05/02/2006 21:22 - (SA)
Johannesburg - President Thabo Mbeki said on Sunday that Zimbabwe had missed
a chance to resolve its political crisis two years ago when secret talks to
agree a new constitution ended in failure.
Mbeki told SABC television in an interview that his often-criticised policy
of "quiet diplomacy" toward President Robert Mugabe's government had been
fuelled in part by expectations of a political breakthrough that never
"I said (in 2004) that the Zimbabweans were talking to each other and would
find a solution ... they were actually involved in negotiating a new
constitution for Zimbabwe, and they did and they completed it."
Mbeki said South Africa had believed that the new constitution agreed by
Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change could have paved
the way for a resolution of Zimbabwe's long-standing political crisis.
"They had done this constitution, they gave me a copy initialled by
New problems arose
"So, we thought the next step then must be to say where do we take this
"But then, as I say, new problems arose among themselves. So we watch the
situation and to the extent that we can help in future, we will."
But, Mbeki said the MDC, once the strongest political challenge to Mugabe,
but now riven by infighting about differences in political strategy,
appeared to be in deep trouble.
"The MDC has got its own serious problems," Mbeki said, adding that South
Africa had tried unsuccessfully to help reconcile the party's internal
MDC formal split expected
"They asked us to assist, to mend relations among themselves. It didn't
work. We tried to intervene, but I think the rupture had gone too far."
Many political analysts expect the MDC to formally split in the next several
months, a move which could hobble its effectiveness as Zimbabwe struggles
through its seventh year of economic crisis seen in food and fuel shortages,
skyrocketing inflation and high unemployment.
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, says
the economic and political troubles are the result of sabotage by domestic
and western opponents of his policy of seizing white-owned farms to give to
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare (Filed: 06/02/2006)
A listed British mining company of which cricketer Phil Edmonds is a
director last week concluded a £47m deal with Billy Rautenbach, a close
associate of some in President Robert Mugabe's inner circle.
The Central African Mining & Exploration Company (CAMEC) has not disclosed
Mr Rautenbach's involvement in the firm in which he has now become an
effective 20pc shareholder.
After months of secret negotiations he sold three cobalt and copper deposits
in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last week to CAMEC whose top
executives are London businessmen Andrew Groves and Mr Edmonds, the former
British and Middlesex spinner.
Mr Rautenbach is wanted by the South African police on fraud charges and
prosecutors have reportedly begun preparations for extradition proceedings
from Zimbabwe where he is normally resident.
Among his associates in Zimbabwe are his DRC "fixer", rural housing minister
Mr Rautenbach's entry in 1998, in conjunction with Mr Mugabe and his
cronies, into the rich mining deposits in southern DRC, was part of the
spoils of war after Zimbabwe sent in its army to assist the late president,
Mr Rautenbach was appointed CEO of state mining company, Gecamines and was
allocated mining concessions and two copper and cobalt processing plants.
Two years later, he was sacked by President Kabila and had his other assets
seized for allegedly under-reporting sales and exports of millions of pounds
of cobalt for the benefit of his firm, Ridgepointe Overseas Development
President Kabila then asked another Zimbabwe businessman, John Bredenkamp,
to take over some of Mr Rautenbach's seized assets, among them the Kambove
and Kakanda processing plants and a large number of deposits in the rich
Katanga province in southern DRC.
Bredenkamp invested in excess of £10m to open the Mukondo deposit, arguably
the richest cobalt mine in the world.
In February 2004 Mr Rautenbach was mysteriously awarded half of Mr
Bredenkamp's assets in the DRC. Mr Bredenkamp was allegedly never
Two weeks ago, on the eve of signing the CAMEC deal, Mr Rautenbach urgently
had to pay about £2.5m to two minority partners after the high court in the
British Virgin Islands issued a provisional liquidation order against
holding company of his DRC assets, Shaford Capital.
The central thrust of the case presented to the court was that Mr Rautenbach
was allegedly depriving his minority shareholders of their fair share of the
profits and Gecamines, was allegedly also not receiving its 20pc profits
from Shaford Capital.
Mr Rautenbach has signed a contract with CAMEC to continue to run the DRC
Last night he said: "I don't know what you are talking about. I suggest you
talk to the CAMEC guys in London. I am just back from the bush now."
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last night, Mr Edmonds defended the absence
of Mr Rautenbach's name from the press release: "We didn't think it was in
any way relevant to talk about Mr Rautenbach.
"We have acquired the shareholding in the face of fierce competition and
were able to secure a significant deal for CAMEC and shareholders which will
add value to CAMEC.
"The relevance of Mr Rautenbach's participation within the consortium is not
an issue. As far as we are concerned we have done our due diligence on Mr
Rautenbach and have spoken to the relevant people in South Africa and are
quite happy with the information we gleaned.
"We believe (the warrant) is a purely political situation. It has not come
to court, so we are quite happy with the due diligence we have done."
A spokesman for CAMEC added: "A lot of the stuff that you hear about Mr
Rautenbach is speculative and unfounded as far as CAMEC is concerned. The
deal has been done."
Mr Rautenbach had assets in South Africa seized by the state in advance of
his upcoming trial where he will face fraud and corruption charges in
connection with the Hyundai Motor Corporation. He denies these charges.
By VOA News
05 February 2006
South African President Thabo Mbeki says his government tried and failed to
mediate between two factions of Zimbabwe's main opposition party.
Mr. Mbeki said on South African television (SABC) Sunday that a split in the
Movement for Democratic Change Party has now "gone too far."
Mr. Mbeki said he had had hopes that Zimbabwe could resolve its political
crisis when the ruling ZANU PF party and the MDC. held, what he said, were
secret talks on a new constitution.
Mr. Mbeki says now Zimbabweans must find their own solution.
Meanwhile, a Zimbabwe newspaper says the leader of the MDC party was
deported from Zambia after meeting with some former U.S. intelligence
The state-run Sunday Mail suggests that Morgan Tsvangirai and other MDC
officials were plotting unrest in Zimbabwe.
Zambian officials say the group was asked to leave Thursday because some of
its members had violated immigration laws.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
Sokwanele Comment: 5 February 2006
As we enter our seventh year of political turmoil, most Zimbabweans are desperate, despondent, and disempowered. In the face of a total onslaught by their own government, they feel helpless, and many have been made homeless. The economy is stuttering to a halt as social breakdown escalates. Government actions are erratic and oppressive and incapable of solving the chaos they have created. It is hardly surprising that the popular mood has shifted during the past ten months from a guarded expectation of change to a numbing hopelessness.
Six years ago, when the ZANU PF government was rejected by the people in a constitutional referendum and began its war on Zimbabweans, people believed that a democratic electoral process and a respected independent-minded judiciary would eventually rid them of an oppressive, increasingly irrational government. A popular opposition party was in the ascendancy and waiting in the wings.
But after six years of election campaigning and legal challenges, it is clear that the institutions of democracy are so completely subverted that they cannot support the will of the people or resurrect the rule of law. Quixotic economic policies intended only to keep ZANU PF in power have seen production decline by more than half and the vast majority of the population sink into penury. Many hundreds of thousands, possibly millions have fled the country to seek to survive elsewhere. The final blow to Zimbabwean hopes came with the fracture of the opposition MDC late in 2005. While a schism within the broad-based coalition was doubtless inevitable and resulted from significant policy differences, the timing was inauspicious, and left those who still hoped that some miracle might occur with no branch to cling to. Zimbabweans on their own conclude they can not change the situation for the better, in the fa ce of a government that is prepared to use all means of repression, including indiscriminate armed force, torture, confiscation of property and systematic abuse of all human rights, to maintain its position.
The goal remains the same - to remove ZANU PF from power and replace them with those genuinely elected by the people and responsive to their needs. But if it cannot be done through the current electoral process, what are the alternatives? "Take them out the way they got in" says an aging liberation war fighter. "No, the only way is non-violent struggle," answers the peace activist. Zimbabweans have no stomach for a liberation war, especially given the suffering and disappointing results now evident from the fifteen year struggle of the 60's and 70's. And the earth has since turned - it would be impossible in the regional context of the new millennium. Nor is this British India, where the mass non-violent protests of the saintly Gandhi could stir the conscience of an imperial power. Brave individuals and groups will certainly continue non-violent street protests, but the mechanism by which these would bring a change of government is yet to be discovered.
The point has been made that once a state has failed, institutions have collapsed, and the nation is ruled by brute force alone, the people will not be able to return the situation to peace and economic development on their own - they will require outside help. Early on in this interminable drama, Zimbabweans began to look beyond their borders for help from the international community. Individuals and opposition politicians have risked opprobrium and even arrest by calling publicly for action from the international community. Human rights organizations have appealed through the formal channels of the African Union and the United Nations for help; they have been frustrated at every turn. While the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights lends a sympathetic ear, the real power of the AU lies in the heads of state who have become worthy successors to the OAU's old boys' club of dictators. Even the U N is hamstrung by those states that do not want any human rights abuses investigated lest their own might come under the spotlight. Millions of Zimbabweans watched with envy as the American and British armies removed Saddam Hussein from Iraq and longed for such action in Zimbabwe.
From the beginning, western governments were sympathetic to the plight of Zimbabweans. More than three years ago they began withdrawing government-to-government aid programmes citing corrupt electoral processes and human rights abuses. Both the Americans and the EU imposed targeted personal sanctions against top government and party officials, prohibiting travel and business relations. They also provided food aid and other humanitarian assistance wherever they were not obstructed by government, and funded civil society organizations dedicated to expose and protest against rights abuses and those struggling to build the future by developing pockets of democratic understanding. The IMF has refused to resume balance of payment support until political reforms are instituted. These efforts are important, but they will not remove a stubborn dictator like Robert Mugabe, and political good manners require an invita tion by the neighbours before any more substantive action can be taken. Thus President Bush handed the problem back to Mbeki as his "point man" in southern Africa.
Zimbabweans also placed their hope in President Mbeki. Surely this sophisticated champion of struggle and democracy would be able to bring pressure to bear on his wayward neighbour to accept the will of his people and retire. But whether through sympathy with Mugabe or a naïve failure to correctly assess the forces at play, Mbeki betrayed Zimbabwean hopes. The past three years have gradually brought the realization that Mbeki is not our champion but has rather been protecting Mugabe. Up to now we have heard no single powerful statement from Mbeki denouncing ZANU PF abuses, but repeated statements of support from his lieutenants.
But the crisis will not go away. The situation on the ground deteriorates by the week. Zimbabwe is now very close to the position of a failed state. Government institutions no longer function for the normal business of government and have become centres of patronage, handing out opportunities for self-enrichment to those prepared to prostitute themselves by singing the praises of the ruling party. The law enforcement agents do not enforce the law, but protect their law-breakers from prosecution. A senior police officer states openly that she respects political orders, not court orders. Democratically elected local councils are systemically destroyed by a government minister. Public revenues are used to enhance the private wealth of the few, and even humanitarian aid is manipulated for political power and private gain.
Armed riot police are used to chase struggling people from their homes, deprive them of a livelihood and cow them into submission. And inexorably the economy contracts, threatening the ability of the government to continue its essential functions. The Zimbabwe dollar slides into oblivion, money cannot be printed, water cannot be pumped or purified, electricity supply breaks down, ambulances cannot operate, even the police are without transport. Only the riot police and the army seem to be provided with vehicles from China and precious fuel that is unavailable for other government departments. Month after month we are promised a war against corruption, but time after time when the big fish are arrested they are let off the hook to swim back into the muddy waters. While the army tries to force people to grow food, supplies dwindle and no one wants to slave in the fields while leaders make fortunes by frau dulent handling of the people's taxes and other ill-gotten property. Meanwhile, across the borders, impoverished Zimbabweans who turn to crime, or simply undercut locals for jobs, are causing resentment that has recently exploded into violence. South Africa and Botswana spend huge amounts trying to turn back the flow of desperate immigrants, who find ever more ingenious ways of dodging the authorities.
And as systems collapse, the threat of open violence looms ever larger. Food shortages could touch off riots; so could fights over transport, or even seething anger over the lack of medical treatment. But these would probably be swiftly snuffed out by the riot police and army. While mutiny is possible, it is unlikely. More dangerous is the possibility of leaders engaging each other in the quest for land, or for succession to the leadership. Already there are frequent squabbles, and whoever gets the police on their side seems to win. But the prizes to be seized are getting fewer. Important players in the land grabs are military officers. What is to stop them using the units they command to back up their claims? Especially in the light of low pay and poor conditions for the ranks, who could be promised "extra benefits" for backing an individual instead of remaining loyal to the state. Already senior of ficers command their subordinates to accompany them on expeditions of plunder. Warlordism is lurking in the background. It could come to the fore. Zimbabwe could collapse into anarchy and civil war, and we have seen from West Africa and Central Africa how quickly this could degenerate into regional conflict.
African states have refused to peer into the future to see the possibility for a new centre of conflict, this time in southern Africa. They carry on with "business as usual", burying their heads in the sand as the African Bank for Imports and Exports keeps ZANU PF from drowning. What will be the response of the rest of the international community? What should they do - for the sake of Zimbabweans, for the sake of regional peace?
There seem to be three possible stances. One is to continue with the targeted sanctions, diplomatic boycotts and pressures, and hope that the economy will eventually bring ZANU PF to a standstill. The second is to do a U turn and embrace ZANU PF, hoping that a more moderate wing of the party will emerge from the succession race and put Zimbabwe back on the development track. The third is to intervene to prevent a wider catastrophe.
The first option is currently being tried, with little effect. The ZANU PF response is to make vituperative attacks on western nations, and cling more tightly to their seats for a bumpy ride. Many Zimbabweans have also hoped that if ZANU PF cannot be defeated at the ballot box, it will eventually succumb to economic collapse; but all evidence points to the fact that they will not vacate state house themselves under any circumstances. It is far more likely that they will squeeze the last drop out of Zimbabweans to keep themselves in office and prefer to see the country degenerate into open fighting. That is where we seem to be headed if nothing is changed from the present position.
The second option is appeasement - "shake hands with the devil" and hope to keep the lid on until the dictator dies or somehow goes away. Underlying this approach is a belief that ZANU PF has a "moderate" wing that can be coddled and promoted to take over once Mugabe retires or dies. If we can just hang on until then, it will not be necessary to intervene, and meanwhile, we must join him in bed, no matter how unpleasant the experience. South Africa has recently appeared to do just this - cozy up to ZANU PF with co-operation agreements not only between their military establishments but also between their security apparatuses.
There are also noises coming from the Americans that perhaps it's better to engage with the Zimbabwe government. Is this under the persuasion of their point man? Are they being convinced that a policy of appeasement is viable? Will the IMF be persuaded that balance of payments support can be granted if the debt is repaid, without the political reforms that have previously been demanded? Is that why our government has made such frantic efforts to repay the debt, even at the expense of food and medical supplies for the people? Have they been promised something?
Surely appeasement can only end in disaster. In the first place, balance of payments support to this government will not mend the economy. In a system that depends on patronage, any new funds that come our way will only become a drinking trough for the elite who need to be satisfied - just as ARV's provided by foreign donors end up treating well-placed persons rather than the poor. That foreign exchange will be used to prop up the regime, strengthen the instruments of oppression and keep the ruling elite in ZANU PF's pocket. This regime is so far gone down the slippery slope that they do not care about the economy or the people, only themselves. Secondly, the moderate wing of ZANU PF waiting to take over is an illusion. All have become part of the corrupt machinery and have to hide their past crimes from the public glare. Whether it be the "military business" complex of the Mujuru's or the Tsholotsho group of Mnangagwa, they helped to build this system and will use it to protect themselves once the boss is gone. The system of patronage and repression will continue. Even if outright conflict between the two groups is somehow avoided, keeping the lid on until the transition will only prolong the problem, and in fact give it a new lease of life with a younger more energetic leader.
The third option is intervention. This is what ZANU PF fears the most, and this is why they boast loudly at every opportunity that they will defend Zimbabwe's "sovereignty".
They have often used an important section of the United Nations Charter to argue that no state has the right to interfere in Zimbabwe's internal affairs. But the United Nations does have the right to intervene where a government's actions constitute a threat to international peace. And where a government is tyrannizing its own population or a section of it, international law has developed precepts that eclipse the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention. After all, it was this principle that allowed genocidal massacres such as the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and the slaughter in Rwanda. Respect for the sovereignty of a state is based on the expectation that the state itself respects the dignity and basic rights of its people, and where it does not, respect for its sovereignty gives way to the duty to intervene to protect the rights of those people.
The Canadian government initiated the setting up of an International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty to investigate the issue of intervention for human protection purposes. Its report, published in 2001, identified an international customary law "responsibility to protect" described as follows: "Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect". The Commission emphasized that intervention is not a right of other nations, but an obligation; it identified international law authority for the responsibility resting on member states of the United Nations, and itemised mechanisms of intervention available. These range from targeted sanctions and withdrawal of aid to diplom atic boycotts, specific or total economic embargoes, and ultimately military intervention. They also include criminal prosecutions through international courts.
Unfortunately the failure to intervene has often led to preventable atrocities, such as in recent conflicts in West and Central Africa, not to mention Sudan. The principle of "responsibility to protect" was therefore clarified to include the responsibility to prevent, to react and rebuild. In other words, when a situation cannot be saved by an existing government, it is the duty of other nations to intervene to prevent conflict and abuses, and to stay the course to rebuild that polity until it can maintain order and justice on its own. This will benefit the people within the affected country as well as the international community. The burden of restoring order and justice is far greater if the situation is allowed to deteriorate to warlordism and open warfare that spill over beyond borders into entire regions. Ultimately in such a case there is no resolution without the armed overthrow of the tyrants a nd/or international intervention, usually under the auspices of the United Nations - with great difficulty and at great cost and much further suffering. If the U.N. had intervened effectively in Rwanda before the genocide, how different might central Africa look today? Or in Congo/Zaire during the tenure of Mobutu?
Surely the only responsible position of the international community is to urgently investigate how the United Nations can intervene to prevent a Zimbabwean descent into chaos. This could begin with a think tank or group of eminent persons tasked by the U.N. Secretary General to develop a programme of action within international law. It might include more serious sanctions, prosecutions by the International Criminal Court, more effective boycotts, and ultimately military intervention if these have no effect or if the situation deteriorates to conflict. At the same time it should include humanitarian assistance to those suffering from a collapsed economy and government repression, and support for NGO's providing information in the absence of a free media and those struggling to keep the ideals of democracy alive. The programme would have to make provision for a transitional administration which could organ ize internationally supervised elections and for assistance to rebuild the political and economic institutions.
Could it work? Such a plan would have to be presented to those nations in the Security Council who are currently unconvinced that Zimbabwe is a problem - notably China, possibly Russia - and also to the regional governments in Southern Africa. They would have to be persuaded that it would be in the interest of Zimbabweans themselves and the region to have a peaceful, law-abiding nation where development and investment could bring returns to all players, and save the whole region from a devastating conflict. As Zimbabwe teeters on the brink, all members of the international community must consider very carefully the future of southern Africa. Will they dither along until it is too late? Or will they pull out all the stops to prevent a catastrophe?
Ten people from across the continent give their views on whether 12 months
in the political spotlight have seen progress for the citizens of their
Interviews by Jeevan Vasagar, David Beresford and Duncan Campbell
Monday February 6, 2006
Political science researcher, South Africa
There have been several encouraging signs. Liberia held a peaceful election
after years of civil war and elected Africa's first woman president. To have
elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf makes a change in the all-male corridors of
power on the continent. The other important thing in 2005 was the protocol
on women's rights to the African charter of human rights. That came in on
November 25, after the 15th African country ratified it. They [the
countries] are bound by law to non-discriminatory education and labour
practices, to prohibit female genital mutilation and underage marriage.
It certainly was not a free election in Egypt, but there were moves towards
multi-partyism. The chaos in Kenya [when the electorate rejected a draft
constitution] is an encouraging sign that the Kenyan electorate is maturing.
There has been dismaying news in Uganda, with the jailing of [the opposition
leader] Kizza Besigye, but it is encouraging that the judiciary has refused
to be cowed.
Last year was not a good year for trade justice, particularly agricultural
subsidies. It was meant to be the G8 and the EU's "year of Africa", but it
is still shocking that about four times more is spent on food for most
European cows than on the average African.
Mozambique's high commissioner to the UK
The year was a good one in terms of the outcome of the G8 process and the
agreement to increase aid and cancel debt for the poorest countries. This
will reduce Mozambique's repayments from the current $50m (£28m) a year,
which may not seem a lot of money to some countries but will make a great
difference by allowing Mozambique to increase spending on education, health,
water supply and sanitation. For us, the agreement under which Mozambique
acquired a controlling stake in the Cabora Bassa hydroelectric dam on the
Zambezi river from Portugal was a milestone. Also the abolition of entry
visa requirements between Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland
will go a long way towards strengthening regional integration.
Tackling poverty and HIV/Aids continue to be major challenges. An estimated
16.2% of the adult population is HIV positive, and 218,000 people with Aids
need treatment. But due to lack of resources only 15,000 have had access to
treatment with anti-retrovirals. In general, the process that led to G8 in
Gleneagles, the report of the Commission for Africa and the Make Poverty
History campaign were very important in putting Africa on to the global
Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition
Around the G8 some people questioned the nature of aid, and does it really
help ordinary people? African governments sometimes cynically misuse aid. I
remember reading an article about food aid to Ethiopia during the Mengistu
regime. The writer was questioning whether it did more harm than good. The
Zimbabwean government is a past master at misusing aid. Zimbabwe is
dependent on food aid. If the government had known there would be no food
aid, would it have destroyed the agricultural sector the way it did? That's
a question which preoccupies many Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe should not be removed from the context of the rest of Africa. Many
of the things affecting the Zimbabwean body politic affect Kenya as well,
though not to the same extent. Where the leadership is not accountable,
there will be human rights violations. There was change in Zimbabwe [in
2005], but it was really a convulsion. Operation Murambatsvina [the eviction
of shantytown dwellers and small traders which the UN estimates left 700,000
homeless or jobless] brought negative change. The erosion of the judiciary,
the attacks on the media, the politicisation of the police [were all]
attacks on institutions which are supposed to protect people.
Country representative, ActionAid Liberia
Liberians learned about the Live8 concert and the G8 summit meeting
primarily through the international media, especially via BBC radio.
Whiteband Day activities were organised on September 10 2005 to raise
awareness. The anti-poverty campaign organised over 500 poor and
marginalised Liberians who participated in radio interviews and talk shows.
Whiteband Day was marked by a street parade and the presentation of a
statement to G8 states' embassies. People are concerned about bread and
butter issues and corruption because of the agonising impoverishment and
destitution they survive daily.
The UN has assisted Liberia with the implementation of the peace accord,
including the holding of successful elections in 2005. Specialised UN
agencies provide humanitarian and long-term development assistance. The US
government and EU also deserve credit for supporting the implementation of
the peace accord. The key challenges of the newly elected government are
reconciliation, unity, security, and managing the wide expectations of more
than 3 million war-weary people. The election of Africa's first elected
female president is historic; many hope it will improve Liberia's image and
attract foreign investment.
Sudanese musician, who performed at Live 8: Africa Calling at the Eden
Live 8 created more awareness of Africa's problems, but the way it was run
was not that good. The Africans were not put on the centre stage in Hyde
Park but were sent to [the concert in] Cornwall, where there was no
attention. It was like apartheid. But the awareness was the important thing.
It's not like there are many people willing to fight poverty; there's not
that many people willing to campaign.
In Sudan, we know peace is there [a peace deal was signed last year after a
civil war between north and south Sudan], and the southerners are so
excited. People want to go home. But we don't know if the people in the
north are serious about it. They don't seem serious about peace. In Darfur,
there are still problems: the Janjaweed [government-backed Arab militia] are
still raiding and people are still being killed. I hope they find a
solution. Many people in east Africa were not aware of what was happening
[in the west], but there is progress, incomes are beginning to rise.
Mother, Khayelitsha township, Cape province, South Africa
The Guardian interviewed her in June as part of a project tracking 10 babies
growing up in Africa over the next 10 years.
Last year was a good year for me, because I gave birth to my baby, Angel.
Also because I did well at school and passed my Standard [grade] 11. I know
that politicians in overseas countries are trying to help, although I don't
know much about it - they are helping with the building of houses and the
building of toilets and things like that, which must be good because it
gives people work. There is not as much work as there used to be - jobs are
more difficult to get. Crime is also worse, because some of these boys who
are not educated want to get money without doing any work and they rob
people. Food is also more expensive. The roads are no better. But at least
there are more houses. I think things are getting better.
Executive director UN-Habitat, member of the Commission for Africa
As one of the commissioners on the Blair Commission for Africa, having urban
development featured so prominently [in the commission's report] was a
breakthrough. And in 2005, we made a breakthrough with the cancellation of
debt. This year for me could be the year for Africa if implementation [of
that] takes place. If I can speak as a Tanzanian, Tanzania is one of the
countries which has had its debt cancelled - but has it received the cheque?
The Commission for Africa proposed $250m (£142m) over five years for
upgrading slums; we shall see whether this will emerge. The impact of urban
squalor is tremendous - people without sanitation, people using "flying
toilets" [faeces wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown from a window]. I was
with Gordon Brown in Cape Town, where we visited Langa, where there had been
a big fire and 12,000 were made homeless. These boys surrounded him. He was
asking one of them what his favourite football team was, and the boy
replied: "Manchester United."
I was the [UN] secretary general's special envoy in Zimbabwe [to report on
the eviction of shantytown dwellers and illegal traders]. The government
wanted to do something it should have done a long time ago: to restore urban
order. This is something that African governments are failing at. Towns and
cities are developing like villages and the poor are the biggest losers, as
we saw in Zimbabwe ... By 2030, Africa will cease to be a rural continent.
Pastoralism is no longer viable. If you go to Darfur, you can see the system
is no longer working.
John Baptist Odama
Archbishop of Gulu, Uganda
We are very grateful that the G8 has decided to cancel Uganda's debt. [But]
only the politicians and government officials have a clear idea of what this
means: at the grassroots, people don't know how it will affect their lives.
In the northern part of Uganda, what people are interested in is this
[civil] war that has been going on for all these years. Is it being
addressed at all, or does nobody care? Locally, all efforts have been made,
with no clear success. We have gone to the international community - the UN,
European Union, Britain know about it. Why is the war not ending?
Now we have this question of [opposition leader and presidential challenger
Kizza] Besigye [who is on trial for alleged treason and rape and has been
separately charged by a military tribunal with alleged treason]. There have
been protests by his supporters. The newspapers are depicting democracy
being derailed. If it continues like this up to the moment of the election,
I am afraid we are going to have a lot of violence, which may result in
anarchy. People are not happy about what is happening, especially those who
care for democracy.
As a religious leader, I am concerned that the innocent will suffer. We are
supposed to give our children clean water to drink, but what have we done?
We have poured mud in their water.
A lawyer who has represented opposition detainees, Ethiopia
It's too early to say what impact Gleneagles will have on Africa and the
rest of the world. However, the effort the west is making for African
development is remarkable and praiseworthy.
Historically, Europe has been our problem, but suddenly you behave like the
Good Samaritan, in a post-Christian world, and we admire you for it. But
then it seems that we are failing you. [Ethiopian prime minister] Meles
Zenawi was among the G8 leaders, but does he really accept the
responsibilities that go with it? [Former Ethiopian dictator] Mengistu has
been replaced by a new type of leader, led by Meles, and in many ways this
leadership has changed direction.
However, of late many people have started to have reservations. In
democratic societies elections are conducted freely and the results express
public opinion and governments respect that opinion. The current government
in Ethiopia is definitely an improvement over Mengistu, but frankly, this is
no compliment. Last May, there was the genuine promise of a democratic
process being introduced.
There were opposition parties and freedom of expression in abundance, but
mostly in the cities, particularly in the capital, and the government
balked. Many donors understandably insist on a representative and
responsible government, which is very much wanting in Ethiopia. The donors
are disappointed and their disappointment reflects in withholding aid, as
was done recently.
Columnist for the East African and a managing editor at the Nation Media
The record after Gleneagles has, ironically, been appalling. Very few
countries that got debt write-offs - Ethiopia, Uganda - have made real
progress. Gleneagles and [Bob] Geldof's Live 8 concerts were based on the
assumption international solidarity would have a significant
behaviour-changing effect in Africa, and it would be possible somehow to
inspire the continent to pull itself up through a show of global love.
The only problem is that corrupt politicians and governments sit too heavy
on top of most people in Africa, choking off the inspirational international
light, muzzling local innovation and creaming off the fruits of the people's
labour. In many ways Kenya is in the situation we saw in South Africa after
the end of apartheid: how does the media remain relevant after the old cruel
regime is gone? There is usually a sense of euphoria and an expectation by
the reformists who take over government that the media should support the
"revolution", since it was part of it.
For that reason, the Kenyan press has been stuck with the image that it is
in bed with the ex-reformists now in government, even after they turned
crooked. On the other hand, in response to this and wanting to appear
independent, sections of the media have gone to the extreme of sounding
Monday, February 06 2006 @ 02:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: ZimdailyReporter
Fresh from their ordeal in Zambia MDC chairman Issac Matongo,
youth chairman Nelson Chamisa, and Makokoba MP Mrs Thokozane Khupe had
Ladywood Arts and Recreation Centre in Birmingham, UK buzzing with MDC songs
as they rallied diaspora supporters of the party. No jet-lag was visible in
the delegation which was welcomed by enthusiastic supporters wanting to know
more about what was going on at home and declare their support for the
Matongo was quick of the starting line declaring that MDC was
ready to finish the struggle for democracy which was started by Zimbabwe's
freedom fighters, who never asked each other whether they were Ndebele or
Shona. "We are ready to take the bull by the horns as a united people" he
said referring to the current situation where some members have broken off
to form a tribal-based party.
He said the 15 rallies which the MDC had organised in
Matebeleland were well-attended, by people who wanted the new beginning to
come as soon as possible. "This is going to happen because, thanks to
October 12, the Congress is going to deliver a new breed of leaders who are
courageous and do not believe in sleeping with the enemy. He said soon after
the Congress the MDC would put in place mechanisms to stop people who are
abusing MDC cards in the diaspora when in fact they belong to another party.
"When you see the enemy newspapers, like the Herald devoting
positive coverage to you, then you know you have sold out," he said
referring to rebel MDC members who have been covered saying he and his
delegation were not welcome in the UK. And the 300 or more members who
welcomed him proved not only that he was welcome, but how out of touch the
former members were. "Their abuse of our party cards is now coming to an
end, once we have put in these measures with the British authorities," he
Chamisa said he was ready to rally his troops, starting at the
all stake-holder meeting on February 25 which will bring together students,
farmers, church members and workers, and he would continue at the congress.
Explaining the Zambia issue, he said the delegation had very productive
meetings in Zambia, before the Zimbabwean intelligence managed to track them
down and get the Zambian military to take action against them. President
Tsvangirai had communicated his displeasure with the ill-treatment to the
Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa, who was not aware of the action by the
Zambian military and policy under the influence of Zimbabwe's Central
Intelligence Organisation.The delegation had not disguised their identities
for immigration formalities, but did so to once inside to fool the
Zimbabwean authorities who they knew were following them. "They operation
was very successful and the mission was accomplished. That is all I can say
at the moment."
Monday, February 06 2006 @ 02:04 AM GMT
Contributed by: Reporter
The government news agency, New Ziana has hit hard times. This
comes after its employees; mostly reporters, have embarked in an industrial
action since Tuesday last week citing poor remuneration. New Ziana reporters
interviewed by Zimdaily revealed that they had no choice as they are getting
an insignificant Z$2,5 million a month.
"We had no choice but to strike, our salaries cannot pay the
skyrocketing rent for a single room", said New Ziana reporter on anonymity.
New Ziana was turned into an independent business entity by the
former all-powerful and ambitious Information and Publicity Minister,
Professor Jonathan Moyo. Professor Moyo embarked in a costly measure that
has seen the government losing billions of dollars in acquiring Radio
broadcasting equipment earmarked for the delaying New Ziana radio station in
Gweru. The restructuring move has also seen the polarization of ordinary
workers and the fat cats at New Ziana. Executives are taking home hefty
perks and are also enjoying various opulent benefits.
" The likes of Happison Muchechetere are living large at our
expense, this must be corrected", fumed the reporter.
Monday, February 06 2006 @ 02:02 AM GMT
Contributed by: Reporter
Four of the five suspended University of Zimbabwe students'
leaders were reinstated on Tuesday January 31. The four, Mfundo Mlilo,
Wellington Mahohoma, Collin Chibango and Garikai Kajawo were given the
lifeline after losing a full semester. The leaders have indicated that they
will sue the University vice chancellor, Levy Nyagura over the inconvenience
caused in their academic pursuit. Nyagura ordered the University council to
suspend the 'thorn in the flesh' leaders on 0ctober 21 2005, a move that saw
the five missing their exams.
" We are going to sue him, he is the man behind our persecution",
said Mfundo Mlilo, Information and Publicity secretary for the union.
Meanwhile, Hope Ngara, lawyer representing SRC President
Hentchel Mavhuma, has ordered the University to write a letter confirming
that his client will resume lessons this semester. Mavhuma was suspended
together with the pardoned four, although he has an additional different
case of proceeding to level two after failing examinations.
Monday, February 06 2006 @ 02:02 AM GMT
Contributed by: Reporter
As the health sector continue to crumble, Zimdaily can reveal
that major government referral hospitals no longer have birth record cards
and stationery for newly born babies. Hospitals such as Harare and Chiredzi
referrals are releasing the newly born ones without any documentation.
Silibaziso Moyo, who conceived at Chiredzi General Hospital three weeks ago
was told to check after a month, a move that naturally means her child has
to await for the birth records before getting a birth certificate.
" All is not well at the hospitals, I was told to come after a
month because they had no money to acquire the stationery", said Moyo.
News filter in against the background that Harare hospital
ceased normal operations three weeks ago. Inside sources reveal that this
was mainly due to the non-availability of basic medication. Harare Hospital
was last year given a lifeline fund after temporarily closing due to water
cuts. " We are doing nothing at work because there is a severe shortage of
basic drug, we can not do without them", said a nurse on condition of
Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa
vehemently denied the glaring fact saying all is well in the health sector.
" I do not know why you people are saying this, everything is normal at our
hospitals", said Dr Parirenyatwa in a radio interview.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Simba Rushwaya Sports Editor
issue date :2006-Feb-05
ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa) vice-chairman Wyatt Mpofu has resigned.
Mpofu quit his post on the eve of the African Cup of Nations Group D match
between Zimbabwe and Senegal on January 23 over allegations of
misappropriating US$74 000 meant to pay the Warriors during their training
camp in France.
The amount involved is equivalent to approximately Z$7,4 billion translated
at the official exchange rate of about Z$100 000/US$1.
They alleged misappropriation comes against the background of stern warnings
by Zifa patron Vice-President Joseph Msika not to tamper the funds relating
to the Warriors welfare.
Mpofu wrote to his boss, Rafik Khan, advising him that he decided to
relinquish the post because of the humiliation incurred.
In a letter dated 23 January 2006, Mpofu, using his Number 30 Aberdeen Road,
Matsheumhlope, Bulawayo address wrote to Khan saying he was resigning over
the accusations which he felt were unfair.
The letter was written in Port Said, Egypt, where Zimbabwe was based during
their Group D matches against Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana.
"I'm staying in a room that was meant to keep the team's supplies. In other
words, I'm excess baggage. It is only logical that I depart. But before I do
that, I will account for every cent I carried with me. Once that is done, I
will say my good byes and see you back home.
"Let me conclude by saying I have worked very well with you as my chairman
and will always cherish and remember our times together. My brother and
friend, I thank you and wish you and the rest of the board all the success.
I hope the team performs well tonight," Mpofu wrote then.
Allegations are that Mpofu, who was the head of delegation during the France
training camp, failed to convince authorities who were in Egypt on how he
used US$74 000 he was supposed to disburse to the team as soon as he arrived
Instead of giving the money to the players, Mpofu allegedly held on to it,
claiming he wanted to pay the players when they arrived in Cairo, Egypt.
"When events turned out to be not so conducive for the preparations, I had
to find a way to make sure we did get what we had gone out there to do.
Maybe the best thing I should have done was to give the players all their
money and face the embarrassment of being stranded so far away from home.
Right or wrong, that was my decision and I still stand by it. I made the
payment to the Moroccans using that money and I have receipts to prove it,"
Mpofu claims he paid the Moroccans money to take the team to Cairo from
Marrakech where they played a friendly match with the hosts after one
Inquiel Pierre of Sport Global Management allegedly dumped the team in the
North African country.
Pierre, who had arranged the match between Zimbabwe and Morocco, Mpofu said,
had promised to take care of the airfares for Zimbabwe to and from Marrakech
The letter went on: "After our game with Morocco, they offered us an
extended stay on condition that we join their chartered flight direct to
Cairo on January 18. To me it made a lot of sense, as going back to France
would subject my players to the cold weather they were obviously not
comfortable with. I then called Pierre and asked him to re-route our tickets
to fly direct to Cairo. It was then I noticed that he had changed the date."
The Zifa boss said they were then dumped by Pierre in Marrakech.
"He (Pierre) had also arranged the Morocco-Angola game. At this point, the
Angolans had arrived and he excused himself saying he wanted to have a word
To Page 2
From page 1
in the foyer and the next I heard he had gone with the Angolans."
The Bulawayo-based administrator said he then paid out US$17 000 of the
US$21 320 they needed for the Warriors to travel to Cairo. The remainder,
Mpofu said, would be paid in Egypt.
But revelations in Port Said showed that the Moroccans had offered
Zimbabweans a free ride from their country. Kufa Chinoza, a diplomat with
the Zimbabwean embassy, broke the news according to Mpofu.
"Mr Kufa from the embassy told the gathering that we got a free ride from
Morocco according to communication he had received from Sheriff. This could
only mean one thing that I was lying to the ministers and therefore had
stolen the money I claimed to have paid," Mpofu said.
The former Highlanders official also said there were tribal divisions
following the revelations.
He said: "The unfortunate thing about this is that it has affected the
players to the extent that there has developed a regional if not tribal
divide among the players because of me. The only logical thing for me is to
resign and leave immediately to create some harmony in the team."
Sources told The Daily Mirror in Port Said that Mpofu was restrained from
walking out of the Egyptian port city by fellow board members who felt
investigations must be carried out first before he could resign.
Efforts to get comments from Khan and the Warriors' Fund chairperson Tendai
Savanhu went in vain yesterday.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Mpofu could not be ascertained yesterday. He
did not arrive with the national team, as expected, on Thursday.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Feb-05
AS the fight against corruption intensifies, police in Harare have arrested
seven officers from the Registrar General's offices who allegedly connived
and unlawfully issued out nine passports.
Gerald Makusha (36), Rose Mashava (25), Peter Machekera (27), Brian
Kaswaurere (22), Slyvia Makombe (28) and siblings Lydia (22) and Samuel
Chiodze (20) were nabbed on Tuesday after the principal processing officer
at the RG's Makome Building offices, Jemina Mildred Mudyiwa, became
suspicious of people following up on passports.
The allegations were that on Wednesday last week, the seven hatched a plan,
processed, produced and issued out nine passports to unidentified people in
one day against the Ministry of Home Affairs' procedures.
Giving evidence, in opposition to bail at the Harare Magistrates' Court
yesterday, investigating officer Detective Assistant Inspector David
Musingwani said each passport was produced within two
They allegedly receipted $100 000 for each passport instead of the $1,5
million prejudicing the government of $12,6 million.
In a statement to the police, Mudyiwa said on verification with the Harare
passport office where the application forms originated it was discovered
that the receipts and the batch numbers appearing in the computer system did
The seven were thrown into remand prison by magistrate Rebecca Takavadiyi
who ruled that they might destroy the seven passports that have not been
recovered. Takavadiyi said the accused persons were the only ones who knew
the people issued the passports in question.
Deputy area prosecutor Ndabezinhle Moyo said the people issued with the said
passports were not even known to be holders of the travel documents by the
In an application for bail, the accused persons' lawyer Eriam Musendekwa
said his clients were good candidates for bail arguing they were innocent
until proven guilty.
He said there was nothing serious about the case, arguing that accused
persons in more serious matters like murder and treason had been granted
However, Moyo said setting the suspects free would not be in the interest of
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-05
BUS operators plying the Harare-Beitbridge route yesterday unilaterally
doubled fares, a move strongly condemned by travelers.
A trip from the capital to Masvingo is now pegged between $600 000 and $630
000, up from $300 000.
Cross border traders who shuttle between the cities are the most affected as
they are now required to fork out $1,3 million up from $600 000.
"We are now charging $600 000 and $1,3 million for a trip from Harare to
Masvingo and Harare-Beitbridge respectively. The increase has been
necessitated by the rise in the price if fuel," said one bus conductor, who
only identified himself as Munya.
He said the price for a litre of diesel shot from $100 000 to $130 000 in
the last fortnight forcing bus operators to review fares.
Munya added though the new fares were beyond the reach of many, charging
anything less would push bus operators out of business.
"Today some travelers failed to pay the new fares and they have since
returned home in the hope we would reduce the fares. The fares will not be
reduced with the current prices of fuel," he said. Travelers castigated bus
operators plying the Harare-Beitbridge road saying they were always driven
by greed and profiteering.
"There is something wrong with some bus operators plying the
Harare-Beitbridge route. Every time they are the first ones to increase
fares. As we speak, operators plying the Harare-Bulawayo route have not yet
increased fares," fumed Tonderai Simbai, who was traveling to Masvingo.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Paidamoyo Muzulu in Chinhoyi
issue date :2006-Feb-05
CHINHOYI residents have resolved to petition Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo to dismiss the entire council and replace it with a
commission after it allegedly hiked rates and service charges without
approval from the ministry.
The residents claimed the council had defied a directive issued to the
municipality by Chombo last month not to increase tariffs without his
At a meeting last Thursday at Cooksey Hall, the Chinhoyi Residents and
Ratepayers Association said the move by the council to defy a ministerial
directive was tantamount to gross insubordination. The chairman of the
association, Stanley Gumbe, told The Daily Mirror: "We have resolved to set
up a committee that would seek the dismissal of the entire council by Chombo
and replace it with a commission."
The residents said the council apart from defying Chombo, it had also
breached Section 219 of the Urban Council's Act, which forbids councils from
charging new tariffs before they have been gazetted.
"The council has defied a ministerial order, breaching provisions of the
Urban Councils Act while they are operating below expectations because they
have failed to recruit substantive heads to run its operations. They have
failed and we need to start afresh," Gumbe said.
Most heads of council departments were on an acting capacity. Executive
mayor, Risipa Kapesa, admitted yesterday that his council had started
implementing the new tariffs, but only in the low-density areas and the
"We are only charging new rates to residents in low-density areas and
ratepayers, while residents in the high-density areas have not been affected
by the hikes," Kapesa said. "If they are any in the high-density who
received bills with new rates, the bills would be adjusted to the old
rates." The mayor declined to comment on charges that his council defied
Chombo and had breached the Urban Councils' Act. He, however, admitted that
his council had failed to employ substantive heads because it had no funds
to pay competitive salaries required by such personnel.
The local authority failed to submit its proposed rates and tariffs for 2006
by the October 31 deadline 2005, which was set by Chombo. The council only
sent their budget proposals on January 7 this year, before consulting
stakeholders as required by law. Chombo then ordered it to stop
implementing the budget until after the consultations and approval by his
ministry. Chombo is said in government circles to be one person who does not
hesitate to take stern action against non-performing councils regardless of
their political affiliation.
Among those who have faced Chombo's wrath for alleged non performance
include MDC's Elias Mudzuri (former Harare mayor) and Misheck Shoko
(Chitungwiza) and Zanu PF's Chegutu deputy mayor Phineas Mariyapera.
Mariyapera was later reinstated while Mudzuri and Shoko took their cases to
Mudzuri's case died a natural death while judgment in Shoko's is pending.
Mudzuri is now said to be at a university in the United States of America
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Feb-05
ZIMBABWE and the World Bank have commissioned an infrastructure assessment
study for the country's major roads, railways and water sectors.
This is meant to identify critical areas in institutional reforms and
management capacity and restore their serviceability.
According to the Bulawayo City Council's latest minutes, the government
through the Ministry of Finance is providing overall guidance on the
Zimbabwe Infrastructure Assessment Note (ZIAN) as well as coordinating with
other ministries and agencies.
The Ministry of Transport and Communication is leading the daily management
of the study, while the World Bank engaged short-term consultants to work
hand in glove with the ministry.
Bulawayo City Council director of engineering services, Peter Sibanda,
recently told a full council meeting that a task force to assist with the
implementation of the project has already been established.
Sibanda - who is also part of the task - told the full council meeting that
the proposed ZIAN would update the sector with
knowledge and related database needed for the identification of critical
areas, technical planning and setting up priorities.
" ZIAN's goal is to carry out an assessment of the current situation of the
infrastructure services, giving due regard to socio-economic trends and
"The major deliverable of the study would be a report, which would present
an assessment of the status of the infrastructure sector in Zimbabwe.
"The inception report would be submitted by end of February this year,"
The consultants, he said, would rely on the task force and other key
informants - the private sector, contractors, donors, Non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and other developers to provide the data needed to
support the findings of the study.
An updated database on local key infrastructure with preliminary information
on capital investment and human resources would enable the government to
better assess the country's needs and plan investments programmes.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-05
THE Meteorological Services Department has warned that a Tropical Cyclone
(Boloetse) currently located off the Mozambique coast of Beira might affect
Zimbabwe depending on its movement and development.
The department's director, Amos Makarau, said in a statement on Thursday
that latest satellite images showed the tropical cyclone was located 39
degrees East and 20 degrees South of the cost of Beira.
"The weather system is currently affecting the central coastal areas of
Mozambique and almost stationary, but according to present pattern and
forecast, it seems to be tracking southeastwards," he said.
Makarau said the department was monitoring the situation as tropical
cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons were highly unpredictable weather systems
the world over.
The department is expected to issue updates as and when appropriate.
In February and March of 2000 some parts of Zimbabwe experienced floods due
to Cyclone Eline, which originated in the Mozambique coast.
The floods destroyed schools, bridges, roads and villages around the
Mozambique was particularly affected by the cyclone, with its three major
river basins along the Limpopo, Save and Buzi rivers suffering the most
extensive damage in 50 years.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Feb-05
WORLD Vision Zimbabwe has embarked on the rehabilitation of 44 boreholes in
the city of Bulawayo, some of them vandalised and dismantled.
The boreholes earmarked for resuscitation are part of the 125, which were
drilled by the local authority during the height of the 1992 drought.
World Vision Zimbabwe deputy relief director, Bhekimpilo Khanye, said six of
the 44 boreholes to be rehabilitated would be installed with motorised
electric engines, while the remaining 38 will be installed with B hand push
"The boreholes resuscitation programme has community ownership approach in
which the residents are expected to manage the water points at ward level.
Structures at ward levels are being finalised to ensure security and proper
usage of the water points," Khanye.
He said the programme, which is being implemented by the organisation's
division on water and sanitation and funded by ECHO, is expected to be
complete before month-end.
Khanye said under the programme, wards affected mostly by the current water
shortages in the city, would be given first priority.
World Vision would continue providing expertise and training to local
residents on the maintenance and upkeep of the water points.
Apart from augmenting the city's strained water resources, the resuscitation
programme is also expected to stimulate the establishment of peri-urban
World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is
to work with the poor and oppressed people to promote human transformation,
seek justice and bear witness to God.
Steven Price in Harare
February 5, 2006
Kevin Curran, Zimbabwe's coach, has been accused of trying to persuade some
of the country's striking players to sign the controversial new contracts
offered to them by the board.
Curran replaced Phil Simmons last August, but he was not a popular choice
among the players who felt he was too close to the board, and in October all
the national squad signed a letter to Zimbabwe Cricket demanding Simmons's
But Curran's appointment was confirmed by the new interim executive last
month, but it is claimed that last week he attempted to convince some
players that the deal on offer was a good one, despite their stated
reluctance to agree to the terms on offer.
"All Kevin seems to be concerned about is that he has a team so that he can
keep his job," a source told Cricinfo. "The feeling among the players is
that he will use them to keep his position. They don't feel he has the same
approach to them as Simmons did. Kevin sees the players as a product while
Phil used to see them as individuals."
Curran is believed to have told ZC officials that he has to have a squad to
train by the start of the week or he will not be able to get them ready in
time to play Kenya or Bangladesh. Not only does that seem highly unlikely,
but this latest news shows that the rift between players and board - and
players and coach - is widening all the time.
a.. Cricinfo has learned that the stories claiming the players had all
signed new contracts came from a senior board official who briefed local
journalists on Friday.
By Silence Chihuri
Last updated: 02/06/2006 13:24:57
IF PEOPLE agitate for some show of courage in their leadership especially
from a political perspective, this does not only imply wielding enough steel
in the face of opposite numbers such as for example, Morgan Tsvangirai in
the face of Robert Mugabe.
Rather, this must also be seen to mean that leaders should have enough
authority and clout to chastise wayward colleagues especially those in the
higher echelons of their organisations.
My main problem with the MDC leader is that he has not been very astute and
effective in that respect and many people like myself feel that had he
skilfully applied himself, the MDC would not even have got to the point of
This has been a source of irritation to many people in the party and I have
been one of those people. Such cold feet and severe lack of confidence on
the part of the leader has also been the basis of my very open criticism of
Tsvangirai but due to the siege mentality and the "with us or against us"
character of African politics generally, and Zimbabwean politics in
particular, some individuals have been very quick to conclude that my
criticism was courtesy of some kind of political benefaction.
When I joined the MDC party it was on the ticket of my own personal
conscience and have never been the subject of manipulation or a victim of
excessive amenableness of wit. I have never been, and never will be
sponsored by any individual member of the MDC party or any other party for
that matter, to serve as their political robot or a custodian of their
There are a few terribly misguided individuals who have sought to take it
upon themselves to conclude that simply because I have chosen to openly and
very justifiably point out at Tsvangirai shortcomings, I should therefore
fit the mould of Welshman Ncube's protégé. At best this demonstrates the
chronic non-existence of the middle ground in Zimbabwean politics and at
worst it betrays a very disturbing lack of mental independence and self
belief. What these people conveniently forget is that my criticism of
Tsvangirai is not personal but in the national interest because given the
position that he occupies at present there is every possibility that
Tsvangirai could be in charge of shaping our country's destiny.
Whatever these people's definition of sponsorship or whatever their own
warped understanding of the word is, my own understanding does not give it
any relevance to the character of my very general interaction with Welshman
Ncube just like any other member of the MDC party. In fact I have never
really appreciated Welshman Ncube's approach to national politics and I have
been one the most open and fiercest critics of his style in the party. I
actually got the spring to lurk at Tsvangirai's political collar from the
fact that I have repeatedly made it plainly clear to him that there is need
for him to reign-in on errant party officials no matter their seniority in
the party but he has grown disturbingly cold feet in that regard.
I feel very good about criticising Tsvangirai because I criticised Welshman
Ncube more than enough and I also pointed it out to Tsvangirai but was only
dismayed that he did not feel duty bound to do anything about it especially
when it was not just myself who was raising concern. The reason why I did
not call for Welshman to resign as Secretary General is because it is not
for me as an individual to make such calls, but we all have the moral duty
to point out at the mistakes of our leaders and not fear reprisals or
falling out of favour. I for one I am not in the MDC to seek anyone's
favour, neither am I in there to take something out of the MDC. I only
joined the party simply because I saw it not necessarily as a mere
alternative to Zanu PF, but as part of that vital process of redefining
Zimbabwean politics. I never joined the party to get anything out of it but
to contribute whatever it is that I could, to ensure the MDC moved forward
as a political force and in so many respects I have achieved, and will
continue to do that and critiquing the leadership is part of my
This is why even when I was elected Treasurer for the MDC UK I set up a very
unique system whereby I was only a ceremonial Treasurer who never actually
handled any money because I never really saw any reason to touch that money.
All the money from the sale of membership cards was deposited into the MDC
Trust Account from wherever the cards were sold in the UK, and all I
requested at most was simply for Branches to fax to me their deposit slips
as show of proof. Everyone who has been a true member of the MDC here in the
UK and some of the leaders in Zimbabwe should be fully aware of how we
operated. This was why those people here in the UK who were present at the
Leicester meeting overwhelmingly agreed on elevating me to the position of
Chairman due to the severe inadequacy of the previous incumbent whose lack
of leadership was fanning more disunity in the party. Only irresponsible
mischief makers who do not have any constructive things to say would want to
show their offence from my constructive criticism of defective leadership
through parroting untruths. I strongly feel that I have a duty to actually
point out things that are in the national interest. Why should we want to
confine our criticism to Zanu PF leadership only?
The reason why some of us have chosen to remain neutral is that everyone is
calling for unity in the MDC and most people do agree that an MDC that is
split in the manner the party has been decimated will never be as effective
a force as it was especially in the last five years. There is a lot of
discord at the moment and confusion is reigning supreme in the party with
repetitive voicing of the same sentiments albeit in different paraphrases,
and lately the fielding of parallel candidates for local government
elections. Most of us would also still want to believe that the party will
benefit more from getting back together than as two splinter groups
campaigning against each other and this is why we said we will not align
ourselves to any group or individual not even the so-called Tsvangirai's
group let alone Welshman's group.
Of course we have at times been attacked for our suppose lack of faith in
the leader due to our zero tolerance to blind loyalty, yet some of us have
been very consistent hard workers in the party. One defective nature of
African politics is that people worship individuals and this is why when it
comes to choosing successors there are nearly always problems because the
party is moulded around an individual rather than the constitution forming
the basis for the operation of the party. We still hope however, that sanity
is going to prevail and that unity will still be achieved in the MDC.
Criticising Tsvangirai does not necessarily mean that there should not be
unity because unity of the party could still be there, with or without
Tsvangirai, with or without Welshman Ncube. Trouble only starts when
individuals are accorded greater status than that of the nation and this is
really a serious cause for concern.
Silence Chihuri is the chairman of MDC UK. He can be contacted at: