vote for the dictator's party. Last week,
Zimbabwean Cathy Buckle reported that the dictator's militia is already
stopping by each inhabitant's residence, obliging everyone to register to
vote. The population is paralyzed, and fears repression if they do not back
the man on power.
Observers of the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe
believe it is essential that the international community become involved in
framing and monitoring the country's election process (as is done in many
other countries). Failure to do so in this case would legitimize--through a
pretended democratic process--Mugabe's power and his policies of state
Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party, said in his Feb. 9 column on Zim Online, "I wish
to record...that today, millions are denied [the right to vote in
Zimbabwe] simply because of their ancestry, bureaucratic inefficiency or
place of residence. Those driven out of the country by the regime's policies,
by economic insecurity or by any other reasons have a right to
determine Zimbabwe's future and must be allowed to vote."
Electoral Commission, headed by pro-Mugabe High Court Judge George Chiweshe,
was appointed last month to oversee the election process. Critics have
charged that there is not enough time for the commission to prepare for the
March 31 parliamentary
TRUTH ABOUT ZIMBABWE Pleure, ô Zimbabwe bien-aimé Zimbabwe: the terror and
abuse goes on Date set for Zimbabwe elections Zimbabwe: In Search of a New
Strategy Zim Online MDC attacks Mugabe over election date Mathilde
Soyer, a political science student at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in
Rennes, France, is an intern with this
JOHANNESBURG - The
Botswana government has been blasted for practising "silent diplomacy" over
Zimbabwe, amid warnings from a member of parliament that the country is
heading for war with Harare if nothing is done to prevent illegal immigrants
from flooding the country.
Paul Rantao, the MP for Gaborone
West, and a University of Botswana academic, Professor Kenneth Good, said
the silent diplomacy can lead to serious civil disorder and war
The comments by the two come in the wake of reports
earlier this week that Botswana has toughened its crackdown against
Zimbabwe's illegal immigrants, who once caught now face fines of up to Z$7,2
million and five months in jail before deportation.
interviews with the Gaborone newspaper Mmegi/Reporter, the two warned that
Botswana was heading for disaster unless something drastic was done to
rectify the situation over the immigration issue, which had become
"This country, I am telling you, is heading for
serious civil unrest and even war, but our government seems not to care.
There are always clashes between Batswana and Zimbabweans; this tells you
that something somewhere is wrong," Rantao said.
questioned the usefulness of the round-up operations that are often launched
by the police and army against illegal immigrants. He said while the
officers arrested and deported many Zimbabweans, they returned immediately
to Botswana, causing a drain to the taxpayer's money.
members of the Botswana Police and BDF (Botswana Defence Forces) always do
is a ping-pong exercise - they deport the Zimbabweans today and tomorrow
they are back. This wild session of always chasing them like impalas and
kudus is a game and it must stop. The question that we should also ask
ourselves is, has that yielded our country any meaningful results?
Definitely not. What we always do is to spend a lot of money deporting
them," Rantao said.
He added that since the clean-up
operations did not seem to work, there was need for more effective
"I think our government must be vocal on this. It
must start at local and then international level. At the local level, it
must start at our parliament and as legislators we must speak up.
Internationally, our country should consult with organisations like Southern
African Development Community (SADC) and even African Union (AU) to see how
this situation can be best dealt with. I see that as the only viable way. We
cannot keep on chasing the Zimbabweans away and be silent. It will not
Rantao suggested that once the international bodies were
consulted, Botswana should seek mediation from one of its neighbouring
The university academic, Prof Good, attacked
Botswana's President Festus Mogae, Vice President Ian Khama and Foreign
Affairs Minister Mompati Merafhe for failing to fully exercise their powers
to deal with the Zimbabwean immigration issue.
that the three have been silent on the problem and compared their stance to
the "quiet diplomacy" of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who never
said anything about Zimbabwe's problems even though they were heavily
affecting his country.
Prof Good said: "Mogae's leadership of
silent diplomacy is affecting this country negatively, and considering that
this country is small, the consequences might be even bigger. I think Mogae,
Khama and Merafhe must stand up."
He exhorted Mogae to meet
President Robert Mugabe in person because the previous meetings between
junior officials have failed to produce results.
HARARE - 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 have warned.
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 1000 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.
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
Last week 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 countryside.
Economist and member of the RBZ's advisory board, Eric Bloch, said the
payouts made more political than economic sense.
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 interview.
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. - IRIN
JOHANNESBURG - The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has denied claims that its
members attacked the offices of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF party in South
Africa at the weekend.
The chairman of the Johannesburg office
of Zanu-PF, Bigvai Gumede, claimed that about 30 to 50 chanting MDC
supporters surrounded his office on Sunday. Around 17 of them, some in MDC
T-shirts, damaged the office and tried to throw staff from the second floor
"There were knives," he told Reuters, adding that two
people, including himself, had been hit but no-one was stabbed. "Their aim
was to vandalise the office or kill people. They had a
While Johannesburg police said they were
investigating and interviewing witnesses, Gumede said the police had not
seen any of the damage since it had been cleaned up.
MDC dismissed the story as an attempt to discredit them before next month's
"We believe it is a strategy by
Zanu-PF to show that MDC is now promoting violence," MDC spokesperson
Nicholas Dube said. "We are a peaceful party and we have never been involved
Human rights groups and diplomats have long
accused Zimbabwe of using political violence against MDC supporters.
LONDON - The House of
Commons in Britain on Wednesday congratulated former chief executive officer
of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of The Daily News and
The Daily News on Sunday, Wilf Mbanga for launching a new weekly newspaper
called The Zimbabwean.
Launched in London on February 10, the
paper will be aimed at Zimbaweans in the diaspora and will be published
simultaneously in London and Johannesburg. It aims to give a voice to
texiled Zimbabweans, who constitute about a quarter of the country's total
The motion reads in part: "That this House
congratulates Wilf Mbanga and his colleagues on the publication on 10th
February of the first issue of The Zimbabwean newspaper; notes that more
than 65 journalists have offered their services in this new weekly paper, to
be published simultaneously in London and Johannesburg and made available in
Zimbabwe; and welcomes the project, which will provide Zimbabweans living
abroad and the general public with the opportunity to read views and news
about Zimbabwe free from official censorship."
newspaper has an initial target of 120 000 copies per issue. Weekend press
reports quoted Mbanga, the newspaper's founder, as saying the project would
seek to " harness the energies and synergies of exiles, many of whom were
isolated, marginalised and voiceless, although they constituted Zimbabwe's
professional, skilled and intellectual cream".
It is widely
believed that more than a million Zimbabweans live in exile in the UK and
more than two million live outside Zimbabwe in Southern
According to Mbanga, the newspaper will, for the
first time, give a voice to these Zimbabweans, who constitute about 25% of
the country's total population
JOHANNESBURG - Lawrence
Nicholson, 81, a South African citizen, is about to lose his home, a small
dry ranch about 150km north of Beitbridge.
His land was not
invaded by President Robert Mugabe's supporters during the five years of
chaos in the commercial farming sector.
But his was the first
case to go to the Administrative Court in Harare on Monday as Zimbabwe's
justice system began to catch up with the paperwork of Mugabe's land
seizures, or land reform, as it is called by the
All the land to be "acquired" by the state is
owned by whites, and many of the cattle farms going under the judicial
hammer in the south at present are owned by South Africans. Some of them are
Nicholson was not in court. He is on holiday
with his children somewhere in South Africa, but he instructed the
Commercial Farmers' Union to hire a lawyer and defend his home and
Harare lawyer Rodney Makavsi opposed the
government's application to "acquire" Nicholson's home on two grounds. He
raised the issue of the independence of the judiciary, because he said many
judges were beneficiaries of farm redistribution and were therefore
interested parties to the "acquisitions".
"They are judges
to their own cause, and this denies the respondent a fair hearing which is
required by the constitution of Zimbabwe," he said.
slammed recent changes to land laws which, he said, deprived people of their
Mr Justice Andrew Matema adjourned the case until
Tuesday and asked for proof that judges had been beneficiaries of the
In the second case, lawyer Munyaradzi Muzah spoke
with passion on behalf of a client she has never met, Rudolph van den
Heever, believed to be a medical doctor in Johannesburg. He inherited his
farm, which is still operating and is run by his sister and brother-in-law,
also in the dry south.
"Several judges, including the
honourable chief justice, have accepted offers of land from the applicant"
(the minister for land, land reform and rural resettlement), she
"In the present circumstances, where the bench has
benefited from the land reform programme, this prejudices the respondent and
the bench can no longer look impartially at land issues."
The cases were heard in the only courtroom in the colonial-era building. The
court clock has apparently been stuck at 5.45pm for at least 10 years and
the plaster and pale green paint have been crumbling and peeling for
Upstairs, two new court rooms are in process of
construction and in the meantime recently appointed judges are hearing land
cases in their chambers to speed up the process.
Commercial Farmers' Union chairman Mike Clark was in court watching the
proceedings on behalf of his members whose land and homes are being
"processed". He says South African diplomats, who were not in court
yesterday, have tried to help and have succeeded in buying a little time for
Clark believes the sudden rush by the
government to do its paperwork is political.
to be a mass acquisition programme going on now, with fast-tracking of cases
to court and it has to be connected with the elections. With amendments to
the Land Acquisition Act and changes to the criteria of what land can be
taken, the message coming out now is that no South African or foreign
investment can be safe," Clark said. - Cape Argus News, South
THE feud between rival
factions of the main opposition, the MDC, which ended in violent clashes in
Masvingo this week is cause for concern. It rings a very discordant note and
does not bode well for the party, especially as the nation gears itself for
crucial parliamentary elections slated for March 31.
According to the Press, supporters of the out-going Masvingo Central Member
of Parliament, Silas Mangono, clashed with those of Tongai Mathuthu, who won
the right to stand for the MDC in the primary elections.
Mangono is crying foul, alleging that there was election rigging. Some of
his supporters are demanding a rerun of the primary elections, but the MDC
leadership has already endorsed Mathuthu.
Some MDC supporters
loyal to Mangono feel that the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, should not
have officiated at the primary elections which were won by Mathuthu. They
claim that Mathuthu was in fact imposed on the electorate.
The clashes in Masvingo were allegedly sparked by Tsvangirai's bodyguards,
who beat up MDC supporters loyal to Mangono who were demonstrating at the
Civic Centre Hall, the venue of a meeting where the party leader wanted to
resolve the impasse between the two rival candidates.
senior MDC members were reportedly barred from entering the hall and others
were injured in the clashes, which were really needless.
most unfortunate that the MDC, the party that most Zimbabweans look up to
for positive change in the country is seen washing its dirty linen in the
public glare, when it should be consolidating its position as a possible
successor to the ruling Zanu PF of President Mugabe.
been echoes that the clashes were a product of enemies of the party -
meaning those involved in the feud might not be loyal members of the party.
The MDC should not be like Zanu PF, which is quick to point a finger at
colonialism, at Washington and at London for anything untoward that befalls
Both leaders and ordinary card-carrying members of the MDC
are fallible human beings. When they are in the wrong, they should accept it
and learn from their mistakes.
The leaders should not only
spread the gospel of non-violence, they should stamp out indiscipline and
punish those found guilty of promoting it.
The MDC should
demonstrate a higher degree of seriousness and desist from dwelling on
trivia and concentrate on real issues facing the nation.
leadership has a mandate to ensure that democracy, especially during
elections, is not just lip service, but is upheld fully. Charity, after all,
begins at home.
BUSINESSMAN and politician Phillip
Chiyangwa's problems continue to mount, amid revelations he is set to lose
his Citrus Farm in his home province of Mashonaland West. Chiyangwa,
whose chairmanship of Zanu PF in the province is also under threat after the
provincial leadership passed a vote of no-confidence on him, is currently in
remand prison on espionage charges. Sources in the province told The Daily
Mirror by phone yesterday that Chiyangwa's farm would be "taken any time"
from now and handed over to Chinhoyi City Council. The sources said plans
to gazette the farm for acquisition were advanced. Yesterday, Chinhoyi mayor
Risipa Kapesa confirmed his council's intention to take over the
farm. The mayor said emphasis was not on Chiyangwa's property alone, as 14
others had also been earmarked for take over. "From the onset, that farm
was meant for peri-urban development. We have already been given all the 14
farms, and we are awaiting their gazetting. "As for Chiyangwa's, we want it
for commercial purposes. All those on the 14 farms have been told to vacate.
Everything should be in place after the elections as everyone is busy at the
moment," Kapesa said. The mayor said they wanted the farms, including
Chiyangwa's, to expand the Mashonaland West capital. Council had already
made submissions to provincial Governor Nelson Samkange to extend the
municipality's boundaries to include the 14 farms, the mayor added. In an
interview, the governor acknowledged council's plans to take over
Chiyangwa's farm. The farm would soon be gazetted for acquisition, he
added. "This action is not only directed at Chiyangwa's farm. It just happens
to be one of many. What is now left is for its gazetting, so that the
council takes it. It does not matter who owns that farm," he said. The
Governor went on: "This is part of government's policy to take over farms
surrounding cities for expansion purposes. You can ask (Ignatius) Chombo
(the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing). He
knows about the intention to take over these farms in the
province." Samkange explained that the imminent take over of the farms
was part of the town's "planning policy for the next 30 years". Chombo
could not be reached yesterday, with the ministry's permanent secretary
David Munyoro only saying: "It is wrong to refer those questions to
me." However, Chiyangwa's young brother Jimmy, professed ignorance of the new
development. "I am not aware of that because no one has informed us (the
family). Actually, we have just taken fuel to that farm," he
said. Mashonaland West Zanu PF interim boss, John Mafa, said there was
nothing wrong with the move, if it was done for expansion purposes, and so
long there was compensation in kind. "As an example, I was given a farm
in Norton and if Norton want it for expansion purposes, they can take it.
What is important is to be given a replacement," Mafa said.
HARARE, Feb. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Cholera has killed
five people, including a child and a Mozambican national, in Manicaland
province in Zimbabwe, a health official said Thursday.
Provincial environment health technician, Andrew Tangwena, saidthe deaths
occurred last week in Mutasa district.
He said the deceased,
were suspected to have contracted the disease in the neighboring Manica
province of Mozambique, where a cholera outbreak has been raging for a
"The last two persons were known to be illegal border
jumpers who used to travel to Manica in Mozambique, where there is an
outbreak of Cholera," he said.
Tangwena said at least 27
other cholera cases were reported in the province, including four deaths of
cholera that have been reported in Mutasa and Mutare
"The first case was of a Mozambican who was picked up
at Sakubva Musika on January 8 this year and out of 27 cases of cholera, 10
confirmed positive," he said.
He said the Ministry of
Health and other health-related agencies had launched an awareness campaign
in affected areas to bring the outbreak under control.
"Environmental health technicians are working flat out togetherwith their
teams, which comprised of district nursing officers andother staff from
their respective districts to combat the outbreak," said
"The teams discovered that there was danger of
the disease, as it was spreading rapidly because of poor sanitation in the
area where people use pit latrines and people fetched water from unprotected
wells," he said. Enditem
INCARCERATED Zanu PF Mashonaland
West chairman Phillip Chiyangwa is still in charge of the province, despite
a vote of no confidence passed by some members of his provincial executive,
the ruling party has said. Zanu PF political commissar Elliot Manyika ruled
that the decision by the province to strip Chiyangwa of the chairmanship was
unprocedural and, therefore, could not be endorsed by the party's
hierarchy. The gaudy businessman is languishing in Harare's remand prison on
allegations of contravening the Official Secrets Act - a charge he has
denied. Manyika told The Daily Mirror after meeting party provincial
executives from Mashonaland West over the issue that the commissariat had
instructed them to respect the party's constitution and revert to the old
structure. He accused them of not adhering to laid down party procedures when
making structural changes. "The normal procedure is that the case is
referred to the party's national disciplinary committee and after looking at
the merits of the case, they would then make their decision," Manyika said.
"So I told them to go and put their case in writing to the disciplinary
committee and until that is done the situation remains the same." Asked
who the party's leader now is in Mashonaland West in light of Wednesday's
developments, Manyika said: "There is an acting chairman and he would remain
so until the normal procedure is finalised. As I have said before, until the
national disciplinary committee passes its verdict, that situation remains
the same." Last week, the Mashonaland West executive members passed a vote of
no confidence in Chiyangwa arguing that his long absence would affect the
ruling party's campaign for the crucial parliamentary elections slated for
March 31 this year. Zanu PF officially launches its election campaign
today at the Harare International Conference Centre. Chiyangwa has been
languishing in remand prison since December last year when he was arrested,
together with three other Zimbabweans on espionage charges. His deputy,
John Mafa, has been acting chairman since then. Judgment on the lawmaker's
bail application has since been reserved by the High Court. Concerning
Chiyangwa's future in Zanu PF after the provincial executive's bid to muscle
him out of the vanguard party, Mafa said the move was taken for the good of
the party in view of the forthcoming general polls. He told a local daily
last weekend: "The provincial executive sat yesterday (last Saturday). It is
now a long time since Chiyangwa was arrested and we are heading into crucial
elections. We decided that we should find someone who could move party
business ahead." "Even if he is released today it would be difficult for him
to do party business. So we passed a vote of no confidence on him. At first
we thought he would resign but we have discovered that he is not willing to
do so," Mafa added. Yesterday, Mafa said: "We met him (Manyika) and
submitted our report to him. It's now up to them (commissariat department)
to decide on what action to take." But Mafa was evasive on whether
Manyika had endorsed their decision. "We did not talk about that and besides,
I am still the acting chairman," he said. Former banker, Tendai
Matambanadzo, Zanu PF director for external affairs Itai Marchi and
Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo, were this
week jailed for a combined 16 years after they were found guilty of
breaching the Official Secrets Act. Zanu PF security director, Kenny Karidza
is also on trial on similar charges.
THE Registrar of Banking Institutions yesterday slapped
two subsidiaries of the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) - Royal Bank
and Barbican Bank - with further three month periods of curatorship,
effectively throwing the $2 trillion banking behemoth's future into further
uncertainty. ZABG is the brainchild of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor Gideon Gono whose mandate is to fill the vacuum that was created by
the closure of seven banks last year due to imprudent banking
practices. When the ZABG opened to the public last month, only three banks -
Barbican, Trust and Royal - were incorporated into the new
brainchild. Others were left out for various reasons, with Time Bank for
instance, being sidelined after filing papers with the High Court contesting
the curatorship and incorporation into ZABG. Royal and Trust took similar
action later last month. Efforts to contact Cornelius Sanyanga, recently
appointed by the RBZ as chairman of the 12-member board of directors, were
fruitless, as his phone remained unanswered. Stephen Gwasira, the ZABG
chief executive officer (CEO), yesterday said that he was in a meeting when
contacted for comment and told the Business Mirror to fax questions
instead. Analysts were yesterday confused as to the meaning of the extensions
of the curatorship tenures of the two banks, noting that while the ZABG was
in operation, the developments implied that as soon as these periods of
curatorship were completed, the ZABG could cease to operate, as the banks
could be individually resurrected if given a clean bill of health. "This
is confusing but what it effectively means is that the future of the ZABG
itself is uncertain since two of its subsidiaries' curatorship has been
extended. "While the ZABG has been opened, what is confusing is the logic
behind the extensions," one banker said yesterday. He said the latest
challenges on the ZABG could have been precipitated by the court actions
filed by Trust and Royal Banks barring the ZABG from utilising their
properties. Trust Bank was, however, not part of the list published yesterday
by the Registrar of Banks, which probably took over the announcement of the
curatorship from RBZ since the latter is now an interested party in the
courts. "The RBZ extended the curatorship for Royal Bank for the period
up to April 30 2005. "The RBZ extended the period of curatorship for
Barbican Bank for a three-month period on January 31 2005," the Registrar of
Banking Institutions said in separate statements. It also noted that the
curatorship of Intermarket Holdings and its subsidiaries;- Intermarket
Discount House, Intermarket Banking Corporation and Intermarket Building
Society - had been extended. The three are not part of the ZABG. From
inception, the ZABG had been saddled with hiccups that included an alleged
delayed opening - later to be denied by the RBZ - as the central bank strove
to come up with proper integration strategies. It was, however, greeted
with immense government support as legislative proposals, that came up with
the Troubled Financial Institutions (Resolution) Bill, were promptly tabled
ZANU PF First Secretary and President
Robert Mugabe is expected to officially launch the ruling party's anti-Blair
election campaign today at the Harare International Conference Centre. At
least 3 000 delegates from the party's 10 political provinces will attend
the launch that was twice put in the deep freezer to allow divisions that
threatened to tear the party down the middle to subside. Of the 3 000
delegates, 120 confirmed parliamentary candidates are expected to officially
meet their leader. "The preparations have gone very well and all the
logistics have been put in place. The event will begin with a march from the
party's provincial headquarters in the morning and end at the conference
centre. His Excellency is expected to address delegates at around 10 in the
morning," Steven Chidawanyika, Zanu PF's director for information, said
The year on year inflation rate for
the month of January 2005 as measured by the consumer price index gained by
0.9 percentage points from the December rate of 132.7 percent to 133.6
percent. The month on month inflation for January 2005 was 14.1 percent
gaining 14.1 percent from the previous month's 3.9 percent. The increases
were attributed to increases in the price of beverages, meat, rent and
rates, communication and fruit vegetables.
GRAIN Marketing Board's (GMB)
regional manager for the Midlands, Goodwill Shiri, facing allegations of
abusing the parastatal's maize and vehicles during the recent Zanu PF
primaries has been send on forced leave. Sources at GMB told The Daily Mirror
that Shiri was placed on leave last week shortly after the parastatal
resolved to haul him before a disciplinary committee for possible misconduct
emanating from allegations he used the parastatal's grain to win
votes. Shiri's woes began soon after losing the right to stand for Mberengwa
East on the ruling party's ticket against Minister of State for State
Enterprises and Parastatals, Rugare Gumbo, who later emerged the
victor. The GMB's regional manager initially won the poll, but was dislodged
after counting was done in two more centres after Gumbo appealed for their
inclusion on grounds they had been omitted. Yesterday both Shiri and the
GMB's acting Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Muvuti refused to say whether
the former had gone on leave on his on or had been forced to do so. Shiri
said: "Hazvinei newe kuti ndiri paleave. Kana President vari paleave
ungavabvunze here kuti sei vari paleave? Unodirei kunyora nyaya dzakadai?
Washaya here nyaya dzinotaura nezvedevelopment yenyika? (It has nothing to
do with you that l am on leave. If the president is on leave, do you ask him
why he is on leave? Why do you want to cover such issues? Are you saying
there are no stories to do with the development of the country?) On the
other hand, Muvuti said before his phone went off: " Why do you want to
write on this matter? I have told you that it is an internal matter."
CAPE TOWN - Foreign-policy experts and opposition political
parties want President Thabo Mbeki to address the issue of Zimbabwe and its
elections next month more forcefully in his speech
Mbeki has had a whirlwind year in the foreign policy arena
- cited as worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation work in Côte
d'Ivoire but also resulting in French President Jaques Chirac saying Mbeki
did not understand west Africa.
His brainchild, the New Partnership
for Africa's Development (Nepad), is under renewed scrutiny following a
virtual coup in Togo, where the son of the former dictator was appointed
president in clear violation of the constitution.
response to Togo will be measured by the world as to whether Nepad is
working and if African promises to the Group of Eight nations, particularly
on peer review, can be trusted.
There has been a toughening of the
African National Congress (ANC) position on Zimbabwe following the recent
three-day meeting of its national executive committee.
national director of the South African Institute for International Affairs,
Greg Mills, said Zimbabwe remained the most pressing problem for Mbeki
because of its potential to do enormous harm to SA and the region.
said he hoped Mbeki would emphasise the necessity of free and fair elections
Mills also hoped for encouragement of the Middle East peace
process and a move away from castigating the Israelis, to one of urging
Palestinians to take the peace effort seriously.
The head of
international relations at Wits University, John Stremlau, said he would
look for a message on Togo as it was "such an affront and so counter to
everything he (Mbeki) has been trying to do with Nepad".
Stremlau said he
would also expect Mbeki to pay some attention to British Prime Minister Tony
Blair's Commission for Africa.
Freedom Front Plus leader, Pieter Mulder
said 10 years ago SA held the moral high ground as a champion of human
rights, and this was being slowly eroded by events in Togo and
"The only way to deal with them is to break the African
He said that the Commission for Africa represented a
last opportunity for the continent to demonstrate that it would use aid
The Democratic Alliance's foreign affairs spokesman,
Douglas Gibson, said he hoped Mbeki would change the government's emphasis
from widespread diplomatic representation all over the world to one of trade
with other nations.
"This will attract foreign direct investment and
help create jobs and infrastructure. The focus should be on jobs, even from
the foreign minister," he said.
"The government must apply every
possible pressure to ensure that Zimbabwe complies with the Southern African
Development Community guidelines," Gibson said.
Cape Town - South
Africa will "definitely" send a multi-party team of parliamentary observers
to Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections on March 31. Luphumzo Kebeni,
spokesperson for parliament, said parliament will also send a representative
to join the observer team of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC). A final date has not yet been set for the SADC team's departure, but
March 16 has been mentioned, Kebeni said. This comes after complaints from
the Zimbabwe opposition on Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe's
government has not yet invited foreign observers to monitor the elections in
seven weeks' time. SADC guidelines determine that a SADC team must be
invited at least 90 days before the elections and must start their observing
mission at least two weeks before election day. Mugabe signed these
guidelines in August 2004. Dr Kasuka Mutukwa, secretary general of the SADC
parliamentary forum (SADC-PF) who criticised the 2002 presidential elections
in Zimbabwe, said from Windhoek the forum was "expecting an invitation" and
would like to send a team of 35 members of parliament.
Election Institute of Southern Africa (Eisa), which monitors all elections
in the region "in principle", said the election date was announced only
recently. Eisa will decide this week who will lead its team of 40. However,
neither Eisa, nor the SADC-PF have been invited yet. Sa Ngidi of Eisa said
an invitation was a prerequisite and if they did not receive one, they would
definitely complain to Zimbabwe's election assessment committee. Zimbabwe's
main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the
refusal to invite observers in time shows that Mugabe has "skeletons in the
closet". Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, shadow minister of foreign
affairs, said in Harare that the African Union has also not been invited yet
and "it is clear that the (Zimbabwean) government is not at all serious
about observers". The president of the National Association for Good
Governance in Harare, Douglas Chihambakwe, said opposition parties should
exert pressure on Mugabe to invite observers. However, it would be
"senseless" to have observers only on election day. Zimbabwean minister of
justice, Patrick Chinamasa, announced in January that public servants,
rather than independent observers, would monitor the elections. He said
public servants could be "brought to book if they are up to no good".
African solidarity at its very best
February 10, 2005
By Max du Preez
The national South
African discourse is increasingly being stunted because of a fear that
certain positions or criticisms could be perceived as "playing into the
hands" of the parliamentary opposition, or whites in general.
Eleven years after becoming an open democracy and with virtually all
political power securely in black hands, any point of view held by the
Democratic Alliance or other group of whites, regardless of its merits and
of how many blacks share that view, is automatically declared
In the process, crazy things start happening. The parvenus
of the ANC Youth League leadership and others of their ilk accuse the
movement most strongly committed to black advancement, Cosatu, of doing the
bidding for the West and white racists. The puerile Gucci suits in their
BMWs accusing the trade union movement, the workers of this country, of
The cushy ANC apparat-chiks, apparently
following the lead of their president, brand the man who did more to force
the apartheid regime into a corner than a thousand exiles or a brigade of
guerrillas, Desmond Tutu, an enemy of the ANC (read: the
The Zimbabwean government this week used the word that the
ANC propagandists had on their tongues, but didn't actually use: Tutu is a
sell-out and a vassal of Western imperialism.
To call this
phenomenon political immaturity is too weak a judgment. It is childish,
opportunist and dangerous.
And yet many prominent opinion formers,
commentators and political columnists merrily dance along with this tune. To
some it is just a matter of not having enough courage; others do it because
they aspire to get on (or remain on) the ruling politicians' social
invitation lists, or simply in the hope that sucking up will further their
chances of getting their snouts into the trough of wealth filled by those in
Let's put the evidence of the latest manifestation of this
disease on the table. When Robert Mugabe realised some years ago that his
shine as guerrilla leader had worn off after twenty years in power and his
op-position threatened to unseat him, he lost all the taste for democracy we
all thought he had. In the name of giving his people their land and their
dignity back, he transformed Zimbabwe into a state riddled with oppression,
fear, violence, poverty and hunger. In five years he did more to discredit
the dream of an African Ren-aissance than Thabo Mbeki and Olesugun Obasanjo
had done to promote it.
African governments suddenly suffered
from erectile dysfunction, some praising Mugabe with faint condem-nation,
others openly declaring him an African hero. Thabo Mbeki seems to think the
best way out is to wait for Mugabe to die one day.
in 2005, there is a small window of opportunity to change Zimbabwe around:
an election scheduled for March. But that election can only be a real window
for Zimbabwe's rebirth if it is a truly free and fair test of the people's
With the judiciary in Mugabe's pocket, tens of thousands of
young Zanu-PF thugs running around with orders to intimidate and disrupt the
opposition, draconic legislation and no free media, that election can only
be a sham.
Those who really care about Africa and its people
should be deeply concerned about this state of affairs. Cosatu clearly does
and decided to do something about it. They did it the right way: concerning
themselves with their fellow workers in Zimbabwe ("an injury to one is an
injury to all") and generating pressure by sending delegations to that
They stated clearly that they were concerned about the
human rights of Zimbabwean workers and the prevailing conditions before the
Cosatu launched similar actions around the rights of
Swaziland workers in the past and is also closely involved in
This is African solidarity at its best. The two Cosatu
dele-gations were refused entry to Zimbabwe, but the incidents increased
pressure on Harare and highlighted the repression in the pre-election
period. The actions would have been even more successful if Cosatu's
comrades in government did not sell them out. (Labour Minister Membathisi
Mdlad-lana really let the cat out of the bag when he declared - in Harare -
that African governments were alarmed that trade unions were jockeying for
All good Africans should therefore praise
rather than lambaste Cosatu. And yet the Youth League, other ANC leadership
elements and assorted commentators vilified Zwelin-zima Vavi and his
colleagues, criticising their "futile exercise" and, of all things, accusing
them of meddling in the affairs of another country.
actions only benefited the Democratic Alliance, white South Africans and the
West, many said.
It shouldn't matter who also thinks the political
climate in Zimbabwe is bad and dangerous and what the motivation for that
The same applies to issues like HIV and Aids, mother
tongue education, electoral reform in South Africa, political interference
in sport, a basic income grant for the poor and the narrow focus of black