The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

IOL

Journalists questioned after 'spying' claims
February 15 2005 at 12:12PM

Harare - Police on Monday questioned Jan Raath, correspondent for
Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, and three other journalists over allegations of
"spying" and of working illegally as reporters, lawyers confirmed.

The questioning was the latest in what observers said appeared to be a
new crackdown by President Robert Mugabe's government against locally-based
foreign correspondents and independent journalists ahead of parliamentary
elections on March 31.

Two teams of police arrived separately at Raath's office in central
Harare and questioned him and the other three journalists over what they
said was "a tip off the journalists were involved in spying".

The accusations followed the arrest of five senior figures in Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF party in December on charges of selling "economic and
political information to South African intelligence agents".

The first police team to arrive at Raath's office carried out a brief
search and told him that they were investigating possible violations of the
Official Secrets Act, under which it is an offence to expose classified
state information.

They left after about an hour, when the officer in charge said there
appeared to be no sign of espionage activities.

An hour later, a second team arrived, from the police law and order
section, and questioned Raath and the others about their official
accreditation as journalists by the state-controlled Media and Information
Commission.

"It's harassment, said Beatrice Mtetwa, Raath's lawyer. "Police came
to their office with three different sets of allegations, so it's obvious
they dont know what to charge them with. They (police) are looking for a
reason to lock them up."

Under press-gag laws introduced in 2002, journalists may only work
with the sanction of the Media and Information Commission. Working
"illegally" as a journalist carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Raath and several other locally-based foreign correspondents have
applied each year since the draconian law came into force, but the
commission has never made a decision on whether to approve or deny their
applications.

The new law states that journalists may continue to work until the
commission denies their applications.

Raath said that at 2:30am on Monday, hours before he was questioned, a
car with two men arrived at the locked gate of his residence and hooted,
banged on the gate, and tried to force it open.

They fled as soon as the alarm was switched on, but observers said the
noisy attempted entry was a tactic frequently used by Zimbabwe's notorious
secret police to intimidate targets.

In another move against the press, the government last week
resuscitated three-year-old charges against veteran local columnist Pius
Wakatama for "reporting falsehoods".

The allegation referred to an article detailing the case of a group of
workers who had been illegally evicted from a white-owned farm at the height
of the invasion of white-owned land in 2002.

More than one million farm workers and their family members have been
displaced by the occupation of formerly white-owned farmlands by landless
black peasants. Farm production has fallen and, combined with unfavourable
weather, triggered the need for massive food aid over the past years.

In previous decades, Zimbabwe was one of the few countries in Africa
that could feed itself. - Sapa-dpa

Back to the Top
Back to Index

SOKWANELE

Enough is Enough

Zimbabwe

PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

(www.sokwanele.com)

M.P.s:
Representatives or Godfathers?
Sokwanele reporter
09 February 2005
It's election season, and candidates are at it again, promising voters the moon. It happens all over the world and Zimbabwe is no exception. It supplements our time-honoured campaign tradition of buying rounds of drinks and entertaining potential voters. But in Zimbabwe in 2005, vote-buying has taken on a whole new dimension as ZANU (PF) aspirants vie with each other and with potential opponents to donate money and goods to their bemused constituents, long before the voting begins. Rural schools have become prime targets for parliamentarians' largesse and computers one of the main items dispensed. They are dumped here and there, with or without all the necessary components, in schools which may not even have the electricity required to operate them.
We hear of a retired general sponsoring a whole school, fees, buildings, books and doubtless much more. Some candidates barred from the ZANU (PF) primaries complained that they had spent hundreds of millions of dollars in their chosen constituency, only to be eliminated before the contest. Jonathan Moyo, even after being disbarred, ostensibly by the "Beijing Factor", boasts that he has donated $69 million for school fees in Tsholotsho because he is concerned about the people there, fuelling speculation that he will contest as an independent. The sitting Minister of Agriculture distributes much needed maize from the GMB and is rewarded, we are told, with a huge vote which gives him the party nomination in his home area.
With the exception of a few committed Christians, Zimbabwean individuals of the new "indigenous business" type have not been known for their public spirit or charitable works. They prefer to spend their newly acquired millions on themselves, to purchase luxury living, or on the Party, so purchase influence. So what is all this sudden transformation into philanthropists? Is it merely coincidence that an election is looming? Could we expect to reap all this bounty after the election is over? Not likely, for it is clearly campaigning: trying to demonstrate to the electorate that the candidate can deliver development for the people. But so what? Even if it is done to garner popularity with the public, with electioneering in mind, is there anything wrong with it that? Surely there is no harm in giving the beleaguered voters a few handouts?
Indeed there is - a great deal of potential harm. Some of this spectacle of mouse-less computers at schools with no electricity might be amusing, or even entertaining, were it not so clearly destructive. Not only does it fail to initiate genuine development, it is seriously subversive of the democratic process. It betrays a complete misunderstanding of what democracy is all about, both by the aspiring candidates, and the constituents who fall for this type of inducement.
Several questions might be raised: First: What is the role of an elected member of parliament in a democratic state? Second: What kind of a person do we want in our parliament? Third: What is the role of an M.P. in promoting development? Fourth: Where does the wealth of such individuals come from? Fifth: What is the effect on the democratic process of such "donations"?
One of the major principles of democracy is that government is conducted by the people. In a modern society, this is not possible, so modern democracy requires that the people elect representatives who will voice their wishes and aspirations. In Zimbabwe we elect members to parliament, which is the legislative body of government; those members enact laws which, because they are made by people who represent us, should reflect our interests. It is the duty of members of parliament to express our wishes and to vote in a way that promotes our interests. Most voters, however, do not spend their time thinking about public policy. It is the role of political parties to devise policies and strategies for government - for providing a legislative framework which maintain services and promote development for the people. When seeking election we would expect aspiring candidates to present the policies of their party and convince the voters that those policies will be the most beneficial for the people. Once elected, whether or not they are members of the governing party, they must interact and consult with the people of the constituency, inform the constituents of proposed legislation and learn their views. Only with this type of interaction can democracy be considered to be government by the people.
For this work of representation, we need members of parliament who come from within the constituency, or if they do not live there, at least have a close connection and good understanding of the people they wish to represent. They need to be prepared to spend time finding out the views of the constituents, grasping their problems and hearing their proposals for solutions. They need to understand the policies of their party and be able to explain them to their people. Since members of parliament are primarily law-makers, they need to be people who have some understanding of the law as well, and of the issues of importance in the nation. They also need to be men and women of integrity and commitment to the welfare of the people. Since M.P.s occupy a key position in public affairs, they are frequently the target of persuasion by special interest groups. They come under pressure to pass or not pass certain laws, not because of the effect on the mass of the people, but because of the benefit to a few. M.P.s have to be very much aware of this and have the clarity to perceive what will be in the interests of the people and what promotes only the interests of private individuals. Furthermore they need to have the courage to follow what they know will benefit their people.
The candidate who seeks to ingratiate himself with the people by using private wealth to gain popularity is in fact showing contempt for the people. He or she is deliberately avoiding a discussion of issues. That candidate has no intention of finding out the views of the people or of representing them in parliament. Policies of his party are not discussed except possibly at the level of sloganeering. This politician is not promoting democratic participation. Rather the people become pawns to be manipulated and manoeuvred. He becomes, not their representative, but their godfather or godmother.
Candidates who present gifts to their constituents usually claim that they are promoting development. School fees, equipment for schools will help to develop the community. This raises the question of the role of the M.P. in development. Government in a country such as Zimbabwe is to a large extent about the promotion of economic development. In the 20th century, two choices seemed to be available to a developed economy: capitalist or socialist. For a time, ZANU (PF) verbally espoused a socialist route. However, this commitment was never genuinely fulfilled, and with the failure of most socialist regimes to sustain development, and their collapse at the end of the 1980's, this option was abandoned and a capitalist route embraced.

A benign capitalist approach to development would hold that the government will simply provide the legal, fiscal and monetary policy framework in which private individuals will then create wealth. Government may assist individuals and provide those essential services which require public support, but wealth will be created and spread to all sectors of the community by many individuals competing. The more players, the more wealth will be created for more people, hence promoting development. The role of the M.P. is to contribute to the legislation enacted, to ensure that the people understand how the laws work in their favour and help them to access any benefits provided which will spur the creation of private or community wealth. And to listen to their views of how the laws are working for or against them so that they can be amended. Political parties will adopt different views of how development can best be promoted and their members will seek to persuade the people that their programme will be more beneficial.
But ZANU (PF)'s form of capitalism is far from benign. It does not follow this model of wealth creation from the bottom, assisted by conducive legislation. The consistent tactic of our new "wealth-creators" has been to make use of connections to occupy privileged, monopolistic positions. Using corrupt means and intensely exploitative labour practices, they build up their own capital. Then, in order to protect that position, consolidate it and expand it, they find it useful to seek political power. That power is not to be used for the benefit of the constituents, but for their own economic enhancement. The competition which would bring development is not desirable, because it would limit their own opportunities. And so the new predator class emerges - political and economic power combine. When such people aspire to be elected to Parliament, they do not even consider policy issues. What they want is the power to build themselves. The easier way, they believe, to compete for the support of the people, is to give them gifts which might make them happy. Like the auntie who showers gifts on her niece in order to be loved, but provides no guidance or bases for growth and maturation of the child. The electorate may temporarily be cheated into believing they are being helped.
Many Zimbabweans admire people who have gained wealth and are tempted to see this as success. The demonstration of such wealth by free distribution of goods entices them to vote for that person. We need to begin to be sceptical of wealth, and question its origins. While there are some very hard-working business people who build up legitimate businesses, more often than not, that wealth is derived from money that should have been used to develop the country.
We see an individual who a few years ago was a scrawny salesman or salaried employee suddenly ballooning in size, flaunting wealth in the form of cars, designer clothes, foreign holidays and expensive foreign schools for their children. There are many such examples in Zimbabwe. And there are very few of these nouveaux riches who came by their money honestly. They may have had good connections to get forex allocations at official rates and change them on the parallel market; they may have fraudulent contracts to supply government at many times the cost of the goods; they may have converted company or government money to their own use; they may have obtained loans from their friends working in banks, which they know they will never repay. Hardly anyone uses legal methods to make money any more. Most of it has come from the acquisition of public assets by private individuals. So when these people offer donations to the voters, they are trying to get credit for being public-spirited, using money that was most likely misappropriated from public monies in the first place. We cannot trust them. Jonathan Moyo boasts that he donated $69 milllion for school fees. Where does a minister get such funds from to give away? Ministers may be well paid, but they are not that well paid. Elliot Manyika says it was government money. So how did Moyo get his hands on it? Does it mean that government ministers can help themselves to government money to help them win re-election?
It is not surprising that ZANU PF does not want anyone except themselves to undertake education of the voters. Civic educators from a variety of NGOs have been gaining some success in helping the electorate to analyse politicians who present themselves for election, to question their interests in becoming a member of parliament. They have challenged voters to examine the effect of vote-buying, whether on a large or small scale, and many voters have become more sophisticated. The rejection of the constitutional referendum in 2000 and the popularity of MDC in the June 2000 election was in large part a result of voters beginning to realise that they were being cheated by ZANU (PF), who were not really interested in what the people wanted. Now ZANU (PF) candidates embark on this competition to see who can shower the most on the electorate, at the same time denying the voters their right to be helped to question, to analyse, and to formulate their own opinions.

The final question is the most challenging. What is the effect on the democratic process of such "donations"? Clearly it subverts it. There is no discussion of policy, no attempt to let the people's voices be heard, no concept of representation. If someone is going to gain votes by offering "presents", the implication is obvious: vote for me and you will get favours. But the reverse is also true: don't vote for me and I will use all the wealth and power I have against you. Development comes from me, from being associated with me. If you work against me, you will not get any development.
Furthermore, if I get into power by offering you "goodies", then you certainly cannot influence the way in which I conduct myself in parliament. I do not represent your interests. I represent my own, and I have used you to gain political power to add to my economic power. In this period of famine, the "big man" can also get you food when there is none. He may be able to get development benefits from government as well. As long as you continue to be docile, obedient voters, you will continue to get goodies, but if you stray, the benefits will stop. Development does not come from the efforts of the people within a conducive framework created by the government. Development comes from outside, when people accept a "ruling" party without question.
But even more sinister, the man who can protect you will also punish you if you no longer support him. He who can buy your vote can also buy the support of the law enforcement agents. You can be dealt with by the party goons who will enjoy impunity - or even by the big man himself who will wield his gun to threaten anyone who dares to support an opposition figure. In Chipinge South he is said to house the police in buildings he owns, making it obvious that they will not touch him if he breaks the law. He is the "Godfather" protecting if you toe the line, but punishing cruelly if you attempt to leave the fold.
This is not democracy. This rather resembles a feudal system of power relationships. The powerful man or (occasionally) woman brings you benefits, protects you from the dangers of the world around you, but in return you must render servile obedience. The politician simply manipulates you; he or she does not represent you. You are used to serve his or her interests. Parliament becomes a chamber of the wealthy whose aim is to make laws that favour their own interests in maintaining and expanding their own wealth. Some development may be provided to the masses in order to keep them quiet, but they must have no share in policy-making. If they demand it, they will be silenced.
No democracy is perfect, and every one has evolved through struggle over a lengthy period of time. Even the oldest have their serious flaws, where government in the interest of the people is betrayed. When we got Independence we thought we had achieved democracy. It is now clear that we expected too much of ourselves and our leaders. We didn't realise that they would subvert the electoral system to serve their own selfish interests instead of the development interests of the people. We didn't realise that we had to carry the struggle further if we wanted our voices to be heard by our leaders. Now we know. If we want representative democracy, we will have to resist the forked tongues of politicians who come bearing gifts but in the other hand carry knobkerries. We have to learn to tell them that this fake democracy is not what we want. We have to learn to vote for those who will represent our interests not theirs.
The achievement of a smoothly functioning democracy is still a long way ahead, but if we walk down the right road we will get there in the end. If we are capable of recognising some of the problems, of understanding how we are being manipulated, used and abused, then we will be able to again move forward. A good starting place is to reject the ZANU (PF) idea of a legislator. We need to fight against the concept of the politician as godfather, and replace it with the ideal of politician as representative and servant of the people, committed to their participation and development.
Ends
Back to the Top
Back to Index

15 February 2005

PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI'S TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE

We present our 120 candidates to the nation in Masvingo at the weekend.

Since the last parliamentary election, we have maintained our link with the
people. The result was a resounding victory in local government elections,
giving us control over 12 major towns and cities. That set us firmly on the
driving seat as far as setting the national agenda was concerned.

The towns and cities under our leadership are home to nearly six million
Zimbabweans. They generate a significant portion of our gross domestic
product and provide a base for the country's intellectual and working
majority. Our message has remained the same. Zimbabwe needs change, and
change is on the way.

We shall take the liberty to officially launch our campaign and our election
manifesto in Masvingo. We take our manifesto very seriously for it is our
pledge to serve and our promise to the people. The manifesto represents a
covenant between the MDC and the people to create a new beginning. We have
critically examined the current political and economic situation. We are
clear about what needs to be done and the challenges ahead.

Twenty five years after independence, Zimbabweans are tired of false and
failed promises. Zimbabweans have had a terrible experience with a
government that has nothing to show other than a poor record of delivery and
a crisis of governance.

With all the legislative and political power at its disposal, Zanu PF failed
to deliver on basic expectations of the liberation struggle. The party
personalized state power and sought to monopolize the liberation struggle.
The crisis of governance in Zimbabwe assumed critical proportions and its
resolution could not be located within the ruling party. That is why Zanu PF
failed to come up with a manifesto last week. They have nothing to offer to
the nation.

Almost a quarter of century after independence, Zimbabweans are as poor as
they were in 1970, fewer people have formal sector jobs now than in 1980 and
life expectancy is lower than in 1960.

We are going into this election because the founding objective of the MDC is
to take over power through democratic means. The MDC stands for the
supremacy of the nation and its people over partisan or individual
interests.

We make it clear in our manifesto that we reject elitist systems and any
forms of patronage that prioritise the defence of the leadership interests
over the people's interests.

The MDC stands for social democratic, equitable, human centred development
policies, pursued in an environment of political pluralism, participatory
democracy and accountable, transparent governance.

In the 2000 parliamentary elections which were marred by violence and
electoral malpractice, the MDC won 57 of the 120 seats.

In line with our thinking on how to bring about democratic change, we
challenged the results in 37 constituencies. Of these eight were set aside
in our favour, which means we won the popular vote in that election.

However, five years later and a few days before the nation goes to the polls
again the courts are still to conclude the election petitions. The MDC
believes, as a matter of natural right, that it is important to participate
in the furtherance of democracy and human development.

We are particularly concerned about the plight of young people in Zimbabwe.
Because of the general economic collapse, they are a potent threat to
political stability and economic growth. We must prevent the creation of a
lost generation and attend to these idle minds as a national priority. They
remain wounded by poor state planning, inappropriate education and
corruption.

Zimbabwe needs a new beginning. We gained invaluable experience during the
past five years. Our leaders in local government have gained valuable skills
and effected turn-around programmes to service their areas. A significant
number have already wiped out the debts they inherited from previous Zanu PF
administrations.

Our plan for the future is centred on the need for a new Zimbabwe, with
opportunities, jobs and food.

The political challenges before us are: a comprehensive programme of
national healing; a return to the rule of law; a home-grown Constitution;
and a change in our political culture.

Our nation needs to introduce, in a sustainable way, a massive
reconstruction agenda targeting the economy; rebuilding the infrastructure;
the HIV/AIDS pandemic; the current humanitarian emergency; shortages of
basic social needs.

We are determined to forge ahead. Zimbabwe needs a new beginning.

Together, we shall win.

Morgan Tsvangirai

President.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

SABC

Govt won't tolerate Cosatu's blockade of Zim borders

February 15, 2005, 19:15

Cosatu's plans to blockade Zimbabwe's borders ahead of the country's
elections could be met with fire and brimstone. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the
foreign affairs minister, says South Africa will not tolerate this kind of
action.

Speaking in Cape Town, Dlamini-Zuma said government's reaction to the
intended blockade would be guided by the law. Earlier today Cosatu confirmed
that its blockade would form part of a huge mass action campaign to show
solidarity with Zimbabwean trade unions.

On the issue of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observers,
Dlamini-Zuma said member states were still putting together a delegation and
were waiting for an invitation from the Zimbabwean government. However, she
said they would be concerned if they were not invited. "We will like SADC to
be there and observe and make sure that the guidelines are adhered to. If
we're not invited we will be concerned."

SADC guidelines state that member countries are under no obligation to
invite observers.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Reuters

IMF board seen keeping up pressure on Zimbabwe
Tue Feb 15, 2005 01:41 PM ET
By Lesley Wroughton
WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund's shareholder
governments are expected to delay Zimbabwe's expulsion from the global
lender on Wednesday to keep pressure on President Robert Mugabe, facing
reelection in March.

The 24-member board meeting is part of the IMF's six-month review of
Zimbabwe that was given notice last year that it faced expulsion unless it
increased repayments to the fund and improved economic policies.

Expulsion from the IMF is rare and only the former Czechoslovakia has ever
been thrown out of the institution's ranks in 1954. Decisions to expel
member countries is up the IMF's powerful board of governors, which usually
includes ministers of finance or central bank governor.

Analysts said on Tuesday that in Zimbabwe's favor at Wednesday meeting are
recent steps by the government to turn around the economic crisis, triggered
in 2000 by Mugabe's controversial land reform policy that saw white-owned
farms seized to resettle landless blacks.

Zimbabwe's inflation has fallen sharply to 133 percent from over 600
percent, while the central bank has managed to suppress a thriving illegal
market in foreign currency and tighten bank supervision, analysts said.

The government has also increased repayments to the IMF in increments of $5
million a quarter from $1.5 million last year. At the end of January,
arrears to the IMF were $305.8 million.

In the capital Harare, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said the IMF had no
"reasons which have to do with the economic situation to expel Zimbabwe from
the fund".

"We have taken all the necessary steps to address the soundness of economic
fundamentals such as fiscal restraint...the budget is performing very well,
we are fighting inflation and we have a tight monetary policy in place," he
told Reuters.

Murerwa also pointed to Zimbabwe repayments to the fund.

"We take full responsibility for our arrears which we will clear as foreign
currency availability improves," he said. "But there has been pressure on
the Fund from some quarters to expel Zimbabwe without any basis.

"We are not naive, we are aware there are political pressures on the IMF but
we hope the IMF does not succumb to that," the minister added.

In past IMF meetings, shareholders have been divided on how to deal with
Zimbabwe, amid Mugabe's land reform policy and concerns about human rights
and lack of rule of law.

In a Dec. 3, 2003 board meeting that initiated the process on expelling
Zimbabwe, only two Africa representatives on the board, who together speak
for about 43 African countries, opposed the move, according to board
sources.

But analysts say Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis is far from over
despite recent progress and new elections.

"We need to be cautious about giving Mugabe an unqualified clean bill of
health," said Peter Kagwanja, southern African project director for the
International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based nonprofit group focused on
conflict resolution.

"We need to encourage him to move in the direction that he seems to be
moving politically and economically," said Kwagnwaja, who recently visited
Zimbabwe. (Additional Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Xinhua

Foreign currency shortage affects freight industry in Zimbabwe

www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-15 22:48:25

HARARE, Feb. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- The volume of freight handled by
local companies has decreased sharply in recent months mainly due to foreign
currency shortages, the Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of
Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) said on Tuesday.

The SFAAZ Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Musariri, said business
was generally low compared to previous years, "both imports and exports are
lower mainly due to foreign currency levels which remain inadequate."

"Availability of foreign currency on the auction market, although
improving, is still unsatisfactory as demand continues to outweigh supply,"
said Musariri.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) recently removed the 824
Zimbabwean dollars to one US dollar exchange rate on remittances within 90
days, a move, Musariri, said would boost exports and improve foreign
currency availability.

The freight industry mainly uses rail as the mode of transport and
the malfunction of National Railways of Zimbabwe had also affected the
industry, forcing it to resort to using expensive road transport for both
imports and exports.

Another major challenge faced by the industry, Musariri said, was
the introduction of the Import Tracking Control Numbers by the RBZ, and the
resultant tightening of import procedures that had proved difficult for
customs and clearing companies and importers alike. Formed in 1995, the
SFAAZ currently has 92 companies that deal in shipping, freight forwarding,
customs clearing, in-house clearing, cargo handling and bonded warehouse
operators affiliated to it.

Foreign exchange inflows into the country have improved due to the
home link facility introduced by the RBZ in May last year as a way of
encouraging Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to remit funds home.

A foreign currency auction system introduced in January last year
has also stifled the parallel market for foreign exchange, thus channeling
more funds to the official market. Enditem
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail and Guardian

Mugabe says he doesn't need 'lessons on democracy'

Harare

15 February 2005 08:13

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling party has accused some
non-governmental organisations, labour bodies and South Africa's main
opposition of plotting to unseat his government with the help of the United
States and Britain.

In its manifesto released at the weekend for the March 31 parliamentary
vote, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) said
Western "sponsored phoney non-governmental organisations have been
campaigning for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)".

The manifesto said the NGOs, "using their pseudo-humanitarian face and the
abundant resources made available to them through organisations like the
British
Westminister Foundation," had campaigned "to penetrate, inveigle and subvert
communities into supporting the opposition".

Zimbabwe's parliament late last year approved a controversial Bill aimed at
curbing the actitives of NGOs, but Mugabe is yet to sign it into law.

The Bill seeks to restrict foreign NGOs involved in human rights work or
issues of governance, and cut foreign funding to local groups engaged in
similar work.

"Apart from a proliferation of such political NGOs, the same [Western]
forces have infiltrated the upper echelons of the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions) alongside South Africa's labour centre Cosatu [Congress of
South African Trade Unions], against the Zimbabwean people," it said.

This month alone, Zimbabwe has deported 17 trade unionists, 15 of them
members of South Africa's largest trade union federation a week ago, who
tried to conduct a fact-finding mission to the country.

Two members of Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council, the
region's umbrella trade union federation, were also been expelled separately
when they tried to enter the country for talks with the ZCTU on setting up a
trade union school in Zimbabwe.

Zanu-PF said Cosatu and ZCTU are coordinated by the "right-wing CIA-funded
International Conferderation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)" while blasting
South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance party which is planning
its own fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.

"And of course the political home to racist white South Africa, the
Democratic Alliance of Tony Leon, has adopted the two unions ... [with] the
same objective of regime change," said the manifesto.

But Mugabe's party vowed it would "bury" the opposition at next month's
general elections, despite the alleged support from non-governmental
organisations and labour bodies.

"Zanu-PF will win the forthcoming parliamentary elections with a landslide,
leaving [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair defeated, lonely and isolated in
Europe, over Zimbabwe," it said.

"Even with the help of NGOs the MDC will fail. The MDC will be buried by the
people's landslide poll.

In his preamble to the manifesto document, Mugabe, who launched his party's
election campaign on Friday, said the West was not qualified to teach him
about democracy.

"Today we tell them boldly they have no lessons on democracy to impart to
us. They cannot teach us democracy today. "They had none to give us for
nearly a century of misrule here. We scoff at and reject such rank
hypocrisy," he said. - Sapa-AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

News24

Zuma upbeat about Zim election
15/02/2005 12:02 - (SA)

Parliament - Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma conceded on
Tuesday that she would be very concerned if the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) was not invited to observe the Zimbabwean elections on
March 31.

"We would like SADC to be there to ensure that the elections were held to
the guidelines," she told reporters during a briefing at Parliament.

She said that while Zimbabwe was not obligated to invite any observer
missions, it was part of SADC.

"You can't take them to court... but according to the spirit of the region
we expect to be invited," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma said as yet no official invitation had been received, but she
was expecting one within the week.

An observer delegation from various SADC countries was being put together
and would be sent as soon as the invitation arrived.

"We are putting together a SADC delegation and also waiting for a formal
invitation. But we have not been told we shouldn't come," she said.

"If we were not invited then yes we would be very concerned."

Responding to a question on whether she thought enough had been done to
ensure a free and fair election, Dlamini-Zuma said she thought there had.

"I was quite heartened to hear from the opposition leader in Zimbabwe that
violence in the run up to the election had declined and that police had a
adopted a no-nonsense approach," she said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Journalists And Fight Against Corruption

The Daily News (Harare)

OPINION
February 14, 2005
Posted to the web February 15, 2005

Munodii Kunzwa

THE story is told of how the newly-appointed editor of a newly-acquired
African newspaper in a newly-independent country warned his staff on
reporting corruption in high places: 'Don't be too hard on them. They have
only come into power. Give them time to learn more about the evils of
corruption."

Only one year into independence, there had been amazing reports of
corruption creeping into the new administration. Fresh from the talks at
which they had grudgingly agreed with the British to an independence formula
that most found distinctly unsatisfactory, they set about - with a
vengeance, it seemed to some - to make up for lost time.

The war had raged for 15 years, but many had not been gainfully employed for
years before that, doing this or that in the name of the struggle.

So, by 1980, they had little, materially, to show for their efforts. They
were not young anymore. There was a frenzy in their attempts to acquire
wealth as quickly as possible.

Today, many will deny this, insisting they spent most of their time
implementing the grand plan to give to the people the means of production -
socialism.

The editor probably regrets, in retrospect, urging his staff to ignore even
the most blatant forms corruption in the early years of independence.

A cabinet minister had reportedly inveigled a white farmer to sell his
property to him for a pittance - or else.

By the time the politicians had apparently learnt more about the evils of
corruption, they had given right in to the temptation, as Alfred Dolittle
sang in With a Little Bit of Luck in My Fair Lady.

For his dedication to the cause of protecting the politicians, the editor
was given the heave-ho once he decided to remove the kid gloves and engage
them in a bare knuckles set-to to expose their corruption.

So, perhaps all over Africa, journalists who decided to be "soft" on
corruption in high places in the early days of independence may have helped
institutionalize it.

Eight years later Willowgate lumbered onto the scene from its lair, one of
the ugliest episodes of corruption in high places in the country.

Who knows? If, in 1981, one editor had not sheathed his claws against
corruption, that monster might have died a miserable death...of hunger,
perhaps.

In South Africa, there has been no such lethargy among the scribes, black
and white. The revelations of the alleged malfeasance of the Vice-President,
Jacob Zuma, display a courage that all journalists ought to emulate.

Moreover, the coverage of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's shady dealings must
owe something to the dogged persistence with which the journalists pursued
the matter - to its logical conclusion.

Whatever happens to Zuma's political future, no-one is going to accuse the
SA journalists of ignoring the story out of some misplaced notion of
"loyalty, nationalism or patriotism".

Malawian journalists, for long terrorised into cabbages by Kamuzu Banda, may
not take all the credit for Bingu wa Mutarika's challenge to his predecessor
and former mentor. Yet the president must have gauged that there would be
sympathy for him among the major newspapers in the country if he put his
political head on the chopping block by quitting the corrupt United
Democratic Front of Bakili Muluzi to form his own party, whose major
platform is the fight against corruption.

Bingu wa Mutarika, who has yet to change his name back to the one he shed
for fear of Banda's killer goons during the Ngwazi's reign of terror, may
still be in danger. Whichever way you look at it, there was an attempt on
his life when armed people visited his palace for a meeting over his crusade
against corruption in the UDF.

After the fall of Kamuzu, the press in Malawi developed a robust
independence that quite often frightened even the most consistent agitators
for a free press in Africa. But it must now be agreed they erred on the side
of righteousness. If they had continued the weak-kneed journalism of the
Kamuzu days, wa Mutarika might not have been emboldened to challenge Muluzi.

All journalists worth anything ought to give the Malawian president the kind
of support most of them could not give to Henry Masautso Chipembere, Kanyama
Chiume, Yatuta and Dunduza Chisiza, Orton Chirwa, Willie Chokani and Harry
Bwanausi when they stood up to Kamuzu's autocratic rule.

Corruption in Africa has not been confronted as robustly as the continent
confronted colonialism. One reason could be that the same people who played
a key role in the defeat of colonialism are now involved in corruption. In
Zimbabwe, we have the vivid memory of a statement by the late Moven Mahachi
in connection with the immoral allowances and gratuities awarded to the war
veterans.

Mahachi, an otherwise, likable, well-meaning politician, said words to the
effect that people ought to appreciate there was nothing immoral about
showing gratitude to the freedom fighters for bringing them freedom, through
their sacrifices. To many people, this was almost an endorsement of the
conduct of the government and those in government to rip off the public. In
fact, this encouraged some war veterans and politicians to conduct
themselves with a certain reckless swagger because they had paid such a high
price for the people's freedom.

In a way, this brings us to the recent death in office of the dictator
Gnassingbe Eyadema, whose son, Faure, took over the presidency of Togo in
controversial circumstances.

They have not said so in so many words, but it would seem the soldiers and
the MPs who sanctioned the amendment to the constitution which brought this
about expected the people to say: Thank you, Bwana." Eyadema ruled the
country for 38 years.

He was a ruthless butcher, yet the Togolese were expected to be grateful for
his rule, grateful enough to allow his son to take over the mantle without
protest.

My suspicion is that, even in a country where the press was never as
independent as in other countries in Africa, the people of Togo felt their
protests would find resonance among all journalists in that country. The
journalist still tries, in the face of the enemies of freedom such as are
found by the dozen in Zimbabwe, to make a difference to the fight against
corruption and misrule in Africa.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Socialist Worker

Zimbabwean refugee says 'Join my fight for justice'
LEONARD R, the Zimbabwean refugee whose case was recently highlighted in
Socialist Worker, has been released on bail. He told us about what happened
to him.

IT IS obviously a huge relief to be free, even if there is still a long way
to go before I can be secure. It has been a terrifying few weeks. On 14
January I went to the home office reporting centre in Manchester. I was
required to go there regularly because my application for asylum had been
refused.

At the asylum hearing I had explained that my life was in danger if I was
returned to Mugabe's regime. But they said that as I had not actually been
tortured it was okay for me to go back. They also said that they believed I
had got involved in opposition activity only when I came to Britain in order
to find a cover for my claim.

This is completely untrue. At the reporting centre they said I had to speak
to an official. They kept me waiting for nearly two hours and then I was
taken into an office and told to empty my pockets.

I was searched and handed a removal order, which meant I could be deported.
After four hours I was led to a truck and taken to Manchester airport. It
was unreal. I had left my kids alone in the house because I thought it would
just be a quick visit to the reporting centre. Suddenly I was on the fast
track to Harare!

The next morning I was given the date of 29 January for my deportation. I
was led out in handcuffs to a van to be taken to the Campsfield detention
centre in Oxfordshire.

I was frantic. It was just fortunate that campaigners had begun to focus
attention on my case. It was also taken up by Tony Lloyd MP. On 28 January,
the day before I was due to be flown to Zimbabwe, I was told that there
would be a judicial review of my case because of the interventions.

But I wasn't released. Instead I was taken to the Dover removals centre.
Conditions there were much worse than in Campsfield. It is simply an old
prison full of asylum and immigration cases.

I applied for bail and a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday of last week.
When we arrived at the court I was informed that I had actually been
released the day before and that I should not have been there!

The authorities wanted to take me back to Dover to sort out the paperwork,
but I managed to get freed in London. So now I am on temporary admission
awaiting my judicial review.

My case is simple. In Zimbabwe I was a member of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) opposition and helped them promote rallies.

A news report on the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation featured a pupil
who said teachers were spreading MDC propaganda at the school where I
taught. Subsequently I became the subject of investigation and intimidation
by Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation.

Abuse and physical threats by government supporters followed. That is why I
fled here. Now elections are scheduled again in Zimbabwe. It will be a time
of rising tension. It would be the very worst moment to be sent back.

Yet that is what would have happened if I had not received support from
outside. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped me to avoid that
fate, at least for the moment.

I can be a useful member of society here. I am training to be a maths
teacher, and am presently on placement at Saddleworth school in Oldham. I
hope to return there. I went to the committee meeting of the NUT teachers'
union in Oldham last week. Their support was wonderful.

They are sending details of my case to Steve Sinnott, the general secretary
of the union. They are also circulating a petition to other schools.

The more people realise the truth about cases like mine, the more they will
realise that asylum seekers do not come here for an easy life. I am here
because of the repression and torture at home. I cannot even use my full
name because I am worried about my relatives back in Zimbabwe. Please join
my fight for justice.

The Zimbabwe Community Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers (ZCCDAS), campaigns
against forced removals. Contact Stoptheremovals_Zimbabwe@yahoo.co.uk or
phone 07960 126 028
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Local Authorities Owe Zinwa $6,3bn

The Herald (Harare)

February 14, 2005
Posted to the web February 15, 2005

Harare

URBAN and rural local authorities owe the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(Zinwa) more than $6,3 billion in unpaid water bills.

Failure by the local authorities to pay their bills is adversely affecting
the operations of the water utility, Zinwa director of water supplies Mr
Douglas Kagoro has said.

Zinwa is now seeking ministerial intervention to recover the funds.

Rural district councils owe in excess of $3,5 billion while urban councils
owe over $2,8 billion.

Zinwa supplies treated water to rural district councils and bulk raw water
to urban councils.

Mr Kagoro said it was saddening to note that these authorities were getting
paid by the residents but chose to ignore their obligations to Zinwa.

"We gather ratepayers pay to the local authorities but the local authorities
fail to pay us. We want to be paid for us to be able to deliver our
mandate", he said.

He said the debt was affecting the operations of Zinwa in a number of ways.

"When we supply water we incur costs on inputs such as chemicals,
electricity, plant maintenance, labour and fuel", he said.

Although, the water utility could not give a breakdown of money owed to it
by farmers, The Herald understands that the debt runs into several millions.

Mr Kagoro said officials were still working out the amounts but said it was
the local authorities that owe them the most. Local authorities have
previously attacked Zinwa for not taking into consideration the plight of
the people in its water pricing system.

Bindura mayor Advocate Martin Dinha during Urban Councils Association of
Zimbabwe (UCAZ) meeting in Kariba last year said the National Water Act
should be revisited to amend or delete clauses that permit the
commercialisation of water provision.

The enactment of the Water Act of 1998 resulted in the commercialisation, a
situation which, demanded that all consumers pay tariffs to Zinwa, which
manages and plans water sources.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mmegi, Botswana

A whiff of fresh air

AS I SEE IT
MICHAEL DINGAKE
2/15/2005 2:27:40 PM (GMT +2)

The situation in Zimbabwe leaves much to be desired. The land
redistribution programme of President Robert Mugabe has come and gone, but
the political tensions remain.

Nobody can deny that the unhappy situation affects Zimbabwe's
neighbours:

Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa - the last two
countries more than the first two, because of the relatively sound state of
their economies, which have an attraction to the economically-stressed.

few shrewd entrepreneunal bastards, who never miss the
opportunity to exploit their cheap labour! They are seldom thanked for doing
jobs considered infra dig by locals, like herdsmen, farmhands and domestic
hands. Not only do they arouse bitchy attitudes from nationals of the host
country, they are capable of poisoning relations between both countries.
Assume the host country applies backward punitive laws like flogging, not
only will the illegal immigrants resent it, but the country from where the
refugees come from, may take offence and cite violation of human standards
it does not apply. Well, I believe mistreating your child does not give
anybody a licence to do the same to the child!

Political refugees are a different kettle of fish. Occasionally,
they may invite cross border raids, but they are less of a thieving
nuisance. All the same, economic refugees need not induce the xenophobia or
the condescension they usually attract. They are our African brothers and
sisters. They deserve sympathy from us fellow human beings.

Following the land redistribution programme Mugabe's Zanu
(PF)-style, human rights went out the political window: Expropriation of the
farms left some farm-owners and farm-workers with ugly physical scars,
others paid with their lives. Two elections, the parliamentary in 2000 and
the presidential in 2002, according to the majority of international
observers, were not conducted in a free and fair atmosphere. There was
intimidation unlimited of the opposition, including even executions;
interference with the judiciary; rigging of the election process;
persecution of the private media and denying them freedom of the press.We
know the observer teams were not unanimous in their verdict of un-free and
unfair election results in the two elections. Those who were operating under
the short leash of government policy, pronounced them "free and fair!" We
still remember the spat in the House between Duke Lefhoko, who was leader of
the SADC Parliamentary Forum team, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation Mompati Merafhe. One telling us one thing and the
other telling us another thing! It was the same across the border with our
big neighbour. Observer teams spoke in diverse tongues, hugging or skirting
the truth depending on the distance from the policy line.

The newspapers described the governments' discreet behaviour
vis-a-vis their SADC brother as quiet diplomacy. In my university days, it
was called "secret" diplomacy in contrast to public diplomacy, where
bilateral or multilateral discourses take place in full view of the media. I
thought secret deals were for crooks, conspirators and schemers. All social
intercourses, except one, are best conducted under the light. When
diplomacy, in its mute form, reaches a stage where its sterility is beyond
doubt, it can be disastrous! In my heart, I have never had any truck with
the pretentious exercises jointly undertaken with comrade Bob, in the name
of quiet diplomacy. It appears to have been so much squandering of precious
time.

Now it seems things are beginning to shape up with the ANC
turning the heat on Mugabe's Zanu (PF): "We have been concerned about
several things...... The MDC is a party that participates in Parliament and
it controls several municipalities. This position impairs its ability to
interact with its constituencies..... It is an anomaly..... Over the years
we have been saying to them that you cannot have a properly registered party
restricted in this way..... Indeed the playing field should be levelled and
the police should act in an impartial manner..." Thus stated the secretary
general of the ANC.

The new development is a whiff of fresh air. The region was
beginning to suffocate in the polluted air circulating around Uncle Bob's
political aura. Although the ANC chief does not say which are the several
things they have been concerned about, we will not be surprised if it is the
same things that all of us have been concerned about: Zanu (PF) allowing
dubious war veterans to terrorise the opposition MDC and non-Zanu (PF)
supporters; packing the judiciary with politically-correct judges; clamping
down on freedom of the press; ruining the agro-industry and generally
running down the economy and blaming it all on Tony Blair and his
imperialist ancestors; trumpeting to the whole world the myth that
Zimbabweans were far from starving when we know they are, as we have all the
evidence of their status from direct contact with many of them - our own
kith and kin - who have become economic refugees, first class.

The aborted familiarisation mission by Cosatu to Zimbabwe
provides a further whiff in spite of the discordant note sung by Minister
Mdladlana. I love Secretary General Vavi's tough talk in spite of the
appeasers. Obviously, within the ANC there will still be a number who prefer
to temporise, like the Minister of Labour. At the risk of being labelled
Blair's lapdogs by comrade Mugabe, we do hope the non-appeasers will grow
stronger until there is a full breeze of fresh air in the region. We shall
keep sniffing.

Mmegi, 2002
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Reuters

Zimbabwe opposition says govt sponsoring divisions
15 Feb 2005 10:40:46 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition movement on Tuesday
accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling party of trying to weaken it by
sponsoring divisions in its ranks ahead of next month's parliamentary
elections.

Critics say Mugabe has failed to deliver on international demands for
wide-ranging democratic electoral reforms and has compounded Zimbabwe's long
political crisis with a set of cosmetic measures designed to entrench his
ZANU-PF party's rule.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi
said on Tuesday ZANU-PF could not beat the MDC in a free and fair poll and
was employing dirty tricks, including fomenting divisions within the
opposition, in a bid to win the March 31 elections.

"There are state agents, ZANU-PF people who have been assigned to foment
quarrels and divisions in our ranks but we are aware of these efforts and we
will resist these efforts to weaken us," he said when asked about the causes
of some recent factional clashes in the MDC.

"All those slogans about burying the MDC at the elections means burying us
with dirty tricks and unfair practices ... but, as we have said, we are
determined to win despite the obstacles put in our way," he told Reuters.

ZANU-PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa rejected the MDC charges,
saying they demonstrated the opposition's pathetic state. "Those are pure
lies, and they are so pathetic. They are a dead party and we are going to
bury them," he said.

EXTERNAL PRESSURE

The MDC lifted a threat to boycott the March 31 polls two weeks ago, saying
it would take part but doubted the contest would be free or fair.

The five-year-old MDC has emerged as the biggest threat to Mugabe's rule
amid a severe economic crisis blamed on government mismanagement, but
analysts say it would be hard for it to win power as ZANU-PF has hobbled its
operations with violence and undemocratic practices.

Although Mugabe appointed a nominally independent electoral body early this
year to supervise the March vote, critics say the MDC cannot hold rallies
without police permission, and has no access to Zimbabwe's dominant state
media.

Mugabe, who turns 81 next week and has been in power since independence from
Britain in 1980, launched his ZANU-PF party's campaign last Friday, saying
he would "bury" the MDC and blasting U.S. and British leaders critical of
his rule.

The veteran Zimbabwe leader says the West wants to punish him for seizing
white-owned farms for landless blacks.

Britain and other Western countries have backed MDC claims that ZANU-PF
rigged 2000 parliamentary polls and a presidential vote two years later in
which Mugabe won another six years in office. ZANU-PF insists it won fairly.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Polls won't be free and fair - experts
Published in: Legalbrief Africa
Date: Tue 15 February 2005
Category: Zimbabwe
Issue No: 117

A group of panelists attending a round table discussion on the
Zimbabwean elections unanimously agreed that the polls would not be free and
fair.

The discussion was hosted by the South African Institute for Foreign
Affairs. South African advocate George Bizos said the elections could not be
seen in isolation but must be judged in the context of the situation in
Zimbabwe since 2000. The speakers looked at what constituted free and fair
and concluded that the Zimbabwean Government had no intention of complying
fully with the norms and standards set out in the SADC guidelines. In
reality, everything the government has done since signing the document in
Mauritius in August last year is, as human rights lawyer Daniel Molokele
recently put it, 'democratic window dressing'. Opposition access to the
media has been curtailed, the MDC cannot hold meetings under the Public
Order and Security Act, and it has not yet seen the voters' roll. There are
also problems surrounding who will be observing the elections. The column
appears online in The Daily News and is sponsored by the International Bar
Association.

Back to the Top
Back to Index