government crackdown against dissent is deepening Zimbabwe's climate of fear
ahead of parliamentary elections due in March.
Security forces shut down
bars and businesses perceived as hotbeds of opposition. Police punish a
careless remark about the nation's autocratic leader with a stint in jail.
Undercover police eavesdrop on conversations in cafes and
"What we are seeing is undeclared martial law," said Alouis
Chaumba, director of the Roman Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.
"It is tearing whole communities apart."
Ever since he took power in
this southern African country in 1980, President Robert Mugabe has tolerated
little dissent. Now, with the elections looming, the government has been
tightening its control apparatus. Opposition politicians say they are being
hounded out of existence.
At least 45 opposition party rallies and civic
group meetings were banned last year, human rights groups say. Government
critics are now routinely jailed, and the only independent daily newspaper
was recently shut down.
In Senate hearings yesterday, US national
security adviser Condoleezza Rice cited Zimbabwe as one of several countries
that remain "outposts of tyranny" in the world.
At least 200 people
have died in political violence and tens of thousands have been chased from
their homes since Mugabe's government began seizing white-owned farms for
redistribution to black Zimbabweans - many of them presidential cronies - in
The often-violent campaign helped plunge the country into its worst
political and economic crisis.
Mugabe has used his parliamentary
majority - secured in elections which independent observers said were marred
by intimidation and vote rigging - to pass sweeping security and media
Police and soldiers, once seen as protectors, have become
"tormentors," Chaumba said.
The Human Rights Forum, a coalition of 17
human rights and advocacy groups, has documented 7,591 cases in which they
say government opponents were tortured last year. At least 12 people died in
political violence, and thousands more were threatened or assaulted, the
forum said in its annual report.
Now even this group is under threat.
Parliament has approved a new law that bans human rights groups and other
non-governmental organisations from receiving foreign funding or engaging in
"issues of governance."
When Mugabe signs it into law, it is expected to
destroy groups seen as "the last protection, the last referee" of
accountability, Chaumba said.
Ministers admit Zimbabwe's land resettlement drive is in
deep crisis By Financial Times Reporters Published: January 19 2005 02:00
| Last updated: January 19 2005 02:00
Five years after the launch of
Zimbabwe's fast-track land resettlement programme, the country's agricultural
industry is in deep crisis - a state acknowledged even by ministers and
Local government minister Ignatius Chombo, chairman
of the Cabinet Taskforce on Input Supplies for agriculture, said last month
that less than a quarter of the targeted 4m hectares of land had been
prepared for cultivation. Only 330,000 hectares had been planted
The figure implied that the projection by Herbert Murerwa, finance
minister, of a 28 per cent increase in agricultural production in 2005 was
Since 2000, an estimated 124,000 black families
have been resettled on land taken over from 5,000 white farmers and corporate
Official figures show that agricultural production has since
fallen by a quarter and 200,000 black farm workers have been retrenched,
while agricultural exports have halved from $855m (£460m, ?654m) in 2000 to
less than $400m last year.
Much of this export decline reflected the
collapse of flue-cured tobacco production from a peak of 230mkg in 2000 to
64mkg in the current year.
Tobacco, which used to be the country's
largest foreign currency earner, has now been overtaken by
Zimbabwe used to be virtually self-sufficient in foodstuffs with
annual imports of about $70m a year, but is currently spending four times
that on food imports.
This is additional to massive food aid from the
World Food Programme which, in the first half of 2004, was feeding about 40
per cent of the population.
Until recently ministers were claiming that
production of maize reached 2.4m tonnes in 2004 but a parliamentary committee
estimated production at about one-fifth of this. Consumption is put at about
1.8m tonnes annually, forcing the country to import the food staple from
Zambia and South Africa.
The outlook for 2005 is poor. Last month the
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) warned that "a large
proportion of rural households" had run out of food stocks and were
increasingly unable to buy maize in the market because of limited supplies
and high market prices.
With parliamentary elections scheduled for March,
the ruling Zanu-PF party is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the
fiction that land reform has been successful and that resettlement has
created a platform for sustained growth.
In April the Zimbabwe
vulnerability assessment committee forecast that 3.3m people would need
emergency food assistance in the first quarter of 2005.
Fewsnet says the
country needs to import about 250,000 tonnes of maize to meet rural shortages
before the next harvest comes in from May onwards.
It says also that the
country experienced lower-than-normal rains in October and November and,
while December was a much wetter month, delays in the arrival of inputs and a
shortage of tractors to plough land means that plantings will be lower than
Because of late plantings, farmers are likely to get
below-average yields and a second dry spell in the first half of January has
reinforced fears of a below average harvest.
According to Edward
Mkhosi, a member of the parliamentary committee on agriculture, "there is no
prospect for a good harvest".
Another poor farming season for Zimbabwe in
2005 would have a devastating impact across the economy. Gross domestic
product growth targets will be missed, inflation will be higher than
projected because of food price rises and the currency will come under
intense pressure from the need to import foodstuffs.
JONATHAN MOYO PUMPS IN MORE MONEY IN TSHOLOTSHO Wed 19
January 2005 THSOLOTSHO - Embattled government Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo this week donated $69 million in school fees for poor children
in his Tsholotsho home area, signalling he might ditch ZANU PF to stand as
an independent here in the March election.
Moyo, who arrived in
the country last week from a holiday in Kenya, was back in Tsholotsho
yesterday and toured the area with the local ZANU PF leadership
He later donated the money through his Jonathan Moyo
Tsholotsho Scholarship Fund which pays schools fees for about 2 000 children
from poor families in the area.
Moyo, out of favour in ZANU PF
and the government after he secretly attempted to block the appointment of
Joyce Mujuru as vice-president, set up the scholarship fund in 2001 as part
of a protracted campaign to wrestle the Tsholotsho parliamentary seat from
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Many local people here also credit Moyo with luring commercial banks and the
Grain Marketing Board to open up branches in Tsholotsho, previously a
forgotten backwater. Locals are also grateful to Moyo for "working hard" to
ensure the highway linking Tsholotsho and Zimbabwe's second largest city of
Bulawayo was widened and tarred.
But Moyo, who appeared in with a
more than fair chance to reclaim Tsholotsho from the MDC, fell foul with
ZANU PF's top leaders after he convened a meeting here to plot how to block
plans by President Robert Mugabe to appoint Mujuru vice-president and place
her ahead of others to succeed him if and when he retires in
Moyo was dismissed from ZANU PF's key politburo and central
committees and his bid for Tsholotsho thwarted when the party decided at the
eleventh hour to reserve the constituency for women under a plan to increase
female representation in Parliament.
Six ZANU PF provincial
chairmen and two deputy ministers who attended the meeting convened by Moyo
were suspended from the party and also barred from contesting the March
And Moyo will certainly lose his job if Mugabe sticks to his
word not to appoint anyone to his Cabinet not elected in March.
Apparently frustrated at not being able to stand for ZANU PF in Tsholotsho,
Moyo last week attacked and ridiculed party chairman John Nkomo and another
senior member Dumiso Dabengwa in a newspaper article, blaming the two for
his political misfortunes by lying to Mugabe about him.
In a clear
indication he might defy ZANU PF and stand as an independent in Tsholotsho,
Moyo told Nkomo that there were "many churches in the world all with tickets
"He is defiant. Indications are that he will stand as
an independent because there is no way he can continue pumping money when he
knows he cannot stand on a ZANU PF ticket," said a source close to Moyo.
Moyo himself could not be reached yesterday for comment on the
If Moyo, an arch-critic of the government before changing
sides in 1999 to become its fiercest defender, contests the March poll as an
independent, he risks being expelled from the party.
political science lecturer before turning to politics, Moyo will forever be
remembered for crafting some of the harshest ever press laws under which
hundreds of journalists were arrested and three newspapers including
Zimbabwe's biggest circulating daily, the Daily News, were shut
Meanwhile, ZANU PF has dismissed its district co-ordinating
committee for Tsholotsho apparently because of its close links with Moyo. -
Mugabe to kick-start 'anti-Blair' election campaign Wed 19
January 2005 HARARE - President Robert Mugabe will on Saturday officially
launch an "anti-Blair" (British Premier Tony) campaign in a bid to sway
Zimbabweans to re-elect his ZANU PF party in a general poll in
Mugabe and ZANU PF, who routinely blame Zimbabwe's former
colonial master Britain for the country's current woes, always step up
anti-Britain and Blair propaganda ahead of elections, in what critics say is
a cynical tactic to draw voters' attention away from a grinding economic
crisis and abject poverty.
ZANU PF political commissar Elliot
Manyika told journalists in Harare last night that Mugabe will preside at a
ceremony in the capital to "officially launch (the) 2005 anti-Blair campaign
on 22 January 2005. Over 3 000 delegates are expected (to attend the
Meanwhile, Manyika also announced that ZANU PF had
lifted suspensions on Deputy Transport Minister Andrew Langa and his Foreign
Affairs counterpart, Abednico Ncube and that the two were now free to take
part in an internal election to choose candidates for the March general
The two had been barred from the poll for allegedly working
with Information Minister Jonathan Moyo in a failed bid to prevent the
appointment of Joyce Mujuru as second vice-president of ZANU PF and
Had the two been barred from the poll, they would
probably have lost their jobs in the government as well after Mugabe said he
will not be appointing anyone in his government not elected in
Manyika also announced that ZANU PF had suspended its former
chairman for Manicaland province, Shadreck Beta, following charges that he
printed his own party membership cards to enable his supporters to vote for
him in the party poll last weekend. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe appeals for help to buy food, drugs Wed 19 January
2005 HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has asked the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) to set up a basket fund for donors to
contribute money to buy food for hungry Zimbabweans, farming inputs and
essential medical drugs, ZimOnline has learnt.
Sources in the
donor community, who did not want to be named, said the appeal for help was
submitted by Social Welfare Minister Paul Mangwana to UNDP's Harare office
"The government last month appealed to donors through
the UNDP for help in agriculture and in critical social areas," said one
No comment was available from the UNDP yesterday. The
organisation has handled similar appeals by Harare in the past.
Mangwana yesterday denied that the government had made a fresh appeal for
help saying the only food that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were
distributing in the country was left over from last year.
"There was an arrangement between the Zimbabwe government and donors to
distribute excess food but apart from that, we have not placed any new
But the sources said for example, the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development has asked for help to import crop seed,
fertilizers and chemicals, all in short supply in the country.
The Health Ministry wants help to import nearly all essential drugs that are
out of stock at government hospitals, the source of health services for more
than 80 percent of Zimbabweans.
President Robert Mugabe last year
told international donors to take their food elsewhere because Zimbabwe had
harvested enough to feed itself, a claim later proved false by a
parliamentary committee that probed the country's food security situation
three months ago.
The government has made amends importing the main
staple maize from Zambia, Malawi and South Africa but has been unable to buy
enough quantities because it has no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers. -
Women protesters arrested Wed 19 January 2005 HARARE -
The police yesterday arrested 11 members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) group after demonstrations here by the organisation.
the women were later released without being charged but after severe
beatings by the police.
A journalist, Frank Chikowore, who was
picked up by the police while covering the protest by the about 300 women in
Harare city centre was also released yesterday.
co-ordinator Jenni Williams told ZimOnline: "It appears those of our members
who were arrested arrived for the demonstration late when we had already
dispersed and they were picked up by the police who had been slow to react
to our protest."
The WOZA women were protesting against plummeting
standards of education, skyrocketing school fees and prices of school
The local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern
Africa and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists condemned the arrest of
Chikowore, who is accredited with the government's Media and Information
Commission to work as a journalist in the country. - ZimOnline
Mbeki postpones Harare trip Wed 19 January 2005 HARARE
- A team of regional leaders led by South African President Thabo Mbeki that
was scheduled to visit Zimbabwe this week is now only expected in Harare
early next week.
Well-placed sources told ZimOnline Mbeki, Botswana
President Festus Mogae and Lesotho's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili are
now "tentatively expected on January 24" in Harare to assess whether
conditions in the country comply with regional guidelines for democratic
"The dates have been tentatively set for next Monday, 24
January. But the South African team has not given us a clear picture yet on
the exact date," said one source, who did not want to be named.
It is understood that the three leaders will meet the ruling ZANU PF and
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties as well as civic
society groups to gauge the situation on the ground, two months ahead of
Zimbabwe's general election in March.
Both ZANU PF and the MDC
were mum on the visit. Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo was not available for
comment while Ronnie Mamoepa, who is the spokesman for South Africa's
Foreign Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma, said he was not aware of
the mission to Zimbabwe.
The MDC has threatened to boycott the
parliamentary election alleging conditions and Zimbabwe's electoral laws do
not conform with standards agreed by Southern African Development Community
leaders when they met in Mauritius last year.
agreed that independent commissions must run polls while electoral laws and
processes should be fair and transparent. They also agreed to allow all
political parties access to public media and to uphold human rights and the
rule of law during elections. - ZimOnline
Reporter Last updated: 01/19/2005 11:19:23 ZANU PF on Tuesday averted a
revolt in Matabeleland when it went back on an earlier decision to suspend
two MPs and deputy ministers from the party, and barring them from taking
part in the March parliamentary elections.
Gwanda South MP and deputy
minister of Foreign Affairs Abednico Ncube and the Insiza MP and deputy
minister of Transport and Communications Andrew Langa were suspended from
the ruling party on Monday for their alleged role in the so-called
The move sparked a volley of protests from Zanu
PF activists in Matabeleland stunned by the suspension of two of the only
three Zanu PF MPs in the two Matabeleland provinces.
also attracted the interest of the controversial Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo who has also been banned from contesting in Tsholotsho,
apparently as punishment for organising the Tsholotsho indaba to allegedly
plot a palace coup and block the nomination of a woman, Joyce Mujuru, for
"As a result of John Nkomo's (Zanu PF national chairman)
selfserving approach to discipline, we are witnessing attempts to block
committed and hard working people like Langa in Insiza and Ncube in Gwanda
from contesting primary elections or from running for elections on Zanu PF
tickets. What is going on? This is only happening in Matabeleland and not in
other provinces across the country where senior leaders in the party have
been more accommodating and understanding despite the existence of obvious
political differences," blasted Moyo.
"Abednico Ncube is one of only
two comrades in Zanu PF who won a parliamentary seat in 2000 in Matabeleland
when all the others, including many who now see themselves as heroes, were
tumbling down. Cde Andrew Langa had the guts and leadership to win back
Insiza from MDC and has since then shown what can be done to bring
development in Matabeleland as a Member of Parliament," he
After a meeting in Gwanda on Monday, a Zanu PF politburo member,
Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu emerged to announce the two MPs has been
suspended. Ndlovu, a former MP in Insiza, said the decision had been taken
by the Matabeleland South provincial executive.
Chronicle newspaper said the meeting "nearly degenerated into a war of
words". The paper said it also received calls from irate supporters of the
By evening on Tuesday, Zanu PF buckled under pressure and the
party's elections director Elliot Manyika announced the suspension of the
two men had been overruled.
"We have looked at the merits and
demerits of their case and their level of participation and decided that it
did not warrant further suspension," Manyika said at a press
Like Moyo in Tsholotsho, Langa has been behind several
development projects in Insiza (Filabusi), using his influence as the deputy
Minister of Transport and Communications to push telecoms companies to
expand their networks to the district and also upgrading roads.
headmasters have been provided with free mobile phones and the rural
electrification project speeded-up. Moyo has been on hand to donate tens of
computers to schools in the province.
By Hlalelo B.
Nkiwane Last updated: 01/19/2005 04:01:09 THE Chronicle newspaper has been
giving the impression that Tsholotsho would not be what it is without
In the past, the paper has been running stories linking
the failure by Moyo to represent Zanu PF as a setback to the development of
what could be Zimbabwe's next capital if Moyo were to represent the
As a resident of Tsholotsho, I find this insinuation quite
insulting and belittling of the people of Tsholotsho. Much of the
development that is being attributed to Moyo is funded from tax-payers money
(e.g. GMB depot, tarred roads e.t.c) save for a few projects that will
vanish (for reasons of sustainability and viability) soon after the
elections scheduled for March.
While it is clear that Moyo's puppets are
trying to indoctrinate the people of Zimbabwe with pure pro-Moyo diatribe,
it is unclear why he is indespensable in the whole developmental process.
What his stunts have shown, if at all, is how much tax payers' money can
benefit the people if channeled to developmental projects, full stop. We owe
Moyo no cent.
Why has the Lupane University project been stalled, even in
coverage? We all know that it is because Moyo is no longer interested in
representing Lupane, which was his original target.
If Moyo is really
serious about developing Tsholotsho and Zimbabwe, he should disclose the
sources of his funding to the public. In addition, he should account for
tax-payers' money used to charter the plane that was used to fly delegates
to the so- called "Tsholotsho indaba". Of what public benefit was this
meeting to deserve Government support?
And how much has he spent on
private lawyers trying to defend AIPPA, despite the existence of a
fully-fledged Attorney General's Office? We demand that he accounts for all
these before he can come to our constituency. Johannes Tomana should also be
investigated in this scum -- he was not chosen transparently to defend these
laws and receive those handsome payments. And it was no coincidence that he
was being touted as the Attorney General designate by Nathaniel Manheru, who
thinks exactly like Jonathan Moyo. And Terrence Hussein? He got the dollars
Our consciences remain focused, despite the many donations we
receive. We know how unclean and superficial the sources of these funds are.
Ask the Kenyans, South Africans and the Americans, and you will get the same
cry, for they were conned by those who pretend to be our saviours
Whatever Zanu PF decides on Moyo, people should remain focused
that once repression is overcome, those that abused our hard earned taxes
will be brought to account. The writer is a Tsholotsho resident
By Bekithemba Mhlanga Last updated: 01/19/2005
04:34:04 THERE can be no denying the fact that following the death of Joshua
Nkomo the political spirit and soul of Matabeleland has hovered aimlessly
with no direction It remains unappeased and so that it can rest peacefully ,
providing the people of this region with direction, guidance and wise
Enter Jonathan Moyo. From his political cradle to his
political grave it could never have been assumed that one of Moyo's
intentions was to take over the political mantle in
Last week's spate of tough talking however leaves one in no
doubt Jonathan Moyo's big picture.
Professor Moyo appears to harbour
deep resentment for the old Zapu leadership that was co-opted into Zanu PF
after 1987. To him they have failed the people of and the only benefits have
been for the individuals concerned. For Moyo, in blocking his attempts from
standing as a member of parliament, the old guard is trying to maintain the
status quo by any means necessary including peddling primitive
Indeed Moyo can argue that he has achieved more for Matabeleland
during the short space of time that he was in a position to abuse his office
(a charge similar to that which he lays on John Nkomo). The evidence can
only be described as spectacular. Two seats violently reclaimed from the MDC
in Matabeleland and in both instances he was the ring leader. Probably no
such number of computers have been donated to so many schools without
electricity and even syllabi on integrated computer technology as has
happened in the last twelve or so months. Of course one cannot forget the
University of Wilderness somewhere in Lupane.
The truth of the matter
is that this has been nothing more than protection fee by a party trembling
at the thought of another electoral drubbing by the opposition at the next
So for an individual who believes he has done so much to
belittled by individuals who for the past decade failed to donate even a
single computer to any school, or worse still have failed to get the
Matabeleland Zambezi Water project moving by an inch, must be
Out of these accusations and counter accusations has surfaced
the issue at heart of the quarrel - question of who will assume the mantle
of the political spirit of Matabeleland .In his tirade against John Nkomo
last week, in one stroke, Professor Moyo was clear that he was interested in
having this as an agenda item and that John Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa should
not fool themselves into believing that Matabeleland is there for the
While the public could have been stunned by Moyo's outbursts
against Nkomo and Dabengwa, Moyo had probably calculated that this was an
opportune time to raise the subject and remove any myth about the leadership
question in Matabeleland as far as Zanu PF is concerned.
Moyo his position and those of John Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa are no
different -- they are unelected members of any constituency whose only claim
to political office is through the generosity of Robert Mugabe. Jonathan
Moyo knows that he has exhausted his generosity quota with Mugabe so he
might as well have a go at creating a life of his own in Matabeleland where
he perceives there is a political leadership vacuum, as far as Zanu PF is
What Moyo may want to bear in mind on this next adventure of
his is that the constituency in Matabeleland has traits of an elephant - a
long memory and does not forgive. The writer is a Zimbabwean journalist
now based in England
From George Maponga in
Masvingo. MORE cases of anthrax in humans continue to be reported in Gutu and
Chivi districts of Masvingo with 120 cases having been reported by
The disease has, however, not claimed any lives in the
affected areas where more than 50 new cases were reported.
70 cases of anthrax in humans were reported in the two districts of Chivi
The acting Masvingo provincial medical director, Dr Charles
Sandy, yesterday expressed concern over the increasing cases of anthrax in
humans in Chivi and Gutu saying the disease would only be contained if
cattle were treated.
"We continue to receive more cases of anthrax in
humans in Chivi and Gutu but so far no lives have been lost. The hardest hit
area is Chivi where 53 cases were reported last week but the figure has
almost doubled to 96 by yesterday. In Gutu, there has only been a marginal
increase in the number of cases from 20 to 26.
"We, however, feel
that the disease can only be contained if cattle were vaccinated as people
contract the disease from eating the infected meat. Vaccines for cattle
should thus be made available," said Dr Sandy.
Reporter RESIDENTS in parts of Marimba Park, Mufakose and Budiriro in Harare
should brace themselves for water supply disruptions owing to low levels at
Marimba High, Ridge Road and Hogerty Hill reservoirs.
This is due to
persistent power outages in the area serviced by the reservoir.
statement to The Herald, director of works Mr Psychology Chiwanga said the
power outages were caused by the prevailing wet conditions.
"The City of
Harare wishes to advice residents of the above areas that they will
experience water supply disruptions. This is due to persistent power outages
which are being caused by the prevailing wet weather conditions," said Mr
There is no pumping to the Marimba High reservoir due to power
outages, a situation that has led to levels dropping to
Meanwhile, most of the City's reservoirs are above 50 percent full
with only Ridge Road, Borrowdale Brooke, Hogerty Hill, Greendale and Marimba
High having levels under half their capacity. However, the department of
works will continue to choke the outlets at Greendale at night to boost
Residents of Glen Lorne and Greendale have been experiencing
erratic water supplies with others going for days owing to low levels in the
levels that are serviced by the reservoir.
Mr Chiwanga said efforts
to restore normal supplies were underway. Harare has been bedevilled by
unreliable water supplies; a situation that has often resulted in residents
going for days without water posing health threats in the affected areas as
a solution seems elusive.