If you happen to
be in the area of 24 degrees west and 24 degrees south, a couple of hundred
miles off the north-west tip of Africa, look out for a small white rowing
boat. It will be instantly recognisable amongst the thirteen other boats
dotted about the Atlantic Ocean - it has "Save Zimbabwe" emblazoned across
its hull. The two rowers sat inside it are rowing the tiny vessel - about 7.5
metres long - across the ocean from the Canary Islands to Barbados, as part
of the Ocean Rowing Society's Atlantic Regatta. The two, American Scott
Wonenberg and Zimbabwean Brett Sparrow, are currently well positioned at the
front of the western flank of the flotilla, having covered 835 km since they
crossed the start line at San Sebastian on the island of La Gomera in the
Canaries on 22 January - two days later than the rest of the fleet. They have
3905 km to go to the finish line at Port St Charles in Barbados. The boat -
named Against All Odds - is one of seven double-crewed boats taking part in
the event. There also six solo rowers, and one boat powered by four oarsmen.
They face the possibility of 10m waves, but thankfully, there are no
hurricanes currently forecast for the route. The progress of the boats can be
monitored at www.oceanregatta.com.
The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) says it has uncovered a well-executed plan to rig the Gutu North
by-election in which it claims that about 7 000 registered voters in Harare
constituencies have also been registered to vote in the two-day poll in Gutu
North, which starts today. According to Remus Makuwaza, the MDC director of
elections, the alleged rigging ploy was not restricted to Gutu North but was
a traditional device by Zanu PF, through the Registrar-General’s (RG) Office,
to manipulate the voters’ roll ahead of any by-election. Makuwaza said the
RG’s Office had continuously refused to let his party have the consolidated
voters’ rolls, after the inspection of the voters’ roll in all the past
by-elections, and lately, the Gutu North poll. The MDC has previously pointed
out the government’s vote-rigging mechanisms and named alleged ghost voters.
The opposition party is also challenging President Robert Mugabe’s 2002
election victory, citing alleged electoral irregularities including
manipulation of the voters’ roll.
Makuwaza said the RG’s Office
deliberately interchanged names appearing on the voters’ roll and the
addresses, causing thousands of voters to be turned away on the voting day
because of conflicting personal details. "We have filed papers in the High
Court against the Registrar General’s Office concerning the consolidated
voters’ roll without success," Makuwaza said. "The Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) is a toothless electoral institution. The fact that the
Registrar General’s Office has denied us our right to have the consolidated
voters’ rolls in the past by-elections, including the Gutu North election,
means they have a lot to hide that we don ’t know." Tobaiwa Mudede, the
Registrar General, could not be reached for comment. His mobile phone
continuously rang without any response. But Makuwaza said what happened
towards any by-election was that the RG’s Office gave them the voters’ roll
before the voters’ roll inspection exercise started but would refuse to give
them a consolidated supplementary voters’ roll soon after the inspection
because they feared the discovery of ghost voters. Thomas Bvuma, the ESC
spokesman, yesterday said he was not in a position to comment because he was
travelling. Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF spokesman, dismissed the claims
as false and an invented allegation from reporters in the private media,
particularly at The Daily News. "That’s not true that people have been
illegally registered," Shamuyarira said. "The Daily News is just there to
discredit all government efforts to prepare for good elections. The Registrar
General has registered people and the people are ready to vote but you have
created your own allegations. These allegations are yours and not the
In the case of Gutu North, Makuwaza said during their
audit of the voters’ roll, about 7 000 names of people previously registered
in Highfield, Budiriro, Glen View, Kuwadzana, Warren Park, Mbare, Mabvuku,
Mbare East, Mbare West, Mufakose, St Mary’s, Glen Norah and Hatfield now
appear on the Gutu North voters’ roll. Makuwaza said his party has failed to
get an explanation from Mudede’s office on why such a large number of
Harare residents have suddenly been registered in Gutu North. Crispa Musoni
is representing the MDC while retired Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai is
standing for the ruling party in the by-election. The Gutu North seat fell
vacant following the death of Vice-President Simon Muzenda in September last
year. Meanwhile, our Masvingo bureau chief Energy Bara reports that more than
59 000 people are expected to cast their votes today in the Gutu North
poll which has been marred by pre-election violence and intimidation.
The situation remained tense in the whole constituency as both parties, ZANU
PF and the MDC, made last-minute preparations to wind up their
campaigns. Police maintained a heavy presence as they mounted roadblocks and
searched motorists for dangerous weapons. Officers from the RG’s Office and
election observers were being deployed to the 44 static polling stations
scattered throughout the constituency.
The MDC has claimed the
by-election campaign was marred by violence, intimidation and harassment of
the electorate. Musoni, the MDC candidate, yesterday maintained that his
party failed to hold a single rally as chiefs and headmen were allegedly
blocking the party’s campaign. "A normal campaign was not possible as the
ruling party had threatened to dismiss any chief who would have allowed me to
campaign openly." However, the ruling party has dismissed the allegations of
violence claiming that the opposition was exaggerating all the cases. Zanu PF
provincial vice-chairman Tinos Rusere expressed his satisfaction with the
poll run-up, alleging that no incident of violence had been reported. "The
campaign period was very peaceful. It is only the opposition which is
exaggerating cases of political violence," he said. Zanu PF wound up its
campaign over the weekend with a rally in Zvavahera Village, the home area of
the late Vice-President Muzenda. The rally was addressed by Vice-President
Joseph Msika who urged people to vote for Zanu PF to, as he claimed,
safeguard the gains of the liberation struggle. Despite assertions by the
ruling party that the campaign period was peaceful, The Daily News has
established that one hut belonging to an MDC activist was last week set
ablaze at Thornhill Farm near Chatsworth. Scores of people were injured
following clashes between the ruling party and MDC supporters at Chatsworth
rural service centre.
Tsvangirai law firm banned 02/02/2004 14:45 -
Harare - The Law Society of Zimbabwe has barred 40 law firms -
about one-seventh of the national total - from practising this year until
they regularise their status, government media said on Monday.
the firms listed as banned is the reputable practice Atherstone and Cook,
which is instructing senior advocates representing opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in his treason trial
over an alleged plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.
also recently represented journalists from the Independent weekly facing
defamation charges for alleging that Mugabe had commandeered an aircraft from
national carrier Air Zimbabwe for a holiday in Asia.
Herald newspaper quoted the president of the Law Society, Joseph James, as
saying: "The said firms and or individuals are ... not licensed to practise
in 2004 and must close their firms immediately until they regularise their
position to the satisfaction of the council."
The umbrella group's office
said that the 40 were among an estimated 270 law firms in the
All lawyers must be registered
All lawyers or law firms
in private practice must be registered. The annual registration normally
involves submission of an audit certificate on funds held in trust for
Some of the applications were rejected because they were deemed
to be irregular and did not meet the stipulated requirements, the Herald
Artherstone and Cook partner Linda Cook said that the inclusion of
the firm's name "as far as we are aware" was "an honest mistake".
said like all other licensed firms "we were issued on the 7th of
January (2004) with a letter saying we were duly licensed to practice
She admitted there had been problems with the firm's
"It's merely a question of bringing the accounts into order
now. Every year we do that. We are not used to be on the list like
Tsvangirai is due to return to court on February 11 when his
hearing continues. He has denied plotting to "eliminate" Mugabe in the run-up
to controversial elections in 2002 which returned the veteran leader to
The opposition and independent observers said the 2002
presidential election was blighted by sweeping fraud, violence and
ZIMBABWE: Food prices continue to rise JOHANNESBURG, 2 Feb 2004 (IRIN) -
The price of a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe is expected to rise to Zim $3,500
(US $1)- the latest hike in the cost of basic food commodities - after an
increase in the price of flour.
The cost of flour increased last week
because low levels of domestic wheat production have forced millers to turn
to more expensive imports.
Zimbabwe is expected to produce only 38
percent of its food requirements in the current growing season, according to
the latest monthly report of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network
(FEWSNET). It estimated that just over five million people in a rural
population of 7.8 million would require food assistance until March 2004,
before the next harvest in April.
The situation in urban areas has
worsened as well. The cost of the December 2003 low-income urban household
monthly basket, monitored by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, rose five
percentage points from the November total to about Zim $678,000 (US
The council noted that much of the increase was attributable to
the non-food component of the basket, which grew by about 23 percent between
November and December. The food component of the basket only increased by
about four percentage points to Zim $441,000 (US $126).
nine months up to 31 December 2003, FEWSNET recorded a cereal deficit of
approximately 174,000 metric tonnes, including maize, sorghum, rapoko, and
millet. "Because of this deficit, both rural and urban households were likely
to be forced to skip meals, eat smaller portions at every meal, and
substitute cereals with vegetables or other foods. Some [people] even had to
migrate out of formal urban settlements to squatter camps and rural areas
where the cost of living is lower."
"A lukewarm response to the appeal
for food assistance is limiting the ability of the WFP [World Food Programme]
and its partners to meet the needs of all food insecure households," said the
report. By the end of December 2003, only 54 percent of the estimated 610,000
metric tonnes of emergency food aid required had been secured.
official Herald newspaper said on Friday the government had bought 70,000
tonnes of maize from South Africa to be distributed as relief.
Zimbabwe Standard reported on Sunday that those millers and bakers issued
with import licences for wheat and flour were sourcing supplies
from neighbouring countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique,
while small bakers were paying US $48 for a 50 kg bag of flour this week, up
from $37.5 last week.
Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) on Monday accused President Robert Mugabe's party of rigging a
parliamentary by-election for a constituency held by former vice-president
Simon Muzenda who died last year.
As the two-day polls started early
on Monday for the Gutu North seat, the MDC said Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party had played around with the
voters' lists and brought in hordes of fake voters from
"Zanu-PF's trump card is not much of violence this time but it
has tampered with the voters' roll bringing people from outside the
constituency numbering to 7 000," MDC director of elections Remus Makuwaza
"There is no process of verification after inspection of the
voters' roll. That is how they manipulate the roll so that people do not have
access to see what names are finally put there," he said.
The MDC, led
by Mugabe's arch-foe Morgan Tsvangirai, is challenging the president's 2002
re-election, saying the polls were marred by widespread violence, fraud and
There are about 59 000 registered voters in the Gutu North
constituency which is being contested by retired air chief marshall Josiah
Tungamirai from the ruling party and Crispen Musoni from the MDC.
MDC currently holds 54 of the 150 seats in parliament.
February 2, 2004 Posted to the web February 2,
HARARE City councillors are vigorously campaigning for
the ouster of acting mayor Clr Sekesayi Makwavarara on allegations of failing
to implement MDC programmes and for working with the Government.
similar attempts in the past have failed.
The MDC and the majority of
councillors elected on the MDC ticket, who ironically include Clr
Makwavarara, are angry that she is continuing to run the
Councillor Last Maengahama confirmed that councillors were not
happy with Ms Makwavarara and had resolved that she should be
He said the matter would be brought forward at the next full
council meeting expected this week.
Council last week postponed a
similar meeting after council officials complained of a heavy
Clr Maengahama accused Clr Makwavarara of implementing
ministerial directives without bringing the issues to full council.
cited the reinstatement of the suspended 22 workers as one of the reasons for
the vote of no confidence in the acting executive mayor.
directed that council should reinstate the workers some who were either
suspended or fired by suspended Engineer Elias
The workers were reinstated after
investigations revealed that allegations that were being levelled against
them were baseless.
"When she receives directives from the Minister, she
should take them before council and hear our opinions and communicate the
same to the Minister. Ministerial directives are directed to council and not
the mayor," he said.
He accused Clr Makwavarara of moving to a new
council rented house without the approval of council and driving a new car
that was bought without council's approval.
Asked what council would
do in the event the attempt to remove Clr Makwavarara failed, Clr Maengahama
said he did not see any councillor siding with her.
"If that fails, we
would have sent our message across," he said.
Another councillor who
spoke only if his name was not used said council felt Clr Makwavarara had
usurped the powers of council and had left the other councillors as mere
The councillor said ministerial directives had a 30-day
period in which they could be implemented but Clr Makwavarara would implement
them as soon as they arrived on her desk.
A council official said the
municipal staff thought she was efficient and doing a good job and that the
councillors were not happy with Clr Makwavarara's efficiency and were also
jealous of her achievements and perks she received from council.
Makwavarara drives a new Toyota twin cab, stays in the upmarket
Gunhill suburb and is paid the full salary of an executive mayor of Harare
plus the perks that go with the job.
Another councillor said if the
attempt to remove her fails, council would take legal action against
The councillor said the debate on Clr Makwavarara would not disturb
the operations of council business, as it would only be discussed in
He also denied that the debate was a personality clash
after realising that Clr Makwavarara now enjoyed the benefits of an executive
Clr Makwavarara said she would only make a comment after the
matter had been brought to full council.
She has in the past resisted
moves to oust her and is on record as saying the fight for her post had made
her a stronger, determined politician.
Should the Government use the Law to Determine what
Since the beginning
of the year the Zimbabwe government has thrown three prominent journalists in
jail and has continued its campaign to shut down the country’s only
independent daily newspaper, The Daily News. It is nothing less than an all
out onslaught on the country’s privately-owned press so that the public will
be completely reliant upon the state media for their news. The state already
controls all radio and television broadcasting and has daily newspapers in
Harare and Bulawayo. The campaign to stamp out this independent newspaper is
led by President Robert Mugabe, but it is Minister of Information, Jonathan
Moyo, who is busy trying to stamp out any free press.
the past few years The Daily News has been bombed twice, including a huge
explosion which destroyed the paper’s printing plant. The paper’s reporters,
photographers, editors and lawyers have been routinely beaten and tortured by
the government’s youth militia and war veterans. But the main cudgel that
Jonathan Moyo is trying to use to shut down the independence press is the
In most countries the law is used to defend the freedoms
of the press, but in Zimbabwe that has been turned on its head. Bombs did not
stop the press, but laws have shut down The Daily News twice since September
last year. The two main laws being used in the anti-press campaign are the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA). Both are highly restrictive, repressive pieces
of legislation that are being challenged as unconstitutional. But the
Supreme Court, packed as it is with Mugabe’s cronies, has put those
strong challenges on the back burner.
POSA makes it a crime
to publicly criticise or bring into disrepute the president and the police.
Therefore it restricts a considerable amount of potentially valid stories.
The main weapon in the government’s arsenal is AIPPA, which attacks the press
on many grounds. The law gives the government, through its Media and
Information Commission, the power to close newspapers and prevent individual
journalists from work. It also makes it a crime to write an incorrect story
so that even a simple factual mistake could send the reporter and editor to
jail for up to two years. Even Zimbabwe’s widely-perceived partisan Supreme
Court will find it difficult to uphold this draconian
Advocates of press freedom around the world have
universally condemned AIPPA. South African President Thabo Mbeki stated in
mid-January that Mugabe had assured him that his government would no longer
arrest journalists under AIPPA and would reform the most repressive parts of
the law. To date one amendment to the notorious act has been put before
parliament, but it does not substantially decrease the law's powers to muzzle
the press. The Mugabe government is using AIPPA’s media commission to shut
down The Daily News as the commission is refusing to grant the paper a
licence to publish.
The government also charges that The Daily
News is operating illegally because its journalists are not accredited with
the media commission. The government is pressing the Supreme Court to cite
AIPPA in order to ban The Daily News from publishing. Yet another law is
being used by the government against the press and that is the old common law
statute of criminal defamation.
Criminal defamation is a
relic of the old colonial days, a holdover from the British Empire. It
originated in English common law and was adapted for South Africa’s
Roman-Dutch legal system and from there was exported to Zimbabwe. Across the
British Empire criminal defamation was wielded by colonial governments to
deal with nationalist leaders who publicly challenged the government and
critics in the press. In recent years criminal defamation has been struck
down by courts in many countries as being incompatible with democratic
practice. Ghana and Sri Lanka are the most recent countries to have revoked
their criminal defamation statutes. But it remains as a potent weapon in the
armoury of Zimbabwe’s vindictive information minister.
recently criminal defamation was used to arrest and hold in jail three
journalists of The Zimbabwe Independent, the country’s leading
weekly newspaper. Editor Iden Wetherell, news editor Vincent Kahiya and
chief reporter Dumisani Muleya were arrested and held in jail for two
nights. Another reporter, Itai Dzamara, was later arrested. They all were
charged with criminal defamation and released on bail. Their trial is
expected to begin in February. They are charged with publishing a story which
stated that Mugabe and his wife, Grace, had commandeered an Air Zimbabwe jet
for a personal holiday and shopping trip in Asia. The story said that their
last minute use of the state airline’s Boeing 767 jet caused the corporation
to lose significant amounts of money and wreaked havoc with the
scheduled flights. The government does not dispute the main facts of the
story, but claims Mugabe chartered the plane. Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo said that ‘if one detail of the story is wrong then those journalists
face two years in jail.’
The talented and brave staff of the
Zimbabwe Independent have continued to produce a world class paper with
plenty of hard hitting news stories and analysis that puts Zimbabwe’s current
crisis in its historic context. The independence of Zimbabwe’s courts has
allegedly been severely compromised by political appointees.
Despite the widespread violence and intimidation against the press, it is in
the legal battles where the fate of Zimbabwe’s free press will
a.. This column is provided by the
International Bar Association. An organisation that represents the Law
Societies and Bar Associations around the world, and works to uphold the rule
of law. For further information, visit the website www.ibanet.org
Four years down the line, 7.5 million face
AN urban vulnerability
assessment report is about to be released by international aid
Urban vulnerability refers to people in our towns
and cities facing starvation because they cannot afford to buy the food they
need to support themselves.
Over 75 000 children are already
being fed daily in Harare and Bulawayo by aid organisations, but this is a
drop in the ocean when you look at the mushrooming numbers of people who
cannot cope any more.
This year, 7.5 million Zimbabweans will need
emergency food aid.
Of this number, five million are in the
countryside and a further two and-a-half million are in Zimbabwe’s
What cause for national shame that out of
a population of 11.5 million people, 7.5 million Zimbabweans need
live on handouts from the international community!
It is a national disgrace that almost two-thirds of our population are hungry
four years after our government embarked on its so-called
For well over a year, President Robert
Mugabe has been announcing that the land reform programme has been completed
and is a “resounding success”.
The facts on the ground show exactly
the opposite as 7.5 million people stand in line for beans, maize and cooking
oil that is in containers which read: “a gift from the
As each of the four years of this mayhem have come and
gone, our government has found someone else to blame for starving
First it was whites, then it was the West, then it was the
banks and now, according to the State-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC), it is the Meteorological Department.
Last week, ZBC told
us that the “new farmers” have accused the Met Department of giving
inaccurate forecasts, which have resulted in farmers growing the wrong
varieties of crops. God help us if this is the mentality of our new
Are the people who grabbed highly productive farms
actually farmers or members of the kindergarten class?
very day that information from IRIN on the number of food insecure people was
made unofficially public, Parliament passed amendments to the Land
Acquisition Act. These amendments were two weeks ago
declared unconstitutional by a parliamentary legal committee, but the cries
of Zimbabwe’s finest legal minds were silenced and the amendments were
In the same week that we learned that 7.5 million
Zimbabweans need world food aid to survive, the government listed yet more
farms that they intend to seize, this time properties owned by South African
citizens living in and growing food for Zimbabwe.
We also heard
more about the “acquisition” of “peri-urban” farms. These too are to be
redistributed in what Agriculture Minister Joseph Made refers to as “another
phase” of the land redistribution process.
That old saying “Be
afraid, be very afraid” is never more appropriate for Zimbabwe than
The amendments to the Land Acquisition Bill are not just aimed
at white farmers, but at all farmers.
Skin colour will have
nothing to do with these land seizures; political affiliation will dictate
who stays and who goes this time.
The intention to seize your
property, smallholding or back garden plot will not be advertised in the
State-run Press but in a Government Gazette and the first you will know about
it is when a mob arrives at your gate saying that this is now their
There were such dire developments in Zimbabwe last week and
yet, through it all, ZBC television and radio told us incessantly about
On the very day we heard that 7.5 million people could
not support themselves anymore, the headline story on ZBC’s main evening news
was about a lost football game.
It was a headline story which
was followed by the now so familiar advertisement which insists that “our
land is our prosperity”.
Twenty-three minutes into the news
bulletin and ZBC was still talking about a lost football game that had been
allocated $1.3 billion in our annual budget.
There are not
enough digits on my calculator to tap in the figure of $1.3 billion, but
undoubtedly a few hundred thousand people could have been spared the
humiliation of asking for world food aid if they had been helped by their own
THE Mutare City Council
has asked the government for permission to borrow $1.5 billion to upgrade its
sewer and water distribution system in a bid to avert a water crisis,
according to executive mayor Misheck Kagurabadza.
told The Daily News yesterday that the council had written to the government
on Thursday asking to be granted borrowing powers.
a resolution (to borrow the money) early this week and we have already
written to the government to grant us borrowing powers so that we can raise
the funds,” he said.
“A number of institutions including the
National Social Security Authority, have expressed interest in supporting
But Kagurabadza said the Mutare council would have to turn to
the market in future to seek funds because the $1.5 billion it had cited in
its letter to the government was not enough to fund the whole
He said: “The last estimates done in October last year
indicated that we would need $6 billion to fund the project, but obviously
the cost has since gone up. The problem is that the government indicated that
we could only borrow up to $1.5 billion.
“We will use $41.5
million to upgrade the sewer system while the rest will go towards the piping
The executive mayor said Mutare’s pipes did not have the
capacity to distribute water to the entire city and it was necessary to
He added: “We need to upgrade our water pipes as a
matter of urgency. The water problems we are facing are not a result of the
shortage of water.
“We have enough water from Pungwe Dam to the
Christmas Pass reservoir, but there has been a bottleneck from the Pass into
the city. The diameter of the pipes is now too small due to the expansion of
Several areas in Mutare, including industrial sites,
have been experiencing water problems for some time, resulting in some
companies saying they have experienced financial losses because of the water
Meanwhile, the Mutare City Council also resolved last
week to buy three refuse trucks and three ambulances after Kagurabadza
indicated that he was not interested in a new mayoral Mercedes
“ I indicated to the council that because of our financial
situation, the council should not buy me a new car, but instead channel the
money towards new ambulances and refuse trucks. We are expecting the
first delivery within the next three weeks,” he said.
Remember Moyo – one of six Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists
accused of kidnapping and murdering Bulawayo war veterans’ leader Cain Nkala
– on Friday said their client was seriously ill but was being denied
medication by officers at Harare Remand Prison.
They said Moyo
had been diagnosed with hepatitis, a liver infection, and had been
quarantined to avoid spreading the disease to other prisoners.
Harare lawyer Raymond Moyo and advocate Edith Mushore said they had attempted
in the past week to secure medical attention for their client but had been
The lawyers said they had a doctor waiting on
stand-by to examine Moyo, but efforts to see their client and facilitate his
treatment had been frustrated by prison authorities.
lawyers were yesterday preparing to file a court application to compel the
Zimbabwe Prison Services’ authorities to treat him humanely as required by
the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Raymond Moyo said yesterday:
“Remember Moyo is seriously ill. In fact, he has not been well since December
last year. He is losing weight and is having difficulty eating. His health
has deteriorated and he is in great pain.
that the prison authorities can afford to watch him suffer like
“I visited him early this month after being informed about
his illness and found that he had not received any medication at
Moyo said his client was having difficulty eating and had
undergone tests for gastric ulcers after being seen by a prison
“I went back to see him on 19 January and found that he
still had not been given medicine and prison authorities said the medicine
was not available,” Moyo said.
“I went back to ask for the
doctor’s prescription so we could look for the medicine and we were told the
medicine had ben bought but it later turned out that it was the wrong
“We asked for a copy of the prescription and we were told
it could not be located.”
Mushore said the prison doctor had
initially said Moyo was suffering from jaundice but later diagnosed
“We have an independent doctor waiting to see him, but
the people in the prisons department have been sending us up and down,” she
told The Daily News yesterday.
“The prison doctor has directed
us to see the officer-in-charge who has told us to see the doctor. Now we are
trying to set up a meeting with both the prison doctor and the
“We have also been trying to get the
prescription to buy him the medicine but all our efforts are being
frustrated,” Mushore said.
An official at the Zimbabwe Prison
Services headquarters, who declined to be identified, yesterday said he was
not aware that Remember Moyo had been denied access to
Responding to allegations that Moyo’s lawyers were not
allowed to faciltate a visit with an independent doctor, the official said:
“We have our own qualified doctors who assess whether or not a prisoner needs
to be seen by an expert doctor outside the prison”.
necessarily deny prisoners treatment by outside doctors when the prison
doctors recommend so,” the official added.
Remember Moyo, MDC
legislator Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, the party’s director of security, Sonny
Masera, Army Zulu, Khethani Augustine Sibanda and Sazini Mpofu are on trial
in the High Court on charges of kidnapping Nkala in November
They have denied the charges.
kidnapped from his Magwegwe West home in Bulawayo on 5 November
His decomposing body was exhumed from a shallow grave on a
farm near Solusi University on 13 November 2001.
Stop power struggles, Tsvangirai tells party
MORGAN Tsvangirai, the
president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), yesterday
lashed out at his party’s leadership for being power-hungry, which he said is
causing setbacks in the party’s quest to get into power.
Tsvangirai said this yesterday when he addressed more than 5 000
MDC supporters who included party members of parliament and councillors
at Highfield’s Zororo grounds.
“I believe we are on the verge of
unseating Zanu PF, but we must be careful and we have to guard against
corruption, laziness and unnecessary power struggles,” said Tsvangirai
without mentioning names.
“There are some Harare councillors who
are already eyeing Parliament yet they have not cleaned up the mess in the
city council. Ever since the mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was ousted, there is a
serious leadership crisis. Where in this world have you seen a town clerk
moving with a convoy?”
“We have had cases of corruption where
candidates bribe district chairmen and such struggles have cost the party,”
“At times I thank Zanu PF for rigging the election
because I wonder how we were going to form the government with the level of
power struggles and power-hungry people we have in the party.
“Some people want to rule but they do not have experience while some who
joined the party yesterday want to be leaders already. That will not
On reported dialogue between the ruling party and
the MDC, Tsvangirai said there were no talks at the moment.
such a situation develops we will tell you,” he said. “And the talks will not
be about MDC being swallowed by Zanu PF or surrendering our independence. At
the moment we have closed the chapter of talks. We are mobilising people for
an election. But this time they should not be held under the 2002 conditions
again. We have had enough of elections being rigged. In fact every
by-election is being rigged, talk of Bikita, Insiza, Kadoma and now Zanu PF
is busy planning to rig in Gutu North constituency.”
not indicate whether he was talking of preparing for the 2005 parliamentary
election or the 2008 presidential poll.
But in an interview after
the rally, William Bango, the MDC presidential spokesman, said: “We strongly
believe that the situation cannot remain as it is and that Mugabe will not
see through his term to 2008. So there is going to be a major shift on the
political landscape. The talks might resume and bring something up or
something might happen. We are certain that something will give in, hence we
are busy preparing for an election.”
Since last week, Tsvangirai
has been holding rallies in Harare where he told his supporters that there
were no talks going on between the MDC and ZANU PF despite recent insistence
by South African President Thabo Mbeki that the two Zimbabwean parties were
involved in talks.
THE Zimbabwe dollar eased slightly in yesterday’s foreign
currency auction with the amount allotted being lower than last week,
figures released by the central bank showed.
The Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) figures showed that the local currency eased to $3 519.10 to
the greenback from last Thursday’s rate of $3 518.19.
a total of 655 bids, one of which was rejected, and bids totalling US$7 288
246.95 were forwarded by buyers while US$7 279 683.01
The highest bid was $4 589.75 while the lowest bid
was $3 000.
The government introduced the foreign currency auction
in the middle of last month in a bid to direct foreign currency into the
Black market foreign currency rates have tumbled
since the introduction of the currency auction although analysts are still
cautious about its long term sustainability.
dollar, which traded at $7 000 to the greenback in early December, traded at
$4 100 to the US dollar when the auction started on January 12 this
The auction is being held twice a week but RBZ governor
Gideon Gono has said the frequency could be increased if forex volumes
Zimbabwe is battling acute foreign currency shortages in
the past four years as balance of payment support has dried up while export
receipts have continued to plummet.
Critics blame the country’s
economic crisis which has resulted in shortages of foreign currency, fuel and
food on President Robert Mugabe’s government in power since independence from
Britain in 1980.
Mugabe denies the charge he has mismanaged the
economy and accuses domestic and international foes for sabotaging the
economy in retaliation for his seizures of white-owned farms to resettle
Reports that High
Court judge, Justice Sandra Mungwira, has fled the country because of
pressure from certain quarters make disturbing reading.
government, or anyone for that matter, exerts undue pressure on members of
the Bench, then their judgments will be adversely affected by that
Justice Mungwira was handling the case of Cain Nkala, alleged
by the State to have been murdered by members of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) in Bulawayo in November 2001.
of the suspects include Fletcher Dulini Ncube, Member of Parliament for
Only last week,a senior member of the Bench,
Justice Michael Majuru, the Judge President of the Administrative Court,
resigned, citing health reasons.
However, Majuru had been under
investigation because he had made a ruling in favour of Associated Newspapers
of Zimbabwe, publishers of The Daily News and The Daily News on
Selo Nare, the Bulawayo Administrative Court judge, last
year received a threatening letter a day before he made his ruling which
upheld the one passed by Majuru.
Some of the white judges who
have resigned recently, notably former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay and
ex-Justice Fergus Blackie, have accused the government of undermining their
independence while President Robert Mugabe has described the judiciary as
“white-controlled and white-serving”.
Justice Blackie’s ordeal with
the government demonstrates how vicious the authorities can be.
After ordering the arrest of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in May last
year, Justice Blackie was arrested in September and formally charged with
corruption and obstructing the course of justice. Justice Blackie, who was
released on bail after spending the weekend in jail, is alleged to
have overturned a white woman’s conviction for fraud in May last
The point is, the judiciary is a key arm of government and
its total independence should be sacrosanct at all times.
THE University of
Zimbabwe’s (UZ) lecturers and non-academic staff on Friday gave the Public
Service Commission (PSC), through their employer the University Council, a
14-day notice to go on strike following delays in awarding the workers a
salary increment as ordered by the court last year.
last year, the government was ordered by the Labour Court to award the UZ
employees salary adjustments of more than 800 percent backdated to July of
that year but nothing has been done by the government.
our salaries were reviewed upwards like those of other employees, we want the
UZ authorities to implement an order that was given by the Labour Court last
year to review our salaries,” James Mahlaule, the acting president for the
Association of University Teachers (AUT) told the Daily News
The PSC, the employer of all government employees except
those in the uniformed service, awarded all civil servants a 250 percent
If no agreement is reached between the UZ
employees and authorities within the next two weeks, this is likely to affect
students at the under-funded institution who failed to write their
examinations last December as the lecturers were again on
“If nothing is done about our salaries in the next two
weeks, our intended strike is likely to coincide with the opening of the
university and disrupt the examinations. Even if the examinations are written
there will be noone to mark the papers,”he said.
He said the
least paid UZ lecturer was getting a minimum monthly salary of $750 000 while
according to the new salary structure awarded the lecturers after the Labour
Court ruling was $2.5 million.
“It is a mockery for us to get only
$32 000 a month as housing allowance and we will fight to get better
“We cannot be teachers who teach other people’s children
while our chi ldren are being chased away from school due to our failure to
pay school fees,” said Mahlaule.
Last year the UZ, the country’s
oldest university, was forced to close several times due to the strikes by
the lecturers and non-academic staff over poor salaries and working
The lecturers have also withheld the processing of
examination marks for the university students which have led to the failure
of thousands of students to graduate.
Most UZ lecturers have
since left the country for better-paying jobs in Canada, the United States of
America, the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Mining giant Anglo American is set to become the largest
South African-listed group to be hit by Zimbabwe’s land-reform programme, as
its only agricultural asset in the country, Hippo Valley sugar estates, has
been earmarked for expropriation.
Anglo American is one of the
few remaining South African companies that still has large interests in
Zimbabwe despite the precarious economic situation.
Valley, the country’s largest sugar company, is still listed on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange. Zimbabwe’s land-reform policy, based on the expropriation of
white-held farmland, has been widely criticised.
Mbeki’s policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe has had little visible
effect as the country’s economy is struggling with inflation of 598 percent
and an estimated 70 percent unemployment rate. Another local sugar giant that
may be at risk is Tongaat Hulett, which owns Triangle Sugar in Zimbabwe and
until recently was getting about 15 percent of its earnings from there.
Tongaat was reluctant to discuss the issue yesterday.
laws were passed last week making it easier for the Zimbabwe government to
expropriate large plantations, Anglo spokeswoman Anne Dunn confirmed the
company had been served with a formal letter designating Hippo Valley for
“Hippo Valley has been designated, but we have
lodged formal objections and are in talks with the appropriate authorities
about this,” she said.
Dunn said that in the context of its
global resources group Hippo Valley was “not a major investment” although it
still formed a sizeable chunk of the company’s operations in Zimbabwe. “In
the light of the current situation, we are also concerned about what would
happen to our employees,” she said. It seems that the Zimbabwe government is
reneging on earlier promises. In 2000 the government listed Hippo Valley as
one of the white-owned farms designated for seizure. Then it backed down,
saying it had made a mistake and the Anglo land would be removed from this
But the issue is still sensitive, and Anglo would not discuss
what effect this new move would have on the company’s relationship with
the Zimbabwean government.
Although Hippo Valley is its sole
agricultural investment in Zimbabwe, Anglo still has other operations in the
country, and it would clearly be loath to jeopardise its other operations,
such as Zimbabwe Alloys.
Last year Anglo’s chairman in Zimbabwe,
Godfrey Gomwe, said Hippo Valley had been supportive of evicted commercial
farmers, noting that continuing problems over the land were “complex and
distressing” for all involved.
Amid SA’s reluctance to interfere
in Zimbabwe, this is further evidence that Zimbabwe’s economic woes are
having an adverse effect on South African business.
the country’s banking system last month caused South African banks with
operations in Zimbabwe Nedcor, Absa and Standard Bank, to express
publicly. New Zimbabwe Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is
now managing to keep the banking crisis from bubbling over. – Business Day
Zanu(PF) squares off with opposition in by-election February
02, 2004, 01:16 PM
Voters in Zimbabwe's southern district of Gutu went to
the polls today in a parliamentary by-election called after the death of a
close ally of president Robert Mugabe last year.
elections in 2000, Mugabe's Zanu(PF) party has won nine out of 12
by-elections to the 150 strong legislature, including three wrested away from
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change(MDC).
State radio said
voting had begun in Gutu this morning.
Today's edition of the privately
owned Daily News, which is critical of Mugabe's government, said the
opposition had accused Zanu(PF) of plotting to rig the Gutu poll by bringing
in 7000 unregistered voters to cast their ballot.
The paper quoted
Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu(PF) information secretary, as rejecting the
accusation. Electoral officials could not immediately be reached for
The Gutu North seat fell vacant last September after Mugabe's
close ally Simon Muzenda died.
Muzenda had been Mugabe's deputy since
he took power on independence from Britain in 1980, first as deputy prime
minister and later as one of two vice presidents after Zimbabwe adopted a
presidential system in 1987.
Formed in 1999, the MDC has emerged as the
strongest challenge to Mugabe's 23-year grip on power, and won nearly half
the 120 contested seats in parliament in the 2000 elections. However,
Zanu(PF) enjoys a comfortable majority through 30 seats reserved for chiefs,
provincial governments and presidential appointees.
The MDC and other
critics say skewed government policies under Mugabe, including controversial
land reforms, have ruined what was one of Africa's most thriving
Mugabe, who turns 80 next month, says the MDC is a puppet of
the Western countries he accuses of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy to punish
his seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to land less
black Zimbabweans. - Reuters
GUTU, MASVINGO – Some traditional chiefs and headmen
yesterday went around polling stations reminding their subjects to vote for
ruling ZANU PF party candidate, Josiah Tungamirai, in the ongoing Gutu North
parliamentary by-election, or risk being evicted from their
At some of the polling stations the traditional leaders,
most of whom banned the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from
campaigning in their areas during the run-up to the ballot, could be seen
checking people against lists of names they had.
traditional leaders leaned on their subjects to vote for Tungamirai, some
suspected militants of the ruling party closed several schools in the
constituency, in what the MDC said were desperate attempts by the ruling
party to hang onto to the Gutu North seat left vacant by the late ZANU PF and
state Vice-President Simon Muzenda.
About 20 schools in the
constituency were closed and teachers were ordered to report for work only on
Among the schools closed were Gutu Mupandawana Secondary
School, Matizha primary and secondary schools, Nyamande Primary School
and Mushayawanhu primary and secondary schools.
vice-chairman for Masvingo province Shake Matake said: “We are worried about
the presence of these traditional leaders in the polling stations because
they are not mandated to be there by the law.
“We suspect that
their presence was to intimidate voters in order to vote for a certain party.
However, we are confident that we are going to win the
But his ZANU PF counterpart, Tinos Rusere, vehemently
rejected suggestions that his party was manipulating traditional leaders to
ensure that it was re-elected in Gutu North.
Rusere said ZANU PF
would win the seat because of the thorough groundwork it had done in the
the ballot in which the MDC candidate Crispa Musoni is
battling it out with Tungamirai.
He said: “We have done our
groundwork and to us, victory is certain. Our campaign was clean and
thorough. The MDC always cry foul whenever there is an election but I think
it is just a ploy to pre-empt the defeat that is staring them in the eye. It
was a fair campaign.”
But a Daily News crew covering the
by-election yesterday witnessed some of the traditional leaders at Serima and
Nyamande polling stations openly reminding voters to vote for the ruling
Several voters told our news crew that some of the chiefs
had been holding constant meetings with villagers to instruct them to vote
for the ZANU PF candidate.
A chief, who spoke on condition that
he was not named, said he and his colleagues had been warned by ZANU PF
officials and the local war veterans’ leadership that they would be stripped
of their chieftainship and have their allowances withdrawn if the MDC won in
their their areas of jurisdiction.
“The party chefs and the war
veterans warned us that we would be stripped of our titles and allowances if
people in our areas voted for the opposition,” said the chief.
villager from Ward 27, under Chief Serima, who identified himself as Edson
Virimai, said: “We had several meetings with the chief before the election,
at which we were advised to go and vote for Tungamirai on the polling day.
The chief told us that if we didn’t vote for ZANU PF we would be evicted from
Comment could not be obtained from Election
Supervisory Commission spokesman Thomas Bvuma as his phone was switched
Of the more than 59 000 registered voters, only 14 276 had
cast their vote by 2 pm yesterday.
There were long queues at
some polling stations in the morning but by 1 pm they had disappeared. Voting
was peaceful as no incidents of violence had been reported by
In the northern part of the constituency, which is a
ZANU PF stronghold, there were still some short queues in the afternoon. The
area includes the ZANU PF strongholds of Bhasera, Mushayavanhu, Zvavahera
Eskom has denied that it cut electricity supplies last week to the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) for non-payment.
"At no point in
the previous week did Eskom switch off power supply to Zesa, nor did we even
consider switching off power supply to Zesa," Eskom said in a
The Zimbabwean state-controlled Sunday Mail was quoted as
reporting that South African and Mozambican power utilities demanded
up-front payment for supplies.
It said Eskom switched off electricity to
Zesa for two days for non-payment.
Zesa has been importing electricity
from Eskom since 1996. The account went into arrears in 1999 as a result of a
shortage of foreign exchange reserves, the Eskom statement said.
situation improved in 2001, when Zesa met its obligations to pay all current
accounts on time. Furthermore, the Zimbabwean utility substantially reduced
outstanding amounts in line with theaccount normalisation agreement with
Zesa met its obligations on current accounts for the better part
of 2002, Eskom said.
But, foreign exchange reserve shortages in
September 2002 prompted Zesa to re-enter into dialogue with Eskom. A meeting
was held last March, where a new repayment schedule was
"At this meeting, the Zesa delegation reaffirmed its
commitment to servicing their debt to Eskom with the view to settling
the outstanding account and arrears in the shortest possible time," Eskom
"We remain confident that the outstanding account will be
Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu would not disclose the amount
Sapa New Zimbabwe
Eskom switches off power to Zimbabwe
Reporter 01/02/04 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 on Sunday.
Last week, Eskom switched
off electricity to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) for two
days because of non-payment.
Meanwhile, Mozambique's Hydroelectrica
Cahora Bassa had cut its supply to Zimbabwe by 40% since the end of last
year, the state-controlled weekly Sunday Mail reported.
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 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 and
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
Zesa's total bill to African utilities and to international
financial institutions now totals US$410m, the Sunday Mail said.
is apparently willing to renew its contract as a result of new tight fiscal
and financial policies promised by recently appointed Zimbabwe central bank
governor Gideon Gono.
Zesa is a major casualty of Zimbabwe's economic
crisis, marked by the fastest shrinking GDP in the world - 40% in four years
- and the highest inflation, now at 60%, as well as famine for the third
consecutive year in which 7.5 million Zimbabweans - about 60% of the
population - are facing starvation.
Zimbabwe's foreign currency crisis
has seriously affected the operations of Zesa, which has also been rocked by
several cases of industrial action by disgruntled employees.
which is being commercialised before privatisation, requires US$11 million
every month to survive.
It needs US$5 million for power imports, US$5
million for debt service, US$500 000 for wheeling charges and US$350 000 for
spares per month.
Among it's debts, it owes HCB US$31 million, Eskom
US$20 million, Snel US$14 million, Mozambique's EDM US$5 million, and
Zamiba's Zesco US$4 million.
The company has on several occasions
introduced load shedding because of the electricity shortages, sometimes
disrupting the operations at several companies.
The load shedding has
worsened further the country's industrial production capabilities, resulting
in firms reducing output levels. Analysts said this reduction affected the
availability of consumer goods on the market, leading to a thriving parallel
market - dpa
Zimbabwe Opposition Publishes Economic Recovery Plan Peta
Thornycroft Harare 02 Feb 2004, 16:12 UTC
Movement for Democratic Change has published an economic recovery program it
says it will implement if it comes to power. The program has been largely
praised by economists but criticized by the government. Opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai says the first step in his Zimbabwe recovery program would
be to remove restrictions on foreign exchange in an effort to stabilize the
He also wants an audit of land ownership in an effort to target
resources where they are needed to increase agricultural output. But Mr.
Tsvangirai made it clear that Zimbabwe's farming system would never return to
what it was before most of the country's 4,500 white farmers were expelled
from most of the best farm land, in the government's controversial land
The reforms left much of Zimbabwe's farmland
uncultivated, because the new farm owners lacked both the skills and
financial resources to carry on the businesses.
Mr. Tsvangirai says
any economic improvement program will take time because Zimbabwe's economy is
so seriously damaged there can be no quick fix. He told supporters, diplomats
and industrialists late last week that Zimbabweans are now as poor as they
were in 1970.
The opposition program is called RESTART, an acronym for
Reconstruction, Stabilization, Recovery and Transformation.
invest heavily in health and education, which have deteriorated significantly
over the last few years, and would seek Zimbabwe's return to good standing in
the international community.
Writer, business consultant and retired
University of Zimbabwe Economics Professor Tony Hawkings says the
opposition's program would be approved by the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank, which would ensure balance of payment support.
the program would also resonate with the donor community because it places
heavy emphasis on good government, anti-corruption measures and
an independent central bank, which is now controlled by the ruling Zanu
Development analyst and political commentator Brian
Raftopoulos called the plan brave and well-considered.
state-controlled media has poured scorn on the opposition's economic recovery
plan. It says there is no chance it will be implemented because
the opposition has no hope of coming to power.
The state media did not
analyze the thrust of the economic aspects of the program.
economy is at its lowest level in decades, with more than 600 percent
inflation, growing unemployment and increased levels of hunger, particularly
in urban areas where few people receive foreign food aid.