Sat 14 January 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa on Friday said the
government had not yet decided whether to pay part or all of the US$150
million owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), suggesting Harare
might fail to clear IMF arrears by March as promised.
Hard cash-strapped Zimbabwe avoided being the only other country to be
thrown out from the IMF since the 1954 expulsion of Czechoslovakia, when it
made a surprise US$120 million payment to the IMF last October, days before
the Fund's board was due to meet to decide whether to recommend the African
The Harare government followed up with two other payments of 15 and 10
million dollars to leave its outstanding debt to the IMF at US$150 million
out of an initial US$295 million. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono last November said Harare would clear the outstanding debt by March.
But Murerwa, who insisted that Harare was working hard to rationalise
relations with the IMF, told ZimOnline: "We have paid a greater part of the
arrears. We have not yet decided on how much we will pay this month (to the
Asked specifically if Zimbabwe would meet the March deadline to clear
IMF arrears, Murerwa would only say: "We are looking at that problem now."
Zimbabwe is grappling its worst ever economic crisis that set in after
the IMF's withdrawal in 1999 of balance-of-payments support to Harare
following differences with President Robert Mugabe over fiscal policy and
other governance issues.
The economic crisis quickened after Mugabe began his controversial
farm seizure programme, spawning galloping inflation, acute shortages of
foreign currency, food and other basic commodities.
With little or basically no foreign currency reserves at all,
Zimbabwe's series of debt repayments to the IMF late last year raised
suspicion as to the source of the hard cash used to pay the Fund.
The IMF said it would investigate the source of the funding and report
back to its executive board in March. But authorities in Harare insist that
all monies paid to the Fund came from export earnings, inflows from
expatriate Zimbabweans and locals working for foreign-owned organisations
who are paid in foreign currency.
Going by its performance last year, Harare could still raise the
outstanding US$150 million virtually from the hat and clear arrears with the
IMF. But economic analysts say shortages of foreign currency have worsened
in Zimbabwe in recent months that the southern African nation could hardly
afford to spare hard cash for the IMF.
Failure to pay up could see the IMF reviving moves to expel Zimbabwe.
Expulsion from the IMF would see the few donors still giving aid to Zimbabwe
cease doing so while creditors will rush in to attach the country's assets.
Meanwhile, Murerwa said an IMF delegation was scheduled to arrive in
Zimbabwe during the last week of this month for routine consultations with
Harare monetary authorities. - ZimOnline
Sat 14 January 2006
HARARE - Fifty-five year old widow Buhle Ngwenya is in a pensive mood
as she sits on the well-polished veranda of her four-bedroom rural home,
deep in Matobo district in western Zimbabwe.
Ngwenya occasionally takes a sip from the huge mug of a home-made
beverage called mahewu as she watches the sun disappear into the western
"I wish his father was still alive to witness this," she says throwing
her hands in the direction of the mansion that has changed the face of this
Ngwenya's husband died 10 years ago leaving her to take care of the
"I am sure he would have been proud to witness this development in the
family's fortunes," she says in an undertone.
The home comprises a four-bedroom unit of brick under tile and a lock
up garage. The family also has the added luxury of watching digital
television powered by several solar panels in the comfort of their home.
Ngwenya is one of the many mothers who pride themselves with having
valiant sons and daughters who skipped the border, with or without travel
documents, in search of better opportunities in South Africa.
Five years ago, Ngwenya's 31-year old son Simangaliso, joined the
"great trek" down south after realising there was no future in Zimbabwe
which is grappling a severe economic crisis.
A few years later, Simangaliso and his fellow immigrant workers mostly
based in South Africa, have virtually changed the face of rural Matabeleland
after they financed the building of massive houses through the earnings they
remit back home.
The changed rural landscape in Matobo is being replicated elsewhere
after years of neglect by President Robert Mugabe's government.
An ambitious housing programme set up in the 1980s under the populist
slogan, "Housing for All by Year 2000," got lost in the bureaucracy as the
government weaned itself of its "socialist" fatigues.
"It takes real determination to make it in South Africa," says
Simangaliso, who was home for Christmas as he cleaned his South African
registered pick-up truck.
"My uncle who works in South Africa helped me secure a job in a
construction company. He also normalised my work permit," he says.
The relative success achieved by Zimbabweans who trekked down south
has in turn triggered a stampede among thousands of young Zimbabweans who
see going to South Africa as their only hope for survival.
At least 70 percent of Zimbabwe's labour force is jobless after most
industries shut down due to the tough economic situation. Inflation,
described by Mugabe as the country's "enemy number one" is at 585.8 percent,
one of the highest in the world.
Basic foodstuffs and medicines are also in critical short supply
because there is no hard cash to import the commodities after Mugabe's
controversial farm seizure programme disrupted the key agriculture sector,
the country's biggest foreign currency earner.
But not all who cross the border to South Africa have the relevant
A total of 97 433 Zimbabweans were deported from South Africa last
year for flouting the country's immigration laws.
South Africa's Department of Home Affairs' spokesman, Nkosana Sibuya
said while it was not possible to pinpoint the real reasons why most
foreigners were coming to South Africa, most were seeking to reap the fruits
of a new and democratic South Africa.
Sibuya warned: "But just as I cannot wake up one morning and decide
that I want to go to China that day without having organised the correct
documentation and passports, so too people cannot come to South Africa
without the right documentation."
But the Pretoria government official might as well reserve his advice
for, for these young Zimbabweans fleeing home because of hunger and
worsening economic hardships, it matters little whether they have correct
documentation or not to stay or work in South Africa. - ZimOnline
Sat 14 January 2006
HARARE - The executive director of Zimbabwe's Voice of the People
broadcasting firm, John Masuku, arrested late last year for allegedly
breaching the country's tough broadcasting laws was on Friday further
remanded to March.
Masuku, who last year spent four days in jail without appearing in
court, is out on a Z$4 million bail.
It was not immediately clear whether Masuku, who must report to the
police every Friday as part of his bail conditions, will be given a trial
date when he next appears in court on the 30th of March.
His lawyer, Hope Ngara, of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
said: "Masuku still has to report to the police every Friday as part of his
bail conditions. He will appear in court on March 30.
"We have not strategised on the way forward yet. We hope to be able to
do that after we get a trial date."
The police raided the VOP offices last December in a fresh crackdown
against the media and arrested three of the broadcaster's journalists. They
also confiscated equipment and documents while the three VOP journalists
were locked up in police cells without charge for four days.
The journalists, Maria Nyanyiwa, Nyasha Bosha and Kundai Mugwanda,
were only released after Masuku surrendered himself to the police.
VOP Radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe from a transmitter in Madagascar,
which is operated by Radio Netherlands. VOP has been broadcasting from
Madagascar since its Zimbabwe studios were destroyed in August 2002.
The radio station is one of several such stations operated by
Zimbabweans and forced to broadcast into the country from outside its
boarders because Harare's Broadcasting Services Act virtually makes it
impossible for privately-run radio and television companies to set up
studios in the country. - ZimOnline
Fri 13 January 2006
HARARE - The Zimbabwe High Court on Friday ordered the arrest of one
of the country's senior judges after he failed to turn up at court for
sentencing following his conviction earlier in the week on two counts of
attempting to defeat the course of justice.
Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe issued a warrant of arrest against the
fugitive Justice Benjamin Paradza when it became clear he was not at court
after his name was called out three times and he did not respond.
Mutambanegwe, a former judge in Zimbabwe now serving on the Namibian
Supreme Court bench and who was requested to hear Paradza's case,
immediately ordered that the warrant of arrest be faxed to all exit points.
"A warrant of arrest is hereby immediately issued against Judge
Benjamin Paradza. His bail amount is restricted or forfeited to the state
provisionally in case he shows up and convinces this court on why he was not
present today," said Mutambanengwe.
"I also order that this warrant of arrest be immediately faxed to all
immigration offices at every border post between Zimbabwe and its
neighbouring countries and at all airports saving the republic of Zimbabwe,"
Paradza's lawyer, Eric Matinenga, who convinced the court when his
client was convicted last Monday, to delay sentencing to today to allow him
to prepare arguments in mitigation said he was unaware of the judge's
Matinenga said: "Paradza is not available. I don't know where he is.
There is no information as to what may have happened to him. I am not able
to assist the court. I can only say that as soon as information is made
available as to his status I will inform the court. As things stand, I can't
Paradza, the first serving Zimbabwean judge to be convicted of a
criminal offence faced a maximum of 10 years in jail after he was found
guilty of contravening Section 4 (a) of the Corruption Act chapter 9:16 as
read with section 360 (2) (b) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act
chapter 9 when he attempted to entice two fellow judges to release a
passport belonging to his partner in a safari business.
The judge's business partner, Russell Labuschagne, was at the time on
bail after his arrest for murdering an alleged fish-poacher at his fish farm
in Zimbabwe's northern Binga district. Labuschagne, whose passport had been
seized by the state as part of his bail conditions, was subsequently jailed
for 15 years for the murder.
In his evidence-in-chief during trial, Paradza claimed that the
charges against him were part of a covert plot by some judiciary officials
to entrap and damage his reputation to fix him for his previous judgments
that were perceived as unfavourable to the government.
Paradza was arrested weeks after he had delivered a judgment in favour
of former opposition executive mayor of Harare Elias Mudzuri in a case
against the state.
But Mutambanegwe ruled that Paradza had illegally attempted to use his
influence as a judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe to entice Bulawayo-based
Judges Maphios Cheda and George Chiweshe to release Labuschagne's passport
in order to enable the businessman to travel overseas to scout for hunting
clients at an international wildlife and safari trade fair.
Mutambanengwe particularly noted that Paradza had himself openly
admitted in court that he stood to gain U$60 000 had his business partner
been allowed to travel overseas to scout for hunting business.
The state had to engage Mutambanengwe after Zimbabwean judges declined
to take up the matter. ZimOnline.
Fri 13 January 2006
ZVISHAVANE - Zimbabwe police have banned a planned campaign meeting of
the country's newest opposition party, the United People's Movement (UMP),
giving its leaders a taste of the repressive security laws they helped enact
while they were members of President Robert Mugabe's government.
One of the fledgling UPM's top executives, Pearson Mbalekwa, said his
party had notified the police of a planned meeting on Tuesday this week at a
community hall in the Nil section of Zvishavane, a mining town more than
400km south-west of Harare.
Mbalekwa said the police had verbally responded, telling UPM officials
that the party's meeting could not be allowed to proceed because the
proposed venue for the meeting had been booked "by other people for a week."
"We re-scheduled our meeting for the 13th (today) but permission was
denied," Mbalekwa told ZimOnline yesterday.
Mbalekwa is a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Mugabe's ruling
ZANU PF party while one of UPM's chief architects, Jonathan Moyo, was
government minister of information and also a non-constituency MP.
Mbalekwa left ZANU PF in protest against Mugabe's controversial urban
clean-up campaign that left at least 700 000 Zimbabweans without shelter and
means of livelihood after the government demolished shantytowns and informal
Moyo was fired from the government and ZANU PF after he successfully
stood in last year's parliamentary election as an independent.
Both politicians had however strongly supported the enactment of the
Public Order and Security Act that bans Zimbabweans from gathering to
discuss politics in groups of three or more without first seeking approval
from the police.
Although police verbally told UPM officials that the party's meeting
could not go ahead because the proposed venue was already booked, a letter
written to the opposition party by a police superintendent P Madondo, states
that the reason the meeting was being banned was because the party was "not
yet officially registered."
"This is a clear case of political interference by the police who
misinterpret the law on behalf of the government," Mbalekwa said.
UPM is campaigning for an independent candidate, Tawanda Musavengana,
in the forthcoming local government elections.
Musavengana had registered as an independent for the local government
polls before joining the UPM. - ZimOnline
Fri 13 January 2006
HARARE - Runaway inflation could prove key to unhinging President
Robert Mugabe's decades-long grip on power as disaffection swells among
lower-ranking soldiers and police, increasingly finding it hard to survive
on a rapidly depreciating Zimbabwe dollar, analysts said on Thursday.
Mugabe - in power since founding independent Zimbabwe from the ashes
of the British colony of Rhodesia in 1980 - has commanded unquestioned
loyalty from the security forces which he has over the years regularly used
to crush dissent and challenge to his rule.
But the analysts said deepening poverty among junior-to-medium ranking
soldiers and police chiefly because of hyperinflation and food shortages -
themselves the result of an acute six-year economic crisis - was steadily
eroding Mugabe's powerbase in the armed forces.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Eldred Masunungure, said
discord between poorly paid foot soldiers and police on one hand and their
well-fed commanders on the other would threaten social stability and if
unchecked could lead to the unthinkable happening - a mutiny by the security
forces against Mugabe's command!
"The relations of the politicians and those in the military become
strained when the pact of reciprocity is broken," said Masunungure, who is
head of the UZ's political science department.
He added: "If that happens, in a case like Zimbabwe where the ruling
party's power bases lies in the uniformed forces, then there is a risk of
While senior police and army commanders earn huge salaries and are
feted with a wide range of perks including the latest Sport Utility
Vehicles, their men and women in the camps are battling to feed their
families as rising inflation continues to whittle down their small salaries.
For example, after the government this month awarded all its workers
including the security services a 231 percent salary increment, a junior
soldier or police officer will now earn about Z$7 million per month
But with year-on-year inflation rising to 585.8 percent in December
up from 502.4 percent in November, the new pay for soldiers and police
officers falls far below the poverty datum line (PDL) - the minimum amount
of money an average family of a mother, father and three children requires
for basic goods and services per month.
According to the government's Central Statistical Office the cost of
living had shot up in tandem with galloping inflation to leave the PDL at
$17.2 million or more than twice what junior police officers and soldiers
And worse still, economists predict inflation to shoot beyond 600
percent in a matter of months, a development that will push Zimbabwe's
soldiers further below the poverty line.
In a vivid illustration of growing disaffection, military and police
commanders told ZimOnline this week that more than 3 000 junior soldiers and
police officers had applied for discharge from government service chiefly
because of poor remuneration.
If all those that have applied for discharge were to be allowed to
leave this would be the first time in almost a decade that so many soldiers
and police officers would be leaving the security forces in such large
Military experts say Mugabe's problem began when he transformed the
security forces into an extension of his ruling ZANU PF party, undermining
professionalism and ethics, all in a bid to consolidate his hold on power.
It worked then because at the time the bulk of those serving in the
police and army were former fighters in the 1970s independence war who were
accustomed to taking orders from political leaders of the liberation
Former soldier and now main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party defence spokesman Giles Mutsekwa said the situation was now
different with the younger crop of men and women recruited after
independence now forming a considerable fraction of the security services.
Mugabe cannot expect loyalty from this new generation of soldiers and
police officers on the basis that he led the liberation struggle alone,
He said: "For the younger non-commissioned officers who joined the
army after independence the politics of liberation that Mugabe harps on
daily no longer appeals to them."
Both Masunugure and Mutsekwa were however quick to point out that it
was still very well within Mugabe's government to mobilise whatever
financial resources that are required to appease all ranks of the uniformed
forces and keep them firmly on his side.
Masunungure said: "It is highly likely that the government will give
the people in the army and police higher salaries to ensure that they are
happy and are not receptive to incentives by opposition parties."
Mugabe's government has baffled both its critics and supporters, by
defiantly hanging on to power despite international sanctions against the
veteran President and his top officials, a deepening food and economic
crisis. - ZimOnline.
Fri 13 January 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's long-running fuel crisis plus a shortage of
pesticides have crippled efforts to control an outbreak of the crop-eating
armyworm that is threatening to wipe out this year's harvests, in the latest
crisis to hit the country.
Harvests in food-short Zimbabwe had looked promising after the country
received more rains in the past few weeks. But the situation now looks
doubtful as the voracious armyworm spreads across the southern African
country devouring more than 4 000 tonnes of maize, sorghum and millet, in
just a few days.
The director of the government's Agricultural Research and Extension
Services (AREX), Shadreck Mlambo, said his department that oversees farm
research and plant protection was battling hard to control the worms but its
efforts were being hampered by a shortage of fuel and pesticides.
"There is a shortage of fuel and pesticides. I am appealing to the
corporate sector to chip in with whatever assistance. What we need is fuel
and pesticides to eliminate the threat posed by the armyworm but our staff
are just managing with whatever few resources we have," said Mlambo.
The shortage of Carbayl 85, the chemical used to kill armyworms, and
fuel for AREX officers to travel to areas of outbreak is because there is no
hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
Harare has grappled an acute foreign currency shortage since the
International Monetary Fund withdrew balance-of-payments support in 1999.
The hard cash crisis worsened a year later after President Robert Mugabe
began his farm seizure programme that destabilised the agricultural sector -
the economy's mainstay and biggest foreign currency earner.
Essential medical drugs, electricity and nearly every other basic
commodity is in short supply also because there is no hard cash to pay
The armyworm attack is expected to reduce yields that were already
expected to be lower because farmers were not able to plant on time because
of a shortage of fertilizer and crop seeds.
The fast-spreading armyworm has so far been cited in the provinces of
Manicaland, Mashonaland East, West and Central - the country's top four
food producing regions. The worms have also been cited in the drier Midlands
and Matabeleland North provinces.
An estimated three million people or a quarter of the 12 million
Zimbabweans require food aid between now and the next harvest beginning
around March/April after poor harvest in the 2004/05 farming season.
Food production has fallen by about 60 percent since Mugabe seized
productive farms from whites and gave them over to landless black villagers
but did not give the resettled villagers financial resources and skills
training to maintain production. - ZimOnline.
Fri 13 January 2006
JOHANNESBURG - Leaders of a faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party are in South Africa to brief the
media and diplomats on the crisis rocking the six-year old party.
The four-member delegation made up of Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube,
Gift Chimanikire and legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga arrived in
Johannesburg on Thursday.
Talking to ZimOnline in Johannesburg yesterday, Ncube said they had
come to South Africa to put across their own side of the story on the
conflict in the MDC.
"We thought it was necessary to talk to the South African media to put
across our own side of the story and deal with claims that this split in
the MDC is an ethnic split," said Ncube.
The MDC, which offered Zimbabweans the only real chance of unseating
President Robert Mugabe from power, has been split into two warring
factions after its president Morgan Tsvangirai differed with Ncube and other
leaders over whether to contest last November's senate election.
The two factions have played out their differences in the media
trading insults and suspending each other from the party. Several attempts
at mediation have however failed with the two factions digging in their
Ncube also said his delegation had no plans to meet South African
President Thabo Mbeki who has in the past sought to resolve the six-year
old political crisis in Zimbabwe.
"Our mission is to engage the media. We have no intention of meeting
the South African government after speculative accusations that that they
are involved in our dispute," said Ncube.
Ncube claimed that the crisis in the MDC was due to a series of
decisions made by Tsvangirai over the past few years that undermined the
"principle of collective democratic decision making" in the MDC.
He said Tsvangirai had "no natural instincts for dictatorial
tendencies" but was captive to his "kitchen cabinet", a group of unelected
individuals whom he blamed for misleading the MDC leader.
Asked if there were still any prospects to bring the two warring
factions together, Ncube said they were willing to work with Tsvangirai
only if there is a "reconfirmation of the founding values" of the MDC.
The spokesman for a faction alligned to Tsvangirai, Nelson Chamisa,
could not be reached for comment on the issues last night.
Meanwhile Ncube and his colleagues, who were suing leader Tsvangirai
for defamation have revised their claims from $50 billion to $100 billion,
arguing they have unearthed more evidence showing the extent to which they
Ncube and leaders of his faction accuse Tsvangirai of telling foreign
diplomats that they were working with Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party to
destroy the MDC and to assassinate its president and other leaders
Tsvangirai's laywers could not be reached last night but ZimOnline
understands that the MDC leader has filed papers with the court indicating
he was prepared to defend himself. - ZimOnline
Fri 13 January 2006
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government's Media and Information Commission
(MIC) has hiked registration fees for journalists wishing to practice in the
country by more than 4 000 percent, ZimOnline has learnt.
Under the government's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), journalists face two years in jail for practising in Zimbabwe
with being registered with the MIC.
The Act, regarded as one of the harshest Press laws in the world, also
requires newspaper companies to register with the commission or they will be
forced to close down and their equipment seized for publishing newspapers
without being registered.
The new registration fees are Z$250 000 for journalists registering
for the first time. Previously such journalists were required to pay $6 000.
Journalists will now pay $200 000 for renewal of registration up from $5 000
they paid last year.
Freelance reporters will pay $150 000 to renew their registration, up
from $3 000 last year, while freelancers wishing to register for the first
time will fork out $100 000, up from $2 500 payable in 2004.
Registration fees for foreign journalists wishing to visit Zimbabwe to
cover stories however remain unchanged at US$600 per applicant.
Zimbabwean journalists must renew their registration after every 12
months. The MIC can refuse to register journalists it perceives as not
toeing the line.
Registration fees for media houses, which according to AIPPA must
apply for registration every 24 months, have not yet been gazetted,
according to MIC officials.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, which is opposed to the requirement
that journalists register with the MIC, said: "Although they (new fees) are
not much when you take into consideration the galloping inflation, we are
totally against the requirement that journalists should register . . . the
whole thing is ridiculous."
The World Association of Newspapers ranks crisis-torn Zimbabwe among
three countries with the worst media laws in the world. The other two are
the Islamic Republic of Iran and the former Soviet Union republic of
Apart from facing jail for practising without being registered,
Zimbabwean journalists also face two years imprisonment for criticising or
ridiculing President Robert Mugabe in their articles.
At least four newspapers, including the country's biggest circulating
and only non-government controlled daily, the Daily News, were shut down by
the government in the last three years for breaching its tough Press laws. -
The zimbabwe independent
Friday, 13 January 2006
POLICE officers have reportedly expropriated Gletwyn Farm, a private
property worth US$ 10 million in the Greater Harare area, and are currently
subdividing it into residential stands for high-rankings officers.
Gletwyn Farm's owner, Alexander Ross, said the police descended on the
225-hectare property situated 14 kilometres east of Harare on December 13,
claiming it had been acquired for Police Heights Housing Co-operative to
develop residential stands for the force's senior officers.
No compensation has been discussed between the police and the farm owners.
Ross said the farm has been subdivided into 600 stands ranging from 1 900 to
2 000 square-metres, displacing more than 200 people initially renting
houses or working at the farm.
This week police trucks were moving people from the farm to unspecified
locations. A contractor has already started opening roads as a way of
servicing residential stands. The farm sits in a prime residential area
between Mandara and Glen Lorne.
Documents to hand say the farm was incorporated into the city of Harare in
1996 and the owner made preparations to sub-divide it for urban development.
The work initially done was to prepare a local subject plan for the whole
area, to be followed by the creation of a subdivision plan for the land.
The subdivision plan was in the process of being submitted to the Harare
city council in 2000 which coincided with the start of the land reform
programme. Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo then made a statement
that no peri-urban land should be sub-divided, the documents say.
War veterans moved onto the farm in late 2000 and numerous disruptions to
farming activities occurred although for the most part the Ross family
maintained control of the property.
The documents show that last April, an instruction was given by the Ministry
of Local Government that no crops should be planted on the farm as the land
was required for a housing project.
On October 17 heavy earthmoving machinery was moved onto the property to
open up primitive roads on all arable areas of the farm, ruining much of the
potato crop in the ground.
The invasion has forced the multi-billion dollar farming project to close
down. Gletwyn Farm was producing seed maize, potatoes, soya beans and a
range of fresh vegetables.
Members of the Police Heights Housing Cooperative are expected to meet at
the farm today (Friday).
The documents say on December 13 Harare governor David Karimanzira and high
ranking police officials told the Ross family to leave the property
immediately because it was being taken over by the police.
Ross said later that day more police officers arrived at the property,
pitched tents and took over the main property's security control gate.
"The police also located themselves on the property's operational centre,
and even in the garden of my brother's house," Ross said, adding: "The
following day (December 14) many more police cadres arrived on the property
and effectively shut it down. Thereafter many people residing on the farm
were denied entry or the right to leave the property to go to work or to do
their normal business."
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
13 January 2006
Any lingering hopes for reconciliation of the opposing factions of Zimbabwe's
Movement for Democratic Change were brushed away this week as Secretary
General Welshman Ncube, in South Africa drumming up support for his
grouping, told the Financial Times that "it is evident that we have parallel
Ncube is considered the leader of a Bulawayo-centered MDC faction that broke
with the Harare-based grouping behind the party's president, Morgan
Tsvangirai, over whether to contest the senate elections held in November.
Ncube's "pro-senate" faction gained seven seats in the upper house, but
since then the dispute has become personalized with each side launching
launching accusations and recriminations.
More recently the wrangling has focused on the allocation of public party
finance funding earmarked for the formerly unified opposition party, on
conflicting claims to the position of party president (among other executive
and administrative positions) and on alleged defamation by the Tsvangirai
camp resulting in a Ncube-faction suit.
Both factions are getting ready for separate party congresses in the months
to come, pointing to a more formal political divorce. One question still to
be answered concerns which faction will ultimately control the MDC name and
Opposition supporters express disappointment and disillusionment with both
factions. The MDC once seemed Zimbabwe's best hope for a democratic
transition, but political observers now say MDC officials are so focused on
the intra-party struggle that the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert
Mugabe now faces little challenge.
Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele spoke with two seasoned observers of Zimbabwean
affairs: International Crisis Group Southern African analyst Sydney Masamvu,
and Iden Witherell, project editor for the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard
news group, seeking their views on the long-range fallout from the MDC
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
BULAWAYO, 13 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - The city hall parking area in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second largest urban centre, is usually bustling when schools
reopen as boarders wait to be picked up by school shuttles - now it looks
deserted, the direct result of a 150 to 500 percent hike in fees in
missionary and private schools.
"My parents say they still have to raise the school fees," said Fanyana
Ngwenya, 17, high a school student at a missionary boarding school, 120
kilometres north of Bulawayo, who was unable to join his classmates when his
school reopened on Tuesday. "Times are hard - I just have to wait."
Fanyana's father, Ngwenya, told IRIN that when schools closed for the
holidays, he had expected that the fees, which were Zim $3 million (US $37)
in 2005, would not exceed Zim $6 million ($74) in the new year.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing runaway price increases since 2000, causing
living standards to plummet as salaries failed to match the rate of
"I was shocked a week before schools reopened to receive a notice from the
school, saying the fees had been increased to Zim $15 million ($189)," said
Ngwenya, a school teacher who earns a little more than US $40 a month.
"He [Fanyana] also needs groceries, transport and pocket money. If I can't
raise anything this week, we will have to transfer him to a local day
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a watchdog body, expressed concern
at the increases, saying they were unaffordable and would negatively impact
on education delivery.
"We are now faced with a situation where parents are forced to either
transfer their children from some schools, opting for those that are
cheaper, or completely withdrawing them from school," said the CCZ
Information and Research Centre administrator, Trust Masarirambi.
"At the end of the day, it is our education system that is suffering because
we will have many dropouts," he predicted.
Munetsi Wakatama, principal of a local government school, said his school
had been flooded by parents wanting to enroll their children since Tuesday.
"Most of them are transferring from boarding schools," he said. "I have had
to turn many away - I have no vacancies." Another said he had stuck a notice
on the gate to advise parents that his school was full.
The public education system stumbled after government stopped subsidising
students in 1990s and many parents shunned government-owned schools because
of their low pass rates.
In the face of an inflation rate that topped 585 percent in December 2005,
most missionary and private schools have asserted that the fee increases
were justified, but the government has accused them of defying its directive
on 7 January 2006 of a maximum 150 percent rise.
Stephen Mahere, permanent secretary in the ministry of education, sport and
culture, urged schools seeking to raise fees to obtain permission from the
That was not a viable option, according to Mehluli Mpofu, principal of a
local private school. "There is too much bureaucracy in the government, and
that would mean prices of basic commodities increase and students starve
while we wait for the government to approve an application."
"Education in the country is quickly becoming a preserve of the elite, much
to the detriment of the majority," said a disgruntled parent, Marvis
Saruchera, who has had to withdraw her daughter from the privately owned
Girls College in Bulawayo after the fees went up from US $189 to $510 per
Social commentators have warned that all the gains made in education since
independence from Britain in 1980 risked being lost.
"Most parents will end up choosing not to send the girl child to school and
concentrate on educating the boy child," said Gordon Moyo, the leader of
Bulawayo Dialogue, a pressure group involved in the public debate of
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has called on the government to
convene an urgent meeting to resolve the crisis.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 13 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - An outbreak of armyworm threatens
Zimbabwe's already fragile agricultural sector and experts warn that a
shortage of foreign currency may hamper importation of much-needed
Zimbabwe's Agricultural Research and Extension Services (AREX) director
Shadreck Mlambo told IRIN, "We do have an armyworm situation here, and we're
still trying to consolidate all the reports that are coming in from
different parts of the country to be able to judge the extent of it. For
now, all I can say is that all provinces except Matabeleland South have been
Dzarira Kwenda, executive director of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, said the
situation was potentially devastating for both small- and large-scale
farmers, "because the foreign currency needed to import chemicals is in
He said the Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East provinces were most
affected and farmers there could possibly lose "thousands of hectares" of
crops to the voracious pest.
The outbreak comes as young maize crops are beginning to sprout, a time when
they are particularly vulnerable to the armyworm caterpillar, Dr Clive Levy
of the Commercial Farmers Union.
January 13, 2006, 17:15
Zimbabwe issued an arrest warrant today for a high court judge who failed to
appear at his own trial to face corruption charges. Judge Benjamin Paradza,
who was arrested in 2003 over accusations that he tried to influence two
colleagues to release the confiscated passport of his business partner, did
not turn up for his hearing today.
Simpson Mutambanengwe, the High Court judge, immediately issued an arrest
warrant. Paradza's lawyers said they did not know where their client was and
have argued that the charges against him were designed to punish him for
embarrassing the government.
Paradza freed an opposition mayor in 2003 who had been arrested for holding
an illegal political meeting. The government denies the corruption case
against Paradza is politically motivated.
Mutambanengwe was supposed to hear mitigating arguments today and lawyers
had expected him to also hand down sentencing the same day. The Supreme
Court in September ruled that Paradza's initial detention was
unconstitutional and overruled corruption charges against him. But the court
added that the state could pursue the case after first subjecting him to a
judicial inquiry. - Reuters
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has admitted reprimanding the Pope last
June about positive remarks Benedict XVI made to Zimbabwe's new ambassador
to the Holy See. Although the incident occurred when Zimbabwe's bishops
visited the Vatican at the end of that month, it only came to light in a
late December interview with the outspoken archbishop.
Pope Benedict's remarks were made during an official welcome address on 16
June to David Douglas Hamadziripi. Although he suggested to the ambassador
that "particular concern must be shown for the poor, the disenfranchised and
the young," he also told him that "with the elections of 31 March, Zimbabwe
made a new beginning in confronting the grave social problems which have
affected the nation in recent years". In fact, the elections, which gave
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party sufficient majority to amend the constitution, were
widely regarded as being rigged. In addition, the Government had begun
demolishing the homes of the poor around the country. Archbishop Ncube told
the Pope on 27 June: "Seeing that you were so optimistic in your speech, it
may be that you don't know what's happening: when I left, they were smashing
houses," the Los Angeles Times reported on 31 December.
Speaking to The Tablet on Monday, Archbishop Ncube said that on that first
ad limina meeting on 27 June he had also personally given the Pope an A4
double-sided sheet of paper providing details of the Zimbabwe situation from
the perspective of the majority of the population. It referred to
demolitions, the stealing of traders' goods, political repression, galloping
inflation and a worsening food crisis.
When the bishops met the Pope again on 2 July, the Pope told them that he
felt better informed and supported both the bishops' pre-election statement,
calling for a fair process, and their recent pastoral letter "The Cry of the
Poor", which condemned "the gross injustice done to the poor" through the
government campaign "Operation Drive Out Trash". But the Pope also commented
that "the recent elections in Zimbabwe have laid the basis for what I trust
will be a new beginning in the process of national reconciliation and the
moral rebuilding of society". Many observers at the time were surprised that
Pope Benedict appeared to endorse again the legitimacy of Zimbabwe's March
elections. He also steered clear of issuing his own criticism of the
Government's campaign, which was known to have left hundreds of thousands of
people homeless. That same week the US bishops' conference condemned the
Zimbabwe demolitions and suggested that the international community should
pressurise Zimbabwe's government to stop them.
Archbishop Ncube was concerned that Pope Benedict, who in June had been in
office for only two months, had been badly briefed by his Secretariat of
State. Archbishop Ncube acknowledged that there was a positive side to
maintaining good diplomatic relations between the Church and the Mugabe
Government, but, "for me, every tacit approval is driving one more nail into
the coffin of many Zimbabweans".
Mail and Guardian
13 January 2006 11:36
The Zimbabwe government has dismissed press reports that British
property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten lent President Robert Mugabe
$10-million last year, the state-controlled Herald reported on Friday.
Van Hoogstraten was quoted in the Sunday Times of London last
week as saying he lent Mugabe the money in November, when Zimbabwe was
facing a severe cash crunch. Security for the credit was in assets worth
trillions of Zimbabwean dollars, the paper reported.
But Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba said the claim was
"cheap propaganda and a vain attempt to besmirch" the president, the Herald
Zimbabwe's president is "neither a borrower nor a lender",
Charamba told the paper.
"Robert Mugabe has no relationship with any tycoon, let alone of
British stock," he added.
The spokesperson was scornful of Van Hoogstraten's claims that
Mugabe was "a true English gentleman".
"That's a creation of the British and their crazy media and they
are free to attach any character to their creation. I speak for Robert
Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe whom the British can never consider their
mirror image," the president's spokesperson said.
Charamba challenged the Sunday Times to produce details of the
Van Hoogstraten, who is believed to own property in Zimbabwe, is
one of Britain's most notorious businessmen. He was given a 10-year jail
sentence in 2002 for being behind the murder of a business rival, Mohammed
Raja, but got off on appeal. Britain's civil courts have since declared him
The British tycoon told the Sunday Times the $10-million --
enough to meet Zimbabwe's power imports for at least two weeks -- had been
loaned to Mugabe through Messina Investments, a company Van Hoogstraten says
is owned by his children. He said the interest on Mugabe's loan was due in
June. -- Sapa-dpa
January 13 2006 at 08:47PM
Harare - Five top officials in Zimbabwe's bitterly divided main
opposition party filed a multi-million rand defamation suit against Movement
for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, their lawyer said on Friday.
The officials allege Tsvangirai accused them of plotting his
assassination, attorney Nicholas Mathonsi said. The suit, demanding
Z$100-billion (R602-billion) in damages, was filed on Thursday in the second
city of Bulawayo.
Tsvangirai gave notice he would defend the action, and has 10 days to
submit a summary of his rebuttal before a date can be set for a hearing,
Fixing a date could take several months, he said.
Mathonsi said the suit arose from a December 21 address Tsvangirai had
made to foreign diplomats in Harare, in which he alleged main rivals in the
opposition were planning his "elimination."
The rivals - including the party's vice president, Gibson Sibanda, and
secretary general, Welshman Ncube - had opposed an order by Tsvangirai in
October to boycott November 26 national elections for a new 66-seat upper
house, or Senate.
Defying Tsvangirai, the rivals fielded 26 candidates in the Senate
race, but won only seven seats.
The defamation suit filed on Thursday threatened to further
disintegrate the labor-backed party, formed in 1999 as the first significant
challenge to the autocratic rule of President Robert Mugabe, who lead the
nation to independence from Britain in 1980.
The two rival party factions were scheduled to hold their own
conventions in February, which were expected to result in the formation of
two opposition parties, both claiming the name of the MDC.
Both Tsvangirai's and Sibanda's supporters have voted to strip their
opponents of positions in the party, but both sides have ignored those
Last month, Sibanda's faction demanded Tsvangirai relinquish the party
presidency and the right to use the opposition symbol of an open-hand salute
and turn in party property.
Just 19 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the senate poll,
the lowest turnout for a national election since independence in 1980.
Tsvangirai claimed voters heeded his boycott call. Independent
election monitors said voting was affected by apathy and voter fatigue,
after three bruising national elections since 2000 lost by the opposition
amid allegations of political intimidation and vote rigging by the
Tsvangirai argued that participation in the Senate vote would lend
credibility to a poll that was certain to be flawed. Others in the party
said the opposition needed to try to maintain a voice in the legislature. -
By Tichaona Sibanda
13 January 2006
Analysts have warned that runaway inflation could prove the key to
unlocking Robert Mugabe's decades-long grip on power. Lower-ranking soldiers
and police are finding it hard to survive on a rapidly depreciating Zimbabwe
dollar and are becoming increasingly unhappy with the situation.
ZimOnline reported on Friday that Mugabe, in power since founding
independent Zimbabwe from a British colony in 1980, has commanded
unquestioned loyalty from the security forces. This has enabled him to use
them to regularly crush dissent and any challenge to his rule.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure is
quoted by Zimonline as saying discord between poorly paid foot soldiers and
police on one hand and their well-fed commanders on the other would threaten
social stability and if unchecked could lead to the unthinkable happening, a
mutiny by the security forces against Mugabe's command.
After the government this month awarded all its workers, including the
security services, a 231 percent salary increase, a junior soldier or police
officer will now earn about Z$7 million per month.
The new pay for soldiers and police officers falls far below the
poverty datum line (PDL) - the minimum amount of money an average family of
a mother, father and three children requires for basic goods and services
per month. According to the government's Central Statistical Office the PDL
is now $17.2 million or more than twice what junior police officers and
In December inflation rose to 585.8 percent, one of the highest rates
in the world, and it's expected to rise even higher in 2006.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Herald (Harare)
January 13, 2006
Posted to the web January 13, 2006
Today is Friday the 13th. And according to folklore and the superstitious it
is an unlucky day. However, for me and others Friday the 13th this time
arrived three days early -- on Tuesday January 10, to be precise. It was the
day the Central Statistical Office announced the inflation figures for the
month of December.
But for the majority this was a non-event. They just shrugged their
shoulders in resignation. "Oh that, we had expected inflation to rise by an
even bigger margin," some were heard to say.
Others refused to be intimidated: "I think there has always been a way to
get round this problem, and as a country, there is no way we can fail in our
fight against monster inflation."
The CSO reported on Tuesday that Zimbabwe's annualised inflation as at
December had climbed to 585,8 percent, up 83 percentage points on the
Monthly inflation, however, had declined to 18,3 percent from 27 percent in
November, as prices of goods and services slowed down or stabilised
Simply defined, inflation refers to the overall general upward price
movement of goods and services in an economy, usually as measured by the
consumer price index and the producer price index.
Over time, as the cost of goods and services increase, the value of a dollar
is going to fall because a person cannot afford to purchase as much with
that dollar as he or she previously did.
This is exactly what has been happening in Zimbabwe over the last few years,
and in particular 2003 and 2005.
The burning question is why Zimbabwe's rate of inflation has continued on
the upside during the last nine months after subduing in the greater part of
2004, and what must be done to control runaway inflation now and in future?
Economic experts, who project inflation to continue running northwards
during 2006's first quarter, have proffered various suggestions on how
Zimbabwe can win the war against inflation.
Fundamentally, the key to reining in CPI inflation lies in prudent exchange
rate management and putting a lid on speculative demand, economists say.
There is also need to attract foreign direct investments while at the same
time revitalising the critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture,
otherwise the productive sector was likely to continue shrinking.
It is also worthwhile to invest attention in seriously addressing the issue
of controlling money supply growth, reduce the extent of Government deficit
and improve foreign currency inflows by stimulating exports.
But the spate of massive price hikes, salary adjustments, tariff increases
coupled with critical foreign currency shortages in recent months have been
fuelling the raging fire of inflation, and appear set to persist this year.
The money supply is considered an important instrument for controlling
inflation by those economists who say that growth in money supply will only
lead to inflation if demand for money is kept stable. In order to control
the money supply, the regulatory authorities must decide which particular
measure of the money supply to target. The broader the targeted measure, the
more difficult it is to control that particular target.
However, analysts say targeting an unsuitable narrow money supply measure
could lead to a situation where the total money supply in the country is
Commented a Harare economist: "The new inflation figure was completely
expected. Already signs are there for big increases in the first three
months of the year. "The present situation is extremely worrying and can
only be addressed by reducing Government expenditure and the generation of
adequate foreign currency through encouraging foreign investment.
"It is also likely that more inflation will come and this could get worse as
the year progresses."
There are multitudinous factors militating against an early victory in
Zimbabwe's battle against its number one enemy, inflation.
Annual inflation has been progressively coming off from a record 623 percent
in January 2004 to 124 percent by March last year.
However, mounting negative economic fundamentals have forced the rate to
creep up ever since.
The central bank, however, has expressed optimism that the battle against
inflation remains a mammoth task, but with the right policies it is
There has been inevitable pressure on inflation, principally from foreign
currency costs, due to the widening gap between the fair exchange rate and
However, the central bank has been making frequent adjustments in the
exchange rate in line with inflation developments.
By John Reed
Published: January 13 2006 16:31 | Last updated: January 13 2006 16:31
I meet Helen Suzman for lunch at the Inanda Club, an old-money haunt of
manicured gardens and attentive service.
The woman who was for years one of South Africa's best-known critics of
apartheid has chosen to eat at the club's Varandas restaurant, a
thatched-roof cottage reminiscent of both Olde England and the African veldt
that could only exist in Johannesburg. The food, as so often in Jo'burg, is
Suzman, now 88, called ahead to warn me she would be late, as she would be
arriving from a reunion at her alma mater, the University of the
Witswatersrand. "It's Helen!" she shouted into her cellphone above the sound
of her three barking dogs. The traffic might be bad, she said, as a swathe
of suburban Johannesburg had been shut off for a racecar demonstration. I
sit waiting, gazing out at the rolling lawn and listening to the incongruous
sound of revving engines in the distance.
Suzman arrives on time, well-coiffed and chic in black-framed sunglasses and
a white trouser-suit, but leaning on a cane. She orders a starter, chicken
livers ("I just had a big tea"), but declines to join me in a drink. "It
puts me to sleep immediately at lunchtime, but I never fail to have a Scotch
every night." She says she acquired the habit in childhood from her father,
a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania.
Suzman tells me about the reunion, which was for people who graduated 40
years ago or more. I ask her whether she met any old classmates. "Not one,"
she exclaims, her voice rising plaintively. "Either all dead or emigrated."
Apart from the routine disappointments of old age, Suzman is coping with the
unique indignities of historical revisionism. As an MP for the tiny liberal
opposition in the apartheid-era parliament, she harried the ruling National
party for three and a half decades on issues ranging from the behaviour of
the security services to the treatment of political prisoners.
She endured insults from her opponents (President P.W. Botha once called her
"a vicious little cat"), but managed to put on the record official crimes
and excesses that the press, under the government's powers, could not
In 1997 then-president Nelson Mandela awarded Suzman the Order of
Meritorious Service, South Africa's highest honour. But his successor, Thabo
Mbeki, has been less kind. In one of his characteristically acid weekly
online letters last March, he attacked Suzman and other liberals by quoting
the late African National Congress leader Oliver Tambo, who once disparaged
Suzman's middle class liberalism after she visited him when he was in exile
"This sweet bird from the blood-stained south flew into Zambia," Tambo said,
"and sang a singularly sweet song: 'I am opposed to apartheid; I am opposed
to the isolation of South Africa; I am opposed to violence; I am opposed to
guerrillas... '" Tambo later praised her and the record was corrected in a
later edition of Mbeki's weekly online letters, though not by the president
Under Mbeki's leadership the ANC have embraced their old Afrikaner
oppressors, but tend to demonise the English-speaking moderates who worked
for change within the apartheid system. Tony Leon, leader of the liberal
opposition Democratic Alliance party, is routinely jeered in parliament.
Mbeki shuns meetings with him.
After inquiring politely about me, Suzman asks why I wanted to meet her. I
tell her that I want to hear why she thinks the English liberals have been
seemingly squeezed out in the post-apartheid order.
"Airbrushed would be a better expression," Suzman says sharply. After
Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum opened in 2001, she castigated its
organisers for ignoring the contribution of liberal writers such as Alan
Paton and English-language newspapers such as the Rand Daily Mail. The
exhibit contained a single photo of Suzman, "sort of down on the ground",
she says archly. "It's now a bit better since I wrote my nasty letter, as is
Outside South Africa, Suzman has been honoured for speaking out while most
whites did nothing. She was made a honorary Dame of the British Empire in
1989 and was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
But while Suzman was travelling the world collecting honorary degrees, her
South African critics point out, thousands of black anti-apartheid activists
died violently, and often anonymously. Suzman opposed the imposition of
economic sanctions and the ANC's tactical use of violence, arguably two of
the main factors that toppled apartheid. One recent letter-writer to
Johannesburg's Star newspaper attacked her as a hypocrite, saying she stank
of "Chanel and manure". When I ask her about the insult, she says wearily:
"There was a Hate Helen week. I had written one of my letters criticising
something of the ANC, which they can't stand, you see."
Warming to the topic, she defends the role liberal politics played in ending
apartheid: "I think it sort of prepared a big section of the population for
the changes that finally came."
I tell her about a thought experiment that has preoccupied me since I moved
to South Africa in 2003. Had I been a white South African, I say, I probably
would have been a liberal rather than an ANC supporter. As an undergraduate
at my US university in the 1980s, like thousands of other students I signed
petitions urging my university to divest from South Africa. But I was
uncomfortable with the ANC's tactical support of violence and alliance with
the Soviet Union.
And yet it was precisely sanctions and rising violence that forced the
National Party to the negotiating table. Hasn't history proved her, and me,
Suzman seems unperturbed: "There's no doubt that sanctions were important,"
she says, but she opposed them because the majority of people who lost their
jobs as a result were black. President F.W. de Klerk, she claims, "could
have stayed in power for another five to 10 years" at most. He would have
shrunk from ordering the army to shoot his own people, she says. I feel
Suzman has not answered my question: wasn't it precisely violent rebellion
in the black townships that pushed de Klerk toward compromise?
Suddenly a waiter appears at our table. Unprompted by either of us, he says:
"It's a blessing to me to see this woman in the shop." We both fall silent.
He goes on: "She has got a very good history, special to us as black
people." I wonder if he is angling for a bigger tip, but when I study his
face for insincerity, I find none. He continues: "When you go back in
history and try to watch these movies and TV to understand what is
happening, you can see she is someone who played a very good role in our
Suzman inquires after his age: 39. She looks uplifted by the encounter, but
after he leaves she is dismissive. "He's very unusual among young people,"
she says, though older people whom she helped often stop her in public to
Suzman regrets having retired in 1989, one year before Mandela was released
from jail. She later wrote an autobiography and played a minor role in the
talks that prepared 1994's election. A private citizen, she still makes
occasional interventions in current affairs in what she calls her "nasty
She laments the quality of current parliamentary culture: "What I hate about
the present parliament is the seats - there are so many absent - and the way
they read speeches which have obviously been written by somebody else, and
which they don't feel strongly about," she says. She also talks
disapprovingly about the "roar of hatred" that ANC MPs emit when Leon
speaks - worse, she claims, than the occasional anti-Semitic or anti-female
heckling she faced.
I ask her what she makes of the scandal surrounding Jacob Zuma, Mbeki's
former deputy, whose arraignment on corruption and rape charges has bitterly
divided the ruling alliance. "I make of it only one thing - that Mbeki is
unpopular," she says. She is dismissive of his series of public meetings
held recently to quell discontent in some poor constituencies over the
quality of public services. "I don't think that fools anybody," she
exclaims. "I personally never kissed a baby."
So does she feel as if her life's work has been worth it? "Absolutely," she
says without hesitation. "There's no doubt that South Africa is a much
better place today than it was. There is no detention without trial, the
pass laws are gone and South Africa is no longer a pariah nation. We're back
in international sport and the children in South Africa are getting to know
each other thanks to a new education system."
We talk briefly about Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, and South Africa's seeming
diplomatic support for it. "I think the man is nuts," Suzman says. She found
the uproarious applause he received at Mbeki's inauguration to a second term
last year "terrifying".
Our conversation turns to the state of the world beyond South Africa. Suzman
criticises Tony Blair's failed push for broader detention powers for
terrorist suspects, which remind her of similar measures South Africa took
in 1963. She quotes William Pitt: "Necessity is the excuse of every
infringement of freedom," she says. She is bleak about the future. "I think
the next century's going to be worse," she says.
As sharp as Suzman is, we seem to have fallen into the kind of
general-interest conversation I might have with any educated South African.
We finish our lunch, and she instructs me to keep an eye on my editors: She
has been the victim of some bad headlines in the foreign press (one read
"She Used to Fight the Whites, Now She Fights the Blacks"). Only when she
stands do I remember I have been lunching with a frail old woman born in
1917. I help her up the dining-room steps; in turn she gamely offers me a
lift to my car, which I decline.
Varandas, Inanda Club, Johannesburg
From AFP, 13 January
Harare - A five-member delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
is to arrive in Zimbabwe later this month as the southern African country
struggles to pay back about US$146m owed to the lending club, the finance
minister said on Thursday. The IMF has threatened to expel Zimbabwe from its
ranks for failing to pay back loans since 2001 and has given the southern
African country until February to settle its accounts. "They will be coming
but I cannot comment on our target month of settling our dues," Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa told AFP. The IMF mission is scheduled to arrive
January 24 and depart on February 1, he said. According to figures from the
Reserve Bank from December, Harare owed the IMF $146.8m (?122.1m). The
central bank pledged to the IMF three months ago that the remainder of the
payment would be paid in Febuary. "I will only be in a position to talk
about our outstanding debt after their visit," Murerwa said.
In September, the country paid $120m, which represented more than a third of
its outstanding debt to the IMF. That payment earned it a six-month
reprieve. An additional $15m was paid a month later and a further 10 million
was handed over in November. Without the payment, Zimbabwe was at risk of
becoming only the second country to be kicked out of the IMF since the
former Czechoslovakia in 1954. But Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono
cautioned following the last payment that more had to be done, saying in the
state-run The Herald newspaper: "We are not out of the woods (yet)."
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a severe economic crisis with foreign currency
shortages and galloping triple-digit inflation. Given the country's dire
economic straits, last year's payments prompted speculation and suspicion as
to its source, with economists noting that Zimbabwe could not afford to
spare hard currency given its current shortage. The IMF said in October that
it would investigate the source of the loan payback and would report on its
findings to the executive board in March. An IMF mission traveled to
Zimbabwe in June and returned in August of last year.
Comment from ZWNEWS, 13 January
Citizen: Are you the Judean People's Front?
Leader: What do you mean, Judean People's Front? We're the People's
Front of Judea! Get lost!
Citizen: Can I join your group?
Leader: No. Get lost!
Citizen: Look, I hate the Romans as much as anybody.
Leader: Are you sure?
Citizen: Dead sure. I hate the Romans.
Leader: Listen. If you really wanted to join the People's Front of
Judea, you'd have to really hate the Romans.
Citizen: I do!
Follower: Oh yeah? How much?
Citizen: A lot!
Leader: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the
Romans are the Judean People's Front.
Follower: Yeah. Splitters!
Second Follower: And the Judean Popular People's Front.
Leader: Oh yeah. Splitters!
Follower: And the People's Front of Judea.
Second Follower: Splitters!
Follower: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters!
Leader: We're the People's Front of Judea!
Follower: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front?
Leader: People's Front!
Second Follower: Whatever happened to the Popular Front?
Leader: He's over there.
(With apologies to Monty Python)
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-13
THE government will ban anti-malarials - chloroquine and fancida - citing
patients resistance to the drugs, Minister of Health and Child Welfare David
Parirenyatwa has said.
In an interview, Parirenyatwa said his ministry intended to introduce
coartin, which is very effective in fighting mosquito-borne diseases.
The minister said, malaria parasites have developed growing resistance to
chloroquine and fancida, hence the introduction of coartin.
With coartin, patients would take it twice a day - other regimes require as
many as eight pills a day.
"This is because current treatments require patients to take a large number
of tablets often, hence many people do
not complete their course properly.
"This leaves them vulnerable to recurrences of the disease. The malaria
parasite later modify and develop resistance," said Parirenyatwa.
The new drug is an artemisian-based combination (ATC) made from a Chinese
Parirenyatwa said part of the Global Fund to fight Aids Tuberculosis and
Malaria (GFATM) would go towards the introduction of the drug.
"Funding for the drug was part of our application to the Global Fund," said
Zimbabwe received about US$21 million from the Global Fund for malaria
Malaria is the third largest killer in Zimbabwe after HIV and Aids and
It accounts for at least 400 admissions at each central hospital per month
season and claims around 2 000 deaths annually.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Roderick Mukumbira in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Jan-13
OVER 700 families in southern Chiredzi district are set to be relocated to
make way for the proposed Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier mega Park, a
Parks official has said.
Spokesperson for the department of National Parks and Wildlife Management,
Retired Major Edward Mbewe, said of the 750 Chitsa families: "These families
are residing in the natural corridor of the wild animals. We would want
these animals to move freely from Gomana through Marirangwe right up to
Bikita following their natural corridor."
Gonarenzou National Park will merge with South Africa's Kruger National Park
and Gaza in Mozambique to create one of the biggest animal sanctuaries in
The proposed vast game reserve will be situated where the three countries
share the same border.
Mbewe said the department plans to declare the area an intensive protected
zone reserved for the breeding of the endangered rhinoceros species, but
this could only be done after relocating the villagers.
He said Parks had deployed technical teams in the area to identify land
where the affected families would be settled.
Their aim, Mbewe said, would be to give the relocation programme "a human
face", adding the issue was his department's top priority for the year."We
will not move the villagers unless land is identified," he said. He,
however, could not state how much has been set aside for the relocation
Depending on identified resettlement areas, Mbewe said the department aimed
to ensure that villagers benefit from the revenue and jobs created by the
"We also want the villagers to benefit through CAMPFIRE programmes and
conservation zones so that they can live in harmony side-by-side with
Meanwhile, work on the refurbishment of structures in Gonarezhou is nearing
completion in time for the proposed merger.
Mbewe said they refurbished the park's lodges and roads. Five campsites,
currently being set up, had already been identified, he added."The area has
also been electrified and what is left is the cabling of the structures,"