|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Saturday February 14, 2004 16:50 - (SA)
Scores of heavily armed riot police
stamped out an attempt by a women's
organisation to hold St Valentine's day march for peace, love and
reconciliation in Zimbabwe's strife-ridden society, threatening to shoot the
women if they defied the ban, organisers said.
Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a group pressing
for women's political rights, said demonstrators arriving at assembly points
in the capital, Harare and the second city of Bulawayo were roughly hustled
away by police.
Marches planned in other centres were also abandoned, she said.
Police told WOZA lawyers on Saturday that they would not permit St
Valentine's day demonstrations under any circumstances.
"They threatened to shoot to kill if we went ahead," she said.
"They have been offered love, but they have chosen hate."
Police comment could not be obtained.
On St Valentine's day last year 48 WOZA members were arrested in Harare and
19 in Bulawayo when they took to the streets, offering roses to passers-by
and holding banners urging non-violence and tolerance.
The ban on today's attempted demonstration occurred as shops in Zimbabwe's
main urban centres did a roaring trade in red roses, valentine cards and
risque underwear, and middle-class Zimbabweans filled the
columns of newspapers with love messages.
Zimbabwe police ban 'love' march
Zimbabwe police have stopped women activists from holding a
Valentine's Day march in the capital Harare.
The group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, had been planning to march against
political violence and what they call the spread of hate across the country.
"We wanted to demonstrate that Zimbabwe returns to love again,"
spokeswoman Jenni Williams told AFP news agency.
Earlier the police apparently warned they would shoot any
demonstrators who defied a legal ban on the protest.
Women of Zimbabwe Arise - a group that encourages women to stand up
for their rights and freedoms - deliberately chose Valentine's Day to mount
'Right to love'
Organisers said Zimbabwe was crying for the victims of political
violence and politically motivated rape, for hungry children and orphans,
and for those who die of HIV and Aids.
They want to remind people that only love can overcome the hate that
they say is so prevalent in Zimbabwe.
"The demonstration is about Valentine's Day. We are saying Zimbabwe is
crying and wants to love again. We must defend our right to love," said Ms
But permission for the protests to go ahead in Harare, Bulawayo and
Victoria Falls was withdrawn.
Ms Williams claimed police had threatened to shoot to kill if the
protests went ahead.
Police did disband a group of women who had gathered in Harare.
Instead a smaller group of women handed out roses and Valentine's Day
cards at a shopping mall outside the capital with no interference from the
Zim law: 7 days without trial
14/02/2004 14:42 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe's government has formalised anti-corruption
giving it the power to detain people for seven days without trial, a local
newspaper reported on Saturday.
The state-owned Herald said the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act covered
among others corruption, money laundering, the export of foreign currency
and the unauthorised disposal or dealing in gold or precious stones.
"No court shall admit such a person to bail for a period of seven days from
the date when an order or warrant for this further detention was issued,"
the newspaper said.
Zimbabwe lost millions of dollars last year from the smuggling of gold
outside of the country, prompting President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) to crack down on
Gold is southern African country's top foreign exchange earner.
The police are currently holding businessman and ruling Zanu-PF member James
Mkamba, who was arrested on Monday for allegedly exporting foron corruption
charges before being granted bail.
Circumvent fundamental rights
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Saturday criticised
the new regulations, saying they were designed to circumvent fundamental
rights contained in the Zimbabwe constitution.
"The arrest of Messers Chiyangwa and Makamba and these new regulations are
simply a smoke screen designed to trick the Zimbabwean electorate into
believing that Zanu-PF is serious about tackling corruption," said a
statement from MDC legal secretary David Coltart.
Earlier this week Mugabe created a ministry of anti-corruption and
anti-monopolies programmes to be headed by a veteran politician and ruling
party stalwart, Didymus Mutasa.
According to the corruption watchdog Transparency International Zimbabwe
(TIZ) corruption levels in the politically troubled southern African country
have soared in recent years.
The TIC said in a recent report that millions of Zimbabwe dollars were
fleeing the country while a dual pricing system for government entities and
the rest of the population was fostering a burgeoning black market for
scarce goods like fuel and maize.
Sent: Saturday, February 14, 2004 5:02 PM
Subject: For Viola
Family and Friends,
If you are a man please do not be embarrassed to read this letter because
the people I am describing could be your mother, wife, sister or daughter.
This week I visited a newly opened supermarket in Marondera. I had neither
a trolley nor a basket in my hands, just a scrap of paper and a pen to
write down prices. In the aisle where female sanitary products are
displayed a group of 6 men stood in a bunch. As I and other women looked
at the prices of sanitary towels, the men passed crude comments, made
jokes and laughed loudly. The tears welled up in my eyes at the disgusting
behaviour of bored bullies but the real pain in my heart was for the
women. Women who grit their teeth, ignore the taunts and count their
dollars to see if they can afford to keep themselves clean this month.
There were neither tampons nor cotton wool to buy and a pack of 10
sanitary towels was seventeen thousand dollars. This is the equivalent of
almost 7 loaves of bread, so for a woman with hungry children at home, the
decision about what to buy is non existent. The same applies to
toothpaste, vaseline, deodorant, talcum powder, shampoo and even soap.
Standing next to me in the supermarket was a very pretty young woman who
picked up the small packet of sanitary towels, looked at the price,
sighed, shook her head and then put them back and left.
The lives of Zimbabwe's women are not lives anymore, but a series of
agonising decisions. Do we pay a bill or feed our children? Do we buy a
bra or get soap, shampoo and toothpaste for the family? Do we stem the
flow of nature's functions or buy bread for breakfast? This week women
attempted to make our plight known to the men who run our country. Led by
Janna Ncube, 70 women from the Women's Coalition marched through Harare to
expose the horrific increase in rape. In the last month in Harare alone
137 girls and women were raped and when tested it was found that 90% of
them were now HIV positive. It is not known how many of these girls are
pregnant as a result of being raped.
WOZA women were also due to gather today to attempt to walk together
peacefully in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. WOZA women were going
to wear white, carry and give out flowers and call for love and peace in
Zimbabwe. Last year when WOZA participants marched on Valentine's Day
scores were arrested and many were imprisoned and abused by police. This
year, less than 24 hours before the event, police in Harare and Victoria
Falls cancelled the permission previously given for the walk. Police in
Bulawayo denied permission for the peaceful walk of love to go ahead and
when WOZA challenged the ruling, the High Court deferred making judgement
saying it was "not urgent". Jenni Williams and WOZA will not break
Zimbabwe's oppressive laws but will stay at home on Valentine's Day 2004.
I had hoped to be able to tell women that they could drop off sanitary
products for less fortunate women at a Valentine's Day function in Harare
which did not need police permission, but sadly I cannot. This event is
being held, believe it or not, to raise money to send women to the UK
Chelsea Flower Show. When I asked the organisers if they would help
highlight the desperate plight of other women by asking their guests to
donate cotton wool and sanitary towels, they said they were exceedingly
busy putting the final touches to their event which includes: "a bring and
share stir fry, G&T's and pimms served by toyboys with roses and a kiss."
They did say that if I printed flyers and delivered them to Harare, they
would be prepared to hand them out at the gate. Unfortunately, like Jenni
Williams and thousands of other women who have lost everything as we speak
out for truth and democracy, the cost of printing flyers or even half a
tank of petrol to get to Harare is a pipe dream for me. The massive
contrast between women being refused police permission to hand out flowers
for love and peace, and toyboys, kisses and pimms in exchange for air
fares to a flower show is the utterly tragic face of Zimbabwe today. I
know how important it is for all of us in Zimbabwe to do something fun and
"normal" in order to stay sane but I also know that 137 women were raped
in Harare last month and hundreds of thousands are using rags, newspaper
and leaves to control their menstrual flow.
If you would like to support WOZA or help women and girls in Zimbabwe,
please contact me or Jenni Williams or just post whatever you can spare
from your bathroom cupboard. Nothing will be wasted. It might sound silly
but a bag of cotton wool or packet of sanitary towels will be a treasured
gift to a woman who has to choose between bread and hygiene.
I continue to wear my yellow ribbon in support of victims of Zimbabwe's
political mayhem and this week it is for three young women. Viola Ngwenya
(18) was raped by men who call themselves war veterans in Chimanimani a
few days ago and her two friends Spiwe (15) and Melody were sexually
molested that same night. Their pain and horror is shared by most of
Zimbabwe's 6 million women and this letter is for Viola. Until next week,
happy Valentine's Day, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 14th
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jenni Williams at either :
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa from: email@example.com ;
www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ; in Australia and New Zealand:
firstname.lastname@example.org ; Africa: www.kalahari.net
More Whites See No Future in South Africa
By Robert Kirby
Robert Kirby is a columnist for the Mail & Guardian of Johannesburg, South
February 10, 2004
have to talk very long to the average white South African to
detect mounting alarm, sometimes a tangible physical fear, that all they've
known and enjoyed about South African life is about to crumble into a
But then, white South Africans are an odd breed. It was only in 1990 that
apartheid was officially declared obsolete and so, for as long as most adult
whiteys can remember, things were decidedly different.
Over the years of increasing global isolation and condemnation, white South
Africans found ways to rationalize and even claim some sort of obscene moral
justification for what their politicians were doing. The maelstrom of an
emerging Africa to the north was hoisted as sure proof that black Africans
were not ready for self-rule.
In a bizarre way, African leaders of the worst ilk, brutes like Idi Amin and
Mobutu Sese Seku, became hero figures in South Africa's downtown whites-
only bars, at dinner parties and in elitist country clubs. The continuing
political and social turmoil of Africa, as currently evidenced in the Congo,
Rwanda and Burundi, is to today's anxious South African whites more fuel for
their doubts and fears.
To them, Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has become almost cherished.
Every time Mugabe reveals another manifestation of his grotesque political
derangement, the white folk down south sigh and shake their heads wisely.
"What's happening in Zimbabwe is what's going to happen to us in South
Africa," they mutter. "And what is our saintly president, Mbeki, doing about
it all?" A silence as other heads shake in sympathy. Someone else sighs.
"Nothing," he says as he dials up the international moving company.
That many white South Africans see President Thabo Mbeki as yet another
African autocrat is not surprising. Though a bit more polished, Mbeki shows
many of the proclivities of the breed: a voracious centralization of
administrative power and control, the showering of privilege on those within
his circle, the granting of immunity to the perpetrators of sometimes
blatant corruption, the no longer even surreptitious manipulation of the
South African Broadcasting Corp. (the country's national public
broadcaster), a surly impatience with criticism, a relentless playing of the
race card - plus a steadily growing motorcade.
What worries most people, and far more than Mbeki's gross mismanagement of
the HIV/AIDS crisis, is his support of the Zimbabwe administration. As did
Mugabe in the earlier and optimistic years of his leadership (Zimbabwe
became independent in 1980), Mbeki, though under increasing criticism by
blacks, has put the matter of equitable land redistribution on a back
burner. The institution of a formalized process in South Africa, whereby
"white-owned" land - which amounts to some 90 percent of that currently
under cultivation - is given to the black majority has now been postponed
officially by 11 years.
Mugabe did just that. It was only in the late 1990s - nearly 20 years into
his rule and when urban support of his Zanu-PF party was decaying - that
Mugabe instituted his policy of grabbing white-owned farms, principally to
inflate his rural support. That it was all last minute, crudely imposed and
accompanied by violence and intimidation was a given. So was the subsequent
flight of foreign capital and the collapse of an agricultural economy.
By procrastinating on a workable redistribution of land in South Africa,
Mbeki is all but ensuring similar predicaments. South Africa's dominant
party, the African National Congress, has promised to provide low-cost
housing for the nation's poor. But this has not led to anything like the
numbers expected. Nor have jobs. An inordinate number of indigent South
Africans still live in appalling sheet metal-and-cardboard squatter camps.
More and more of these people are invading white-owned land or municipal
And few now believe that Mbeki has any intention of abandoning the
presidency in 2009, after the constitutional limit of two five-year terms.
Already the ANC Web site is hinting that the constitution is up for
adjustment, reflecting that a British prime minister can stay in power as
long as his party controls Parliament.
Whether South Africa will eventually tumble as quickly and horribly down the
same slope as Zimbabwe is, of course, arguable. For a start, there is much
more to lose than 1,000 or so farms. South Africa's industrial, business and
mining investments are, by any measure, colossal. And there is no
politician, however hell-bent for power, who cannot ultimately be controlled
by the purse strings.
But this doesn't explain the steady exit of professional whites. In their
view, affirmative action is nothing but a reversal of one of apartheid's
linchpins, "job reservation." But unlike the blacks who were previously
consigned to dust, at least these new emigres have somewhere else to go and
[This gift was to the Zimbabwe Head of State]
Zimbabwe Independent articles saddening
Editor. - I was saddened, yet not surprised at the recent barrage of letters
printed in the "Zimbabwe Independent" in criticism and obvious
misunderstanding of the $30 million gift collected by the Hear the Word
Ministries congregation on behalf of our Head of State.
Why saddened? Because most of the attacks and criticism came from members of
the Body of Christ.
Why not surprised? Because the Bible describes a similar, "extravagant gift"
that was "wasted" upon Jesus.
It, too, met with shock, judgment and criticism.
Remember it was Mary Magdalene's generous gift of expensive perfume that was
commended by Jesus, but despised and coveted by the Pharisees and Judas.
In fact, Jesus rebuked Judas sharply for his criticism of Mary's wasteful
act of worship, saying, "Her gift was intended for the day of my burial .
You will always have the poor among you." (John 12:8,7)
This story shows that only God can judge and know the true intentions and
purposes of our hearts and our giving.
Not only did the authors reveal their ignorance of the scriptures, their
ignorance about HTWM's more than generous and influential ministries to the
poor, orphaned, HIV/AIDs, etc.; but also their complete ignorance of the
gospel message! For at the heart of the gospel and Christianity is a gift, a
most extravagant, indescribable one - the Lord, Jesus Christ!
The brother who thinks the Church's role is primarily to feed the hungry and
side with the oppressed must be missing some pages in his Bible or
definitely needing some tutoring in Biblical thinking and application!
Christians are to preach and practice a "gospel of the kingdom" that
influences and impacts every area of society, not just the Church and the
Our role as salt and light, conduits of unconditional love and forgiveness
should not be limited to the poor, oppressed, etc.
Woe to the brother who wrote that blessing our enemies is "garbage" and that
Pastor Deuschle and his church suffer from chronic deficiency of social
conscience, for he too will be judged and found seriously lacking of any
Christian foundations-namely, mercy, forgiveness, unconditional love and a
true "Kingdom" worldview.
I pity and pray for the people (Pharisees & Judas) who penned that such a
gift was "ill-conceived, downright stupid, insensitive and even responsible
for abetting Zimbabwe's current crisis"!
May God use the foolish, misunderstood and divisive things written in those
letters to shame and expose the religious, yet demonic, self-righteous
carnality in the Church.
Clearly the Church is divided and confused in Zimbabwe, but certainly not
because of the obedience and generous gesture of honour and blessing by the
No, it stands divided and confused as long as it reacts with judgment rather
than grace, prefers criticism and accusations rather than truth and unity.
The Church should be a prophetic voice and picture of God's redemptive heart
and Kingdom purposes for a nation or a person.
Who is to say that such an indescribable, unmerited gift given to honour,
bless and demonstrate the goodness of God in this critical hour could and
would not bring about the salvation of one and the reconciliation and
redemption of many??!! Are God's ways ever our ways?
The offering taken on November 2, 2003 was not intended to prop up or
condone any political party or person, but was a powerful act of obedience
to the Spirit of God. I know, I was there!
I can verify the atmosphere and spirit in which God moved and the people
responded. No one was forced or manipulated to give one Zim$1 or US$1.
The $30 million was not about supporting President Mugabe's current policies
and practices, but it was a heart and deed response to God's Word and ways.
What we do to our "head", we do to our own body. Zimbabwe will never fulfill
its prophetic role of reconciliation, peace and prosperity if the Church
continues to curse, divide and criticise itself or the nation's head.
What a shame that one brother so boldly declared himself "a man of God", yet
fails to fulfill the basic requirements!?! "For the Lord requires that we
act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).
There is obviously great misunderstanding of the role of the Church and
The role of the Church should always be prophetic and redemptive in nature,
obedient to the Word and Spirit of God, not legalistic, self-righteous nor
The priests in the Old Testament offered gifts, sacrifices, offerings and
atonement for the sins of the people.
Jesus is now the Great High Priest and He has offered us the greatest gift
and sacrifice of all-Himself.
The Church should be a living picture of this indescribable and undeserving
gift! Romans 5:8 says that God does nothing on the basis of what we deserve
or can earn.
I know the offering taken was consistent with the character of God and His
Word and I pray that God, the merciful giver and reconciler of all things,
will judge and use this $30 million gift for His glory and purpose as well
as pour out much needed grace and revelation upon His Church and our nation
to cover our obvious sin, slander and shortcomings.
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Zealous 4 Zimbabwe