Thu 13 July 2006
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general
Wellington Chibebe on Wednesday told ZimOnline that the umbrella union will
call nationwide street protests by workers for better pay in the last week
of this month.
Chibebe - who for strategic reasons refused to disclose the exact
dates of the protests - spoke as main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party leader also on Wednesday ordered provincial leaders of his party to
hasten mobilising support for mass protests to force President Robert Mugabe
to accept sweeping political reforms.
The ZCTU official said the umbrella union body had resolved to go on
strike after the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), grouping
employers in the country, refused to adjust wages in line with the country's
Chibebe said: "What we want from employers is that they increase
workers' salaries and wages based on the latest poverty datum line
(breadline) figures. This will go a long way in cushioning workers from the
prevailing economic hardships that have reduced most people to paupers.
"However, EMCOZ has since shot down our proposal and this leaves us
with no option but to protest. Demonstrations will take place at the end of
The government-funded Consumer Council of Zimbabwe estimates that an
average family of five requires more than Z$68 million for basic goods and
services per month, this against an average salary of $15 to $20 million a
month for most workers.
It was not possible to get an immediate response from EMCOZ on the
threats by the ZCTU to call worker strikes at the month-end. EMCOZ has in
the past opposed work stoppages which it says only make conditions worse for
the country's struggling companies.
The labour body has also rejected labour proposals to link salary
hikes to inflation saying companies were already facing viability problems
due to a hostile operating environment and many would collapse if forced to
match wages with the country's runaway inflation.
Zimbabwe's annual inflation slowed down by a marginal 8.9 percentage
points to 1 184.6 percent in the month of June from 1 193.5 percent recorded
last May. But economic experts say the key rate is still too high and
remains millstone on business.
Hyperinflation is one of a litany of severe symptoms of Zimbabwe's
seven-year old economic crisis that has also spawned shortages of fuel,
electricity, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic
Major Western governments and the MDC blame the crisis on repression
and wrong policies by Mugabe such as his seizure of productive farms from
whites for redistribution to landless blacks which led to massive food
shortages after the government failed to support new black landowners with
inputs to maintain production on former white farms.
But Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the country's 1980
independence from Britain, denies mismanaging the country and says its
problems are because of economic sabotage by Western governments opposed to
his seizure of white land.
The Zimbabwean leader, who has in the past sent armed soldiers and
police onto the streets to crush dissent, has also vowed to be ruthless with
opposition-led mass protests against his rule, warning Tsvangirai such
protests would be a "dice with death".
Tsvangirai, who told provincial leaders of his party that resounding
mass protests would eventually force Mugabe to accept reforms, wants the
82-year old President to give up power to a transitional government that
would be tasked to write a new constitution and organise fresh elections
under international supervision. - ZimOnline
Thu 13 July 2006
HARARE - Crisis-sapped Zimbabwe is the unhappiest country on earth
according to the Happy Planet Index (HPI) survey by a British think-tank,
New Economics Foundation.
The survey, whose results were released on Tuesday this week, measured
people's well-being and their impact on the environment. Countries were
judged using an index that combined life satisfaction, life expectancy and
environmental imprint - the amount of land required to sustain the
population and absorb its energy consumption.
According to the survey, Zimbabwe was bottom of the 178 countries,
ranked below countries such as Swaziland, Burundi, Democratic Republic of
Congo and Ukraine.
South Pacific Ocean archipelago of Vanuatu was ranked as the happiest
country on earth followed by Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Panama.
None of the Group of Eight (G8), an unofficial forum of the world's
most industrialised nations made it into the top 50 with, for example,
Britain ranked 108 while the United States came out on number 150. South
Africa, which is Africa's biggest economy but is also well known for violent
crime, was ranked 156.
The HPI is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with
well being to measure the environmental efficiency with which countries
provide long and happy lives.
While developed nations like Britain are also ranked lowly on the
list, the placing of Zimbabwe at the bottom of the list is likely to be met
with resistance from the political leadership which sees such negative
portrayal of the country as part of a well orchestrated attempt by Western
governments and institutions to tarnish their image. - ZimOnline
Thu 13 July 2006
HARARE - A Zimbabwean court on Wednesday denied bail to an opposition
legislator and his co-accused who were arrested on Monday over last week's
brutal assault of Harare North Member of Parliament Trudy Stevenson.
Harare magistrate, Faith Mushure, remanded Mabvuku-Tafara legislator
Timothy Mubawu and his co-accused Abraham Kurimakwaramba in custody to July
26 saying the duo were facing serious charges.
"The court appreciates that the charges are serious and the accused
could face years in jail with the option of a fine or both. It is the view
of the court and interest of justice that the application is therefore
"The accused are remanded in custody to 26 July pending trial," said
Mubawu, who belongs to the main faction of the splintered Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai, is accused of
master-minding the brutal attack of Stevenson and four other members of a
rival faction of the party in Mabvuku last week.
He is denying the charge.
Mubawu and Kurimakwaramba are being charged under Section 37 of the
Criminal Codification and Reform Act for participating in a gathering with
the intent to provoke public violence and breach of peace.
They face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
Last week's attack on Stevenson represented the first high profile
case of political violence between the two rival factions which split last
year over whether to participate in a controversial senate election. -
Thu 13 July 2006
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwean government on Wednesday deported a former
South African apartheid-era spy who was once jailed for 18 months for
involvement in the 1986 bombing of African National Congress (ANC) offices
The former secret service agent, Richard Peter Woodcroft, who had left
Zimbabwe after his release from prison returned into the country last year
reportedly to start up some business venture. But he did not have valid
A Zimbabwe Department of Immigration officer, Evans Siziba, said
Woodcroft was deported after he had failed to produce papers to prove he was
in the country legally. The former spy was also declared persona non grata.
"He (Woodcroft) left the country and is now in Botswana. He has been
declared persona-non-grata and will not be allowed to ever enter the country
again," said Siziba.
Woodcroft spent 18 months in detention in Zimbabwe after he was
implicated in the bombing of ANC offices in Harare by apartheid South Africa
secret agents. He was accused of providing the vehicles that were used in
the daring raids by the apartheid spies.
The Zimbabwe government two weeks ago released three other South
African spies who were also implicated in the 1986 bombing of ANC offices in
Harare. - ZimOnline
Thu 13 July 2006
JOHANNESBURG - A South African magistrate's court has acquitted five
members of the Johannesburg branch of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) who were facing charges of kidnapping and murdering
their colleague last year.
The court said the five were being acquitted because of contradictions
between statements of state witnesses and the post mortem report.
The five Philemon Moyo, Philemon Ncube, Thembelani Ndebele, Sidanisile
Ngwenya and Memory Moyo were accused of kidnapping fellow MDC member,
Lungile Moyo, murdering him and burning his body sometime at the beginning
of last year.
But the state witnesses claimed in statements that Moyo's body had
external injuries while a pathologist's report said the body did not have
any external wounds save for the burns.
The court ruled: "It is evident that we are dealing with a wrong body
as both witnesses claim that the deceased had external injuries but the
postmortem I have with me state that he had no external injuries except for
the burns and I can not charge the group for a wrong body. I therefore find
them not guilty."
The Johannesburg branch of the MDC had been plagued by infighting
between pioneering and new members freshly arrived from Zimbabwe and grouped
under the Zimbabwe Action Support Group (ZASG).
The split of the main MDC in Harare last year appears to have brought
a degree of calmness among the political exiles in Johannesburg after they
separated ways. The ZASG joined the main faction of the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai while pioneering members of the MDC in South Africa joined the
smaller faction of the party led by academic, Arthur Mutambara. - ZimOnline
Wed 12 July 2006
HARARE - At least 400 National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) members
were arrested in three Zimbabwean cities on Wednesday for demonstrating
against worsening economic conditions in the country.
At least 191 protesters were arrested in Harare alone while the rest
were arrested in Masvingo and the eastern city of Mutare. No arrests were
reported in Bulawayo and Gweru where the NCA was also staging similar
In Harare, at least 700 NCA protesters took the police by surprise as
they marched along Nelson Mandela Street in the city centre towards the
Parliament Building where they wanted to hand over a petition to Speaker of
Parliament, John Nkomo.
But the police soon pounced on the demonstrators arresting about 191
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena refused to comment on the arrests
but a ZimOnline crew witnessed several police trucks ferrying the arrested
NCA members to Harare Central police station.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku, said the demonstrations will continue
despite the arrests in Harare, Masvingo and Mutare.
"I am disappointed that in Mutare the police assaulted our members but
here in Harare no one was assaulted. It seems the police are now
appreciating that what we are doing (protesting against the government) is
also good for them as well," said Madhuku.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, defended the arrests saying the
police had a duty to enforce the country's security laws.
"This group (NCA) did not apply for permission to hold the
demonstrations and the police had to no option but to make sure that there
is peace in the country. It seems the group enjoys being on the other side
of the law," said Mohadi.
The government's Public Order and Security Act (POSA) requires
Zimbabweans to first seek permission from the police before holding
political meetings or demonstrations.
The NCA has often defied the law which they say is undemocratic.
Several members of the protest group have been arrested in the past for
staging demonstrations without first seeking clearance from the police. -
Wed 12 July 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday
ordered provincial leaders of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
to hasten mobilisation of ordinary Zimbabweans for mass protests to force
President Robert Mugabe to accept sweeping political reforms.
Tsvangirai, who heads the main faction of the MDC after the party
split last year, again did not say when exactly he will issue the order for
mass protests to begin.
But a tone of urgency in Tsvangirai's appeal to the 12 provincial
chairmen to galvanise and strengthen grassroots structures appeared to
suggest the date for the mass protests - the MDC first threatened at its
congress last March - was nearing.
Tsvangirai said; "Your challenge is to ensure that the numbers we
expect to come out are ready. Strengthen the structures right to the last
hamlet and growth point. Knit-up the weak ends and plug possible fissures.
Assure the local leaders that the nation is fully behind them in this
endeavour because the MDC leadership is ready for a comprehensive roll-out
The MDC has said it will roll out mass protests to force Mugabe's
government to accept a roadmap suggested by the opposition party for a
peaceful resolution of Zimbabwe's crisis.
The roadmap includes Mugabe giving up power to a transitional
government that would be tasked to lead the writing of a new and democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe. The transitional authority would also be asked to
organise free and fair elections under international supervision.
But Mugabe has reacted angrily both to threats of mass action by
Tsvangirai and to the MDC roadmap. The 82-year old President, who has in the
past sent armed soldiers and police onto the streets to crush dissent, has
vowed to be ruthless with opposition-led mass protests against his rule,
warning the proposed protests were a "dice with death".
Tsvangirai, who said his party was also still in consultation with
civic society groups on the roadmap and on other issues of co-operation,
promised his chairmen that properly organised and successful mass action
would eventually force Mugabe to the negotiating table.
He said: "A resounding public expression of discontent with the status
quo, reverberating beyond the hills and valleys of our bleeding economy,
shall nudge ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe out of the crust of political denial
and drag them, screaming and kicking, to the negotiating table."
The opposition leader whose party has of late been implicated in
political violence urged the provincial leaders to ensure party activists
refrained from violence.
He said: "Violence is a sign of weakness, so expose political
fraudsters and ZANU PF plants bent on causing trouble among our people. As
representatives of the majority, we cannot be seen to use violence to
achieve our goals. As provincial chairpersons, you must watch out for
dangerous political games designed to tie us and force us to focus
internally." - ZimOnline
Broadcast on SW Radio Africa
11 July 2006
Violet Gonda: We welcome on the Programme Hot Seat the Chairperson of the
National Constitutional Assembly Dr Lovemore Madhuku and the two Secretary
Generals of the MDC factions; Tendai Biti from the Tsvangirai MDC and
Professor Welshman Ncube from the Mutambara MDC.
It's been said Robert Mugabe's skill in staying in power is because of his
ability to divide the opposition. Is this what's wrong with Zimbabwe? Are
pro-democracy groups not able to put aside their differences and work
together for the good of the country?
These are some of the issue we are going to deal with in this
teleconference. But first we are going to talk about the alleged issue of
violence in the opposition because so much has happened in the MDC in the
last few months and the latest reports have shown that the rift in the
opposition party has widened. Now the latest is a violent incident that took
place in Mabvuku where some senior party official from the Mutambara led
camp were severely assaulted. Now the Mutambara camp has accused their
rivals from the Tsvangirai faction of sanctioning the violence.
So Professor Ncube what evidence is there that this incident was
masterminded by the other side?
Ncube: Well I am not so sure about masterminding, the evidence on
masterminding. The things we know for instance are that the chairman of
Harare province, one Femai, has publicly issued a declaration that Harare
will be a no go area for us and that we would be flushed out of Harare. We
didn't believe that he truly meant that. However on this score what we have
is that there was a group of youths whom we know are the same youths that
were previously expelled from the party in June of 2005, who in fact were
part of the large group of people who assaulted Honourable Trudy Stevenson
and former Councillor Mushonga and Mrs Manyere.
These youths are known to the three victims very, very well known because
they always hang around Harvest House. They have always been in the party
and they were positively identified or at least seven or four of them were
positively identified by the victims because they are persons who are well
known to them. And these are the persons who were expelled by the National
Council in June 2005 and were somehow reinstated into the other part of the
MDC and they are the same people, by the way, who have been hijacking and
seizing vehicles from our drivers and some of them are the subjects of court
orders, which remain un-obeyed. So clearly it cannot be disputed who these
youths are or at least the seven of them who were positively identified. We
can argue as to whether or not they acted on the authority of some senior
officials in the other party of the MDC or they did not.
Violet: Now Tendai Biti how does your party respond to these allegations?
Biti: Well I mean, firstly I think you can't "convict a person" on the basis
of circumstantial evidence but I think to me there are two things that are
fundamental. The first fundamental principle is that the part of the MDC
that I represent is not violent and does not condone violence. I think that
our record speaks for itself since our congress of the 19th of March 2006.
However as I have already made clear in my public statements if there is any
evidence that would be un-earthed by the commission of inquiry which we have
appointed that connects a member or supporter then due process will take
place in terms of the MDC constitution. But personally I have lived in a
very violent Zimbabwe. I went through, when I went to school between 1980
and 1985, 20 000 of my fellow Zimbabweans were being butchered in
When I was at university hundreds of us were beaten up by this regime. When
I started practicing law 50% of my practice was defending people or getting
people that were getting brutalised by ZANU PF. Over 300 of our supporters
lost life and limbs between 2000 and 2005. We lost great cadres like the
late Chiminya and the late Talent Mabika, Trynos Midzi and others. Only last
year over a million of our people had homes violently destroyed by Zanu PF
and so forth. So to me I have no doubt that the principal author and agent
of violence in Zimbabwe is ZANU PF. As I speak now there is barbarism,
economic barbarism that has caused two million of our people to be in the
Diaspora if not three million. The life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 34. 4 000
people are dying each day because of HIV/AIDS.
So if you ask me what is the face of violence in Zimbabwe I will tell you it
is ZANU PF and that is beyond reasonable doubt. I will not, and I am also
alive of ZANU PF's capacity of generating wedges in the democratic
society -in the democratic forces. I am aware of ZANU PF's capacity to
create evidence; I defended Ndabaningi Sithole in 1997 and that whole thing
was a sham created not by the CIO but by Robert Mugabe directly. So I am
aware of the shenanigans of the CIO and I am aware that at this very
juncture the one person who is smiling and smiling alone is Robert Mugabe,
whilst the opposition or the so-called opposition claws at each other.
Violet: Right. But what about the issues that have been raised by Professor
Ncube? Do the names mentioned by the Mutambara camp in the attack against,
in the attack on Trudy Stevenson and the other MDC officials - do you know
anything about those names? Are they total strangers, are they known to your
group? And what about the other allegations that some of these youths were
expelled by the National Council but were later reinstated, what can you say
Biti: None of the names except the name of Ndira rings a bell to the names
that have been read out to me, I don't know them. But as I said, even if I
knew a name there, I wouldn't convict before due process has taken its
place. And I have made it very clear in my public statement that the police
must act and my understanding is that this assault took place at a lawful
meeting of our friends. If that is the case everyone knows that the police
and the CIO are always there at those meetings. When you apply for your
permission in terms of the Public Order and Security Act, the police use the
opportunity of putting their agents there and at Circle Cement which I know
very well because I am a Member of Parliament for Harare East, there is
actually a small police post inside the police camp. So my biggest question
is where were the police when all this was taking place?
And it raises to me the biggest question; what is the role of the police and
the CIO in this whole ugly thing? But in saying that in questioning the role
of the agents I have made it very clear that if there was subjective
involvement then due process should take place in two fronts. First; the
police must protect the laws of this country and prosecute and secondly; any
of the organisations or any person that had a hand in sponsoring these
people must surely be brought to book through due process and to me violence
occurs in two ways. There is violence that was perpetrated on Trudy and
others - that is regrettable. I see Trudy as my mother and I am totally,
totally abhorred by what happened. But to me it's also violence if you
proceed to convict an individual without due process. It's even more
violence if you allow yourself to be divided when you know the true nature
of the police that you are dealing with and all of us here should not be,
should have no illusions about the capacity of ZANU PF and the capacity of
ZANU PF to create and drive wedges in the democratic forces.
Violet: Dr Madhuku what is your analysis of this issue?
Madhuku: Well I think it's very clear that first there was that very
unacceptable conduct where Trudy Stevenson and others were attacked and we
agree with everyone who condemns that sort of action. But at the same time I
take note of the fact that we have to investigate and see who exactly is
responsible and that when people are eventually found out to be who they are
I think they should be punished. So from a civic society perspective we have
tended to follow the two things that we have heard that firstly; the police
are investigating and secondly; that the MDC that Tendai belongs to has
instituted internal investigations, so we prefer to leave it at that. But
definitely we should condemn that violence.
Violet: Now Professor Ncube there are allegations that your party is trying
to get political mileage by milking or making a meal out of this unfortunate
incident, now is this correct and also is it possible that these youths may
have done this without getting orders from the leadership?
Ncube: Well, firstly I do not understand how it is conceivable that anyone
can be accused of trying to get political mileage by stating the facts as
they are. And the facts are that Honourable Stevenson, former Councillor
Mushonga, Mrs Manyere were in fact assaulted in the manner which has already
been publicised and unless if it is suggested that we should keep this
secret so that we are not accused of trying to take or milk a political
advantage out of it, and all we have done is to state the facts and it is
absolutely important that we must state the facts if in fact we are to
effectively deal with violence. As Tendai has said, violence is endemic in
our society and the large part of that violence is attributable to ZANU PF.
There is no doubt about that and they are masters at violence.
But that is even the more reason why we need to be careful ourselves that we
do not in fact begin to behave like the enemy and also we should be careful
that we do not reproduce the very violence that we are fighting against. And
for us this is important and it partly explains the split that took place in
the MDC. Part of the dispute in October 2005 was about the manner in which
the president's office at that time had in fact sort to handle or underplay
the violence, which had occurred in the party. There had been a commission
of inquiry chaired by the president at that time, himself, which had found
certain people guilty including the security staff in his office. Those had
been dismissed by the National Council. He had then reinstated - directed me
to reinstate them. I did write them a letter indicating to them that I have
been directed to reinstate them. I accordingly reinstated them. And that was
for some of us the context in which October 12 2005 took place and it is in
that context that some of us will always condemn under all circumstances -
While I accept and agree with Tendai as a lawyer that we should not convict
people, we are not in the business of convicting people. We are the victims
and we are making the allegations. Those allegations are yet to be proven in
court and no one is convicted until a trial has taken place in this
instance. Our duty is to make the allegations of what happened and it is for
others to sit in judgement.
Violet: Now Tendai, the Mutambara MDC has repeatedly said your camp has
violent thugs and even if they are not receiving orders from the top, as the
leadership do you not think you really need to address this issue? And also
to go further with what Professor Ncube has said, why were these youths and
some of these security staff, that he mentioned, why were they reinstated?
Biti: Well look let's get one thing very clear. The one body that is violent
in Zimbabwe is ZANU PF there is no question about that. But sometimes the
victim and the people of Zimbabwe, the MDC are victims of violence.
Sometimes as Frantz Fanon says, the victim can begin to mirror the image of
the principle, the image of the oppressor in this case ZANU PF. And of
course there are factors that may explain that; unemployment, the harsh
conditions and so forth. Which is why there was violence in the MDC and that
violence if you are going to talk in terms of post 12 October language, has
been in both factions.
I was in Bulawayo on the 13th of November 2005 when two of our youths, one
of them actually lost his eye by violence by or friends by the other side.
We all know what happened for instance in the past to people like Dr
Mudzingwa and so forth. That happens but that has to be put in the context.
Where my point of departure is to make violence a structural component in
the MDC. It was not. My point is to make violence in the pre-12th October
situation a religion in the MDC - it was not. And no one can say, no one can
say that the face of the MDC up to the 12th of October 2005 was that of
violence. That's not true and we would not have achieved the gains that we
achieved if this was a violent organisation. Equally in the same vein we
would not have achieved the gains that we have achieved if this was a
dishonest and corrupt organisation.
We achieved what we did irrespective of the stolen elections because we were
clean, multi tribal, multi racial party that represented a future new
Zimbabwe and that is the challenge we have to ensure that we do not detract
ourselves because of ZANU PF machinations, we do not detract ourselves from
the one fundamental goal that if we are all democrats we should be aiming
for. And what we are aiming for is a new constitution in Zimbabwe made by
Zimbabweans, for Zimbabweans and free and fair elections by Zimbabweans for
Zimbabwean in terms of that constitution so that we deal with the issues of
legitimacy in our country, we address the issues of unemployment, we address
the issue of food, we address the issues of jobs and I am particularly
concerned by exhausting my energy - I have spent my entire life fighting
ZANU PF and I am one of the few persons in the top leadership of this party
in both formations who can genuinely say I have never belonged to ZANU PF, I
have always been fighting it in my life.
I don't want to get to forty and be frustrated that we have not achieved
gains or we - who are in charge now- have taken the struggle against Mugabe,
the struggle against patronage forty years behind in as much as the split
between ZANU and ZAPU in 1962 took and delayed our struggle and attainment
for independence by forty years. I don't want to be guilty when judgement
day comes, by future generations. I am very clear the enemy is ZANU PF and
everything must lie squarely at the hands of ZANU PF. But that doesn't mean
that we do not and will not address the issues of violence and as I have
said in my own statements I don't belong to a violent organisation and I
know, I know that my top leadership none of them had anything to do with the
12th of umm, with what happened last weekend but should evidence unearth and
evidence emerge that someone had a role then clearly due process in terms of
the constitution must take its place. But we know ZANU PF we really know
ZANU PF and I do not know why we have short memories.
Violet: And before I go to Dr Madhuku I just want to get a comment on this
from Professor Ncube, clearly an independent commission of inquiry has been
set up to investigate this incident, by the Tsvangirai MDC, now why is your
party failing to accept this as a way of resolving this issue?
Ncube: We are not failing to accept what is being said by way of the
commission of inquiry, which has been proposed or set up, if I understand
your question correctly or properly. What we are saying is that we have
grave reservations and a great deal of doubt that the intend behind the
commission is a genuine one across the board of the leadership of the other
part of the MDC. I have no doubt that my friend Tendai is well meaning that
he speaks from the heart that he believes what he says but we cannot ignore
the facts on the ground. The facts are that for instance the same thugs that
we are talking about have been hijacking cars and the last car they hijacked
in the centre of Harare is the subject of a court order. The court order
directs that car to be returned to us, that court order remains un-obeyed
and we know that car is being used openly. In Mabvuku in the campaign it was
being used in the presence of the leadership of the MDC.
Even more importantly we know that that car is being parked occasionally at
Tsvangirai's house because we have been monitoring it. And you cannot sit as
a beneficiary of violent conduct and then expect us to take you seriously
when you say you in fact condemn that violence. This is where we have a
fundamental problem. The people who are in fact the perpetrators of these
violence, at least the young people who are being used we can debate who is
using them, are in fact at Tsvangirai's house a great deal of the time and
if you go to your videos for instance around the time when Tsvangirai was
walking into town protesting the shortage of fuel, those same youths who
were expelled were walking with him all the time into town and after they
had been expelled by the National Council. And it is very difficult then to
ask us to believe that the security people who were found to have organised,
co-ordinated the violence in fact participated for instance in robbery of
about ZW$21million from Allois Mudzingwa are re-instated, are working as
Tsvangirai's bodyguards as I speak to you.
It will be in defiance of logic to then ask me to believe that that sort of
leadership is genuine when it says it is against violence. While I accept
Tendai Biti's arguments as a person as an individual that he has never
belonged to ZANU PF, he has spent all his life fighting ZANU PF - so have I,
all my life and this is why some of us take so seriously this issue of
violence. And why we are doing the things we are doing we are saying; we do
not need another false revolution in Zimbabwe. When we get rid of ZANU PF it
must be a genuine new beginning not a false new beginning where you will in
fact reproduce the same things that we have been fighting against.
Violet: Now Dr Madhuku I don't know what you can say about this because it
seems the allegations are getting more serious. Now do you think it's
possible for the two MDC factions to resolve their differences and stop
these allegations and start working together for the good of the country?
Madhuku: It is very, very possible everyone in this country is looking
forward to the day when the two MDCs resolve the differences. I think what
should bind them and what we believe will bind them is their genuine
commitment to a new Zimbabwe that is founded on democratic values and the
dignity of Zimbabweans. So once they have gone through all these allegations
and counter allegations the motions that are associated with the problems
that have arisen in the MDC, I have not doubt in my mind that they will
resolve it. I mean take this discussion and indeed the discussion that
Professor Ncube and Tendai - it takes quite committed Zimbabweans who are on
opposite ends as we speak at the moment to engage in this kind of debate and
I take it myself that they are doing out of the depths of their hearts and
wanting to see a different Zimbabwe. So we should continue to cultivate an
environment where eventually will get Zimbabweans fighting for justice in
this country working together.
Violet: You know it's been said by the two opposition leaders that Zanu PF
have made Zimbabwe a violent society and so it's now expected that everyone
has the potential to react violently. But as a civic leader Dr Madhuku what
role does the civil society play in monitoring the democratic space and in
regulating any brutality in this fight for power?
Madhuku: We I think the problem we are having in Zimbabwe at the moment is
the focus that we have all made on the situation in the country, the ZANU PF
government and so forth and we have been over stretched. We condemn the
violence that was perpetrated but at the same time we have difficulties in
really getting our work on the ground to see, for example in Mabvuku, who
did it, what happened etcetera. Many people would have loved a situation
where these perpetrators were quickly brought to justice and then we proceed
with what we are supposed to be doing everyday. But our role really is to
encourage society to be none violent and we do it through, as civic society,
through our education workshops and also of course we have to be exemplary
in what we do everyday. And that's all I can say about that.
Violet: That was part one of a series of discussions with the principal
architects of the opposition. Join us next Tuesday when the panellists
discuss the future of the MDC and civil society.
Broadcast on SW Radio Africa's Hot Seat programme on Tuesday 11 July 2006
From PBS Frontline/World (US), 27 June
Khethani Sibanda is a former opposition activist with the Movement for
Democratic Change. Sibanda was born in Bulawayo and became politically
inspired after listening to the sermons of Pius Ncube, the city's outspoken
Catholic archbishop and an ardent critic of President Robert Mugabe. Sibanda
was arrested in 2001, along with his friend Sazini Mpofu, during a
much-publicized murder case. Both men were acquitted and released from
prison in 2004. Shortly after his release, Sibanda fled to South Africa. He
currently lives in Soweto. In this interview, Sibanda talks about the
struggle of the opposition movement under Mugabe's increasingly autocratic
rule and what he sees as hopeful signs that Zimbabwe may soon change.
Alexis Bloom: Why did you join the opposition?
Khethani Sibanda: I joined because I wasn't satisfied with the way the
government was ruling over the people of Zimbabwe. I was concerned with
youth issues. I was writing for the Chronicle. It was a radical paper,
although it was state owned. I was concerned with the efforts that could
have been done by my government - lack of sports facilities; recreational
facilities; libraries; the number of schools. The municipality built many
primary schools and not many secondary schools. Where I lived, we had never
seen our representative. He had never come down to discuss issues with us,
what our expectations of him are. When the MDC [Movement for Democratic
Change] was exposed, many people got out of the country... people started to
leave to look for better jobs, etc. ... it became increasingly difficult
.... People understood that government people are all over the place now;
they are watching, listening, they can do anything to you.
Sounds like an oppressive climate.
Yes. It was the youth militia introduced under the auspices of youth
services. These youth were taught propaganda and military tactics - how to
torture people, inflict pain. As soon as they were released in the streets,
we witnessed murders and rapes of adults - a youth who goes on top of a
mother or a grandmother. They were not trained - just given uniforms and
baton sticks and guidance from one or two military personnel ... they were
based in camps inside primary schools. That affects schoolchildren because
the environment was bad .... The youth were given red berets - a reminder to
say, "Don't forget what we did in the 1980s. Look, we've got lots of youth
and advanced technical equipment." People who were willing activists began
Tell us about the circumstances of the murder charge that was brought
This was a case that was stage-managed from the beginning. The government
killed people, and they wanted to use the deaths of those people to
intimidate other people. So you have us and some power-hungry officials who
used their powers .... They ignored rules and regulations, the way they
extracted statements from us; they induced violence, intimidated us,
tortured us. Point No. 2: They had an investigation diary with contradicting
facts, activities, dates. Somebody was calling the shots from up above. The
men on the investigative level were confused. They were a bunch of confused
officials. They had no evidence to link us to the crime, to prove we've been
involved in the crime. All they had were statements given by us under
duress. The court said they were inadmissible - they did a trial within a
trial about the statements because there was evidence from the state
witnesses who said they were recipients of torture from police officers.
There were key officials important to the state case. The judge threw out
the trial, questioning why I was arrested for the murder of Cain Nkala.
Senior officials ordered my arrest for the murder of Cain Nkala. How did
they know at that time that Cain had been murdered? The judge said the
evidence was flawed, the case was flawed, etc.
Explain in the simplest way to someone new what happened to you.
I was a very active member of the MDC. My record is proof of the fact that I
was effective in the work I did. I know that government people would never
have been pleased about the work I did. At the end of the day, it was a way
to get the MDC banned. The government wanted to implicate the leadership of
the MDC. Torture was inflicted on me, violent acts, physical abuse; all this
has had a psychological effect on me. There were people following me for two
weeks. What was painful was that they did get me to implicate the
leadership - they tried to get me to say the president, but I was brave
enough to only implicate the treasurer general. So at least I achieved
something, although I feel bad about this. I was arrested on November 11,
2001, and charged on November 13 with the murder of Cain Nkala. I was taken
before cameras to make indications on a grave where a man was buried. I was
made to proclaim before the nation that I was the murderer and implicate
other people. This was played on television for six months on a daily basis.
It was traumatic for friends, family, the MDC. I had guns pointed at me,
AK47 rifles beating on me; I was kicked, thrown inside crocodile-infested
waters. They [the people doing this] were with the CIO [Central Intelligence
Organization], and there were members of the military, members of the war
veterans; they were all together. On November 15, we went to court. I
suffered violence from officers, prisoners. I was at one time raped at the
hands of prison officers while others watched. All these acts of
intimidation and human degradation and tearing away the moral fiber within
me that holds me together. I was incarcerated in solitary confinement for
eight months, where I never knew the sun, never saw other people. I was
denied medication, etc.
How would you describe the government's policies today?
All they want to do is protect their selfish agenda. That's why you've seen
them come up with programs like the land invasions; programs like the
introduction of the youth service; introducing laws like the Public Order
Security Act, and new media laws that are used to undermine the relevance of
the media. They just don't care. I think all dictatorships are like that
.... You tear down what holds people together; you plant division within the
people. Because right now, Zimbabwe is divided along racial lines; along
tribal lines; and divided according to party lines. So you have a people who
have disunited themselves. And you have a people who do not trust each other
because there has been so much infiltration in the work place - infiltration
by security forces - in schools, hospitals, in the community. Those in
authority are being used against the people - headmen, councilors, are being
used against the people, when they should be there to safeguard the
interests of the people.
Do you think the government is scared?
Yeah, definitely the government is scared because they know that at the end
of the day when the sun shines on all this darkness, there's going to come a
time when the truth shall come to bear. They know that there is
insurmountable evidence that shows how dirty they have been. A lot of people
have been killed, mysteriously disappeared. There's Gukurahundi itself.
["Gukurahundi" is a Shona word describing "the wind that sweeps away the
chaff before the rain." It is used to describe the terror overseen by
President Robert Mugabe to remove political opposition at the beginning of
his reign in the early 1980s.] This is something in the president's closet
that haunts him, and it will haunt him to his grave. They know that if they
lose power, they are going to be indicted for all these cases, and they are
going to be brought before the courts of law, and justice is going to be
Who does support the ruling Zanu PF Party?
The only people they claim support them are the people who have been given
parcels, that have been bought one way or the other. They are forced to show
their allegiance to Zanu PF, but deep down in their hearts, the government
knows they don't even have those peoples' support. Those who support Zanu PF
do so in fear because there is a proven track record that those who try to
leave Zanu PF, who try to be independent or become part of any other
political party, they're going to be followed and eliminated from society,
one way or another. Zanu PF doesn't have any real supporters. That alone
makes the government highly insecure. It knows that if these people unite as
one, they won't stand another day in office. This is why they will always
come up with a system of oppressing the people, of regulating people's
movement between places and also regulating how people can meet in public or
in private. They have come up with laws that undermine the basic rights of
human beings. They know that Zimbabweans are intelligent people, that
Zimbabweans are strong-willed people, especially the people of Matabeleland.
This is why the people of Matabeleland are so undermined and so uncared for
by the government. They know if they open the corridors of authority to the
people of Matabeleland, it will definitely change the leadership of
You live in Soweto now. Tell us about leaving Zimbabwe.
I left Zimbabwe by means of public transport in January 2005, and I didn't
have a passport with me. I was leaving in quite a haste, and I had to lose a
lot of money to bribe officials and have a safe passage through the borders.
This is unlike other people who will jump into the waters and cross the
river in Limpopo in crocodile-infested rivers. I didn't do that because I
had a little bit of cash, so I used that cash to open up a passage for
myself through the borders. There are a lot of corrupt officials on both
sides of the borders, and they are corrupt because they are not paid enough.
I went to a squatter camp next to Lanesia. It wasn't a nice place, but it
was very cool for me because that squatter shack resembled freedom; it was
an announcement that "Hey, now I'm free." I cannot be afraid of people
following me; I cannot continue to be a recipient of death threats over my
phone. And I cannot continue to live in fear of sudden death, a gunshot from
nowhere killing me. And at least now I can breathe fresh air.
Were you able to take anything with you?
I was only able to take just one bag of clothes that I just picked up
randomly. It must have been something like three trousers, two pairs of
shirts, khakis and a blanket.
to be continued...
State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp. Ltd. has signed joint
venture agreements with two Chinese companies to revive some of its mines,
the Herald reported, citing CEO Dominic Mubayiwa.
Zimbabwe Mining and Wambao Shinex created a joint venture to boost
production at Mhangura Copper Mines Ltd., Lomagundi Smelting and Mining, and
Sanyati Copper Mines, the State-owned newspaper said on its website. Wambao
will own 51% of the joint venture, known as Zimbao Mining Ventures, while
Zimbabwe Mining will hold a 49% stake.
Zimbabwe Mining also created a joint venture with Norinco
International Cooperation Ltd. and Zimbabwe Defense Industries to explore
for chrome in Zimbabwe's Ngezi district. Norinco will own 60% of the
venture, while the two Zimbabwean companies will each own 20%, it added.
On the evening of Tuesday, 11 July, 2006, the Women's Assembly Chairperson
Mrs Lucia Matibenga called an emergency meeting of all elected structures of
the 16 Harare Province districts/constituencies from the branch, to ward,
district, up to the Privince, and some main wing women National Executive
The agenda included a briefing by the Chairperson on the Party's position on
last week's tragic events of the brutal attack on the Member of Parliament
for Harare North, Mrs Trudy Stevenson, of the October 12, 2005, breakaway
group. The assault took place in Mabvuku constituency, Sunday last week but
one. The Mabvuku Women's Assembly structures were present to tell their
understanding of what took place then.
The Women's Assembly Chairperson began her briefing by inviting the Harare
Province Chairperson Mrs Rorana Dandajena, to call the roll of all Harare
districts. The Harare Province Organising Secretary called the roll,
district by district, until all were declared present. Introductions were
made and the meeting began.
Mrs Matibenga began her briefing by passing her condolensces to Trudy
Stevenson, her colleagues and their families, for the terrible tragedy of
the assault on them in Mabvuku. On behalf of the Women's Assembly she asked
the women to come to share wayforward ideas on how women would contribute to
stopping the escalating violence nationally in Zimbabwe. Trudy Stevenson she
said is one of us, a woman, a political activist, that what happens to any
woman can happen to any of us women, sitting in the room.
MDC Perspective on Violence
MDC, she explained, has been the recipient of unprecedented state sponsored
violence since the party's declaration that it would participate in the June
2000 Parliamentary elections. MDC members, suspected sympathisers and
supporters were subjected to unprecedented acts of state organised terrorism
on our bodies, lives, in our homes and on communities branded as MDC, by
the state. These events are well recorded locally and internationally.
The nation was made and has been made to suffer, because MDC rose, and is
doing well on this very difficult, local, political playing field. As MDC
leaders, members, supporters, suspected sympathisers, we lost our homes,
properties, our colleagues were killed, many of us badly injured, all of us
psychologically tormented and traumatised, imprisoned on false charges, to
where we are today, the use of state violence is increased, focused and
refined, it is has taken a new turn for the worse.
Today as MDC plans nationwide peaceful Mass Action, the state adopts
violence, the sure, reliable tool it has used over its entire life, to crush
any anticipated opposition members, to stop the peaceful Mass Action for
peaceful Change, being planned by MDC, ever taking place.
MDC Plan - Introduction of a New Culture of Peace and Tolerance
Mrs Matibenga reminded the women gathered that when events of October 12,
2005, took place, the Women's Assembly structure remained intact. The women
played an important role in protecting the party to live on, and the
President to survive, to this day and to become even stronger, more
cohesive, and better focussed.
Wayforward after October 12, 2005
To achieve this state, the Women's Assembly agreed then, that they would
leave the men in the breakaway group, to do the very embarrassing, to all of
us, verbal public fighting, of our party President, in the media at home and
abroad. As women, we did not understand what the quarrel was about. The
women decided to use our ernergies to consult party structures nationally.
From that exercise was born the understanding of how to move forward. The
new Congress preparatory programme was implemented, carried out, side by
side with the Youth Assembly, the President and party National Chairperson,
as the Implementation Committee post October 12, 2005 to prepare for the
March 2006 party Congress. We are enjoying the fruits of that women's
Today the party remains well and alive, the ruling party is still in a panic
over our continued existence, hence the violence we see on members of the
opposition. We agreed then never to respond to fire from the state with
fire, as men do, but as women to take our country to a Peace and Tolerance
culture, to develop our country along international standards, as an
integral part of the international community. We remain on course, as
silently we move on.
The Strategy Now as the State Escalates Violence to Kill MDC
MDC has never as a party advocated for violence as a strategy for us to
remain political players in Zimbabwe. We are alive today because after the
terrible experience of state sponsored violence in 2000, MDC worked to
produce a comprehensive programme to oppose violence during elections. We
took our campaign to the whole of Zimbabwe, into the SADC region, AU and to
all organisations we came across, locally and abroad. This strategy resulted
in the acceptance and adoption by SADC of the now famous 'SADC Norms and
Standards for Free and Fair Elections'. Zimbabwe is signatory.
As a result of the MDC campaign against the use violence as a tool to remove
the opposition from taking part in elections, temporarilly the Mugabe regime
halted use of blatant forms of violence during subsequent elections. Our
plan to bring Mugabe to recognise the killer crisis we are all embroiled in,
is for him to sit down for talks with MDC, to map the wayforward. Our
approach has brought on this new turn by the state, to revert back to what
it knows best, use of violence to stop the process by MDC to end the present
The MDC Plan
The MDC Mission Statement/Vision
Mrs Matibenga explained that the MDC has never engaged in violence as a
political party. We have always had a mission statement/Vision to which we
adhere, the latest of which is:
Call: A new Zimbabwe !
Response: A new Beginning !
This is our latest battle cry at rallies.
MDC Reference Point
We as a party she said, always have a Reference Point. This is reflected in
our party slogans, party songs, party poetry by members and in all our
literature and at all our rallies. MDC considers as our Reference Point,
Mugabe, i.e. All our problems derive from Mugabe.
Even children in MDC households know that the reason why they suffer so many
disadvantages, compared to children in neighbouring countries, is because of
Mugabe, his bad governance and mismagament of the economy. All of MDC know
that we are in this terrible situation because of Mugabe's failure to
govern. The violence against Stevenson, we as MDC put squarely on Mugabe's
MDC Message Today
Mrs Matibenga pressed on, that our new party message for our new campaign
for our peaceful Mass Action is:
Call: Save Our Country !
Response: Mugabe Must Go !
MDC DAY After Mugabe Goes Strategy
The 'MDC Day After Mugabe Goes Strategy' she said is now well in place. We
have a pro-active Policy and Research department, which is making sure that
all our MDC party policies are updated all the time, that our programmes
are pushing us ever forward, to be ready when the day comes for us to become
the next government and they are on the move to carry out this work.
Women's National Petition Against Violence
Mrs Matibenga concluded her briefing by announcing the new Women's Assembly
Petition Against Violence campaign which she launched immediately.
Secretary for Policy and Research remarks
She then asked the Secretary for Policy and Research to brief the meeting on
that department's visit to Trudy Stevenson. Mrs Sekai Holland explained the
Civilised Standards of All African Cultures
When tragedy strikes in Africa, it does not matter what the state of
relations is between and among individuals and families in communities and
neighbourhoods, we are taught from birth, it is a gut feeling, well
ingrained in all of us, that you just know that you have to stand up,
swallow all the reasons why you should not, and that you simply go and visit
with that family, where catastrophe has just struck, when it strikes.
That was how I and Dr Elizabeth Marunda reacted to the tragedy that struck
Trudy Stevenson, our sister, a woman political activist, in today's
Zimbabwe. We did not care what the media and the world were saying about who
assaulted her. Civilised standards of all African cultures when faced with
tragedy, are summarised in the Ndebele proverb that:
Okukhulu kakula mkhosi !
Chakashatisisa hachiitirwi mhere !
When tragedy strikes people are shocked into silence !
The normal response to sad news in African culture is to remain silent, and
to focus on the responsibility to comfort the family that is faced with the
immediate tragic event, to lessen their pain. Dr Marunda and I did just
that. Just as when October 12, 2005 struck, the women met and agreed
collectively, that the tragedy was so big that we fell silent, since then we
have worked to bring peace and healing into our own hearts, minds, into our
party, our families and communities, so badly hit by that, and subsequent
events since then.
The tragic news of the assault on Honourable Trudy Stevenson, member of
Parliament for Harare North, rushed through everyone's ears, in a short time
span. MDC party structures took charge and acted appropriately at the
instruction of the Party President, who, even though he was leading the MDC
elected officers at the March 2006 Congress to their closed planning retreat
outside the city, the Party President requested that his Deputy and those
still in Harare, visit Trudy Stevenson immediately, which they did, while
she was in the Avenues hospital, as he had to leave before the others.
The immediate response of the Policy and Research department was to organise
a visit to Trudy Stevenson by the older women who could make time
immediately. Dr Marunda and myself got to the Avenues hospital. Together
with my husband we were advised that she was discharged that morning.
Remembering how bad her pictures were on ZBC the night before, we asked the
hospital if she left walking or was carried on a stretcher. The reply was
that she left walking, unassisted. We were relieved by the news.
We drove to Trudy Stevenson's home where we were advised by her husband
that, she was at a press conference in town. We waited for her return. Forty
five minutes later she arrived, driven by her pleasant son, a young medical
doctor. We were invited into the home.
Trudy was happy to see us. This was a relief as our colleagues had advised
against our going to visit as we would be attacked by CIO to pass the story
around that the opposition are fighting each other. We refused to accept
that advice. Trudy told us what happened pointing out that she did not know
who the youths who assaulted her were, but said that she was told by her
colleagues, that the youths approaching them, were a group of MDC youths
loyal to Morgan Tsvangirai. As we were here to bring comfort we did not
comment on that observation.
Trudy's details of the assault were gory and horrific. Her narration took
our minds to our individual experiences at the hands of zanu/pf militias
over the last 6 years in our constituencies, and during our political work
around the country, thoughts which made our visit to Trudy Stevenson a
priority, to share some minutes with her, at this sad time for her and her
Trudy stevenson's son, told us how he saw the party President at Harvest
house to get an explanation of the party position to this latest
development, his Mum's attack. His story of his meeting with our President
Morgan Tsvangirai was the best news for us in a long time. Trudy's son felt
that the MDC President was greatly shocked and saddened by the vicious
attack on his Mother. He told him that he set up a Commission of Inquiry
into the Attack. This gave him some temporary relief at the time.
We talked with the family hoping to be joined by others, so that the family
would be comforted, but we had to leave eventually. Our concern as we left
heavy hearted, was that there was no visible security around the home, no
stream of visitors to spend time consoling Trudy and the family, we were sad
and left them alone.
Sadly, we could not even share with Trudy about Lucia Matibenga's ongoing
battles today with a ruling party clique, that was continuously breaking
into her Union's offices, in attempts to destroy the Commercial Workers'
Union of Zimbabwe (CWUZ). In fact that very day July 11, thugs had broken
into Mrs Matibenga's offices, while she was temporarilly out, beat up all
the staff, and kidnapped them. On her return Mrs Matibenga found this state
engineered mess at her workplace. She sought for help and secured a vehicle
which she used to search for the kidnapped Union staff, finally found them
all badly beaten up, went to the ZRP to report the incident. The Police as
always declared that these continued fights in the CWUZ offices result from
instructions given to perpetrators from above, and that while that was so,
these attacks would continue.
When Mrs Matibenga had her arm broken in two parts by thugs in early 2005,
thugs who included the Masvingo member of our National Executive Committee
at that time, but who later went with the October 12, 2005 breakaway group,
and is now the National Chairperson there, like today's incident at her
work, no one in the local and international media raises an eye brow, except
the women who are still mindful of our cultural practises, during times of
The Secretary for Policy and Research went onto to say that when violent
acts are by the October 12, 2005 breakaway group, such as when that group
deliberatly removed the healthy eye of an elected official in the MDC Youth
Assembly, removed teeth of a Youth Assembly member and other horrific acts
of violence, both the international and state media are very silent. We in
MDC must learn something and address it very quickly. Why is it that when
all this data, available, that the instigators of violence are the state,
the international media focus is on our MDC party, when the breakaway group
acts violently, when the state violently attacks one of us, there is silence
It is as if it is ok for the state and the breakaway group to use violence
against us, and against their own members suspected of supporting the MDC
party. The image put out there, in the public domain, is that we in the MDC
are responsible for all violence in Zimbabwe.
To address this glaring anomaly in Zimbabwe today, Let us focus together on
Mrs Matibenga's approach, to strengthen our policy of:
'ZERO Tolerance to violence in our culture in Zimbabwe'
and to strengthen programmes that ensure that this new approach happens,
delivers, and becomes general practice within our party, in our families, at
our work place and in our communities.
The conclusion here is that we as a political party must focus on the new
party strategy just articulated by the Women's Assembly Chairperson, Mrs
lucia Matibenga, to defeat this terrible traversty of state sponsored
violence in Zimbabwe's economic, political and social history for more than
a hundred years.
As MDC we must work together to stop this practise that successive ruling
party elites in Zimbabwe historically use violence, to keep the people down,
to prolong their rule, all of them, a situation that contributed to the
formation of the MDC as the formidable political force that it is today.
Our resolve for peaceful Mass Action as the only tool to bring about change
peacefully in Zimbabwe, is strengthened by the state's latest strategy, to
use violence once again, to weaken the MDC before we execute our peaceful
Mass Action for Change peacefully.
The meeting was called to an end but not before the Chairperson requested
that the women sing a closing song to end the meeting.
The song chosen was:
Call: Kana zvorema, Tsvangirai tomdana
Nxa sokunzima, u Tsvangirai siyambiza
When the going gets tough, we call on Tsvangirai
Response: Tomdana x 2 Tsvangirai Tomdana
Siyambiza x 2 u Tsvangirai, siyambiza
We call on Tsvangirai, we call him
The perception among many, is that there is someone out there sitting it
out, telling people to praise sing Morgan Tsvangirai. It is important for
people in Zimbabwe outside the MDC, and in the international community, to
understand history and link events to that. Inside Zimbabwe today, the
uniting tool for civil society was a Trade Unionist, also founder President,
elected by a cross section of NGOs by consensus, of the Constitutional
reform process movement, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA). Again
by popular consensus, Morgan Tsvangirai moved on to be the first popularly
elected founding President of the new political Movement MDC. He in turn has
done his own ground work, to keep his links and connection with grassroots
communities, intact and growing.
It is in this context that when the women were asked to sing a party song at
such a crucial meeting, that the first song that came to mind is that of
consolidating even more, the importance of Morgan Tsvangirai's leadership at
this point in Zimbabwe's history. He has joined all preceeding important and
significant national leaders in our history. He inspires the masses into
positive action for change peacefully for their own progress.
The meeting ended with a prayer for Trudy Stevenson's quick recovery
mentally, spiritually and physically. The 200 women gathered, prayed for her
family, and their continued support for Trudy's welfare, to full recovery.
A date for the next updating meeting was agreed upon, of all structures
gathered. Everyone left regenerated, ready for the next step, in the long
road to Zimbabwe's liberation, from Mugabe's tyrany.
The MDC Women's Assembly, with the MDC Youth Assembly, spearheads the new
policy and Programme, throughout MDC structures, towards a properly
organised and precisely executed, peaceful Mass Action, with a new clarion
ZERO Tolerance to Violence in Zimbabwe.
With women taking this challenge up, as was done on the evening of July 11,
this new culture of Peace and Tolerance as a policy, will take root, sprout
and spread throughout our troubled country, in a diversity of community
based programmes. Silently, as Zimbabwe experiences these heavy times on all
our lives, as demanded by African culture, silently, and with total
committment to achieve positive results, the Women's Assembly is inspiring
women everywhere, to act collectively once more, to turn the tide against
the ruling party's culture of state sponsored violence and bad governance,
to prolong its rule.
MDC is on the move!
MDC Secretary for Policy and Research
12 July 2006
The Herald (Harare)
July 12, 2006
Posted to the web July 12, 2006
MDC Member of Parliament for Tafara-Mabvuku Timothy Mubawu allegedly paid
party youths $15 million to attack Harare North MP Ms Trudy Stevenson, a
Harare court heard yesterday.
Mubawu's accomplice, Abraham Kurimakwaramba, the opposition party's
treasurer for Mabvuku district, allegedly donated an additional $5 million
to Kudakwashe Kaparamura, Nhamo Brown and Pension Gomo -- who are all in
remand prison -- to attack Ms Stevenson and other party officials.
Mubawu (43) and Kurimakwaramba (34), who both belong to the Mr Morgan
Tsvangirai-led MDC faction, are being charged under the Criminal Law
Codification and Reform Act, which makes it an offence to participate in a
gathering with intent to provoke public violence and breach of peace.
It is the State's case that Mubawu declared his constituency a "no-go area"
for members of the Professor Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction and gave his
supporters $15 million to assault their rivals while Kurimakwaramba donated
The State alleges that on July 2 this year, the two allegedly convened a
meeting in Greendale with party activists -- Gomo, Kaparamura, Norman
Hanyani, Simbarashe Zhuwawo and others still at large.
The State further alleges that the two ordered those present at the meeting
to use any means possible to achieve their objective.
After their meeting, it is alleged, the group stormed a meeting that was
being attended by members of the Mutambara faction at Portland Cement
grounds, including Ms Stevenson, Mr Paul Linos Mushonga and Ms Simangele
They allegedly disrupted the meeting and indiscriminately assaulted the
three with iron bars, knobkerries and stones before stealing their
cellphones and other valuables worth $907 million.
Yesterday, defence lawyer Mr Aleck Muchadehama of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and
Makoni Legal Practitioners, made a bail application for the two and the
ruling will be passed today.
In the application, Mr Muchadehama argued that his clients did not take any
part in the alleged offence, adding that Mubawu was attending a church
service on the day in question.
"On the day in question, he (Mubawu) was attending a church service in
Chitungwiza and the whole congregation can testify," said Mr Muchadehama.
He further dismissed the State's claim that Mubawu and Kurimakwaramba would
commit further offences when released on bail, saying the matter was being
"The State has just made bold unsubstantiated averments. They are
shoplifting politics into the court. The accused persons are not aware of
the so-called intra-party fighting in the MDC and they are not going to
commit any offences outside.
"It is well-known that for such averments to be considered, there should be
evidence to buttress them," said Mr Muchadehama.
Prosecutor Mr Servious Kufandada counter-argued that the issue of
factionalism in the MDC was a fact and indisputable and the two would
continue committing similar offences until their infighting is over.
"The issue of violence being rampant in the party is a common cause issue.
Mubawu is also a victim of such violence and the matter is pending in
another court here.
"At one time he appears as a complainant and the other time as an accused in
political violence cases.
"We are not only dealing with ordinary political violence, but sponsored
violence. There are connotations of robbery in this matter considering the
way property was stolen. There was attacking and stealing, which makes the
offence more serious," said Mr Kufandada.
He further said police are still looking for the outstanding eight suspects
in that matter who are at large and that Kurimakwaramba is harbouring some
It was also said that a mobile phone (Nokia 1100) stolen from one of the
complainants, Ms Manyere, was recovered from Kurimakwaramba.
Meanwhile, Gomo, Brown and Kaparamura appeared in court on Monday in
connection with the same case and were remanded in custody to today for
The Herald (Harare)
July 12, 2006
Posted to the web July 12, 2006
A DRIVE around most high-density suburbs particularly Chitungwiza and
Epworth shows the shocking damage being done on the environment by sand
Much of the landscape has been reduced to a rugged, depression-riddled
terrain that is not good for anything else except a study of environmental
In areas where sand poaching is rife, the land has been reduced to bad land
Areas like Epworth, Glen View, Budiriro and Snake Park in Harare are the
A lot of construction activities are taking place in Harare thereby
increasing the demand for pit sand.
Although Zimbabwe promulgated the Environmental Management Act in 2002,
massive sand poaching remains the order of the day.
Truck-loads of sand are shipped daily from illegal extraction locations to
construction sites. The culprits are rarely stopped or questioned about the
sources of the sand and its destination at roadblocks.
Usually these trucks, some of which are clearly unroadworthy, are allowed to
pass through police roadblocks.
Police spokesperson Inspector Andrew Phiri said it was difficult for the
police to curb illegal sand mining as most of the land fell under the
jurisdiction of council.
"Unless we get orders from the council there is nothing much that we can do
as carrying sand does not constitute a crime. You can not tell a poacher
from a genuine sand dealer when on the road," he said.
Residents however said what the police were saying was tantamount to
promoting illegality. They said the police as the custodian of the law had
the right to implement it even on private land.
Some environmental experts say time was ripe for the ordinary people to join
hands with Government and environmental agencies to stop the practice.
"We need to develop a sense of responsibility and a decision made that takes
cognisance of the human factor on the environment," an environmentalist with
Environment Africa said.
Although deforestation, soil erosion and stream bank cultivation have
immensely contributed to land degradation, environmentalists say sand
poaching can easily turn urban land into wasteland.
Cases of sand poaching have worsened in the wake of escalating building
costs. This has been compounded by massive construction activities taking
place in urban areas.
A 10 cubic metre load of pit sand now costs between $20 million and $25
million while river sand costs well over $25 million.
Sand extraction, which is inevitable in the manufacture of bricks and in the
construction industry, should be properly regulated if environmental
degradation is to be monitored.
Reports say sand poaching is also rife in Bulawayo's Magwegwe North,
Nkulumane, Pumula and Cowdray Park suburbs.
In most cases the sand poachers do not bother to rehabilitate the dug out
sites after extracting gravel and pit sand for construction.
In Epworth gullies have since formed, threatening to choke the city's water
supply reservoirs and catchment areas.
Problems associated with sand poaching are leaving indelible environmental
footprints, deep gullies and gaping holes that provide ready breeding
grounds for mosquitoes. Furthermore, the gullies left by the illegal sand
poaching activities trigger other social problems. They are a threat to
life, as animals and people can easily fall into them.
When filled with water, these gullies become serious death traps, especially
for children who might be tempted to swim in them.
The negative effects of sand poaching have also not spared rural and
In Guruve last year some families were actually forced to relocate as some
of the gullies were encroaching into their homesteads.
Environmentalists say the sheer size of the gaping depressions is
symptomatic of an environmental disaster.
Mula Luwizhi (22), a sand poacher from Epworth said he has been in the
business since 1998 when he left school after failing to secure a formal
Some of his colleagues said they dig under the cover of darkness as the
police carry out day patrols.
The Herald (Harare)
July 12, 2006
Posted to the web July 12, 2006
SOME safari operators are up in arms with the Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority over the allocation of hunting quotas which they allege are not
being conducted and awarded in a transparent manner.
The safari operators, who include those allocated conservancies over two
years ago, alleged they were not being allocated "realistic" quotas.
One of them, Mr Amos Chakanuka, said new safari operators from such areas as
Hwange and Dete had had meetings with officials from the Authority over the
"We hear they are finalising the quota setting for next year and would like
to appeal to them not only to consider their concerns but those of the
players in the hunting industry," Mr Chakanuka said.
Last year the Authority tightened its quota systems and allocations after a
wildlife population analysis revealed that some animal species were being
It was apparent that some hunters were trying their hand at wildlife farming
oblivious of their immense responsibilities to protect wildlife.
Parks public relations manager Retired Major Edward Mbewe yesterday said the
situation in the wildlife sector demanded effective strategies that
prioritised the sustainable management of natural resources.
"Operators are demanding high quotas and there is no way we could just give
them without ensuring the sustainability of the industry and avoid the risk
of having some species wiped out by operators who hunt indiscriminately,"
Rtd Maj Mbewe said.
He said while it was important to empower prospective indigenous players in
the industry, there was need for stakeholders to adhere to standing
regulations and to understand the nature of the sector.
"It seems there is no understanding of the fugitive nature of wildlife,
which is a shared resource that needs proper population counts to determine
the quotas to be given to each operator."
Rtd Maj Mbewe said owing to the challenges faced by the operators in terms
of expertise, the Authority would next week hold training workshops in the
Parks' three regions.
"The lack of proper knowledge as to how the sector is expected to operate
with the core need to strike an ecological balance, is detrimental to the
quality of animal trophies. It seems less value is placed on the wildlife
which needs to be given time to multiply."
"In some areas the population of some animals has been significantly reduced
that we have to come in and protect those species while we work towards next
year's quota setting," Rtd Maj Mbewe said.
Secretary for Environment and Tourism Mrs Margaret Sangarwe said her
ministry was aware of various challenges in the sector and the need to
urgently ensure viability and mechanisms to harness wildlife.
"We are of the opinion that the land audit and the process of
rationalisation will correct many conservation problems and
misunderstandings. Some of the challenges we are facing in the sector, which
include the settlements in the Gonarezhou National Park, need not only the
efforts of the experts but political solutions," she said.
By Blessing Zulu
11 July 2006
President Robert Mugabe is looking to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to
provide low-cost oil to relieve one aspect of Zimbabwe's severe economic
crisis, banking on their shared disaffection with the United States and
other Western powers.
Deputy Director of Industry and Trade Loice Magade confirmed that her
ministry would lead a delegation to Venezuela and also to Brazil, from which
Zimbabwe has imported maize. Magade has called on local businesses to take
advantage of the occasion.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to economic
consultant Peter Robinson for perspective on the Venezuelan initiative.
Daniel Molokela the spokesperson for the Zimonline website and coordinator
for the Southern African Editors Forum is the guest on this week's
Reporters' Forum . Lance Guma speaks to him about the type of coverage
Zimbabweans are receiving from the South African media. What role can the
media play in shaping the environment to make things change in Zimbabwe? Are
we resigned to waiting for mother nature to effect change for us?
Behind the Headlines/Thur/Fri
Canadian MP Dr Keith Martin is the guest on Behind the Headlines. He has
pushed through 3 motions in their parliament pertaining to Africa that
include getting Robert Mugabe indicted for crimes against humanity. Lance
Guma speaks to him about the motivation behind that. Dr Martin says he is
disappointed by the attitude of the international community who do not seem
to be giving the crisis enough attention. He says he once worked in
Mozambique during the civil war and knows first hand how such crises can
affect ordinary people.
On The Pulse/Fri/Sat
Why do Zimbabwean music promoters seem to prefer South African artists to
their Zimbabwean counterparts for their shows? Arthur Janjawa a music
promoter who once brought ragga superstar Shabba Ranks to Zimbabwe is the
special guest. Shouldn't Zimbabwean music promoters look after their own or
are financial considerations more important? Join Lance Guma for this debate
which will be inter-spaced with the latest music from the Zimbabwean urban
For the programme schedules visit:
SW Radio Africa
By: Frik Els
THE NEWS FROM Zimbabwe has been in the realm of the surreal for a
while now, but last week came the news that shows just how abysmal and
absurd the situation has become. After a 107-year ban, witchcraft and
wizardry are again legal.
The 1899 law instituted by the country's colonial masters made it
illegal for anyone to be called a witch or a wizard, but from 1 July, the
Zimbabwe government will once again acknowledge that supernatural powers
JK Rowling, who must be suffering from writer's block (and many,
myself included, have fervently been wishing that she would) after churning
out thousands of pages of spell spiel, can now find inspiration for the
final instalment of the Harry Potter series in Kwekwe and Tsholotsho.
Rowling has acknowledged that two central characters will die in the
last episode, so she should be careful of not falling foul of the amendments
to the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1899. You can use magic, but only for
The Act now states that: "Any person who engages in any practice
knowing that it is commonly associated with witchcraft shall be guilty of
engaging in a practice commonly associated with witchcraft if having the
intention to cause harm to any person."
About as clear as the rules of broomstick Aussie rules or whatever it
is they play at Hogwarts, but I'm sure everyone agrees that witchcraft is
just what Zimbabwe is in need of at the moment.
With inflation now reaching 1?000% you need magic to buy your daily
bread or to keep life and limb together; doctors' consultation fees went
from Z$500?000 to Z$800?000 last week and medical aid rates increased 85%.
Gordon Chavunduka, chairman of the 50?000-member Zimbabwe National
Traditional Healers' Association, which has been instrumental in forcing the
change in the law, says as much. "Witchcraft and tokoloshes are making a
comeback. It's obvious the cause is economic. The worse the economy gets,
the more political tension there is in society, the more frustrated and
frightened people get. They turn to witchcraft to gain riches or to hurt
their enemies," he told the Worldwide Religious News Service.
However, why the acknowledgement of supernatural powers has to be
written into law isn't that clear. The United Nations, the African Union,
the International Monetary Fund, President Thabo Mbeki, Prime Minister Tony
Blair, Morgan Tsvangirai (champion of internecine opposition), Roy Bennett
(the MP refused amnesty in SA) and the 2m or more Zimbabweans who have fled
south, all know the supernatural is at work in Zimbabwe.
You just have to look at President Robert Mugabe's magical ability to
cling to power. Sanctions (limited as they were), travel restrictions
(stopping Grace Mugabe's Paris shopping trips hardly sends a strong
message), diplomacy (quiet or strident) and punitive measures (sorry, I'm
mistaken; those haven't been employed - Eskom never cut power to Harare,
just to Cape Town) haven't shifted Bob one inch closer to retirement.
Neither has pleading. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad
couldn't have used a softer tone when he said: "One would expect that he
[Mbeki] would be invited" for talks between Mugabe and the UN's Kofi Annan.
As it turned out, Annan has pulled out of mediation despite Mbeki having
said that the UN "holds the key" to solving Zim's problems. Former Tanzanian
President Benjamin Mkapa will now become mediator.
In the real world nobody has been able to read Mugabe's mind, or else
that wishful thinking from the media and politicians about his imminent
retirement or exile wouldn't surface so often.
At last week's AU summit in Banjul, its leaders again failed to adopt
the Zimbabwe report by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights -
on the grounds that it had not been translated into all the organisation's
Mbeki also wraps himself in an invisible cloak when it comes to
Zimbabwe. He tells BBC World - failing to hide his irritation and discomfort
with the questions - that he doesn't understand why it's incumbent on SA to
address the Zimbabwe crisis.
For everyone else in SA, the penny (and the rand) dropped long ago:
evidence of Zimbabweans' involvement in crime in SA (as the Sunday Times
reported) is no longer just based on the accents of robbers.
The stresses on the social system that desperate refugees cause in SA
are clear from regular virulent letters concerning illegal aliens to the
Daily Sun. If you really want to study social trends in SA, forget about the
Native Club's black (only) intellectuals' pronouncements. The Daily Sun's 3m
readers' xenophobia is only matched by their concern about the lack of jobs
And incidents such as the one in Ikageng, outside Potchefstroom, where
foreign traders were run out of the township for "stealing jobs" and putting
locals out of business by "selling goods too cheaply", are eerily
reminiscent of Mugabe's own urban "clean-up" operation that left 700?000
The Zimbabwe situation doesn't require witchcraft - it needs a
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/12/2006 20:25:17
MUTARE City Council has been left radarless after the expiry of the term of
a government appointed commission on June 30, it has been established.
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo set August 19 as the date for
mayoral elections, leaving a vacuum between the expiry of the commission's
term and the polling date.
Sources said Tuesday after the expiry of the term of the Fungai Chaeruka-led
commission at the end of June, Manicaland governor Tinaye Chigudu, who was
opposed to the commission's appointment, told commissioners that they could
no longer direct operations, leaving Mutare in a fix.
Chigudu had favoured the continuation of another Zanu PF commission led by
Kenneth Saruchera which was dissolved in May. Saruchera was demoted to the
post of deputy chairman responsible for public works.
A former commissioner said Tueday: "We have washed our hands. No-one has
been in charge of Mutare since June 30, and that will go on until the
election day. The governor basically told us our time was up, and we stopped
going to work."
Mutare's opposition executive mayor, Misheck Kagurabadza, was ousted from
office after a committee appointed by Chombo concluded he was corrupt.
Kagurabadza, elected amid a wave of popular support on an opposition MDC
ticket, was initially suspended in July by Chombo.
But the mayor's supporters insisted he was suspended because he angered top
Zanu PF and government officials after he submitted a damning report to a
United Nations special envoy send to Zimbabwe to access the effects of
By Lance Guma
12 July 2006
Sam Sipepa Nkomo formerly the Chief Executive Officer of the Mining
Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) is facing charges of corruption and fraud. He
has accused businessmen Philip Chiyangwa and Mutumwa Mawere of engineering
the case against him. Nkomo is facing fraud charges involving Z$ 3,5
million, a substantial amount of money at the time. He allegedly received Z$
570 000 in kickbacks from former football administrator and businessman
Trevor Caresle-Juul in exchange for a contract being awarded to Juul's
company to be architects for the Angwa City project. He is also said to have
failed to disclose to the MIPF board that Finesse Zimbabwe which did the
glazing for Angwa City was also owned by Juul.
Nkomo maintains that the accusations were engineered by Chiyangwa and
Mawere after he refused to release money from the pension fund to revive G&D
shoes owned by Chiyangwa and also to build a hospital for Mawere's Shabanie
Mashaba Mines. In an interview with Newsreel Mawere said Nkomo should not to
try and hide behind his name but instead should defend himself against the
accusations. He says Nkomo is using the court platform to defame him knowing
fully well he cannot respond through the same platform. 'There is a trend
among many businesspersons to blame third parties and in some cases
unrelated parties to avoid accounting for their conduct,' Mawere said.
Nkomo however told Newsreel he had nothing but respect for Mawere but
was only pointing out that Chiyangwa and Mawere were not happy with his
refusal to fund their projects. Nkomo who is also the Chief Executive of the
ANZ (publishers of the banned Daily News) made an application before a
regional magistrate to have the case referred to the Supreme Court. He
strongly believes his constitutional rights are being violated because state
prosecutors took too long in bringing the case to court. Mawere on the other
jokingly bemoaned that 'there must be something in Tsholotsho that is
attracting politicians there to attack me,' a reference to his much
publicised media brawls with Tsolotsho MP Jonathan Moyo and Nkomo who
unsuccessfully ran for senator in the area.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Mail and Guardian
11 July 2006 01:10
During a recent visit to the supermarket to buy an emergency
supply of tampons, I bumped into a friend. While checking out the range of
products available we were astounded by the astronomical costs of these
A packet of 10 average quality pads costs about Z$500 000, while
a well-known brand of tampons averages Z$1 200 000. That's 5% to 12% of a
month's salary for a worker in the textile industry, who earns an average
Z$10 000 000 a month, and not much better for a teacher who takes home about
Z$25 000 000. Some cheaper alternatives are available for about Z$300 000 a
packet, but they are painful to use.
It is no secret that for most Zimbabwean women, the indignity of
menstruating without proper sanitary protection is now a real pain, both
literally and figuratively.
For schoolgirls, the unemployed and low-income earning working
women, life now literally comes to a standstill at "that time of the month"
because of inadequate protection. In desperation, some women use newspapers,
old clothes and even tree bark. This has triggered an increase in vaginal
infections, which most women cannot afford to get treated.
This, in turn, is leading to more violence against women as
their partners, unable to distinguish between sexually transmitted
infections and vaginal infections, accuse them of infidelity. Even more
alarmingly, health experts warn that such infections provide an optimal
environment for the spread of infections such as HIV.
Hours after that supermarket meeting, I was struck by how openly
the two of us had discussed this "feminine problem" in the supermarket.
Looking back, I could not recall a single incident when I had so freely
talked about issues surrounding "that time of the month". If we said
anything, it was in whispers and in toilets or corners far from male ears. I
guess the silence was because everything was okay when cotton wool, pads and
tampons of varied quality and price were readily available in our shops.
It seems our country's hyper-inflationary economic crisis does
have a silver lining: the shortages of sanitary protection have brought
women closer and lent them the courage to speak about feminine concerns in
public without embarrassment.
It was probably inevitable that Zimbabwean women would gather
the courage to act publicly to remedy the situation. Led by the feisty
Thabitha Khumalo, of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), women
have organised themselves to source affordable sanitary protection as part
of a campaign codenamed Dignity. Period!
In addition to speaking out about the medical and psychological
dangers that these shortages pose for women and girls, the campaigners are
sourcing sanitary protection from well-wishers to distribute to women
throughout the country.
But the campaign has served to remind us how insensitive our
current leaders are to the needs of women. This insensitivity was apparent
when the first consignment that arrived in the country was held up by the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, demanding duty of R700 000.
As a woman who can barely afford to buy a month's supply of
these necessities, what really irked me was government using this as just
another opportunity to generate revenue. The argument that it was trying to
safeguard local producers does not hold water, since major sanitary
protection producers relocated several years ago. These are not luxury items
and should be allowed into the country duty free.
This campaign has taught us that speaking out for ourselves
pays. The amount of media interest that the campaign has generated has
encouraged donors to support the initiative. At the same time, the publicity
has helped to inform desperate and dejected women that there was help at
Khumalo says that while the initial objective was to assist
women affiliated to the ZCTU, the campaign has broadened its scope to
include vendors, women living with HIV and schoolchildren who have been
writing to the organisers asking to be included in the programme. This
expansion will not only ensure all deserving women have peace of mind, but
also increase the number of capable women available to help with the
What really gets me smiling is that this time round, women have
not waited for a male benefactor to come forward to speak on their behalf.
Instead, Zimbabwean women are doing it for themselves. Now, when I am
shopping around for sanitary ware, I no longer whinge and complain. I take
time to reflect how the economic meltdown is prompting Zimbabwean women to
start using all those ideas and skills they have acquired over the years
from workshops and seminars, to make a direct and meaningful difference to
the quality of their lives. Dignity. Period! is a shining example of what
women are capable of delivering.
Miriam Madziwa is a freelance journalist based in Zimbabwe. This
article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary service
The following article appears in this weeks Bulawayo morning mirror
courtesy of Margaret Kriel
I came across a large stash of paper clips the other day, paper clips that I
used to hoard carefully in order to clip the various Zimbabwe currency notes
neatly together. Neat little bundles of 500 dollar
notes, 1000 dollar notes, then later on 5000, 10000, and those eagerly
awaited 20,000 dollar notes.
It was then that ubiquitous paper clip became redundant in favour of the
lackky band (elastic band)
Now we have to bundle our money together in giant bricks. And unless you are
a bank one does not even bother to count the individual notes anymore.
The queues at the Supermarkets are horrendous, get behind someone with an
unusually full trolly and the poor shop assistant has to count out hundreds
of notes laboriously while your bread goes stale
in your trolly !!
With the brown notes, denomination twenty thousand, a brick is worth ten
million Zimbabwe dollars. First you lakky band a hundred of these notes
together into a two million baby brick, and then you lakky band five of
these baby bundles together with a larger lakky bank to form a ten million
dollar daddy brick !!
Now this Zimbabwe money brick is about the size of a building brick, you
know the sort one uses to build a house, and they are probably worth about
the same in value !
In fact if I were a thief wanting to break into a jewellery shop, these
bricks might just do the job to toss through at the glass to smash the
A million dollars will buy 5 litres of milk ...... A million dollars will
buy seven loaves of bread !! ........
A visit to the bank in January 2006 necessitated the production of a brown
envelope to carry ones loot home, in March, a Meikles carrier bag had to be
produced to carry one's spoils home.
Yesterday I took two large strong plastic bags to the bank, they have to be
strong these days. The bank only had brown bricks of the twenty thousand
dollar notes - That gave me enough money to buy my weekly groceries.
Now HeeHoo and I are Derby and Joan, just the two of us, so I would hate to
think how many plastic bags it would take to carry enough money to feed a
family of five !!
We all got very excited when the purple notes appeared (the fifty thousand
dollar note) so now our purple bricks in elastic banded bundles were worth
twenty five million dollars !!
And just recently A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR NOTE !! GREEN IN COLOUR appeared
on the scene !! Oh bliss !! Now our green bricks are worth FIFTY MILLION
ZIMBABWE DOLLARS EACH !! (Enough to buy 250 loaves of bread ).
My purse which was had become a quart/litre ziploc bag can now go back to
being a pint / 600 ml ziploc bag !!
However on a far more sombre note .... my own personal way of dealing with a
serious situation is to try and make light of it, to take the flippant
stance, just to keep up one's own morale perhaps ?
But it is far more frightening than I am indicating. With our unemployment
running at 90% according to the pundits, that would indicate that 90% of
Zimbabwean housewives will have a purse that is stone cold empty. Their
stomachs are also empty, their children' stomachs are empty and their hearts
And with our Cost Of Living rising at 30% per month, the ramifications are
too horrifying to even contemplate.
I seldom use this column as a political platform, but if anyone is
listening, this is a heartfelt cry for HELP for our people of Zimbabwe.
And so back to the paper clip, a real gem of an invention.....what to do
with them all ?
I suppose we could hang them all in a row and use them as Christmas
decorations, also quite useful to hang up the Christmas lights, but by then,
will we be able to afford to pay for the electricity
On the other hand I wonder what a paper clip tastes like .......?
July 12, 2006,
By News Editor Andnetwork.com
Johannesburg (AND) Bread is now being sold on the black market in
Harare for up to Z$175 000 a loaf as the effects of the chaotic land reform
measures begin to bite.
The controlled price of bread is Z$80 000 a loaf. Vendors in Harare
have capitalised on the shortage of wheat as bakers fail to meet demand.
Major millers in Harare, including National Foods (NatFoods) and
Victoria Foods, said yesterday the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had reduced
their wheat allocation to about 2 000 metric tonnes a week.
An official at NatFoods said their allocation had been limited to 2
640 metric tonnes weekly which would not last for a week.
Another official at Victoria Foods said they had stopped production
altogether. The NatFoods official, who refused to be identified, said: "We
are left with no choice but to reduce the quantities of flour to the
provinces so that at least people everywhere get some.
"We have three mills working, but by the end of the week only two will
still be running as there will be no wheat."
The official at Victoria Foods said the company had no flour in stock.
"Production has stopped and even staff members are having to go
A GMB source yesterday said he was aware that stocks of wheat grain
were dwindling, but declined to elaborate on the extent of the problem.
Yesterday, there were long queues at bread outlets in Harare, some
stretching as long as 300 metres.
Vendors crowded around bakeries as soon as word got out that bread was
available. Consumers were limited to two loaves each.
The vendors spent hours queuing and rejoining queues before making off
for different destinations in and around the city to sell a loaf at the
of between Z$175 000