Shameful silence Will no African
leader side with Zimbabwe's democrats?
Mugabe has set the date of March 31 for parliamentary elections that he has
no intention of allowing to be remotely free or fair. The Zimbabwean
President intends not merely to defeat but to "bury" the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), the opposition party courageously led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, a former union leader whom he tried and failed to get convicted
of treason and now outlandishly accuses of being a Blair
"puppet". So heavily have the electoral odds been stacked - even
more shamelessly than they were in the rigged contests of 2000 and 2002 -
that the MDC thought long and hard about a campaign boycott, before deciding
to participate even at the risk of lending these elections a spurious
It is the right decision. A boycott
would have allowed Zanu (PF) to sweep the field, gaining enough seats to
change the Constitution, repealing the clause requiring speedy elections if
the President dies or resigns. That would have handed Mr Mugabe what he
wants, the elimination of the last obstacles to the perpetuation of his
regime. But each MDC candidate, and each MDC voter, will be taking grave
In theory these elections should be more
open. Zimbabwe has accepted election rules agreed by all 14 nations of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC). These include: no violence or
intimidation, freedom of assembly, equal access to state media, independent
electoral commissions, and vetting by SADC monitors.
reality is, instead: such mortal fear of Zanu (PF)'s 50,000 youth militia
and "veterans" squads that people dare not talk openly; a Public Order
Security Act that bars free assembly; ruthlessly muzzled media and an
"independent" electoral commission entirely appointed by Mr Mugabe. Zimbabwe
should have invited in SADC monitors 90 days before the election; the SADC
is still waiting.
In a country where perhaps half the people
now go hungry, food aid will, as in the past, be used as a political weapon.
Some three million Zimbabweans in exile have been denied the right to vote;
and the electoral roll itself is a sick joke. It contains as many as 800,000
"dead souls" (unlikely to vote for the MDC) and double-enters at least
300,000 Zanu (PF) stalwarts.
refuse to give up. For Valentine's Day, an organisation called Women of
Zimbabwe Arise handed out red roses and the slogan: "The power of love
conquers the love of power". Even for this, many were arrested. Archbishop
Desmond Tutu is one of the few Africans to have spoken out against the
regime their courage challenges, calling it a "huge blot" on Africa. For
that, he was denounced by Mr Mugabe as a "vassal of imperialism" in thrall
to the "false gods Bush and Blair". Africa's leaders are shamefully mute.
They have made much of Nepad, the New Partnership for Africa's Development
that seeks yet more Western aid in exchange for political and economic
reforms. Their silence in the face of Zimbabwe's agony discredits their
pledges and betrays their citizens' hopes.
Bush's democratic bandwagon hits a roadblock in Harare
Tisdall Wednesday February 16, 2005 The Guardian
elections in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Palestine and Iraq, extolled in President
Bush's "dawn of freedom" inaugural address, have encouraged western hopes
that democratic values are gaining universal acceptance. But this winning
streak, if that is what it is, will come to a shuddering halt next month in
President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party look
poised to steal parliamentary elections on March 31 in the same violently
fraudulent way that, say Zimbabwe's opposition and international observers,
they stole past polls in 2000 and 2002.
"All the indications so far
are that the elections will be stolen," Michael Ancram, the shadow foreign
secretary, said yesterday. "I hope this time we will respond with more than
Mr Mugabe launched a three-pronged strategy on Friday in a
speech to handpicked party candidates. As in the past, he ridiculed the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, as colonialism's toadies.
He accused the MDC of taking
instructions from Britain and the US. Banners in the Harare convention hall
where he spoke declared it was "Time to bury Blair and his
Mr Mugabe, 81 this month, was particularly rude about
Condoleezza Rice, the African-American new US secretary of state, calling
her a "girl" who should know that "the white man is not a friend". Ms Rice
described his regime last month as one of six international "outposts of
The second prong of Mr Mugabe's campaign strategy is repression
on a scale surpassing previous polls.
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lamangaspain.com New regulations have banned unlicensed
meetings of more than 10 people, further restricted independent election
monitoring and human rights groups, banned MDC newspaper advertising,
tightened press curbs, and given Mr Mugabe control of the electoral
Voting rolls are reportedly out of date and at least 3
million Zimbabweans who have left the country for political or economic
reasons cannot vote. Intimidation and violence by youth militias is
continuing unchecked. Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai faces a second, specious
treason charge in May.
Especially troubling for Mr Mugabe's neighbours is
his failure to adopt electoral standards agreed last August with his peers
in the 13-country Southern African Development Community.
embarrassed South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, who has maintained that
"quiet diplomacy" by African countries is the best route to reform. The
Commonwealth wields even less influence than before, following Mr Mugabe's
decision to quit the organisation in 2003.
Mr Mugabe's other tactic
concerns food. Agricultural output has collapsed in the five years since the
seizure of white-owned farms began, although the official reason is drought.
According to a US-funded report last month, almost half Zimbabwe's 12.5
million-strong population now faces imminent food shortages, the biggest
emergency in Africa after Ethiopia.
Having claimed last May that Zimbabwe
could feed itself and told UN and other donors to take their food aid
elsewhere, Harare admitted last week that 1.5 million were in immediate
But rather than ask for resumed outside aid, officials said staple
corn meal rations and cash would be distributed to needy households. Limits
have been imposed on individuals' purchase and transportation of corn meal,
reinforcing the state monopoly.
The MDC and church critics say food
handouts are being used as an electoral weapon, as in previous polls. Mr
Ancram said food was a "political lever" and accused the British and
regional governments of betraying Zimbabweans, black and white, through
"Quiet diplomacy has become a synonym for doing nothing. Our
government is somehow embarrassed by Zimbabwe. But there's nothing
colonialist about fighting oppression.
"When Gordon Brown went to
Africa, his map had a big hole which is Zimbabwe," Mr Ancram said.
"Condoleezza Rice's comments about outposts of tyranny may mean the US is
going to internationalise it.
"But I want Britain to take the lead. It
would be a disgrace to leave it to the US. The government has effectively
walked by on the other side."
Of Trust Schools Press Release
ILLEGAL HARRASSMENT OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS'
HEADS AND BOARDS IN ZIMBABWE
In December 2003/January 2004 official
indicators revealed that the inflation rate in Zimbabwe had reached the
unprecedented level of 600% p.a.
In response to this, and after applying
to the Ministry of Education in terms of the Education Act - usually without
response - to increase fees in order to remain solvent and effective, most
Private Schools were compelled to increase their fees at the beginning of the
first term, and subsequently at the beginning of the second term.
the meantime the Permanent Secretary for Education had issued a directive
specifying what fee each school was permitted to charge for the whole year.
The fee specified was considerably lower than financial viability advised,
and specifying a fee in this circumstance went beyond the powers of the
Permanent Secretary as provided for in the Education Act.
seek dialogue with the Ministry were largely spurned; to survive, Private
Schools were compelled to disregard the Permanent Secretary's illegal fee
The Zanu PF Minister of Education, Aeneas Chigwedere,
responded by ordering the police to blockade school gates at the beginning of
the second term to prevent pupils from entering and to arrest certain Heads
of Schools and Board Members, and to charge them with illegally raising fees.
(At the same time he suspended about 80 Heads of Government and Church
schools who, with parental approval, felt it necessary to raise their school
Some Private Schools were only able to reopen by successfully
seeking a Court Order to permit them to do so: the Education Act does not
empower the Minister of Education to act in the way he did.
illegal interference and harassment has forced schools, both individually and
collectively, and also the Association which represents them, the A.T.S., to
seek relief through the Courts. The following press release was issued on 4
ASSOCIATION OF TRUST SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE : 4
A great day and victory for Zimbabwean education was
achieved with the confirmation of the final court order sought by members of
the Association of Trust Schools in September 2004 (H.C 3286/04 ref case no
H.C 1628/04) in response to the closures of schools and arrests of Heads and
Chairpersons in May 2004 as a result of an alleged violation of the Education
Act through the increase of fees beyond a prescribed amount without
the approval of the Secretary for Education.
A High Court judge,
Justice Chiweshe, sitting in Bulawayo on January 14 2005 confirmed the order
sought by the applicants which was unopposed and declared that:
In respect of the Applicants there is not in existence a prescribed amount of
fees as provided for in section 21 of the Education Act (Chapter 25:04)
relating to any increase in fees or levies.
1.2 Section 4 of the
Education (Control of fees and levies, Government and Non-Government Schools)
Regulations, 2003, Statutory Instrument 28A of 2003 is null and void and of
no force or effect, or alternatively remained of force and effect until the
end of 3rd school term in 2003."
In light of the above, the Judge ordered
"2.1 First Respondent (Minister of Education) and Second
Respondent (Secretary for Education), are hereby restrained from closing down
or ordering or threatening the closure of Non-Government Schools or
Schools run by Applicants by reason of any perceived or alleged contravention
of either Section 21 of the Education Act or Section 4 of Statutory
Instrument 28A of 2003."
The essence of this order is to confirm what
everyone else except the Ministry of Education knew, that the actions of the
Ministry of Education, and the Police on the instructions of the Ministry, to
close Private Schools and arrest Heads and Chairpersons were illegal. It also
follows that all pending cases before the courts in respect of the May 2004
fee issue are dead rubbers. In this respect, I have no doubt in my mind
that our new Attorney General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele who has made an
unequivocal statement on the need for everyone to respect the Law, will
ensure that the relevant instructions are given to various Provincial
Prosecutors to avoid the continued unnecessary harassment of our members and
the waste of our limited state resources. In addition, the order also means
that the only legal school fees in existence in January and May 2004 were
those set by the Responsible Authorities of the respective schools. If
someone had taken time to read and understand the empowering Statutory
Instrument, 28A of 2003, then this sad chapter in our country's Education
history could have been avoided and hopefully will never be
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or
need advice, please don't hesitate to
contact us - we're here to help! +263
(04) 799 410 Office Lines
"There is a point, of course, where a man must take the
isolated peak and break with all his associates for clear principle; but
until that time comes he must work, if he would be of use, with men as they
are. As long as the good in them overbalances the evil, let him work with
them for the best that can be obtained."
Massey Ferguson - Traffic 2000 - RE: Reply to Steve's Comments on MF from
Charles - Charlie Warren - RE: Massey Ferguson Deals in Zimbabwe - Trevor
Midlane - RE: Concern over MF Reply to Charles - John Hickson - Everyone
Stays Quiety - Cathy
I have recently read the article concerning your company with regards
your willingness to assist the "Farmers" in Zimbabwe and have also read
your response to Charles Fritzell's letter.
You may have found it
easier to tell the truth which is that all British Companies are compelled to
ensure that their shareholders receive a decent financial return on their
investment, even if it is to the detriment of their own citizens. When the
blatant theft of land began in 2001 there were over 25 000 registered British
Citizens in Zimbabwe compared to the 30 British Citizens in Iraq at the time
of the allied forces invasion into that country. The reason for the invasion
into the latter, Oil and nothing else, contrary to what the spin doctors of
Downing Street may want us all to believe. In the same way Massey Ferguson do
not care that their own Citizens have been forcibly removed, deprived of a
livelihood and physically abused as long as they sell units of
Your Company, Mr.Wood, is as morally bankrupt as your own
Government and one can assume that you sleep well once your salary is placed
in your account. British Citizens, like myself, have had to return here to
our " Motherland" and await a six month period to prove our Right of
Residency before any benefits are awarded whilst your company continues to
earn their profit share regardless.
Traffic2000 (due to family still residing in
2: RE: Reply to Steve's Comments on MF from Charles,
by Charlie Warren
just read your reply to Charles re your comments on the meeting with MF and
Joseph Made, you people sicken me that you still continue a regime that has
done and still doing business with the mugabe regime, I suppose capitalists
like you agree with the brutality, murder, starvation and misery in Zimbabwe
and feel appeased that it is OK to supply the Zimbabwe regime with these
farming implements to "feed themselves". They are starving and these farming
implements cant be used by them as there is hardly any fuel in the country.
How do you think???? Do you have any logic at all.????
I suppose it is
alright for your company to make money off the deaths and misery of other
people .... as you have stated in not so many words.... you are there to make
money. To hell with what humanity has to get through for you to make
Bear in mind, you and your top echelon will eventually have to
answer to the almighty, and think of those that go to bed with empty stomachs
at night, not only in Zimbabwe but the World.
Mugabe's regime has
stolen most of these farms and handed them over to most of his sidekicks in
government in order to stay in power, not to feed the nation as his
propoganda machine puts out. You are a very gullible person Steve, and
remember what you sow, so shall you reap.
3: RE: Massey Ferguson Deals in Zimbabwe, received 14.2.2005
Dear Jag and Charles
Just a quick note to let you know I
have responded to all 3 gentleman concerned with the Massey Ferguson
involvement in Zimbabwe. I responded via my own email address as the tongue
lashing I gave them can not be printed on a formal web site such as this.
Trust me it leaves them in no doubt my opinion of them and their
4: RE: Concern over MF Reply to Charles (OLF 336 10.2.2005), received
by John Hickson
I read with concern the
reply to 'Charles' (OLF 10.2.2005) from Massey Ferguson..
admirably in my view, challenged Massey Ferguson over an article in the
Herald which implied that Massey Ferguson was reinforcing Mugabe's theft of
land and destruction of Zimbabwean agriculture. Of course the Herald is not a
reliable source of information about anything. But the response from one
Steve Wood of Massey Ferguson was utterly unsatisfactory. It had all the neat
emptiness that one associates with the public relations industry and
condescended not at all to address Charles's point. On the reckoning so far
it would seem that Massey Ferguson may well be guilty
Keith Chubb (OLF 8 February) undertook to contact Nick
Wright, the Massey Ferguson executive mentioned in the Herald article. I
would be interested to know if he has received an answer. If he does not
receive an answer, or if it is as vacuous as that sent by Steve Wood, then I,
for one, will join Mr Chubb and have nothing more to do with Massey Ferguson.
Furthermore , in the absence of any explanation or clarification, I will do
all possible to publicise their apparently vigorous .endorsement of Mugabe's
vicious and racist policies.
In parallel I continue to seek a clear
answer from Tescos as to their dealings in Zimbabwe. So far they too have
steered clear of any straight answers.
5: Everyone Stays Quiet, received 12.2.2005
by Cathy Buckle
Family and Friends,
Over the last few months there has been much talk
about Zimbabwe's food security. Despite a number of local, regional and
international organisations saying that Zimbabwe would run out of maize meal
before the next harvest, our government insists that there is more than
enough. For the past two weeks the food situation in Marondera has been
getting worse and worse with piles on shelves getting smaller until this week
they ran out altogether. In all of the town's four major supermarkets there
is no maize meal at all this weekend, just great long empty
Sugar has also suddenly disappeared and the shelves are instead
filled with rice that few people can afford to buy. I knew something must be
happening as I got to one big supermarket this weekend because suddenly
people started running and shouting all around me. There was no maize meal
but a delivery of sugar had just come in and people were grabbing bags as
fast as they could. There were no orderly queues or limits per customer and
people were taking as much as they could carry. I saw at least a dozen
men literally filling entire shopping trolleys with sugar and this
is undoubtedly bound for the now familiar black market that springs up
at every Zimbabwean election.
The fact that there is no maize meal in
our shops makes no sense at all as there are huge mountains of grain bags
easily visible from the road at the local grain marketing depot in the town.
When I asked shop keepers where the maize meal was they all just shrugged
their shoulders and said "no deliveries." This crazy situation where there
are mountains of food in storage and yet none to buy is typical of the stark
contrasts here. Abandoning my search for maize meal I spent half an hour just
looking at the crazy kaleidoscope of my home town.
At 9.30 in the
morning a barefoot man in ragged trousers was digging in a dustbin outside
the post office and parked in front of him was one of the many new cars that
are suddenly all over our town six weeks before an election. This one was a
dark blue Mercedes with no number plates and plastic still on the seats and
wing mirrors. In the supermarket there was no maize meal or sugar and a woman
wearing broken plastic sandals stood with a baby on her back counting filthy
one hundred dollar notes trying to see if she had enough for a three and half
thousand dollar loaf of bread.
Next to her was a big display of
Valentines gifts. I looked at the prices and shook my head in wonder; cards
that ranged from nineteen to seventy thousand dollars; a three inch high
white teddy sitting in a red straw filled basket for a hundred thousand
dollars; a 5 litre box of South African wine for two hundred thousand
dollars. Outside another shop two policemen, in uniform, loading 4 dozen
beers and three tins of floor polish into a police landrover watched by a
little scruffy beggar boy who was given nothing when he proffered his hand to
Driving out of town the filling stations have blackboards which say
"Petrol Yes, Diesel No" and everyone notices that the town is filled with
vehicles sporting white government number plates. They are parked and double
parked outside the hotel and the banks. For some unknown reason the owners
don't find it necessary to park in parking bays, lock their doors or even
close their windows but everyone stays quiet because an election is
Until next week, with love,
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or
need advice, please don't hesitate to
contact us - we're here to help! +263
(04) 799 410 Office Lines
ZANU PF election manifesto unmasks land reform lies Wed 16
February 2005 HARARE - The ruling ZANU PF election manifesto for next
month's election contradicts key statistics widely quoted by the government
on what it has achieved on land reform, the economy and the tourism
Inadvertently admitting that its chaotic and often violent
land reform programme is not the resounding success it claims it to be, the
party manifesto says only 140 866 families have been resettled under the A1
scheme on farmland seized from white farmers.
The figure is far
less than the plus 300 000 families out of a population of 12 million that
President Robert Mugabe and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made have publicly
said were resettled since 2000.
A1 is the village model
resettlement scheme under which the majority of poor peasant families are
resettled on 4 236 076 hectares of land. The commercial farm scheme is known
as A2 and a mere 14 500 families have been resettled on 2 329 285
hectares of land under the second plan, according to the
Although party lands secretary, Enos Chikowore, also
told ZANU PF's congress last December that fewer people had been resettled,
the manifesto is the first time that the party is formally and officially
admitting in public it has resettled far less people than its
In yet another rare admission of failure
of its policies, the ZANU PF document shows that tourism earnings have
plummeted over the past five years from US$201.6 million in 1999 to US$152.3
million in 2004. Arrivals have fallen by almost half from 2.24 million in
1999 to 1.27 million in 2004.
Tourism and horticulture were the
country's fastest growing sectors before political violence, human rights
abuses and chaos on farms scared away visitors from traditional Western
markets, bringing down the sector to its knees.
government has always insisted that the sector was already out of the woods
with its new 'Look-East' policy adopted after Mugabe's controversial
re-election in 2002 bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors mainly
from China, Malaysia and other Asian countries.
But the authors of
the manifesto resume the party doctrine when giving the reasons behind the
glaring shortcomings on tourism, land and economic reform attributing these
to Britain, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
London, MDC and
NGOs, hiding behind the banner of human rights and democracy, have waged a
campaign to derail recovery of Zimbabwe's economy while also demonising the
country to scare away tourists and potential investors, the party manifesto
says. - ZimOnline
JOHANNESBURG - ZimOnline yesterday erroneously quoted lawyer Ms Beatrice
Mtetwa confirming that three journalists, Brian Latham, Angus Shaw and Jaan
Raath had been arrested by the police for allegedly practising without being
registered by the state Media and Information Commission.
since been brought to our attention by Ms Mtetwa, who acts for the trio,
that they were never arrested, charged or detained by the police. The police
only visited the journalists' offices on Monday and questioned them about by
their registration status and some of the communications equipment they
use at their offices.
The police also went back to the trio's
offices yesterday but again no one was arrested.
to Ms Mtetwa for attributing wrong information obtained from one of our
sources to her. We also apologise to the police, our colleagues, Shaw, Raath
and Latham for the inconvenience our incorrect story obviously
Disciplinary action is being taken against the
correspondent who filed the story. - Editor
Supreme Court postpones indefinitely ruling in jailed
minister's application Wed 16 February 2005
HARARE - Supreme
Court postpones indefinitely ruling on an application by jailed Finance
Minister Chris Kuruneri to seek permanent stay of prosecution
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku together with Herbert Malaba and Elizabeth
Gwaunza presided over the case.
Kuruneri's lawyer George
Chikumbirike in an appeal to the Supreme Court said that there had been an
infringement of his client's rights to a fair hearing "within reasonable
Chikumbirike argued that his client has not been afforded a
fair hearing within a reasonable time and"thus his constitutional right to
the protection of the law has been infringed and that because of that
infringement, this court should order a permanent stay of
Responding to Chikumbirike's submissions, the state
argued that delays in bringing the finance minister and ZANU PF
parliamentarian to trial were because of difficulties investigators were
facing getting all the documentary evidence they require for a successful
Kuruneri, who was jailed last April, is accused of
siphoning out of the country 5.2 million rand, 34 371 pounds, 30 000 euros
and US$582 611.99.
He is also being accused of possessing a
Canadian passport in breach of the Citizenship Act which bars Zimbabweans
from holding passports of other countries.
THERE was drama in Nkayi, Matebeleland
North, last Friday after Chief Sikhobokhobo of that area, uncontrollably
wept in front of President Robert Mugabe after he was reportedly accused by
a "verification team" of forging liberation war credentials to enable him to
receive gratuities from the war veterans compensation fund.
Mugabe was evidently taken aback by the chief's sobbing, prompting the Head
of State to warn against the harassment of chiefs. Eyewitnesses said the
traditional leader wept like a child which provoked the President's sympathy
who was reportedly heard calming down the chief and promised to look into
the matter in detail. The President was in Matabeleland North where together
with the First Lady, donated dozens of computers at several high schools and
Solusi University near Bulawayo. Witnesses said Chief Sikhobokhobo
openly wept before President Mugabe as he related his ordeal at the hands of
unidentified investigators accusing him of misrepresenting his war
credentials to enable him to benefit from the war veterans compensation
fund. President Mugabe did the expected, promptly consoled the chief and
immediately lashed out at the people harassing the chief unilaterally. He
blasted the people who had taken it upon themselves to investigate such a
matter without the government's consent. He said the move was wrong and
unacceptable. "When dealing with such matters you will have to inform the
ministry responsible (Local Government and National Housing) and they will
then inform us (the Presidency). We will then take up the matter and
investigate it so that we find whether there is merit in the case. We will
inform you when we are through with the investigations, " President Mugabe
said. Investigations by The Daily Mirror have since revealed that neither
members of the taskforce on war veterans set up by the President last year,
nor the police were aware of Chief Sikhobokhobo's vetting. Dumiso
Dabengwa, a member of the taskforce said he was unaware of any
investigations ordered by the committee set up to look into the behaviour of
war veterans and the association's structures, let alone confront Chief
Nyoni's ambitions were, however, thwarted by the Zanu
PF Matabeleland North provincial co-ordinating committee chaired by
provincial Governor Obert Mpofu which rejected her candidature. "What is
however, striking about the whole saga is that the chief's interrogation
came soon after the Zanu PF primaries. Chief's Sikhobokhobo had thrown his
weight behind the candidature of Nyoni who however failed to get the green
light to contest the elections as a result of meddling by the provincial
coordinating committee while the rest for the party supported the new
candidate, Obediah Moyo," said a source. The source added: "The issue here is
that the Chief is now being made to suffer for refusing to toe the line of a
certain faction of the party's provincial leadership. That is why all these
allegations are being dug up and brought against him so that his name is
rubbished and his image is also tarnished." Sikhobokhobo is understood to
be a former member of the Zimbabwe National Army with authoritative sources
saying the chief left the force in the mid-1990s. In his area, the chief
is a known veteran of Zimbabwe's war of liberation and his people think he
should never have regrets for the monetary rewards he received as they
are commensurate with the role he played in the struggle. Said Dabengwa:
"I am not aware of the investigations that you are talking about. I am also
not aware of an order that has been given out to other people to carry out
the exercise. I have also to mention the fact that I do not even know the
people who went to investigate or vet the chief and from which department
they are from." Contacted for comment, Matabeleland North police
spokesperson, Casper Nhepera said by phone from Hwange that the issue of the
chief being investigated for allegedly lying about his war credentials
was news to him. Nhepera said if there were to be any investigations at
all, then the war veterans taskforce and not the police, would be the right
people to comment. "On the part of the police, I have not heard of any
investigations into the chief's war credentials. I have tried to check with
other senior officials and they have no idea of the said investigations, "
Nhepera said. The Daily Mirror, however, gathered from sources yesterday that
the chief's predicament could have been a result of the power politics that
surrounded the nomination of candidates who contested Zanu PF
primaries. Sources disclosed that prior to the primaries, there had been
deep-seated problems within the party in the area as factions battled to
push forward their own candidates. The situation, according to sources, was
further precipitated by the emergence of Small to Medium Scale Enterprises
Minister Sithembiso Nyoni as the hot favourite to land the party's ticket
for the March 31 parliamentary elections. Chief Sikhobokhobo allegedly
backed Nyoni - much to the chagrin of her rivals.
IN A bizarre
incident, a homeless Harare man yesterday confessed to digging up graves at
Mabvuku Cemetery and stealing garments from a corpse of a toddler on the
instructions of a Greendale resident for a fee. Clever Mushongandebvu (26)
pleaded guilty to two counts of contravening the Cemetery Act before
provincial magistrate Omega Mugumbate and was remanded in custody to today
for mitigation. Also appearing before the same magistrate was Alex Zikwature,
the man who allegedly hired Mushongandebvu to dig up the graves for $60
000. Zikwature pleaded not guilty to the same charge and was remanded in
custody to today when he is likely to be furnished with a trial date or just
further remanded. The court heard that about a fortnight ago, Maria
Karura and other close relatives went to the cemetery and buried the
two-year-old girl (name supplied). On February 5, Mushongandebvu, in the
company of a street kid only identified as Dread allegedly went to the
graveyard and exhumed the body, removed her garments and "sold" them to
Zikwature for $40 000. The child's relatives visited the gravesite and
discovered that the grave had been tampered, with prompting them to make a
police report. Following continued reports of graves being defaced and
destroyed at Mabvuku Cemetery; the City of Harare assaigned guards at the
gravesite. On February 11, Mushongandebvu again allegedly went to the
cemetery at night to dig another grave this time for $20 000, but his luck
ran out after he was arrested by a guard at the cemetery. Mushongandebvu
then led the police to Zikwature's house where he too was nabbed.
Even long-time Mugabe and ZANU PF loyalists are turning their back
on the election campaign, as poverty and despair sweep Zimbabwe.
Marceline Ndoro in Chiweshe (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 07,
Widespread voter apathy mixed with a sense of despair and
revulsion - especially among the rural and urban poor - will be a major
factor in Zimbabwe's looming parliamentary elections.
become unbearable," 73-year-old Christine Rwanga, a card-carrying member of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party, told IWPR.
"When we last
went to vote [in parliamentary elections in 2000], we expected change, but
nothing happened. So why should we go to vote again when we know that
nothing will change for the better? Our leaders don't want to let
Rwanga, a barely literate widow who lives with her 16-year-old
orphaned granddaughter in the Chiweshe communal tribal lands some 90
kilometres north of Harare, said she had lost faith in the party she has
supported since independence in 1980 because it has failed to improve the
lives of ordinary people.
"Our lives have become extremely
difficult," she said. "Yes, [the government] gives us seed and fertiliser,
especially now at election time, but that really does nothing to improve our
The high cost of living - Zimbabwe's official inflation rate hit
620 per cent last year - also causes problems for the population.
cannot get money to send our children and grandchildren to school," said
Rwanga. "Fees and uniforms are expensive and day-to-day basic needs such as
groceries have become unaffordable."
This old lady's views are shared
by many in Zimbabwe today. Thousands of Mugabe and ZANU PF loyalists do not
intend to vote in the March 31 poll because they believe that the result is
a foregone conclusion - victory for the president and his party.
rulers always win, so what is the point of voting?" asked Tamburai Garikai,
a 53-year-old unemployed mother in Harare's Chitungwiza township.
old days, I was working at the family planning department and my family had
food on the table. But then I was laid off after independence, and it's a
miracle how I and my family are surviving."
Her neighbour Margie Chadzera
earns enough from charity handouts to feed her family of five grandchildren
- whose parents have all died from AIDS - once a day.
she said, referring to some time in the past, "money was strong. You could
use it. Can we hope the elections will change anything? I think we can say
that the same people will win."
Apathy levels have increased dramatically
since the last parliamentary elections in 2000, when the newly formed
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, won 57 of the 120 directly
elected National Assembly seats. This galvanised Mugabe and the ZANU PF, who
suddenly realised they could be toppled from power in a free and fair
Since then, they have introduced a series of oppressive laws
and other restrictions that hobble opponents, who have also been cowed by
widespread violence emanating from the ruling party and executed through the
army, police and youth militia.
Nowhere is the apathy more acute than
in areas where the annual summer rains have failed.
"This year we
will surely starve to death," said Daniel Munzara in the village of Tsuwa in
the eastern province of Manicaland. As he watches his meagre maize crop wilt
in a dried-out field, he told IWPR that the tragedy had been exacerbated by
Mugabe's decision to expel the international aid organisations which
distributed emergency food aid in the past. The president said Zimbabwe
could feed itself without foreign help.
In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second
city, former ZANU PF local spokesman Sikhumbozo Ndiweni, who left the party
to become an independent commentator, said, "I'm among those who are not
voting this year.
"What is there to vote for? All the political parties
that are participating are not ready for the polls and have little to offer
At the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, Brian Raftopoulos,
professor of Development Studies, observed, "While Zimbabweans are deeply
concerned about their eroding standards of living, they are - paradoxically
- increasingly resigned to the dominance of the incumbent
"Zimbabweans are losing faith in democracy. Many prefer to
remain outside of either of the major political parties, due to the belief
that party competition leads to social conflict."
interdenominational national prayer meeting held in Harare on February 13,
to promote a peaceful election, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Manicaland,
Patrick Mutume, asked, "Why do we allow those we give power to in turn use
that power to suppress us?
"We are at fault because we put evil
people into power. Why are we rewarding [them]?"
Lamenting that the
country had fallen from being a beacon of hope at independence in 1980, to
becoming cowed without the freedom, justice or peace that thousands died
fighting for during the bitter Seventies war of liberation, Bishop Mutume
added, "We thought that by finishing the struggle for independence we will
"Then why are we still praying for peace and
Marceline Ndoro is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in
Early achievements in fields such as education and health are
By Ben Takawira in Harare (Africa Reports:
Zimbabwe Elections No 07, 16-Feb-05)
Although the government of
President Robert Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe attained independence from
Britain in 1980, has been roundly accused of repression, lack of democracy
and running down the once booming economy, it initially achieved significant
These were in health and education fields and in economically
empowering a small number of the majority black population.
success was in the field of education, where Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
party introduced a policy of education for all in 1980. There were 2,411
primary schools in the country at independence, but within four years the
figure rose to 4,161. By last year, the figure had reached 5,007. The number
of secondary schools, of which there were fewer than 900 in 1980, rose to
1,548 by 1999 and to 1,680 by the year 2004.
Enrolment in primary schools
stood at 800,000 in 1980 and rose to 2.4 million inside four years.
Secondary school enrolment rose from 66,000 students in 1980 to 313,000 by
1984 and to 1,502,000 by the year 2004, a major achievement by any
This increase in the number of schools also meant that the
number of teacher training colleges had to be increased by a similar margin
to provide the necessary teaching strength. There were four teacher training
colleges at independence - now there are 15.
education before independence was reserved for only 12 per cent of primary
school leavers, mainly white. By 2004, the former was open to all the
The number of technical colleges rose from two, one each in
Harare and Bulawayo, in 1980 with an enrolment of only 2,000 to ten in 2005
with an enrolment of 15,000. The government also paid grants to mission and
private schools to make sure these continued operating
University education, which was confined to one University of
Zimbabwe campus in Harare in 1980, was spread to twelve others, including
three run by various churches. Enrolment has risen from 1,000 in 1980 to
more than 54,000 this year.
Mugabe, who began his working life as a
school teacher and later became a lecturer at a teacher training college in
Ghana, has boasted that Zimbabwe's education is the best within the southern
He supports this by pointing to the fact that university
graduates from Zimbabwe are highly sought in neighbouring countries like
Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi and Namibia, where some have been
given high posts both in government and the private sector.
despite all these early achievements, the past five years of economic
collapse, political oppression and rampant lawlessness, compounded by the
scourge of AIDS, is rapidly unravelling all the good work.
In 2000, when
the upheavals began, primary school enrolment was 93 per cent, the highest
in Africa. But the figure has slumped now to less than 60 per cent,
according to the United Nations childrens' agency UNICEF.
schoolchildren, once 86 per cent, is plummeting and drop-out rates are
Additionally, after seven successive years in which the gross
national product has been reduced, the government can barely pay its 109,000
teachers and has abandoned the maintenance and development of urban state
schools, let alone those in the bush. The impact of AIDS is increasingly
felt in the classroom.
UNICEF says that more than 25 per cent of
teachers are HIV-positive and predicts that in five years' time 38,000 will
have died. Teachers have been blamed for infecting pupils as young as 11 and
12 with HIV, while heavy drinking and serial absenteeism have become
widespread in the profession.
Mugabe and his team initially chalked up
considerable successes in the field of health. But it has become a story of
two steps forward, three steps backward.
At independence, there were
very few hospitals for the black majority. This was quickly addressed as
Mugabe sought assistance from the international donor community, mainly the
UN, and built health centres right across the country, which made medical
services available to the majority of people.
Within ten years of
independence, the government had built 246 rural health centres and upgraded
450 while building seventeen entirely new hospitals. Success could be
measured by a fall in the infant mortality rate from 83 per 1,000 live
births in 1980 to 60 per 1,000 live births in 1990.
Life expectancy rose
from 55 years in 1980 to 61 in 1988. However, this has fallen drastically to
less than 37 now because of AIDS, the resurgence of malaria and growing
hunger. More than a quarter of the adult population is HIV-positive. Gains
made in the health sector have also been severely eroded in the past decade
by the government's mismanagement of the economy.
Lack of foreign
currency has increasingly seen the government dependent on foreign aid
handouts to provide a minimum of essential drugs to hospitals and
Mugabe can claim some success in transferring wealth from the
minority whites to the majority blacks - a success more recognised in Africa
than the world beyond. The government has extended soft loans from its
national budget to black entrepreneurs and some of them have achieved real
success in the fields of transport, fuel, mining and chemicals and plastic
Mugabe's controversial land redistribution programme is
undoubtedly an area where blacks have benefited, albeit unevenly. However,
in recent years the redistribution has been poorly planned. Many people
given fertile land do not have the necessary skills to utilise the resource
properly. Agricultural production has consequently dropped
In the early years of independence, white commercial farmers
had begun referring to "Good old Bob (Mugabe)" after he urged them to
persevere with their profession. "No one doubts that the fortunes of seven
and a half million people [the Zimbabwe population size at independence]
rest in your hands," he said.
As the nation gears up for the March 31
ballot, the land issue is a tool that is certain to be used by Mugabe for
political purposes again.
Ben Takawira is the pseudonym of an IWPR
contributor in Zimbabwe.
Reporters PLANS to revive the local tourism industry under the Tourism
Development Zones (TDZ) have reached an advanced stage.
Business understands that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has finished
drafting the proposal on potential tourist attractions, but have been
performing below par due to lack of proper development to meet required
The research findings on the proposals have since been
completed and a prepared document has been submitted to the Ministry of
Environment and Tourism for review before the proposals are
Mr Simba Mandinyenya, ZTA research officer, said preparatory
work for the designation of proposed sites would commence as soon as a
formal declaration was made.
"The details of the proposals made by
the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority have been documented and lodged with the
Ministry of Environment and Tourism which now has the onus to push the
Attorney-General's Office for the gazetting of the proposals and for public
declaration," said Mr Mandinyenya.
He said the areas that they had
proposed were those with immense potential to attract tourists but had not
been performing to expectations.
"Such areas will then have their
infrastructure revamped to add gloss to them as efforts to reinvigorate the
tourism industry continue," he said.
Prime sites that have been earmarked
for the projects under the TDZs include the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
and a conservation site, the Shashe Limpopo area, Great Zimbabwe Monuments,
Lake Mutirikwi, the area around Beitbridge which in all probability should
include the breath-takingly beautiful Dulibadzimu Gorge and selected areas
He said the drive was meant to uplift these areas'
attractiveness and make them compete against local prime tourist
destinations like Victoria Falls.
These efforts are only a minute part of
the comprehensive initiatives Zimbabwe has put forward to restore old glory
to the industry whose fortunes have been on the wane over the
However, Zimbabwe is lagging behind schedule on the development of
the requisite infrastructure for the joint Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
project involving Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.
South Africa and Zimbabwe entered into a strategic alliance in which the
three countries intend to pool resources and efforts to jointly develop the
Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which would see tourists enjoying the three
giant parks' facilities for the price of one. South Africa's Kruger National
Park, Mozambique's Gaza National Park and Zimbabwe's own Gonarezhou National
Park form the transfrontier park.
While the other two parties in the
ambitious project have covered significant ground with regard to fulfilling
the requisite conditions for the project, Zimbabwe was still to meet the
The Minister of Tourism and Environment, Mr
Francis Nhema, confirmed that Zimbabwe was still behind the development of
the Gonarezhou part but said more resources would be channelled through
Zimbabwe Wildlife and National Parks Authority.
The Great Limpopo
Transfrontier Park will be a world-class eco-tourism destination, with
extensive private sector involvement, but will be managed to optimise
benefits through sustainable economic development of local communities and
THE government should
come up with a permanent binding plan for resettling people so that
beneficiaries do not find themselves being moved again over and over,
sometimes by force, analysts have said. Responding to the impending mass
movement of new farmers following government notices for them to vacate the
properties they occupied mostly after 2000, analysts were unanimous that if
the evictions were improperly carried out a vicious circle would be created.
The analysts advised that all evictions must be halted until such a plan was
developed as anything less would sow seeds of more problems in the
future. Political commentator Claude Maredza said: "Admittedly we took the
land as a reaction to the British intransigency, and these are signs and
symptoms of the absence of a master plan. "But I must add that it was
necessary to carry out the reform. I suggest that the people should be left
until such a plan is in place so that where they would be put, they won't be
moved again." Maredza said the guiding principle for the plan would be food
security. The sentiments follows wide spread speculation that several
families would be moved in Mashonaland West to pave way for the Zimbabwe
Prison Services, Chinhoyi council and the Air Force of
Zimbabwe. According to provincial governor Nelson Samkange, Pendenis Farm in
Karoi has been given to the corrections services department, while the Air
Force will take over Shuri Shuri in Chegutu. Chinhoyi Town Council has
also indicated that it requires 14 farms surrounding the provincial capital
for expansion purposes. At little England Farm, made up of seven separate
entities, more than 430 families face eviction after the Minister of Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement, John Nkomo, said offer letters for the
properties have already been given to State House employees. That matter
has since spilled into the courts Another case that has gone to the courts
involves Porta Farm residents challenging government's order to vacate the
property. They are arguing that they had built infrastructure such as
schools, yet the authorities want to remove them to areas without these
basic necessities. Samkange said the relocation of people to suitable areas
was part of "government policy." Nicholas Ndebele, a human rights
activist, said it was right to give people land, but moving them again and
again, would be costly emotionally, and in terms of labour and resources
available. He said for the affected people to feel that they were not being
used as "guinea pigs" by chefs who later take over their new land, a policy
must be put in place to allay fears of future evictions. "Obviously these
people used a lot of energy and resources when they settled on those
properties. If they move again children would also be disturbed in terms of
education. The government must sit down and come up with a policy that is
transparent and is not seen as favouring certain sections of society," said
Ndebele. Former Grain Marketing Board (GMB) general manager and MDC Gweru
Rural legislator Renson Gasela said relocating people during the
agricultural season was unreasonable. Gasela, also a member of the
legislative assembly's Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture said: "
As a principle, you do not move people this time. How do you move people
during the agriculture season?" Most new farmers throughout the country are
being evicted under the pretext that they had been wrongfully
resettled. Some of the evictions have since been challenged in the courts.
NICKIE Karima, farm manager to State
Security Minister Nicholas Goche's property in Shamva, was yesterday ordered
to restitute more than $300 000 and fined a further $400 000 for scrap metal
he stole from the government official's Ceres Farm almost two years ago.
Karima was yesterday convicted and fined by Harare provincial magistrate
Marehwanazvo Gofa. Gofa said the fine should be paid before February 23 2005
or alternatively Karima could spend the next three months in prison if he
failed to do so. On restitution, Gofa suspended two months on condition the
convict pays back the $303 800 before February 20 this year. The
magistrate then suspended six months for five years on condition Karima does
not commit a similar offence. Passing judgment, Gofa said Karima erred by not
getting Goche's consent to sell the junk metal whose proceeds he later
converted into his use. "You failed to prove that the scrap metal was yours
and the people you claim to have bought it from do not exist," Gofa ruled.
"You did not bring any witness, even your wife who is a crucial witness. The
accused's defence is incomplete and unreliable. You are found guilty as
charged." Between April and May 2003, Karima stole the scrap metal - off cuts
of irrigation pipes - from the Minister's farm and sold it to Torondor
Irrigation (Pvt) Limited based in Msasa, Harare. He received $303 800 by
cheque and cash from the underhand deal. A whistle-blower tipped the Minister
leading to Karima's arrest. Investigations showed that Karima was indeed paid
$303 800 by Torondor for the aluminum pieces. Meanwhile, the trial of two
Herald court reporters charged with defaming senior regional magistrate
Betty Chidziva was postponed to February 21 because the State's fourth
witness, a prosecutor, was off-sick. The reporters Chakanetsa Chidyamatiyo
and Peter Matambanadzo have since pleaded not guilty to seven counts of
PG INDUSTRIES (PGI), a premier
player in the construction industry wriggling on a financial death-bed to
which it has been flung by a ballooning debt, might fail to meet the terms
of one of its creditors, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). PGI, one of
the firms which jostled for the productive sector facility (PSF), a
financial medicine administered by the RBZ to nurse ailing companies, might
become the first company to approach the central bank for debt
rescheduling. Sources close to the company told the Business Mirror that a
spate of politically-inflamed finger-pointing in PGI's new-look board was
defeating consensus on whether to seek debt rescheduling with the monetary
authorities or give up a sizeable equity of one of its subsidiaries, PG
Glass. The boardroom tug-of-war sparked by the dramatic deposing of Gerald
Mujaji by Nyasha Zhou, a former finance director, from the executive
chambers, has been haunting the troubled firm for three months in a
row. Nyasha Zhou, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company yesterday
grimly snapped at the Business Mirror in a telephone interview: "Why do you
ask me about my (PGI) accounts? If I asked you, would you, yourself reveal
your overdraft to me? I cannot tell you how much PGI owes who and how that
debt will be settled. If you want that information wait for our financial
results. Understand young man?" At the end of September, the half-yearly
financial reporting period for the diversified manufacturing concern
incurred $46.7 billion shrinkage. The loss, which betrothed itself to a
spiralling debt, buoyant interest payments and runaway production costs,
effectively put a dent on Zhou's curriculum vitae, immediately stirring
questions about his merit. Zhou was the cash flow watchdog of the company
when the fortunes of the firm went on a tailspin. PGI, which dipped its
hands into the PSF last year in order to replenish its books in a bid to
restore viability, has since then been left with fingers burning. An
economist this week said its was highly improbable that the RBZ would
absolve management of maladministration and purge the firm's boardroom,
given that the central bank burglar-proofed firms with risky cash positions
from the PSF. Consequently, the news of boardroom shuffling could yet
take another twist as a clique of unnamed board members disillusioned with
the rot, are understood to be packing their bags.
ZIMBABWE'S main opposition
political party, the MDC, has hailed the government's plan to open up
airwaves for all political parties ahead of the March 31 parliamentary
polls, saying it was a step in the right direction-in an apparent departure
from their usual vitriol against the State's actions. But MDC spokesperson
Paul Themba Nyathi was quick to warn that the government's real test was on
how it planned to implement the regulations. The ruling Zanu PF enjoys
tremendous coverage from the State-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings' radio and television stations. "The announcement by the Minister of
State for Information and Publicity (Jonathan Moyo), that the Government
will next week publish regulations allowing all political parties
'reasonable' access to the electronic media, is theoretically a step in the
right direction. "The real test for the government's sincerity on this
issue, however, will be how the new regulations work in practice and the
time-frame allowed for opposition parties to access the electronic media,"
Nyathi said in a statement. The opposition party said access to the
State-controlled media was one of the MDC's key minimum requirements for a
credible election to be conducted, which Nyathi noted, was enshrined in the
Sadc guidelines on free and fair elections. Nyathi added: "At this stage
we are cautiously optimistic. However, whilst we are encouraged that the
government has finally bowed to pressure from the people and acknowledged,
in principle, the right of all political parties to access the electronic
media, we are yet to be fully convinced of the sincerity behind this latest
reform measure. The government remains intransigent on the issue of equal
access to the state controlled print media, which continues to reject
adverts from opposition parties and misrepresents comments by opposition
leaders and politicians." The MDC said it needed ample time on airwaves
to communicate its manifesto to the electorate. "If the government is
playing games and only planning to allow opposition parties airtime in the
final two weeks of the election campaign then the new regulations, whatever
their merits, will be dismissed as another exercise in obfuscation and
political expediency," warned Nyathi. He claimed that the government had been
under intense pressure from the MDC and people to open up the State media to
a broad spectrum of views and opinions that exist in the society. Moyo
was quoted last week as saying government would this week gazette
regulations to be followed by all political parties willing to have
reasonable access to the electronic media to campaign for next month's
election. As part of democratising Zimbabwe's electoral space, the
government introduced an independent electoral commission, voting in one
day, the use of translucent ballot boxes and counting of votes at polling
stations. However, the MDC had since questioned the impartiality of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission headed by High Court Judge Justice George
Chiweshe and the continued involvement of the Registrar General's Office in
the country's electoral process.
February 15, 2005 Posted to the web February 15,
The Congress of Trade Unions (Cosatu) has
secured the support of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC)
for its plan to stage mass action in solidarity with its Zimbabwean
Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu's general secretary, said this
means South African and other regional workers could soon be blockading
Zimbabwean border posts such as Beitbridge.
Cosatu, whose leaders
have twice been booted out of Harare without going past the airport security
check points, said its Zimbabwean counterpart had complained that a number
of conditions for free and fair elections were not being met and there was
harassment and repression of trade unionists in Zimbabwe.
Nigerian labour movement has already expressed support for Cosatu's
intervention in Zimbabwe's crisis. It sent a stinging letter to Mugabe
accusing him of oppressing the country's workers and population in
When Cosatu first announced its planned mass action, following
its second expulsion from Zimbabwe on February 2, this was met with some
resistance from the ANC and the government.
Membathisi Mdlalana, the
Minister of Labour, at the time said Cosatu's second attempted visit was
without the blessing of government, but the ANC later went on to endorse the
visit. It had condemned the first visit, which took place in
While it appears that the ANC will not actively support mass
action, it has agreed not to stand in the way of its alliance partners'
solidarity mass action programmes.
"The ANC has said Cosatu has a
right to have fraternal relationships with any other workers," Vavi told the
Sunday Independent. "The Communist Party openly said it would support
efforts by workers to pledge active solidarity with another
Mazibuko Jara, the South African Communist Party's spokesperson,
confirmed that the alliance secretariat had given Cosatu the go ahead for
its planned actions.
Cosatu's central executive committee was due to
meet yesterday to discuss its options for mass action. These include
intensified pickets and demonstrations, such as blockades of all border
crossings with Zimbabwe, and the setting up of a legal aid fund to help the
ZCTU by mobilising "millions of workers" in the region.
later, Cosatu plans to finalise joint action with other regional union
federations at a meeting of the co-ordinating council.