The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Mon 3 January 2005
  QUESTION:  When is the MDC going to decide whether it is contesting next
March's general election?

      ANSWER: That decision will be taken towards the end of January. The
decision-making process is tied to consultations currently taking place. We
have 12 political provinces. So far, we have consulted five, and seven are
still outstanding. As soon as the consultative process is completed, we will
then decide whether or not to participate in the election.

      Q: But time is not on your side, will you have sufficient time to
prepare, mobilise resources and mount an effective challenge given the
election is at most only three months away?

      A: What should be borne in mind is that despite having suspended
participation in elections pending implementation of the Mauritius Accord,
we have not stopped mobilising our ranks. We have continued to mobilise our
supporters to be ready for any eventuality. If we were to decide tomorrow to
participate, we have no doubt that our party structures will be ready to
take part in the election. And were we to decide not to participate our
structures would be equally ready for such a decision.

      Q: You say you have consulted five provinces so far, can you tell us
what has been the feedback from those provinces?

      A: It is not a simple matter of people saying we want to participate
or we do not want to participate. The reaction from the five provinces is
that as a constitutional party, we should take part in a free and fair
election and that pressure should continue to be exerted on the government
to do the correct thing and level the political field.

      So, basically the mood out there is that people want to participate in
a free and fair election but they are saying the government should play its
role and ensure a truly democratic poll. People also want the Southern
African Development Community to play their role and push for free and fair
polls in Zimbabwe.

      Q: But do you really see the government granting you the electoral
reforms that you are demanding when it has already said its Electoral Reform
Bill passed by Parliament last month, is adequate to ensure a free and fair

      A: The major weakness of the legislative framework as enacted by
Parliament so far has a lot more to do with the environment in which those
electoral laws are expected or supposed to be implemented.

      What we are saying is that these electoral law reforms are not likely
to achieve much as long as we have the restrictive Public Order and Security
Act (which bars political parties from holding meetings without police
clearance first). The need to remove the security Act and Press laws that
are used to deny the opposition access to the public media, radio and
television goes
      without saying.

      Q: And do you see the ruling ZANU PF party implementing these changes
before March 2005?

      A: ZANU PF is not made of stone. ZANU PF is made up of human beings
who also succumb to pressure. The reason they have begun talking about the
SADC electoral protocol is because of pressure. So there is nothing that is
impossible with enough commitment and pressure.

      Q: The MDC seems to favour a postponement of the election to allow
time for more reforms. Could you tell us to which month or date you would
prefer the election rescheduled?

      A: The constitutional provision is that the last day on which the
election can be held or should be held is the last day of June 2005.  March
2005 is Jonathan Moyo's (government information minister) distortion or one
of his flights of propaganda.

      June is the constitutional cut off date for elections to be held. So
when we talk of postponement we are not  really talking of postponement. We
are talking of a realistic date in which if this is a serious attempt at
levelling the playing field, the government will give the so-called
Independent Electoral Commission an opportunity to set up structures that it
will use to supervise the election.

      At the moment even the electoral commissioners have not yet been
appointed. When appointed they will need to find offices, staff and to set
up a timetable of how they are going to operate. Surely you cannot do all
that between now and March even if you had the will.

      Q: Is this why the MDC is taking its time to decide and announce
whether or not it will participate in the elections?

      A: The timing for us does not alter the fact that we continue to do
our work on the ground and that we continue as a party to mobilise around
the possibility of participating in the elections or not to participate. Our
MPs are in their constituencies mobilising voters. We have other structures
of the party doing their work. The timing factor is not an issue as far as
we are concerned.

      Q: What do you say to suggestions that your strategy where you do not
have a clear and public position now and you are virtually keeping your
supporters guessing about an election that is around the corner could

      A: People are very clear on what is going on. They understand that the
strategy of suspending elections is a very, very wise strategy to exert
pressure on the government. And, they are beginning to see the outcome of
that pressure.

      Our supporters understand that like any football team, you prepare
yourself to play but whether you play the match depends on whether there
will be referees, goal posts and whether the ball will be flat or inflated.
But you do not stop practising and preparing yourself as a team. As far as
we are concerned, our active members know exactly what is going on.

      Q: And if the government does not create the conditions that you want
to see before you can say you are taking part in the poll?

      A: The role of a constitutional party like the MDC is to attempt to
access power through electoral processes. There is no other avenue for
accessing power. That is why it is absolutely important that the pressure is
not exerted on us. We are not the ones that are not creating conducive
conditions for free and fair elections. It's ZANU PF.

      Q: And lastly, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and secretary general
Welshman Ncube have toured regional and European capitals, what has been the
advice from there regarding whether you should contest the March election?

      A: We are getting the kind of advice, which says that Zimbabwe needs
to get out of its current crisis and the best way to do that is for the two
political parties to get together and find some common ground. That's why
for us it becomes important that everyelectoral process that is being
implemented is part of a negotiated arrangement. -ZimOnline.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Government accuses EU of seeking to oust it from power
Mon 3 January 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe's foreign ministry at the weekend accused the European
Union of working through non-governmental organisations to topple it from

      Reacting to a statement by European Union (EU) president, Spain, that
the powerful bloc would be forced to reduce aid to Zimbabwe once a new law
restricting NGOs in the country became effective, the ministry accused the
EU of being used by Britain in its bid to effect "regime change" in Harare.

      "(The statement by Spain) is yet another demonstration of the extent
to which the EU is being co-opted into the United Kingdom government's
project of regime change in Zimbabwe," the ministry said in a statement.

      The EU said it would be forced to cut aid to Zimbabwe if NGOs in the
country through which it has been channelling mostly humanitarian assistance
were forced to close down under the new law.

      The Harare administration which routinely accuses London of wanting to
remove it from power said the new law was only targeted at NGOs that were
working for regime change in Zimbabwe.

      Under the controversial new law now awaiting President Robert Mugabe's
signature to become effective, NGOs will be barred from carrying out voter
education while civic bodies focusing on human rights work will be
prohibited from receiving foreign funding. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Editorial: Breadbasket in Africa ravaged by Mugabe
Web Posted: 01/03/2005 12:00 AM CST

San Antonio Express-News

Of the many failed states and execrable leaders in Africa, Zimbabwe and
President Robert Mugabe are among the worst.

When Mugabe won elections to succeed white minority rulers in 1980, Zimbabwe
was comparatively stable and prosperous, the rule of law prevailed and the
country was a net exporter in manufacturing and agriculture.

Today, Zimbabwe is in ruins. Mugabe has imprisoned political opponents and
silenced the free press. Centralized planning has ravaged the economy and
driven 70 percent of the work force into exile.

Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms to dole out as rewards to his
political cronies has turned the breadbasket of southern Africa into a
humanitarian basket case.

Opposition leaders say agricultural production has dropped by as much as 90
percent since 2000.

Half the country's 12 million residents are facing starvation, while one in
four is infected with HIV. Life expectancy has fallen from 55 years to 35

Mugabe's increasingly paranoid and repressive regime, meanwhile, is forcing
international aid agencies and human rights groups to leave the country.

The government recently banned a charity that provides 90,000 Zimbabwean
children their only daily meal.

To fill the gap, the government has proposed an "Obesity Tourism Strategy.

The Herald, a government-run newspaper, recently promoted the plan for
overweight foreigners to visit Zimbabwe and work as free farm laborers.

"The tourists can then top it all," the announcement said, "by flaunting
their slim bodies on a sundowner cruise on the Zambesi."

If so many lives weren't at stake, it might be humorous. But they are, and
Zimbabwe looms on the horizon as the world's next great humanitarian
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!



Nineth Day of Christmas: Zimbabwe’s food security threatened by HIV/AIDS and ZANU PF policies

Sokwanele Reporter: 3 January 2004


The present regime’s assertion that ‘the economy is the land and the land is the economy’, with its implicit message that a policy of fast-track land redistribution will lead to increased food production for the whole country, is undermined by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and World Health Organisation’s AIDS epidemic update for 2004. Other ZANU-PF policies including the drive to achieve a monopoly control of food supplies and limiting the activities of foreign aid organisations in a position to provide food aid where it is needed, exacerbate the risks posed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic on our country’s food security.


Life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe is currently so low it could be described as medieval:  Zimbabweans, in 2003, could expect to live, on average, to the age of 34. This is especially frightening when compared with 1990 when life expectancy was 52 years. The risk of dying from AIDS peaks, for women, between the ages of 25 and 39 years and, for men, between 30-44 years. These stark facts clearly show that the HIV/AIDS virus strikes at the most productive members of our community first. Furthermore, those in this category die at an age when, as parents, their children will usually be too young to care for themselves.


What does this have to do with food security?


Most Zimbabweans who contract the HIV virus choose to return home to the rural areas to be cared for by their families when they are too sick to continue working in the towns. This places a disproportionate burden of caring for the sick on rural households – the same households that this regime imagines will be able to produce a “bumper harvest”.


In many cases, when a sick relative returns home, the rural family also loses a source of much needed income generated by that person’s town job as well as the additional financial burden of expensive medical bills and ultimately funeral costs. Increased poverty means that families may be forced to sell off valuable assets (for rural households this will typically be livestock and farming tools) in order to meet medical expenses. The need to generate income may require other productive, younger, members of the family to migrate to the towns in the hope of earning more money for the family. This leaves behind a community that is increasingly characterised by the very young, the elderly and the sick.


Farming practices inevitably change to accommodate the mounting burdens placed on rural families who need to adjust to fewer assets, increased costs, and fewer productive members of the family. In many cases households switch to farming crops that are less labour intensive, but these crops, the FAO notes, are often also less nutritious. This fact introduces yet another element to the vicious cycle of hardship faced by rural farmers and their families.


In areas that already face food shortages (like Binga, for example), poor nutrition drastically shortens the amount of time a person can live with the virus. In fact, the FAO estimates that those who are HIV positive are only likely to survive for two years with full-blown AIDS if they have a poor diet. Even if food was plentiful, which we know it is not, increased poverty as a result of inflation and HIV/AIDS means that families are less able to buy good nutritious food. Malnutrition accelerates the progression of the disease and the most productive members of the family, often parents, die more quickly than they would if they had access to nutritious food. The pressures on remaining members of the family increase as those who are already infected with the HIV virus become too weak to work. Inevitably, agricultural productivity declines further, and hunger and malnutrition increases.


As heartless as this may sound, the age that a person dies of AIDS therefore becomes a critical factor in any discussion of food security. In a country that is largely dependent on agriculture, farming knowledge is one of our most valuable assets. The FAO points out the simple truth that a parent who dies when his child is aged fifteen has a far better chance of passing on knowledge than a parent who dies when his child is aged seven. When our farmers die at a young age -- and the UNAIDS/WHO facts clearly show that this is the case in our country -- they take with them centuries of traditional farming knowledge and experience. 


The FAO predicts that, by 2020, 23% of Zimbabwe’s agricultural labour will be lost as a result of HIV/AIDS.The ZANU PF jingle “The economy is the land …” rings hollow indeed when ZANU PF policies effectively destroy the health delivery system required to sustain the lives of those who farm the lands. Furthermore, the evidence is already there that the ruling party’s desire to achieve monopoly controls over all basic food supplies is devastating the nation’s capacity to feed itself.  It is critical that those who rule Zimbabwe make every effort to ensure that future knowledge is protected by taking effective measures to ensure that life expectancy is extended rather than curtailed for the sick in rural areas. Policies directed towards giving politicians a monopoly on the acquisition, storage and distribution of food must come to an end. The deliberate manipulation of food for short-term political gain must be stopped, now.  And finally, every effort must be made to support those who have years of experience and knowledge in assisting the needy; namely, local and international aid organisations. Failure to make these changes as a matter of extreme urgency will only result in the most dire consequences for Zimbabwe’s food security.


Day 10: 4 January 2005
Tomorrow’s article is a repeat of a story Sokwanele ran last year in October. We posed the questions “ Where is the bumper harvest? How are the people faring, especially deep in the rural areas where it is very difficult for reporters from the independent media to penetrate?” Tomorrow’s story focuses on Binga.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 3 January

Zim ruling party shuns big names

Just three months before parliamentary polls set for March, Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu PF has slashed several "prominent names" from contesting
important party primary elections. Information Minister and President Robert
Mugabe's chief spin doctor Jonathan Moyo is one of three ministers
prohibited from contesting the primaries. Moyo, who fell from grace last
month after calling an unauthorised meeting, is reported to have tried to
resign last week. Also dropped was Justice Minister and fierce Mugabe
loyalist Patrick Chinamasa. He attended the meeting organised by Moyo, but
is reported to have apologised to Mugabe. Finance Minister Chris Kureneri,
currently in remand prison where he is facing charges of illegally
"externalising foreign currency", was also dropped from the primaries.

Zanu PF has also said a flamboyant businessman and MP for the northern town
of Chinhoyi, Phillip Chiyangwa, will be barred. Instead, he must leave room
for a new "quota for women" to be introduced by the party. Chiyangwa dropped
from public sight four weeks ago after he was reportedly snatched by
Zimbabwe's notorious Central Intelligence Organisation and held at the
infamous Goromonzi torture farm. He reappeared last week in a Harare
Magistrate's Court to face charges of spying and leaking secrets to an
unnamed foreign power. The flashily dressed MP, who boasts of owning more
than 500 suits, seemed to have his fate sealed on Monday when the
state-controlled Herald carried a cartoon of Chiyangwa sitting on a prison
bed saying: "Which khaki shall I wear today?"

Also dropped from Zanu PF's list of primary election candidates are war
veterans' leader and self-appointed head of farm invasions Joseph
Chinotimba. Chinotimba, who denied attending the "unauthorised meeting" in
Zimbabwe's western Tsholotsho district, has made repeated unsuccessful
attempts to garner support in opposition-held Harare townships. Zanu PF has
also banned former lawmaker Tony Gara from contesting the primaries. Gara
once compared Mugabe to "the son of God", causing an outcry in the country.
The calling of Zanu PF primaries follows in the wake of the announcement of
new constituency boundaries last month. Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has cried foul over the new boundaries, pointing out
that two constituencies in MDC-held Harare and Bulawayo have been taken from
them, while three constituencies have been added to traditionally held Zanu
PF provinces. Primaries are held before parliamentary polls and allow party
members to select their prospective MPs.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Daily Mirror, 3 January

Kunonga picks up more problems

Daily Mirror reporter

Angry parishioners yesterday disrupted a church service at the Anglican
Church's St Francis of Assisi parish in Glen Norah, Harare, following the
suspension of their priest, Paul Gwese, allegedly for granting MDC
legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, a platform in the church.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is the Member of Parliament for Glen Norah
constituency, donated $1.5 million to the parish during Thanksgiving early
last month. Parishioners walked out of the church as the stand-in priest,
Harry Rinashe, walked up to the altar led by sub-deacons. Only Gwese's wife
and the sub-deacons helping Rinashe conduct the service stayed behind, while
the other parishioners milled around outside the church. However, they could
not take it any more as Rinashe continued to preach to an empty church and
moved in to disrupt the service, questioning Gwese's suspension and the
alleged confiscation of the parish's car keys by the church's Harare Diocese
leader, Bishop Norbert Kunonga. Rinashe, who is the Harare Diocese's
vicar-general, is based in neighbouring Glen View.

Soon after the service was disrupted, some members of the parish left for
Kunonga's home, where they intended to present a list of grievances. Back at
the church, the remaining parishioners locked Rinashe inside the church
grounds, demanding that he surrenders the parish's car keys, which had been
given to him by Kunonga for safekeeping. Parishioners alleged that problems
for Gwese started on December 12 when Misihairabwi-Mushonga attended a
service at the church, a move, which did not go down well with some members
believed to be aligned to the ruling Zanu PF. The matter was reported to
Kunonga, who suspended Gwese 10 days later. It is alleged that Kunonga,
widely regarded a Zanu PF supporter, went on to confiscate the parish's
vehicle keys, arguing that the suspended priest should not use the vehicle.
The confiscation of the vehicle keys further incensed the parishioners, who
had contributed towards its purchase. Asked why they had locked the gates,
church warden Bernard Nengomasha said: "We want Rinashe to release the car
keys they confiscated from our priest. We are still paying for that vehicle
and we have not yet formally informed them that St Francis' church purchased
a vehicle for its priest. We are also waiting for Kunonga to come and
address us."

Nengomasha condemned the bishop for failing to follow church protocol in
handling the issue. He said he made a one man ruling without even verifying
the authenticity of the allegations against Gwese. The parishioners only
dispersed later during the day after a diocesan registrar only identified as
Mutizwa promised to take their grievances to Kunonga. Rinashe remained
adamant that he would not surrender the car keys because that would be in
breach of church protocol. However, he allowed the car's engine to run for a
while after the parishioners expressed fear that if it was left idle for a
long time, it would cease. The car is parked at the parish, but Gwese cannot
touch it. Tapiwa Sakarombe, one of the demonstrating parishioners said:
"Since the suspension of the priest, people started boycotting church
services. We failed to host an all-night prayer as is the norm every
Christmas eve. On Wednesday, at least 13 people attended mass, yet in normal
circumstances the church is full." She added that of those who were
attending mass, few were taking Holy Communion.

Last Thursday, a group of parishioners went to Kunonga's house, but were
denied entry by a woman who spoke to them through the intercom and
threatened to call the police. Misihairabwi-Mushonga could not be reached as
a family member said she was out of the country, and was expected to be back
this week. Rinashe refused to comment. He only said: "I am not allowed to
comment." Gwese was also not available for comment. This is not the first
time that Kunonga has had problems with members of his church since he moved
to Harare from Mutare more than two years ago. He has had problems with
parishioners who worship at the St Mary's Anglican Cathedral in the city and
at the Highfield and Mufakose parishes.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Daily Mirror, 3 January

Tension grips banking sector - ... ZABG fails to take off

Shame Makoshori

The Zimbabwe Allied Bankers Workers Union (ZIBAWU) says the banking industry
has been hit by high tension and deep uncertainty ahead of the anticipated
entrance of the $2 trillion Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG), whose
launch has been postponed to next month. Originally pencilled to start
operating today, the ZABG failed to kick off with acting Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Charity Dhliwayo on Saturday initially saying that
authorities were still polishing up their work before the launch of the bank
sometime this month. However, yesterday it was further reported that ZABG
would in fact open in February since central bank officials were still
working on various modalities that would guide the new financial behemoth.
Banking sector sources said there were several unforeseen technicalities
that the central bank had failed to factor into ZABG's operations. "One of
the reasons behind the postponement of the opening is the issue of
remuneration for senior management. The salary, benefits and allowances of
one manager at one bank are obviously different from the remuneration of the
same manager at another bank. So the need to rationalise these disparities
has caused a delay," banking sector sources said. The sources added that
another setback was the problem of whether corporate companies and even
individuals would be allowed to withdraw their entire funds when the bank
opens, a development that could cripple the operations of the new bank.

ZABG has been greeted with immense government support as legislative
proposals, that came up with the Troubled Financial Institutions
(Resolution) Bill were promptly tabled before parliament. But observers said
the Bill has emerged as a stumbling block for the launch of ZABG as
President Robert Mugabe, who is on vacation in the Far East, has not signed
it into law. Last Friday, banking and legal circles expected the bill to be
signed by the President in the Government Gazette, but that was not the
case. They said the RBZ was also battling to come up with proper integration
strategies, as the ZABG is set to incorporate at least five troubled
financial players that were at various levels of capitalisation. At least
300 bank employees were thrown onto the streets after the eight financial
institutions were slapped with curatorship due to acute cash flow crunches
invoked by massive financial mismanagement and speculation.

In an interview, Zibawu secretary general, Colleen Gwiyo, on Friday said the
union was worried by the central bank's attitude towards the welfare of
workers throughout the year-long financial sector crisis. He said the bulk
of the RBZ's decisions had ignored input from workers. "There is high
tension, the future of bank employees is uncertain, we have never been
approached. "ZABG is a mysterious baby that we cannot foretell whether it is
for the benefit of workers or not, we do not know if it will accommodate all
the affected workers, no one is talking to us. "The RBZ is being one-sided
in its dealing with this issue, no input from us has been considered but
they are just imposing laws to throw more workers out of employment. "That
is very unkind of the RBZ," Gwiyo said. While the RBZ's prompt intervention
to save the financial sector was greeted with enthusiasm, it has proved
costly to both the workers and account holders. Some account holders were
until Friday last week desperately jostling to access billions of dollars in
savings trapped in CFX Bank branches around the country. Gwiyo added that
his organisation would soon confront RBZ governor Gideon Gono to register
its disappointment in the manner in which he has handled the troubled
financial institutions.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


A Gloomy Election Countdown Begins

Wilson Johwa

BULAWAYO, Jan 3 (IPS) - And so, another year in Zimbabwe - and in less than
three months time, another election. It is a prospect that few seem to

Compare the political environment in the country now to what it was ahead of
the last parliamentary poll in 2000, and the lack of voter enthusiasm is not
hard to understand.

To begin with, a raft of repressive legislation has been passed that would
be the envy of ruling parties elsewhere which are seeking re-election.

The Public Order and Security Act, passed in January 2002, gives officials
the power to ban political rallies. It has also criminalized statements
which could be seen to undermine the authority of the president, insult him
or spark feelings of hostility towards him - thereby sounding the death
knell for the average opposition stump speech.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (passed in March
2002) has restricted the activities of the independent press by obliging
journalists to obtain accreditation from a government-appointed Media
Information Commission.

"Local journalists risk criminal charges if they try to speak the truth.
Besides, where would they publish? Most dissenting media voices have long
ago been shut down," says an internet-based activist group, Sokwanele (which
means "enough").

In addition, a Non-governmental Organisations Act, given the green light by
parliament last month, bans foreign human rights groups from working in
Zimbabwe. It also prohibits local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that
focus on rights from receiving foreign funding.

As money for financing these organisations is scarce in Zimbabwe itself, the
bill could force many local NGOs to close their doors - including several
that deal with voter education. This prompted the European Union (EU) to
note in a statement issued Dec. 22 that the NGO Act, which still awaits
President Robert Mugabe's signature, "could have a significant negative
impact on the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe."

Then again, those groups which do survive the funding crunch may also find
themselves prevented from educating voters. The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) Bill, also enacted last month, empowers the newly-created
commission to decide which organisations should be allowed to raise
awareness amongst voters.

The establishment of the ZEC was apparently intended to bring Zimbabwe in
conformity with a set of electoral guidelines adopted in August 2004 by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Amongst other things, these stipulate that polls should be supervised by
impartial institutions, that all parties should have access to state media -
and that campaigns should be free of political harassment. Last November,
the government-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) refused to accept
adverts from the opposition despite guarantees of payment. The ZBC also
routinely condemns the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

However, the New York-based Human Rights Watch and others point out that the
way in which ZEC commissioners are appointed still gives government too much
say over who sits on the body.

"They (the ruling ZANU-PF party) have put everything in place to win the
elections," says Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional
Assembly - a body which lobbies for constitutional reform in Zimbabwe.

As a result, the MDC has suspended its participation in the March vote.
Party officials say a final decision on whether to contest the poll will be
taken this month, on the basis of whether government has made real progress
in adopting the SADC guidelines.

But, "There is more to gain by not participating and mounting a campaign to
build a mass movement," observes Madhuku.

Opposition followers were the recipients of sustained abuse and harassment
by state agents and pro-government militants in the run up to the 2000
parliamentary elections and the 2002 presidential poll, (about 30 lives were
lost in the parliamentary election alone).

This prompted the EU and United States to impose economic sanctions and
travel restrictions on President Robert Mugabe and other high-ranking

For his part, Mugabe accuses Western powers of conspiring with the
opposition to topple his government. ZANU-PF has dubbed the upcoming poll an
"anti-Blair election", in reference to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

While the members of Zimbabwe's political elite appear well-insulated from
any threat to their financial wellbeing, the same cannot be said for
ordinary Zimbabweans.

Government's controversial land redistribution programme and a costly
involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo's civil war are amongst the
factors that have led to precipitous economic decline in Zimbabwe.

The land reform initiative began in early 2000, when veterans of Zimbabwe's
war of independence and other militants occupied white-owned farms,
reportedly to protest against racial imbalances in land ownership that dated
back to the colonial era.

While most of the country's prime agricultural land was in the hands of
minority whites at the time, it has since been alleged that the farm
invasions were orchestrated by government in a bid to gain public support
ahead of the 2000 parliamentary poll.

In the five years that followed, Zimbabwe's economy contracted by 40 percent
due to ravages in the agricultural sector - and the resultant uncertainty in
other areas of business. Inflation, down from 623 percent last January, is
still at a staggering 149 percent. Unemployment runs at 70 percent.

Food production also dropped dramatically. This, combined with the effects
of a ruinous drought that has affected several SADC countries over recent
years, has put millions of Zimbabweans in the position of requiring food

In May last year, Harare prevented the United Nations World Food Programme
from updating its assessment of the amount of aid needed in the country.
This has raised fears that the supplies which are available will be
distributed to gain votes, rather than on the basis of need.

"There's no doubt that the cleavages of discontent have widened," says Brian
Kagoro, chairman of Crisis in Zimbabwe - a coalition of civil society

While some claim that levels of repression in Zimbabwe are lower than they
were ahead of the 2000 and 2002 votes, largely because ZANU-PF is confident
of a victory in March, the MDC has issued a report that details extensive
human rights abuses against its members last year.

The party says seven of its legislators, 53 MDC officials and hundreds of
activists were subject to arbitrary arrest, abductions, intimidation,
assault, rape and destruction of property in 2004.

Fear of abuse and financial need have driven vast numbers of Zimbabweans
abroad to South Africa, Britain and elsewhere (some estimate that 60 to 70
percent of the productive adult population, more than three million people,
has left the country).

Most of these individuals will be unable to vote in the March poll. The
Electoral Bill, passed shortly after the ZEC Bill, restricts the casting of
postal ballots to government employees and their spouses.

Dissenting voices within ZANU-PF have been dealt with as ruthlessly as those
outside the party. "ZANU-PF has become increasingly authoritarian in its own
internal politics," notes Kagoro.

Perhaps the most high-profile victim of these actions has been Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo, who was removed from the highest decision-making
body in ZANU-PF last month. This came after he organised a meeting of ruling
party members to oppose the election of Joyce Majuru, who enjoys the support
of Mugabe, to the post of vice president.

Moyo also had well-publicised differences with other ZANU-PF stalwarts.
Additional reports, denied by government, indicate that he has tendered his

ZANU-PF has been in power in Zimbabwe since the country gained independene
from Britain in 1980. (END/2005)
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Zimbabwe name new chief executive
      The controversial acting chief executive of Zimbabwe Cricket, Ozias
Bvute, has been given the job permanently, it has been announced.
      Bvute replaces Vincent Hogg, who quit after finding his job untenable
in the middle of a long and hostile dispute with 15 sacked white players.

      His appointment follows two failed attempts by ZC to find a fresh face
at the helm through advertising campaigns.

      Bvute had headed up the much-maligned integration committee.

      That committee came under fire from several quarters, as it was
accused of unfairly advancing the claims of young black cricketers to the
detriment of established white players.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zanu-PF drops key ministers from poll list

January 03, 2005, 15:45

Zimbabwe's ruling party has dropped three key ministers as candidates for
polls due in March in the latest sign that Robert Mugabe, the president, was
stamping his authority on the party after a row over the succession. The
official Herald newspaper said today Jonathan Moyo, the information
minister, Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, and Chris Kuruneri, the
finance minister, were missing from a list of Zanu(PF) officials to contest
the parliamentary polls.

Philip Chiyangwa, a businessman, was also dropped from the list. Moyo has
spearheaded Zanu(PF)'s political campaigns since a crisis developed in
Zimbabwe over land reform in 1999 and has also acted as government
spokesperson. He and Chinamasa played a key role in the enactment of media
and security laws critics say aimed to undermine Mugabe's political

"It is understood that Professor Moyo's submission of candidature was left
out as the Tsholotsho constituency, where he was campaigning, has been
reserved for women contestants only," the paper said.

Zanu(PF) officials were not available for comment. Moyo helped organise a
secret meeting which Zanu(PF) says was convened to push Emmerson Mnangagwa,
a parliamentary speaker, for the post of party vice-president. The post is
seen as a stepping stone to the succession to Mugabe, expected to retire in

Seven top Zanu(PF) officials were suspended while Moyo was severely
reprimanded over the meeting, which dragged in Chinamasa. The post went to
liberation war veteran Joyce Mujuru, whom Mugabe then appointed state
vice-president. Chiyangwa is in custody following his arrest last month on
charges of selling state secrets to foreign agents. A year ago he was
arrested though later released in what his lawyers said was political
victimisation over the succession debate.

Kurunera has languished in prison for months awaiting trial on charges he
illegally took foreign currency out of the country and had a foreign
passport in contravention of a law banning dual citizenship. Mugabe has
already dropped Moyo, Chinamasa and Chiyangwa from Zanu(PF)'s two main
decision-making bodies.

Analysts say the internal feuding within Zanu(PF) could weaken the ruling
party ahead of March general elections in which it is likely to face the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The MDC says it will
make a decision this month on whether to participate in the March polls. It
says Zanu(PF) rigged 2000 parliamentary elections and a presidential poll
two years later, which Mugabe won. - Reuters

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe


      Let's come alive in 2005!

      Last updated: 01/04/2005 00:38:04
      IT is common cause that 2004 was a very difficult year for most
Zimbabweans. It is also obvious that for many of them, it is hoped that 2005
will be a better year. However, from the look of things, it almost certain
that the year ahead will merely be an extension of the political and
socio-economic woes that was so synonymous with the past year.

      As such, a lot of Zimbabweans will feel more justified to give up on
the prospects of the nation improving for better. Many will find it easier
to fold their hands and haplessly watch events unfold in 2005. This of
course will come not as a surprise to anyone who has been keenly following
the tragic developments that have engulfed the country in the past few

      As I write today, Zimbabwe is on the brink of being written off by
many members of the international community especially in the West. Some are
already thinking of declaring it a 'failed state' in the aftermath of the
March 2005 elections. The much awaited polls are largely expected to fan up
the internecine fires that have engulfed the nation in the past few years.
In fact to many observers, Zimbabwe is just a time bomb merely waiting to

      But is there any justification in giving up and resigning to fate when
it comes to finding a decisive resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe?

      It is submitted that that there is no justification whatsoever to give
up on the future of our beautiful nation. Zimbabwe is our country. It is our
heritage from our forbearers and ancestors. Zimbabwe is our motherland. Not
only is the country our home but it is so precious for us to abandon it to
total ignominy.

      Our posterity and history will judge us harshly if we choose to ignore
the cries for help from the millions of its people who have fared badly in
the past few years. Ignoring the clarion call to rise up in arms to liberate
our country is an abrogation of national responsibility. It is a complete
betrayal of the nation's hopes and aspirations.

      In fact, giving up on Zimbabwe at this juncture will be tantamount to
a blatant negation of the democratic gains that were derived from the
liberation struggle. It will be a total affront to the ideals and
aspirations of the fallen and living heroes of the war of independence.

            "This is not the time to resign and give up hope. This is not
the time to doze and sleep into the luring lull of political passivity and

      The freedom that the nation got in 1980 did not come in a golden
platter. It was not cheap. It was a bought with the price of at least 40 000
deaths in a civic war that lasted over ten years. Many people died in the
1960s and 1970s so at to ensure that Zimbabwe attained its independence.

      The mere mention of the fact that we will be celebrating our 25th year
of independence should be enough for any of us to feel inspired to fight to
preserve whatsoever little is left. We need to preserve the hard one freedom
that have been adulterated over the years by the abuse and bad governance
that has become the signature of Zanu-PF misrule.

      There is thus a need for Zimbabweans all over the country and in the
Diaspora to take stock of what is at stake. Zimbabwean is too precious to be
left to careless abandon and disregard. We all need to appreciate the value
of our beautiful nation.

      I urge Zimbabweans from all spheres of society not to give up on the
future. In particular, I also urge the various key sectors of the
pro-democracy movement to re-organize themselves for the final push for a
new Zimbabwe.

      The churches, students, workers, women, youths, NGOs, MDC and any
other aspects of the progressive movement in Zimbabwe should start to rally
their forces under the banner campaigning for a real and decisive 'final
push' for a new Zimbabwe in 2005.

      This is not the time to resign and give up hope. This is not the time
to doze and sleep into the luring lull of political passivity and

      This is the time to re-strategize and reorganize. This is the time for
all of us to come alive and heed to the clarion call to arms to liberate our
nation. Zimbabwe needs all of our individual contributions. Zimbabwe
desperately needs your own individual input. It would be good if you took up
the challenge and personally played your own part in fighting for a peaceful
but decisive resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

      Please come alive in 2005 and make a big difference for a new and
better Zimbabwe for all of us. If you cannot do it for your sake, then
please do it for your posterity's sake. History will judge you well if you
play your part in helping to bring about democratic change in Zimbabwe. More
fire! -
      Daniel Molokela is a lawyer, a former student leader and is currently
the National Co-ordinator of the Peace and Democracy Project in
Johannesburg, South Africa. His column appears here every Monday
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New laws will not solve problems
      Published in: Legalbrief Africa
      Date: Mon 03 January 2005
      Category: Zimbabwe
      Issue No: 111

      What constitutes a free and fair election? This is the question that
is examined in the latest column on the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

      The Zimbabwe Government is steering through Parliament electoral
legislation it says will ensure that the upcoming election will be conducted
in a manner consistent with the SADC Principles. However, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Bill and a new Electoral Bill are unlikely to lead to
meaningful change to the actual situation on the ground. The present
political environment remains extremely hostile for opposition political
parties. The new electoral laws alone will not transform the Zimbabwean
political landscape. An Electoral Commission consisting of ruling party
sympathisers will certainly not do this. Even a more politically neutral
Commission will have too little time to make any real impact. The column is
sponsored by the International Bar Association and appears online in The
Daily News.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zim ministers accused of spying for CIA
          January 03 2005 at 11:52AM

      Harare - At least two cabinet ministers in Zimbabwe are suspected of
passing official secrets to Western intelligence agencies seeking to spy on
President Robert Mugabe's government, the Sunday Mail has reported.

      The newspaper, one of the main government mouthpieces, said security
authorities were closing in on several top ruling party and government
officials believed to have divulged confidential information to "hostile
intelligence agencies", including the United States Central Intelligence
Agency and Britain's MI5.

      It said Zimbabwean security authorities were investigating at least
two cabinet ministers and an MP who had access to high-level government and
ruling party meetings and who might have given information to foreign-based
Zimbabwean officials, who sold it.

      "The officials would receive handsome payments from enemy agencies,"
the paper said.

      Zimbabwe has repeatedly accused Britain and the US of backing Mugabe's
opponents and working towards his being ousted.

      The ruling Zanu-PF was deeply divided in 2004 over Mugabe's autocratic
style of rule. - Sapa-AP

          .. This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times
on January 03,

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

ZANU PF spy suspects want to alter guilty plea
Tue 4 January 2005
  HARARE - Defence lawyers today resume an application at the magistrates'
court to have four ruling ZANU PF officials accused of espionage permitted
to alter their initial guilty plea.

      Zimbabwe's ambassador designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dvairo, ZANU PF
deputy security officer Kenny Karidza, party external affairs director Itai
Marchi and bank executive Tendai Matambanadzo pleaded guilty to charges that
they sold intelligence information to foreign agents.

      But the four men, who were charged together with ZANU PF chairman for
Mashonanaland West province, Philip Chiyangwa, now want to plead not guilty.

      The hearing, which began last week and continued yesterday, is being
held in camera with even close relatives barred from court.

      Harare lawyers Canaan Dube and Selby Hwacha, who are representing the
four men yesterday made submissions to court before magistrate Peter Kumbawa
adjourned proceedings to today.

      The five men, who are being charged under the Official Secrets Act,
face up to 20 years in jail if convicted of spying for foreign agents. -
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Top Airzim staff face axe

Business Reporter
TOP officials at Air Zimbabwe face the axe amid revelations that they were
at the forefront of abusing the 10 percent discount travel facility granted
to serving staff and pensioners of the airline.

Sources close to the investigations revealed to Business Herald that some
top officials and board members made more than 25 overseas passenger trips
at 10 percent of market prices and heavily discounted cargo rates during the
12 months to October 2004.

"According to preliminary investigations, the names of top officials who
abused the facility by organising overseas trips for their relatives to
various destinations around the globe are now known," said the source, who
is part of the investigations team appointed by the Minister of Transport
and Communications, Mr Chris Mushohwe.

"Investigations are still proceeding," the source said, adding that the
names of other board members were also available but was not prepared to
reveal them.

It also emerged yesterday that officials from institutions affiliated to the
national airline, including the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ)
as well as the parent Transport and Communications Ministry, were also
involved in the scam.

When contacted for comment, the newly appointed Air Zimbabwe chief
executive, Mr Tendai Mahachi, could neither confirm nor deny the

"I have just got in office today and I still want to get orientation of what
it happening in various departments of the company.

"As for now I cannot give a comment," he said.

Efforts to obtain a comment from the minister proved fruitless.

However, a senior official within his ministry confirmed the development,
saying they were waiting for the outcome of the investigations.

The outcome of the investigations, the source said, could see some officials
being suspended or even losing their jobs.

According to initial estimates, the troubled airline could have been
prejudiced out of more than $10 billion between January 2003 and October
last year as it emerged that staff took advantage of the facility to
organise shopping and holiday trips for their relatives to different
destinations around the globe.

The scam prompted Mr Mushohwe to institute a temporary embargo on all
passengers and cargo discounted rates for both serving staff and pensioners.

However, the embargo was lifted last Friday following deliberations between
Minister Mushohwe, the Minister of Policy Implementation, Mr Webster Shamu,
their respective permanent secretaries and airline workers.

Meanwhile, controversy continues to stalk the travel facility as it also
emerged yesterday that some senior officials used underhand means to
organise trips for their relatives during its suspension.

An official with Air Zimbabwe Staff Travel Department confirmed that some
top officials and other board members continued to travel at heavily
discounted fares despite the temporary embargo.

The official said they now not sure whether the embargo applied to
non-managerial staff only since some of the top officials continued to enjoy
the benefit.

"We are baffled by the fact that some top managers and some board members
continued to use the facility.

"Prior to the Christmas and New Year holiday, I actually processed travel
documents for some top managers and other board members who wanted their
relatives to travel abroad using the facility for the festive holiday.

"Although I knew of the status of the facility, there was nothing that I
could do since it was an instruction from my paymasters," said the official
who cannot be named.

The suspension of the facility three weeks ago nearly caused a work stoppage
at the airline as the workers protested against the move by going on a

Non-managerial staff at the airline felt they were being punished for the
sins of the top management and other board members whom they accused of
abusing the facility.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Ministers Chombo, Goche caught in spy ring

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 01/04/2005 09:59:03
TWO Zimbabwean Cabinet ministers under investigation on espionage charges
are today named as Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and National
Security Minister Nicholas Goche, New can reveal.

Sources close to the investigation said last night that the two ministers
had been caught in a spy web which has already seen President Robert
Mugabe's nephew Phillip Chiyangwa charged with selling official State
secrets to "hostile" Western governments.

"The net is closing in," our source said last night. "There are yet more
shocking revelations coming but Chombo and Goche's activities have come
under the microscope."

The sources would not say when either of the ministers would be formerly
arrested saying the investigations had not been concluded.

News that Zimbabwe State Security Minister and President Mugabe's nephew are
in the middle of a spy ring has shook government and on Tuesday, Zimbabwe's
State-run Herald newspaper reported that a top agent within the Counter
Intelligence unit had been picked up on similar allegations.

New was given the name of the official last night. He worked at
the CIO Bulawayo headquarters at Magnet House at the height of the
Matabeleland massacres in the 80s.

The jaw-dropping news that two ministers were under investigation was served
by the government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper at the weekend, although
their names were withheld.

The paper said the ministers were believed to have divulged confidential
information to "hostile intelligence agencies," including the US Central
Intelligence Agency and Britain's MI5.

"The officials would receive handsome payments from enemy agencies," the
Sunday Mail said.

The paper said Erasmus Moyo, a diplomat at the Zimbabwe embassy in Geneva,
disappeared as he was being recalled to Harare. He checked-in for a homeward
bound flight but then slipped away from colleagues escorting him to Geneva

Chiyangwa, a prominent lawmaker; Godfrey Dzvairo, the country's
ambassador-designate to neighbouring Mozambique; and three other
ruling-party officials were charged last week in a Harare court under the
Official Secrets Act.

The men face a fine or a maximum 20 years in prison.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Christian Science Monitor
Can Africa solve African problems?
| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
From conflicts in Sudan, Congo, and Ivory Coast to a boom in Internet use, smooth elections in several countries, and a fresh focus on women and AIDS, the headlines in 2004 gave cause for celebration - and concern. For 2005, one theme stands out: Africa tackling its problems without much outside help.

Conflict in Congo

It's a sobering statistic: 1,000 people are dying each day in eastern Congo, a vast nation in the heart of Africa. And in the past six years of fighting, 3.8 million people have died, according to the International Rescue Committee.

At the outset of 2005, a breakaway military faction is fighting government forces and some 180,000 civilians have fled into the jungle, according to reports. Meanwhile, neighboring Rwanda has dispatched troops into the Central African giant, citing concerns that unfriendly forces in eastern Congo could threaten it. Rwanda is also prospecting for valuable assets like diamonds and gold. Will Congo's turmoil escalate into a broader conflict?

What to watch:

• For the past decade, international donors have poured money into Rwanda - in part because of lingering guilt over inaction during its 1994 genocide. Some say it's time to stop aid flows to Rwanda to punish it for its Congo incursions. Already, Sweden is withholding one-third of its aid.

• The UN recently added 5,900 peacekeepers to its 10,000-strong force in eastern Congo. Long accused of inaction, the UN force has grown stronger recently, engaging some of the rebel groups. Can the force stay neutral amid complicated factional fighting? And will the UN expand its mandate or increase its peacekeeping force?

• Will Congo pull off elections in June? If so, young President Joseph Kabila, who's leading a transitional government, might be able to consolidate power and establish control over the chaotic eastern region. This could enable him to rein in anti-Rwanda elements, thus decreasing tensions with Congo's neighbor.

Two chances for peace in Sudan

The new year could quickly see a major boost for peace in one of Africa's most-troubled nations.

A 20-year conflict in Sudan may finally be ending. The two sides - the northern Muslim government and southern rebels - say they'll sign a final peace deal Jan. 9. If they do, and if they carry it out, the deal could also be a template for solving Sudan's other major conflict - the one in its Darfur province, where the US says genocide has occurred.

The deal could even help end a related 18-year insurgency in neighboring Uganda.

But even with a north-south deal in hand, Darfur is a major challenge. Arab militias continue to rape and kill civilians. Some 2.3 million people are displaced - double the number six months ago. About 70,000 are dead. Aid workers and food convoys have been attacked.

Some groups, including Save the Child-ren UK, have quit the country. "Darfur is deteriorating," says International Crisis Group analyst John Prendergast.

Whether the world can reverse this trend, he and others say, depends on the UN, the US, and the African Union, which is deploying 3,300 troops there.

What to watch:

• If a north-south deal is signed, will Sudan's government be willing to strike a similar pact with Darfur rebels?

• The US has been the major diplomatic force behind the world's response to Darfur. But America's two biggest Darfur advocates - Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Ambassador John Danforth - have resigned. Will their successors build on their commitment?

First signals will come this month during Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice.

• Will a UN commission find that genocide happened in Darfur? If so, stalled discussions about further pressuring Sudan's government are likely to be revived. A report is expected this month.

Zimbabwe's power play

Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, slated for March, will be a major test of whether the once-vibrant nation can halt its economic and political deterioration - and of the continent's commitment to African solutions for African problems.

Zimbabwe was one of the region's strongest economies through the mid-1990s - and a major food exporter. Now its official inflation rate is 150 percent, although that's down from around 900 percent earlier last year. Its increasingly dictatorial president, Robert Mugabe, has trained violent youth militias and passed laws that suppress or eliminate opposition parties, the press, and civil society.

But Mr. Mugabe has agreed to abide by election standards laid out by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a group of 14 nations that promotes good governance. SADC, as well as South Africa, and Mugabe himself, will be under pressure to ensure the norms are followed. If not, it could be an embarrassing setback for African efforts to improve the continent's international image.

One early indicator:

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it will decide this month whether to contest - or pull out of - the elections.

African movies coming to America

This may be the year of African movies coming to a cineplex near you. It could even be a big year for Africa at the Oscars. "Hotel Rwanda," starring Don Cheadle ("Ocean's 12"), is getting strong Oscar buzz for his role as hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who saved hundreds of people during Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

"Red Dust" stars Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry") in the fictional tale of a US lawyer tackling a murder - and the legacy of the apartheid regime - in South Africa.

"Yesterday" is South Africa's official entry in the foreign-film category at the Academy Awards. It's the story of a mother with AIDS who's trying to ensure her daughter gets a good education - even after the mother is gone. It's the first feature-length film in the South African language of Zulu - and one of the first major films from Africa to tackle the issue of AIDS.

Back to the Top
Back to Index