22 February 2005 PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF
We launched our election manifesto and our election
campaign in Masvingo on Sunday. I took the opportunity at the time to
introduce our winning team of 120 candidates to the nation, at a moving
ceremony attended by almost all senior MDC leaders at various levels, war
veterans, diplomats, community leaders, heads of religious denominations and
Notwithstanding the hostile electoral environment, all
signs show that we are back to the spirit of 1999. The difference though is
that we enter the race from a point of strength. We now have a consolidated
party supported by solid structures and an organized campaign
We are confident of victory because our promise and
our concerns resonate with the people. Our manifesto is a result of intense
consultations with the people. We are aware of the immense challenges that
we shall face as an MDC government after winning the election in March.
Despite the odds, the people are keen to re-organize their lives and to
start afresh. They are determined to see a new beginning and a new
Food security tops the list of issues affecting
Zimbabwean families. We have to move fast to restore sanity in agriculture
in order to stabilize food supply and food availability. Contrary to claims
that we have sufficient stocks of food, most households - particularly in
the south and western parts of the country - have erratic food
We take March 31 as an opportunity to put to rest a
multitude of anxieties about the future, about peace and security, on
investment and the economy, on governance and the Constitution and about our
Zimbabweans live with the crude fact
that the past five years have turned our entire national resource base into
dead capital. Land no longer has any economic value. Labour, despite its
high quality, impressive literacy levels and agility, lies untapped,
Agricultural recovery shall be rooted on a non-negotiable
return to the rule of law, the restoration of private property rights and a
strict adherence to the fundamental rights enshrined in a people-driven
We believe agriculture shall once again assume its
economic leadership position, with new opportunities for the revival of
industry, food security, increased exports, new jobs and foreign exchange
for essential imports.
As I have always cautioned, for an economy
largely dependant on agriculture, what happened here in the past five years
is unfortunate. If you tamper with the land, you destroy your revenue base.
You blow life out of all essential services: health, education, taxation,
public services and employment. We must restore sanity in agriculture to use
that industry in order to revive education, to repair our health services,
to restart the economy and to create jobs.
Food security is a
basic human right. But can the human right to adequate food be fulfilled by
a dictatorship? Is it possible for a failed regime to fulfil the nutritional
needs of the people through authoritarian measures? The answer is obviously
a negative one.
The MDC policies and programmes seek to observe
the fundamental right to food security as a social and legal obligation, on
the part of the state, to ensure that all Zimbabwean citizens get sufficient
food. Because of our abundant resources, full employment can be a reality
within a short space of time.
We wish to make it clear that
our victory in March means that Zimbabwe will never experience food
shortages again, given the lessons confirmed by the current wave of
carelessness. Zimbabwe has enough agriculture resources to steer us from
starvation, economic deprivation and poverty. We have all it takes to
reassert our previous position as a net exporter of food.
value our dignity as a people. In the short term, we have limited choices.
We shall have to depend on international support. We wish to do away with
this dependence syndrome on food. Zimbabweans yearn for self-sufficiency in
food. Surviving on handouts either from the state or from international
donors diminishes the people's dignity and their influence and choices over
what and how they are being fed.
The situation gets worse when
the little that is available is distributed along partisan
Access to food and food availability affect the protection and
promotion of human rights and human dignity.
throughout Zimbabwe is based on a correct assumption that if we get the
right poll and political results, if we get a legitimate government in
March, Zimbabwe could be poised for immense opportunities for freedom and
The persistent structural issues of inequality and
bias in growth and redistribution could be resolved as the people enjoy
sufficient breathing space to undo 24 years of damage and
Peace and legitimacy hold the key to our efforts to
rebuild Zimbabwe. The MDC commits itself to restoring law and order and to
allow Zimbabweans with diverse political opinions to re-unite and co-exist
in an environment of peace. Peace is the basis upon which our economic
stabilisation and recovery plan rests.
With vast lands lying
fallow and an 85 percent unemployment rate, land and labour have indeed
become dead economic resources. Highly mechanised farms, expensive farm
machinery, first class hotels, lodges and holiday facilities, developed
conservancies and wildlife sanctuaries, well-equipped hospitals and a once
sophisticated mining, manufacturing and service infrastructure stands idle.
We all know that our base is wasting away; plenty of dead capital in our
midst. We promise to bring the entire country back to life.
objective is to see a secure society with full employment, a society that
enjoys universal benefits and rights. Our objective is to place solid
safeguards for job security as a first step towards total
To absorb the shocks of the current damage to our
economy, our initial stabilisation challenge shall be to tackle the nexus of
inflation, interest rates and exchange rates in order to steady prices,
encourage savings and restore sanity on the market.
make a fresh start. Zimbabwe needs a new beginning. Food and jobs shall be
our top priorities. With this in mind, our winning team is raring to go. As
of Sunday, we are all over Zimbabwe.
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is
awaiting an invitation from the Zimbabwean government to monitor the 31
March elections, "but there is no crisis, we still have enough time," a
senior official told IRIN.
"We are expecting an invitation any day now
and it is not too late. I have been part of observer missions which have
arrived [in countries going to polls] three weeks before the elections,"
said Jesse Duarte, director of multilateral affairs at the South African
Department of Foreign Affairs. Duarte was speaking to IRIN from Mauritius,
where an SADC ministerial meeting begins this week.
government has made a commitment to inviting the team, and we respect that,"
she said. The team will be a "statutory" one that includes legal experts
from the region. South Africa chairs the SADC organ on politics, defence and
Zimbabwe's foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, revealed a list of
countries invited to observe the elections, including SADC members, during
the weekend. "I am not in a position to comment on that as we have not
received any notification from Mr Mudenge," Duarte told
According to the SADC's electoral guidelines, invitations to
observer missions should be extended 90 days before elections.
timing of the invitation is not in accordance with international norms and
practice. A smaller SADC team should have visited the country at least two
or three months ahead of the elections, at least to verify the electoral
roll," said Anne Hammerstad, an SADC expert with South Africa's Institute
for Security Studies.
SADC would be unable to pronounce a "credible"
verdict on the elections, as it had failed to monitor the run-up to the
ballot, she pointed out.
"It is already too late to send an observer
mission now," the Africa Institute's SADC expert, Sehlare Makgetlaneng, told
IRIN. "SADC should have been more pro-active", and pressured the government,
Russia is the only European country among the 32 nations invited
by Zimbabwe: 23 are from Africa, five from Asia and three from the Americas.
Regional and international organisations to which invitations have been
extended include the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (COMESA), the Non-Aligned Movement and the UN.
last legislative elections in Zimbabwe in 2000 were marred by violence and
intimidation, and the government has been under pressure to ensure that the
March ballot is seen to be free and fair.
Europe renews Zimbabwe sanctions European Union
foreign ministers have renewed sanctions against Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe
for another year. However, they said the measures - a response to the
political and human rights situation - could be re-examined after next
month's parliamentary poll.
The extension, which came on the
day Mr Mugabe celebrated his 81st birthday, was passed unanimously without
The sanctions include a ban on Mr Mugabe and other
government officials from travelling to EU countries.
first implemented three years ago.
Foreign critics have said President Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF rigged
parliamentary elections in 2000 and the 2002 presidential poll, and accuse
the government of widespread human rights abuses.
apply to all senior Zimbabwean officials "who commit human rights violations
and restrict freedom of opinion, association and peaceful protest",
according to an EU resolution. Last year, the ban was extended from 79 to 95
Other sanctions include a ban on arms sales and the
freezing of Zimbabwean assets in European banks.
Mr Mugabe said
on Sunday that he wanted the 31 March parliamentary elections to be a
peaceful victory that would be a lesson for his critics at home and
He said he hoped his Zanu-PF party would win a massive
victory over the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that would
undercut criticism from the MDC and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who he
says sponsors the opposition.
Amid worsening oppression in Zimbabwe, EU Ministers last
night renewed targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime. While the
Council agreed that sanctions should be reviewed after Zimbabwe's general
election on 31 March, it failed to threaten tougher action should the
elections not be free and fair.
Geoffrey Van Orden MEP,
Conservative Spokesman on Human Rights, said:
"With elections in
Zimbabwe fast approaching, simply renewing existing EU sanctions will not
send a clear message to the regime that it must change for the better or
face the consequences. Why has the EU failed to take this opportunity to
threaten further specific sanctions should next month's elections be marred
by violence, oppression and intimidation? The British Government has missed
yet another opportunity to exert influence in the EU Council.
Conditions in Zimbabwe are appalling. The opposition MDC has no access to
the State-controlled media, its meetings are disrupted and there are over
400 court cases pending against MDC candidates. It is critical that the
international community intervenes quickly to ensure that the general
election is held in accordance with accepted democratic standards and in the
presence of a robust international monitoring mission.
has missed an opportunity to exert pressure on the Mugabe regime. It is now
essential that Zimbabwe's neighbours, led by South Africa, take action to
ensure that Zimbabwe does not spiral further into disaster."
The commander of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga, has been welcomed with a 21-gun salute
Smoke from the cannons merged with mist at a welcoming
parade at the offices of Armscor in eastern Pretoria.
The flags of
South Africa and Zimbabwe flew as Chiwenga inspected the President's Guard
under cover from intermittent rain.
The parade marked the beginning of a
five-day visit by the head of Zimbabwe's armed forces as a guest of the
chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Siphiwe
Zimbabwe is scheduled to go to the polls next months in
controversial elections. Chiwenga said last August that the Zimbabwe army
will never allow the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to take
over the country, even if it wins an election, according to a report on the
Zim Observer website.
Mugabe, 81, renews attack on Tony Blair
February 21, 2005
President Robert Mugabe prepared to celebrate his
81st birthday today by launching a fresh attack on British Prime Minister
Tony Blair and hitting out at his sacked information minister, Jonathan
Mugabe described the relationship between the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and former colonial ruler Britain as
"treasonous", in a 90-minute interview on state television.
"That's the worst betrayal there can ever be, it's treasonous, condemnable.
You can't eat with the enemy," he said.
"You can never ever
convince an Englishman that you are equal to him ... He is always superior,
it doesn't matter what circumstances, it doesn't matter what education, it
doesn't matter what power, you are always inferior."
mentioning him by name, Mugabe inferred that Moyo, whom he fired from the
Information Ministry at the weekend, was overly ambitious for trying to
"arbitrarily" uproot the old guard in the ruling Zanu-PF.
Mugabe's chief propagandist over the past five years, got the sack after he
decided to run in parliamentary elections next month as an
"Democracy is rules, you cannot operate without
rules, you must recognise how people together can share power," Mugabe said
in an interview recorded before he sacked Moyo.
Asked what he
would do if he was to meet Blair, Mugabe said he would accuse him of being a
"I would tell him that he, Tony Blair, is a liar,
straightforwardly, that on Zimbabwe he has lied, on Iraq he has
Mugabe accused Blair of falsely claiming that Zimbabwe is
undemocratic, lacks transparency and the rule of law.
he was not running away from issues at home by adopting an "anti-Blair"
theme for his party's electoral campaign, Mugabe said Blair had interfered
with Zimbabwe's domestic affairs through his "agent" the MDC. -
'How I fled Zim after tip-off over Mugabe swoop on
journalists' February 21, 2005
"At 11.30am on Wednesday I
fled from Zimbabwe. In 24 hours I had abandoned my life of 30 years in
Harare and stepped into an unknown one. I feel naked."
were three people when I walked into the Plumtree border post to Botswana.
The immigration officer rifled the pages of my passport without raising his
eyebrows in any recognition, stamped it forcefully and smiled back at my
He sent me to a door marked "CID" to present my police
vehicle clearance certificate. Gulp. The young officer asked me where my
name came from, and I said my Dutch ancestors had settled at the Cape 300
"You are an African," he said, welcomingly. President
Mugabe for the last five years has been telling me and anyone else white to
"go back to Britain". I drove out slowly, and said thank you three times to
the security guard who took my gate pass.
earlier, a colleague who talks to tame operatives in the Central
Intelligence Organisation, Mr Mugabe's secret police, had asked me to meet
her urgently. In my car, she said she had been told that they were "gunning
for you". This time "they are going to be rough", she said. "You must get
out now." She was crying.
Shortly after, my lawyer, the indomitable
Beatrice Mtetwa, telephoned to say she had information they wanted to lock
up all three of us - me, Angus Shaw and Brian Latham. They said they
appeared to be considering using provisions to detain suspects for 28 days
without being brought to court.
Three raids by the "Law and Order"
section of the CID since Monday had made me begin to turn over the vague
emergency plans we had all discussed in the last five years of the Mugabe
The latest warnings brought giddiness and shortened
Officials at the South African embassy promptly processed a
visa for my passport, which is Zimbabwean. Since Monday I had not slept at
home and was talking in code over the telephone. The ring of the phone
jarred, and at the sight of a strange car passing slowly you watch from
behind the curtain.
Now I parked my car at a friend's home, and
borrowed his. I slipped home in the borrowed car, and in 15 minutes had
packed clothing for a week, toiletries, personal documents, my laptop,
shortwave radio, binoculars, camera, penknife - most of which would be
pounced on by zealous CIOs as a standard espionage outfit - and Z$1.5
million which I won't be able to use anywhere else in the world. I told my
plans only to my closest friends, and drove through the night toward the
border, exhausted and in a state of acute anxiety.
intimidation started on Monday 2.30am with a lot of banging and hooting at
the locked gate to my home. Two men demanded to be allowed in and tried to
force it open. I kept my light off and waited. The alarm was switched on and
the car drove off.
Mid-morning the same day, two young plainclothes
policemen appeared at the office and identified themselves.
They said they were investigating "a tip-off" that there were spies at No 20
Birdcage Walk, our run-down office in central Harare. Beatrice laughed when
she heard this, and told the young detective constable, "My friend, if you
are looking for spies, you should go to Zanu (PF) headquarters."
guffawed and gave her a high-five. They left.
An hour later, three
more detectives arrived in a large white Toyota with no numberplates, and
parked it with the nose sticking out into the road (for a getaway, according
to the CIO manual). They left a child inside, like my father did with me
when he went on life insurance rounds.
They refused to identify
themselves and tried to chase Beatrice off. They said we were working
illegally as journalists. The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years
in prison. We have applied for accreditation, but the state Media Commission
has sat on our applications for the last three years. In these
circumstances, the law allows us to work, but the detectives were not having
any of it.
Then a tall young police computer hacker turned up
and examined our office's third-world electronic systems. She became excited
over a satellite dish and said it appeared to be illegal.
of us was there on Tuesday when a gang of 10 policemen arrived for an
intensive search. The young hacker was digging into Angus's hard drive when
Beatrice arrived. She was told to go to hell when she asked if they had a
warrant. The office telephone rang and the hacker answered. "This is the new
receptionist," she said.
She appeared to have found correspondence
of foreign currency transfers ordered by Angus. "Now we've got him!" she
shouted. It is illegal to deal in foreign currency except through the
However, it would be highly unlikely that she had
found anything real at all, because Angus is one of Africa's best known
foreign correspondents, has covered enough wars around the continent and
written two respected books that have earned him enough money to run a bank
account outside Zimbabwe.
In three days they poked around our
office and tried out four possible offences. It was evident they were
looking for anything they could stick on us.
On the third
visit, they were led by the officer commanding Law and Order nationally,
which gives an indication of how high the orders to raid us must have come
The affair is not unrelated to the fact that there are
elections at the end of next month. Mr Mugabe is determined to prove to the
world that he runs clean elections in the midst of violence and an awesomely
repressive legal apparatus. Key to that is the absence of all critical
In Zimbabwe, it is as if the government has put up "no
parking" all over the city, banning parking everywhere. But everyone ignores
the signs, and parks just as they used to. The government is the worst
offender, but police take no action.
But let anyone annoy the
government, and they will be arrested for parking in a no-parking
The last three years has seen a wave of new laws that
regulate every aspect of life, but they are used almost exclusively against
those who fall foul of the regime. Chris Kuruneri, the former finance
minister who embarrassed the government with allegedly monstrous foreign
currency dealings, has been awaiting trial since April last year. Phillip
Chiyangwa, flamboyant ruling party MP, was accused of "spying" when he gave
briefings on Zanu (PF) party inside politics to a South African. He was
illegally arrested by the CIO who held him for two weeks in pitch dark and
If they can do that to party heavies, the
three of us at 20 Birdcage Walk have little expectation of a fair
hearing from anyone or anything, from those arresting details to the chief
justice. Mr Mugabe could have got rid of us illegally by refusing us
When Mr Mugabe was elected in 1980, he was unlike
any African leader. He spoke with a plummy accent and won my heart by his
policy of reconciliation between whites and blacks and the enemies of the
seven-year guerrilla war.
Then the story changed, and gradually
it appeared a corrupt authoritarian system had been established. In 2000, he
was challenged for the first time, and very nearly beaten. Up to the
presidential elections in 2002, we were recording historical change before
our eyes. Since then it has been replaced by a fully tyrannical regime
determined to stay forever.
Church joins fight to save woman from deportation A
MORPETH church has joined a woman's desperate fight against deportation to
her native Zimbabwe after it was alleged thugs with connections to Robert
Mugabe murdered her husband and young daughter. The St James's United
Reformed Church (URC) has collected over a hundred signatures as part of the
campaign to keep Edneth Gotora in the UK and prevent her falling into the
hands of Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF Party.
The Government has so far refused
Mrs Gotora's asylum bid.
But URC leaders in the North East are determined
to overturn the decision and are delighted with the Morpeth
Mrs Gotora, who currently lives in Stockton, fled to Britain in
October 2002 and lives in constant fear of going back to her
Her husband was a prominent figure in Zimbabwe's MDC Youth
Organisation. He spoke regularly at meetings and rallies and distributed
literature against Mugabe's regime.
In early 2002, the couple's home
was subjected to a series of brutal attacks and in February that year both
Mrs Gotora and her husband were beaten up by Zanu PF youths.
following month Zanu PF members came to the house and subjected the family
to an unspeakable ordeal.
Mrs Gotora's husband was taken away and
murdered and their four year-old daughter later died from her
The crimes were reported to her local MP by Mrs Gotora and the
Police promised to investigate.
A senior officer apprehended the
suspects and planned to put them on trial.
But they were released on bail
and came to Mrs Gotora's house and threatened her.
After one visit
she was abducted and taken to a Zimbabwean 'rehabilitation camp' where
officials tortured her and while there she was raped.
She became so
unwell she was taken to hospital from where she escaped.
In November last
year the British Government revoked an order stating Zimbabweans were not to
be deported from the UK.
Joy Wight, the Morpeth Church Group's Refugee
Support Group Co-ordinator, said: "It's a harrowing case and one we felt we
couldn't ignore, so we were happy to hand around the petition and we got a
"The bottom line is that Edneth shouldn't be deported and
the argument that her life won't be in any danger doesn't stand up at
"The regime in Zimbabwe is terrible and it doesn't bear thinking
about what would happen to Edneth if she was be sent back there." 21
ANALYSIS February 21, 2005 Posted to the web
February 21, 2005
Dianna Games Johannesburg
around Africa cannot have failed to notice the growing presence of Chinese
business and companies. This invasion from the east represents something of
a double-edged sword for Africans.
Concerns have been raised that African
governments are so busy looking over their shoulders for signs of renewed
"colonial peril" from the likes of the US and UK that they have missed the
onrushing Sino train and its economic imperialist momentum. Indeed, many
African countries have welcomed the Chinese, seeing them as a means of
lessening dependence on the hoary old enemies in the west.
Africa, Chinese companies are doing lucrative deals with governments, many
of them with major "sweeteners" thrown in - designed to clinch not just the
contract being negotiated, but others down the line.
For example, in
Kenya last month, China's largest listed telecoms manufacturer, ZTE
Communications, made a "gift" of equipment worth 144-million Kenyan
shillings to Telkom Kenya. ZTE said the company would "continue to play a
positive role in Kenya's telecommunications industry". After a gesture like
that, it's certain to get a role.
Investment company China Export and
Credit Insurance Corporation plans to invest $7bn in Nigeria, China's
third-largest African trading partner after SA and Egypt, to fund projects
in a range of sectors, including oil.
China is slowly widening its
African oil footprint, with big contracts in Sudan and Angola. But it has
sold itself to the Nigerian government by agreeing to invest large sums in
nonoil sectors in what analysts see as leverage to secure the oil
Zimbabwe is all but owned by China, say many Africa watchers. When
President Robert Mugabe saw his biggest critics were also his biggest
trading partners and tourism markets, he defensively turned to the east,
lauding countries such as China as the true partners of Zimbabwe. In return
for a rare hand of friendship in an increasingly hostile world, Mugabe has
offered Chinese companies almost anything they want, regardless of the
And payback there will be. Chinese telecoms supplier Huawei
Investments last year demanded it be guaranteed a portion of Zimbabwe's
profits from minerals and tobacco - in addition to a hard cash payment -
before it would supply $160m worth of telecommunications equipment for the
second fixed-line telephone network.
The streets of Harare are awash
with cheap Chinese goods, and Mozambique and Tanzania are increasingly in
the grip of the Chinese economic expansion.
For Africa, it is not only
the Chinese ability to undermine local economies through cheap goods -
produced mostly without regard to international standards on labour - that
presents an insidious problem, but the fact that most of the
labour-intensive contracts Chinese companies sign include stipulations that
Chinese labour be used.
There is nothing essentially wrong with China
making inroads into global markets. Everybody tries to do it. What is
different here is that some African governments seem to believe it's not
strictly a hard-nosed relationship, but one that is altruistically
motivated. This is partly the result of China's support for Africa's
The Chinese practice of offering "gifts" to
smooth the way for later ventures often serves to bolster this perception of
Trade volumes between China and Africa rose
53,9% year on year to $20,5bn in the first nine months of last year,
according to the Chinese government. This includes a 33,2% increase in
exports to Africa and a 78% increase in exports from Africa to
While a proportion of this is made up of manufactured goods from
SA, it includes crude oil and unprocessed agricultural goods from other
African countries - which simply replicates the traditional trading
relationships with western countries that are so often criticised by
While some Africans point fingers at SA's "recolonisation" of
Africa and attack Europeans and Americans for dominating their economies,
quite another dependency relationship is developing under their noses, with
the possible exception of SA.
There are many benefits to the
relationship - China is funding peacekeeping and other such efforts and
could be an important champion for Africa in important forums. But the
economic and trade relationship needs to be managed properly now to ensure
that China's economic strength does not end up ruining the potential for a
true partnership in global affairs down the line.
- Games is director
of Africa @ Work, a company focusing on research, publishing and events in
Harare - One of Africa's longest-serving leaders, Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe, turns 81 on Monday, having grown more and more
defiant of Western powers that have branded him a tyrant.
by foreign leaders as the leader of a peaceful and prosperous nation, Mugabe
has of late vehemently defied criticism of his rule with stinging attacks on
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Secretary of State Condoleezza
As his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)
party heads into parliamentary elections on March 31, Mugabe is hammering
away against Blair in a theme designed to discredit the opposition, accused
of being "stooges" of the West.
Blair has been a target for Mugabe's
barbs since Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 after its
observers reported problems with his re-election to a fifth term in office,
due to end in 2008.
In an interview on Zimbabwe's state broadcaster ZBC,
Mugabe says that if he were to come face-to-face with Blair he would not
"I would tell him that he, Tony Blair, is a liar,
straightforwardly," he says.
Last week Mugabe launched a diatribe
against Rice, the most prominent African American in President George W
Bush's administration, saying she was a "slave" to white masters in
Washington for branding Zimbabwe an "outpost of tyranny".
advances into his 80s, Mugabe nevertheless displays youthful stamina and
energy levels as well as sharp mental alertness.
He still travels abroad,
accompanied by his wife Grace, despite travel bans slapped on him and his
associates by the European Union and the United States, and can remain
standing for several hours at a time to deliver his fiery
The father of three does not however hide the fact that he is
looking forward to retirement, and a tumultuous party congress in December
set the stage for what is widely expected to be his exit from the presidency
in three years.
With the backing of his party, Mugabe installed Joyce
Mujuru, 49, the wife of a former army commander and prominent veteran of the
independence struggle Solomon Mujuru, as vice president while a faction of
his party pushed for a rival candidate.
Mugabe, a former teacher who
joined the struggle for independence in the 1960s, swept to power in
elections in 1980, initially holding the post of prime minister which was
later changed to executive president in 1987.
The octogenarian is the
fifth longest-serving African leader after Omar Bongo of Gabon, in power
since 1967, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, who has ruled since 1969, and
Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema and Angolan President Jose Eduardo
dos Santos, in office since 1979.
[ This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 21 Feb 2005
(IRIN) - The availability of early crops and aid interventions has
ameliorated food insecurity during the 'lean season' in parts of Southern
The period before the year's first harvest is traditionally the
peak of hunger in the region, when aid agencies must reach a larger number
of vulnerable people than at any other time of the year.
the food security situation in the region varies considerably ... current
food security conditions are most concerning in the countries that
experienced a poor production season in 2003/04. Surplus-producing
countries, such as South Africa, Zambia ... have a satisfactory food
security situation, with food insecurity reported only in selected areas," a
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report
However, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned in its latest
situation report that the regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation
(PRRO), aimed at assisting up to 4.3 million people vulnerable to food
insecurity and the impact of HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique,
Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, had received just $37.5 million of the $216
million required for 2005.
FEWS NET noted the critical importance of
aid interventions in helping to reduce food insecurity in the affected areas
of Southern Africa.
In Malawi "food aid distribution has ensured food
access to vulnerable households, while active trade has helped stabilise
maize retail prices, keeping them at levels that are affordable to most
households. Current maize prices throughout the country are much less than
those recorded in 2002 at the height of the 2001-03 food crisis," FEWS NET
WFP distributed food aid to 1.2 million Malawians in
January. "Subject to resources being available, it is planned to increase
this distribution to more than 17,000 mt to 1.3 million beneficiaries in
February and March," WFP said.
Nevertheless, "FEWS NET Malawi reports
that by the end of January, all food security indicators pointed to an
In Zimbabwe there was ongoing concern about poor
households' access to food.
"Availability of most staples remains tight
in the grain deficit areas of the country. This has resulted in high price
levels that are beyond the reach of many of the poorer and most vulnerable
households in both rural and urban areas. The most affected provinces
include Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland (North and South)," FEWS NET
Last month, WFP distributed food to 970,000 people in Zimbabwe,
which was hardest hit during the Southern African food crisis of
Seasonal rain in January facilitated increased agricultural
activities, however, and "opened up casual employment opportunities, thus
improving food access for those able to engage in this type of work," FEWS
Zambia seems set to produce a maize "crop similar to the good
one in 2004", WFP reported.
However, "there are isolated areas that
are reported to have run out of food stocks as a result of poor harvests
brought on by flooding (western Zambia) and prolonged dry spells (eastern
Zambia)," FEWS NET commented. A field verification exercise has estimated
that around 5,100 mt of food will be required to assist 176,388
beneficiaries until the next harvest.
WFP pointed out that "resources are
urgently needed to meet the increased needs of people living with HIV/AIDS
and other chronic illnesses. The Nutrition Programme for Vulnerable Groups
(NPVG) beneficiaries increased by over four times since last year". The aid
agency needs 3,000 mt of maize, pulses, vegetable oil, and high-energy
protein supplements to cover requirements until June 2005.
Mozambique "current mitigation measures (such as food aid distributions) in
targeted areas ... continue to contain levels of food insecurity, especially
in the drought-prone southern areas, where production levels did not meet
In addition, low average staple food prices
(the lowest in four years) have enabled an increased number of poorer
households to access food through purchases," FEWS NET said.
Mozambican ministry of agriculture is reviewing the impact on national crop
production of recent heavy rains in the north and inadequate and erratic
rains in the southern parts of Gaza and Inhambane provinces, WFP
WFP's Support to Return and Resettlement programme in Angola
urgently required about $40 million, equivalent to 60,000 mt of food, for
distribution to returnees through 2005. "Immediate new contributions will
help avoid distribution cuts beginning in April," the agency
Anecdotal information pointed to an improving food security
situation in the central Planalto region of Angola.
to be well supplied with the main staple foods, and prices of beans and
maize are reported to have dropped from the high levels recorded in December
following the lowland harvest in January 2005," FEWS NET said. "This year's
harvest is reportedly better than last year, and many farmers are selling
some of their crop to market traders."
Food insecure people in Lesotho
and Swaziland - two of the countries with production shortfalls since the
2001/02 drought - have continued to benefit from food aid interventions by
WFP and other humanitarian agencies. A growing concern in both countries is
the realisation that the number of food insecure households may increase now
that the closure of uncompetetive textile factories has left thousands of
"Although the impact of such job losses on food security
has not yet been assessed, the VACs [Vulnerability Assessment Committees]
are planning to look into it in the next round of assessments," FEWS NET
process of democratic governance is rooting itself all across the African
This is the view of 13 African leaders as
contained in a report released on Monday at the University of the
Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg.
Speaking at the
launch of the report, titled African Leaders: State of Africa Report 2004,
Wits' head of international relations, Prof John Stremlau, said proof of
this can be found in President Thabo Mbeki's recent State of the Nation
"When you look at the president's speech when
talking about progress in the African continent, you will see how he starts
by mentioning the success stories first, then Zimbabwe and other
"This is revolutionary to get an African head of
state criticising others. That would have never happened before," said
The report was launched in conjunction with the
Boston-based African Presidential Archives and Research Centre in the United
States, headed by a former American ambassador to Tanzania, Charles R
The centre conducted the research with the
universities of Ghana, Wits and Dar-es-Salaam in
Stith said the report provides an insight into the
aspirations and issues that are important to African
He said the participating countries were chosen
according to "the significant strides made in terms of democratic governance
and the development of their economies along free-market
In the report, each of the 13 leaders assesses the
contemporary trends and developments in their own
The report quotes Mbeki highlighting the
redistribution of 444 000ha of land in the five years leading to the end of
1998 as among the South African government's successes.
"In three years since then, the number has increased by 600 000ha ... while
the number of houses built or under contraction currently  stands at
1,2-million," Mbeki said in his assessment.
In April, 11 of
Africa's former African heads of state will meet at Wits to discuss how to
bring back intellectual property to Africa.
Shiroma Hassima said the former presidents, who all belong to the African
Presidential Roundtable club, will attend a one-day conference also focusing
on how to change Western media coverage about Africa.
said these will be leaders from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria,
Tanzania and Zambia.
Cape Verde and Mauritius will be
represented by two of their former heads of state.
presidents are out of the office, it doesn't mean their contribution to the
development of the continent should stop," said the former ambassador. --
Africa wants foreign election observers invited by Zimbabwe to monitor next
month's key parliamentary vote as soon as possible.
"The quicker the
various observer missions go in now, the better they will be able to help
contribute to making sure that the guidelines are implemented," Deputy
Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told journalists in Pretoria.
have 40 days or more to ensure that we can make a contribution, with all
Zimbabweans, to ensure that the climate is there for free and fair elections
to take place," he said.
Zimbabwe has invited 32 observer missions for
the March 31 ballot, which will be closely watched as a test of Harare's
commitment to hold free and fair polls after elections in 2000 and 2002
which were marred by allegations of violence and fraud.
of the teams are from African nations, five are from Asia, three from the
Americas and Russia is the only nation from Europe to be invited by the
government of President Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African state for
nearly 25 years.
The African Union (AU), the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
(COMESA), the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations are among the
regional and international organisations to which invitations have been
Mugabe did not allow an observer mission from the European
Union for the 2002 presidential election which was slammed as fraudulent and
violence-marred by the opposition and observers from the
EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Monday agreed to
extend sanctions, including an arms embargo, against Zimbabwe for another
However, the ministers are to review the decision - which marks the
fourth year in a row of EU sanctions against Harare - after the legislative
The measures consist of an arms embargo as well as a
travel ban and freeze on funds of people suspected of having committed human
rights violations in the country.
TRADITIONAL bedfellows of the MDC among them, the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), last Sunday snubbed the opposition party's launch of its
manifesto arguing the party did not heed their call not to participate in
next month's polls.
The MDC launched its manifesto on the day at
Masvingo's Mucheke Stadium. The Broad Alliance - a grouping of civic
organisations including ZCTU, NCA, the Zimbabwe National Students Union
(Zinasu), Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe and some executive members of the MDC
- advised the MDC last year against contesting the March 31 elections,
citing an uneven playing field. The grouping had been tasked by the
opposition party to assess the political playing field ahead of the
parliamentary elections and then advise on the way forward. The civic
organisations did exactly that and advised the MDC, which had since
suspended participation in all elections in the country, not to participate
in the general elections. However, after serious consideration of the matter,
MDC announced this month its participation in the polls saying it was doing
so under protest. NCA chairperson and Broad Alliance coordinator Lovemore
Madhuku said no invitation had been extended to them, while sources said the
alliance did not attend because they were against the party's participation
as had been earlier advised. "We were not invited," Madhuku, who has
attended and addressed many MDC gatherings, said. Jessie Majome, NCA's
spokesperson, said: "The NCA did not attend the launch. It's, however,
unfortunate that I cannot comment any further about the issue. I can only
refer you back to Madhuku." ZCTU spokesperson Mlamleli Sibanda, yesterday
confirmed that the country's biggest labour union did not attend the MDC
function. "We did not attend the launch," Sibanda said. "The ZCTU has never
worked hand in glove with the MDC as we are merely a labour union. The only
occasion we participated in was when the party was launched some five years
ago that was when formal relations ended. There is no formal link between
the MDC and us," Sibanda said. Sibanda noted that while the playing field
was heavily tilted in favour of the ruling Zanu PF, it was solely the duty
of the MDC to decide whether or not to participate. He said the absence
of the labour union at the launch was no signal that the ZCTU was
disappointed by the MDC's decision to contest in next month's
elections. Asked if the MDC had not sought the ZCTU's advice on whether
to participate in the elections or not, Sibanda refused comment. He said:
"I wouldn't comment on that. Why don't you contact (ZCTU president Lovemore)
Matombo?" Efforts to reach Matombo were fruitless. The Daily Mirror is
reliably informed that the NCA was invited, but deliberately did not
attend. Said a source within the NCA: "The NCA was officially invited for the
launch of the MDC election manifesto in Masvingo, but did not go because of
the differences between the two. The NCA advised the MDC against
participating in the polls because the playing field is not level. The
absence of the NCA in Masvingo was indication that it does not want to
associate itself with anyone taking part in the polls. It would appear as if
we are encouraging people to participate." MDC spokesperson Paul Themba
Nyathi refuted claims that the Broad Alliance snubbed the opposition party's
function. Instead he said Nyathi said: "We have active members of the MDC
that are also in the national executive who are part of the alliance. We had
people from the ZCTU, the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform and many others at
the occasion. You can tell them (some members of the Broad Alliance) that
it's no use to fight in the press. If we have any differences with those
people, we have structures through which we can resolve matters. Our
relationship with them is privileged and we will maintain it like that.
" At the launch in Zimbabwe's oldest town, the MDC paraded its candidates for
next month's polls, where it is contesting in all the 120
THE MDC is furious over the list of
observers the government has invited to monitor the March 31 parliamentary
polls, arguing that if the State had nothing to hide, then it should not be
selective and described the list as ridiculous. MDC spokesperson and Gwanda
North legislator, Paul Themba Nyathi said yesterday: "The whole list is
ridiculous. If the government had nothing to hide it should have allowed
everyone who wanted to come and observe the elections to do so. "On what
basis did the government compile that list? We are not surprised; we know
that they are avoiding individuals that would have thrown a typical eye into
the manner the election would have been conducted - people that tell the
truth." The Minister of Foreign Affairs Stan Mudenge, last Saturday announced
a list of 45 regional and international organisations that are going to
observe the elections. These included countries from Sadc, the African
Union (AU), Asia and South America. Mudenge was quoted in the public
media as saying countries from the European Union such as Britain and others
had not been invited because of their negative perception of
Zimbabwean elections. "The laws of Zimbabwe and the constitution do not
provide for foreigners to participate in the monitoring of our
elections. "The Sadc principles and guidelines on conducting elections only
provide for the observation of elections and as Zimbabwe, which is a
sovereign country, we will monitor our own elections," Mudenge was quoted in
state run newspapers as saying. Zimbabwe barred the EU and other European
nations from observing the 2000 parliamentary elections and in turn the
EU and its allies later declared the polls not free and fair citing political
violence and intimidation by the ruling party against opposition
THE Messenger of Court, Smart Moyo,
has defied a court order to evict people residing at Eskbank Farm in Mazowe
despite a warrant to evict the occupants issued by Bindura Magistrates Court
under case no c196/05 last month. The State won litigation against
defendants Freehold Investment Private (Ltd), but the occupants are still
unexplainably on the farm with Moyo said to be folding his hands. It's
still not clear to whom the State wanted to allocate the farm. Last week,
Moyo said he knew about the case, but referred all questions to the Ministry
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for clarification and comment
saying he had no authority to talk to the Press. "I am not authorised to
comment over the issue, talk to the ministry," said Moyo curtly. The
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa
yesterday refused to shed any light on the matter under the pretext that he
was busy with preparations for the forthcoming elections. "We are under
pressure with the elections. There is nothing else on my mind except the
elections, so look for some other people to answer you," Chinamasa
said. Efforts to get comment from the ministry's permanent secretary, David
Mangota were fruitless as his phone went unanswered. However, part of the
warrant of ejectment issued by the court on January 6 2005 reads in part:
"Now therefore you the Messenger of Court with the assistance of the ZRP are
required to eject the said Freehold Investment (Pvt) Ltd and all persons
claiming through him their goods and possessions from and out of all
occupation and possession whatsoever of the said claim and to leave the
same, to that end that the said, The State, the applicant may peaceably
(sic) possess the same, and for so doing this shall be your warrant."
Lack of funding cripples alternative political
Phillip Chidavaenzi issue date :2005-Feb-22
political campaign in Zimbabwe calls for an extensive budget . It is
against this background that lightweight political parties including Zanu,
Zapu Federal Party and the Democratic Party (DP) have condemned the
Political Parties' (Finance) Act, which they said worked ostensibly towards
"outlawing" them. Recently, the government disbursed a total of $6,5
billion to Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC under the Act (Chapter 2:11)
ahead of next month's parliamentary election. Zanu PF received $3,380
billion while MDC got $3,120 billion. The two political parties are the
only ones that qualify for state funding. According to the Act - which came
into effect on May 11, 2001 - a political party whose candidates receive at
least six seats in the most recent general election is entitled to state
funding proportional to the number of constituencies won. In the 2000
parliamentary election, Zanu PF won 52 percent of the vote while MDC won 48
percent. This leaves fringe players in the political arena in a crisis, as
they would not be able to field a full complement of 120 contestants. DP
President Wurayayi Zembe said the Act "cripples members of other political
parties" as they were not entitled to public funds and were also barred from
seeking foreign funding. Legal experts say the piece of legislation was
crafted after the emergence of the MDC on the political scene in a bid
to curb foreign funding of political parties, which the government feared
would give outsiders a leeway to interfere in the internal politics of the
country. Looked at in that context, according to political analysts,
other parties, which did not pose a threat to the status quo, were viewed as
inconsequential. "This is a very undemocratic law. It subjects political
parties to the domination of Zanu PF, which is the party in government, and
it outlaws the existence of parties that do not meet the criteria (of
parliamentary representation). So the parties will not be able to finance
their programmes and sustain themselves." It is against this backdrop
that a new pattern has emerged where a significant number of hitherto unknown
parties suddenly crowd the political space during election time, much to the
amusement of voters. But political commentator, Eldred Masunungure, had
no kind words for such parties. He said: "If they are serious politicians
who sincerely want to do something for their country, why don't they join
established political movements? We do not celebrate the fact that we have
two-party systems on a global scale but it is the inescapable
reality." The other party in Parliament, Zanu, has only one seat and does not
qualify for state funding, a move that the party's Information and Publicity
secretary, Reketayi Semwayo, described as unfair. He called for a new
criterion in the disbursement of the funds, saying a party has to be given
money from the state coffers depending on the number of constituencies in
which they want to contest. The other parties' woes have also been compounded
by the fee increases for candidates who are going to stand in the election
by about 2000 percent. In statutory instrument 14 of 2005, the government
pegged the registration fee for parliamentary nominees at $2 million per
candidate from the previous $100 000. The price to secure a copy of the
voters' roll has been increased to $5 million from the previous $200 000, a
whopping 2 500 percent increase. Parties intending to contest all the 120
parliamentary seats would have to fork out $240 million for their
candidates, while acquiring the national voters' roll would leave a $600
million hole in their pockets. Zanu leader Wilson Khumbula, recently said:
"We don't have any meaningful funding like Zanu PF. With the latest
developments, we might be forced to cut our participation in some
constituencies. Two million dollars is a lot of money for opposition parties
considering that there are 120 seats. We need money for campaigning and for
use during the elections and the actual counting." Paul Siwela, leader of
Zapu Federal Party, said his party, which had intended fielding candidates
in all the constituencies, was reviewing its initial decision to participate
in the election. "This is unacceptable, we might pull out of the
race because the figures being mentioned are too expensive for small
opposition parties like ours that are not getting any funding from the state
or foreign donors." Zembe castigated the MDC for accepting the
money, and accused it of colluding with Zanu PF in rubber-stamping the
Political Parties' (Finance) Act, which he said hindered multiparty
democracy. He said the money could have been put to better use if it was
channeled to service delivery in the cities rather than be given to the
political parties that have failed to provide an effective political and
socio-economic blueprint for the country.
SCORES of Net*One
employees fired last year for taking part in an industrial action, yesterday
stormed the company's offices in the capital demanding their salaries and
benefits awarded by the Labour Court about a fortnight ago. The disgruntled
workers only left the offices after police intervention. The Labour Court
ordered Net*One to reinstate the workers with full benefits on February 10,
2005. "They (Net*One) have lost a number of court cases, but they continue
disobeying the orders and making appeals after appeals to fix us. Our
families are starving and we have accumulated debts. The management is just
being insensitive," said one of the employees who asked for
anonymity. Another worker added: "Even if they call the police, we will
continue coming until they pay us. The government should investigate the
company because all our competitors are making profits and declaring
dividends yet they say they do not have money and continue borrowing from
the RBZ." The workers claimed that managing director, Reward Kangai declined
to address them on a number of occasions to resolve the impasse. "We have
sought audience with him on a number of occasions but he had refused to talk
to us saying he has no mandate to do so. We however, do not know who else
could have that mandate besides him," the workers said. Contacted for
comment, Kangai asked for questions in writing, but had not responded at the
time of going to press. However, the mobile telephone operator has already
appealed against the labour court's decision. In a notice of appeal filed
at the Supreme Court on February 11, Net*One said the Labour Court had erred
in their judgment. "The Labour Court erred in holding that it was proper for
the Arbitrator to hold an arbitration en masse notwithstanding the fact that
individual hearing had been conducted for the said employees," reads the
notice of appeal. On the second ground of appeal, Net One said: "The
labour Court erred in holding that the Post and Telecommunications Code of
Conduct was applicable to the appellant taking into account the fact that
the appellant was not a member of the National Employment Council. In any
event the necessary structure as laid down in the code of conduct is no
longer applicable to the organisational structure of the appellant. No
evidence was led to the applicability of the said Code of Conduct before the
Labour Court. The company also said the Labour court had not dealt with the
lawfulness of the job action. "The Labour court erred in upholding that
the arbitrary award, in as far as it only directed the employer to reinstate
the said employees without giving the employer an option to pay damages in
lieu reinstatement," Net*One said.
Zimbabwe rebel back with team From correspondents in
Harare February 22, 2005
ZIMBABWEAN rebel cricketer Andy Blignaut has
rejoined his country's cricket squad and signed a contract, following his
axing last year over a row about racial bias in selection, Zimbabwe Cricket
Blignaut is one of 15 mainly senior players who were sacked
after they demanded the reinstatement of former captain Heath Streak, who
was dismissed in April for objecting to certain members of the country's
national selection panel.
"Former Zimbabwe all-rounder Andy Blignaut
today (Monday) signed a contract to play again for Zimbabwe," the country's
cricket union said in a statement.
"I am coming back unconditionally
to play," Blignaut was quoted as saying in the statement. "I would like to
play the game for Zimbabwe at international level and prove to myself that I
can move up the rankings."
The 26-year-old left-handed batsman and right
arm medium fast bowler last played for Zimbabwe during the February-March
tour against Bangladesh last year.
Back from Tasmania where he
unsuccessfully tried to forge a career, Blignaut could be rushed back into
action later this week in the third and final A-team Test against
But he is unlikely to join the squad currently touring South