Administering a democratic system is a huge task if
it is to be done properly. In the first place the voters must be adequately
informed of their options, they must then be allowed to vote freely and
without interference or intimidation and then the vote must be counted and
Three simple tests of a democratic system. How does
Zimbabwe measure up just weeks before the next scheduled elections for
1.. Information. We have 15 newspapers, 4 radio
stations and one television channel broadcasting in Zimbabwe. Of these 7
newspapers and all electronic media are owned by the State, 6 of the other
newspapers are owned by Zanu PF in various forms and only two weeklies are
The State/Zanu PF controlled media is tightly
controlled and may only carry news and information that is approved by the
officials that are responsible for media coverage. The opposition may not
even advertise in the Zanu PF controlled media. The news and other coverage
are totally hostile to the MDC and its civic allies and are used simply to
promote the position of Zanu on every issue. Speaking to the average citizen
who is not politically minded and who have no alternative sources of
information it is astonishing how effective this propaganda machine has
Particularly damaging has been the loss of the Daily News and
the total control of the electronic media. I estimate - based on distribution
numbers and hours of broadcasting every day that less than 5 per cent of
media exposure is committed to telling the truth and that includes three
external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe on shortwave. This
control of the media is reinforced by total control over all forms of public
meetings - controls which do not apply to Zanu PF.
Right to Vote. We have at most 3 million people in the country who are
eligible to vote and might register and then physically turn out. The rest
are outside the country (3,5 million adults) or are too young, or are ruled
as being ineligible for one reason or another. The voters roll has
5,6 million names on it - 2,6 million "ghost voters". Some are dead; some
are duplicates others are now outside the country.
All those who
have left the country are to be denied the vote - they are a group that is
now potentially larger than the voters who remain in the country. We are the
only country in the region that denies their citizens who are living abroad
the right to vote. In fact when you work out who can vote and will be allowed
to vote, it represents only about 42 per cent of potential voters who are
On top of this astonishing fact, the whole process of voter
registration and maintaining the voters role is partisan and controlled by
officials - paid by the State -but loyal to Zanu PF. The systematic exclusion
of voters who might be sympathetic to the MDC is carried out on a regular
basis. Voter registration is intensive in areas controlled by Zanu PF and
where they believe they can control the vote in an election.
3.. The Vote Itself. In the two previous elections where Zanu faced serious
opposition, they used the mobile stations to rig the election and to stuff
ballots. They also used the two days over which the election was held to
decide what was needed to win and then to carry out the required activity. In
those elections we had about 4500 fixed stations and 1100 mobile stations -
each mobile using 4 separate locations to record votes. In 2002 the number of
polling stations in MDC strongholds were reduced and the rate at which votes
were recorded held down so that up to 400 000 potential voters were
eventually turned away.
This time the vote will be on one day and there
will be no mobiles. To capture 3 million votes at the rate of 2 minutes per
person would require 10 000 poling stations. In fact, given the
inefficiencies of the system I estimate we will require 12 000 polling
stations to record the vote in one day.
In 2002 we counted the vote at
120 counting centers. This time we will count at all 12 000 polling stations.
The logistics of this situation are mind-boggling. It is one thing for a
government to deploy staff and officials to 12 000 polling stations, it is
quite another to supervise what goes on at each polling station - especially
in the more remote rural areas where Zanu thinks they can control the vote.
The potential for vote rigging and ballot stuffing is enormous. If MDC cannot
cover every polling station with trained and committed personnel from the
opposition we are likely to see a repeat of the 2002 elections and end up
with a government that is not recognized as being legitimate.
Ukraine election just re-run, the international community deployed 8 500
observers. In Zimbabwe we can expect no more than a few hundred at most - and
then these will have limited resources for travel and communications. Any
meaningful supervision must therefore come from the MDC. NGO's this time
(unlike 2000 and 2002) will be excluded by law, from the whole process from
voter education to polling agent training, deployment and supervision. We
will need at least 60 000 polling agents and at least 1200 vehicles to deploy
people and supervise activity and to respond to any problems on the day. Our
agents will have to be deployed on Friday and stood down on Sunday. Many will
require food and other support in the field.
This whole process is
supposed to be under the control and management of an Independent Electoral
Commission. New legislation provides, not for an Independent Commission but a
"Zimbabwe" Electoral Commission, which is not independent or autonomous and
has not even been appointed. Instead we have a totally partisan structure in
place, which is managed by State Security Agents and the Military personnel,
all of whom are selected for their loyalty to Zanu PF.
In 2002 this
partisan structure was overseen by a group of powerful Ministers who actually
gave the orders and decided what was needed for Zanu to "win" at any cost. No
doubt the same situation will prevail this time around - the only difference
being that they will not have Saturday night to decide how far to go. This
time those decisions have to be made in advance and the action to be taken
agreed and implemented during the one day of voting.
For voters in
Zimbabwe who are eligible - remember that you can check your vote and change
your constituency if it is wrong, from the 17th to the 30th of January this
year. Go and do this as whatever the conditions under which we will vote, the
March 2005 elections may be an opportunity to change the circumstances under
which we live today.
PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI'S TUESDAY MESSAGE TO THE
PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE
Political transitions present delicate moments
for many nations, especially in Africa. In our case, hundreds of
pro-democracy activists and MDC supporters died during the current
transition. As a peace-loving people, we opted for a smooth transition
through a Constitutional path, through an election, through the ballot. We
remain committed to that route.
The regime reacted violently and
imposed its will, leading to an uncomfortably long political stalemate. Five
years of political violence have failed to dampen the spirit of the people.
The majority have seen through the futility of violence as a political
weapon and as a campaign tool.
Judging by the mood on the
ground, we understand that the people are determined to end the primary
phase of our transition in 2005. Thereafter, we shall move onto a new
political stage that demands national unity and national healing. We are now
on the home stretch after we passed through one of the bloodiest periods of
our post-colonial history.
Through latter-day exhortations to its
supporters to display some form of political civility in the run up to the
next election, the regime is, at least, sending out a positive signal to the
people. I must recognize and record what appears to be a change of rhythm
within the police force, especially the force's public stance towards
direct, physical violence.
Although pockets of rogue elements
still exist here and there, by and large we have witnessed a decrease in
cases of open violence against political opponents. We are willing to work
with the police and Zanu PF to open up Zimbabwe's political
Beyond the election, we wish to state once again that we
have no intention of pursuing a campaign of retribution once we assume
power. There is no need for any person to turn against the people, purely
out of fear of an MDC government. The people have long expressed their
revulsion at attempts to repeat the scenes of the past five
Our vision is to create a platform for the victim and the
perpetrator to experience the joys of justice, peace, stability, freedom and
prosperity. Differences shall be recognized and respected; our diversity
shall be celebrated and accepted as a source of strength; our political
contrasts, separate ideologies and organizational make up shall assist our
nation to reap the benefits of honest political
Our vision directs us towards a holistic view of our
past, understanding the desperation of a failed nationalistic elite. We
understand Africa's known dilemma arising from the historical failure of the
continent's liberators to extend the ideals of the struggle against
colonialism to the people in the post-independence era.
seems to be confusion as they try to come to terms with post liberation
political formations which shun violence as a means to effect regime change.
We recognize the weaknesses of the former liberation movements and their
general lack of preparedness to tackle the challenges of a complex
post-colonial era. We aware of the contribution of our national heroes to
the liberation of the continent from colonialism.
We seek a
society without political hooligans, private armies and militias. We yearn
for the day state institutions devote their entire time to public service.
We wish for the day when political competition assumes the character of a
national sport, with players seeking free and fair victories - beyond the
current lust for a brutal annihilation and burial of each other's persons or
With referees enjoying national legitimacy and
pride, we cherish a time when conflict management and resolution take centre
stage in all facets of our political activities. In 2005, Zimbabweans crave
for love, wish to set up peace committees, aspire for a society awash with
media forbearance, and expect abundant political space in the hope of a
lasting end to the national crisis. There is absolutely no need to look back
as we grapple with the task of a new beginning, a new
Hooliganism, private armies and militias are a product
of failed regimes; regimes that thrive on terror. We understand 50 000
thoroughly conditioned youths have since graduated at various training camps
countrywide. We care for the future of every Zimbabwean youth. These
children need help. They need jobs. They need food; they want peace. Please,
send them back to their homes, to their families. Allow them to prepare for
a new Zimbabwe. We shall need all their creative energies for a positive,
productive and intensive reconstruction programme very
We believe Zimbabweans are determined to deny violence an
acceptable face; to strike it off our political culture. Violence is a sign
of weakness; and as a political formula can never bestow legitimacy to any
regime. Let us campaign openly, without the usual make-belief theories and
propaganda portraying this or that organization as a party on a recovery
We have a national responsibility, a national duty, beyond
our personal interests, to seek a lasting solution to our problems and end
the current wave of anxiety among the people arising from our past actions.
We must strive for well-managed transition in which both the winners and
losers emerge stronger.
As political parties, we can take our
cases to the people in a robust manner without trading unnecessary insults.
We can register a significant shift in our political mindsets and in our
personal attitudes if we were to confer directly to identify the main
impediment to a smooth transition from one generation of leaders to another;
from the old guard - wisdom, history, warts and all - to a fresh crop of
patriots, keen to start afresh and take the nation to new
Our neighbours have invested a lot in us, in an attempt
to rescue us from our squabbles and our sinking ship. Our neighbours want
the region to forge alliances with other influential trading blocks soon
after our elections. Our neighbours are embarrassed by our behaviour as a
pariah state. We must respect them. The MDC is ready to clear suspicions, to
address deep-rooted misconceptions and to accord any concerned party the
necessary confidence, so that together we can nudge our country towards a
final resolution of the crisis.
In my consultations with all
the SADC leaders, it is clear that their main worry is centred on the
future. SADC realizes that the endurance of the people has now been
stretched to the extreme limit and there is no telling how much longer they
can continue to tolerate the agony that is multiplying itself almost on a
daily basis. SADC has had enough of desperate Zimbabweans and SADC knows the
nature of the crisis in this country.
There is a consensus in
SADC that Zimbabwe cannot withstand any further battering. SADC is aware of
the serious questions, demanding serious answers, which our people are
asking every day. SADC has faith in 2005 as the year with all the
I have been assured by our members and structures at
home and by most influential SADC leaders that they shall exert sufficient
pressure onto the regime to enable our elections to pass a SADC public
confidence test. Wherever you are, in your communities, in other political
parties and in civil society, let us rise and make sure that Zimbabwe
succeeds. We must go an extra mile and seize an exit arrangement for a
permanent solution to our transitional anguish.
send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line "For: Open Letter
of the Day: By Sea and Land and Air We Go -
"Aye. Fight and you may die.
Run and you will live - at least, a while. And, dying in your beds, many
years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to
that, for one chance - just one chance - to come back here and tell our
enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take our
1: THE WRONG TREVOR SHAW, received 10th January 2005 by Patsy
I read with interest the letters that have been circulating
regarding Trevor Shaw and his appeals for funds to feed Joyce.
please, make it known that there are TWO Trevor Shaws in the Gweru area.
'Chicken Trevor' whose appeal went out and 'Beef Trevor' who is
NOT involved!!! 'Beef Trevor' has been in Australia and should not be
confused with 'Chicken Trovor'.
A lot of damage could be caused to
this young man if the record is not set straight!!!!!
I do not have an
email address for Debs and Jeff White, but, I would like them to know that
this is not one and the same the same person!!!
4: Ingutcheni, received 7 January 2005 by Eric Harrison
Please make an appointment with the Warden of Ingutcheni to recieve
a Mr.Trevor Shaw as soon as possible. This guy has gone beserk and
I certainly hope that they do not need more than half a dozen beds at most
to cater for his ilk. If this is the thinking of the rest of CFU, I'm
afraid we were doomed a long time ago.
5: LOOKING FOR A FRIEND, received 10 January 2005 by Dick Nash
I know that this is possibly not in your terms of reference but I
wonder if you can help me locate someone who was farming in Rhodesia and
later in Zimbabwe.
Ian Campbell and his wife Bev, who I knew many
years ago, were, I think, farming, possibly north of Harare. Ian must have
left St George's College in about 1959 or thereabouts. I would greatly like
to be able to contact them if you have an address available.
6: RE: LETTER BY TREVOR SHAW, received 9 January 2005 by Charlie
Please allow to comment on the letter written by
Trevor Shaw, Mr Shaw I find your "appeal" in extremely poor taste,
considering all the factors in Zimbabwe, past and present and to a degree the
future, you are a disgrace to your community and if you feel you had to
appeal for anything..... make the appeal for food to feed the starving masses
in Zimbabwe, NOT the fat cats of a regime that does not care about their
people, I am led to believe you were in Southern Australia recently to buy a
farm or something of the sorts, makes one wonder to the fact that your appeal
is to grease the palms of the powers that be to get your capital out of
Zimbabwe while selling your community down the drain, reminds me of the old
days when we were told not to be wary of our enemies but of our so called
friends. You are despicable Mr.Shaw, and the sooner you meet your maker, the
better for your community and 99% of ALL Zimbabweans.
Go to hell ....
you sell out!!! It is people like you who are filling your pockets at the
expense of others, while living the best of both worlds.
I can promise
you one thing, YOU would never have my mandate to represent me in ANY part of
this mad world. If you have a conscience, read this and weep. I write from
Johannesburg, where we still have freedom of speech.
7: RE: Mr WHALEY'S LETTER, received 9 January 2005 by Peter Cray
I share the bemusement expressed so well by Mr Whaley in his letter
which appeared on the Open Letter forum on 5 January.
Mr Shaw, writing
to Mr Whaley on behalf of the CFU, says that 'we are all to blame for
disunity' and urges farmers to unite behind a policy of offering yet more
olive branches (at 1 million dollars a shot) to those who have stolen
everything from so many farmers and, implicitly, of yet more negotiation with
those same thieves and wreckers. The disunity he condemns is the result of
the fact that the majority of those who farmed in Zimbabwe in 2000 consider
such a policy to be immoral, short-sighted and inevitably ineffective. Any
such policy serves only to prolong Zimbabwe's agony and delay the day when
everyone, farmers, ex farmers and the wider Zimbabwean population, can
benefit from a fair, transparent and productive land policy that repairs the
hideous damage of the last five years and establishes a proper framework for
the future. That is the aspiration that all farmers, past and present, should
Regrettably I do not seem to have the generosity of spirit
to wish, as Mr Whaley does, 'good luck to those willing to sell their souls'.
Personally I am ashamed that people I once liked and esteemed are prepared to
debase themselves and betray their friends by associating themselves with
the incoherent and distasteful nonsense preached by Mr Shaw and his fellows.
I am particularly dispirited to see such sentiments expressed when
a courageous and distinguished farmer is imprisoned in a squalid
Am I lacking in pragmatism? Well contemplate what the
CFU's pragmatism has earned us since 2000. Not a lot.
8: RE: OLF (320 and 321), received 8 January 2005 by Ben Freeth
What Trevor Shaw has written from the CFU to the Midlands farmers
is nothing new. Cloete, Hasluck, Hawgood, Taylor-Freeme and many of
the farmers still on the ground , led, continue to lead and live by the
same policy. The good thing about his letter is that he has exposed
this policy, that is echoed through so many of our countries organisations,
for what it is: appease; collude; acquiess; collaborate; join with the
Party; engage; and always pay out to the perpetrators of evil to save your
He has exposed from the once wealthy and strong
organisations of this country the moral bankruptcy and fawning weakness that
underlie them. They are not prepared to confront evil, or even expose it but
rather want to dialogue, pay and therefore legitimise evil men in their
positions of power ; and at the same time they want us to have "faith"[ Shaws
words] in their Quisling type leadership style and "unite" [Shaws word]
around it. Such policy will ultimately lead to complete destruction... Our
faith needs to be in the God that will eventually judge each one of us. Our
unification should be around standing against evil for what is
It would be nice to see an apology and a retraction of this
appeasment policy by the CFU through the popular outcry and withholding of
fees of members both past and present. My experience is that we sadly
9: DONATIONS FOR MUJURU, received 9 January 2005 by Trevor
It is with utter disgust that I read a recent ZW
News article concerning remaining Midlands farmers being urged to donate
cattle,maize,chickens for a party being organised by Zanu PF for Mujuru.
Trevor Shaw CFU Chairman- Midlands sending a letter to farmers urging them to
think carefully as individual names will be taken of those who
I suspect that most remaining farmers in Zimbabwe are still
operating because of their "sympathetic leanings towards Zanu PF" i.e. deals
with fat cat politicians.
If this is indeed the case then I point out
the similarity of such behaviour as to that of the occupied French during the
2nd World War who chose to sympathise with the Germans. When liberation
occurred (as it will certainly happen in Zimbabwe) these sympathises were
severely punished by the French people who had resisted the German
occupation. This is a very similar situation to what occurs today in
I for one greatly look forward to this day of
10: The CFU - A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE, received 9 January 2005 by John
Joe Whaley has emulated Queen Victoria - he
is not amused.
The CFU's cosy or expedient relationship with a Mr. Hunzvi
some years ago did not really take everybody in, it seems.
farmers want to sup with the devil with the hope that they can buy time.
There is no buying time here. The white commercial farmers are so evasive and
it is their evasiveness that is going to expose the membership of the
11: YOUR NEWS (OLF 320+321), received 7 January 2005 by John
Thanks for your e mail.
There were two
commercial farmers who found themselves in the guts of a megalomaniac. One
had been completely chewed up and when he met up with the other, all he could
remember was what beautiful white teeth his host had eaten him with. The
second farmer had to admit that he had never seen the teeth as he had come in
through a different route.
12: MIDLANDS CFU, received 10 January 2005 by Eric Harrison
This has just come in - I don't care if it is through the FA
structure or not.
For anyone to be thinking like this at this stage,
The fact that Doug has put his signature to it, is of
----- Original Message ----- From: Kim
Devlin To: email@example.com Sent: Wednesday,
January 10, 2001 9:57 AM Subject: Midlands Dear Eric,
Thank you for
your concern at the content of an email sent from Midlands.
is unique to the province, primarily dealt with through the F.A. structure,
farmers have chosen through their elected membership to manage this difficult
situation through an appeal for a donation.
This is not a directive from
head office, nor is it CFU policy.
Your are welcome to contact me
directly for further discussion on this matter.
State House employees are set to
displace at least 1 500 people settled on Little England Farm, Mashonaland
West, as the cryptic land reform puzzle takes a new twist. According to
legal documents filed with the Chinhoyi Magistrates Court, where the
Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, John Nkomo is the
plaintiff, the return address of 19 of the people the government seeks to
resettle is State House. The State House workers have already been issued
offer letters to occupy the farm. "The said farm is designated for the A2
model where it will be divided into 51 plots. The plaintiff has already
identified suitable people to occupy the said plots from the waiting list. .
.Several verbal notices have been given to the defendant to vacate the said
farm, but despite the demand defendant has refused and neglected to give
vacant possession to plaintiff," reads part of Nkomo's particulars of claim.
The minister attached to the court papers a list of the intended
beneficiaries, giving their names, national identity numbers and addresses,
among other information.
Last year, the High Court stopped the lands
ministry from evicting the new farmers on the grounds that the State had not
followed the proper legal channels. The government was also ordered to find
alternative land for the occupiers before evicting them. However, in his
particulars of claim, Nkomo alleged that the families occupied the property
in September 2002 - way after the cut off date for land occupation -
therefore were not protected by the Land Acquisition Act, which accommodates
only those who moved onto farms before March 2001. The settlers claimed they
had moved onto the property at the height of farm demonstrations in 2000
spearheaded by the war veterans to address the issue of equitable land
redistribution between the minority whites and the majority blacks. Despite
being outnumbered, the whites owned vast tracks of fertile land white the
blacks were crammed on infertile land mainly in the rural areas. The
ex-fighters' actions were with the blessings of President Robert Mugabe and
the government who later crafted laws to justify their move. Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), representing the new farmers, told The
Daily Mirror that they opposing papers to Nkomo's court application were
being prepared. A lawyer working on the matter, who refused to be
immediately identified, said it was unfortunate that the government took
such action against people who had occupied farms at its instigation in
ONLY one vehicle at a time is
now allowed cross Birchenough Bridge across Save River in Manicaland
province because the suspended bridge can no longer sustain heavier loads
than those initially designed.
Workmen controlling traffic at the bridge
said not more than one vehicle is allowed to cross the bridge because it
vibrates every time a vehicle passes over it, which made it necessary to
make sure that all vehicles that pass over the bridge do not exceed the
"We are controlling all vehicles that pass over the
bridge for 24 hours to make sure that only one vehicle at a time crosses no
matter how small it might be," said Valentine Sibiya, one of the workmen at
"Other heavy haulage trucks are forbidden from crossing the
bridge altogether if the drivers refuse to off-load their cargo to cross the
"Overloaded buses are sometimes required to let their
passengers disembark and cross the bridge on foot before they can board
again after crossing the bridge," he said.
Government in the 1980s
first imposed a weight restriction of 40 tonnes but this was further lowered
to 25 tonnes and further to about 12 tonnes.
In 2003, the Ministry of
Transport and Communications undertook structural repairs and repainting on
Birchenough Bridge after defects were detected. Residents form Birchenough
Bridge Growth Point said the bridge remains a distinguished landmark in the
area with people coming from all corners of the country and beyond to have a
glimpse of the bridge. The bridge's structure is minted on the country's
The suspended bridge, replicating the Sydney Harbour
Bridge in Australia, was opened to traffic in December 1935.
IT is difficult not to
sympathise with Zanu PF members who are crying "foul" over the rejection of
their favoured candidates for the parliamentary elections.
These candidates are not being allowed to take part even in the party
primaries, leaving some of them no choice but to contest the seats as
Those standing in the urban areas have a
particularly hard time raising enough hope for victory to even want to
continue protesting. There are very few indications so far that Zanu PF
could dislodge the MDC from its urban domination.
Zanu PF aspirants may be whistling in the wind. Even in Harare, Bulawayo,
Gweru and Mutare, where their party has waged a naked campaign to undermine
the opposition-dominated councils, there is little evidence the voters are
ready to endorse a party they rejected so massively in
But our sympathy for them must be tempered with amazement
and cynicism. It must be assumed that as members of Zanu PF, they believed,
at one stage or the other, that their party was truly democratic, that it
played by the rules.
Like loyal party members they did not
believe criticism that Zanu PF's interpretation of democracy was so flawed,
the point was not even worth discussing at any intellectual
The government, which is entirely Zanu PF-controlled,
has passed laws and made declarations which have been condemned as
undemocratic, not only by home-grown opposition parties, but also by
international organisations and foreign countries.
party's policies led to the country's suspension from the Commonwealth,
after which the party leader, reacting to a decision to prolong the
suspension, decided to pull Zimbabwe out of a multiracial grouping from
which it had benefited tremendously, in education, the law and
If the members thought all this was not their
party's fault, that the rest of the world was treating it unfairly, then the
chickens have come home to roost for them.
demonstrations, which led the party president to address them in an
impromptu rally outside the party headquarters on Monday, must certainly
convince Zanu PF that it is time to introduce real democracy within the
party, if not within the country itself.
Zanu PF has tried
to run the country like a vast refugee camp during the liberation struggle,
which is why the reaction to the success of the MDC in the 2000
parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections was the introduction of
draconian legislation against the independent media and the opposition
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act and the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) were both designed to
curtail open criticism of Zanu PF, which could rouse the people to protest
against the party's dictatorial rule.
The present crisis
may be remedied through party concessions to the protesters. But the party's
road to the harakiri which many critics have predicted for it remains wide
If the disgruntled members can't see the precipice at the
end of that road, then they are to be pitied even more. - Editorial
MBEKI TO LEAD SADC DELEGATION TO HARARE Wed 12 January
2005 HARARE - A top-level Southern African Development Community (SADC)
delegation is expected in Zimbabwe next week to assess whether conditions in
the country comply with regional guidelines for democratic elections,
sources told ZimOnline last night.
Zimbabwe holds a general
election in March and the country's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party has threatened to boycott the crucial poll arguing that
electoral laws and conditions do not conform with standards agreed by SADC
leaders in Mauritius last year.
The source said the SADC leaders
and the two Zimbabwean political parties had agreed that Mbeki, who will
lead the delegation, shall announce the visit shortly.
Authoritative sources in both the ruling ZANU PF party and the MDC said a
three-member delegation comprising South African President Thabo Mbeki,
Botswana President Festus Mogae and Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha
Mosisili were expected in the country next week.
the sources, the troika's visit follows last year's visits to South Africa
by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.
"The MDC president told Mbeki that Mugabe was not complying with the
standards set in Mauritius. Mugabe later told Mbeki during his own visit
that he was ready to subject himself to a peer review on compliance ahead of
the parliamentary elections in March," said one source.
to get comment from Mbeki's office last night were fruitless with his
spokesman Bheki Khumalo said to be away on leave while Khumalo's deputy
Malerato Sekha was said to be away with the South African President in
Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Under the SADC electoral guidelines,
independent commissions must oversee polls while electoral laws and
processes must be fair and transparent. All political parties must be
allowed access to the public media while human rights and the rule of law
must be upheld during elections.
The MDC accuses the government
of half-heartedly adhering to the regional standards and says a new Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission proposed by the government will lack independence
because its chairman will be appointed by Mugabe while its other four
members will be nominated by a government-dominated parliament. -
Blair mourns death of democracy in Zimbabwe Wed 12 January
2005 HARARE - Zimbabwe's crisis is because of a failure of governance and
the death of democracy in the southern African nation, according to British
Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Writing in the latest edition of
leading business magazine, The Economist, Blair, a constant critic of
President Robert Mugabe, called on the international community to continue
working to end the crisis in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa.
Blair wrote: "In Zimbabwe we see the great damage that can be done to a
country, its economy, its people and their potential by the destruction of
democracy and the failure of governance.
"We have worked with
the international community to identify benchmarks to help Zimbabwe restore
the rights and prosperity of its people. Should all this matter to the rest
of the world? For democratic governments, it should because it matters to
Mugabe has accused Blair of working for the
ouster of his government from power to revenge Harare's seizure of land from
white Zimbabwean farmers most of whom are British descendents. -
MDC blames judiciary for poll petition delays Wed 12
January 2005 HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition party yesterday rejected
claims by the country's Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku that it delayed
the hearing of its leader Morgan Tsvangirai's application challenging
President Robert Mugabe's re-election two years ago.
for Democratic Change (MDC) party legal affairs secretary David Coltart
instead blamed downright sloppiness by the courts for delays in Tsvangirai's
appeal against Mugabe's victory in 2002 and in 40 other petitions by MDC
candidates in a general election two years earlier.
as an example a petition challenging the victory of the ruling ZANU PF
party's Kenneth Manyonda in Buhera North constituency, where he said the
court record vanished from the High Court and the MDC has been unable to
proceed with the challenge.
"In the Buhera North poll challenge,
the entire court record disappeared and because of this, we have not been
able to pursue the matter. The High Court lost the entire proceedings," said
Out of the total appeals by Tsvangirai and MDC candidates,
23 have been abandoned, while 15 have been completed with judgments given
and 10 appeals noted against the judgments.
was speaking at the opening of Zimbabwe's legal year on Monday, said
Tsvangirai's appeal in which he accuses Mugabe of winning through violence
and downright fraud is held up as the parties' lawyers hackle over
Other petitions by MDC candidates in the 2000
general election had been delayed because the litigants had refused to
follow a timetable for the hearing of the appeals and kept on postponing
hearings, Chidyausiku said.
Critics accuse Chidyausiku, a former
civil servant known to be sympathetic to Mugabe and ZANU PF, of blocking the
resolution of the petitions.
Zimbabwe holds another general
election in two months' time rendering the resolution of the petitions now
almost academic. - ZimOnline
State power company hikes tariffs by 126 percent Wed 12
January 2005 HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) has hiked tariffs by 126 percent following the scrapping of
a government energy subsidy.
The tariff increase, the second
inside five months, is with immediate effect.
tariffs in September last year by 18.9 percent citing increases in postal
The government power company's corporate affairs
general manager, Obert Nyatanga, said the latest tariff review was in line
with recommendations by consultants to ensure a cost reflective tariff
structure after the government this year cut a Z$1.4 trillion
subsidy to ZESA.
"ZESA cannot continue (carrying) the heavy burden
in the absence of the subsidy), hence the decision to implement the
recommended cost reflective electricity tariffs," Nyatanga said in a
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, regarded as
the voice of the country's business community, said it wanted to study the
tariff schedule first before it could comment on the impact the tariff
increase is going to have across the economy. - ZimOnline
Mugabe moves to quell internal squabbling January 11
2005 at 04:58PM
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has
moved to heal a rift within his ruling Zanu-PF party over the selection of
candidates for a general parliamentary election due in March, state media
reported on Tuesday.
Political analysts say wrangling within
the governing party - linked to the issue of Mugabe's successor - could work
to the advantage of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Mugabe addressed scores of angry supporters protesting on
Monday at what they called the imposition of candidates for the
parliamentary elections, the official Herald newspaper said.
"Comrade Mugabe said he was surprised to see the demonstrators yet the
process to select the party's candidates for the primary elections had not
been concluded," it said.
Mugabe, in power for a quarter of a
century, told party members at the protest at Zanu-PF headquarters they
needed to be united and understanding to come up with winning
"The party is not dead; it is standing strong. Are you
aware that such thinking pleases the MDC," it quoted Mugabe as reacting to
placards saying Zanu-PF was disintegrating.
No date has yet
been set for the March elections.
More than a dozen officials have
been purged from the ruling party's top bodies and as election candidates,
after a row about Mugabe's likely successor on his expected retirement in
Former information minister Jonathan Moyo and several party
colleagues have appealed for Zanu-PF to reverse a decision which stops them
from contesting the parliamentary elections.
Moyo, who has
spearheaded the government's political campaign over the past five years,
was implicated in a secret meeting of party officials to promote their
candidate as one of Zimbabwe's two vice presidents - against Joyce Mujuru,
who was appointed under a Zanu-PF drive to boost the role of
The ruling party is to make a final decision on January
15 on its candidates for the March poll, which the MDC has threatened to
boycott unless electoral reforms are made to ensure fairness.
State television on Tuesday quoted the chief judge, Godfrey Chidyausiku, as
saying the High Court was ready to hear an appeal by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai against Mugabe's victory in a 2002 presidential election, but
that the case was being hindered by preliminary legal wrangling between both
Several MDC officials have also lodged court challenges to
their defeat in 2000 parliamentary elections the opposition charges were
rigged by Zanu-PF.
The ruling party insists it won fairly in
both polls, and dismisses the MDC as a puppet of former colonial power
Britain, which it says has led a campaign to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy
over Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for blacks.
Zimbabwe to raise $3.2 million for tsunami
Tuesday January 11, 2005 14:50 - (SA)
Cash-strapped Zimbabwe has unveiled plans to raise at least 3,2 million
dollars in aid for Indonesia's earthquake and tidal wave victims, state
media said on Tuesday.
Deputy chief secretary in the presidency, Ray
Ndhlukula, said the fund's target was 20 billion dollars.
the tsunami-hit regions include several Asian countries and parts of Africa,
Zimbabwe's aid will go to Indonesia, the worst affected of the Asian
countries President Robert Mugabe has been appointed patron of the Zimbabwe
Tsunami Disaster Fund whose committee comprises government, the business
community and churches.
At least 157,000 people have been killed by tidal
waves that hit Asian and Indian Ocean shorelines on December 26. Two
Zimbabwean businessmen, Steve le Roux and Clive Baron, who were holidaying
in Thailand at the time, are feared dead.
Vice President Joyce Mujuru
pledged early this month that the country would do all it can, no matter how
small, to help the tsunami victims because "Zimbabwe is a nation of caring
Zimbabwe's money-raising initiative, the latest in a global
outpouring of aid, comes from a country hit by alarming poverty and HIV/AIDS
rates. According to UNAIDS, 1.6 million adults, or 24.6%, are living with
HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe.
Additionally, the regional food security
watchdog Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has warned that more
than 2.2 million rural Zimbabweans are in need of food aid.
has been in the throes of economic crisis with high inflation and
unemployment since elections in 2000 that were marred by violence, and a
land reform programme that has seen thousands of white-owned commercial
farms seized and handed over to landless blacks.
24 hours from his annual leave in the Far East, President Robert Mugabe -
the only man holding Zanu PF together - yesterday swiftly moved to fill up
fissures that had emerged in the ruling party over polling
guidelines. The President, who is also the ruling party's President and
First Secretary, relaxed stringent guidelines the party used last week to
select candidates for primary elections scheduled for Saturday in the
party's 10 provinces, ahead of general elections in March. The move, seen
by political commentators as a strategy to patch up the cracks threatening
to tear Zanu PF down the middle, effectively threw a lifeline to those who
had been excluded by the guidelines set by the national elections
directorate led by political commissar Elliot Manyika. For the second time in
10 days, demonstrators yesterday besieged the party's headquarters in Harare
seeking a review of the guidelines they saw as a way to impose candidates in
some constituencies. There were also cases of people being declared sole
candidates, even though there were others who felt they qualified to stand
in the primaries. The guidelines stated that only members of the provincial
executives, national consultative assembly and the central committee were
eligible to participate in the primary polls while incumbent legislators who
did not meet the above guidelines but had no disciplinary cases against them
were also eligible to stand. Addressing the disgruntled ruling party
activists demonstrating against the imposition of candidates in their
constituencies, President Mugabe said: "Tinonzwisisa zvichemo zvenyu. Zanu
PF ibato rinotungamidza zvido zvevanhu pamberi. Saka vanhu chindosarudzai
mumiriri wamunoda anogona kukumiririrai. Hamuchaita zvokusarudzirwa
nemusangano. (We are here to address your concerns. Zanu PF is a democratic
party where everyone's wishes are respected. It is now up to you to go and
select candidates of your choice who are capable of leading you because the
party is no longer going to impose candidates on you). President Mugabe,
however, said those members of the party who had pending disciplinary cases
against them and those who were facing charges in court were not eligible
for the elections. "Those members of the party who have disciplinary cases
against them are not eligible for elections. We are not going to change the
date for the primaries. All primaries will take place on January 15," he
said. The party's co-vice president and second secretary, Joyce Mujuru,
Manyika (who is also the party's national elections directorate chairman),
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and secretary for legal affairs
Emmerson Mnangagwa accompanied the President when he went to address the
restive crowd. Turn to Page 2
The relaxation of the guidelines is
not likely to benefit aspirants like former local government deputy minister
Tony Gara, war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba, Minister of State for
Information and Publicity in the President's Office Jonathan Moyo and the
six provincial chairpersons suspended for allegedly participating in the
unsanctioned Tsholotsho meeting last November. However, Chinotimba, who
wants to contest in Glen Norah, was later seen surrounded by his supporters
a few hundred metres from the party headquarters, singing and dancing, in
the hope that he had been given a new lease of life. Moyo has since
appealed to the party's national elections directorate against the
allocation of the Tsholotsho seat he was eyeing to women candidates in line
with the quota system introduced by the party at its December
congress. Last week, Zanu PF supporters demonstrated in Harare against what
they termed imposition of candidates and literally held Manyika
hostage. The members demonstrated against Harare province, which had elected
unopposed Minister of Mines and Mining Development Amos Midzi to stand for
Hatfield/Epworth constituency, Cleveria Chizema for Glen Norah and Tendai
Savanhu for Mbare. People from Mutoko also condemned the retaining of the
Mutoko North seat by Deputy Finance and Economic Development Minister David
Chapfika unopposed. Zanu PF activists drawn mainly from Mutoko North, Mbare,
Glen Norah, Hatfield and Gutu South had been waiting for their concerns to
be addressed. A highly placed source in the party told The Daily Mirror last
night that a number of aspiring legislators whose curriculum vitae were
rejected by provincial coordinating committees would take part in the
primaries. "I understand that people who were disqualified during the PCC
vetting process in Masvingo, Midlands and Harare were given the green light
to contest in the primaries," said the source. Last night, Manyika
confirmed that President Mugabe had addressed the angry supporters, but
declined to give details. He referred all questions to the President's press
secretary, George Charamba, who was, however, not reachable.
judiciary has distanced itself from delays in finalising election petitions
filed by the opposition MDC against Zanu PF victories in 40 constituencies
and instead blamed the litigants for non-cooperation with judges set aside
to deal with the political litigation. Soon after the bloody parliamentary
polls in 2000 in which Zanu PF lost 57 seats to the MDC, the opposition
party filed petition after petition against the ruling party's victories
citing gross human rights violations including rape, torture, displacements
and muzzling of the Press in favour of Zanu PF. There has been a chorus of
angry voices from the MDC and civic society over the delay in dealing with
the petitions. Already, President Robert Mugabe has set March as the month
the general elections would be conducted despite the pending court
petitions. During the official opening of the legal year at the High Court
yesterday Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said the delay had resulted in
adverse public comments, despite the fact that the High Court had appointed
six judges to deal with the petitions. Said Chidyausiku: "In the year
2000, immediately after the general elections, 40 electoral petitions were
filed in High Court. "At that time I was the Judge President and I
immediately realised that there was a need to ring-fence these petitions to
ensure that other litigants were not crowded out of the High Court. I
appointed three judges to preside over the petitions. "The judges were
instructed to set down one case after the other until they were all
completed. "This was not done because petitioners were unable to come to
court one after the other until all cases were completed. If litigants had
co-operated and the plan followed, there is a good chance that the cases
would have been completed within a year-and-a-half." Chidyausiku said the
judges sat in chambers for months without hearing the cases because the
parties were not ready to come to court. He added that after he left the High
Court in 2002, his successor Judge Paddington Garwe appointed other three
judges to handle the matter and a few cases were heard that year.
"However, towards the end of 2002 it was noticed that hardly any of the
matters were taking off. "There would be requests for postponements by
the lawyers and judges would have the matters set down again, only for
matters to be again postponed. All the three judges were underutilised
during the third term of 2002. Chidyausiku added that in January 2003,
Judge President Garwe convened a meeting with all legal practitioners
involved in the petitions. It was agreed, he said, that cases would be dealt
with upon request from both parties, but no one had come forward. A
lawyer who spoke to The Daily Mirror on condition of anonymity soon after
the opening questioned Chidyausiku's silence on the matter only to go public
now-a tactic he said resulted in the nation casting doubt in the
judiciary. "The public no longer have faith in the justice delivery system
especially over delays that are important as the election petitions. It
would have been better if the explanation were given when they realised that
the two parties were causing delays in finalising the petitions. It now
appears that they just want to save their faces," he said. The MDC
secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart said, "I am not going to get into
an unseemly debate with the Chief Justice, the facts speak for
themselves." Of the 40 petitions that were filed, 23 were abandoned,
while 15 were completed with judgments given and 10 appeals noted against
the judgments. Three cases have reached the Supreme Court and are awaiting
judgment. If the Sunday decision is upheld it will open up chances for
Chinhoyi businessman, Faber Chidarikire who is also eyeing the same
seat. Incumbent legislator Phillip Chiyangwa is currently in remand prison on
allegations of espionage and seems to be out of the race. Manyika and
ruling party national chairman John Nkomo were unavailable for comment
expected with the looming launch of the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group
(ZABG), as concerns have arisen over accountholders' access to funds locked
up in the participating banks amid rising uncertainty regarding how the
banks will operate. Banking industry sources said tense moments were expected
when the landmark banking group begins operations next month, with some
accountholders who have funds in the participating banks still unclear over
the status of their funds. The ZABG is an amalgamation of some of the
country's troubled financial institutions, which were closed down at the
height of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s clean up of the banking and
financial services industry last year. However, while the banking group
is expected to turn around the fortunes of the ailing banks, its rollout has
been mired in uncertainty, which has also resulted in the delays in its
unveiling. Initially the group was scheduled to begin operations on January 3
2005, but "several unforeseen technicalities" have forced the central bank
to defer the bank's entrance onto the market. Key among these factors was
the issue of remuneration for the group's senior management officials, which
sources said was "yet to be rationalised". Acting RBZ governor, Charity
Dhliwayo, said authorities were still polishing up their work before the
launch of the bank sometime next month. Industry players said they were also
still in the dark over the looming launch of the ZABG, which is capitalised
to the tune of $2 trillion. The sources said the industry had adopted a wait
and see attitude prior to the launch of the banking group, which would
evolve out of the ashes of about 7 troubled financial institutions. In
the midst of these uncertainties, the problem of accountholders' lack of
awareness as to how much of their funds they will be getting has also
arisen. According to the central bank's Troubled Bank Resolution
Framework, which outlines the modalities of ZABG's rollout, only those
clients who had $5million or less in their accounts with the closed banks
will get all of their money back. The RBZ has divided the amounts of
deposits in the closed banks into three categories, small deposits (less
than $5million), medium sized deposits ($5million to $50million), and large
deposits (above $50million). "All customers with small deposits in banking
institutions being amalgamated into the ZABG will be paid off by the end of
January 2005. Creditors with medium sized deposits shall convert their
claims into equity. All large deposits shall also be converted, in full,
into equity," the RBZ said. It added that all deposits converted into equity
shall be eligible, subject to the ZABG board's discretion, for redemption
after a period of 18-24 months or upon the listing of the ZABG on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) "whichever occurs first". While the clause
is included in the framework, industry players say very few accountholders
are aware of it and this could cause problems when the bank is eventually
operational. "The problem is that some of our accountholders are not aware of
the fact that their money is going to be converted into equity and these
people have been persistently asking us when the bank will be opened so they
can get their money," said an official with one bank under curatorship who
declined to be named. Upon its launch the ZABG is expected to face a
critical confidence crisis, as its participating banks have already been
caught on the wrong side of the central bank. The fact that the banks
initially failed to manage their finances and corporate governance practices
could also affect the success of the ZABG initiative. "That is a concern
but at present I would say apart from these initial concerns, there is a
generally positive sentiment towards the bank, and this is mainly because
the ZABG is associated or has come out of an initiative of the Reserve
Bank," Interfin Securities research head Farai Dyirakumunda said. The
establishment of the ZABG has been met with immense government support,
which has moved quickly to fast-track legalities bringing the banking group
to fruition. According to a local daily, RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono, will
soon appoint Stephen Gwasira, who is the central bank's head of supervision
and surveillance, to head ZABG as chief operating officer of the allied
banking group while Dominic Magwada, managing director of Trust Bank, would
be appointed head of the retail division. Andy Hodges will head the
treasury division, while NDH founder Never Mhlanga is expected to head the
asset management arm. Sydney Mabika, former head of personnel
consultants,Lorimark, would be brought in as chief of human
newly resettled small- and large-scale farmers are abusing a government
facility that permits them to buy fertiliser in bulk from the Zimbabwe
Fertiliser Company (ZFC) by selling it on the black market at Mbare
Musika. Subsistence farmers interviewed by The Daily Mirror at the terminus
yesterday said the new farmers - working in cahoots with dealers at Mbare
Musika - were ripping them off as they cannot buy the fertiliser directly
from the ZFC. "Look, we have been told that only the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) and ZFC are supposed to make fertiliser available to small- and
large-scale farmers and other registered dealers. Are these men here bona
fide farmers to access the commodity from the organisations, only to sell it
on the black market?" asked one angry farmer from Murehwa. ZFC managing
director Richard Dafana said his company had received reports that
fertiliser was being sold on the parallel market. Dafana said: "We do not
have a mechanism to control the farmers from selling the product after they
obtain it from us. I suggest that the police must raid stalls at Mbare
Musika, as they do in established shops, to keep the price of the commodity
within the reach of many." Dafana said it was disappointing that farmers were
abusing the input scheme introduced by the government. "The majority of
farmers obtain the commodity through the GMB and when they come to us (ZFC)
they are simply coming for collection. Usually they come with papers from
GMB with receipts, just to collect the fertilizer. Only private farmers can
buy directly from us without documents of authenticity," Dafana
explained. Ammonium Nitrate (AN), which is not being sold in shops, is easily
available and accessible at Mbare Musika. A 50 kg bag of the fertiliser
is being sold at the terminus for between $180 000 and $200 000, instead of
the retail price currently pegged at $59 205. The Mbare Musika dealers
confirmed that they were working in cahoots with some commercial farmers who
provide them with the fertiliser at low prices. "Many resettled farmers lack
working capital and are forced to re-sale part of the consignment to us,"
said one vendor who preferred anonymity. A team of fertiliser vendors who
were interviewed at the terminus echoed the same sentiments, saying that was
their only means of survival. When The Daily Mirror arrived at the terminus,
consignments in small quantities could be seen displayed for fear of being
harassed by the police. "We are constantly running away from police. That's
the reason why we sell the fertiliser in small quantities near the
terminus," said another vendor.
THE increase in the
workload and decline in the complement of judges have created difficulties
in speedily resolving cases before the courts, Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku said yesterday. He said from the statistics available, the
workload faced by the courts had continued to mount, while the number of
judges and support staff remained constant and had in some instances
decreased. In 2002-2003 the High Court had a complement of 22 judges,
although the figure has gone down to 14 due to retirements, resignations and
deaths. Chidyausiku said the Harare High Court received 209 cases, compared
to 124 in 2003, while 513 appeals came from the Magistrates court - an
increase from the 228 that were heard the previous year. A total of 1 431
bail applications were also received in 2004, an increase from the 1 146
received in 2003, while 470 of these remain uncompleted. Criminal reviews
that were before the High Courts in 2004 were 7 739, against 7 321 in the
same period the previous year, while civil matters increased from 11 158 in
2003 to 12 103 last year. "Five hundred and eighteen civil appeals were
received from the magistrates' court, against 349 for the same period last
year; 1 787 default applications were received against 3 284 for the same
period last year," Chidyausiku added. He said 1 197 applications for
pre-trial conferences were received in 2003, against 1 547 last year, while
the High Court issued 4 658 orders, compared to 3450 in 2003. There was
less activity in the Sheriff's Office, where 74 instructions were issued,
with 63 being withdrawn and only seven sales in execution being
One of the great travesties Comment by Malcolm
Conn 12jan05 ALL the concern about whether the overwhelmingly successful
tsunami relief match between the Rest of the World and Asia should have
received official status has been completely misdirected.
One of the
greatest travesties perpetrated in cricket took place in Chittagong during
the past week, where Bangladesh hosted Zimbabwe in an officially sanctioned
That Bangladesh thrashed Zimbabwe by 221 runs to win their first
Test in 35 attempts over four years is not a cause for celebration but a
reaffirmation of how low Zimbabwean cricket has tumbled.
African nation should have been stripped of Test match status when most of
their decent players, who happen to be white, walked out in support of
sacked captain Heath Streak last year and were themselves
Bangladesh should never have received Test match status in 2000
given they did not even have a first-class structure and their national team
found any number of excuses to avoid playing Australian state teams to gauge
the strength of their national side. Bangladesh at their best would struggle
to compete with a state side; Zimbabwe belong in club cricket.
Ponting was shocked to see how low the standard of Zimbabwean cricket had
tumbled when Australia played a second XI in a warm-up match on their
pointless tour there in May, when the Test series was
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland doubts
anything has improved.
"We certainly harboured concerns at the time
when the Test series was postponed and we continue to harbour those
concerns," Sutherland said yesterday. "The performance of the teams needs to
continue to be monitored."
The future of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will be
decided at the next full International Cricket Council meeting in Delhi in
But the tangled web of international cricket politics, which
facilitated Bangladesh's arrival and Zimbabwe's survival, will ensure the
problem is unlikely to be confronted head on.
The most logical,
simple solution is for Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to play A sides from other
Test nations regularly at home and away until they win many more matches
than they lose. This would give both countries the international exposure
they desperately need to develop without compromising the integrity of Test
The main Test nations claim that integrity is paramount and were
prepared to vote against Zimbabwe last May once it became clear how poor
their international team had become. Zimbabwe side-stepped the issue by
volunteering to postpone Test matches for six months but that self-imposed
ban has now ended.
By reducing Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to A team
status it would free up the demands on the worthy Test nations, who must
play each other at home and away in at least two Tests and three one-day
matches every five years.
The ICC meeting again will consider a detailed
report on the structure of international cricket, with the possibility of
expanding the cycle to six years.
There is a possibility that
Zimbabwe and Bangladesh may be restricted to home series, to develop the
game in their country without imposing huge financial burdens when they
Cricket Australia lost about $1 million hosting Bangladesh in
Darwin and Cairns during 2003 and about the same amount when Zimbabwe toured
There is also the prospect that the international
cricket Zimbabwe and Bangladesh play will be halved, so they tour each
country at home and away every 10 years.
But even weak international
teams can earn millions of dollars in television rights and a vote at the
ICC board table can be a powerful thing.
Any significant change at ICC
level requires seven of the 10 Test countries to agree. Bangladesh and
Zimbabwe have two of those votes and the four Asian countries, dominated by
wealthy and powerful India, which also include Pakistan and Sri Lanka,
rarely break ranks.
Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are likely to play less
international cricket in the future. Until they improve significantly they
should not be playing any at all.
Editorial: Free Maggie/Alaskans rally 'round
elephant January 12, 2005 ED0112A There are African elephants and there
are Asian elephants, but there is only one Alaskan elephant. To
animal-rights groups, the national zoo-accreditation group -- and, probably,
most anyone who thinks a modern zoo should not condone suffering -- that's
one too many.
Still, the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage is trying to hold onto
Maggie, a full-grown female from Zimbabwe who has been on her own there
since a companion, an Asian female, died of a foot infection in 1997. By way
of rejoinder to its critics, the zoo management is enlarging the concrete
barn in which Maggie must spend the long sub-Arctic winter, and also plans a
first-of-its-kind, $100,000 exercise treadmill. No kidding.
idea of watching a 4˝-ton elephant work out on a treadmill might strike you
as funny. One can imagine flanking the machine with murals of the African
savannah, or perhaps placing a projection TV at the far end, displaying
images of an attentive male.
But in reality, where Maggie has the
misfortune to live, this approach to caring for animals -- especially one
with an elephant's social needs -- is sickening. The treadmill is not about
easing her arthritis, as the zookeepers say, or helping her lose some of the
fat she has put on. It's about holding onto a 20-year star attraction, no
The Alaskans are also bucking a praiseworthy trend in which
zoos that can't properly house their elephants are setting them free in
special sanctuaries, where they can roam widely in something like their
intended climate. The Detroit Zoo has permanently closed its exhibit; San
Francisco's is moving its two elephants to sanctuary and, by city ordinance,
can't get any new ones unless it provides them with a 15-acre habitat,
Room to roam outdoors, on natural surfaces and in a
suitable climate, is an important requirement of the American Zoo and
Aquarium Association, the industry's accreditation body (it helps to prevent
foot infections, a chronic problem of elephants confined on concrete). But
so is social grouping: AZA urges that female elephants be kept in groups of
three or larger; solitary confinement is "inappropriate."
should not be mistaken for a radical animal-rights outfit. Rather, it is a
professionally staffed, industry-supported organization which helps maintain
the commercial viability of zoos by ensuring that their programs meet
sensible standards of animal health and well-being. Indeed, of the 10 U.S.
zoos that activists have spotlighted for their shabby treatment of
elephants, all but Alaska's are AZA-accredited (as are this state's
Minnesota, Como Park and Lake Superior zoos, none of which has an elephant
So far, the Anchorage operation has declined to seek
accreditation -- which may not prove, but certainly permits, an unfavorable
conclusion about its regard for professional standards. But it may have more
trouble keeping a deaf ear turned to the many Alaskans who, despite their
reflexive resentment of interference from the world they call Outside, are
organizing a boycott to force Maggie's parole.
EDITORIAL January 11, 2005 Posted to the web January 11,
THE removal from remand of the four Zimbabwean journalists from
the Zimbabwe Independent weekly newspaper this week by Harare magistrate
Crema Chipere is welcome but one must add, it is just little done, much more
needs to be done.
The four scribes, former editor Iden Witherell,
current editor Vincent Kahiya and reporters Dumisani Muleya and Itai Dzamara
were arrested for publishing a story which accused President Robert Mugabe
of commandeering an Air Zimbabwe plane to Geneva, in Switzerland to attend
an international summit.
The same story also claimed that President
Mugabe had taken possession of the Boeing 767-200 plane to Indonesia and
Singapore. According to the charges before the court against the reporters,
the story was defamatory to the President, government and the
But thank God, magistrate Chipere has ruled that the state has
failed to provide a trial date. The four journalists are among more than 40
scribes in the country who have been brought before the courts for various
charges since the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) was enacted.
That piece of legislation has practically
emasculated journalists, especially those working for privately owned
newspapers like the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday,Tribune, Standard
and The Independent.
The brainchild of Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo, AIPPA has become the bane of journalists in the country and most
scribes are hoping that one day, Parliament will revisit the Statute books
and either amend or repeal the Act totally.
Speculation is rife that
President Mugabe will appoint a new information minister soon and that would
pave the way for the removal of AIPPA from the statute books.
the journalists who have been arrested, detained or charged through AIPPA
look forward to the appointment of a new information minister.
amendment of AIPPA would inevitably see the end of the Media and Information
Committee chaired by Tafataona Mahoso, another thorn in the flesh of the
media fraternity in Zimbabwe.
OPINION January 11, 2005 Posted to the web January 11,
Jude Igbanoi Lagos
Human rights activists from all over
Africa converged on the Senegalese capital Dakar recently for the 36th
Session of the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights. JUDE IGBANOI
who was on the team of Nigerian lawyers facilitated by the Open Society
Justice Initiative to attend the session reports
From the entire
continent of Africa they all came, government representatives,
non-governmental and civil society organisations, lobby groups and concerned
individuals with observer status. The common interest was the protection of
basic and fundamental human rights. Language, colour or religion was no
barrier. From November 23 to December 7, human rights defenders brainstormed
with their counterparts from other countries and with the representatives of
various African governments. The sessions were quite exciting, the debates
robust and the arguments were passionate, but the issues from country to
country were not too dissimilar. There was no doubt a meeting of minds on
sundry issues. One of such issues is the controversy over the abolition or
retention of death penalty. An overwhelming majority of participants
pandered towards abolition. Those are the pro-lifers. The few countries and
organisations that came with anti-abolition positions could not garner any
significant support from participants. The Senegalese President Abdulai
Wade, who addressed the Session, is noted to be a committed supporter of the
abolition of death sentence. It is on record that the octogenarian is a
holder of three Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics, Economics and Law and is a
professor in the three disciplines. In fact he was the pioneer Dean of the
faculty of law at the University of Dakar. The Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo is an acclaimed advocate of the abolition of death
Egypt for instance took their anti-abolitionist position based
on their conviction that there is no worldwide consensus on the issue. Sudan
took the position that death penalty should only be resorted to only in
extreme situations of heinous crimes. The Nigerian government in its usual
approach to such matters dilly-dallied and posited that death penalty is in
her statute books and Constitution and therefore must be handled with utmost
care. However, the Nigerian delegation quickly pointed out the on-going
debate on the issue and the Presidential Committee that is currently holding
nationwide consultations. It was also reported that no executions have been
carried out in Nigeria in the past few years.
advancement that was achieved at the session was in the commissioning of
Special Rappertuers on prisons. A further step was taken in the unanimous
agreement by delegates and participants to commence a Prisons-Hotline where
every country can report on prisons situations in their individual
Reports from the various countries however painted a very
pathetic picture of prisons conditions. Egypt for instance expressed very
serious concerns over the inmates in Egyptian prisons. 35,000 prisoners were
quoted to be in detention without trial, some were even said to have served
their full sentences but not released. Egypt also urged the Commission to
prevail on their authorities to review or relax the State of Emergency
powers, which were put in place for security reasons with regard to
terrorism. Uganda, Mauritania, Kenya and Gambia all painted very gory
pictures of their prisons. A special case was made for Mauritania by the
wives of the detainees of alleged coup plot who were denied access to
members of their immediate families. Ghana also made a case for married
inmates and posited that family ties must not be severed on account of
Torture also formed a central issue which occupied the
attention of participants. The conference took the issue so serious that an
interactive session was convened to discuss in details ways of tackling the
The Special Forum for human rights NGOs saw various
organisations from all over the continent present their positions on sundry
issues. Notable among these were CLEEN led by Mr. Innocent Chukuma from
Nigeria, Minorities Rights Group International, Association for the
Prevention of Torture, The African Society of International and Comparative
Law, Sudanese Jurists Union, Amnesty International, Equality Now from
Nairobi, International Workforce for Indigenous Affairs from South Africa,
Egyptian UN Association, World Organisation Against Torture, Wives of
Military Prisoners, House of Human Rights, ZIMRIGHTS from Zimbabwe, Media
Institute of South Africa, Anti Slavery International and several others. In
its submission, CLEEN maintained the same position with Media Rights Agenda
over the issue of civilian oversight of policing and advocated that a
mechanism be put in place for holding the police accountable for human
However one of the most crucial issues that came up
for debate at the session was the future and proposed merger of the African
Court of Human and Peoples' Rights and the African Court of Justice, which
are both erroneously, viewed as organs of the African Union. The debate
assumed a life of its own as passions were quite high. Individuals, NGOs and
representatives of various African governments freely expressed their views
on the vexed issue. In what appeared to be a formidable alliance, all NGOs
present came out in one voice to vehemently oppose the merger of the two
courts. Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo as current Chairman of the AU
had proposed the merger of the African Court of Justice and the African
Court on Human and Peoples' Rights essentially as a cost saving measure. A
greater percentage of the participants were of the view that a merger will
create serious problems. This is because the two courts are not of the same
status. While the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights is already in
existence with judges sitting and the instruments ratified, the African
Court of Justice is yet to be so ratified. They therefore don't enjoy the
same status. One major underlying difference is that the African Court on
Human and Peoples' Rights as stipulated in Article 34 paragraph 6 is
accessible to individuals and NGOs, while the African Court of Justice can
only be accessed by states. A merger would then mean starting from afresh
the process of intensive lobbing for ratification by African states, because
a new protocol will be required to effect the merger. This will translate to
many years of hard work and a lot of financial obligations for NGOs and
other stakeholders. In the opinion of Chidi Odinkalu who is Africa Director
of the Open Society Justice Initiative, its like taking one-step forward and
two steps backward. The view of most of the Nigerian lawyers who attended
the session including Barrister Saka Azimazi of the National Human Rights
Commission, Abuja is that President Obasanjo was ill informed and improperly
advised in choosing the merger option for the two courts. This basically is
because the merger is inconsistent with the Maputo Accord, which stipulated
that the two courts would operate independently.
The 36th Session of
the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has come and gone but the
issues it threw up are alive and still raging. Whether it is the situation
in Daffur, crisis in the Congo Democratic Republic, armed conflict in the
West African Sub-Region or the remaining vestiges of racial discrimination
in South Africa, delegates, human rights defenders and observers have
returned to their various countries with a renewed zeal and empowerment to
crusade against rights abuses by African governments. As Professor Emmanuel
Dankwa of Ghana puts it, sessions of the ACHPR have gone beyond a mere
exchange of papers and speeches. African heads of government are listening
and the international community is watching.
For the delegates, there
couldn't have been a better venue than Dakar. The weather was most agreeable
and the conference facilities at the Meridien Hotel President were simply
fantastic. There were excellent translations in English, French, Arabic and
. The experience for Nigerian delegates was altogether an eye opener. Some
Nigerians for instance observed with amazement that there was not a single
minute of power outage in the city of Dakar for the entire two-week duration
of the conference. In fact many vowed that when next they plan a holiday,
Dakar would be their destination. Given the number of Europeans that flood
Dakar as observed from the hotels, holidaying in Dakar is no doubt a wise
choice. It has been said that the Nigerian ruling class pilgrimage to Dakar
either for the famous architectural designs, which the city is known for, or
to consult Marabouts. It is my prediction that future Nigerian itinerants
would visit strictly for holiday and leisure.
January 11, 2005 Posted to the web January 11,
A NEW political party, the Zimbabwe Youth in Alliance
(ZIYA), is gearing up for the forthcoming general elections and says its
candidate selection process is nearing completion.
ZIYA secretary for
information and publicity Mr Daniel Mbanje said the party had identified
candidates in 80 out of the country's 120 constituencies, and the process
was still underway in other constituencies.
ZIYA was launched in July
last year in Harare after an all stakeholders' conference, which drew
delegates from all the country's provinces.
The party, Mr Mbanje said,
was formed out of the realisation that Zimbabwean youths have been
He said though his party supported the correction of
gender inequities in decision-making, its main concern was that youths were
a forgotten lot.
The party has a dual understanding of
"To us a youth is one who falls below the age of 40 years,
though we welcome those above 40 years strictly in an advisory
"Youthfulness also manifests itself in the form of ideas,
anyone with fresh ideas, is to us a youth as that constitutes a youthful
paradigm of thought," Mbanje said.
The ZIYA ideology is "pan-African
social democracy" and the party firmly believes in such people-centred
programmes as agrarian reforms.
"There is no way we can forget that
colonialism afflicted our society with the scourge of poverty," he
Mbanje says ZIYA respects the country's laws, such as the
Political Parties Finance Act, which bars foreign funding of political
"'Our party is receiving a lot of financial support from the
local business community, we also have various fundraising ventures and some
of our members who are business people in their own right, also support the
The party says it has strong support in three
provinces; Manicaland, Midlands and Masvingo and is making inroads in Harare
where the electorate is disgruntled with the MDC's track record over the
past five years.
Mbanje attributes ZIYA's failure to make headway in the
other six provinces mainly to lack of adequate financial resources, and
resistance by the mainstream parties.
The party has however come
under attack from some MDC members who are accusing it of trying to
legitimise a Zanu-PF victory in the forthcoming elections, by contesting the
poll. Mbanje says ZIYA makes its own decisions just as the MDC made its own
decision to boycott the poll.
The party is confident that it will win
some seats as it believes it has a duty to bring new ideas to the august
"What we saw in the past five years in parliament where blows were
exchanged instead of ideas is deplorable as it will not take our country
The party's secretary-general, Moses Mutyasira says his party
has already been approached by several disgruntled members of both Zanu-PF
and the MDC who wish to contest the elections on a ZIYA ticket.
Bernard Nyikadzino, the ZIYA National Director of elections sees nothing
wrong with the country's electoral landscape and hailed the new electoral
January 11, 2005 Posted to the web January 11,
THE inspection of the voters' roll for the March
general elections will begin on Monday next week, Registrar-General Mr
Tobaiwa Mudede has said.
Mr Mudede said in an interview that everything
was being done to ensure the inspection of the voters' roll commences next
"The inspection of the voters' roll will be conducted countrywide
as from January 17 to 30, starting from 7am to 5pm in rural areas and 6pm in
urban areas," he said.
Mr Mudede said his office would comply with
the decision of the Delimitation Commission and prepare the voters' roll in
accordance with the new constituencies.
He encouraged voters to go
and inspect the roll on the days and centres that will be published in the
"Registered voters are encouraged to visit the inspection centres
to verify if their personal details are recorded correctly and cause
corrections to be made where necessary.
"Those who have turned 18
years are also advised to visit the centres to register as voters in order
to qualify as voters for the March parliamentary elections."
wishing to transfer to other constituencies, Mr Mudede said, would be asked
to fill in the relevant documents at the centres during the course of the
Mr Mudede said the department was prepared to face the
challenges that would be brought about by the Electoral Act.
however, would not comment on the change from two days of polling to one day
since the exercise begins during the forthcoming March parliamentary
The elections will be conducted under a reformed electoral
system in line with the Southern African Development community (Sadc)
principles and guidelines on democratic elections.
passed the Electoral Bill and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill which
seek to reform the country's electoral system in line with the Sadc
Both Bills now await presidential assent before they become
law. Of the 120 constituencies in the country, Mashonaland East and West
have 13 each, Harare 18, Mashonaland Central 10, Manicaland 15, Masvingo 14,
Midlands 16, while Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South have seven
Currently, the country has 5 658 637 registered voters.