|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
'Zimbabwe is facing a future in the
February 01 2004 at 04:15PM
- Zimbabwe's debt-stricken power supply utility faces a crisis
as South African and Mozambican utilities demand up-front payment for
supplies, the state press said Sunday.
Last week, South Africa's Eskom switched off electricity to the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) for two days because of
Meanwhile, Mozambique's Hydroelectrica Cahora Bassa had cut its supply
to Zimbabwe by 40 percent since the end of last year, the state-controlled
weekly Sunday Mail reported.
ZESA's finances have gone from bad to worse since January 2000 when it
failed to meet payments to neighbouring countries after hard currency
earnings slumped with accelerating economic decline.
Widespread blackouts, that would worsen the country's already
devastated productive sectors, have been avoided only by President Robert
Mugabe's appeals to South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and Mozambique's
President Joaquim Chissano to intervene with their power utilities.
Since then, ZESA has been able to keep going through soft credit deals
agreed to by Eskom in South Africa and HCB in Mozambique. The Sunday Mail
reported that ZESA's annual contracts with Eskom and HCB ran out on December
31 and both were now demanding payment in advance.
ZESA's total bill to African utilities and to international financial
institutions now totals 410 million dollars, the Sunday Mail said.
Mandizvidza was quoted as saying in the report that Eskom "was willing
to renew the contract" as a result of new tight fiscal and financial
policies promised by recently appointed Zimbabwe central bank governor
ZESA is a major casualty of Zimbabwe's economic crisis, marked by the
fastest shrinking GDP in the world - 40 percent in four years - and the
highest inflation, now at 60 percent, as well as famine for the third
consecutive year in which 7.5 million Zimbabweans - about 60 percent of the
population - are facing starvation. - Sapa-dpa
He believed cricket fans
would shrug off predictable attempts by
Mugabe's regime to turn cricket tours into propaganda circuses
By Michael Hartnack
The State Department has just warned Americans to stay away from
Zimbabwe, saying: "The Zimbabwean economy is in precipitous decline...The
humanitarian crisis is expected to worsen in coming months and may lead to
unrest and possible large scale migration of Zimbabweans to urban or border
areas, with further disruption and an increase in crime and instability …
Commercial farms should be avoided at all times, especially those occupied
by settlers or so called war veterans, who are typically young government
supporters acting with impunity outside the law."
This is not something the state propaganda machine would carry. But
anyway, for the past three weeks the government-run television, radio and
newspapers have been bombarding the nation with items glorifying the
national soccer side, "The Mighty Warriors". They feature at the beginning
and end of every news broadcast, on the front and back pages of all
pro-government newspapers. The team's trip to Tunisia for the African Cup of
Nations has been given precedence even over the sermonisings of Robert
Mugabe. Fancying himself as a songwriter, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
penned the eminently forgettable ditty: "Go, Warriors, go, go warriors."
Clearly, a Cabinet decision has been made to nail the regime's political
colours to those of the Warriors in the hope of basking in their triumph or
perhaps benefiting from popular identification with their woes.
While the soccer team is being exploited for propaganda purposes,
uncertainty surrounds a scheduled tour by English cricketers to Zimbabwe
later this year. Des Wilson, vice-chairman of "Sport England" which aims to
develop all forms of sport for social and cultural ends, has urged the
English team to stay away on moral grounds. So has British Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw, and so have most British commentators. But the England and Wales
Cricket Board, facing financial penalties unless the British government bans
the tour – which is extremely unlikely - is dithering, as it did over the
World Cup a year ago. Then the England team was widely derided at home for
finally pulling out on grounds of personal safety, instead of on moral
grounds. Or as Wilson put it this time, "Can we tour this country (Zimbabwe)
knowing what we do about its stance on human rights and the suffering of its
Zimbabwean fast bowler Henry Olonga, in exile in Britain after he and
former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower wore black armbands during the World Cup
to protest the regime’s human rights abuses, is adamant the English team
should stay away. "Whoever can bring pressure on Robert Mugabe’s abhorrent
government should do so," Olonga said in a letter to The Times of London.
But in Zimbabwe, as in apartheid South Africa during long years under an
international sports boycott, opinion is divided. Opposition Movement for
Democratic Change spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said he was opposed in
principle to the England tour because of the present "abnormal" conditions
in Zimbabwean society.. Others, however, believe a boycott by England will
not help to oust Mugabe, and will merely penalise cricket lovers who are
mostly critics of the regime. A leading Zimbabwean, who asked not to be
named for fear of reprisals, said a cricket boycott would dash the hopes of
thousands of black youngsters who have taken the game to their hearts since
Zimbabwe achieved Test status in the 1990s. "You go into the townships and
you see them (kids) with sticks for bats and little balls of newspaper, and
there is a cultural background now which goes with it," he said. "Of course
everybody would like to see political change, things are so bad, but if
nobody comes here only the cricket fraternity would suffer." He believed
cricket fans would shrug off predictable attempts by Mugabe's regime to turn
cricket tours into propaganda circuses.
Olonga’s former club, Takashinga, in which Moyo appears to have
influence and which suspended Olonga after the protest, naturally wants
England to come. "We know that cricket is basically run by the British and
there are a lot of strong bonds between black indigenous people in Zimbabwe
and English people through the game,’’ said Takashinga chairman Steven
Mangongo. His remarks are reminiscent of Mugabe’s platitude when the sports
boycott of Ian Smith’s Rhodesia ended after 1980 independence. "Cricket
civilises people and creates good gentlemen. I want everyone to play cricket
in Zimbabwe - I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen," said Mugabe. Today,
the fast balls are coming from the other end, and Mugabe is more remembered
for his boast: "We have degrees in violence".
It is indeed ironic that in a country starved - of food, information and
good political governance - these are the three worst professions to belong
There are not many days when I do not thank God that I am no longer a farmer
in Zimbabwe. Farming, followed by politics and journalism, is the most
dangerous way of making a living in our country. It is indeed ironic that in
a country starved - of food, information and good political governance -
these are the three worst professions to belong to. Last week a 71 year old
farmer, Peter Siverton was murdered on his Kwekwe farm. So far the details
are sketchy but Mr Siverton's body was found mutilated and stuffed into an
anthole which had been covered with a sheet of asbestos. Both the government
and the Commercial Farmers Union have been quick to say that the murder of
Mr Siverton was not political, but everything in Zimbabwe is now directly or
indirectly political. For three years I have been wearing a small yellow
ribbon in silent protest and in support of the victims of Zimbabwe's
political mayhem - this week I wear it in memory of an elderly man who
should have been surrounded by love, laughter and grandchildren.
In the same week that an old man was murdered, Parliament was trying to push
through more amendments to the "fast track" land acquisition act to try, yet
again, to add paper legality to a totally illegal land grab. A parliamentary
legal sub committee presented an adverse report on the amendments saying
they were unconstitutional. When Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa tried to
counter the adverse report he was called up on a point of order by
opposition MP David Coltart. Coltart said that Chinamasa could not be
involved in the discussion because the Justice Minister had a personal
financial interest in the issue. Coltart said that the Justice Minister, and
many other Zanu PF MP's in the House were named as being multiple
beneficiaries in the government's allocation of seized farms and should
therefore recluse themselves. The Justice Minister immediately shouted out
that Mr Coltart was a "racist liar" and pandemonium broke out in the House.
Three MDC MP's were subsequently thrown out of Parliament for arguing. The
legal committee's report was then debated and the Speaker called for a vote.
"All those in favour say Aye" he said. All together, the Zanu PF MP's
shouted "Aye" and then realised that they had actually just voted against
themselves. They had just voted that the land acquisition amendment was in
fact unconstitutional ! In breach of all parliamentary procedures, the Zanu
PF chairman ignored the rules and called for a second vote as if the last
shout of Aye had been an illusion and this time the government MP's voted
the other way.
All this may sound funny but it isn't, it's actually tragic that we are
dying and starving while educated and degree MP's are voting against
themselves and using that pathetic word "racist" to cover up any and all
sins.What the Zimbabwe government insist has been an "agricultural
revolution" has been little more than a process of ethnic cleansing where
anyone who does not support the ruling party has been cleansed, relieved of
their homes, property, belongings, jobs and even their lives. This week
there was hope though because our only independent daily paper, The Daily
News, was back in print. Our Minister of Information immediately filed
urgent applications with the Supreme Court to have the paper closed again so
we don't know how long it will last. Even if it doesn't last, the mere fact
that the Daily News have never given up and have fought every step of the
way for freedom of speech, is cause for enormous hope for us all. With
people of such enormous courage and determination in our society, how can
there not be hope for a new Zimbabwe.
02/01/2004 05:59 PM
US Updates Zimbabwe Travel Warning
The US State Department is updating its travel warning regarding
Zimbabwe. US citizens in the country are being urged to reconsider staying
in the politically and economically troubled nation.
The travel warning warns that half the population there faces famine.
This increase in instability may lead to a "large-scale migration of
Zimbabweans to urban or border areas, with further disruption and an
increase in crime and instability."
Political unrest may increase as the economy continues to sink.
Furthermore, US citizens are told to stay away from commercial farms which
were seized by "war veterans" or settlers. A few years ago, a US Embassy
worker was beaten on such a farm.
England must justify Harare boycott as Zimbabwe go on defensive
FINALLY the England and
Wales Cricket Board have acted shrewdly, even
with political expediency, by acceding to International Cricket Council
president Ehsan Mani’s request to present their case not to tour Zimbabwe in
October to an ICC executive meeting in Auckland on March 10-11.
In doing so they have given themselves a further six weeks grace in
which to negotiate a satisfactory withdrawal and banish to distant memory
the bungling and debacle of last year’s World Cup, when, after weeks of
vacillation, the players’ security concerns were ostensibly the reason for
refusal to play in Harare. Then, to compound the problem, ECB chairman David
Morgan, pictured, bought Zimbabwe’s loyalty with a promise to tour. Both
were fudges then, and remain so now, but this time the former need not be
despite the rhetoric from Peter Chingoka, chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket
"We had no security problems during the World Cup, none during the
recent West Indies tour and expect none whatsoever for Bangladesh next month
or Sri Lanka and Australia afterwards," he said earlier this week. But this
rather ignores the deterioration of law and order and stories of torture and
beatings suffered by those that dared to protest during matches. The problem
is that such brutality is not necessarily a threat to the touring party or
visiting fans and, while abhorrent, does not provide reason to cancel
according to the ICC Tours programme that all members are signed up to.
Security and safety concerns or explicit government intervention as
exemplified by the Indian government’s edict not to tour Pakistan are the
only reasons allowed for non-touring and political or moral issues are
categorically ignored, a point that Chingoka forcefully makes.
"There is no problem with any of the other tours coming up and I am
fully confident they will all go ahead without issue so there is absolutely
no reason why the England tour should be any different," he said. "Only the
ECB believe they are so sanctimonious as to make judgments on other
matters," he continued. "In fact, I am confident they will tour because they
should act according to the framework set down by the ICC, an apolitical
body, so all other matters are irrelevant."
A moot point that could conceivably be brought up during the meeting
in Auckland, especially after the publication of Des Wilson’s dossier for
the ECB entitled Reviewing Overseas Cricket Tours: A Framework for Rational
Decision-making. Wilson highlights the importance of moral issues but while
the report has been well received by the ECB management committee, it
remains nothing stronger than a dossier for discussion.
However, Chingoka’s e-mailing of the 18 county chief executives
highlighting the financial repercussions of failing to tour suggest that,
despite his outward display of confidence, he does not expect England to
fulfil their obligation, which leads us to Auckland, horse-trading and
Quite simply, the ECB needs to negotiate a compromise because they can
ill-afford any financial penalties that may accrue if they do not tour and
certainly could not withstand any tit-for-tat reactions by other countries
to visiting England, particularly as they are scheduled to host the
lucrative Champions Trophy in September.
This partly explains why the possibility of financial compensation to
the ZCU was hinted at, although whether cash could placate the ZCU is not
known. They certainly need it, being one of the poorest cricketing nations,
but might enjoy making political capital out of England’s predicament. So
might some other nations for whom England is not the most popular cricketing
Ridiculed for the fiasco at the World Cup, England risk becoming
pariahs if they mismanage it this time and, within the ICC, England are far
from power-brokers. India, one of, if not the most powerful, have rarely
ignored an opportunity to embarrass them and come March could wield
incredible influence over their fate. Unless, that is, the ECB embark on a
whirlwind tour of diplomacy and convince others of the extenuating
circumstances of their position as the former colonial rulers of what is now
Or a different country refuses to tour on safety grounds, unlikely to
be Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka, but Australia might and in doing so would give
the ECB a cast-iron get-out clause.
Alexander Downer, Australia’s foreign minister publicly stated this
week that the tour going ahead, "would send the wrong message. We’d rather
it didn’t go ahead".
So England’s hopes rest on a pre-tour visit by Cricket Australia and
the ACA in March. If they consider the country too unstable and potentially
dangerous, then the ECB will follow precedent. If not, England will have to
rely on compromise, tour or face financial liabilities.
They have six weeks.
Sunday Herald (UK)
ECB must stand up to Mugabe’s spin
Cricket: Dominic O’Reilly looks at the continuing debate
over whether or not
the England cricket team should visit Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe must be delighted at the torment of the
England and Wales
Cricket Board (ECB) over touring Zimbabwe this November.
The ECB appear to have learned from the World Cup when they blundered about
from crisis to crisis before deciding not to play in Zimbabwe. This time
they are carefully building support from the British government and the
International Cricket Council (ICC) before a dec ision has to be reached.
“We are going to use Feb ruary to negotiate with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
(ZCU) and the ICC,” said David Morgan, the ECB’s chairman. “We need to know
all the impacts that might be made by the cancellation.”
The tour will almost certainly not go ahead but the ECB know that whatever
they decide Mugabe, who is patron of the ZCU, will be able to find some
benefit. If England tour then he will take this as a tacit condoning of his
rule of lawlessness .
If England refuse to go then the ZCU are likely to receive $1 million in
compensation that will doubtless be spirited off into various foreign bank
accounts while Mugabe will also be able to claim that his country is the
victim of post-imperial bullying.
Against these difficulties must be set the players’ wariness of going and
the likely consequences that touring would cause Zimbabweans.
Before last year’s World Cup there were reports of an increase in arrests
and torture of opponents of the regime to suppress criticism or
demonstrations. Two years ago Edison Mukwasi, the former youth chairman of
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC — the main opposition party) was
arrested for handing out leaflets outside the ground when Pakistan played in
Harare. He died weeks later due to the treatment he received while in police
In this month’s Wisden Cricketer magazine former Zimbabwe all-rounder Bryan
Strang, says he was racially abused by an ZCU official and that his
complaints to the board were “swept under the carpet”. He concludes that the
ZCU is “a union that promotes racial division”.
The attitude of the ZCU was shown last week by an
e-mail sent by chairman
Peter Chingoka to the 18 first-class counties and Wales putting forward why
he believes the tour should go ahead, and warning them of possible financial
consequences if it is cancelled.
The counties have expressed their support for the ECB and are unlikely to be
swayed by such threats but it is hard to ignore the advantage Mugabe has by
not caring about what the rest of the world thinks. The ECB are worried
about their reputation and trying not to cause a black-white split within
Qualified support from the British government in a letter from Jack Straw
has been received in reply to a request for help and guidance from the ECB.
“As the harvest season approaches, the World Food Programme estimates that
approximately six million people (half the country’s population) are
dependent on emergency food aid,” said Straw’s letter. “The UK is the
biggest cash donor to the humanitarian emergency in Zimbabwe, having donated
over £62m since September 2001. This would be the background to any sports
tour taking place in Zimbabwe this year. Given this, it is the government’s
view that the overall situation in Zimbabwe is worse today than it was
during the cricket World Cup.”
It is effectively a gesture of support for cancelling the tour, but the
Foreign Office will not intervene and force the ECB not to go. Sporting
sanctions like those against the South African apartheid regime look
unlikely while British businesses trade with Zimbabwe.
The ECB’s case for cancelling on security grounds was damaged by the recent
tour of Zimbabwe by the West Indies that passed without incident. The ICC
maintain that tours cannot be cancelled on moral grounds, only if the
players’ security is at risk.
One compromise would be to play in a neutral venue, either Kenya or South
Africa, making a point against Mugabe’s regime without punishing the cricket
Ehsan Mani, the ICC chairman, feels that even if Mugabe did agree to this,
it is unlikely because of the financial cost: “Pakistan played West Indies
at neutral venues and lost millions as a result in sponsorship and gate
revenue,” he said. “The television arrangements were all that survived.”
England’s main hope is that the Australians cancel their proposed tour of
Zimbabwe to set a precedent. The pressure on the Australians was increased
by a plea from MDC spokesman Nkanyiso Maqeda, who said on South African
radio that the tour would hand a propaganda coup to Mugabe’s regime: “To
come in and endorse that regime is really the tragedy, that’s what the
Australian players will have done,” he said. “Certainly we’d be very
disappointed if they were to come and prop up the regime.”
Gibson Sibanda, vice-pres ident of the MDC, who was in Europe requesting the
European Union to extend its sanctions against Zimbabwe, warned a tour would
be a “pat on the back for Mugabe”.
Despite pressure from the country’s government, though, Cricket Australia
(CA) have maintained that tours should not be cancelled on moral grounds. CA
may well try and wait until the end of this month to see what the English
decide to do. It is time for the ECB to show they have learned from the
fiasco of last year and offer some decisive leadership.
01 February 2004
Plot to assassinate Chiyangwa alleged
By Henry Makiwa
PEOPLE close to Harare businessman and legislator Philip Chiyangwa claim
there was an assassination plot on his life while he was in prison and a man
was taken in by the police.
This emerged after The Standard tried to interview the legislator, who is on
remand, on his time at Harare Central Police Station where he was
incarcerated for three weeks.
A person, whom we cannot name because of the sensitivity of
claimed that the day Chiyangwa came out of remand prison - on January 21 - a
man who reportedly works at the High Court approached Chiyangwa's wife,
Elizabeth, and told her that he had heard of a plot to assassinate the
The source told The Standard that Chiyangwa reported the issue to the police
who "arrested" the man and promised him that they would investigate the
However, when contacted to shed more light on the assassination claim,
Police Spokesman Oliver Mandipaka, denied that they were investigating the
issue and that anyone had been arrested.
Chiyangwa yesterday said: "Shamwari taurawozve namalawyer angu (my friend
please talk to my lawyers), I feel safer that way."
Chiyangwa's lawyer Lloyd Mhishi of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha legal
practitioners, declined to comment.
According to sources, Chiyangwa's fall from grace is part of an orchestrated
plot to derail the claim to succeed President Robert Mugabe of one of the
frontrunners, believed to be his "blue-eyed boy", Speaker of Parliament
The Standard understands that Chiyangwa, whose release was ordered by the
Supreme Court after the State had refused to obey High Court orders to set
him free, is one of the four key party figures who have fallen out of favour
with Mugabe's old guard for openly supporting Mnangagwa.
Chiyangwa is the chairman of Zanu PF's Mashonaland West province.
The other three, who are also chairmen of other Zanu PF provinces are Labour
Minister July Moyo (Midlands), Mark Madiro (Manicaland) and Daniel Shumba
The sources say Chiyangwa and Moyo's recent brushes with law enforcement
agents over the collapsed ENG affair, were part of the plot to remove the
chairmen sympathetic to Mnangagwa from their party posts as the succession
debate hots up.
Moyo, a very close confidante of Mnangagwa, was two weeks ago questioned by
police in connection with the way the National Social Security Authority
might have invested funds in ENG.
According to the sources, the quartet were believed to back Mnangagwa during
the intense but secret jockeying for the presidential post that gripped Zanu
PF ahead of its People's Conference held in Masvingo last December.
"Chiyangwa, Madiro, Shumba and Moyo are being accused by certain powerful
elements within Zanu PF of trying to oust Mugabe by supporting the
aspirations of Mnangagwa," said a source.
"Already these elements have begun purging Chiyangwa because they identified
him as the weaker one owing to his vast wealth whose accountability, some
say, is questionable," the source added.
The sources alleged that the purge had been extended to draw in the likes of
Moyo who was also interrogated by the police three weeks ago.
Although on the surface it might appear as if the government is undertaking
an anti-graft campaign, said the source, the truth was "far much deeper than
meets the eye".
It is understood that some pro-Mugabe stalwarts, consisting mainly of the
old guard including Vice President Joseph Msika, had been aggravated by the
campaign of the so called "Young Turks" to openly talk about succession
hence the Msika's outburst against the succession issue at the Masvingo
"Anyone who is talking about the succession issue when President Mugabe is
still around is a bloody sell-out," fumed Msika in Masvingo last December.
Attempts to contact Madiro, Shumba or Moyo, proved futile by the time of
going to press last night, but Chiyangwa, still smarting from his stay in
custody referred "all questions about anything" to his lawyers Dube, Manikai
Another judge flees
By our own Staff
HIGH Court judge, Justice Sandra Mungwira, has fled to the UK amid reports
that she was being pressurised by authorities to rule against the five
members of the opposition MDC accused of murdering war veterans' leader Cain
Nkala late 2002, The Standard has learnt.
Mungwira was expected to rule on whether statements made by the five accused
persons, all members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were
admissible as evidence last November.
The five suspects accused of killing Nkala, a ruling Zanu
functionary and war veterans leader, are all members of the MDC.
They are: Remember Moyo, Khethani Sibanda, Sazini Mpofu, Nicholas Masera,
Army Zulu and the Member of Parliament for Magwegwe-Pumula, Fletcher
Three of the accused, Moyo, Sibanda and Mpofu - who have been in remand
prison for more than two years - claimed in court that they had been
tortured to confess to the kidnapping and killing of Nkala who was the
Bulawayo war veterans' chairman.
A senior official of the AG's office confirmed that Mungwira was not in the
"However, we are greatly concerned about the Nkala murder case because a lot
of evidence had already been led," said the official.
The Standard understands that the director of Public Prosecution has written
to the High Court to raise concern about Mungwira's absence without official
Efforts to contact Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary affairs proved futile as his mobile phone was off yesterday.
Zesa's Gata campaigns for Zanu PF
From Valentine Maponga in Zvavahera, Gutu
ZIMBABWE Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) executive chairman, Sydney
Gata, yesterday dispelled all suspicions of his alliance to Zanu PF - he
told thousands of ruling party supporters at Zvavahera Village in Gutu that
there was no distinction between the ruling party and the power utility.
Speaking at the commissioning of an irrigation scheme, which was turned into
a campaigning platform, Gata urged people to vote for Zanu PF's Josiah
"Zesa is Zanu PF. If you see any trucks
belonging to Zesa, Arda or DDF doing
work in the roads, you should know it is Zanu PF doing it," said Gata.
The controversial Gata even urged the new directors of the unbundled
subsidiaries of Zesa to "learn" Zanu PF slogans.
Several trucks belonging to loss-making parastatal were also used to ferry
Zanu PF supporters to Zvavahera village from surrounding areas such as
Chitsa, Mpandawana, Chamisa and Chastworth.
Also at the commissioning-cum-Zanu PF rally was Vice President Joseph Msika,
who swore that the Gutu North seat would go to the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC)'s Crispen Musoni over "my dead body".
Musoni battles it out for two-days with Tungamirai from tomorrow in Gutu
North, a constituency that has been marred by violence.
The seat was left vacant following the death of Vice President Simon
Msika said if Zanu PF lost the Gutu North seat to the MDC, the party would
have lost to the British.
"If you don't vote and we lose we would have lost to the British. You would
have sold the nation back to the colonisers and this would anger those who
fought for the liberation of the country," said Msika.
Musoni, who has virtually been stopped by authorities from campaigning in
the constituency, said the political playing field was not level.
He said 14 supporters of his party had their identity cards seized by Zanu
PF members to deny them the chance to vote and that the governing party was
using traditional chiefs to deny the MDC to get into some villages.
The chiefs, some of whom were at the rally, promised to bring their people
to vote for Zanu PF.
Conspicuous by his absence at the rally was Masvingo Governor Josiah Hungwe.
This, sources said, is because of the divisions in the province. During the
Zanu PF primaries, Hungwe supported Lovemore Matuke, who lost to Tungamirai.
Financial scandals proof of Zanu PF corruption - MDC
By our own Staff
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has said the
unfolding scandals in the financial sector proved that corruption in the
Zanu PF government was responsible for the current economic decay.
Addressing about 5 000 party supporters at Stodart Grounds in Mbare
yesterday, a boisterous Tsvangirai said the goings-on in the financial
sector were enough proof that Zanu PF is corrupt and should be booted out of
"It is now clear who is sabotaging the
economy. Everyone can see it," said
Tsvangirai to the cheering crowd.
The government, has on several occasions, accused the opposition party of
working in cahoots with "Rhodesians" and Western countries to "sabotage"
Zimbabwe's economy to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.
Prominent Zanu PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland West province, Philip
Chiyangwa, was arrested by police in connection with the collapsed ENG
Capital asset management firm, whose ripple effects have shaken the whole
Several other senior Zanu PF officials have also been linked to the ENG
The highly-charged MDC leader said Mugabe and his cronies in Zanu PF were
plundering the national coffers while the rest of Zimbabweans were virtually
He said the endemic corruption in Mugabe's government had practically
destroyed the country's once thriving economy and rendered its people
As a result, prices of basic commodities such as bread, maize meal and soap
were now beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Tsvangirai vowed to remove Mugabe's "corrupt government" from power in the
next elections failure of which he would resign from politics.
"Rwendo rwuno hazvikoni kana zvikakona ndinoenda kumusha kunofudza mombe (if
the party fails I will go to the rural areas to herd cattle)," said
Tsvangirai to applause from the crowd.
The MDC leader urged the party's members of parliament to campaign
vigorously and said the MDC should get at least two-thirds of the seats in
parliament to enable it to have influence on matters of policy.
Presently, MDC holds only 54 seats of the 150 parliamentary seats.
Tsvangirai writes off Gono monetary policy
By our own Staff
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai
has ruled out the effectiveness of new Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's
monetary policy statement saying only his party can halt the economic
Launching the MDC's revised economic blueprint codenamed Restart in Harare,
Tsvangirai said it would be miraculous if Gono was to succeed in the current
"It is not
going to work. Monetary policy alone is a blunt instrument. There
is no way Gono is going to perform miracles where government is killing the
goose that lays the golden egg," said Tsvangirai, in reference to the
decimation of commercial agriculture which is now producing half of its
Gono unveiled his monetary policy statement in December and already pro-Zanu
PF commentators have hailed his plan as the panacea to Zimbabwe's
The former commercial bank chief has also become hugely popular with
ordinary Zimbabweans after publicly cracking down on "errant" financial
institutions that were abusing investors' money and cheap funds from the
central bank to speculate.
His critics however point out that there is nothing spectacular about the
Gono plan because previous central bank governors could have done the same
had they been allowed more latitude by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu
"If you apply chemotherapy to an old man chances are that person may die,"
said Tsvangirai in reference to Gono's policy.
He said monetary policy alone would not terminate the debilitating crisis in
the country without co-ordination with the fiscal side.
Tsvangirai said the success of a monetary policy hinges on a three pronged
approach that includes the resumption of balance of payments support,
revitalising production and activating fiscal policy.
International development partners among them the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) have since 1999 stopped support to
Zimbabwe in protest against Mugabe's alleged human rights abuses.
Restart's launch at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), which
had to be sanctioned by High Court after police tried to block it, was done
in the presence of heavy police and CIO officers.
On Restart, Tsvangirai said: "This is our message of saying we are in
governing preparedness. It is our programme that will save you."
The five-year programme is dependent on the opposition assuming political
power in Zimbabwe by July.
South African President Thabo Mbeki and local clergymen are trying to nudge
Zanu PF and MDC to resume dialogue, which might result in a negotiated
settlement between the two parties.
The 70-page programme, expected to run until 2008, was designed to tackle
the deep rooted economic crisis through a comprehensive five-year programme
of fully co-ordinated fiscal, monetary, exchange rate, sectoral and trade
According to the MDC, Restart would launch its industrialisation strategy,
through which the economy can provide rapid growth in high income urban
employment and, with complementary policies, ensure a sustainable and
equitable pattern of national development.
Tendai Biti, MDC's secretary for economic affairs, said macro-economic
stabilisation should be seen as a means to acheive the restoration of
positive economic growth, employment creation and the reduction and eventual
elimination of poverty in the country.
War Vets back fight against corruption
By Savious Kwinika
BULAWAYO: Newly-elected Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans' Association
(ZLWVA) national chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, says the former freedom
fighters want the probe into corrupt practices bedeviling the financial
sector to continue, no matter who is involved.
"Our main priority at the moment is to see that economic corruption has been
completely weeded out and we will fight alongside President Mugabe to deal
decisively with those that caught outside the law," said the new war
"We would like to make our position clear that as war
veterans, we will not
tolerate corrupt leaders. When our leaders are found to be taking leading
roles in corrupt tendencies, then the majority of our people would not
hesitate to emulate such corrupt actions," said Sibanda.
Sibanda said the war veterans, who were divided on factional lines before
their annual general meeting in Mutare, finally re-united in order to work
with the ruling Zanu PF government to clean the rot in the land reform and
"We are not happy that some top officials have allocated themselves more
than two farms while the povo are farming in rocky and mountainous areas,"
said Sibanda, who himself was once suspended by Zanu PF for speaking out
against corrupt officials.
Sibanda, who is also vying for the Bulawayo Zanu PF provincial chairmanship
post, said corruption was the biggest threat to economic development of
Kuwadzana school swamped by war veterans' children
By our own Staff
WAR veterans from the informal Tongogora residential area on the outskirts
of Harare have besieged Kuwadzana 8 Primary School and forced the
headmistress to over enrol, resulting in some classes having to accommodate
more than 60 pupils per class, The Standard has learnt.
According to sources, the war veterans - who forcibly took over a commercial
farm and renamed it Tongogara after the 1970s war hero Josiah Tongogara and
now live in the area - brought their children on opening day when the school
was already full.
Even as late as last week, other
war veterans continued to stream into the
school demanding that their children be enrolled. The Tongogara area has no
formal school of its own although it is hugely populated.
"The situation is worse for Grade One classes because in one of the classes
there are about 60 pupils. With the close attention needed for Grade One
pupils, I wonder how a single teacher can cope," said one parent from
Kuwadzawa Extension, whose child is in the first grade at the crowded
Sources said last week the headmistress, a Mrs Maphosa, who only started
heading the school at the beginning of this term, received a call from the
Ministry of Education's Harare provincial headquarters instructing her to
accommodate more pupils from Tongogara.
"She had to take them in although there were no vacancies. This is going to
compromise the quality of education these children get. That's the problem
of starting new locations without proper planning," said a teacher at the
Formerly Wycliffe Farm, the place was renamed Tongogara after war veterans
and Zanu PF supporters allocated themselves residential stands during the
land resettlement programme. No surveying was done by the former freedom
A private company, Pfugari Developers, was in the process of developing the
farm for its clients when the former freedom fighters invaded the area and
took it over.
Under normal circumstances, a normal class should have about 35 pupils. The
situation at Kuwadzana Primary 8 is further exacerbated by the fact that
there is also "hot sitting", depriving the pupils of enough time at a school
where learning facilities are scantly available.
Some residents of Kuwadzana say they are now contemplating withdrawing their
children from the school, which is about a kilometre from Tongogora.
Maphosa could not be reached for a comment but a teacher at the school said,
"she is frustrated".
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture,
Thompson Tsodzo, professed ignorance about the situation at Kuwadzana 8
Primary School, referring questions to Harare provincial education director,
a Mr T Bhobha, who could not be reached for comment.
The Herald eats humble pie
By Caiphas Chimhete
IN a major climbdown, the State-run daily newspaper, The Herald, was last
week forced to retract two of its propaganda stories written in 2002,
intentionally designed to tarnish the image of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party ahead of the presidential election.
In its Friday issue, The Herald admitted "cooking-up" the stories, which
maliciously linked the opposition MDC to a $2 billion heist that occurred in
In the other story, the
pro-government newspaper also alleged that the
opposition party was responsible for suspected anthrax attacks in Harare.
"We unreservedly apologise to the MDC, its supporters and members for any
harm suffered as a result of the publication of these stories.
"We have, however, established that our information was wrong and would like
to apologise to the MDC for our having published these stories and for all
and any harm, which may have been done to the MDC by the publication of this
story," read the retraction.
But the embarrassment is far from being over.
MDC attorney, Nokuthula Moyo who is also chairperson of the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR), said the retractions were null and void because
they were not given the same prominence as the initial stories.
"We don't recognise the retractions, they should publish them on the front
page to give them prominence as they did to the two stories. I wrote to them
yesterday (Friday) to tell them," said Moyo.
Moyo said she was baffled to see the retractions hidden on page 4 of The
Herald although, she says, the newspaper's lawyer, Gula Ndebele, had agreed
to splash it on the front page. It was also the MDC's condition that the
retractions appear prominently on the front page for two consecutive days.
Moyo added that if the State newspaper fails to retract, the case would be
heard in the High Court on the 6th of February.
Gula-Ndebele of Gula-Ndebele and Partners legal practitioners could not be
reached for comment.
The MDC is suing both the editor of The Herald and Zimpapers for "millions"
of dollars for the damages it suffered because of the propaganda stories,
which appeared just before the controversial 2002 presidential election.
In the first $2 billion heist story, the newspaper alleged that the MDC
supported by former Rhodesians and South African intelligence officers had
perfected the art of using criminal elements to raise funds for the MDC.
The story further alleged that the proceeds of the heist in South Africa
were to be brought into Zimbabwe to fund the MDC's presidential campaign.
In the anthrax story, the newspaper quoted the then Home Affairs Minister
John Nkomo, as saying the suspected anthrax in Harare were part of terrorist
activities perpetrated by the MDC.
The newspaper admitted that both the police and Ministry of Home Affairs had
not substantiated the allegations.
Two weeks ago, The Herald was ordered by the High Court to retract a court
story in which it alleged links between the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
the CIA in a plot to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.
The retractions fly not only in the face of The Herald editor, Pikirayi
Deketeke but also Mugabe's chief propagandist, Jonathan Moyo, who directs
operations of all government controlled newspapers.
Cash, staff desert Zanu PF publications
By our own Staff
ZANU PF's propaganda mouthpieces are faced with bankruptcy and an exodus of
journalists, The Standard can reveal.
Hardest hit are the The People's Voice and the Zimbabwe News, publications
charged with disseminating ruling party information to its supporters and
Crippling financial problems have forced the Zanu
PF-owned Jongwe Printing
and Publishing Company to stop publishing Zimbabwe News and is now
struggling to publish The People's Voice whose print run is down to less
than 1 000 copies a week, according to sources.
The ruling party, though, conservatively puts the readership of The People's
Voice at 5 000.
A slow but effective haemorrhaging of staff precipitated by poor working
conditions, low salaries and the problems associated with Zanu PF having to
churn out nauseating propaganda daily, has resulted in Zanu PF publications
losing its reporters. Only one full time journalist now remains at the
Ruling party sources say the publications' woes worsened following divisions
in the Zanu PF's information and publicity department over how the papers
were to function.
They say recent developments have seen junior Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo - who has not been given much control over the Zanu PF papers'
editorial direction - resorting to the public-owned press to relay his own
Moyo, according to reports, tried to spread his tentacles to the party's
publication department but Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu PF's secretary of
information and publicity, resisted his efforts.
"Moyo used to attend meetings at The People's Voice but stopped after
realising that he was not welcome," said a ruling party source.
Moyo has of late transformed the publicly owned Zimpapers' titles - The
Herald, The Chronicle and The Sunday Mail - as well as the country's sole
broadcaster, ZBC, into Zanu PF regime's chief propaganda tools.
Shamuyarira admitted to The Standard that the party's publications were in
"Tirikungopona negwaku mukwaku sengunguwo (we are barely surviving). Our
accounts have been in the red for a long time now though we hope they will
be moving into the black zone soon because of the advent of new
advertisers," said Shamuyarira, a former newspaper editor.
School fees and levies: Way forward
FOLLOWING an announcement by the Ministry of Education, Sport
that schools which increased fees 'illegally' risked closure while the heads
could be suspended or handed over to the police, we feel impelled to point
out that in going for this lunatic action, the ministry would have crossed
the boundaries of what is permissible even in this permissive age.
It is absolute lunacy to talk about closing a school just because fees have
been increased without written authority. Apart from the terrible
consequences on the children's future, there is no such provision anywhere
in the Education Act.
The question has been asked
seriously for a long time now by many people
whether this ministry knows exactly what its mandate is. Since the
appointment of Aeneas Chigwedere as minister, the ministry has failed
completely to focus on its core business of enhancing the quality of
education in the country.
Focusing on its core business means just that - a focus on rehabilitating
deteriorating physical infrastructure in schools, efficient administration,
raising teachers' salaries to enable them to keep their heads above water,
providing sufficient resources for the smooth running of the schools,
encouraging parents to participate in their children's education and
generally to come up with new educational standards to ensure that every
child in Zimbabwe, regardless of family income level, receives a quality
Instead, the ministry has been preoccupying itself with trivia - the latest
being the directive on school fees and levies. It is not the business of a
whole ministry to be issuing directives left, right and centre. Let the
parents and the school authorities hammer out an agreement in the context of
the hyper-inflationary environment in which we find ourselves.
Faced with a crisis of the government's own making, what the parents and
school authorities are doing is to make the most out of a very bad
situation. They know the kind of sacrifices that they have to make. They do
not have to be told by the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture.
The immense problems that the people of this country are facing have to be
laid at the door of this government. Please do not make an already bad
situation worse by issuing meaningless directives. This environment is an
extremely stressful one as it is without the ministry throwing more spanners
in the works. Spare a thought for the parents of this country Mr Chigwedere.
The supreme lesson of this millennium is that people who are free to make
their own decisions go right ahead through self-effort. The tragedy of
Zimbabwe is that there is too much interference from government in people's
lives. There are too many government tentacles controlling what people
should do or should not be doing. And this obviously stifles creativity,
initiative and hard work.
The key point that needs to be made is that the State is not the private
property of a government but the servant of the general interest. Therefore,
a government or a ministry has no right of coercion or imposition of a
policy. Let the people decide particularly on those things that directly
affect them. And the issue of fixing school fees is one such example. In a
democratic setting, no one person should say I have the final word.
Yes, the government can play a very important role without having a
stranglehold on what people should do or should not do. In fact, worldwide
trends in all human activities are towards the government not being the main
provider of economic development but being the visionary, partner, catalyst
and facilitator. Needless to say, a government should and must focus on
infrastructure, defence, law and order and social services such as health,
education and social security, but the main thing is the creation of an
enabling environment in which business can grow and thrive.
The point here is that the energy and initiative of the people are key to
building a more prosperous and secure future for our children. The drive the
people have, the opportunities that the country provides to those who can
work hard without a culture of corruption - these are the things that must
be encouraged not directives from government ministries.
This is of course not to say that the weak, the poor, the disadvantaged and
the infirm must not be taken care of. Far from it. Any country worth its
salt must always remain a fine place (including educational opportunities)
for its vulnerable groups. But what it does mean is that those who are
fortunate enough to utilise a conducive environment for the benefit of
others must be allowed to do so. This is the bottom line.
The Ministry of Education Sport and Culture's directive on school fees is a
weak case based on shifting sands. The most important goal of any ministry
of education is to enhance the quality of education in the country and in
the pursuit of this noble goal, the last thing that they would want to do is
to impose their will on parents and the school authorities.
Leave it to the parties concerned - the parents and the schools - to decide.
It is just that simple!
Time to end the speculation
overthetop By Brian Latham
THE world was rocked by rumours last week. Newspaper reports suggested that
the most equal of all comrades had visited a neighbouring state for
emergency medical treatment. One reporter vowed this was true, but Over The
Top can dismiss the report.
The leader of the troubled central African basket case may have to seek
medical treatment abroad because his hospitals have nothing but aspirins and
second hand bandages, but he's not likely to seek treatment in a confused
southern African pseudo-democracy where his pale skinned enemies may be
lurking under the bed.
Another newspaper report said the most equal of all comrades had
gone to the
fairest Cape to look for a suitable retirement home.
OTT can also dismiss this reportŠ on several grounds. Firstly, the fact that
the Cape is fair rules it out. The most equal of all comrades dislikes
Secondly, the place is full of Eurotrash and Anglotrash looking for large
homes and cheap servants, a fact that makes the area anathema to the most
equal of all comrades. You can say what you like about him (and please do),
but he quite rightly doesn't want to live next door to someone called Wayne
who's pretending to be a retired British army colonel but is in fact a
disreputable builders' assistant from Croydon.
But most importantly, buying a house would be breaking an important property
acquisition pattern set by the most equal of all comrades.
If residents of the confused southern African nation had seen noisy groups
of green clad Dzaku-dzaku roaming the streets, or under-age war vets
prowling through the avenues, well, yes, then we might believe the most
equal of all comrades was looking for a little pied a terre in the Cape, but
don't for a minute think he'd actually consider paying for it.
Property, after all, is theft, so the only legitimate way to acquire it is
to steal it - as can be attested by 4 500 farmers, 300 000 farm workers and
3 million of their dependents in the troubled central African banana
Of course, many of the minions working for the most equal of all comrades
have had similar ideas - and some of them have already found homes in the
sinister southern African regime. Frustrated estate agents have told OTT
that payment for these salubrious properties is erratic, at best.
Well, it would be, wouldn't it? Zany policy dictates that it's unnecessary
to pay hard stolen money for something that can be had for free.
And where better to do this than in a soon to be troubled southern African
country where the delusional leader is eager to follow in the most equal of
all comrades' footsteps?
Still, that doesn't mean that the most equal of all comrades is looking for
a wine farm or a beachfront cottage because the thought of having a
neighbour who doesn't wear socks and has a name that rattles the tonsils
would fill him with fear and paranoia.
SoŠ it is with some regret that Over The Top has to report that the most
equal of all comrades seems, for the moment, to be more than content with
his urban and rural mansions in the troubled central African nation. In
short, he has no plans to move - at least to anywhere that might have
extradition treaties with the civilised world.
That leaves Cuba, North Korea, Libya and a small Latin American place no one
can remember the name of, and all those can be ruled out because they would
lead to irresolvable marital problemsŠ the most equal of all comrades has a
wife who likes shopping, you see, and all you can buy in Havana is cigars,
rusting Ladas and a cheap wife.
And all the king's men and all the king's horses
Shavings from The Woodpecker
Humpty dumpty WOODPECKER was intrigued by a profuse apology on page 4 of the
sinking Herald's Friday edition.
For the first time, the newspaper that Moyo-Manheru and Puff Diddy jointly
edit, swallowed its pride to admit to what some of us have known and said
for so long: that all their stories about the MDC are blatant lies and very
Curious to know what had made Puffy and
Moyo-Manheru eat humble pie to the
extent of writing that "We unreservedly apologise to the MDC, its supporters
and members for any harm suffered as a result of the publication of these
stories", we set to find out why Uncle Bob's two top propagandists were
grovelling to the MDC.
What monkey business was going on in this Chinese Year of the Monkey, we
A check with the opposition party quickly revealed why The Herald had made
the unprecedented apology to the opposition party: it was faced with a hefty
lawsuit for slander and was ordered by the MDC's lawyers to retract its lies
or risk having to pay huge amounts in damages.
The bankrupt Zimpapers' newspaper was forced to, as they say, put its large
mouth where it's money was supposed to be and being on the verge of an
imminent collapse because of mismanagement and the misguided drivel that it
carries daily that is chasing away readers, it chose to apologise
According to senior MDC officials who spoke to Woodpecker, the two Herald
stories, lies rather, included an incredulous report that appeared on the
paper's front page on Monday, January 7, 2002, alleging that the Zimbabwean
opposition party was linked to a $2 billion heist at Johannesburg
Besides the two which the lying Herald has agreed to retract, the MDC has
five other slander lawsuits against the sinking newspaper - so brace
yourselves for more grovelling apologies from the State media.
One thing is clear, humpty dumpty has fallen from the wall and all the
kings's horses and all the king's men (including Nathaniel) cannot put him
back again. Wonderful news.
Money and maidens
SO they still charge a mere five cows (or bulls) or five thousand Rands, for
that matter, for the hand of a fair maiden so pretty to make a president
drop pressing State business, down south?
Sounds like pretty peanuts, but if you ask me, even in these days of
"Gonomania" and supposedly falling exchange rates, five thousand rands -
when converted to Zimkwachas - is Š still quite a bit of cash.
But then, when converted to Zimkwachas - even at the rate of one Rand to 600
Zimkwachas - the bride price would be far less than $5 million.
This is pretty peanuts for the hand of a lifetime partner, according to
current local trends where families are demanding lobolas as high as $20
million plus a NetOne line and "Nokia" cellphone, for good measure.
"The one that takes pictures, eh ka mukwasha!"
Uncle Bob says his lightning visit to Soweto last week - which caused a lot
of brouhaha in the international media - was only to pay lobola on behalf of
a long lost relative whose scion was getting married.
It is not clear from Uncle Bob's own account, whether he was needed urgently
in Soweto to receive the bride price - lobola - or to help the bridegroom,
one Johnson Ngwenya, with a bit of cash to enable him raise the required
At the risk of being forcibly invited to join the young ENG directors as
unwilling State guests at some stinking prison - as happened to some of our
colleagues recently - we can only conclude that this time around, no Air
Zimbabwe plane was "commandeered".
A load of bull
THIS story appeared on the online edition of the UK's Daily Telegraph on
October 28 under the byline of one Terry Butcher. It appeared again, almost
word for word, last week when rumours of President Robert Mugabe's supposed
ill health were swirling around:
"President Robert Mugabe collapsed yesterday and was flown to South Africa
for emergency medical treatment, sources in Zimbabwe said last night.
Supporters of Mr Mugabe, 79, were setting up barricades in the capital,
Harare, manned by well-armed riot police.
"It was reported that senior members of the 'Green Bombers', the notorious
youth brigades created by Mr Mugabe and responsible for rape, murder and
political thuggery, were being flown to the city."
No wonder why Nathaniel Moyo-Manheru gets grey hairs. Who in their right
minds can talk of senior members of Green Bombers being flown into Harare!
As in October, there was another flurry of similar stories last week when
Gushungo tried to sneak into South Africa for the purpose of Š paying lobola
for a relative.
The tragedy of journalism, as it is practised in this country, is that a lot
of pretenders, crooks, spin doctors and general layabouts have invaded the
profession and daily masquerade as reporters - both in the private and
So many of the so-called foreign journalists covering the Zimbabwean beat
are nothing more than rumour mongers, plagiarists and layabouts who scour
for local copy from newspapers only to doctor and re-word to suit who is
buying, especially the far-right Western publications.
What is happening is because Moyo-Manheru has barred genuine international
reporters from covering the Zimbabwean story, a lot of the foreign
newspapers and magazines are being fed lies by so-called foreign
correspondents who are in the profession only for a fast buck.
In other words, many of the international news organisations interested in
the Zimbabwean story are really being fed a load of bull.
Once upon a time Š
THERE was a president of a southern African country, who after failing by
hook and crook to extend his term for the umpteenth time, got so fed up with
the jockeying for his position while he was still in office that he did the
He was convinced that none of his deputies would accord him the respect that
he deserved if he allowed them to succeed him. He scoured the length and
breadth of his small country but could not find anyone pliable enough in his
ruling party to succeed him.
Then bingo Š he remembered there was once a "son of the soil" - a small time
economist who had at one time ran (some say to the ground) a regional
economic bloc. Now Bingu wa Mutharika is the heir apparent in Malawi.
Any similarity to what is probably happening here at home? Your guess is as
good as mine.
Tynwald school under dictatorship
am a parent who has a child attending Tynwald School in Westlea, Harare.
When the school opened doors to the public we were attracted by the
availability of buses to transport our children to and from home.
However, last term we were told when schools closed that there would be no
bus service. Worse still school fees rose from about $165 000 to $1 million
for primary and $1,3 million for secondary school.
This is a rise from $900 000 for
secondary school fees from those initially
indicated when schools closed last term. I got to know about the hike to
$1,3 million when I called the school just before New Year and was told the
fees had been revised upwards.
No meeting had been convened with parents over the issues mentioned above.
My complaint however is that the school is being run like a tuckshop and
parents have no say in school affairs. Imagine the inconvenience all these
changes have caused especially for those with children coming from Glen
View, Budiriro and farming areas like Cold Comfort.
There has been a mass transfer of both children and teachers and when
schools opened, only eight children had managed to start Form One. The
former Grade Seven children have sought places elsewhere.
The school is still under construction and its all dusty. We did not mind
about all this because we were supporting a fellow indigenous person. Our
major worry is the management style which is not participatory.
The school management is no different from KG 6 Barracks. It is a one way
communication process where parents follow orders without question. The
owner of the school does not want a School Development Association (SDA) to
do its work and that means we will never know how our funds are being used
The bursar who had been appointed for SDA functions and the teacher who
brought this idea have since left. Probably forced to leave. The school
belongs to retired General Vitalis Zvinavashe and obviously nothing will be
done by the authorities because in Zimbabwe all those aligned to Zanu (PF)
can get away with murder.
Right now parents are in the process of getting children out of the school,
which has not even been completed with secondary school pupils using
The school does not have sports facilities and these are issues we need
raised at a platform involving all stakeholders. Inga kana zvikoro
zvekumaruzevha zvinoitawo (even rural schools need) sport.
The bus issue could be resolved in a meeting by perhaps engaging other
transporters to take over this function. We have unfortunately not been
accorded that opportunity. The military man assumes everybody has a car or
trades in forex on the parallel market like some chefs are doing.
If that is not dictaorship, then what is?
I feel cheated and have lost trust in an indigenous entrepreneur I thought
had come to our rescue by investing in education in an area where transport
is a major headache. I have lost faith in anything called empowering the
indigenous people of this country, most of whom are proving to be corrupt.
This is shameful indeed.
Monetary policy under threat as speculation rises
By Kumbirai Mafunda
THE government's much-hyped monetary policy, touted as the panacea to
Zimbabwe's multifaceted economic crisis, is close to derailing amid
revelations that speculators are once again accessing cheap funds on the
money market, which they are converting for speculative activities.
Money market dealers and analysts told Standard Business that speculation,
which seemed to have been doused by the central bank's crackdown on most
financial institutions who were the prime movers of the activity, had
resumed following the injection of liquidity on the market by the central
The Reserve Bank (RBZ) pumped in massive cash
support onto the market to
bail out six troubled indigenous banks that were on the verge of collapsing
owing to a liquidity crunch.
Interest rates have since last week been tumbling dramatically on the market
to levels around 15% and 20% because of the glut of money on the market.
RBZ Governor Gideon Gono, faced with the imminent closure of weak but
black-led banks, backtracked on his December declaration that no cheap funds
would be availed to struggling banks who were by straying away from
traditional banking operations to speculate.
Prior to the monetary policy, the market was awash with stories of banks
cornering everything from bricks to vehicles, property, refrigerators and
Analysts last week said Gono's overture to the struggling banks was
self-defeating and undermined his policy statement which had been lauded for
bringing sanity in the financial sector.
'This is counter-productive because the bailout of the small banks will
encourage speculative borrowing," said one analyst.
Market watchers said speculative tendencies had resurfaced following the
reduction of interest rates on the money market to around 10% and 15% on
Many speculators had late last year liquidated their positions soon after
the spectacular rise of interest rates to 900% and above.
Borrowing rates rose dramatically from a regime of 80% to unprecedented
rates of 800% and 900% late last year following the unveiling of the
monetary policy statement, but have declined to 10% for 7-day rates, 30% for
30-day rates and 40% for 60-90 day rates.
Analysts said speculators were already taking positions on the stock market,
the property market and the foreign exchange market.
"People are taking money on the money market and investing the surplus in
anything that will yield a capital gain. The monetary policy has been
weakened owing to the need to bail out way-ward banks," said an expert.
Others said the gains recorded by the benchmark industrial index a week ago
could have been driven by the excess liquidity on the market. Wednesday's
trade rose 1,87% to 479 676,25 from Tuesday's 0,84% loss.
Kingdom Financial Holdings' Chief Economist Witness Chinyama said he
believed the RBZ's olive branch to banks would be a temporary assistance
because any long-term initiative would encourage speculating.
Chinyama said Gono could soon tighten the screws on the same banks he bailed
out last month.
Other analysts said the market was already questioning the credibility of
the new foreign currency auction system introduced last month saying the
system is being dictated to.
"There is chaos on the market over the introduction of the foreign currency
auction system and the pumping of liquidity on the market," said an analyst.
"The foreign exchange markets are confused by the auction market, which is
getting mixed signals. The RBZ is manipulating the auction system and if
this system continues, it will destroy and re-establish the parallel market
as the arbiter of exchange rate," he added.
Parallel market rates, which seemed to have fizzled out, could once bounce
back on the back of loss of confidence with the auction system as happened
Scarce flour to push bread price up
By Kumbirai Mafunda
THE retail price of bread is this week set to shoot above $3 500 a loaf
following the increase in the tonnage price of baking flour by about 30%.
Baking industry sources told Standard Business that the domestic supply of
wheat, harvested in November, was now exhausted forcing bakers and millers
to turn to importing flour.
Effective last week millers hiked the price of flour to $3, 5 million a
tonne, up from $2,7 million citing the drying up of domestic supplies of the
paltry winter wheat.
total winter wheat was about 80 000 tonnes out of a normal requirement
of 350 000 tonnes.
A number of millers and bakers who were issued with import licences for
wheat and flour are sourcing the product from neighbouring countries such as
Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique.
Small bakers are now getting their flour at $175 000 a 50kg bag, up from
$135 000. This is against the government-controlled price of $5 100 for the
The harvest and delivery of the domestic cereal crop had resulted in bread
prices collapsing in January by about 29% from $3 500 a loaf to $2 500 as a
result of the easy availability of flour.
"Domestic supplies are now exhausted and we are going back to import
content," said one miller who requested anonymity.
He said the tonnage price of flour could once again be increased to about $4
million next week.
"We are expecting to go over $200 000 per 50kg bag which means bread price
will rise in the next few weeks," he added.
Millers are battling a disastrous grain deficit that dates back to the 2001
season and was brought about by the decline of agricultural activity on
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shadow agriculture minister Renson
Gasela said the country would continue to experience grain deficits because
of the chaos in agriculture.
Gasela predicted that this year's crop, which is scheduled for planting in
May, would once again be a flop because of lack of planning by the
Bulawayo SMEs collapsing
By our own Staff
BULAWAYO - The majority of vendors in Bulawayo say their trade, which at one
time offered hope to many unemployed people, is on the verge of collapse.
With high levels of unemployment hovering around 70 percent, deepening
poverty and the highly unstable macro-economic environment, the vendors say
they see no hope for an end to their problems.
In a survey contacted recently, it
emerged that vending was no longer
lucrative and thousands of people who depended on it for survival were
facing a bleak future.
Simanga Ndhlovu, who earns a living through the sale of compact discs (CDs)
and audio cassettes near the Bulawayo Revenue Hall, painted a gloomy picture
of the state of affairs.
"Long back, I had no time to talk to people like I am doing right now
because of the volume of business but as for today, I spent most of my time
just talking to people," said Ndhlovu.
Everyday she dutifully brings her CDs to the hall where she hopes someone
might just buy them.
Eunice Moyo, a mother of four, said life had become unbearable for her.
"Generally, people have no money whatsoever to waste on luxurious goods as
food prices, accommodation, school fees and transport are unaffordable. At
the moment the future looks so bleak and business is at its lowest ebb,"
She added: "Wonke umuntu uyakhala, akula business," which means "everybody
here in Bulawayo is crying because there is no business".
Too much meddling in our private lives
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama
I was out of town for a while. I just had to escape from Harare's polluted
environment and breathe some fresh country air so headed for Chiwundura
where my sister, Eunice, lives. When I say Harare's polluted environment I
am not just talking about the air and the water. I am also talking about the
What better place to go to than to Chiwundura where the people had the good
sense to boot out Zanu PF and vote in Renson Gasela of the MDC.
The political environment there
is quite pure as well as the air and the
water. The people told me that political violence is unknown. People
belonging to the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF agree to disagree. They don't
maim and kill each other over political differences.
Supporters of the different political parties actually drink together at
shopping centres while wearing their different party T-shirts.
Chiwundura can teach the rest of Zimbabwe what democracy is all about. I
actually saw an irrigation scheme where supporters of the different parties
work together in order to develop themselves. I hope Zanu PF agitators,
Green Bombers and so-called war veterans will continue to keep their
polluted self out of that oasis of peace and tranquillity.
As I travelled back to Harare, I wished so much that people of my own home
(kumusha) would be like the people of Chiwundura. Their minds are so
polluted by Zanu PF's style of politics that during the last elections they
violently turned against each other like beasts of the jungle. Those who
were suspected of being MDC supporters were beaten and tortured mercilessly.
A shop and several homes were burnt down. And, these are people who are
related by birth, mutupo (totem) and by marriage. I challenge our chief,
Gahadza was Svosve to publicly state that he will not tolerate political
violence among his people or from people coming from outside his area.
When I got home, our maid, Juliana Sibanda was bursting with news. "Baba
makaruza," she said. Va Chinos vakabuda pa television vachiti varikuenda to
kuTunisia nema Warriors. Vakati naivowo vaimbova mutambi mukuru webhora."
Translated, she said that Cde Joseph Chinotimba appeared on TV announcing
that he was going to Tunisia with The Warriors and that he used to be a
great soccer player himself.
"Oh no." I said "Surely, he can only give our boys bad luck. (Anopa vakomana
vedu munyama nokuti haasi munhu akanaka.)
There is no limit to Zanu PF's interference with all aspects of Zimbabwean
life. The Daily News on Sunday of January 25, 2004 reported that chaos
reigned at the Zimbabwe Football Association's offices as the ubiquitous war
veterans' leader, Joseph Chinotimba took over operations at Zifa House.
Obviously, he was acting under powers given to him by the all-powerful,
all-seeing and all-knowing ruling party, Zanu PF.
It is said that Chinotimba and his Zanu PF cronies decided who was going to
Tunisia and who was not. The result is that many lay key supporters of the
team and some national players were left behind. Chinotimba then distributed
Zanu PF T-shirts with the announcement that it was mandatory for all those
intending to go to Tunisia to wear them.
A supporter who spoke on condition of anonymity said "Zifa is to blame. How
can people like Chinotimba be allowed to run the show. It is no longer the
game of football but party politics".
Yes, Zanu PF is so desperate for the people's support that it is spreading
its dirty tentacles into all areas of society including religion, sport and
the arts. Unfortunately, (or should I say fortunately) they are so ignorant
of the art of public relations that they are only succeeding in gaining more
and more enemies for themselves and their government. The interference of
the ruling party in soccer is just a tip of the ice berg. Zanu PF is engaged
in a Third Reich-like campaign to control all of life in Zimbabwe, including
our very thoughts. I am not far wrong in saying that they have made inroads
into the minds of ignorant and unsophisticated rural folk through propaganda
and brute force. All that is left is for President Mugabe to publish his own
version of Hitler's Mein Kampf.
A good number of our rural folk, including chiefs, now believe that a
government may give to people or take away from them virtually anything,
anytime and any place.
To them government is equal to God and to question anything the government
does is regarded as sinful. The accurate view that in a democracy the powers
of government are limited and the rights of individuals primary, is anathema
Because people have come to accept that the powers of government are
unlimited, our government freely engages in activities which are not proper
business of government in a democracy.
The question is, who is going to enlighten the misled and misinformed ones
and by what means?
The government firmly controls the public media. The independent press is
unofficially banned from the rural areas which are also no-go areas for the
Neutral non-governmental organisations cannot carry out any civic education
in rural areas without consent of Zanu PF officials.
Another area in which government is unjustly interfering in is the private
sector. Gideon Gono, the new Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor did a good
job in protecting the public by flushing out corrupt and unscrupulous
bankers and asset managers. Protecting the public from such is the
legitimate and just function of government and its departments.
However, Gono has gone beyond his mandate by creating a fund from tax-payers
money to bailout failed banks with instructions on how to run their banks
and how they should restructure their boards. This in itself is a scandal.
The Reserve Bank, which is an arm of government, has no business taking the
public's money and giving it to incompetent private business people.
Risk taking is the name of the game in business. If some bank owners are so
incompetent and greedy enough to expose their client's funds to corrupt
enterprises, they should be left to sink or swim on their own. It is also
incumbent upon depositors to establish the strength and integrity of a bank
before trusting it with one's hard earned cash.
What criteria is the Reserve Bank going to use in the selection of banks to
be bailed out.
I can bet you the bank of Pius Wakatama would never qualify because he does
not have a Zanu PF membership card.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
DA asks EU to renew targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe
February 01, 2004, 03:22 PM
The Democratic Alliance (DA) today said it has written to the
European Union (EU) calling for the renewal of targeted sanctions, imposed
on the government of Zimbabwe in 2002.
"The renewal of sanctions is even more crucial in the light of
amended legislation regarding land seizures passed by the Zimbabwean
Parliament this week," the party said in a statement.
"The DA has also expressed its unreserved support for the
January 15 resolution of the European Parliament on this matter."
The DA added that in the past, the owners of land which was
about to be seized had to be informed through an initial notice of intent of
acquisition, which had to be served in person.
Now this can be done by publishing a notice in the government's
gazette. Large estates and plantations are reportedly the target of these
amendments, which were pushed through Parliament despite fierce protests by
members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it added.
"The latest amendments are yet another example of the Zimbabwean
government's use of draconian legislation, allowing it to disregard the
rights of its citizens. Clearly, the situation has deteriorated immensely
since the EU's earlier decision regarding sanctions and continued pressure
is crucial in order to restore democracy and the rule of law," the DA's Dan
Maluleke said in a statement.
The DA's letter calls on the EU to adopt a number of measures
previously suggested to the South African government. These include: A ban
on all arms sales to Zimbabwe; A blanket embargo on travel by senior Zanu PF
officials to Europe; A freeze of all Zanu PF assets in EU based financial
institutions; A widening of sanctions to include the financial backers of
"The combined efforts of governments, international institutions
and civil society groups will be needed if the crises in Zimbabwe is to be
ended. The EU's continued use of targeted sanctions plays a vital role in
this effort."- Sapa