Wed Feb 22, 2006 7:51 PM ET
HARARE (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake measuring an estimated 7.5 shook
large areas of Zimbabwe and northern Mozambique early on Thursday, shaking
buildings from Harare to Maputo.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Web site said the quake, which struck just
after midnight (2200 GMT on Wednesday), measured an estimated 7.5 and was
centred in northern Mozambique, an area not known for severe earthquakes.
In Zimbabwe, the quake jolted people out of their beds in Harare, where
panic-stricken apartment dwellers ran into the street, and was felt as far
away as Bulawayo, about 450 km southwest of the capital.
Zimbabwe state radio, which had issued instructions urging people to remain
calm, later described it as a "minor earth tremor". A spokesman for Harare's
fire and ambulance services said they had received no emergency calls.
In Mozambique's capital Maputo, people also gathered in the street, although
there were no immediate reports of damage. Police and emergency services
officials could not be reached for comment.
Mozambique state radio issued a brief report about the quake, saying it was
centered near Estungabera in northern Manica province -- a largely rural
area near the Zimbabwe border.
"An earthquake of this size shakes the ground for quite a distance away from
its epicenter so we're expecting that there is damage from this earthquake,"
said William Leith, a USGS earthquake specialist.
"It's a significant and unexpected earthquake in this region," he said by
telephone from the USGS headquarters in Reston, Virginia. "We'll expect
aftershocks from an earthquake this large."
(Additional reporting by Mateus Chale in Maputo)
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I would like to thank Eddie Cross for his letter (5). This man makes
sense and sounds civilized. I always find his letters interesting and
hope once this madness that drags on is over, he will be recognized for
his effort and contributions. We will need him when Zimbabwe becomes the
peoples country again and not Zanu-PF pvt enterprise to rape and pillage
as they are doing now they still do not realize. The clock is ticking and
they are growing old, how time can be cruel, yet a blessing when it gets
rid of the rotten few who have committed this unforgivable sin which is
the destruction of an Eden
like Zimbabwe. We wait!
Stuart (zimbo in mud island UK)
WANTED - LIFT TO DURBAN OR JO'BG -
Fr David Gornall SJ
Lift wanted for 3 adults + luggage + small dog, preferably to Durban, but
Jo'bg (then on by train) would do; share expenses & driving. From 10th
-14th March 2006.
Contact: Duncan 011 231 897
or Fr David (04) 727386
I wish to contact Sid Frodsham, formerly of 38 Fairway, Northwood. Can
anyone give me a contact number for Sid, or a relative/friend that knew
Sid, or where I can find Sid?
Contact G Hensman on 067 22737 or 011 61 55 63, or email
Dear Sirs etc
Please advise Mr Chimhete of the Standard that it is not the last 600
white farmers employing children, it would not be allowed by GAPWUZ, they
would be round so fast it would be frightening. Also please do a little
more research before rushing into print. The lowest paid farm workers
are earning $1 300 000 per month, plus benefits of housing etc which
It is probably a fact that it is what people say that can make us feel
down, more than just about anything else. Every day we all bear witness
to those that insist on talking negatively. We know what the consequence
will be; insecurity, hurt, disappointment, sense of loss, hopelessness
and even despair as well as many other negative emotions. Even the
strongest of us walk away despondent.
We have a choice to make about what we say and how we say it. Think
first of the consequences before choosing to say what we are thinking.
Rather consider how we make people stronger, happier, and more secure.
It is the state of mind that will determine if we are to get through this
rocky path of transition to democracy and prosperity. That state of mind
must be defiant and resolute and built out of positive and proactive
"Rather light a candle than curse the darkness"
If they are counting all the crops, which are planted to the golden leaf,
then they are in deep trouble. The crop which is at the late Alan Dunn's
farm at Beatrice are nice Christmas trees, I saw them reaping their leaf
to put into the Peugeot 504 the other day. I wonder if they borrowed
money to put that crop in. Nearby the tractor going great guns under
operation Ta gutA, planting maize and sorghum - THIS WEEK. Borrowed
money. And so on.
APPEAL LETTER FOR STEPHANIE SCHOULTZ:
This is an appeal letter regarding Stephanie Schoultz
Stephanie is a 14-year-old girl who was the only white in Harare
Children's home. She was placed there by Social Welfare as her mother
had been unable to fend for her or her brother for the last few years.
Nicola Bath (Swanepoel) found out about her through Jill Day and then
spoke to us (the Swanepoel family and Gary and Jo Hensman). Gary and Jo
went to see Jill Day, followed by a visit to the Director of the
Children's home and then had a meeting with Social Welfare. A few days
later, Steve and Gary had another meeting with S.W and Mrs Sharon
Schoultz and then proceeded to the Home and then onto Admiral Tait school
where they finally met Stephanie. It was decided that we HAD to take her
out of her immediate environment and that Gary was going to take her into
their home and that she would be sent to Lomagundi College as a boarder.
Stephanie was fairly overwhelmed by the idea of a new start on life and
it was quite an emotional moment for her and her mom. In the meantime,
Gary had already approached Howard Matthews at the College to secure a
place for her and to discuss her previous schooling, which is basically 2
years behind normal. Howard readily offered her a place in Form 1 and
said that Stephanie would need extra lessons and attention etc in order
to catch up with the rest of her classmates.
Gary then drove back into Harare the next day, Thursday 26/2, only to
have Social Welfare throw some beauracratic tape into the plans. Due to
this, and a very trying day for him, Gary and Jo had to drive back into
town again on Friday to collect Stephanie after signing Foster forms to
allow them to have Stephanie stay with them. After a week-end settling in
at Gyppslander, getting uniforms and other essentials sorted out,
Stephanie started school at Lomagundi College on Monday 30/1/2006.
At the same time, Steve got hold of Nicola and a few other people to try
to find a job for Stephanie's brother, Stephen, who is 17 years old with
a very limited education and has not been welcome in Mrs Schoultz's
boyfriend's house. Fortunately, the workshop manager for Nissan
Runiville, Ivan, was looking for someone to start as an apprentice and so
an interview was set up and Stephen has been given the job and started
work last Friday.
Now we come to the part that hopefully involves all of you! As you know,
there are going to be many expenses along the way, not only with regards
to schooling, but also her clothing and all the other things that she
would need along the way. We have already set up a trust account at
Premier Asset Management under the watchful eye of Sandi-Lyn Nield. We
are now appealing to you to help us put Stephanie through school.
Donations should be made out either to Lomagundi College (Stephanie
Schoultz acct) or to Premier Banking Corporation. These chqs can be
handed to Steve Swanepoel or to Jo Hensman at Performa and will be
acknowledged and placed into the account. The account can be viewed at
any time by donators at 11 Hiller road, Gunhill, and all expenditure etc
will be kept there on file. Sandi will be responsible for investing the
money to best advantage in a squeaky clean portfolio in Harare. We have
already started collecting money in Harare and many individuals and
companies have placed pledges whereby they are donating sums of money
every month, whereas others have just put in large sums in one go and
have promised that they will revisit the account in a few months time.
In a philosophical frame of mind, Gary showed Steve his key ring, which
has the following on it:
"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world
may be different because I was important in the life of a child."
CAN YOU HELP US TO HELP STEPHANIE?!
Steve Swanepoel and Gary Hensman
Steve: 011-808262, Kate: 091-356981, Steve + Kate (H):067-23112;Gary:
011-615563, (H) 067-22737
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
HARARE: Zimbabwe are expected to name Terry Duffin as their new captain for
the five One-day Internationals against Kenya, which get underway at Queens
Sports Club in Bulawayo this Saturday.
The Zimbabwean team is in Harare where they are training under Kevin Curran,
and the selectors are expected to name the final squad of between 15 and 16
players this (Thursday) morning.
Curran confirmed Duffin's appointment, adding that "it does not matter that
he has not played One-day International cricket."
Duffin, a 23-year-old solid opening batsman with an ability to build an
innings, made his Test debut against India at Bulawayo in September last
year and became the sixth Zimbabwean batsman to score a half-century on
However, he has never played an ODI and his only meaningful experience of
the limited-overs game came when he captained Zimbabwe A against Bangladesh
A in five matches in March last year.
The move to appoint Duffin as captain is said to have angered some black
players who feel that Zimbabwe Cricket used them, claiming that they had
been promised the post following the resignation of Tatenda Taibu. One of
these players who is understood to be unhappy is medium-pace bowler Blessing
Mahwire, who has 10 Test and seven one-day appearances to his name.
All-rounder Andy Blignaut, who was touted to take over the captaincy from
Tatemda Taibu, is reportedly still in South Africa where he is playing
franchise cricket for Highveld Lions on a deal was that was brokered by
Zimbabwe Cricket. But, despite comments to the contrary by the board, he has
made it clear that he is not willing to play until he is paid match fees for
the New Zealand, India and Kenya tours in 2005.
Duffin's vice-captain will be Charles Coventry, a veteran of five ODIs which
makes him one of the most experienced players in the likely squad. Kenya
will be led by Steve Tikolo.
February 23, 2006, 53 minutes and 47 seconds ago.
By ANDnetwork .com
A MULTI-MILLION dollar private bus terminus built illegally in central
Harare equipped with television and waiting rooms faces demolition after it
was spotted by Harare Metropolitan Resident Minister Cde David Karimanzira.
This comes in the wake of renewed efforts by the Harare City Council
to clean up the city and repair its deteriorating infrastucure such as roads
and traffic lights.
Cde Karimanzira, who was curious to know why there was a private
terminus on council land along Fifth Street failed to get a satisfactory
reply from city officials who accompanied him to Roadport, ordered Harare
City Council to investigate how Mr Rochford Munjoma was allowed to build a
pre-fabricated bus terminus opposite Roadport bus terminus.
The terminus has a ticket office, TV room, a check-in point and a
During a tour of the Roadport bus terminus along Fifth Street on
Tuesday, Cde Karimanzira noticed the private terminus on stand 3012A, corner
Jason Moyo and Fifth Street.
He labelled the structure illegal, since it was on council land slated
for future development, and directed the city authorities to establish why
the terminus was still standing several months after all illegal buildings
and structures were brought down under Operation Murambatsvina last year.
"If this building (terminus) is not on the city's plans it should be
demolished. We should learn to uphold the law.
"We want buildings that conform to the city's planning," he said.
But Mr Munjoma yesterday said he was prepared to move only if council
officially communicates with him.
"I am not objecting to be evicted. Council should officially write to
me and not treat me as a squatter. I want to be removed with respect," he
Mr Munjoma accused council of double standards saying the local
authority connected water and sewer to the stand but now say the building is
"I receive water and electricity bills but they are not charging me
rates. I am prepared to pay the rates for the period I have been here," he
City council officials present expressed surprise at seeing the
building while others tried to give explanations as to why the terminus had
been allowed to stay.
But Cde Karimanzira would have none of the explanations saying the
city authorities should be thorough in their work to avoid such situations
where businesses operate without permits.
Chairperson of the commission running the affairs of the City of
Harare Ms Sekesayi Makwavarara and town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya were
present when Cde Karimanzira gave the directive. The two promised to look
into the matter.
The terminus was built in 1999 and is used by Desert Hawk bus company
owned by Mr Munjoma.
Mr Munjoma built the terminus after he had been kicked out of a rank
along Angwa Street.
The decision to allocate him space seemed to have emanated from the
rezoning of the Fourth Street bus terminus and parking lot for a future
multi-storey parkade, terminus and shopping centre.
Mr Munjoma submitted his plan for developing the area at a cost of $40
million then. The cost has now shot to several billions of dollars.
Mr Munjoma took council to court in 2001 after the city authorities
had served him with a notice to demolish the structure because it was
He was granted a provisional order barring council from interfering
with his business. Mr Munjoma continued to operate the terminus after
council failed to challenge the provisional order within the stipulated
The businessman said he was prepared to build a bigger terminus if
council gave him land.
February 23, 2006, 1 hour, 5 minutes and 57 seconds ago.
By ANDnetwork .com
Police in Rusape yesterday invoked the notorious security law to ban a
rally by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change ahead of its congress
set for March.
The police decision followed an attack late on Saturday by ruling
party militants in the remote town of Rusape, about 170km west of Harare, on
people organising the rally for the Movement for Democratic Change a
provincial spokesman told Zimdaily from the town.
The militants of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) chased away
organisers the spokesperson said. A security law enacted recently gives
police sweeping powers to break up political meetings. So far, many MDC
rallies had either been cancelled by police or disrupted by ruling party
militants since the law took effect. "Clearly, the police are being used to
cancel our rallies," the spokesperson said. The European Commission
recommended recently the extension of sanctions by in protest against
Harare's continuing human rights abuses. The ban was said to have been made
by Inspector Musarurwa. Police were not available for comment.
Thursday, February 23 2006 @ 01:03 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has, for the second time inside a
week, hiked the policy indicative accommodation rate, from 650 percent to
700 percent, following the release of weak inflation data by the Central
Statistical Office last week.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono warned last month that the
Bank would continue using overnight rates as a 'pre-emptive tool' in its bid
to rein in rampant inflation. However, the efficacy of this policy, meant to
tighten credit conditions, has been undermined by the central bank's own
quasi-fiscal activities, through which it has doled out trillions of dollars
to support agriculture, parastatals and municipalities.
It remains to be seen how far the Bank will conform to
International Monetary Fund advice to discontinue these operations, which
saw it pour no less than $10 trillion into the market last year. Gono has
himself admitted that the effectiveness of his liquidity management policy
had been undermined by these operations.
"The increase in the overnight rate is ordinarily intended to
tighten credit conditions so as to fight inflation. In our situation,
however, the existence of concessional facilities significantly weakens the
effectiveness of the overnight adjustment. "Consequently, the overnight rate
has not been effective in influencing other interest rates," Gono said.
Indeed, retail lenders have long stopped adjusting their lending
rates in line with the overnight rate, while other investment rates tend to
trend the benchmark 91-day Treasury Bill rate, whose average yield remains
at 340 percent. The overnight rate rose from 95 percent in February 2005 to
540 percent by December 2005, before the latest adjustment.
Thursday, February 23 2006 @ 01:02 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
September could see a fresh round of turmoil in Zimbabwe's
financial sector, which is currently enjoying relative stability, as new
United States dollar indexed capital requirements come into force. The
Reserve Bank, which revised the minimum capital requirements for banks in
July 2005 to $100 billion in the case of commercial banks by 30 September
2006, has effectively revised the figure to $1 trillion (US$10 million) in
U.S. dollar terms. The local unit currently trades at almost $100 000 to the
Analysts and bankers foresee a period of great difficulty for
the sector, which got its biggest shock in 2004 when several financial
institutions twisted in mid air after a savage liquidity crunch set in. "It
means we have to go back to the drawing board," a Harare banker said
yesterday. "We have a much more stable sector, but those capital
requirements are massive."
He refused to rule out another round of shotgun marriages and
consolidations in the sector. Analysts at local brokerage firm Kingdom
Stockbrokers have warned that the new capital thresholds "may not be an easy
task for some banks." They, however, said the virtual pegging of the
exchange rate by the central bank last month gave banks a measure of relief.
"Given that the Governor will adjust the capital amount any time
if the exchange rate moves, the current fixed exchange rate due to
volume-based adjustments, although it will hurt exporters and the economy,
works in favor of banks as the capital amount in Zimbabwe dollar terms will
also remain stable like U.S. dollar equivalent," KSB said. When the central
bank indexed the capital requirements to the United States dollar, the
exchange rate was around $10 000 to the USD.
'African leaders are more passionate about colonial borders than the
colonial masters were'
BY CHENJERAI HOVE
African countries can loot across each other's colonial borders, they can
plunder wealth and lives across borders, but when it comes to proper
official trade, they prefer the spoils of worthless wars. Zimbabwe and
Uganda looted the DRC, and the African Union never protested, all in the
name of the illusory 'African brotherhood.'
Whenever I travel in Europe, the image of Africa in the European imagination
does not seem to change. You can visit the same communities over and over
again, talk to the ordinary people for years, and the images are still the
same: corruption in the midst of abject poverty, disease, hunger, military
coups, dictatorships of one type or another, unending civil wars and their
consequent brutality, and of course, uncontrollable political and economic
chaos. As if that was not enough, enter natural disasters to blemish the
already sad saga of a continent many are giving up on.
But is the rest of the world wrong in the way they look at the African
continent? Africa's response has always been: we are misrepresented by
western media outlets. Africans find it easier to blame the west for
everything, from civil wars and corruption to drought and hunger.
The reality is that if African leaders refuse to be corrupted - there will
be no corruption on the continent. If African business and political leaders
stop thirsting for the trinkets of the west and become sober about their
economic and social reality, maybe the continent can move forward.
But isn't it time for Africans themselves to rethink certain issues? Take
Africa's perennial problem, border wars. The way African borders were
determined at the Berlin conference was bizarre and baffling. In an attempt
to bring some form of order to the Scramble For Africa, the colonial powers
simply brought their own map of Africa to the conference and sliced up the
As a result, African nationalities found themselves split among different
colonial powers. The east of Zimbabwe, for example, comprises the Manyika
people. Five million of them found themselves belonging to Portugal
(Mozambique),about 1,5million ended up belonging to the British (Rhodesia).
The border itself has nothing to show that it is indeed a border. Just a few
hills or trees or little streams. Some people have never been sure which
country they belong to. Some villages are shared by both countries. Children
go to the school nearest to their village, at the risk of having their
relatives learning everything in Portuguese while they learn everything in
This pattern of borders is replicated over and over again in many parts of
the continent. The border was between Ethiopia and Eritrea cost over 70 000
dead and thousands others displaced. And the tragedy is that it is not over
yet. The two countries, poverty-stricken, do not hesitate to spend the
little money they have on heavy military hardware.
Sudan is devastated by border wars that never seem to end. Senegal is
fighting its silent border war in Cassamance, a war that never gets as much
as a mention in the press. Zimbabwe almost went to war with Botswana over
elephants that roam across the non-existent common border. Both countries
claimed the elephants belonged to them.
Nigeria has an invisible border with its own Muslim north, which has
law in defiance of the rest of the country. All these countries are border
and civil wars waiting to happen. But why is it like that? Do Africans never
seem to realise that they cannot continue to die in honour of borders
imposed on them by their colonial masters?
This is where the tragedy is: African leaders themselves are more passionate
about colonial borders than the colonial masters were.
Although the ordinary people don't care a damn about those borders, the
leaders are prepared to sacrifice the countries' meagre financial resources
and young lives, fighting for worthless borders. Armies are on full alert to
guard borders which other continents are busy removing.
Talk of Africa as an economic bloc. That seems to be a far-fetched dream, if
not a nightmare. Southern Africa has the Southern African Development
Community with a secretariat and all, plus the pomp of an occasional leaders'
summit where the leaders meet for a few days to describe and display their
latest acquisitions in eloquent English. People still need visas to visit
their relatives across the little stream. South Africa has recently even
imposed transit visas for Zimbabweans passing through the airports of that
country. No substantial talk of reducing trade barriers has ever happened.
As for any rumours of a common currency, forget. In the end, there is no
Community to talk about.
Africa is the only continent where the leaders are still obsessed with the
small sovereignty of their little corner of the continent. They are not
about to sacrifice it for the continental good, or indeed, for the general
good which would arise from a strong, united, principled and disciplined
BY EDGAR CHIMANIKIRE
HARARE - Has age finally caught up with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe,
who has often described himself as the "the youngest old man in Zimbabwe?"
Speculation about his physical and mental health has always been rife, but
it increased and diplomatic tongues wagged when Mugabe failed to return from
his official annual leave at the end of January. Several newspapermen were
told by government sources that Mugabe was "unwell".
One government minister said vice-president Joyce Mujuru had no meaningful
power in her role as acting President, as she was unable to chair cabinet
meetings or make policy decisions without consulting the president. However,
the minister was unable to give a convincing explanation for why Mugabe
extended his leave until mid-February.
In a country where top officials routinely engage in obfuscation, it is
nevertheless an open secret that Mugabe's mental state has been a source of
worry to his closest lieutenants for some time. He has reportedly become
forgetful, and strongly asserts that the increasingly difficult situation in
the country is fine.
As Mugabe enters his 83rd year, the question being asked among those close
to him is whether his apparent forgetfulness represents the onset of senile
dementia. One example of memory loss was when he recalled the ambassador to
Australia, Florence Chitauro, to stand for his ruling party in last November's
election to the new upper house of parliament.
After he had instructed senior officials to ensure that Chitauro returned,
Mugabe reportedly expressed surprise to see her back in the country.
Official sources told IWPR that Mugabe told Chitauro he could not recall
issuing any directive for her return, and that she should go back to
Canberra immediately. The same sources said Zanu (PF) politburo members told
Chitauro to delay her return to Australia "just in case the president
remembers". The ambassador was able to delay her return until after she was
elected a senator.
A decline in Mugabe's health would explain some of the contradictory
statements and U-turns emerging from State House. One cabinet minister said
he and his colleagues had been awaiting a reshuffle since December, when
Mugabe told the party congress that he would sack poor performers. No action
followed. "Maybe he has forgotten," the minister said only half-jokingly.
Others point to Mugabe's insistence that there is no hunger in the country,
despite international assessments that half the population is in dire need
of food aid, as an indication of erratic judgement. When he finally returned
to work, he assured ministers that Zimbabwe would have a bumper harvest this
year, leading to an economic turnaround. This assessment conflicted with
reports of minimal planting because of lack of funds to buy seeds and
fertiliser, the dearth of farm machinery, and widespread crop damage caused
by heavy rains and flooding.
Asked why officials had failed to keep Mugabe properly informed about the
true situation, one said, "No one can contradict his statements - and you
want us to get fired. No way. He is the one who appointed us, and he is the
only one who can fire us, so why risk it when you know it will make him
angry?" - IWPR
No ZESA, no breakfast
BY GIDEON CHAWAWA
HARARE - These days, the Makoni family can only afford bacon on Saturdays,
soon after payday. It has become a symbolic reminder of years past, when
Zimbabwe used to run smoothly and they used to breakfast regularly on the
typically English bacon, eggs and baked beans.
The Makonis are a middle-class family of five living in a middle-class
suburb of Harare. The family miss the short car trip they used to make to
the supermarket to buy breakfast goodies. Because of the ongoing fuel
crisis, they now send their eldest son Tatenda down to the shops to pick up
the bacon and baked beans and thus save what little petrol they have for
more pressing purposes.
When Mrs Makoni opens the packet of bacon she realises it smells bad. Mr
Makoni takes the bacon back to the supermarket, only to find a long queue of
disgruntled shoppers bringing back rotten merchandise. Some have sachets of
milk gone sour while others have steaks that have turned green. "It's the
power cuts," explained the demoralised shop manager. "We have been having
intermittent power cuts for 36 hours."
Welcome to Zimbabwe in 2006, where such blackouts are daily occurrences and
power cuts can last more than two days. It is now quite usual to see smoke
rising from suburban gardens and chimneys as people cook food and boil water
on open fires. When the power does come back, there is no guarantee it will
stay on, and so there is frantic rush to cook the next meal, do the ironing,
work on the computer and charge cellphones and batteries.
In factories, machines stop operating and pumps go quiet. Assuming you can
find them, a packet of six locally-made candles now sell for more than a
Z$250,000, about US$2.50.
Officials at the government power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority, ZESA, blame the power cuts on Gideon Gono, the powerful governor
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
ZESA executive chairman Sydney Gata told the government-owned daily The
Herald that the government's 2003 decision to reverse tariff increases it
had already sanctioned was at the heart of the power crisis.
"A government-approved tariff adjustment was implemented in January,
February and March 2003 but then reversed by the minister of energy at the
request of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which sought to meet its own
inflation targets," said Gata.
This, Gata said, led to ZESA suffering a 45 per cent loss in revenues. ZESA
currently produces a kilowatt-hour (kwh) of electricity at a cost of Z$1,386
but because of the low tariffs, sells it for just Z$218. As a result of the
discrepancy, last year it suffered operational losses of Z$8 trillion.
"Gono would like the world to believe the loss was due to mismanagement, yet
the truth is the buck stops at his doorstep," said the senior ZESA official.
"Because of the loss, ZESA no longer has the money to import power from
ZESA generates about 60 per cent of the country's energy needs when all
power stations are working at full throttle. At the moment, though, several
units at the flagship Hwange plant near Victoria Falls are closed because of
a shortage of coal and spare parts.
Hwange normally supplies 15 per cent of Zimbabwe's electricity. Small
coal-fired power stations in the country's two main cities, Harare and
Bulawayo, have been shut down altogether. When transformer stations break
down, they cannot be repaired because there are no spares.
The country imports about 40 per cent of its normal total consumption from
South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo at a monthly
cost of almost US$12 million. In recent weeks, all three suppliers have cut
off the power intermittently because of ZESA's failure to pay bills. - IWPR
BEIRA - About half a million Zimbabweans are now based in Mozambique and
most of them are finding it extremely difficult to adjust to life in that
Newly appointed secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Action Support Group in
Beira, Joseph Matongo said many had crossed over into Mozambique for
economic reasons, while others were victims of political persecution in
"People here speak Portuguese and the language barrier has caused a huge
problem for most of us," said Matongo.
Authorities have also found it easy to fish out illegal immigrants in
Mozambique because they can easily identify those who cannot speak the
The ZASG chapter in Beira was launched last week and has already started
mobilising activists for meetings to chart the way forward. Matongo said all
of them are keen to take part in a process that would help usher in proper
democracy in Zimbabwe. - SW Radio Africa
HARARE - The minister for defence Sydney Sekeremayi has avoided going to
parliament on question days to avoid answering awkward questions from
opposition legislator Giles Mutsekwa.
The question, which has been on the order paper since October last year,
pertains to a report in The Zimbabwean of August 12 2005 revealing that a
detachment of the Presidential Guard is providing personal security to
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila.
The 50-strong detachment is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Richard
Sauta. MDC insiders allege the government has been dragging its feet about
setting the record straight and trying to sweep the matter under the carpet.
Mutsekwa also wants to know how payment of such services is being affected
and the terms of the agreement and how long the soldiers have been
performing these duties. Mutsekwa said failure by the minister to respond to
the question could mean there was truth in the matter. "If these allegations
were false, he (minister) should have dismissed them immediately," said the
Supermarket prices, Harare northern suburb
6, (400g pack)
The price of kapenta has doubled since it last disappeared from the shelves.
The price of peanut butter has trebled.
The cheapest tea this week is a new and probably inferior brand.
There is still dark brown sugar or caster sugar at much higher prices than ordinary white or brown when they last appeared.
There is a brown laundry soap, costing about 70% of the price of blue: no customer assessment of its quality available.
Note that a lot of packages have been reduced in size over the past few months.
BY ZAKEUS CHIBAYA
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's judiciary is under severe threat from continued
interference by the Zanu (PF) regime said renowned human rights and
anti-apartheid lawyer, George Bizos in an interview with The Zimbabwean.
"The judges are under tremendous pressure from the government to make
political judgements. Most of them have left the bench after being
victimised and the few remaining can not raise their heads to defend their
independence," said Bizos, adding that he was worried about South Africa's
continuing silence on the Zimbabwe crisis.
Bizos, who represented former President Nelson Mandela and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai at their respective treason trials, said Mugabe was trying to
cling to power using all tactics and judges had been cowed to make
judgements in his favour.
"They can't do anything because he has all apparatus to deal with them," he
HARARE - There has been a skin disease outbreak at Harare's Central and
Remand Prisons and it is understood the government has been silent on the
matter while frantic efforts to curb the spread of the ailment have failed.
Most of the patients affected by this so-far unnamed disease are allegedly
being kept at the prison hospital but some are being treated in their prison
cells due to a shortage of beds at the hospital.
SW Radio Africa's correspondent, Simon Muchemwa, spoke with a prison officer
from Harare Remand who said the prisoners were complaining of hardened and
itchy skin that spreads all over the body through scratching. Within two or
three days the itching spots crack and bleeding starts.
Muchemwa said another officer's explanation was that "This type of disease
is not common among inmates. Things are worse this year due to the hiring of
prisoners to work at ministers' farms. They bring lorries to ferry them to
their farms and pay about ZW$3 000 per prisoner. They expose these people to
extreme conditions out there and when they come back sick, the ailment
spreads throughout the whole prison."
The number of those affected has not been disclosed so far, and information
is hard to come by as senior prison officials are refusing to take the sick
to hospital, fearing publicity. - SW Radio Africa
BULAWAYO - War veterans here are demanding more money, saying they can't
come out on their pensions of Z$3 million a month, and the return of land
taken from Zapu in the early 1980s.
The last time they exacted huge payouts from the government, in 1997, marked
the beginning of the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar and indeed the economy.
At an explosive meeting at the Zanu (PF) offices here at the weekend war
veterans, who spearheaded the chaotic farm invasions during the late 1990s,
told former cabinet minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, they needed increased
"Comrades, I did my best to have the payouts reviewed this year. Reviewing
does not necessarily mean an increase. In January who would have realized
that the payouts where increased to $3.1 million and that is only a
temporary measure," said Dabengwa.
Defence minister Sydney Sekeremai and finance minister, Herbert Murerwa, had
told him that the $3.1m "is what Government can offer but they assured me
that is only temporary" said Dabengwa.
In a bid to calm down the more than 100 veterans, Dabengwa told them that
after serving as a government minister for 10 years, he currently received a
pension of only $5.2 million a month.
$50 000, the sum of each veteran's gratuity payment by the Mugabe regime in
the mid-1990s today cannot buy a standard loaf of bread.
The war veterans, many of whom were from the late Joshua Nkomo's Zipra
forces said they wanted the properties that were seized during the
by Mugabe's government to be given back to them. These include Ascot Farm,
Castle Arms, Wood Clain Farm and Hampton Farm in Lower Gweru. - CAJ News
BY THABO MOYO
BULAWAYO - Thousands of students at boarding schools in Bulawayo and
Matebeleland North provinces face starvation owing to critical shortage of
food, mainly mealie meal.
Headmasters from the two regions have written letters to the Education
ministry appealing for urgent assistance to save students from starving.
"Please be advised that boarding schools in the two provinces are struggling
to secure mealie meal from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). The situation
has become unbearable in the past two weeks, despite introducing food
rationing. If the situation deteriorates further in the next weeks we would
be left with no choice but close schools early," reads part of the letter.
Officials at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo, where ministry
offices are housed, said the letter had been forwarded to Minister Aenias
Chigwedere, but no concrete action has yet been taken.
Contacted for comment, GMB Public relations Manager, Muriel Zemura, said
they were giving schools first preference in purchasing maize at depots.
"We have given schools the first preference in buying maize and it is up to
schools to contact the depots close to them," she said.
However, she refused to say whether there were stocks of maize at the
The ministry's permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere acknowledged receiving
reports from schools that they are running low in maize stocks.
"That has come to our attention and we are looking into it seriously. But
that the schools would close early is out of the question for now. All
efforts would be done to save the children from starving," Mahere said.
Schools are scheduled to close on April 6.
At the height of food shortages last year most boarding schools instructed
students to bring cooking oil and other basic stuffs to augment the school
Meanwhile, vast tracks of arable land are current lying idle as the
so-called new farmers struggle to get inputs needed for intensive farming
and lack the expertise for such a huge venture. - CAJ News.
BY MARTINE STEMERICK
LONDON - Singing and dancing, swapping stories from the old days in Zim and
the difficulties of life in the UK, WOZA women rallied in front of the
Zimbabwean Embassy on Saturday in solidarity with their sisters in Zimbabwe.
The significance of WOZA's 'Bread and Roses' protest was highlighted by the
food riots which broke out in Bulawayo on Friday when people who had been
queuing for three days mobbed a National Foods truck delivering mealie-meal
at a local shop.
Ten people were injured and windows were shattered as riot police with
batons and tear gas broke up the fracas. Having disbursed the desperately
hungry people, police jumped the queue to buy the grain, which is often
resold at highly inflated prices. There has been no mealie meal in the shops
for months in Bulawayo. WOZA women complain that government officials take
the food for themselves while ordinary citizens starve.
Archbishop Pius Ncube was not surprised. "This is a government of
murderers," said the outspoken cleric on Friday. "2005 was the worst year
for hunger in Zimbabwe."
"The government passed new laws to block the distribution of food. Hundreds
of thousands of cattle died in Matabeleland. I know that some people have
died, especially little children. We know it from our church hospitals."
"Sometimes when they are brought to hospital, it's too late. They've
developed oedema and pellagra. The doctor cannot save them any more. It's
too late! A lot of children died of malnutrition. A conservative estimate
would be something like 8000."
The Catholic Archbishop was not surprised by the Bulawayo food riots.
"Sometimes a little bit of mealie meal trickles in, and then it's sold at 5
or 6 times the normal prices. People are absolutely desperate. They just
don't know what to do."
"Is the world going to wait until we're all dead before they act?" asked
Sennie, a grandmother at the WOZA demonstration in London. "Our children
and grandchildren are starving! What is it going to take? Seeing bloated
bellies on the nightly news?"
"Never underestimate the power of the 'gogos,' confided another grandmother
proudly. "Sometimes they make fun of us, calling us the 'broad bottom
brigade'." But we have nothing to lose. They've taken our homes and
everything we own. We will not let them take our children."
This feisty spirit of solidarity and resistance is the hallmark of WOZA
women and their extraordinary leaders whose mandate is to speak out and end
the silent suffering of the poor in Zimbabwe.
LONDON - The Home Office appeal hearing on the rulings made by the Asylum
and Immigration Tribunal in October that led to a stop on forced removals of
Zimbabwean asylum seekers has now been set for 6 March 2006 at the Court of
Appeal. It is not yet known which judges will be on the panel. The Home
Office is appealing against the rulings reached in the cases of AA and LK.
Time has also been set aside in the Court of Appeal for Friday though it is
believed to be unlikely that there will be a decision reached so swiftly.
The Refugee Council has suggested that holding a vigil outside the Court
during the hearing may be of benefit.
As many people have found through their own experience, Zimbabwean cases are
being dealt with rather slowly while the courts wait for the outcome of this
appeal. In the meantime, everyone should continue to follow up their cases
as usual, launching fresh claims based on the AA and LK rulings if
Zimbabweans who arrived with Malawian and South African travel documents and
then claimed asylum in the UK are still facing serious problems. Several
people have been threatened with removal in the past weeks and we continue
to work with various agencies to resolve this situation. The situation in
detention centres remains much the same. A small number are still in
detention and the length of time some have spent detained is causing much
anxiety. Spending up to a year detained, with the threat of removal hanging
over you and a seemingly endless process of requests for clarification,
causes enormous levels of stress and a sense of hopelessness. Appeals have
been made to the relevant MP and we shall continue to press for the release
While cases can take years to be resolved even if not in detention, the time
spent waiting and unable to work is an additional burden for those involved.
Not only are there the worries of home, but being unable to support yourself
and family while relying on friends and strangers for shelter, can be very
demoralizing. Many people have shown great strength in dealing with this
situation. There are those who have been a tremendous help to others,
offering support and comfort and sharing their own experiences. Some have
managed to volunteer their time with different groups. This is a help and
can also introduce you to more people and campaigning networks that may be
able to support you during your case.
At the end of a long process, it is encouraging to know of many who have
gained their refugee status and who are now working and gaining new skills,
often studying for further qualifications and degrees. We wish them well in
reaching their goals.
JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe Diaspora CSOs Forum will host the first global
Zimbabwean Diaspora International Conference in April 2007.
The forum is a national network of some18 different civic society
organizations that are based in South Africa.
"The Diaspora conference will seek to create a global platform that will
discuss both the short and long term role of the millions of Zimbabweans now
living outside the country," said Daniel Molokele, spokesperson for the
The conference will seek to set up a global forum to provide leadership for
all Zimbabwean institutions and organizations are based in the diaspora and
adopt a visionary policy document to define the role of the diaspora in the
political and socio-economic development of Zimbabwe from both a long term
and short term perspective.
Prior to the global conference, the Forum plans to host two preparatory
conferences. The first one will be held in April 2006 and will be attended
by delegates mainly from the Zimbabwean institutions and organizations based
in South Africa.
The second will include delegates from South African institutions and
organizations that have shown a vested interest in helping to resolve the
crisis situation affecting Zimbabwe. - Own correspondent
DA election posters removed
PRETORIA - Ahead of the summit held last week by South African President,
Thabo Mbeki, with leaders of the "progressive" left-centre nations such as
Britian's Tony Blair, Sweden's Goeran Persson and New Zealand's Helen Clark,
at the Didimala nature reserve in Hammanskraal/Nokeng north of here,
election posters of the Democratic Alliance were systematically removed from
the area, reports the DA.
South Africa is set to have local government elections on 1 March 2006.
In the period ahead of the weekend conference DA posters of Clr Dr Clive
Napier were similarly removed from the environs of the diplomatic airbase at
Waterkloof in Centurion where staffers for the visit passed through.
Local councilor and candidate for Ward 1, Stanley Rens, witnessed posters in
Nokeng Tsa Taemane being removed by persons wearing T-shirts belonging to
Thabo Mebki's African National Congress. Two vehicles were also noted
alongside the road with another person holding a DA poster. As a local
organizer he knew it could not an authorized agent of the DA involved.
Further along his drive he noticed all the DA posters had been removed.
Local member of the Gauteng Provincial legislature, Rika Kruger, further
noted that there were no ANC posters along the same road at the time.
The Democratic Alliance in the National Capital called on the ANC to explain
these events to the satisfaction of itself, the Independent Electoral
Commission and the visiting heads of state and their entourages and show how
such actions are compatible with the conduct of free and fair elections in a
The DA has asked those who unlawfully removed the posters to step forward
and identify themselves and members of the public who may have witnessed
these events have been asked make a report to the South African Police
Services or their local DA branch office. - Own Correspondent
COSATU concerned about Zim
JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU) says it is
deeply concerned about worsening attacks and police raids on fellow labour
union members in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
"Recent events in Zimbabwe have confirmed COSATU's analysis of the
situation. The economic and social collapse, which we predicted is now a
reality. Unemployment, hunger, mass emigration and now the electricity
crisis all point to a catastrophe," said General-Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi,
"The trade unions are facing new, more serious attacks from the government.
Numerous police raids, bogus allegations of corruption and currency
offences, and the infiltration of stooges into the unions are all being used
to try to destroy the labour movement."
He said there was grave danger that police would plant incriminating
material on unionists in order to frame them.
"The COSATU Central Executive Committee (CEC) agreed that COSATU must play
an active part in the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign," Vavi added.
He did not specify the course of action his union would take against the
Zimbabwean government but reiterated that very soon COSATU would face Harare
for its actions.
COSATU's reaction comes in the wake of disturbing activities in Zimbabwe
following the arrest of 182 women, children and university students from
NUST were arrested by police. - CAJ News
'The failure of one crop does not deter the planting of seeds'
'Liberators have become our oppressors'
I have been listening to the new CD "Singing for a New Constitution" and it
really means a lot to me. I want to achieve personal and professional
growth. But I have always wanted to be more pragmatic and less theoretical -
I mean I want to graduate from being an armchair observer who has resigned
oneself to political cynicism and participate more fully in the political
events of my country.
"No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come." (Congo Proverb).
Even the Bible says, "Tears may flow in the night but joy comes in the
morning." (Psalms 30:5).
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, in his book entitled 'Matigari' lucidly explains that
'victory of the oppressed comes from the sharpened spear.'
This requires that we become united in order to realise our deepest hopes
and desires. And it means that we even have to be prepared to die for our
country. One can die only once and it is better to die in pursuit of what is
right. I for one won't mind if I die for my country. There is also an
imperative and urgent need for us as Zimbabweans to "cross the river in a
crowd so that the crocodile won't eat us" (Madagascar Proverb). Success is
born of trying and trying again.
We must all bear in mind that the 'failure of one crop does not deter the
planting of seeds'. We just have to be resilient in our search for a New
Constitution. Awareness creation among the masses is what is required so as
to achieve complete annihilation of the cultures of silence and of
normalising the abnormal, as it were.
Ngugi's book has had an invaluable influence in my life because it seems
what he was writing about is what is happening in our contemporary Zimbabwe.
Liberators have become our oppressors.
There seems to be a consensus that we as Zimbabweans are responsible for our
destiny and that there is a need on our part to unite and confront without
fear the institutions of oppression.
This is based on the premise that there is nothing that a people united
cannot do - united, our strength becomes faith that moves mountains.
It needs also to be clearly understood that fear has brought us into this
mess. This statement by Dr Martin Luther King Jnr also motivates me: "Our
lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter". This
is the kind of inspiration that is required in modern-day Zimbabwe.
It is not enough to talk about our rights - we must also take them.
I have been reading up on the work done by civil society in South Africa
during the apartheid era, and I believe we also need a strong civil society
that can mobilise the majority of us who are being oppressed. Democratic
resistance is the solution but this has to be a multi-sectoral project that
requires popular ownership and participation.
You have transformed my life through your work and I hope that all
Zimbabweans will act very soon. - With acknowledgements to Kubatana.net
BY NELSON CHAMISA
HARARE - Zimbabweans are unfortunate in that the dwindling sources of
information have turned the country into a nation exposed to half-truths,
distortions, untested conspiracies and rumours. All the three State-aligned
daily newspapers have failed to fill the growing information vacuum.
These newspapers claim to be purveyors and suppliers of information yet what
they give out is simply drivel and advocacy propaganda on behalf of Zanu
(PF). The grand plan is to turn Zimbabweans into a mediocre people, unable
to debate and question pertinent issues in their own society.
Recently, these newspapers reported that MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai
became the first Zimbabwean politician to be deported from Zambia. This
display of ignorance is unacceptable.
Chinamasa, and others, ended up mistaking Tsvangirai's deportation for
Zambian solidarity with the tyranny of the Zanu (PF). A look into the events
of liberation history will confirm the often-impulsive disposition of
Zambian authorities towards bullies and tyrants surrounding their country.
Zambia is a cautious nation, keen to avoid confrontation.
Some events that took place as Zambia hosted liberation movements cannot be
understood outside their proper context. Zambia's position towards
supporting Zimbabwe and Namibia's independence struggles was unequivocal.
Yet Zambia suffered from impulsive behaviour, much of which was informed by
its military vulnerability and its penchant desire to escape aggression from
its belligerent neighbours.
In 1972 after the formation of Frolizi, Zanu and Zapu, the liberation
movements of that period, appreciated the need for a concerted rather than
divided approach in their confrontation with the Smith regime. This desire
to form a united armed front resulted in the formation of a Joint Military
Command, (JMC) which brought together the commanders of the two-armed wings
of Zanu and Zapu.
At that time part of the military commanders of both Zanla and Zipra were
based in Tanzania, which housed most of the guerilla training camps. The JMC
held its first meeting in Tanzania and decided to hold its second meeting in
Zambia in the same year.
The OAU liberation committee assisted the military commanders based in
Tanzania with air tickets to enable them to attend the JMC meeting in
Lusaka, Zambia. Part of the team of commanders then based in Tanzania
included Webster Gwauya (Nenji) of Zanla, and Nikita Mangena of Zipra.
On arrival at Lusaka international airport, these commanders were refused
entry by the Zambian authorities. Efforts were made to seek the release of
these commanders so that they could join their comrades at the JMC meeting
to no avail. They were later deported back to Dar-e-Salaam.
In another related incident, which left the liberation forces even more
confused is the deportation of veteran politician Walter Mtimukulu as the
Zambians tried to grapple with possible consequences of the formation, by
Nathan Shamuyarira and others, of Front for Liberation of Zimbabwe
(Frolizi). Mtimukulu and about 120 other trained combatants were deported to
Smith's Rhodesia to meet their fate.
Tsvangirai's deportation is therefore not an isolated incident of political
intrigue as portrayed by Zanu (PF), but it typifies the attitude of
successive Zambian governments towards those fighting for freedom in
HARARE - Eighty members of the MDC National Youth Council from the party's
12 provinces met recently and rejected the recent fee structure introduced
by the Mugabe regime at tertiary colleges. The council resolved to mobilise
millions of students and youths to resist the move and deplored the constant
harassment and arrests of innocent students for claiming their rights to
demonstrate and express revulsion at the deteriorating quality of academic
life at colleges and tertiary institutions.
Thamsanqa Mahlangu, deputy chairperson of the party's National Youth
called for the urgent release of arrested student leaders and a total revamp
of the conditions at their colleges, pursuant to the universal and generic
right to academic freedom.
He said the council was also concerned at the high level of unemployment,
the run-away HIV/Aids pandemic and food insecurity in the country.
"We note the regime's attack on the sanctity of the family as a cohesive
unit and the consequent contagion to the community and the nation," he said.
The youths also resolved to call on the forthcoming MDC (anti-Senate)
Congress to adopt a solid road map to Zimbabwe's legitimacy through a
people-driven constitution and an all-inclusive political process leading to
a new Zimbabwe. - Own correspondent
BULAWAYO - The MDC (pro-Senate) has advised that it will hold its second
Congress in the city of kings from 25-26 February 2006.
"It has been brought to our attention that our detractors are going about
misinforming the public that the congress has been postponed. This is false.
The Congress is on and our preparations are at an advanced stage," said
information secretary Paul Themba Nyathi in a statement.
"We intend to use the Congress as a platform for organizational renewal and
to establish a robust consensus amongst our members on the way forward for
the next five years. At the Congress delegates will elect the leaders they
believe are best equipped to take the party forward and advance our project
of democratization in Zimbabwe," says the statement. - Own correspondent
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has vowed to keep printing more money
saying this was necessary because accepted economic principles and monetary
rules do not apply to Zimbabwe's economic crisis.
In an interview with state television this week, Mugabe said his government
had no option but to keep the printing machines running in order to be able
to feed hungry Zimbabweans.
"The view of the finance ministry is that we be bookish, but this does not
apply in our situation because of sanctions and drought. Those who say
printing money causes inflation want us to fold our hands while people
starve. I print money so people can survive and workers can earn
a living," said the aged ruler.