Thank you to all those who
responded to our call for help for the democratic process in Zimbabwe. We
have raised so far about Z$200 million - a small fraction of what is actually
needed. Some of these funds have already been employed in the fight for
We have appointed a point person in each constituency in
the country and these people are now quietly supporting the struggle on the
ground for a free and fair election. People have said that if we want our
rights and freedoms we have to do it ourselves and that is just what is now
happening. We are supporting candidates who need resources, candidates who
are working hard in their constituencies and we are also working to prevent
and expose any forms of ballot rigging and fraud in the election
We expect between 20 and 100 poling stations in each constituency
and must select, train and deploy up to 6 Polling Agents at every Polling
Station - no matter how remote. These courageous people - many of them simple
peasant farmers from local villages, will watch the poll, report any
discrepancies and ensure that people can vote in peace and without
intimidation. This is where the bulk of our effort is going.
everything - paper, cell phones, maps, fuel, vehicles and drivers, volunteers
to man control centers and to run errands. We are printing millions of
leaflets and these require distribution and management.
But if you cannot
help us physically then just send money. It has come in so far in small and
large doses. One person in the States sent several thousand dollars, a widow
in New Zealand sent a 100 dollars. Let me tell you - whatever you send we are
getting the most bang for your buck that is possible!
Many are saying
that this election is already lost - do not believe that, our own research
says that Zanu do not have a safe seat in the country. If we can back the
democrats on the ground - and they are coming forward in numbers right now,
so that they do not feel isolated and alone, then they will have the courage
to fight for a better life. Perhaps this way we can overthrow a tyranny
without violence or bloodshed.
A reminder - if you want to send us local
donations then you can do it by sending a cheque or money order to ZIMFUND at
P O Box 9127 Hillside Bulawayo. E-mail me if you want the electronic banking
address in Zimbabwe.
If you are outside the country then the Bank details
are as follows: -
Branch Code 158952
Zimbabweans living in SA and who hold valid voting rights
should plan to come home and vote. Stay and help with the effort in your home
constituency. If you want to do this e-mail us for further information. Any
persons wishing to help on the ground in any area of the country should also
e mail us or call - 091 227 144.
Zim gvt gets more arms from China Tues 22 February
2005 HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government has taken delivery
of a new consignment of arms from China, six weeks before the crunch March
31 parliamentary elections.
The Mugage government has resorted
to China and other Asian and Middle Eastern countries for arms after the
European Union slapped it with an arms embargo in 2000 over human rights
ZimOnline is authoritatively informed that a new
consignment which includes assault rifles, military vehicles and other
support material, has been secretly shipped into Harare via the Mozambican
port of Beira.
Army sources said the government was due to
receive more than one hundred Dongfeng vehicles before the election. The
Dongfeng vehicle is a Chinese innovation on sale in Europe as well. Army
drivers have been taking lessons on a few trial Dongfeng vehicles already in
"Our army has received the equipment as part of a deal to
fully equip it ahead of the March parliamentary elections," said a source
within the army's procurement unit at the defence headquarters in Harare. He
said Mugabe was not taking any chances and would want the army to be fully
equipped ahead of the parliamentary elections just in case he needs it to
keep him in power.
Zimababwe Defence Forces commanders have
repeatedly vowed not to allow anyone who did not fight in Zimbabwe's 1970s
liberation war to take power. They have virtually implied that they would
stage a coup if Morgan Tsvangirai, who did not fight in the liberation war,
Most of the army's equipment had become worn down
after it was used in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The government could not properly restore it after the EU imposed arms
sanctions. The government is now replacing it with new Chinese
To keep the army on his side, President Mugabe has
awarded soldiers substantial salary and allowance increases. Officers in the
army have also been given a larger slice of seized white
The exact amount spend on the latest arms consignment
could not be established but it is believed to run into several billions of
The Zimbabwe National Army's public relations
directorate refused to confirm nor deny the latest shipment saying such
information was confidential. Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi declined to
comment. Also asked for comment, Defence minister, Sydney Sekeremayi, said
he did not discuss military issues with the media. "I'm sorry I do
not discuss military issues with the media and over the phone," he said,
before slamming his phone. ZimOnline
Charles Taylor cronies seek Harare asylum Tues 22 February
HARARE - About 100 Liberians, all kinsmen of ousted former
strongman, Charles Taylor, have found a new home in Zimbabwe. They
are living lavishly in Harare's Avenues area and in uptown suburbs stoking
speculation that Taylor and his close associates and family members looted
Liberia's wealth before leaving their impoverished country.
Liberians left their motherland after Taylor was forced out of Monrovia to
pave way for peace in the West African country. While Taylor was offered
sanctuary in neighbouring Nigeria as part of the peace deal, his kinsmen
left for various destinations. Most have now found their way to Zimbabwe
where they are now seeking political asylum.
community forced Taylor to step down and settle in exile to facilitate a
peace deal between government forces and armed rebels known as the Liberians
United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).
Taylor was also
indicted by a United Nations backed International War Crimes' Tribunal for
atrocities that were perpetrated in Sierra Leone in the early 1990's by the
late Fodday Sankoh's notorious rebel group which enjoyed support from
He remains a free man because conditions of the Liberian
peace deal signed to end the civil war do not permit anyone to arrest or
harass him as long as he is in Nigeria and has not interfered in the
internal politics of the country he ruled since 1991.
deal appears to be holding a year since it was signed. Taylor's close family
members were also allowed free passage from Liberia as part of the deal. The
lavish lifestyles of Taylor's kinsmen in Harare have raised
Several of them have suddenly started flourishing
business enterprises around Harare and are often seen driving posh vehicles
even before many of them have been granted refugees' status by authorities.
Many have not yet appeared before the refugees' vetting committee, which
comprises officials from the security organs, social welfare department and
the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). "What surprises me
is that these Liberians can afford to buy posh cars even though they have
not yet been given refugees' status," said one refugee close to one of
Taylor's relatives seeking asylum in Zimbabwe. "They are staying in
expensive flats and living large."
The Liberians reportedly
refused to stay at the Waterfalls Transit Centre where asylum seekers
awaiting refugees' status normally stay preferring to stay on their own in
upmarket places around the Avenues area.
Asylum seekers normally
prefer to stay at the transit centre where they are given basics such as
accommodation, food, medical help, clothing, blankets and
Officials at the Harare offices of the UNHCR said they
did not wish anybody to write about the presence of Taylor's kinsmen in
Zimbabwe as this could endanger them Isaac Mukaro, the Zimbabwean government
commissioner for refugees in Harare, was said to be on leave and could not
be reached for comment.
However, a senior official from his
office confirmed the presence of the Liberians saying: "Some of them have
appeared before the vetting committee but the majority have not. Those who
have appeared before the committee have been given refuge status." The
official added: "Very few asylum seekers, including from other countries,
have been denied status."
He declined to give figures of those who
have been granted status and those turned down. "We do not give away these
figures just like that, he said. Zimbabwe is also home to former Ethiopian
dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, who fled Addis Ababa as rebels led by Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi closed in on Addis Abbaba in 1991.
Mengistu and his family are living luxuriously in Harare's upmarket Gunhill
area at the expense of Zimbabwean taxpayers. ZimOnline
MDC abandons electoral petitions Tue 22 February
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
abandoned its 2000 electoral petitions because it has no other
The opposition party went to court to challenge ZANU PF
victories in 37 of 120 contested seats alleging that President Mugabe had
used violence to win them. The MDC won 10 of the 14 petitions that were
adjudicated upon meaning it won the popular vote in the 2000 parliamentary
elections, subject to appeals lodged by ZANU PF in the supreme
This was before the government started its campaign of
harassment against the judiciary and subsequently stuffed it with new
loyalist judges who sat on all the remaining applications. Five years later
and with barely six weeks to go before the next elections, these remaining
applications have not been heard, a development widely seen as a monumental
miscarriage of justice.
This means these petitions have all
become academic and the MDC would probably gain nothing out of pursuing
them. "We have decided not to pursue the issue of court petitions of
the 2000 parliamentary election. We have realized that the judiciary is not
accommodating and therefore the best way would be to win with a wide
majority in the forthcoming elections.
We will however still
have to get a legal opinion on the issue," MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi
said. Nyathi said it seemed pointless to pursue the court petitions when
candidates and dates for another election to replace the current parliament
had already been set.
Zanu PF managed to scrap 63 seats in the 2000
poll, of which 37 were disputed by the MDC which won 57. Zanu PF disputed
results in only one constituency won by the MDC. ZimOnline.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has, for
the first time, publicly admitted that some of Zimbabwe's problems emanated
from the 1979 Lancaster House constitution, which brought about the
However, he also wants to see President Mugabe
negotiate a way out of politics and says he is ready to work with Zanu PF to
achieve that goal. Launching the MDC election manifesto in Masvingo on
Sunday, Tsvangirai admitted that British premier Tony Blair's government's
refusal to abide by the obligations of the constitutional agreement that
gave birth to Zimbabwe was central to the southern African nation's
problems. Among some of its most controversial provisions, the agreement
preserved the commercial farmers' rights to their land and barred compulsory
acquisition of land by the State, yet the landless black majority, most of
whom until their recent resettlement by the government, were crammed on
unproductive land. Said Tsvangirai: "For years, Zimbabweans have been
forced to use a Lancaster House power-transfer document as a constitution,
hence the numerous political and economic problems in our midst. We shall
correct this anomaly. The people shall produce their own
constitution." He also promised to do away with some laws such as the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), crafted by sacked
Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of the
President and Cabinet, Jonathan Moyo, and the Public Order and Security Act
(Posa). "We shall be on the roll. We shall see the change we desire.
(President) Robert Mugabe will have limited choices. He has to negotiate a
way out. We are ready to work with Zanu PF to realise this important
transitional task. "We shall take our seat in Parliament and undo all the
repressive legislation at the instant. Posa shall go. Aippa shall go. The
NGO Act shall go. We promise to fight corruption. The Lancaster House
Constitution shall go," promised Tsvangirai. The MDC leader also pledged
to "clean up Zimbabwe's damaged international image and enter into bilateral
relations with all nations and international organisations that share our
values as driven by the interests of Zimbabweans". He, however, accused
the government of experimenting with different economic and political
policies, hence the collapse of the economy. "The experiments with socialism,
the experiments with Esap, the experiments with this or that policy -
whether home-grown or imported - have had their time. We must reclaim our
rights. We must do it now. We must retrieve and recover our sovereignty,"
Tsvangirai added. He said the government was badly positioned to turn around
"the damage it has already caused", adding, "We are tired of a regime that
blames imaginary foreign enemies for its own mistakes." Tsvangirai, who
described the current economic environment that has left many jobless, as
unacceptable and criminal, said if the MDC won a parliamentary majority, the
party's legislators would vote for the abolishing of the bearer's cheques
and re-introduction of coins. "For 25 years, we have seen Zanu PF publish
five different manifestos. Where are we today? For 25 years, we have heard
Zanu PF post and promise all kinds of undertakings. Where are they today?
Five years ago, we could still use our coins. What happened to them? We
shall use those coins again. We pledge to bring them back. We shall abolish
the so-called bearer cheques, many of which have already expired. We shall
work with real money in this country," he said. The opposition leader
vowed that notwithstanding the hostile electoral environment, the MDC was
confident of victory. He said: "We are confident that we shall win the
popular vote, as we did in 2000 and 2002." An MDC government, Tsvangirai
noted, faced the following challenges: food security, economic recovery, job
creation and national healing. On food security, the MDC pledged the
restoration of agriculture as key a priority. He also promised to restore
local and international confidence in Zimbabwe as an investment and tourist
destination. "We must come to terms with the past. Zimbabweans must never
turn against each other," said Tsvangirai on the MDC's national healing
goal. Commenting on Tsvangirai's statement yesterday, which was also highly
critical of the government's track record over the past 25 years, Dydimus
Mutasa, the Zanu PF Politburo secretary for administration, said the MDC was
just showing its true colours which emphasised its anti-Zimbabwe
stance. "It then boggles the mind as to how that party will ever be able to
govern this country when it is so anti-us, when it is so critical of
everything we have done for the development imaginary foreign enemies for
its own mistakes". Tsvangirai, who described the current economic
environment that has left many jobless, as unacceptable and criminal, said
if the MDC won a parliamentary majority, the party's legislators would vote
for the abolishing of the bearer's cheques and re-introduction of
coins. "For 25 years, we have seen Zanu PF publish five different manifestos.
Where are we today? For 25 years, we have heard Zanu PF post and promise all
kinds of undertakings. Where are they today? Five years ago, we could still
use our coins. What happened to them? We shall use those coins again. We
pledge to bring them back. We shall abolish the so-called bearer cheques,
many of which have already expired. We shall work with real money in this
country," he said. The opposition leader vowed that notwithstanding the
hostile electoral environment, the MDC was confident of victory. He said:
"We are confident that we shall win the popular vote, as we did in 2000 and
2002." An MDC government, Tsvangirai noted, faced the following
challenges-food security, economic recovery, job creation and national
healing. On food security, the MDC pledged the restoration of agriculture as
key priority. He also promised to restore local and international
confidence in Zimbabwe as an investment and tourist destination. "We must
come to terms with the past. Zimbabweans must never turn against each
other," said Tsvangirai on the MDC's national healing goal. Commenting on
Tsvangirai's statement yesterday, which was also highly critical of the
government's track record over the past 25 years, Dydimus Mutasa, the Zanu
PF Politburo secretary for administration, said the MDC was just showing its
true colours which emphasised its anti-Zimbabwe stance. "It then boggles the
mind as to how that party will ever be able to govern this country when it
is so anti-us, when it is so critical of everything we have done for the
development of this nation," Mutasa said.
DESPITE the creation of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) last year, the Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) is still overally in charge of the country's electoral
process, senior officers in the ESC said yesterday. The MDC, Zimbabwe's main
opposition party has already raised its reservations over the continued
involvement of the ESC in elections saying it jeopardised the independence
of ZEC. "The ESC is the overall authority of supervision of elections by
virtue of constitutional provisions. We have the final say on whether they
had been run properly. The ESC is the overall constitutional authority and
takes precedence over the bodies that run elections," said Joice Kazembe,
ESC commissioner. Elections in Zimbabwe are now being run by three
separate bodies - the Delimitation Commission that demarcates constituency
boundaries, ZEC and the ESC. Dominic Chidakuza, the legal advisor and
secretary to the supervisory commission also reiterated that the ESC was the
supreme body in the conduction of elections. "ESC was established by the
constitution of Zimbabwe. It's made from the supreme law of the country. It
therefore tells you who is to supervise who (between ESC and ZEC). The other
commission is created by the supreme law and the other by an act of
parliament," Chidakuza said. He added: "ZEC will continue to function as in
the previous dispensation (that is before the new electoral
laws)." Theophilus Gambe, the new chairman of the ESC who took over from
attorney general, Sobhuza-Gula Ndebele said they would be no duplication
between the two bodies. "Our brother, the Independent Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission runs the elections, and we supervise the running and monitor the
same. There is no duplication, but complimentarity and to some extent checks
and balances," he said. Gambe added that their aim was to see the running
of free and fair elections. This year's elections will be held in one day
at over 9 000 polling stations throughout the country. The government had
already invited observers from over 32 countries, including the SADC region.
Russia being was the only European country invited.
From Our Correspondent
in Bulawayo issue date :2005-Feb-23
THE MDC yesterday held a workshop
in Bulawayo to enlighten the opposition candidates for the March 31
parliamentary election on its new manifesto, unveiled by party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. Party spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi told The Daily Mirror
yesterday that the participants to the workshop were taken through the
manifesto, to make them conversant with it before taking it to the
electorate. "We saw it important to take the aspiring legislators through the
manifesto so that they understand it first before they take it to the
people. This was a very important exercise that was conducted at a crucial
time when we are heading for the election," said Nyathi. He added: "We
want to avoid situations where the candidate appears not conversant with the
manifesto of the party yet they are the people that are supposed to be
selling the manifesto to the electorate." According to Nyathi, all the
party's candidates to next month's parliamentary election in Matabeleland
North, South, and Bulawayo attended the workshop. "The party's manifesto,
as the people would know, has a new format that made it incumbent upon the
party's leadership to call for such a workshop," Nyathi said. The MDC's
2005 election manifesto, Nyathi said, was based on bread and butter issues,
such as employment creation, caring for the elderly, youths, and children's
education, among other things. "Zanu PF's campaign is always anti-Blair and
nothing else. We are focusing on bread and butter issues and we are
confident that if given the mandate, we will be able as a party to tackle
the issues head on," Nyathi said
Correspondent in Bulawayo issue date :2005-Feb-23
ZANU PF says it will
not miss, in any way, the services of fired Information and Publicity
Minister, Jonathan Moyo and will prove that it can win elections without
him. Speaking at celebrations to mark the elevation of Joyce Mujuru to vice
president at the weekend, Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo said Moyo had
become a liability to both the party and government. President Robert
Mugabe fired Moyo from cabinet last Saturday after filing his nomination to
stand as an independent candidate for Tsholotsho in the March 31
parliamentary elections the previous day. Nkomo said: "We say to you, go well
wherever you want to go and be reminded that we will not miss you or your
services. Zanu PF is a people's party that is now geared and focused on
fundamental issues than the personalities that you were bent on destroying
and vilifying. "We have to remind you, however, that we knew that you were a
traitor, who was going to chicken out at the last minute. We even knew that
you were going to go back to your old ways and that is what exactly
happened." Moyo was a fierce critic of President Mugabe's government during
his lectureship at the University of Zimbabwe in the early
1990s. President Mugabe catapulted him into cabinet and the ruling party's
politburo in 2000 after vigorously campaigning on behalf of the government
and Zanu PF for the adoption of a draft constitution and general elections
respectively. Nkomo said the departure of Moyo should result in unity in
the party. "This is good riddance as we are able to focus on the issues that
affect our people and the nation as a whole and not the situation that you
(Moyo) had created where we were pre-occupied by trading insults in the
media," Nkomo said He said the decision by Moyo, among others, to stand
as independent candidate was a clear testimony of indiscipline. Moyo took
a pot shot at senior Zanu PF officials, among them Nkomo, vice president
Joseph Msika, retired General Solomon Mujuru and Obert Mpofu, after
President Mugabe sacked him, accusing them of fighting for his
downfall. Speaking at the same function, Mujuru said Zanu PF must conduct a
self-introspection to weed out all pretenders within its
structures. "There are some amongst us who are like wolves dressed in a sheep
skin. We have to inspect ourselves and know who are our friends and who are
our foes as this will help us weed out impostors in the party."We know they
are here with us and they will always be with us, but I say that let us be
cautious in our affairs as they will pretend that they are with us yet they
want to get information they will use to destroy us," Mujuru said.
Our Correspondent in Bulawayo issue date :2005-Feb-23
lightening cosmetics and soaps from China, some of which were banned in
Zimbabwe soon after independence - have flooded shops in Bulawayo. Some of
the banned skin lightening cosmetics such as Diproson, a hair chemical,
Bu-tone, Ambi and Movate were being sold by informal traders and some flea
markets in the city. Some of the specified products which are written in the
Chinese language and are proving to be popular to light skin crazy ladies
are selling like hot cakes. A 100ml tube of Diproson costs between $5 000
and $10 000. A lot of women have encountered skin problems after using these
lethal cosmetics. During the 1970s, lots of women sustained severe burns on
their faces due to the application of the products. "The cosmetics are
selling like hot cakes, we get most of our orders from Harare," said Jane
Lunga, a flea market operator in the city. Despite the cosmetics' abundance
in flea markets, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) is greatly concerned
about the situation. "We are aware that these products were banned in the
country and consumers should shun these products because they have serious
side effects," warned Comfort Muchekeza, the council's regional manager for
Bulawayo province. He said his office would soon investigate the issue.
A STORM is brewing between
Harare municipal workers and the city fathers over the role of Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA) in the provision of water to residents,
with the Harare Municipal Workers Union (HMWU) claiming that it was being
sidelined in the whole process. In a letter dated February 14 2005 addressed
to town clerk Nomutsa Chideya and also copied to the Minister of Local
Government Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo and governor
Witness Mangwende, the chairman of HMWU Cosmus Bungu said the union was not
privy to the deliberations between the City and Zinwa. "Once again the
HMWU reiterates the fact that it is not privy to the ongoing deliberations
between the City of Harare and the Ministry of Local Government National
Housing and Public Works including ZINWA as regards the intended (as per
newspaper reports) takeover of the provisions of water services to residents
of the City. "In terms of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01 (section 2A (1) we
quote "The purpose of this Act is to advance social justice and democracy in
the work place by the promotion of the participation by employees affecting
their interest in the work place," said Bungu. Bungu added that in the
present scenario his union had not been provided with the relevant
information on the pros and cons of the intended take over by ZINWA. He
wrote: ".taking into consideration our history in this regard some utilities
have almost collapsed due to haphazard decisions which were made by council
administration previously such as the Rufaro Marketing and Zesa debacle
where the city ended up having to fork millions of dollars to sustain
operations which were ill conceived instead of gaining income thereby
relieving the residents of unnecessary and unjustified increases in service
provision charges." Efforts to reach either Chideya or Chombo were fruitless
yesterday while Leslie Gwindi, the city's spokesperson professed ignorance
over the matter. Gwindi said: "We can only take a position if we see the
letter. At the moment we haven't."
Hopes that Zimbabwe's remaining striking players might soon
return to the fold appear to be stalling, according to a report in the local
The stumbling block appears to be the rebels'
demands over the selection process, although other sticking points are said
to include their demands for three-year contracts. Few countries give such
long-term commitments and it is hard to see Zimbabwe Cricket doing so if
that is what it is being asked to do.
At the moment the rebel players
are in ongoing talks with a committee under the leadership of Addington
Chinake. Only when this committee presents its findings will the full board
discuss the matter.
But one of the rebels told The Independent that some
of the reported conditions had never been raised. "It's mischievous for
anyone to claim that we have demanded tax-free salaries and three-year
contracts," he said. "So far our discussions with the committee have been
promising, though I'm bound not to say much."
What appears to be
factual is the stalemate over the choice of selectors. The rebels have
demanded all along that the national selection panel should be made up of
people with first-class cricket experience, or at least a good level
coaching qualification. Crucially, that would rule out Max Ebrahim,
currently the senior selector, as he has no such background.
want are selectors with a cricketing background like in any other country,"
the player told the newspaper. "We're hopeful everything will work out well
because we hear [Peter] Chingoka has been really good and has already tasked
a constitutional committee to review the whole selection policy. If Zimbabwe
Cricket does not accede to our proposals, that's it. No rebel will
"All I did was drop everything and run" The
personal account of Jan Raath
Jan Raath, a correspondent for the German
news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) and the British daily The Times,
Angus Shaw, a correspondent with the US news agency The Associated Press
(AP), and Brian Latham, a reporter for the US press group Bloomberg News,
decided to flee Zimbabwe have been harassed for several days by the
With my heart in my mouth, I watched
the immigration officer's face for any sign of reaction. If there was an
alert put out for me at Zimbabwe's border posts, this was point at which I
would be stopped. Nothing. He briefly looked at my passport, banged a stamp
in it, and handed it back with a smile.
Ten minutes later, I was over
the border and in Botswana, beyond the reach of President Robert Mugabe's
secret police. In the space of 24 hours, I had left behind 30 years of
living as a journalist in Zimbabwe and, at 11.30 a.m. on Thursday, I entered
a new one with a pickup truck and three bags of belongings.
the last five years of Mugabe's onslaught against any voices of dissent in
Zimbabwe, the shrinking group of independent journalists occasionally would
talk about plans for emergency evacuation in case the government decided to
arrest us. When it happened, I was nowhere near ready for it. Not even my
illegal two-month expulsion from Zimbabwe in 1986 over the headlines, which
I did not write, to one of my stories in The Times of London did not prepare
I reacted with panic, fear and acute anxiety. All I did was drop
everything and run.
It began at 2.30 a.m. on Monday with violent
banging on the locked gate to my home in Harare. The security guard said two
men in a foreign-registered car were demanding to be let in. Thieves don't
usually announce themselves. We switched on the alarm, and they drove off.
At about 10 a.m. that day, two plainclothes policemen arrived at the office
in a shabby apartment block in central Harare that I shared with Angus Shaw
of Associated Press and Brian Latham of Bloomberg News.
they were investigating reports that we were involved in "spying". Our
lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, came soon after and burst out laughing when one of
them told her the reason for their visit. "My friend," she told him, "if you
are looking for spies, you must go to ZANU(PF) (Mugabe's ruling party)
The policeman hooted with laughter, and they left.
Five senior figures in the ZANU(PF) establishment have been in detention for
over two months on charges under the Official Secrets Act.
passed. Three more officers from the "Law and Order section of the CID
arrived. They refused to identify themselves and accused us of working as
journalists illegally. New laws passed in January make it a crime to be a
journalist without certified approval from the state-controlled Media
Commission, and carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. Mtetwa
explained that for the last three years, we had applied to the commission
for accreditation, but the body simply had sat on our applications. The
media law provided that until the commission officially denied applications,
we could not be stopped from working, she said. The policemen took no
Then they brought in a police computer hacker. She examined
the office's rudimentary switchboard (that the three policemen believed was
secret monitoring equipment) and the computer system, and pronounced that
the large satellite dish in the yard outside which receives the AP news
service, was probably illegal.
None of us was in the office on
Tuesday when 10 officers them came in without a search warrant and conducted
a minute examination of the computers there, our desks and files.
telephone rang and was answered by the tall young hacker. "This is the new
receptionist," she said. Mtetwa watched as she hacked into the computer hard
drive and shouted "we've got him" when she claimed to have found copies of
foreign currency transfers. None of this would stand up in court, Mtetwa
said later. All of us have worked extensively outside Zimbabwe and are fully
justified in maintaining foreign currency accounts outside
But what the law says is of little consequence in Zimbabwe. In
searches and half-hearted interrogations over about nine hours in three
days, 15 policemen, had, at best, no more than the slim possibility of
administrative infringements by any of us. However, it was evident they were
looking for something to hold against us. It was considered important enough
for the the national head of the "law and order" section to supervise the
Parliamentary elections are due on March 31 and in the last
three weeks, the government had been cracking down on the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, human rights groups and other journalists.
We half expected something like this.
On Wednesday Mtetwa telephoned.
"I am told they intend to pick you up," she said. Her sources had said
police were planning to use laws that allow them to hold suspects for 28
days without bringing them to court. The detention period can be extended
A senior official of a human rights organisation was asked
why the government didn't use its powers under the media law and silence us
simply by denying us accreditation. "You don't understand," he said. "You
defied them for a long time. They want to punish you first, and then they
will kick you out."
Mtetwa's telephone call made up my mind. I parked
my vehicle at a friend's home, and borrowed his car. The police who came to
our office knew our vehicle registration numbers by rote. For the last three
days I had been talking in code over the telephone and using other
telephones to avoid being bugged. I slept away from home.
I went on a
series of hurried errands, collecting a visa from the South African embassy
and to the small cottage I rent, and packed a few necessities in 15
I couldn't find Samson, my cat, to say goodbye. I told no one
except two of my closest friends. I drove 550 kilometres through the night
to Plumtree on Zimbabwe's western border with Botswana. Later, in
Francistown - the Botswana city 80 kilometres from the border post, I
telephoned my girlfriend, Sarah, and told her where I was. She burst into
sobs of relief.
Political violence could keep voters away, say rights groups
report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 22 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - An escalation in
political violence and attempts to influence opposition supporters in rural
Zimbabwe could result in a low turnout in next month's election, civic voter
education groups have warned.
Gorden Moyo, the chairman of Bulawayo
Agenda, a civic education group based in Zimbabwe's second city, alleged
that political violence, intimidation and the use of food aid to coerce
voters was increasing ahead of the 31 March poll.
The group also
operates provincial monitoring offices at Gwanda in Matabeleland South and
Hwange in Matabeleland North. In separate interviews, the groups said they
had been notified that greater use was being made of traditional chiefs to
allegedly influence their subjects. People were also being told that the use
of translucent ballot boxes would enable the authorities to trace each vote
Moreover, Moyo said, they had received credible reports that
interparty political violence was on the rise in Gwanda and Beitbridge
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said they had not
received any reports citing incidents of violence or intimidation. "We are
surprised to hear that. But I can assure you that the campaign remains
peaceful," he commented.
"We must see this as a general, nationwide
intimidation campaign - seeing as it comes just as violence and arbitrary
arrests of opposition and civil society members rise in the urban areas,"
Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN) told IRIN that fear of of political violence
could affect turnout among opposition supporters.
"They would rather
not go to vote than vote and face the recriminations. Past experience has
taught them that such threats are eventually carried out, and they fear a
repeat of 2000/2002 [legislative and presidential elections]," said
Matchaba-Hove. "The penalty for voting for the opposition can be an
expulsion from the village, physical violence, withdrawal from the local
food aid registers, or all of them combined."
The rural areas have
traditionally been ZANU-PF, with the chiefs, who maintain the food aid
registers, being loyal supporters.
According to the US-funded Famine
Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), an estimated five million people in
Zimbabwe are in need of food aid.
Home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi
countered claims of violence and use of influence, and described the
organisations raising the allegations of human rights abuses as
"Western-funded", with subversive leanings. He said the police were
monitoring the election campaigns to ensure that no threats were made
against members of the public.
"Ours is a peaceful party. Just like the
government, our people hold their chiefs in high regard and, naturally, get
worried when such accusations are made against them," Mohadi told IRIN. "We
cannot deny our people the right to choose their own leaders, when we fought
so hard to bring them human rights, freedom and social justice; we cannot
undo those noble values of the liberation struggle."
Electoral court set up ahead of Zimbabwe polls Tue Feb 22, 2005 04:34 PM
By Stella Mapenzauswa HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe's government has set up an electoral court to handle
legal matters arising from a general election due next month, according to
the official Herald newspaper.
In a sign of rising tension ahead of the
poll, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change said soldiers
attacked a group of its members on their way back to the capital from the
party's election campaign launch at the weekend.
The government has
made reforms it says will ensure a free poll on March 31, but the MDC says
the rules are still skewed in favour of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, and
that state security agents have sought to hamper its campaign
Zimbabwe's top judge, Godfrey Chidyausiku, appointed High
Court judges Tendayi Uchena, Maphios Cheda and Nicholas Ndou to the new
court to hear election petitions, the Herald reported on
"The Electoral Court is now in place and the administrative
machinery is also in place. We are now ready to deal with election matters,"
the paper quoted the court's registrar as saying.
were not immediately reachable for comment.
The MDC, running in this
year's polls under protest, has complained that courts dragged their feet
over most legal challenges it launched against ZANU-PF victories in 2000
parliamentary elections and a presidential vote two years later. The ruling
party insists it won fairly.
The MDC said on Tuesday a group of soldiers
had attacked party officials on their way back to Harare at the weekend
after attending the party's campaign launch in the southern town of
"The matter was reported to police but to date no arrests have
been made," the party said in a statement.
Police and army officials
were not immediately reachable for comment, but both departments have in the
past denied allegations of bias levelled by the opposition.
said a member of its youth wing sustained a suspected fractured leg during a
confrontation with a group of ZANU-PF supporters in southwestern Zimbabwe
while he was putting up MDC campaign posters.
The police rushed to the
scene and detained two ZANU-PF members including the brother of the ZANU-PF
candidate for the area, the party said.
Critics say Mugabe has failed to
deliver on international demands for wide-ranging democratic electoral
reforms and he has put in place a set of cosmetic measures designed to
extend his ZANU-PF party's 25-year grip on power.
the charges, and says the West, led by former colonial ruler Britain, is
bent on forcing him from power over his controversial seizure of white-owned
farms for landless blacks.
Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Election Manifesto Published By Peta
Thornycroft Harare 22 February
Zimbabwe's ruling party election manifesto
concentrates heavily on its role in ending colonial rule 25-years ago and
its policy of confiscating white-owned land for redistribution to new black
farmers. The Zanu PF manifesto says that the economy is recovering and that
the party's victory at the March 31 poll will ensure Zimbabwe is never a
Zanu PF's election manifesto is published in a 54-page
booklet and is a mixture of history and future goals.
It has a
section devoted to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying he wants regime
change in Zimbabwe and created the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. It blames Mr. Blair, and to a lesser extent President Bush, for
Zimbabwe's economic problems and its isolation from the western
The manifesto says that the land-reform program is now
complete, and that many Zimbabweans have become millionaires since President
Robert Mugabe launched a campaign in 2000 to evict most white
It claims that reduced annual inflation from more than 600
percent a year ago to 132 percent is a clear indication that the economy is
turning around. Interest rates are falling, and the value of the Zimbabwe
dollar against major currencies has stabilized, according to Zanu
Zanu PF appointed a woman as vice president in December, and the
manifesto says that it is going to promote many more women into top
positions. It has a record number of women standing for 120 seats in
parliament. The ruling party says it has revitalized and reformed its
Zanu PF says its program will primarily be to fight
poverty and improve living standards. It says this will be achieved by
improved agricultural production, increased levels of manufacturing, and
encouraging establishment of more small to medium enterprises.
focuses attention on new electoral laws which went through parliament in
As a result of the new laws three judges were appointed to
head up Zimbabwe's first ever electoral court to adjudicate disputes arising
out of the campaign and on voting day.
The manifesto was written by
former information minister Jonathan Moyo who was expelled from Zanu PF on
Saturday because he is standing as an independent candidate in the
Zanu PF faced its first serious political challenge when the
MDC fought its first election in 2000 and won nearly half the
Mr. Mugabe says Zanu PF is set to retake the lost seats, and has
pledged the party will win a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to
change the constitution.
Zimbabwe's official opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) says that a group of soldiers have attacked MDC
officials who were coming from Masvingo where the MDC had launched its
election campaign for the 2005 general elections.
elections are to be held on March 31.
Spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said:
"The MDC officials were at Wengezi business centre in Manicaland when a
group of about 50 soldiers disembarked from two army trucks and about 20 of
the soldiers started assaulting the MDC members."
"Among the MDC
officials were three candidates for the 2005 general election namely Pishai
Muchauraya the candidate for Makoni East, Edwin Maupa candidate for Mutasa
South and Gabriel Chiwara the candidate for Makoni West."
said: "The soldiers assaulted Chiwara and his election agent Josphat
Munhumumwe accusing the two of selling the country to the
"Chiwara and Munhumumwe sustained injuries all over their bodies
as they were kicked and beaten with booted feet and fists by the furious
members of the army. Chiwara also sustained a deep cut above the eye," he
The two were taken to Mutare General Hospital where they received
treatment and were later released. The matter was reported to Mutare rural
police station and docket number RRB 0412126 was opened but to date no
arrests had been made, Nyathi reported.
"The MDC is seriously
concerned about this incident as it comes hardly a week after another group
of members of the army assaulted and injured several MDC members in Nyanga.
Both attacks were completely unprovoked.
"The MDC believes that these
attacks are being carried out by members of the (ruling) Zanu PF youth
militia who have been drafted into the army in recent months. Only brain-
washed young people would carry out these barbaric acts with such
"We urge all members of the professional army to encourage the
unruly elements among them to desist from their activities as they continue
to tarnish the name of the professional force. "In a related incident of
violence, an MDC youth activist Thembekile Moyo 29, was badly injured in the
leg last night (Monday night) after being struck by a stone while putting up
posters for the MDC Insiza candidate Siyabonga Malandu Ncube", he
Moyo - who was with Malandu and a group of MDC youths - was struck
after having been waylaid by the Zanu-PF group in the dark. Moyo was struck
in the leg and sustained a suspected fractured leg.
The MDC claims
that the Zanu-PF group was led by Spare Sithole who is the election agent
for the Zanu-PF candidate for Insiza, Andrew Langa.
The incident was
reported to police officer-in-charge, Inspector Edmund Shoko, who quickly
deployed a group of police officers to the scene.
On arrival at Filabusi
centre, they found Langa's brothers Ben and Sindiso with a group of Zanu-PF
supporters allegedly pulling down the MDC posters.
The group ran away but
Sindiso Langa and one member of the militia were apprehended, Nyathi
Court still in favour of Mugabe - MDC February 22 2005
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government
has set up an electoral court to handle legal matters arising from a general
election due next month, the official Herald newspaper said on
The government has made reforms it says will ensure a free
poll on March 31, but critics - including the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) - say the rules are still skewed in favour of
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.
Zimbabwe's top judge, Godfrey
Chidyausiku, appointed High Court judges Tendayi Uchena, Maphios Cheda and
Nicholas Ndou to the new court to hear election petitions, the Herald
"The Electoral Court is now in place and the
administrative machinery is also in place. We are now ready to deal with
election matters," the paper quoted the court's registrar as
Court officials were not immediately reachable for
The MDC, running in this year's polls under protest, has
complained that courts dragged their feet over most legal challenges it
launched against Zanu-PF victories in 2000 parliamentary elections and a
presidential vote two years later. The ruling party insists it won
Critics say Mugabe has failed to deliver on international
demands for wide-ranging democratic electoral reforms, and has put in place
a set of cosmetic measures designed to extend his Zanu-PF party's 25-year
grip on power.
Mugabe dismisses the charges, and says the West,
led by former colonial ruler Britain, is bent on forcing him from power over
his controversial seizure of white-owned farms for landless blacks.
Mugabe turns 81 with few but clerics daring
to criticise him
Trevor Grundy London (ENI). Robert Gabriel Mugabe
turned 81 on Monday. At an age most men would be playing with their
great-grandchildren, the president of Zimbabwe is leading his country into a
general election on 31 March. He has promised to use every resource at his
disposal to wipe out the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
political party. Human rights organizations note that Zimbabwe has cracked
down on a free press and it has stopped non-governmental organizations
distributing food aid. But some opponents say Mugabe knows he can never wipe
out the opposition he most fears - the Christian Church.
say that when Robert Mugabe was 10, his mother, Mbuya Bona Mugabe, boasted
that her brilliant son, who was brought up a Roman Catholic and was educated
by the Jesuit order, would one day be a priest.
In his 11th year, young
Robert lost his elder brother Michael (who died after eating poisoned maize)
and his father Gabriel Mugabe left the family home for South Africa, never
"Those were terrible blows to this sensitive, precociously
intelligent, child," says Mugabe's nephew, James Chikerema, one of the
founders of nationalism in Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was called before
independence, and who will turn 80 in April.
"He stopped wanting to
become a priest and told his mother he would become a teacher," Chikerema
told Ecumenical News International by telephone from Harare.
graduated in 1951 from South Africa's Fort Hare University and taught at
schools in then Northern Rhodesia, which later became Zambia, and in Ghana
where he met his first wife, Sally. In the early 1960s, the Mugabes returned
to Salisbury, capital of Rhodesia, and joined Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe
African People's Union (Zapu).
"If Robert had gone into the Catholic
Church he would probably today be a cardinal," jokes Lawrence Vambe, 87, who
like Mugabe and Chikerema attended Kutama Mission school, near
When the Zimbabwean war of independence broke out, Mugabe was
placed in prison for 10 years, from 1964 to 1974. Those who knew him during
those stormy days said his faith in Catholicism never wavered.
those close to him say it did after his release from prison in 1974 when
ferocious fighting broke out between guerrillas of his Zimbabwe African
National Union (Zanu) based in Mozambique and the army of Rhodesia's white
settlers, many of whom were farmers.
The bitter war gave way to
freedom and independence for Zimbabwe in April 1980 with the country
embarking on an era of relative prosperity.
Initially Mugabe was widely
respected by church leaders. But after a clampdown on dissent in the
Matabeleland province between 1982 and 1987, which saw as many as 25 000
men, women and children killed, Mugabe invoked the wrath of church leaders,
especially the powerful Catholic Church.
As he turns 81, Robert Mugabe
hears Christian condemnation every day of the week. "We are at fault because
we put evil people in power," said Catholic Bishop Patrick Mutume at the
start of a Christian prayer week recently.
And Bishop Trevor Manhango,
president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, noted, "We have had
enough fighting in Zimbabwe."
The Methodist Church also has had its say,
with Bishop Cephas Mukandi reminding members of the government that nearly
all of them have a Christian background and that they should respect the
One of Mugabe's staunchest critics has been Bulawayo's
Catholic Bishop Pius Ncube, whom Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party has called a
The UN World Food Programme, World Vision, Christian Care,
Lutheran Development Services and other donors have cut back on their work
after the introduction of new legislation curtailing their operations
following a campaign started by Mugabe in 2004 to have international food
donors leave Zimbabwe.
"They want to control the food and politicise
it," said Ncube, who is archbishop in Zimbabwe's second-largest city.
"They'd rather kill people for the sake of power."
Last year a public
row broke out between Mugabe and the retired South African Anglican
archbishop Desmond Tutu. In a media interview Mugabe called Tutu "an angry,
evil and embittered little bishop" after Tutu had been quoted saying that
Mugabe resembled the caricature of an African dictator.
"Robert used to
be a very religious man," says his nephew Chikerema.
newspaper editorialised on 15 February: "Archbishop Tutu is speaking out of
his concern for his people, and his continent, as he has always done. Africa
had better heed his word."
Excerpt from a longer transcript from The Financial Times (UK), 22
Interview: Thabo Mbeki
Andrew Gowers, David
White, and John Reed
FT: A country that is not so far away, Zimbabwe:
you made great efforts to take it upon yourself to try to get the two sides
talking. Has that now irretrievably broken down?
Mbeki: No, it
hasn't. . You see, you are quite correct, this is what we've been insisting
upon all the time, that it's really the Zimbabweans who must find a solution
to their own problem, and what was critically important was that they should
get together with none of the two saying (any) particular matter is excluded
from the agenda..And that's how we've proceeded since 2002 after the
presidential elections..They have been very reluctant to explain to the
world what they have been doing.
FT: How close do you think they are,
in these elections coming up, to fulfilling the minimum criteria agreed by
Mbeki: The one complaint I have had has to do with the register
of voters, that it is defective. With regard to the rest, what we've said,
what I've said, is that we should send in a SADC team there as quickly as
possible before the elections.
FT: But that's not even happening,
Mr President, is it?
Mbeki: It'll happen..I would expect that
actually we could have a SADC delegation in Zimbabwe this coming week. Not
observers, in the sense of "We'll come there and observe and we'll see bad
things being done, we'll write them in our notebook so that at the end of
the process we can then say, uh-uh, this election was not free and fair
because the following bad things happened," it's not that. Because our
interest indeed is to have free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and therefore
to go there with a view to assisting, to ensure that we have those free and
fair elections..to be able to be around the country as much is as possible,
so that we'll be able to intervene in instances where there is violence and
intimidation and so on..That team would have to be there, ready to receive
any complaint in the event that (access to state media) has not been
granted, I'm saying, not in order to record that it's not been granted but
in order to intervene to make sure that it is granted. So that's the
approach that we want to take to this. My view is that we can do
FT: To inervene in cases of intimidation suggests some kind of
Mbeki: No, it doesn't, we did this last time, in
the presidential elections.
FT: I suppose the underlying question
that we've been trying to get at is at what point do you, as the outside
actor with the most potential to influence the situation, say, well, this
quiet approach hasn't worked and we really need to take a more forthright,
critical approach. One of the things that people far away are struggling to
understand is that you've played it so quietly, and there are commentaries
that this reflects ill on the credibility of Africa putting its own house in
Mbeki: Yes, I know. The point really about all of this from
our perspective has been that the critical role we should play is to assist
the Zimbabweans to find one another, really to agree among themselves about
the political, economic, social, other solutions that their country needs.
We could have stepped aside from that task and then shouted, and that would
be the end of our contribution.. They would shout back at us, and that would
be the end of the story. .I'm actually the only head of government that I
know anywhere in the world who has actually gone to Zimbabwe and spoken
publicly very critically of the things that they're doing. We agree that
there must be land redistribution but the manner in which it is being
handled is incorrect, and the way the conflict has arisen between black
Zimbabweans and white Zimbabweans is not what we want.But, you see, to take
a posture which would say - which I think could be quite easy - we would sit
here and say we are gong to shout at the Zimbabweans, that's the beginning
and the end of any contribution we would make.It was a choice for us. The
easier route was to sit in Pretoria and say whaever we like.
How would you characterise your feelings about, or your relations with,
Mbeki: I think they're very good.
Do you see him often.How often are you in contact with him?
regularly as I want to.
FT: When did you last see
Mbeki: The last time I saw him was when we were in Maputo for
the installation of the new president (in early February).
you respect him?
Mbeki:.The relationship is very good, there's no
problem about it. There are certain thing which have gone wrong in Zimbabwe,
which we've said publicly.They've run a budget deficit of 10 per cent for 20
years.You end up with the economic crisis that you have now. It derives from
an economic policy that had good intentions in the sense of raising
standards of living of the people, educational levels, improving health and
so on and so on. But it produced particular consequences, economic
consequences which then also had political consequences.Part of what then
happened was that when opposition emerged, essentially emerging out of the
economic crisis.they responded to it in a wrong way..When I was in Harare I
said to them publicly this business of using the war veterans is incorrect.
You can't solve these problems by beating up people. So there were things
that went wrong there. Do you respect Bob Mugabe? Of course, yes. That
doesn't mean do you approve of the policies that were
FT: Do you see the US putting Zimbabwe on a list of
"outposts of tyranny", does that make any difference?
I think that's a bit of an exaggeration.
FT: Do you think they're
going after Zimbabwe unfairly, and if so why?
Mbeki: No, I think that
it's an exaggeration and I think that whatever your government wants to do
with regard to that list of six countries, or however many, I think it's
really somewhat discredited.
FT: A discredit to
Mbeki: The concept, the US concept.
FT: Lumping them
Mbeki: Yes, to put all these countries together and say
Zimbabwe's one of these outposts of tyranny, how do you justify that? It
doesn't mean that there's nothing that's gone wrong in Zimbabwe, but to
describe it as an outpost of tyranny.
FT: You don't think they
belong in the same category as Burma?
As Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo made his
reputation as the architect of the government's campaign to silence
criticism, and still had time to get his own revolutionary jingles aired on
Though he quickly fell from grace after
challenging the president's authority, he left behind his legacy of laws
that effectively deny government critics a means of disseminating
Moyo, a former academic, had evolved from a
sharp critic of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to driving
force in Mugabe's government. But he was fired over the weekend after he
defied Zanu-PF rules by putting himself forward as an independent candidate
in parliamentary elections scheduled for March 31.
Zanu-PF disqualified Moyo and other dissenters within the party from
contesting the election and they were forbidden from standing as
independents after they became involved in an internal power struggle in
Moyo may be gone, but Zimbabwe remains what the
Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom watchdog,
calls one of the 10 worst countries for a journalist.
Moyo's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, passed in 2002,
was used to shut down the country's only independent daily newspaper, The
Daily News. The laws also were used to jail independent Zimbabwean
journalists and expel or bar foreign journalists.
shut down two independent radio stations.
Moyo controlled the
government's television and radio broadcaster. He cancelled its contracts
for news supplied by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the United
States CNN network.
He fired several broadcast presenters and
largely banished Western music and movies from the airwaves. An amateur
musician, he ordered the broadcaster to run jingles he composed and
revolutionary songs praising the often-violent seizures of thousands of
Human rights groups and the independent
Mass Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe said much of the propaganda
broadcast on Moyo's orders and carried in the state press incited hatred and
prejudice against government critics, the main opposition party, the 30
000-member white community and other minorities in the nation's population
The media monitoring group likened the
"hate" messages to incitement by Hutu militants ahead of the Rwandan
genocide of 1994.
A day after Moyo described The Daily News
as a threat to national security, the paper's printing presses in southern
Harare were destroyed in a bomb attack.
explosives were used. There have been no arrests in that attack. Reporters
at state newspapers said Moyo frequently personally supervised the selection
of material for publication and wrote outspoken pro-government columns
himself or assigned loyalists to write them.
As minister, he
arranged virtually round-the-clock monitoring of the internet and satellite
television to amass files on journalists reporting on the country for
Before joining the government, Moyo taught at
the main University of Zimbabwe in Harare in the 1980s. Then, he contributed
highly critical articles to independent newspapers and magazines, accusing
Mugabe's party of being authoritarian, outdated in its avowed Marxist
policies and misguided in its alliances with China, the Soviet Union and
bankrupt East bloc nations.
But he joined the government
in 2000 as the chief spokesperson for the state-appointed Constitutional
Commission ahead of a referendum on constitutional reforms that would have
entrenched Mugabe's powers. In Mugabe's biggest polling defeat since he led
the nation to independence in 1980, referendum voters rejected the
Moyo, however, made himself a fiery and sometimes
eloquent defender of Mugabe and his policies and was appointed Information
Minister a few months later.
Moyo's downfall began in
November when he convened a meeting to oppose Mugabe's choice of Joyce
Mujuru as the first woman Vice-President after the death in 2003 of Mugabe's
longtime aide and ally, Vice-President Simon Muzenda at age
Moyo was reprimanded by the ruling party and dropped from
the 50-member politburo, its top policy-making body, and its 250 member
Six of the party's 10 provincial
chairmen invited to the meeting by Moyo were suspended from the party for
five years for favouring Parliament speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa for the
vice-presidency, a post that could put him in line to succeed Mugabe,
The power wrangle over the vice-presidency, fueled by
Moyo, was the biggest split in the party since 1980. - Sapa-AP
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 21 February
Moyos out there
It is understandable that
the independent media should celebrate Jonathan Moyo's political slide for
he epitomised probably the worst form of abuse of power to settle both
personal and state scores in recent times. As a Zimbabwean weekly noted, the
information minister "personalised his crusade against media freedom". His
litany of media sins notwithstanding, Moyo was operating within a system
that allows him the power to treat the media in the way he has done. It's a
system that was carefully crafted by the colonial Rhodesian Front, and
cosmetically modified by Zanu PF in 1980. Zimbabwe's Constitution makes no
explicit reference to press or media freedom. It only provides, rather
economically, for freedom of expression. This freedom is eroded by a lengthy
list of qualifications, including interests of "public morality", "public
safety", defence and "economic interests of the state". While in principle
there's nothing wrong with any of these qualifications per se, the same have
been invoked to silence a critical press. Since independence, Zimbabwe's
media have had to contend with a situation where an institutional support
system for editorial and programming autonomy is non-existent.
have read articles that suggested a kind of nostalgic yearning for the "good
old days" of the pre-2000 Ministry of Information. But, while not as vicious
as Moyo's office, the yawning bureaucracy President Robert Mugabe disbanded
at the launch of the controversial land reform programme cannot be
associated with a progressive media policy. It will perhaps be most
remembered for issuing press cards, firing editors from the state media, and
running a near-obsolete fleet of Rhodesian-style mobile cinema vans showing
"developmental" films to rural people. As they rub their palms with glee at
Moyo's slouch to perdition, the media should not entertain the illusion of
an automatically happier era in Zimbabwe. It was not out of magnanimity that
previous information ministers - Nathan Shamuyarira, Chen Chimutengwende,
Witness Mangwende and Victoria Chitepo - harassed or arrested fewer
journalists during their terms than those arrested and tortured under
The reason is that Zanu PF was not subjected to the kind of
political competition that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
brought. Had any of them assumed the information portfolio in turbulent,
post-1999 Zimbabwe, it's highly likely they would have behaved no
differently. The launch of The Daily News newspaper - which provided a
platform for both the opposition and dissenting cliques within the ruling
party who were shut out of the public media - raised the stakes in the new
"struggle for Zimbabwe". With the support of a pliant judiciary and police
force, a huge budget and the personal blessing of the president, Zimbabwe's
information and media policy under Moyo became a kind of "shock and awe". In
a letter to the Zanu PF politburo in the aftermath of Tsholotsho, Moyo
wrote: "Today The Daily News is off the streets as a result of violation of
laws that we have collectively enacted yet the truth is that some comrades
here have conveniently distanced themselves from those laws and now I am
personally held liable for the demise of The Daily News."
distinguished Moyo from his predecessors was his profound zealotry;
otherwise the structures never changed, and will certainly not change simply
because he is gone. Under Moyo the media have taken a tragic battering. In
the most difficult circumstances, the media have struggled courageously to
narrate the unfolding Zimbabwean story. However, the struggle for media
freedom should not end with the fall of Moyo. It is a struggle that preceded
him; and a struggle that should challenge authoritarian state institutions,
of which Moyo, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and
Public Order Security Act are sad products. The media would be naive to
believe that their current romance with senior Zanu PF officials fighting
Moyo is more than just a dance. The intra-elite fallout in Zanu PF can never
be expected to deliver media freedom.
Wallace Chuma teaches at
the University of Cape Town's centre for film and media studies
The African renaissance can only gain momentum if every country accepts the
fact that the first step must be taken at home. Only practical and honest
steps - not theory - will put food on the table.
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma embraces Zimbabwe, a country with a
government that can only be described as an oppressive,
President Thabo Mbeki holds
Robert Mugabe's hand because somewhere in the past they shared views in a
The fact is that the day in February 2000,
when the people of Zimbabwe rejected Mugabe's draft constitution, the man
changed. He became the oppressive leader of a regime that allowed
unarmed and innocent men, women and children to be killed. A regime that
unleashed terror on every sector of the community.
so-called war veterans terrorised commercial farmers and their workers and
ultimately the crude and illegal seizure of farms, racially justified and
motivated according to a government determined to retain power at all
Mbeki is adamant that South Africa is a democratic
country. In a democracy the domestic politics and foreign policy are closely
related. Dlamini-Zuma in this case should lead an open debate in parliament
regarding Zimbabwe before making any far-reaching statement.
This would enable the public, through their representatives, to discuss and
make a contribution on the Zimbabwe crisis to put a balanced and informed
policy on the table.
Foreign policy-making is not of great interest
to the general public, but the horrifying events that have taken place on
our doorstep have constantly been front-page news.
into focus the underlying perception that the ANC government's domestic
political intent will be reflected in its foreign policy actions and
Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February 2005 RBZ out
to raise $500bn
Business Reporter THE Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe yesterday entered the market with a new form of bonds aimed at
raising $500 billion to resuscitate the country's ailing parastatals and
Appropriately named the Parastatals and Local
Authorities Re-Orientation Programme Bond, the first batch opened yesterday
and closes on Monday next week.
When RBZ governor Dr Gideon
Gono announced his Fourth Quarter Monetary Policy Review Statement and 2005
Roadmap last month, he told the nation the RBZ was putting in place a $10
trillion facility to rejuvenate the operations of parastatals and local
Yesterday's opening of the Parastatals and Local
Authorities Re-Orientation Programme was the first step in that
The bonds are modelled along the same lines as the
already highly popular open market operations (OMO) instruments and tobacco
bills which are issued on a regular basis.
Some of the salient
features include a five-year tenure compared to 90 days for the open market
Interest is paid half yearly while the bonds have
been granted a prescribed and liquid asset status by the Ministry of Finance
and Economic Development.
The bonds are also acceptable as
collateral for repo and overnight accommodation purposes by
In January, the central bank unveiled an 18-24 month
Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation Programme under which the
RBZ will issue medium to long-term stocks to raise seed funds amounting to
$10 trillion for the implementation of the programme.
development is likely to see Government rolling back its frontiers in terms
of fiscal allocations to local authorities or parastatals and start to
service the principal amount of the utilised level of the facility beginning
fiscal year 2006.
While this is a positive and long overdue move by
the central bank, it has also been highlighted that more measures would need
to be put in place to ensure that sure that parastatals become profit-making
An extensive restructuring of the management
structures at some of the parastatals in order to eliminate managerial
inefficiencies, which have often led to under-performance in the past,
should also be implemented
As part of the reforms, both parastatals
and local authorities should be allowed to charge economic prices and
tariffs for the goods and services they provide.
should be noted that parastatals play a key social role in the economy,
which means that some of their goods and services should be affordable.