Fri 17 February 2006
BULAWAYO - Thousands of students at the state-owned University of
Zimbabwe Medical School in Harare and at Bulawayo Polytechnic yesterday
boycotted classes over recently hiked fees, while national student leaders
warned they were mobilising for more violent protests over fees in coming
Already 21 students from the government's National University of
Science and Technology (NUST) are being held by the police after they were
arrested during violent protest at the university on Wednesday this week.
Lawyers representing the students say they expect them to be brought
to court to answer charges of malicious injury to property after they
allegedly stoned buildings, breaking window panes and destroying property
during the protest.
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) co-ordinating committee
spokesman Mfundo Mlilo said students would not be deterred by the arrest of
their colleagues at NUST. He said more protests at the more than a dozen
state universities and technical colleges countrywide were being planned
unless the government reversed its decision to hike fees by more 100
He told ZimOnline: "Expect jambanja (chaos) next week. We are not
going to accept all this nonsense. We are calling for class boycotts and we
are going on a national mobilisation exercise and if necessary we will
initiate nation-wide protests."
Mlilo said protests were so far limited to NUST, the UZ Medical School
and Bulawayo polytechnic because these were the only ones open at the
moment. More protests at other colleges will take place once they open, most
of them next week.
Apart from raised tuition fees, students at state universities and
other tertiary institutions - most of them derelict after years of
under-funding and mismanagement - are also protesting against low stipends
and falling standards at the institutions.
Protests by hungry students and underpaid lecturers at Zimbabwe's
universities and technical colleges have become routine because the
cash-strapped Harare government does not have money to run the schools.
Zimbabwe's education and the health sectors were for many years the
envy of many in the developing world but have now crumbled after six years
of a severe economic recession.
Meanwhile, the 192 women arrested by police in Harare while protesting
against the government on Valentine's Day were yesterday released from
custody after paying admission of guilt fines, one of their lawyers said.
The women, most of them members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise
activist group had refused to pay the fine wanting to go to court to prove
their innocence but had to finally relent after police kept on delaying
taking them to court.
One of the women's lawyers, Tafadzwa Mugabe, said: "The women wanted
to go to court but the police were delaying in preparing the court
documentation so the women opted for a fine."
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately available for
comment on the matter. - ZimOnline
Fri 17 February 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe central bank chief Gideon Gono, who this week
successfully won a reprieve for the country from the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), now faces his hardest task - convincing Harare to adopt policies
that will win back international assistance for the ailing economy.
Zimbabwe on Wednesday paid off US$9 million to clear its debt with the
IMF and avert expulsion from the Fund, thanks to resolute efforts by Gono
and his Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) team to mobilise scarce foreign
currency to pay back the world lender.
But economic experts told ZimOnline on Thursday that Gono faces an
even higher hurdle to convince his political masters - President Robert
Mugabe and his Cabinet - that no help would be forthcoming from the IMF or
international donors unless Zimbabwe embraced international economic
management best practices.
"Gono's script for economic revival is definitely getting juicier but
whether the play will succeed will depend on his dexterity in manouvering
the web of political intrigue that characterises affairs in the government
and ruling ZANU PF party," said a chief executive of one of Zimbabwe's
largest banks, who chose not to be named.
The bank executive added: "His (Gono) main challenge will be to
convince Mugabe and ZANU PF that the days of the 'Wild West' antics of the
past six years are over and that political leadership is needed to restore
economic stability in order to lure back the IMF and others."
The IMF, Western development agencies and donor groups withdrew
financial assistance to Zimbabwe six years ago in protest over Mugabe and
his government's controversial political and economic policies, including
their seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless
Critics say the government's chaotic and often violent land
redistribution programme is chiefly to blame for the collapse of the
country's economy after destabilising the mainstay agricultural sector.
Pleas by Gono in recent months for a stop to fresh farm seizures and
as the first step to restoring confidence in the key sector have largely
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) business studies professor Tony Hawkins
said the RBZ chief shall find it much harder to persuade Mugabe and his ZANU
PF party to restore the rule of law, embrace democracy and allow market
forces to determine the exchange rate, and prices of goods - all conditions
the IMF and international donors want met before assistance can be given.
"Raising money to pay the IMF will turn out to be the easier part ..
the difficult task is to implement policies on the ground that can restore
investor confidence in Zimbabwe and win back the support of the
international community," said Hawkins.
The respected UZ business lecturer said he saw little chance Mugabe
and ZANU PF were about to embark on major policy reversal especially on land
redistribution that they have in the past depended on as a tool to catch
"It is impossible to see any major reversals on policy if what we saw
happening regarding the land issue in the last few days is anything to go
by," Hawkins said.
He was referring to declarations by State Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa last week that the government was not going to reverse its land
reform programme but was in fact considering seizing all the land still in
the hands of Zimbabwe's few remaining white farmers.
Mutasa was responding to reports in the international Press that
Harare was considering reversing its land reforms and recalling some of the
expelled farmers to come and help resuscitate the agricultural sector and
end hunger threatening a quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans.
Harare consultant economist John Robertson said despite the payments
made by Zimbabwe he expected little to change in relations between the
southern African nation and the IMF, adding that as of now, there was little
to suggest the Fund might be persuaded to resume financial assistance to the
He said: "The issue of a new loan is out of the question at present
until the Zimbabwean government addresses the concerns raised by the IMF
missions that have been to the country."
Zimbabwe was declared ineligible to use the general resources of the
IMF in September 2001 after it failed to honour its overdue financial
obligations to the Bretton Woods institution.
It has not been able to borrow resources under the IMF despite a
crippling shortage of hard cash to import fuel, food and other essential
requirements and the Fund's executive board had threatened to expel the
country over the outstanding debt.
But Zimbabwe made a surprise US$120 million payment last August. The
crisis-hit nation followed up with several subsequent payments and
Wednesday's US$9 million instalment cleared off its remaining overdue
financial obligations to the General Resources Account (GRA).
The settlement removed the basis for the IMF managing director's
complaint with respect to Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the Fund.
Zimbabwe, however, remains excluded from the list of countries
eligible to access funds under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
whose objective is to link poverty reduction and growth to the IMF's lending
operations. - ZimOnline
Fri 17 February 2006
JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
says it will revisit the Zimbabwe issue after renewed attacks by President
Robert Mugabe's government on the country's labour leaders.
At a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday, the powerful union's
secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said COSATU was seriously concerned over
the deteriorating political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
"The economic and social collapse in Zimbabwe which we predicted is
now a reality. Unemployment, hunger, mass emigration and now the electricity
crisis all point to a catastrophe.
"The trade unions are facing new, more serious attacks from the
government. Numerous police raids, bogus allegations of corruption and the
infiltration of stooges into the unions are all being used to try to destroy
the labour movement," said Vavi.
Vavi said COSATU would soon confront the Harare authorities over the
harassment of workers in Zimbabwe as part of the union's Zimbabwe Solidarity
Mugabe's government, through his feared secret agents, last year
stepped up attempts to infiltrate and weaken the powerful Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions which has organised successful protests in the past.
"The COSATU central executive committee agreed that COSATU must play
an active part in the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign," said Vavi.
The COSATU boss did not explain what measures his union will take as
part of the solidarity campaign. But the union has since last year had a
frosty Relationship with Mugabe's government which it accuses of committing
serious human rights violations.
Last year, COSATU staged a number of demonstrations at the Zimbabwe
embassy in Pretoria protesting against worsening economic conditions for
workers in Zimbabwe.
The union also threatened to blockade Zimbabwe's lifeline Beitbridge
border post after two separate delegations that had gone to Harare to assess
the plight of workers were unceremoniously kicked out of the country. -
Fri 17 February 2006
KAROI - A Senator of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party
was yesterday fined Z$10 million (about US$100) for inciting political
violence that led to death of one man during the run-up to last March's
Senator Phone Madiro of Hurungwe/Kariba constituency was convicted of
political violence last week and had been languishing in prison awaiting
Addressing the court in mitigation before sentencing, Madiro's lawyer,
Chawaona Kanoti, pleaded with the magistrate to give a lighter sentence
because his client had already spent seven days in jail, a point the court
appears to have accepted.
Eighteen youths who were incited by Madiro to beat up his political
rivals were sentenced to 8 months each in prison but they will not go to
jail after they sentenced to perform 280 hours each of community service at
various schools in Hurungwe district.
During trial the court was told that in December 2004, Madiro, leading
a group of 18 youths attacked supporters of his rival Cecilia Gwachiwa who
was vying to represent ZANU PF in last March's parliamentary election.
Tichaona Manyembere, who belonged to a faction aligned to Gwachiwa,
was seriously injured during the attack by Madiro's supporters and died two
weeks later from the injuries.
Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party has
long accused Mugabe's supporters of unleashing violence on political
opponents to stay in power. Mugabe denies the charge. - ZimOnline
Wednesday, 15 February 2006
A LOCAL securities firm says annual inflation figures released by the
Central Statistical Office on Monday confirm fears in the market that
inflationary pressures will persist in 2006.
"Looming food shortages and significant treasury Bill maturities due
in the coming months are expected to drive inflation," said the securities
The firm said the situation would be even more pronounced should the
country rely on food imports.
"The month-on-month figure may subside in the short-term as the
January figures would have been pushed up by salary reviews in both public
and private sectors," said the securities firm.
The firm said most companies will face difficulties in the face of
rising costs and dwindling consumer demand as real disposable incomes
shrink. "This will put pressure on both volumes and margins thereby limiting
profitability. Paradixically, it is inflation that we expect to drive share
prices in 2006 as investors seek to hedge against this scourge," the
securities firm said.
The inflation rate for January increased by 27,4 percent to 613.2
percent driven by food, housing and school costs, statistics revealed by the
Central statistical Office on Monday reveal.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation increased to 785,5 percent
annually while non-food items increased by 533 percent.
Zimbabwe's escalating inflation recalls to mind Yugoslavia's
predicament, where prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent for between
October 1, 1993 and January 24 1995.
According to Thayer Watkins, an instructor and graduate advisor in the
Economics Department of San Jose State Univeristy, under Tito, Yugoslavia
ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money. This led to a
rate of inflation of 15 to 25 percent per year. After Tito, the Communist
Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies.
"These policies and the breakup of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia now consists
of only Serbia and Montenegro) led to heavier reliance upon printing or
otherwise creating money to finance the operation of the government and the
socialist economy. This created the hyperinflation," said Watkins.
He writes that by the early 1990s the government used up all of its
own hard currency reserves and proceeded to loot the hard currency savings
of private citizens. It did this by imposing more and more difficult
restrictions on private citizens' access to their hard currency savings in
The government operated a network of stores at which goods were
supposed to be available at artificially low prices. In practice these
stores seldom had anything to sell and goods were only available at free
markets where the prices were far above the official prices that goods were
supposed to sell at in government stores.
All of the government gasoline stations eventually were closed and
gasoline was available only from roadside dealers whose operation consisted
of a car parked with a plastic can of gasoline sitting on the hood.
The market price was the equivalent of $8 per gallon. Most car owners
gave up driving and relied upon public transportation. But the Belgrade
transit authority (GSP) did not have the funds necessary for keeping its
fleet of 1200 buses operating.
Instead it ran fewer than 500 buses. These buses were overcrowded and
the ticket collectors could not get aboard to collect fares. Thus GSP could
not collect fares even though it was desperately short of funds.
Delivery trucks, ambulances, fire trucks and garbage trucks were also
short of fuel. The government announced that gasoline would not be sold to
farmers for fall harvests and planting.
Despite the government's desperate printing of money it still did not
have the funds to keep the infrastructure in operation. Potholes developed
in the streets, elevators stopped functioning, and construction projects
were closed down. The unemployment rate exceeded 30 percent.
The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price
controls. But when inflation continued, the government price controls made
the price producers were getting so ridiculous low that they simply stopped
In October of 1993 the bakers stopped making bread and Belgrade was
without bread for a week. The slaughterhouses refused to sell meat to the
state stores and this meant meat became unavailable for many sectors of the
Other stores closed down for inventory rather than sell their goods at
the government mandated prices. When farmers refused to sell to the
government at the artificially low prices the government dictated,
government irrationally used hard currency to buy food from foreign sources
rather than remove the price controls.
The Ministry of Agriculture also risked creating a famine by selling
farmers only 30 percent of the fuel they needed for planting and harvesting.
Later the government tried to curb inflation by requiring stores to
file paperwork every time they raised a price. This meant that many store
employees had to devote their time to filling out these government forms.
Instead of curbing inflation this policy actually increased inflation
because the stores tended to increase prices by larger increments so they
would not have file forms for another price increase so soon.
In October of 1993 they created a new currency unit. One new dinar was
worth one million of the "old" dinars. In effect, the government simply
removed six zeroes from the paper money. This, of course, did not stop the
In November of 1993 the government postponed turning on the heat in
the state apartment buildings in which most of the population lived. The
residents reacted to this by using electrical space heaters, which were
inefficient and overloaded the electrical system.
The government power company then had to order blackouts to conserve
electricity. In a large psychiatric hospital 87 patients died in November of
1994. The hospital had no heat, there was no food or medicine and the
patients were wandering around naked.
Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5
quadrillion percent. This number is a 5 with 15 zeroes after it. The
social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of
scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they
robbed. The railway workers went on strike and closed down Yugoslavia's
The government set the level of pensions. The pensions were to be
paid at the post office but the government did not give the post offices
enough funds to pay these pensions. The pensioners lined up in long lines
outside the post office.
When the post office ran out of state funds to pay the pensions the
employees would pay the next pensioner in line whatever money they received
when someone came in to mail a letter or package. With inflation being what
it was, the value of the pension would decrease drastically if the
pensioners went home and came back the next day. So they waited in line
knowing that the value of their pension payment was decreasing with each
minute they had to wait.
Many Yugoslavian businesses refused to take the Yugoslavian currency,
and the German Deutsche Mark effectively became the currency of Yugoslavia.
But government organizations, government employees and pensioners still got
paid in Yugoslavian dinars so there was still an active exchange in dinars.
On November 12, 1993 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 1 million new
dinars. Thirteen days later the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6.5 million new
dinars and by the end of November it was 1 DM = 37 million new dinars.
At the beginning of December the bus workers went on strike because
their pay for two weeks was equivalent to only 4 DM when it cost a family of
four 230 DM per month to live. By December 11th the exchange rate was 1 DM
= 800 million and on December 15th it was 1 DM = 3.7 billion new dinars.
The average daily rate of inflation was nearly 100 percent. When
farmers selling in the free markets refused to sell food for Yugoslavian
dinars the government closed down the free markets. On December 29 the
exchange rate was 1 DM = 950 billion new dinars.
About this time there occurred a tragic incident. As usual,
pensioners were waiting in line. Someone passed by the line carrying bags of
groceries from the free market. Two pensioners got so upset at their
situation and the sight of someone else with groceries that they had heart
attacks and died right there.
At the end of December the exchange rate was 1 DM = 3 trillion dinars
and on January 4, 1994 it was 1 DM = 6 trillion dinars. On January 6th the
government declared that the German Deutsche was an official currency of
About this time the government announced a NEW "new" Dinar which was
equal to 1 billion of the old "new" dinars. This meant that the exchange
rate was 1 DM = 6,000 new new Dinars. By January 11 the exchange rate had
reached a level of 1 DM = 80,000 new new Dinars. On January 13th the rate
was 1 DM = 700,000 new new Dinars and six days later it was 1 DM = 10
million new new Dinars.
The telephone bills for the government operated phone system were
collected by the postmen. People postponed paying these bills as much as
possible and inflation reduced their real value to next to nothing. One
postman found that after trying to collect on 780 phone bills he got nothing
so the next day he stayed home and paid all of the phone bills himself for
the equivalent of a few American pennies.
Here is another illustration of the irrationality of the government's
policies: James Lyon, a journalist, made twenty hours of international
telephone calls from Belgrade in December of 1993. The bill for these calls
was 1000 new new dinars and it arrived on January 11th.
At the exchange rate for January 11th of 1 DM = 150,000 dinars it
would have cost less than one German pfennig to pay the bill. But the bill
was not due until January 17th and by that time the exchange rate reached 1
DM = 30 million dinars.
Yet the free market value of those twenty hours of international
telephone calls was about $5,000. So despite being strapped for hard
currency, the government gave James Lyon $5,000 worth of phone calls
essentially for nothing.
It was against the law to refuse to accept personal checks. Some
people wrote personal checks knowing that in the few days it took for the
checks to clear, inflation would wipe out as much as 90 percent of the cost
of covering those checks.
On January 24, 1994 the government introduced the "super" Dinar equal
to 10 million of the new Dinars. The Yugoslav government's official
position was that the hyperinflation occurred "because of the unjustly
implemented sanctions against the Serbian people and state."
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Paidamoyo Muzulu in Chinhoyi
issue date :2006-Feb-16
THE Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa, has
accused top politicians and businesspeople of impropriety by incorporating
shelf companies to acquire land.
A livid Mutasa told a Mashonaland West land inspectorate committee meeting
here on Monday that private companies were not entitled to land allocation
under the agrarian reform programme, which started in February 2000.
He admonished the political leadership and those dealing with land
redistribution for being corrupt by either allocating land or selling it to
"Lots of land is being bought by companies. I will ask other cabinet
colleagues not to allow the allocation of land to companies, but to
individuals," said a visibly angry Mutasa, who is also Minister of State for
National State Security. The Zanu PF secretary for administration said most
beneficiaries of land bought or given to private firms owned other pieces of
land in various provinces. He cited the Watermount Farm in Goromonzi
District in Mashonaland East, as an example.
"For instance, the Watermount Farm owned by Time Bank was going to be
parcelled out into residential stands. Selfish leaders were to be the
beneficiaries while the poor were left out. The majority of the
beneficiaries had other pieces of land in other provinces," Mutasa claimed.
He said the danger of allocating land to firms was that they changed
directors or were disposed by their owners to those who had the purchasing
power and, as a result, a rich clique would end up controlling vast tracts
"The fluidity with which companies can change hands means those who have
lots of cash at their disposal can acquire vast tracts of land through
nominee companies. Poor people who are the original intended beneficiaries
of the land reform programme would be left out," argued Mutasa, the
legislator for Makoni North.
"Poor people should be the first beneficiaries of any government programme.
The rich can afford to buy at the market value anything from land to inputs.
The government wants to improve the lot of our poor, not to increase the
riches of those selfish leaders," he added.
The government recently concluded its land audit in the country's 10
administrative provinces on the commercial farms (A2 model).
Mutasa's ministry is currently studying the reports from the provinces
before coming up with a comprehensive report expected to be made public next
The audit was meant to assess the level of land utilisation and probe cases
of suspected multiple farm ownership.
It also sought to establish the amount of crops on the farms and the
livestock and wildlife numbers on ranches owned by beneficiaries of the land
Last year, Mutasa said the government would repossess under-utilised land
and allocate it to land-hungry Zimbabweans.
Under the agrarian reform programme, 140 698 people benefited under the
rural decongestion exercise (A1 model) and 14 856 more under the commercial
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Feb-16
PRICES of cooking oil, table salt and laundry soap went up by more than 50
percent in some Harare city centre supermarket shops this week, compared to
last week, a move that is likely to worsen the living standards of the
majority of Zimbabwe's cash strapped citizens.
In a weekly survey of supermarkets in the city centre yesterday, a 750ml
bottle of cooking oil was selling at $299 500 up from the previous week's
selling price of $198 000, translating into an increase of 50 percent.
Another brand of imported cooking oil, that has been awash in several retail
outlets, was selling for as much as $302 000 for the same quantity of
At OK Express supermarket, the cheapest 750ml brand of cooking oil was
selling at $206 000 compared to $175 000 last week reflecting an increase of
about 12 percent.
Rice also went up by between 11 percent and 41 percent in the supermarkets
that were covered in the survey.
At TM Angwa Street, the cheapest two kg brand of rice went up by 41 percent
from $215 000 to $305 000, while at OK Express Rezende Street and Friendly
Supermarket Cameron Street, the same products went up by 40 percent and 11
percent respectively to $445 000 and $351 000.
Salt also went up, with one kg of the commodity recording an increase of
about 57 percent at Friendly Supermarket where it had been selling at the
cheapest price of $26 000 to catch up with other supermarkets that had been
$39 000 and $42 000 in the last two weeks.
All-purpose laundry bar soap, which most city supermarkets have been
conveniently selling in half bars of 500g compared to bigger 750g and one kg
bars, also crept up by between 30 percent and 50 percent.
At OK Express, one 500g bar was selling at $78 000 compared to $58 000
previously, whilst at Friendly it moved up to $84 000 from $56 000,
reflecting increases of 34 percent and 50 percent respectively.
The latest round of increases in the prices of most basic commodities this
week is expected to impact negatively on the economy as most of the goods
are increasingly rising out of the reach of many.
The Central Statistical Office this week said an average family of five now
required a minimum of $20 million to purchase both food and non-food items
for them not to be deemed poor.
Mail and Guardian
16 February 2006 01:46
A state-appointed commission running Zimbabwe's fifth largest
city of Mutare has ordered property owners in the city to repaint and
renovate buildings because the city must look beautiful when it hosts
President Robert Mugabe's 82nd birthday celebrations next week.
Although Mugabe's birthday is not a formal state occasion, it is
however celebrated nationwide by both the government and the veteran
president's ruling Zanu-PF party.
The 21st February Movement, named after Mugabe's date of birth
in 1924 -- holds a public music and entertainment gala every year to mark
the president's birthday.
Mugabe's speech to the youth, which is the highlight of the
celebrations, is broadcast live to the nation on state television.
The birthday galas are rotated from province to province and
this year's gala will be held in Mutare in the eastern province of
In a notice published in local newspapers this week, town clerk
Morgan Chawawa ordered residents to spruce up their properties at their own
expense to ensure Mugabe -- the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since
independence 25 years ago -- will find the city in a pleasant state.
Chawawa said: "Notice is hereby given in terms of Section 31 of
the operative, Mutare Town Planning Scheme Number One, that all owners of
buildings in a state of neglect in the city are required to either repaint
or renovate their buildings to improve external appearance of the buildings
at their own expense.
"The city of Mutare is expected to be in a pleasant state in
preparation for hosting the 21st February Movement event."
The town clerk did not say what punishment would befall those
who failed to make the city of more than 500 000 beautiful ahead of Mugabe's
Both Chawawa and chairperson of the commission running Mutare,
Kenneth Saruchera, could not be reached on Wednesday for comment. Saruchera's
commission is running Mutare after the government fired the elected
Business leaders from Mutare who spoke to ZimOnline were however
unhappy that they would have to incur huge and unbudgeted costs renovating
their properties simply because Mugabe would be visiting the city for a few
hours. The business leaders said they have also been asked to contribute
10-billion Zimbabwean dollars to cover the cost of hosting the birthday.
"They must just tell businesses to improve their premises not
because the city is hosting Mugabe's birthday celebrations but as normal
practice to have a good image of the city," said Garikayi Mawoko, a Mutare
Zanu-PF provincial youth chairperson Enock Porusingazi has in
the past few weeks sent circulars to business owners requesting them to
donate cash to fund Mugabe's birthday party.
Business people have learnt to quietly comply with such requests
as failure to do so will result in one being labelled a supporter of the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and therefore liable to
retribution by Zanu-PF militias.
Mugabe, who founded Zimbabwe from the ashes of the British
colony of Rhodesia in 1980, has maintained an iron grip on the nation since
then. But his rule has come under increasing pressure in recent years as the
country grapples with its worst economic and food crises to date. Critics
have blamed the crises on repression and wrong policies by Mugabe. He denies
Mugabe looks physically fit and foreign diplomats based in
Harare who have met him recently testify that his intellect and grip on
facts remains sharp. But doubts about the president's health have remained
since he collapsed in November 2000 at a public function in Malaysia. -
BY MARTINE STEMERICK
BULAWAYO - For one thousand orphans who depended upon "Auntie Sheba", the
sudden death of Sennie Sheba Dube Phiri on February 7 means more than the
simple loss of a benefactor.
"Sheba was our saviour" wrote the grateful widows of Avoca, praises brushed
off by the humble Methodist grandmother who nonetheless rose before dawn to
find and deliver endless packets of maize meal, beans, blankets and
life-saving food in a time of famine.
For the orphans, Sheba found school fees, books, uniforms and shoes; for
their younger brothers and sisters, Auntie Sheba organized Kidz Clubs; for
teenagers, she taught classes in HIV prevention and positive life skills -
and brightened each day with hugs and boundless good cheer. A light has
gone out in Zimbabwe, one which will be sorely missed.
Unbeknown to the children, Sheba Dube Phiri was also one of the most
courageous human rights activists in Zimbabwe, and Vice Chairperson of
ZimRights. On the Friday before her unexpected demise, Sheba Phiri and
Archbishop Pius Ncube were honoured as fearless and outspoken advocates for
justice and peace by the newly formed Christian Alliance network.
Truth telling is a dangerous business in Zimbabwe. Most victims suffer
silently rather than unleash further repression by bringing charges against
their oppressors. Not Sheba. During human rights services led by
Archbishop Pius in St Mary's Cathedral, Sheba stood by the victims of abuse
and recounted the gruesome tales that the victims were often too frightened
to whisper. On Good Friday Sheba marched beside Archbishop Ncube and other
Christians, holding crosses that symbolize the suffering of Christ's poor
under Robert Mugabe's brutal regime.
Sheba's work was unpaid and for the most part, unrecognized. Her rewards
came instead from coaxing laughter from undernourished orphans, finding
shelter for homeless families, and providing food for destitute widows.
Often she worked miracles.
In June, Sheba needed to get to Filabusi. First, she coaxed a delegation
from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe into giving her a ride, and then into
making a 20-kilometre detour into the bush to visit one of Sheba's little
scholars. The 12-year old girl had suffered from a brain tumor. Without
funds for an operation, she was not expected to live. Somehow, Sheba had
begged the necessary funding, transported the child to hospital, where the
operation had been performed.
The 4-wheel drive vehicle rattled every bone and barely scraped over several
ravines but finally arrived at a small farm where Sheba and her visitors
entered a thatched cottage.
Lying on a bed in the middle of the room was a pale slip of a girl who could
barely lift her head to see who had come. Like Jairos' daughter, the child
seemed to hover between death and life. But when she recognized Auntie
Sheba, the child's face lit up like a light bulb. Sheba embraced the girl
and coddled her, singing praise choruses and praying at length.
"Now, you sing!" Sheba encouraged her little charge. And sing she did, in a
very faint soprano, her faced wreathed in smiles. Before leaving, Sheba
laid hands upon the child's bandaged head and prayed for health and
healing - in short, a miracle.
Sheba believed that God provides miracles and that little girls with gaping
wounds can walk. Sure enough, weeks later, the child sat up and said to her
mother, "I want to walk now!"
"Walk?" repeated her astonished parent. "Yes, Mother, Auntie Sheba told me
I could walk now, that I'm ready." And walk she did, in faltering steps, to
the door where she could sit in the sunshine, and feel the kiss of cool
A miracle, but Sheba was in the habit of trusting God every day for
miracles. To her small friend, Sheba promised resurrection and life,
abundant life. And through prayers and hard work, Sheba made sure that
Zimbabwe's orphans and widows had clothes, and food, education and healing:
daily bread in a time of famine. A miracle, indeed.
Archbishop Pius Ncube used to marvel at Sheba's work with the poorest of the
poor, calling Sheba a "wingless angel." Sheba has her wings now, and the
rest of us must take up where she left off, lest the orphans and widows
To her family and friends and all who mourn Sheba anywhere, our prayers and
condolences on the passing of one of Zimbabwe's finest daughters. She was a
light for the nation.
Providence Orphans and Caregivers Trust (POCT) will ensure that Sheba's
great work continues - but that cannot happen without funds. You can make
the difference between life and death. Please give generously via PayPal at
www.SWRadioAfrica.com or send cheques to "Alvaston Methodist Church - The
Zimbabwe Fund", c/o Revd Dr Martine Stemerick, 137 Shardlow Road, Derby
HARARE - About 150 people displaced by Operation Murambatsvina are living
destitute lives along Mukuvisi River and the area adjacent to Glen Norah C'
where they drink contaminated water and use the bush as latrines.
This lifestyle goes on unabated, yet the government of Zimbabwe has told the
whole world that Operation Murambatsvina victims have been assisted with
shelter and food.
The victims have built shacks using plastics and broken pieces of furniture,
which they use as their houses. They sleep together, irrespective of gender,
children sleeping together with their parents on the open ground covered
with either plastics or cardboard boxes.
These people have lost hope and pray that the government allocates them land
to build their houses.
John Maburutse, 63, from Mberengwa, his wife Beulah Mariki Maburutse, 49,
live in the same shack with their eight children. He has kept records of the
victims of Operation Murambatsvina between Glen Norah C and Mukuvisi River.
Others who spoke of their problems are Onias Mhou, 44, from Jerera in
Masvingo, used to survive on part-time jobs as a mechanic. This kept his
family of three children well-fed. His wife Shelter Masirembwa, 36, now does
manual jobs to supplement their meagre earnings.
"I have joined other women in the old home industries in digging out bricks
for resale at $1 million for a 1 000 bricks," Masirembwa said. "The
situation is worse these days of heavy rains because the ground is muddy and
sticky. Digging is a bit difficulty."
Admire Chuma, 31, of Gutu in Masvingo said they lived destitute lives. Blair
toilets which the City of Harare had built for them were destroyed during
Operation Murambatsvina. The open holes that remain in some cases are now
being used as toilets by the victims.
In separate interviews, they said the Harare Municipality prohibited them
from putting any structures around the 'toilets' but has instead demanded
that they vacate the place.
Charles Chinyepe, 35, from Zaka in Masvingo, who is a builder and carpenter
by profession, said he lived in descent lodgings before the vindictive
operation was launched. In the aftermath of the demolitions, he has found
himself living in the shacks with his wife and three children. For several
months they tried to find alternative accommodation but failed.
Asked how they were making a living after their industry was destroyed,
Chinyepe said they were drinking water from small wells and boreholes they
dug prior to the exercise.
"We try as much as possible to make an honest living but it is proving
difficult," he said. "There are no jobs, construction work which was picking
up has been destroyed and now we hoard some agricultural produce for resale.
The municipal police occasionally raid us and confiscate our wares and the
police have also threatened us with arrests. We have no option but to
continue struggling to make ends meet."
Elizabeth Munyoro, 25, from Mutare works as a security guard with Watch Yard
Security told this author that they have no food and enough blankets to warm
themselves at night. She lives together with her workmate Precious Nyakudya
and both lived in Glen Norah A before Operation Murambatsvina was launched.
Nyakudya has a wife and two children.
There have been cholera outbreaks in the area, which affected nearly 50
people. According to the shack dwellers, some people nearly died in October,
November and December. The situation remains desperate.
Talking to the victims, one is left with a feeling that these people might
one unite and form a base for a calculated resistance against the Zimbabwe
Conmen have capitalised on the victims' destitution for their benefit. At
the beginning of the year, some men claiming to be home owners wrote down
their names and collected Z$20 000 from each person. But they soon
disappeared leaving no trace of their whereabouts.
Another group came later with some forms and claimed to the victims that
they would process their applications for residential stands but nothing
materialised. They parted with their Z$50 000 and remain exposed to more
fraudsters masquerading as responsible citizens.
These people are some of the 700 000 who lost their livelihoods through
Operation Murambatsvina as reported by the UN Secretary General's Special
Envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka in her final report, rejected by the
government of Zimbabwe as exaggerated and lacking truths.
The government has also rejected another independent report crafted by
Action Aid in liaison with the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA),
the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), and the Zimbabwe Peace
Project, which concluded that about 850 000 people had been left traumatised
by the exercise. - CHRA
16 February 2006
By Violet Gonda
Hundreds of activists from the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) are still languishing in police custody at Harare Central Police
station, and officials say they are being physically abused by the police.
WOZA Project Coordinator Jenni Williams, who earlier this week spent a night
in police custody with 181 others in Bulawayo, said at least 150 women are
still in custody in Harare and the police are using every trick to force
them to pay fines.
"Police are denying them food, denying them water. Every dirty trick
that they can play they are playing it and yet they themselves are starving
in their homes."
The WOZA women were arrested during Valentine's Day marches calling
for food and dignity. Their theme was "bread and roses."
Williams, who was also this week nominated for an international human
rights award, told us the police from the Law and Order Section were using
brutal force to make the women suffer. She said not only have the activists
been denied food and water but access to toilets is also being denied. They
were allegedly kept in the blazing sun from 2pm until sundown in Harare
while those in Bulawayo were kept out in the rain for 6 hours.
Because of this pressure, about 30 mothers with toddlers and pregnant
women were released after paying fines of ZW$25 000 each. But by 2 pm
Thursday the police suddenly decided to raise the fine to $250 000, making
it difficult for the remaining women.
A WOZA statement said that several women were assaulted, with some
being slapped with open palms across the face. Others were allegedly kicked
in their sides by booted officers as they sat on the floor in detention.
It is also alleged that another woman who developed bad stomach pains
in detention was only released after being forced to pay a fine. Those on
ARV treatment were unable to take their medication because they were denied
food while some 38 women spent Tuesday night standing in one tiny cell.
Williams said this was sheer malice aimed at punishing people who are
fighting for their freedom.
In spite of all this the women say they are determined to fight for
their rights. Jenni Williams said the WOZA women have been inspired by
Mahatma Ghandi's methods of peaceful resistance, as he once compared a
prison cell to a garden of freedom.
She said, "These were the words that inspired women when we were
mobilizing for bread and roses and that is why you see a huge number of us
wanting to be in the garden where our freedoms can be won."
The women strongly believe the pillars of Mugabe's support are
crumbling. In Bulawayo, for example, the prosecutor refused to prosecute the
women saying there was insufficient evidence.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 February 2006
One of the country's leading defence lawyers, Beatrice Mtetwa says it's
clear the interim committee running Zimbabwe Cricket has adopted a divide
and rule tactic to get at players opposed to the top management.
Mtetwa believes the fault lies entirely with the Sports and Recreation
Committee for letting individuals destroy the sport.
'I cannot understand how you can put back into the interim committee,
the very people that the players were complaining against. You say they must
sort things out, when its quite clear they had failed to sort things out
before,' said Mtetwa.
She said those who have refused to be divided are now getting a
backlash from Zimbabwe Cricket.
'What Zimbabwe Cricket is doing is sending out a clear message that we
are in control here, you do what we want or you will get no contract,' said
Speaking from Harare on Thursday in the aftermath of an attempt by ZC
to take back a vehicle from former vice-captain Dion Ebrahim, Mtetwa said
two police officers had forced their way into her client's home demanding
that he surrender the vehicle.
'This was a clear case of powerful figures at ZC abusing the police.
The police cannot involve themselves in a contractual dispute between two
'I said to the police if they want Dion to surrender the car to them,
the ZC should, in retrospect, surrender all that they owe to him to the
police, which is only fair,' she said.
Dion Ebrahim is one of several former players owed huge amounts of
cash by ZC. Part of that amount is from their two home test matches against
India and New Zealand. Since their fallout with ZC, several players have not
been offered new contracts and are now being forced to return ZC sponsored
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
February 16, 2006
Harare - Zimbabwe has had to revise down this season's tobacco production
target to just 70 million kilograms, one of its lowest ever harvests, the
state-controlled Herald reported on Thursday.
The low yields are being blamed on "late disbursements of funds and shortage
of inputs," the paper said.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) had initially announced that
it expected a harvest of 160 million kilograms.
"It is not yet clear how much would be produced this season but preliminary
assessment have put the total amount at between 60 and 70 million
kilograms," TIMB chairman Njodzi Machirori told the Herald.
"Most of our farmers received funds in December, causing delays for those
who wanted to grow dryland tobacco in September," he added.
Machirori said critical shortages of coal were hampering the curing of
early-planted tobacco, and pleaded for other stakeholders to "come in to
alleviate the problems that farmers are facing."
Tobacco used to be Zimbabwe's biggest foreign currency earner, supplying up
to 40 per cent of its foreign currency receipts. In 1999, one year before
the launch of the government's controversial land seizures, Zimbabwe
produced 250 million kilograms of tobacco.
Last season the figure was 74 million kilograms, the Herald said. - Sapa-dpa
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 02/17/2006 02:46:44
ZIMBABWE still has some overdue obligations to the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), despite settling all its arrears under the General Resources
Account (GRA), the fund said Wednesday.
"Zimbabwf on Wednesday made a further payment of US$9 million to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), thereby fully settling its remaining
overdue financial obligations to the General Resources Account (GRA)," the
"Zimbabwe still has substantial overdue obligations to the Poverty Reduction
and Growth Facility (PRGF)-Exogenous Shocks Facility Trust (ESF) amounting
to US$119 million."
It added that the Fund's executive board would conduct its regular review on
Zimbabwe on March 8 where it would deliberate on the country's co- operation
with the fund's policies and payments in view of the suspension of technical
assistance and declaration of non co-operation.
The IMF statement added: "The clearance of GRA arrears by Zimbabwe has no
effect on the application of the Fund's procedures for the treatment of
outstanding arrears to the PRGF-ESF Trust. Zimbabwe, therefore, remains
excluded from the list of PRGF-eligible countries."
Independent Tsholotsho MP Professor Jonathan Moyo told New Zimbabwe.com that
the risk of Zimbabwe falling behind its loan repayments once again remained
"The triumphant reporting in the State media today will give a fool the
impression that Zimbabwe has paid all its debt when all we have done is
catch up on arrears," said Moyo, a former government spokesman.
"With the current state of the economy, it will take nothing short of a
miracle for Zimbabwe to keep up these regular payments to the IMF. They have
complied but whether they remain compliant is another matter."
Moyo believes Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono did well to bring
Zimbabwe's loan repayments up to date, but should still resign.
He said: "Gono has done his best but his best is not good enough. The sooner
he realises that the solution is political, the better for the economy. He
should tell the people in government that the only solution for them is to
resign because one can't be governing when inflation is nearing four digits.
"The inflation has been rising with decline and rot in government. The more
the government rots, the higher the inflation."
In another statement released at the end of a recent visit by the IMF team
the fund said the country's economic crisis calls for a " comprehensive
policy package comprising several mutually reinforcing actions", adding that
failure to do that "prospects would be bleak".
It also called for the "elimination of quasi-fiscal activity of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe."
African News Dimension
Thursday, 16 February 2006, 1 hour, 11 minutes and 39 seconds ago.
By ANDnetwork Journalist
The Governor of Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, Thokozile Mathuthu, has
reportedly moved into a game hunting safari farm in Dete, located in the
province she heads.
According to impeccable sources, Governor Mathuthu reportedly moved
into Dete Valley 1, 2 and 3 a month ago, throwing many that had occupied the
farm into the wilderness.
The Dete Valley 1, 2 and 3 farm is located in the wildlife rich Gwayi
River Conservancy of Mat North.
Mathuthu however refused to talk to A.N.D when contacted for comment
"I don't want to talk to the press," she said before switching off her
Dete Valley 1, 2 and 3 farm occupied by the Governor has been at the
center of controversy after former Information Minister, Professor Jonathan
sister, Jacky Meyers was evicted from it following the fallout of Moyo
with other government Ministers after the Tsholotsho declaration.
Moyo's sister had acquired the farm during the land reform program
when Moyo was a feared government Minister.
Obert Mpofu, the Umguza Member of Parliament (MP) and now Minister of
Industry and International Trade also once occupied the farm during his
tenure as the Mat North governor.
The revelation comes at a time when speaker of Parliament and also
Zanu-PF chairman, John Nkomo is locked with his neighbour in the courts over
Safari in the same province.
Nkomo is battling to acquire the multi-billion dollar lodge from
Langton Masunda, a black economic activist and businessman.
Nkomo is arguing that the lodge falls in his Lugo Farm he got in 2003.
The lodge adjourns Masunda's Volunteer farm he was allocated in 2002.
However, Bulawayo High Court Judge, Justice Francis Bere, last
Thursday threw away the application by Nkomo to evict Masunda from the
Ruling Zanu-PF party politicians have in recent weeks been in the
press reportedly on allegations that they have grabbed certain farms.
Most of the politicians have been accused of looting farm equipment
They have also been accused of using the Constitutional Amendment Act
(Number 17), enacted last year, which forbids taking farm seizure cases to
court, to protect themselves from being hauled to court.
Magugu Nyati (AND- Zimbabwe)
By Collin Matiza and Grace Chingoma
TENNIS Zimbabwe are still to come out with their findings into the alleged
misuse of funds by their former president Paul Chingoka 10 months after he
was suspended from all tennis related activities.
Chingoka, the twotime Zimbabwe Sports Administrator of the Year, was in
April last year slapped with an indefinite suspension from all tennis
related activities to facilitate investigations into the way the association
was being run during his reign as president.
He was suspended with the association's treasurer Basheer Mohamed.
But almost a year down the line there is nothing coming out regarding what
Chingoka might have done either right or wrong.
Tanyaradzwa Chinamo, the Tennis Zimbabwe vice-president, said yesterday that
they were expecting to be through with their findings by the end of next
"We have made progress and we are waiting for the resolution. It is taking
time but it's being done properly and the Sports Commission are being
informed on our progress.
"A lot of things are being considered and the investigations are being
conducted with lawyers involved so obviously this takes a lot of time.
"Everything is being done professionally and is being handled with legal
advice. But all I can say is, in the next month, it (the case) will be
resolved," Chinamo said.
Tennis Zimbabwe and the Sports Commission recently struck a deal to address
allegations of misappropriation of funds by the Chingokaled executive.
TZ were granted permission by the Sports Commission to deal with the issue
within the confines of the association's constitution.
TZ, in turn, then set up a tribunal which was tasked to analyse the findings
of the auditors they engaged last year following allegations of misuse of
funds by the former TZ executive.
It was alleged that during Chingoka's reign as TZ president, funds from the
International Tennis Federation and proceeds from the Davis Cup competition
and the players' salaries were abused by the association.
This prompted the Sports Commission to set up an inquiry into the
allegations, leading to the suspension of Chingoka, who had stepped down as
TZ president at the beginning of last year, from all tennis related
activities last April.
Chingoka, who served as TZ president for 14 years until his departure at the
beginning of last year, was also forced to take leave from office as
president of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee following his suspension by the
The ZOC assembly asked Chingoka to take leave from office in April last year
until the TZ internal audit had been completed.
Admire Masenda is currently leading ZOC on an acting capacity.
Chingoka's departure from TZ appears to also have had an impact on the
profile of the domestic game with the association struggling to find a
During his era, a number of corporate entities had chipped in with
sponsorship packages for a number of tennis tournaments, especially for the
There had also been growing enthusiasm for the sport during a fine spell in
which the Davis Cup team reached the elite World Group stage, hosting such
powerhouses as the United States and Australia.
But with Chingoka nowhere insight, there seem to be a general lack of
interest in the country's participation in the Davis Cup competition in
which Zimbabwe have been relegated to play in the less glamorous EuroAfrican
Zone Group Two this year.
Zimbabwe, who played in the elite World Group between 2000 and 2002, are now
languishing in Group Two where they are scheduled to play their first round
tie against Norway at Harare Sports Club during the weekend of April 79.
The tie has been shifted from its traditional Davis Cup home - the City
Sports Centre - to Harare Sports Club as a costcutting measure by the
current TZ executive, which is led by their Mutare-based president, Annie
African News Dimension
Thursday, 16 February 2006, 10 hours, 54 minutes and 49 seconds ago.
By George Nyathi
Zimbabwe(A.N.D) Zimbabwean government officials might have been
duped into donating more than Z$1,5 billion into a non-existent project
aimed at producing a documentary on the life of the late Zimbabwean Vice
President Joshua Nkomo
Nkomo died in 1999 and was declared a national hero. Soon after his
burial, a group known as Friends of Joshua Nkomo was launched in Bulawayo
with the aim of producing a documentary on the life of the vice president.
Several government officials donated financially towards "the cause" that
has since turned into one of the biggest scandals to rock the Robert
Highly placed and impeccable sources told ANDnetwork last week that
most members of the group had dumped the project and were now doing menial
jobs in South Africa. Information made available to ANDnetwork shows that
only one member of the group was now regularly seen in Bulawayo while the
rest of the members are nowhere to be found. The presence of this group
member, observers said, was meant to provide cover for the group and
convince authorities that something was indeed in the pipeline, yet the
project died a natural death long ago.
The group director, Rayban Sengwayo is reportedly in South Africa
after acquiring South African citizenship by virtue of being married to a
South African woman. "That project was given to the wrong person. Rayban
Sengwayo was just in the project because it was his opportunity to make
money for himself and not because he had any interest in that project," one
of the sources said.
Other sources that at one time handled the finances of the project
alleged that Sengwayo at times abused his authority and influence as the
group director to siphon funds from the project. The sources said that he
would collect money from the group's bank account where he was the sole
signatory and use it for his personal use, thereby leaving the group
grounded and without money.
Lavish spending had been the order of the group before they left for
South Africa where they were said to have gone for "recordings and further
research on the life of Nkomo." The group opened a beverage, accommodation,
and food account at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, where funds raised from the
initiative are said to have been used to settle the account. According to
information supplied, the group received funds from several ministers who
donated foreign currency secretly to the group as some of them feared they
could be questioned on how they acquired the foreign currency.
One of the ministers is reported to have donated 1000 pounds to the
group while the current speaker of parliament and Zanu PF national chairman,
John Nkomo was said to have donated an excess of Z$15 million using a front.
The group left several service providers reeling from debts as it
failed to settle several of its bills back home. Telephone service provider
Tel*One and several other companies are reportedly owed several millions of
dollars by the group. The service providers are however unable to claim
their money as they can no longer trace any member of the group, more so,
with the director reportedly now a permanent South African citizen.
Authorities in Harare are however dismayed over the failure to produce
the documentary with one of the authorities having been quoted as saying
that they had suspicions about the motives of the group long back.
'The policy attitude of President Mbeki and his colleagues in the region is
a dereliction of responsibility'
'South Africa wants a peaceful region for the 2010 World Cup'
JOHANNESBURG - The issue of Zimbabwean immigrants and refugees in South
Africa is a complex one requiring immediate intervention by leaders from all
sectors of society. Out of Zimbabwe's population of more than 13 million,
one third is now effectively resident outside the country.
The mere fact that 1 000 Zimbabweans risk their lives streaming into South
Africa every day reflects failure within the country's leadership and also
at regional level to create a situation of peace and stability in the
country. A simple linear projection means if current trends are sustained
about a million people are crossing into South Africa every three years!
The massive impact that this has on the structure of the population cannot
be ignored. Zimbabwean society needs help. This is not a crisis that can
simply be divided between political and economic causes, and South African
public officials are certainly wasting their time looking for political and
What we are seeing in South Africa are only the symptoms are a deeper crisis
of political leadership in Zimbabwe. All the current initiatives are built
on the assumption that it is the migrant who is the source of the problem.
There seems to be a deliberate campaign in the region to ignore the real
causes of the crisis, bury heads in the sand and terrorize innocent people
who are only trying to make ends meet.
Last week three significant developments in Southern Africa helped bring out
more clearly the true colors of regional leaders. In Botswana, Zimbabweans
were beaten up in their 'Operation Clean-Up,' which is targeted at
In the same week the Zambian Government took the opportunity to deport the
legitimate President of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, whose election victory
in 2002 went largely unsupported by the regional leadership, as a matter of
Taken seriously, the policy attitude of President Mbeki and his colleagues
in the region is a dereliction of responsibility. His comment last week
that South Africa will adopt a hands-off approach to the Zimbabwean question
reflects a leader who has failed to demonstrate leadership at a time when
his expertise is perhaps most needed.
The size and importance, in political and economic terms, of South Africa in
the region demands meaningful responses from Mbeki. It is a serious mistake
to blame victims of a crisis for the cause of that crisis, and ruling
politicians in this part of Africa will be judged by history when justice
What the region needs today is pro-active, creative, revolutionary political
and economic leadership. Otherwise current trends point towards a
conflagration in Zimbabwe, in the form of civil disobedience. South Africa
wants a peaceful region for the 2010 World Cup, not turmoil along its
It is pointless to try to solve the problem by fixing the migrants. The
solution is clearly political. It requires regional leaders to begin to
approach the issues differently, with the real interests of Zimbabweans at
heart. Then we can all grow together in a region where people enjoy their
true democratic freedoms, where the rule of the law is respected, where
there is real progression, stability, and democracy. - Rogers Mudarikwa.
Spokesperson Zimbabwe Action Support Group, ZASG, Email
firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 0723266356
BEIRA - Addressing a gathering of 200 people here last week, the Zimbabwe
Action Support Group (ZASG) National Coordinator and Spokesperson, Rodgers
Mudarikwa, stressed the need for a broad alliance of social organisations
fighting on different fronts for democracy in Zimbabwe.
"If all these organisations are serious, they can make the country
ungovernable, until Zanu (PF) surrenders to the power of the people and the
opportunity is created for a new constitution," said Mudarikwa.
He said the ZASG had already established its structures in South Africa and
was in the process of establishing structures in other countries in the
region. It was important to have these structures in place in preparation
for real action rather than continued talking, he added.
"In 2006 about 3 million Zimbabweans are resident in South Africa. They flee
from a governing authority whose domination and ruthlessness is now in
competition with the world's worst.
"Even in South Africa, they face horrendous human rights abuses. Several
attempts over the past two decades by the MDC and churches in Southern
Africa to bring sanity in the ranks of the Zanu (PF) and restore some
semblance of stability and peace in Zimbabwe have failed. The poor and
vulnerable are continually exposed to the bad policies of the ruling party."
Mudarikwa said his group planned to intensify the struggle, and would visit
all the countries bordering Zimbabwe during the next few months, to
encourage Zimbabweans there to mobilize to support their brothers and
sisters at home.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
KWE KWE - A "coalition of civic groups" has claimed responsibility for packs
of playing cards that have turned up in Zimbabwe over the past few weeks.
The group, which is believed to include several human rights groups and
other members of civil society, says it has distributed the cards "in an
effort to boost morale but also get a message across about the problems
confronting the nation."
The cards have already become something of a collector's item and feature
cartoons of the ruling elite.
Fanuel Moyo of Kwekwe, told The Zimbabwean that he had picked up several
packs of cards in a local eating house where they had been left on a table
near the bar.
"The best is the cards give us something to laugh about," he said while
showing off his deck of 52. "They don't call for violence or hurt anybody,
but they have made a lot of people happy."
Aside from KweKwe, there have been reports of packs turning up as far apart
as Bulawayo and Bindura, while others have landed on the desks of lobby
groups in Europe, the USA and Australia. Tourists have also been spotted
with packs at hotels in Victoria Falls.
The distributors said this week that several of their member organisations
are active inside Zimbabwe, which is why they had chosen not to list the
individual groups, but said that the handout of cards was continuing.
The printing was believed to have been done in Europe, but the coalition
refused to give further details. However, several hundred packs received by
various Zimbabwe support groups in Britain and the USA had been mailed from
16 February 2006
Zimbabweans are unfortunate in that the dwindling sources of information
have turned this country into a nation exposed to half-truths, distortions,
untested conspiracies and rumours. All the three State-aligned daily
newspapers have failed to fill the growing information vacuum.
These newspapers claim to be purveyors and suppliers of information yet what
they give out is simply drivel and advocacy propaganda on behalf of Zanu PF.
The grand plan is to turn Zimbabweans into a mediocre people, unable to
debate and question pertinent issues in their own society.
Recently, these newspapers reported that MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai
became the first Zimbabwean politician to be deported from Zambia. This
display of ignorance is unacceptable. Surprisingly, the same propaganda line
was taken by Patrick Chinamasa who even went to Parliament and uttered
For a Justice Minister, celebrating the suffering of a fellow Zimbabwean
makes a mockery of the expected consular protection our people should enjoy
whenever they reside or visit foreign lands.
Our embassies should, as primary responsibility, attend to Zimbabweans in
distress and not to laugh at them, as it normally does in cases involving
MDC supporters in the Diaspora.
Chinamasa and other ignoramuses in Zanu PF ended up mistaking President
Morgan Tsvangirai's deportation for Zambian solidarity with the tyranny of
the Zanu PF and the dictatorship. They only manage to expose themselves for
what they are; opportunists who have no knowledge of the liberation struggle
whose fruits they today claim monopoly on.
A look into the events of the liberation history will confirm the
often-impulsive disposition of Zambian authorities towards bullies and
tyrants that surround their country. Zambia is a cautious nation, keen to
avoid confrontation whenever it is intimidated.
Some events that took place as Zambia hosted liberation movements cannot be
understood outside their proper context. Zambia's position towards
supporting Zimbabwe and Namibia's independence struggles was unequivocal.
Yet Zambia suffered from impulsive behaviour much of which was informed by
its military vulnerability and its penchant desire to escape aggression from
its belligerent neighbours.
Zambia's desire to escape possible aggression of the usually careless, but
highly belligerent neighbours is manifest in a number of incidences, some of
which we chronicle below.
In 1972 after the formation of Frolizi, Zanu and Zapu, the liberation
movements of that period, appreciated the need for a concerted rather than
divided approach in their confrontation with the Smith regime. This desire
to form a united armed front resulted in the formation of a Joint Military
Command, (JMC) which brought together the commanders of the two-armed wings
of Zanu and Zapu.
At that time part of the military commanders of both Zanla and Zipra were
based in Tanzania, which housed most of the guerilla training camps. The JMC
held its first meeting in Tanzania and decided to hold its second meeting in
Zambia in the same year.
The OAU liberation committee assisted the military commanders based in
Tanzania with air tickets to enable them to attend the JMC meeting in
Lusaka, Zambia. Part of the commanders then based in Tanzania included
Webster Gwauya (Nenji) of Zanla, and Nikita Mangena of Zipra.
On arrival at Lusaka international airport, these commanders were refused
entry by the Zambian authorities. Efforts were made to seek the release of
these commanders so that they could join their comrades at the JMC meeting
to no avail. They were later deported back to Dar-es-Salaam.
In another related incident, which left the liberation forces even more
confused is the deportation of veteran politician Walter Mtimukulu as the
Zambians tried to grapple with possible consequences of the formation, by
Nathan Shamuyarira and others, of Front for Liberation of Zimbabwe
Walter Mtimukulu and about 120 other trained combatants were deported to
Smith's Rhodesia to meet their fate. At least, this incident is in the
Zambia's indecision on how to approach specific issues continued. In 1971,
Dr. Gordon Bango and Dr. Augustus Mudzingwa -- two Zimbabwean medical
graduates from Hungary decided to join their Zipra comrades in the camps in
Zambia. On arrival at Lusaka International Airport, Zambian officials who
claimed to be in touch with the late George Nyandoro met them.
When the two insisted on being aligned to Zapu and therefore Zipra, their
fate was sealed. They were deported after two weeks in remand prison. Dr.
Gordon Bango and Dr. Augustus Mudzingwa were only allowed to join the Zipra
forces in Zambia three years later.
President Tsvangirai's deportation is therefore not an isolated incident of
political intrigue as portrayed by Zanu PF, but it typifies the attitude of
successive Zambian governments towards those fighting for freedom in
Other incidences that also come to the mind are earlier deportations that
happened in the wake of the historic Chinhoyi battle. I want to believe that
some of these incidences will require more space than can be allowed for
this kind of statement.
The people of Zimbabwe are aware that just as the deportations of Zanla and
Zipra cadres did not extinguish the raging fire of the people's quest for
freedom, so too will Zambia's deportation of President Tsvangirai fail to
dampen their spirits ahead of a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe.
Like the liberation forces, the MDC as a post-colonial formation whose sole
thrust is to extend freedom and fulfill the ideals of the struggle,
Tsvangirai and others shall triumph. As the late President Samora Machel
said at the signing of the Nkomati Accord in 1984 when his country was
forced by the apartheid regime to banish the African National Congress of
South Africa from Mozambique: "Although Africans have been humiliated for a
long time, they always win." From slavery to colonialism, the poor African
always laughs last.
The people of Zimbabwe have been thoroughly humiliated for the past six
years. Our Congress is due in March. Robert Mugabe and his associates cannot
stop an idea whose time has come.
Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity.
16 February 2006
The MDC condemns the arrest of over 300 women on a peaceful demonstration on Valentine’s Day as the work of a paranoid government now afraid of its own people.
Zimbabweans are asking what skeletons this government has in its cupboard that make it panic even when innocent flower-wielding women engage on a peaceful demonstration. The women, who are members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), were demonstrating on issues that resonate with millions of Zimbabweans; an immediate end to hunger and hatred.
It appears singing love songs and handing out roses, as the women were doing, has become criminal in Zimbabwe. Among those arrested by this dictatorship were breastfeeding women and their babies.
This regime’s gross violation of human rights and its continued use of repressive laws, POSA in particular, to infringe on people’s rights has reached alarming levels. The MDC condemns in the strongest terms the imprisonment of women and babies for exercising their basic rights such as freedom of movement and assembly.
Scaring innocent women and their babies with teargas and baton-wielding policemen is not exactly synonymous with a democratic society, but with rogue regimes such as the one Zimbabwe has become.
This government is increasing its catalogue of crimes against humanity by continuing to violate international instruments that protect human rights. What the regime is simply achieving by their brutality against the nation is to keep the international radar focussed on Zimbabwe as an unparalleled predator of people’s rights and their dignity. With these political crimes, human rights violations and cantankerous behaviour, this government, and not the MDC, is liable for the bad publicity and the pariah status bedevilling the country.
Only yesterday, the regime was at it again. Peaceful demonstrations by students against the unilateral and senseless hike in tertiary college fees were brutally crushed by this regime in Bulawayo. Several students were arrested for exercising their democratic right.
Zimbabweans are clear that this repression is on its last stretch. Robert Mugabe and his government cannot continue to use batons and teargas to communicate with peaceful citizens exercising their basic right to express themselves. The nation can now see the horizon of a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.
The MDC believes in the sanctity of human rights and the protection of the dignity of all citizens. We believe in freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement. The MDC believes in a democratic constitution that guarantees citizens these fundamental freedoms and rights in a new Zimbabwe.
Our congress next month will address these critical issues and the way forward. The nation is tired of this brutality. We believe there is no other way except to confront this regime. The ides of March will see Zimbabweans gathering for our second national Congress.
To all Zimbabweans at home and abroad, these last kicks of a dying horse are only but the labour pains ahead of the birth of a new Zimbabwe.
Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Publicity and Information
By Lance Guma
15 February 2006.
The economic quagmire that has become Zimbabwe continues to produce
fascinating stories of resilience and improvisation as various people
try to ensure their survival in different ways. The last few months
however have seen a rising trend of people stealing street signs for
resale to scrap metal dealers. Lionel Saungweme from Bulawayo reports
that local authorities countrywide are struggling to maintain street and
direction signs as they keep getting stolen. Not helping matters is the
high value of the materials currently in use as street signs.
Any sign that has been made using any of the major metals including
aluminium, iron, copper, or zinc, is being targeted by the daring
thieves. These fetch a lot of money in the scrap metal business
especially given that most mainstream metal industries are struggling to
survive in an unstable economy. What most local authorities are now
having to do is build concrete slabs, paint them with luminous
background paint before writing the actual inscription on top. That way
the sign does not have any high value components.
Jail terms for crimes of this nature are generally high but this has not
deterred those stealing the signs, a fact which emphasises the desperate
plight most Zimbabweans have been put in due to corruption and economic
SW Radio Africa
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-16
AS the drama at Harare City Council continues to unfold, employees yesterday
voiced concern over the situation at Town House, saying it was not conducive
for the implementation of the turnaround strategy.
The workers' worries come hard on the heels of Monday's dismissal of city
chief strategist Chester Mhende by council on charges of insubordination and
creating chaos at Town House.
Yesterday, the chairman of the Harare Municipal Workers Union (HMWU), Cosmas
Bungu, expressed his union's dismay over the prevailing situation saying it
was affecting the performance of employees.
He said Harare must have reputable conditions of service like other capitals
in the region, but with the current state-of-affairs, that would not be
Bungu said: "It is impossible to turn around the fortunes of the city with
the current squabbles rocking Town House whereby senior officials are always
He claimed responsible authorities have not done anything to update
employees on the strategic plan because of the on going in-house fights
dogging the municipality.
"As employees, we are an integral part of the strategic plan, but nothing
has been communicated to us at works council, yet tomorrow the blame would
be extended to us," he said.
Bungu also charged that working conditions had seriously deteriorated to the
extent that employees are working without protective clothing and tools.
"Some employees are now buying sweeping brooms from Mbare Musika on their
own, while the majority use tree branches," he said.
There were also fears that poor remuneration would affect the pace of the
turnaround plan, said Bungu.
He reinforced local government minister, Ignatius Chombo's call for all
stakeholders to work towards improving the situation and accused council of
opposing the minister's directive.
"The Minister called for dialogue between all parties, but how will the
problems be addressed when the employer is refusing to attend the Employment
Council and Works Council?" asked Bungu.
The city's spokesperson, Madenyika Magwenjere refused to comment, saying he
was attending meetings. Apart from the Mhende saga, Town Clerk Nomutsa
Chideya is quarrelling with the chairperson running the affairs of Harare,
Sekesai Makwavarara over her demand to be availed with $18 billion to
furnish the mayoral mansion without going to tender.
Chideya is also at the centre of the suspension of director of waste
management, Leslie Gwindi, after the former city spokesperson allegedly
refused to relocate to his new premises.