|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe journalists have threatened to join
pressure groups if their call for media freedom is ignored, said the Media
Defence Fund (MDF) and the Media Lawyers Network (MLN) on Thursday.
Responding to a Supreme Court's judgement to uphold certain sections of the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the MDF and MLN
called it a very dark day for press freedom in Zimbabwe.
Rashweat Mukundu, research and information officer for the media institute
of Southern Africa, MISA, said the decision had been met with outrage by the
various affected bodies.
In Thursday's hearing, bringing to an end 15 months of "hope and
speculation", four out of five judges accepted that "the practice of
journalism was different from the other liberal professions such as law and
medicine... it involves the freedom of expression, the receiving and
imparting of information".
But Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said in his judgement: "This
distinction, in my view, does not place the practice of journalism beyond
the control of statutory regulation."
The Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe, IJAZ's, sought the
nullification of various sections of the AIPPA, including a provision making
it mandatory for all journalists to obtain accreditation from a
But the Supreme Court ruled that the clauses which compel journalists to win
accreditation from the body and allow the media commission to develop and
enforce a code of conduct, were constitutional.
IJAZ's lawyer, Sternford Moyo, said the judgement by a supreme court,
dominated by judges who support President Robert Mugabe's government, "was
But Mukundu said all eyes would now be on the outcome of the Daily News'
challenge of the Act, to be heard in the Supreme Court on February 18.
Not overly confident
"We are not overly confident. But only after that decision is made can we
plan our route forward," he said.
Mukundu warned however, that media freedom fighters in Zimbabwe were running
out of options and may have to adopt a more hard-line stance.
"And while we wait, journalists in this country (Zimbabwe) continue to be
arrested and forced out of work," he said.
Mukundu said many freelance journalists were being refused permits to work
and were often "arrested and beaten.
In a combined statement, the MDF and MLN said the long-awaited judgement
"may be out but it leaves all those who fight for freedom of expression
worse off, as all doors to the practising of journalism in an enabling
society have been closed.
"We reiterate that the sections upheld by the majority of the bench severely
undermine the exercise of freedom of expression and through this the
government is targeting the media operating in the private sector who would
otherwise be beyond their control."
Edited by Tricia Shannon
Subject: Threatened prosecutions of Independent School Boards/SDAs
Re Threat of prosecution against Independent School Boards
The threat contained in today's Herald (attached) must be seen as part of a
wider strategy to unsettle middle class urban people, of all races, who are
perceived, correctly, as being anti the regime. This threat will not be
resolved if schools respond in an uncoordinated, piecemeal, individualistic
and weak fashion. Neither will the threat be deal with if schools, or CHIS,
think that they can deal with it through appeasement or negotiation. What
has happened to the CFU and farmers is a clear demonstration that such
measures do not work.
We must also not deceive ourselves into thinking that the regime is not
prepared to consider the demise of private education. It has already
demonstrated that it is prepared to do anything to remain in power. Most of
the ZANU (PF) elite have sufficient money to educate their children
elsewhere in any event and they will also probably calculate that a few
schools will remain, as has happened in farming. My advice is to let them
prosecute but if they do a test case should be taken up and senior counsel
employed from South Africa to challenge the constitutionality of the
prosecution and the provisions they will rely on. Simultaneously a public
relations campaign should be launched locally and internationally
explaining the sinister motives behind this action. Independent economists
should be retained to write on the economic/financial predicament faced by
schools and such papers should be given widespread publicity. But more than
anything else it is vital that a coordinated strategy be agreed to -
individual Boards must resist the temptation of thinking they can avoid
this by negotiating in isolation. Counter measures must also be considered.
For example if Heads or Chairperson of Boards are arrested consideration
should be given to closing the schools down in protest. Lists of all Zanu
(PF) parents with children in respective schools should be drawn up so that
those parents can be lobbied and advised of the potential consequences of
this action. I stress that this should not be done as a threat in any way -
they should just be advised that if Heads or Chairpersons are arrested or
locked up and schools forced to close, either in protest or because they
are no longer viable economically, their own children will suffer. In
closing may I remind you I, over the last few years, have repeatedly made
similar pleas (to litigate, to publicise, to understand the sinister
political motivation and not to appease or negotiate from a position of
weakness) to organisations such as the CFU and other business
organisations. These pleas have largely fallen on deaf ears or have been
ignored with catastrophic consequences for the farming and business
sectors. This is now the next stage in a war being fought by the regime
against the people of Zimbabwe. This war is by no means over and is by no
means anywhere near won by the regime. In fact this latest action is a
further act of desperation by the regime. If we stand together and if we
take a firm stand on principle the regime will be defeated, not just in the
application of this policy but in its goal to transform Zimbabwe into a
totalitarian state. Yours sincerely, David Coltart MP Last Updated:
Thursday, 5 February 2004
35 private schools face prosecution
THIRTY-FIVE private schools have been handed over to the police for
prosecution after they increased fees and levies without Government
approval, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Cde Aeneas
Chigwedere said yesterday.
If found guilty, the school development committees or boards for the 35
schools would be dissolved.
This follows the suspension, pending disciplinary hearing, of 13 heads of
Government schools on Tuesday for increasing fees without approval.
Some parents yesterday hailed the suspension of defiant school heads saying
the move would ensure that children from humble families are not priced out
Cde Chigwedere yesterday released a list of the 35 private schools.
These are Arundel, Bishopslea Primary, St George's College, Chisipite
Senior, Chisipite Ju-nior, Eaglesvale Preparatory School, Eaglesvale
Secondary, Hartman House Primary, Heritage Primary, Heritage High, Gateway
Primary, Gateway High, St John's College, St John's Preparatory School and
Lusitania from Harare region.
In Manicaland, there is Hillcrest College while Barwick Primary was so far
the only school from Mashonaland Central handed over to the police.
In Mashonaland East, the minister named Peterhouse Boys, Peterhouse Girls,
Peterhouse Junior and Watershed College.
In Mashonaland West, there is Bryden Primary, Lomagundi College, Lomagundi
Junior, Lilfordia Primary, Rydings Primary, while in Masvingo there is Kyle
High, Kyle Primary and Riverton Academy.
Cde Chigwedere said Carmel Primary, Dominican Convent, Girls College and
Petra College, all in Matabeleland North, Falcon College in Matabeleland
South and the Midlands College in the Midlands Province, were also handed
over to the police for prosecution.
He said the 35 schools should immediately revert to the fees and levies
they charged last term.
"This should be done until they negotiate new fee structures with the
ministry," he said.
All schools need written approval from the ministry before they can
increase fees or levies by more than 10 percent.
Cde Chigwedere said the law would take its course against the schools in
question while an appropriate penalty would be imposed on them.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed that
the schools had been handed over to the police.
He said investigations were currently underway.
"The schools in question have been handed over to our police stations
throughout the country and investigations are still in progress.
"As soon as we complete our investigations, we will charge them according
to the relevant sections of the law," he said.
Some schools were now demanding as much as $7 million a term.
A parent, Mr Paul Tsikai of Harare, said: "We welcome this move because
many schools in the country were now being run like businesses which put
profits before anything else."
He said good education was slowly becoming a preserve of the rich.
"Even factory workers like me should be able to send their children to a
relatively good school but at the moment, that is proving impossible," said
Ms Catherine Chiparange of Marlborough said it was high time the ministry
introduced tougher measures against school heads and SDAs.
"We want them to be answerable to Government because our children in
boarding schools get pathetic meals and are staying under terrible
conditions yet we pay huge sums of money," she said.
"It would be better if we were paying high fees and our children were being
looked after well but that is not the case and there should be some
explanation as to what the levy hikes are for."
An SDA member from one of the 13 schools affected dismissed the
Government's move, saying as long as there was no written communication,
the SDA in question would continue operating.
"How long have they been saying they would act to stop schools from
increasing levies? And when did they ever do it? They should just stop
confusing people," he said.
Others said people should just put their children in schools they could
afford and boycott those they considered expensive.
"It is no big deal to send your child to a school that costs $7 million if
you can afford it," said a parent who would only identify himself as Mr
However, the move to suspend the school heads and SDAs that had defied the
directive not to increase fees without the ministry's approval appears to
be impractical since the fees and levies had already been paid.
Cde Chigwedere said those who had already paid the new "illegal" fees
should have the excess credited against the fees and levies due next term.
The affected schools include Prince Edward High, Mutare Boys High, Bindura
Primary, Chancellor Primary, Godfrey Huggins and Fletcher High.
Cde Chigwedere said the process of flushing out defiant schools was far
from over as teams from his ministry were still out in full force scouting
for those breaking the law.
We must stop Mugabe
attention spans are responsible for a great many evils. Not long ago,
our newspapers were full of gruesome stories about the suffering of black
and white Zimbabweans. Yet it seems that we can only think about horrible
deeds for so long before our minds wander back to the cosy world of domestic
How Lilliputian that world must seem to women like Gisela Honeywill, tied up
and raped while her husband pleaded with her attackers, and then left to
speed to Harare in search of anti-retroviral drugs. Her story, and others
which we carry today, reveal what has been happening in Zimbabwe while we
have been transfixed by the Hutton inquiry. The country is descending into a
kind of primal savagery. Whereas most states pass from barbarism through
dictatorship to democracy, Zimbabwe has gone in the opposite direction.
Five years ago, it was a happy enough place, with food surpluses, property
rights, a free press, an elected parliament and an independent judiciary.
One by one, those things have been destroyed by Robert Mugabe's regime. Now,
order itself is giving way to a Hobbesian state of nature. If a man wants
another's property, he seizes it. If he wants a woman, he takes her. If he
resents those whose skins are different from his, he drives them out.
Were we to measure the importance of news by its net effect on human
happiness, the destruction of Zimbabwe would be regularly on our front
pages. When there was mass rape and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, it
dominated the political agenda of the Western world. Why, then, is Zimbabwe
different? It is further away, of course. Yet the United Kingdom has a far
greater responsibility there, both as the colonial power and as the mother
country of many of the planters.
There was a time when white Zimbabweans could expect little sympathy from
the British Left, but the enormity of Mugabe's crimes has brought even the
most determined anti-colonialists to their senses. No, the real problem
seems to be that people feel powerless to help, and therefore push the
atrocities from their minds. Yet there are things which we could do, such as
actively sponsoring pro-democracy activists, and seizing assets from leading
figures in the regime pending compensation claims from their victims. It is
too late to avert the catastrophe; but at least we can salvage some honour.
Zimbabwe vows to keep ban on foreign journalists
February 06, 2004, 10:05 PM
Zimbabwe hailed a supreme court ruling upholding its restrictive media law
and vowed today it would not relax measures preventing foreign journalists
from residing permanently in the country. Jonathan Moyo, the information
minister, said a British inquiry's criticism of the BBC in a row with Tony
Blair, the prime minister, over Iraq had vindicated its banning of the
broadcaster. "We have no apology to make," Moyo told reporters.
"We do not want to flood our country with foreign media representatives when
we have a flood of Zimbabwean journalists with no jobs." He said foreign
journalists could still make short reporting trips to the country after a
stringent accreditation procedure. Zimbabwe's highest court yesterday
endorsed legislation tightening government control over the media, ruling
the laws do not violate free speech. Media groups condemned the ruling,
calling the laws an "unnecessary evil" in a country calling itself a
President Robert Mugabe introduced the laws after his controversial
re-election in March 2002, a move critics say was aimed at silencing
opponents as the southern African country struggles with a deep political
and economic crisis. Dozens of journalists have already been prosecuted
under the act. It has also been cited in police attempts to close down the
Daily News, Zimbabwe's largest privately owned daily newspaper and a strong
critic of Mugabe's government.
"I am delighted about the decision of the Supreme Court," Moyo said. He said
the government was forced to act after realising that Western powers wanted
to use the foreign media in "their campaign for unconstitutional regime
change" in Zimbabwe. "It will take a stupid and irresponsible government not
to do something against such a move," he said.
Moyo said Zimbabwe had been vindicated in banning the BBC by last month's
indictment of the public broadcaster in a report into the suicide of a
British weapons expert identified as the source of a BBC report that said
Blair's government deliberately exaggerated Iraq's weapons capability to
justify going to war.
The BBC apologised to Blair after the release of the Hutton report. "These
guys are no good. Look what they did to Blair," Moyo said. "But at least
they apologised to him. We asked for a similar apology but they refused."
Zimbabwe banned the BBC after June 2000 parliamentary elections, alleging
biased reporting. The BBC denied the charge. - Reuters
Mugabe's nephew faces more charges
CHINHOYI legislator and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa faces more charges
after police quizzed him over fresh claims that he misused $36 million meant
for public works in Mashonaland West province.
Chiyangwa’s four-hour detention came as he was making a routine report at
Harare’s Central Police Station Friday morning as part of his bail
conditions on unrelated charges of perjury, attempt to defeat the course of
justice and contempt of court.
Chiyangwa’s lawyer Lloyd Mhishi of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha and Partners
admitted that police were keen to charge Chiyangwa on a new case, but
declined to answer further questions.
Chiyangwa glibly said: "I had just gone there for my routine reporting.
There is no case.”
The flamboyant business showman took over a court room last month when
summoned to explain his interest in a US$61m fraud scandal involving two
young managers of a capital asset management firm.
In keeping with his elegant style, Chiyangwa sped to court in his expensive
metallic grey BMW saloon and was clad in a black suit, tartan shirt and
maroon tie. He carried a black leather handbag.
When court proceedings began, Chiyangwa had the public gallery in stitches.
He constantly referred to the prosecutor as a “young man”, prompting the
magistrate to intervene.
"The courts do not operate that way," said magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe. "He
is a chief law officer in the Attorney-General's office…a very top lawyer
for the government."
But a defiant Chiyangwa interjected: "He is my young man. I was his chairman
in the anti-corruption task force, where he was a chief lawyer. I do not
want him to ask me unnecessary questions.”
When asked about police claims that he held onto two cars which were needed
as evidence in the fraud case and hid them in his house, Chiyangwa lost it,
firing a broadside at the police before sending a chilling warning.
"As for the excited policeman, who brought up these allegations, I will deal
with him at some stage," railed Chiyangwa, a member of the notorious black
empowerment organisation – the Affirmative Action Group.
He refused to withdraw his threat when asked to do so by the magistrate.
In the latest corruption allegation, it is claimed that Chiyangwa received
$36 million, part of a $60 million fund for public works in Mashonaland West
province where Chiyangwa is the ruling Zanu PF chairman.
He is said to have instructed the Chinhoyi council to release the money,
before issuing two cheques amounting to $12 million to a senior council
official and a Zanu PF youth leader in the province.
Observers say the latest developments prove beyond doubt that Zimbabwe’s law
enforcements agents are definitely out to get the young businessman who for
long periods has been protected by his association with the ruling Zanu PF
party. He is also President Mugabe’s nephew.
Recently, the state-owned Herald newspaper claimed there was a plot to
discredit Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono by some Harare businessmen
concerned about his clean-up in the financial sector.
The paper claimed a fund had been set up “to cause his downfall” by
“powerful politicians and businessmen” unhappy with recent financial sector
reforms which led to the arrest of ENG Asset Management directors on US$61m
fraud, and consequently that of Chiyangwa who reportedly owns about 40
percent shares in the firm.
The Herald claimed: “A number of secretive meetings are reportedly being
held to map out ways of smearing Dr Gono by the businessmen and politicians
who feel the governor is frustrating their illegal businesses and political
Last week we reported an alleged plot to kill Chiyangwa. A man was arrested
by the police, although no charges have been filed. Chiyangwa claims his
arrest is political, and that his opponents are trying to prevent him from
joining the race to replace President Mugabe when he finally goes.
Angel of death brings prosperity to some
By Sifelani Tsiko
Death has hit or destroyed many families; but it has brought prosperity for
some, those who make the tombstones and coffins, create the flower
arrangements for graves and open new funeral homes.
As more people die from Aids, old age and other natural and man-made causes,
there are more people in the funeral service industry.
But profit margins are low, competition is intense and many families simply
cannot afford a grand send off for their relatives.
Local funeral directors and funeral homes say the country’s high death rate
has not translated the industry’s fortunes into a boon owing to rising
inflation and low premium charges.
"It’s not as rosy as people think," says Abel Chimutanda a spokesman for
Moonlight, one of the country’s leading funeral assurance firms. "A lot of
people are dying, most of them before their policies have matured, that is,
"Most policies were taken years back. Now, with inflation the costs of
materials, coffins, vehicles and operational expenses have shot up
tremendously eating its way up into the perceived boon," he said.
He says funeral assurance companies were making losses when they rendered
services to premium holders that had not matured. "We make direct losses
when we give a service and this is different from cash clients," he says.
An estimated 3 000 people die every week in Zimbabwe and health experts say
nearly 70 percent of them die early from Aids related illnesses.
And this means that more than 160 000 people die every year.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, the Aids-induced death
differential is projected to widen rapidly during the next decade estimating
the country’s crude death rate to hit a 12,9 per 1 000.
Even though funeral directors and funeral homes speak with guarded optimism,
economists say soaring death rates in the country have led to a growing
demand for funeral services, boosting demand for the companies.
They say the well-healed in Harare were now demanding customised services
which ranged from exclusive casket designs and other lavish ceremony
The price of coffins and caskets had shot to unimaginable prices in the past
The cheapest coffin from established funeral parlours now ranged between
$250 000 and $500 000 while top range caskets were selling at between $3
million and over $5 million.
"Business is quite good for most homes," says a bereavement and funeral
"Most directors are not so keen to speak about it, but I know generally that
business is not as bad as they would like to put it," he said.
Mr Phillip Mataranyika, the managing director of Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance
Company and secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Association of Funeral
Assurers says while the assurance side of the industry battles with high
claims, there is the services side which is experiencing high demand due to
rising deaths," he said.
Florists, flower vendors, coffin manufacturing firms and a chain of other
funeral service providers have in a way benefited from the rising death
"Very few companies are buying flowers for decoration," says Farai
Nyamundaya, a flower vendor at Africa Unity Square.
"We are depending on bereaving families who come here to buy flowers," he
On a good day, he says, he can make $160 000 or more and when business is
low, he gets about $15 000.
But Mr Mataranyika says it is not about making money only.
He says the funeral service industry was also facing numerous challenges:
the unavailability of burial space, the lack of maintenance of cemeteries,
unregistered firms that were duping many policy holders and rising
"The shortage of burial space is quite critical for the people and also the
survival of the industry," he says.
"We are discussing with authorities so that we can have a new site for
burial. We also want authorities to maintain cemeteries in a better way to
meet the expectations of the people.
"Cemeteries should be a place where people can visit and reflect on their
lives and remember their departed loved ones," he added.
Ratepayers were unhappy over the failure by council to properly maintain
cemeteries in Tafara, Warren Hills, Greendale and Granville — popularly
known as "Kumbudzi."
They complained that the permanent resting-places had now been totally
neglected with unmaintained grass and trees. These cemeteries also lacked
adequate security to curb growing vandalism on graves by thieves.
Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2004 3:29 PM
Subject: Hairy caterpillars
Dear Family and Friends,
In an intricate and close knit zipper pattern, about 100 pale green and
bright orange caterpillars are clinging to a Msasa tree in the car park at
my son's junior school. Lying side by side in a great swathe which is
almost three feet long and a foot wide, the caterpillars have very long
hairs and their united gathering is enough to scare away the most
determined of attackers. How I wish Zimbabweans could unite and follow the
example of this great congregation of Msasa moths because this week the
unrest and discontent in the country reached dizzy heights and we all seem
to be wandering around alone in a state of dazed paralysis.
It began on Wednesday when the results of a parliamentary by-election in
Gutu were announced. The seat fell vacant on the death of Vice President
Simon Muzenda last September. Out of 59 thousand registered voters in Gutu,
only 28 thousand voted. In the run up to the election, the government
gazetted 10 commercial farms in Gutu which are to be taken over by the
State. Opposition MDC offices in both Harare and Bulawayo were raided by
police. The MDC were unable to hold even one rally in Gutu and their
candidate was taken hostage for several hours by over a hundred government
youths who attempted to get Mr Musoni to withdraw his candidature. A
villager said that traditional chiefs warned residents that if Zanu PF
didn't win people would be evicted from their homesteads. A chief said that
he and his colleagues had been warned by government officials that they
would be stripped of their positions and have their monthly allowances
withdrawn if the MDC won. The MDC said that 7000 names of people from other
constituencies had been added to the voters roll and when voting began
maize was being distributed by government officials. Zanu PF declared
victory and retired air chief marshall Josiah Tungimirai polled 20 699
On Wednesday and Thursday, shortly after returning from watching football
in Tunisia, the Minister of Education announced that headmasters from 35
schools across the country were to be suspended and prosecuted for raising
school fees without government permission. Many of the schools listed are
Zimbabwe's finest private institutions and, ironically, it is to these
schools that government ministers, the new A2 farmers, and top Zanu PF
officials send their children. Included in the list was the headmaster of a
government school in Marondera. Because of his suspension this headmaster
was therefore unable to take the school vehicle to collect food for
boarding pupils, unable to sign cheques for daily food deliveries such as
bread and unable to withdraw cash from the schools' bank account.
The chaos deepened on Thursday and Friday when month end Municipal Council
bills arrived in our post boxes. In Marondera my rates have gone up by 1615
percent. Water has gone up by 1650 percent and refuse removal by 1150
percent. Everyone in our town, from postmen to lawyers and factory workers
to housewives are saying they are unable to pay the new prices.
The mayhem this week included a demonstration calling for a new
constitution which left the organiser beaten and paraded through the
streets of Harare by police and over 100 others arrested. It also included
an announcement from the Daily News that they have suspended publication
after the Supreme Court ruled that all journalists must be registered with
the government. For 9 amazing days the taste of democracy had circulated
with people hiding copies of the newspaper under their shirts or down their
trouser legs and passing them on. I read copies which had been read by 20
people before me and each was then passed on again so that others could see
what's really going on in Zimbabwe. Schools, ratepayers, journalists and
opposition supporters have all been in the front line this week and it
remains to be seen if we are capable of uniting like the hairy caterpillars
in order to save our own lives. Until next week, with love, cathy.
Copyright cathy buckle, 7th February 2004.
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
now available outside Africa from: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ; in Australia and New
Zealand: email@example.com ; Africa: www.kalahari.net
Nyarota and Sipepa: Two faces of feuding Daily News
By Nathaniel Manheru
LAST week I was rather too brief on Geoffrey Nyarota’s fecund piece to MDC’s
Welshman Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi. One thing for certain is that it is
in fact a misnomer to link it to just the two opposition members. The letter
’s universe is as densely populated as an average Indian and Chinese city
Its contents are a richly dense tapestry of intrigues, conspiracies,
machinations and manoeuvres that more than befits the arcane world of
espionage and other shades of traitorous behaviour. For that reason it
deserves a second and more considered take, more so given that it amounts to
an eloquent admission by Nyarota, all along in denial, that MDC is dead:
finished by itself.
Nyarota’s so long a letter bemoans this fatal self-immolation, this
self-rejection followed by death and disintegration of which his own life in
self-exile is its vivid and natural existential metaphor. Much like Nyarota
himself, the MDC has finally woken up to its sheer irrelevance and
out-of-placeness, itself initially signalled by its unthinking importation
of a political programme on the one hand and, by its exportation of its
fighting and voting numbers to Unit K (United Kingdom), on the other. Quite
how power and office would be captured through a strategy of eroding its
numbers that way, I cannot say.
The truth is that its activists who had been bred on an imported political
programme; who were now being forced to survive in exile on meagre proceeds
as British Bum Cleaners (BBC), soon drifted severally, too self-preoccupied
to remain homogenous, let alone focused on the exporting cause. With yawning
distances between home and exile, they could cast no vote, throw no stone
for their dying party, appeasing their sense of commitment by periodic
spurts of meaningless demonstrations rewarded by drink and debauchery in
For a long time Nyarota would write about such strains and struggles of
those in exile, but from home. He never thought that some day he would join
them. Today he is one of the exiled lot, not through the "dastardly brutal"
acts of the Zanu-PF regime and its minions, but through machinations of
those in his own camp. That hurts. He finds himself deported from the
newsroom and exiled from the country, not by President Mugabe, but by
"tribalist" Sipepa Nkomo.
He thus cannot be a Meldrum. Nor can he be a Musekiwa given that supposedly
homely politics victimise him. That too hurts. Instead he grimly hovers
between Dongo’s quiet exit and anonymous re-entry, and Lupi’s riotous
self-exile which nature contradicted through a quiet final departure for the
nether, bereft of even a whimper.
To stare anonymity in the face, that is the prospect that daunts Nyarota
and, like all in-betweens, he rebels against the beckon of either fate,
inexorable though both are. So his essay is a noisy smart that prefaces
oblivion, which is why its politics are as unsustainable as they are
unedifying. Simply read, what chafes Nyarota is not Zanu-PF or its errant
political schemers who sought to use him and The Daily News.
What frightens him is the horror of an MDC without a Morgan Tsvangirai. To
imagine Welshman Ncube and a Themba Nyathi sidelining Tsvangirai and playing
leading roles, however meaningless, is one horror too much. The plot he
describes in his eminently readable letter confines Ncube and Nyathi merely
to ministering to the final disposal of MDC’s remains or cadavers. The plot
Nyarota luxuriates in describing makes MDC a victim of a plot in which it is
It is inconceivable that those responsible for a sinister plot would, upon
its imagined triumph, simply pass on power and office to MDC leaders whoever
they are. Did Machiavelli ever say princes were given to such strange bouts
of generosity which border profligacy? It sounds both naive and desperate
and much remains unsaid from Nyarota’s piece. Beyond the plot he tells in
this letter, he should also tell the world the scenarios drawn up avidly by
the British, with America’s reluctant backing, scenarios drawn for him and
his colleagues at The Daily News.
He should tell the world that he had been primed for a now-or-never
take-over bid in 2002 which went disastrously bad. Together with the MDC, he
had burned all bridges, and the absence of a fall-back position which his
self-exile dramatises the tragic pitfalls of this be-all-and-end-all plan.
That plan did not envisage an editing role for him after March 2002. It
placed him closer to Tsvangirai, which is why the fate of the two remain
intertwined. Both went for broke, welded together by a tribal and regional
mortar which he accuses Sipepa of.
Today both are battling to come to terms with a basic law governing the
shifty world politics, namely, that nothing is possible until it passes. MDC
daily atrophises while Zanu-PF continues to pare its flanks. This Nyarota
cannot come to terms with, and mutual recrimination is his own way of
adjusting, indeed the median between this unrelenting denial and sure
extinction. In the meantime, he needs to remember that death draws requiems,
not eulogies. Fare thee well boy from Nyazura! Farewell the scion from the
line of Rhodesian chiefs!
Prick the cub and the lioness emerges from denial
Now where stands my pretentious friend Biti now that Re-start has gone back
to its real owners? For the benefit of those raised outside the Zimbabwean
African cultural environment, biti refers to a drink that benignly lies
between mahewu and the potent ngoto, a seven-day wonder brew that knocks you
out with a few sips. Unlike skindo, it is supposed to be easy on the throat
and mind, granting back your balance even after a prolonged gulp. Yet it
appears to knock out Tendai who claims authorship of matters well beyond his
Savaged by the public media and of course by yours truly, the real authors
and minders of Re-start have now come to its defence. The hare-eared Tony
Hawkins and the intellectually wrinkled John Robertson have broken their
silence in defence of this hopeless composition over which Tsvangirai
forcibly has to accept paternity.
Significant where the two lay accent. For both Hawkins and Robertson, the
vision "cannot happen so long as Zanu-PF is in power". Equally, both agree
that its strength is its position on land which "does not jeopardise the
economy". "Every economic problem", concludes the prescient Robertson, "has
a political cause", obviously agitating for politics of regime change.
What economic problem has settler politics caused, both before and after
independence, dear Robertson? Where do you and Hawkins stand vis-a-vis those
politics? And is the reverse of that statement also meaningful to you? As I
have always maintained, it is to be expected that Robertson and Hawkins have
to defend the white laager. What is hard to understand is a person whose
skin and prospects under the settler political economy are as dark as two
moonless nights put together, can agitate for white supremacy, indeed
agitate against his own interests. Cry the beloved people!
Between the Beeb and Blair
I watched and listened with fascination as Britain’s organic intellectuals
struggled to reassert BBC’s honour after it was badly mauled by one of their
Lords. I do not know the origins of this judge but I can only imagine that
if he was found fit enough to do a clean-up job on Tony Blair, he must be
part of the "nearly" crowd the Conservatives as real governors of Britain,
have delegated to run the country in the meantime, with disastrous
consequences for themselves and Britain.
I have always maintained that the people who rule and run Britain do not
have their roots in the English, Scottish or Welsh working class. Labour is
a comic interlude between the successive governance of Conservatives. Except
this time around it’s a tragic-comedy for Britain and the rest of the world
and such frivolity on the part of the Conservatives should never be suffered
again. They must rule Britannia or accept to be ruled by the Gauls or Hans.
Between 1923 and Lord Hutton, the BBC has come under no less than six Royal
scrutinies led by Sykes (1923), Crawford (1926), Ullswater (1936), Beveridge
(1951), Pilkington (1962), Annan (1977) and Peacock (1986). The accretive
result has been to place BBC firmly into the arms of those that govern or
pretend to govern.
In between such inquiring committees were scuffles between the BBC and the
politicals, leading to its exile so it would handle home issues benignly
while appeasing the British public with hard-hitting reports on foreign
news. The foreign beat is what gives and sustains the British illusion of
being a world power. Beyond the shores of Albion and away from its cousins
overseas, BBC operates carte blanche, ironically the name of one of its
programmes that led the lie of a genocide in Zimbabwe.
Gilligan broke this rule and sought to operate carte blanche at home. All
hell broke loose and heads rolled. Not that he did not know the rule. Far
from it. He only correctly felt that Britain under Tony’s New Labour was as
good as an overseas banana republic and handled it as such in his story
This is unavoidable when the newsman increasingly finds and lives at home a
reality he ascribes to inferior climes abroad. But beyond the degeneration
of British politics under New Labour, the British public have had their
maiden test of the post-9/11 legal ethos. Having failed to be a democracy
abroad, Britain is increasingly finding it difficult to be one at home.
Meanwhile, what is Zimbabwe which has all along told the world that the BBC
is an elaborate maze of the how-not-to-do-it of journalism, supposed to say?
The standards Blair demands BBC to meet at home, we all in the Third World
must insist on it individually and collectively. Again, Zimbabwe has shown
the way. Bravo -
This is exeter
Bid to bring home Marjorie's ashes
The family of an Exeter woman brutally murdered in Zimbabwe are
hoping to bring her ashes back to her native city.
Marjorie Eggleston, 66, and her husband Eric were killed at their home
in Prospect, near the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, by a gang of armed robbers
Mrs Eggleston had lived in Heavitree and Exmouth as a youngster before
leaving to settle in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in 1962.
Her body has already been cremated following a lengthy delay in
Zimbabwe due to the country's critical shortage of fuel.
Now her relatives want to arrange a memorial service and an interment
in Heavitree later this year.
Mrs Eggleston's sister, Valerie Clarke, who lives in Exmouth, said:
"We want to have a service in Exeter but there are a few things to sort out
"We are now selling their house in Zimbabwe, so we are waiting for
that to go through.
"And we won't hold a service until my niece can come over from
Zimbabwe for it.
"She is looking to leave the country but it's difficult at the moment.
We hope we can arrange a service in Exeter so all the people who knew
Marjorie when she was younger have the chance to come and pay their respects
to her. My niece managed to arrange a service in Zimbabwe but they couldn't
get the cremations done for ages.
"They were eventually done on different days. Now we have got the
ashes and the men police think murdered them have been charged - the whole
thing is nearly over for us at last."
Police in Zimbabwe arrested four suspects following the killings and
they all have since been charged with murder.
They are being held in custody in Harare's main jail awaiting trial.
If convicted, they could face the death sentence.
Post-mortems established that the Egglestons were beaten severely
during a robbery at their house in a mainly black neighbourhood.
Mrs Eggleston was shot in the back and lay dying while the house was
When living in Exeter, Mrs Eggleston was known by her maiden name of
She later lived in Exmouth and worked for the chemists, Boots, before
marrying and moving to Africa.
Zvobgo recovers, back in Parliament in weeks
FIREBRAND Masvingo South MP and ex-Zanu PF legal supremo, Edison Zvobgo, who
was admitted to a South African hospital late last year is out of hospital
and now recovering at his house.
Last month we reported how Zvobgo was making steady progress after
undergoing an operation to rectify an undisclosed ailment.
His son Edison Zvobgo Jnr said his father was back in the country and is
expected to resume normal duties in a fortnight.
"He is back in the country after undergoing an operation and is
recuperating. He is going to be okay," he said.
Zvobgo's political career is a source of fascination among Zimbabweans who
are also enthralled by his sharp legal brain and intelligent contributions
The Harvard-trained lawyer, a member of the ruling Zanu PF's decision making
body - the Politburo - missed the party's annual conference early December
last year due his hospitalisation.
His daughter, Tsungi, said although her father was now able to speak, watch
television and peruse through literature, it would take more time before he
"He’s doing a little better now," Tsungi said. "He’s improving. Now he can
converse, watch television and read books and newspapers," she said.
Zvobgo’s wife, Julia, suffered a stroke while in South Africa comforting her
husband. She is now back in Harare where she is undergoing physiotherapy.
"Unfortunately, my mother suffered a stroke and she is on a wheelchair,"
Tsungi said. "She is attending physiotherapy lessons, but definitely
Zvobgo was flown to South Africa a few days before he was to be hauled
before the ruling Zanu PF's disciplinary committee on charges that he
refused to campaign for President Mugabe during the March 2002 presidential
Zvobgo has dismissed the allegations as "trumped up" charges, describing
them as "demeaning and a pack of lies" by those bent on having him kicked
out of the party. He said those accusing him were mere "strangers" to a
party he helped set up and "visitors" who have nothing to lose if Zanu PF