Municipal Reporter Water
shortages in Harare and its satellite towns may worsen unless the oldest
sections of the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Works are
Council officials said yesterday during a tour of the
plant by officials from the office of Harare Resident Minister Cde Witness
Mangwende, the city' s acting mayor Councillor Sekesayi Makwavarara and other
council officials, that urgent action needed to be taken.
part of the works dates from 1953, when Lake Chivero was commissioned, and
the planned rebuild was never done in the early 1990s.
extensions either need a full refurbishment, or will need
The newest half of the works dates from the early 1990s
and, so long as proper maintenance is done, will not need extensive capital
works for a few more years.
Equipment, including motors, blowers,
clarifiers, inflow and outflow meters and dosers, has broken down and some is
As a result, chemical inputs into water are calculated on
estimations which could in instances be more or less than the required
The Herald observed a lot of rotten and broken-down equipment
and confirmed from the authorities that lack of urgent attention could spell
disaster for the city.
Only one dosing pump out of five is working,
while one of the two blowers broke down in 1996.
Several such tours
have been conducted in the past and it would seem they have been talk shows
where city authorities tell the Government of their problems but without
Government recently gave the city $10,7
billion for the refurbishment of its water and sewage treatment
Of the total, $1,7 billion was committed towards the Morton
Jaffray Water Treatment Plant but council says the amount is
Clr Makwavarara said $10 billion is needed for the
refurbishment of the oldest section of Morton Jaffray to have a real
City director of works Mr Psychology Chiwanga said clarifier
number three packed up in 1988 and has never been repaired. The steel used to
make components of the clarifier is completely rotten and beyond
With the clarifier in good condition, the city would be able to
treat additional 40 megalitres of water a day. Presently the amount of
treated water fluctuates between 516 and 570 megalitres a day. The whole
plant has a capacity to treat 614 megalitres a day and Prince Edward
Treatment Works augments its output with a capacity of 66
Phase one has the capacity to treat at least 185 megalitres
but is currently producing around 103 megalitres.
treatment capacity stems from filters off-line and operating below capacity
due to the malfunctioning of valves as well as clarifiers, said Mr
Harare and its satellite towns of Chitungwiza, Ruwa, Norton and
Epworth need at least 750 megalitres of water each day.
said the current water problems that have resulted in a water management
system are a result of the poor quality of raw water that results in an
elaborate treatment process.
He said the plant was not designed to treat
polluted water and needed modification to be able to cope with the heavily
"The quality of water is very bad resulting in us using a
lot of purification chemicals," he said.
However, for significant
repair works to be done there is need to completely shut down the plant, but
that option is not feasible because of the current water problems.
would need to first fill the reservoirs before embarking on the shutdown," Mr
The shutdown also depends on the availability of funds to
purchase spare and replacement parts.
City authorities were at pains
to explain when the plant could return to full capacity, only choosing to
emphasise on the need for recapitalisation.
The authorities have in the
past given time frames but were yesterday very cautious.
of the committee monitoring the operations of Harare, Professor Jameson
Kurasha, blamed the city authorities for allowing the unchecked pollution of
the city's water bodies.
But Mr Chiwanga said Harare had very responsible
citizens who had done a lot in the preservation of the environment.
a related matter, the city's water reservoirs were yesterday reported to be
stable with the exception of Letombo and Alexandra Park, which
dropped significantly because of the continuing technical problems at Morton
Jaffray and Prince Edward water treatment works.
"We are experiencing
electricity problems at Prince Edward while pumps number two and 14 at Morton
Jaffray are overheating," said Mr Chiwanga.
The problems have resulted in
reduced pumping from the two plants.
South African churches disappointed with Zimbabwe
counterparts Fri 16 July 2004 JOHANNESBURG The South African
Council of Churches (SACC) lament the fact that their Zimbabwean counterparts
are not speaking with one voice. Molefe Tsele, SACCs general secretary,
yesterday said efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis will be futile if
church groups and their leaders in Zimbabwe continued to send conflicting
information to their regional counterparts.
speaking at yesterdays (Wednesday) closing of the SACC three-day triennial
conference in Johannesburg. An apparently frustrated Tsele said: "The problem
in Zimbabwe is not made easier by the realization that our counterparts in
Zimbabwe, the churches, send conflicting words to us. Yet we continue to hear
of the pain and suffering from other quarters which we cannot ignore. We know
that today, millions of Zimbabweans carry their crosses daily and that it is
unjustified suffering visited on ordinary people to settle scores of
big power players.
The conference is not (only) about Zimbabwe,
Tsele said when introducing the subject of Zimbabwes crisis during a press
briefing at the end of the congress. However, it would be a grave miscarriage
of what we are about as communities rooted in the prophetic tradition of
those who hunger for justice were we to gather here as churches and not
formulate a word about Zimbabwe.
The tragedy for us
is that on our own, we lack the clarity of words to speak on this situation.
Part of the roots of this handicap is the manner in which ideological and
racial positions have been taken on Zimbabwe. As churches we refuse to be
drawn to speak on account of such instigations. Tseles comments came as it
emerged that Zimbabwean church leaders efforts to broker a political
settlement have hit a brick wall. They have been trying to bring the ruling
Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to the
negotiating table for some time. (See Zim Online 13 July 2004)
Sebastian Bakare, the president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and
also the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland, said they will
continue to encourage dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF.
ensure there is progress, he said. So far we can say our major success has
been to engage both parties, who all acknowledge that Zimbabwe is in a
Tsele has proposed that an urgent meeting of eminent church
leaders be held with the South African government to share with them the
SACCs sorrow. We need to admit that we do not have solutions and we do not
prescribe what our government should be doing which they are not doing, he
said. But we need to share with them our pain about Zimbabwe.
President Thabo Mbeki has maintained his quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe,
which the SACC said they backed because sanctions did not work, but which had
Professor Russel Botman, the president of SACC,
said: "The SACC decries the tragedy of Zimbabwe which has resulted in pain,
suffering and dislocation for many people in Zimbabwe, as well as the erosion
of human rights, the decline of the economy and the destruction of much of
the natural heritage. The SACC, Botman said, regretted the violence involved
in the process of land distribution. He noted the ineffectiveness of
outside intervention, and the desire and efforts of many Zimbabweans to solve
their problems themselves.
The conference ended with the
adoption of a four-point resolution to tackle the crisis. It calls on the
Zimbabwean authorities to allow the unhindered participation of local and
international observers at next years parliamentary election to assist in
creating a climate of free and fair elections.
expresses its prayerful concern for the people and churches of Zimbabwe. We
have resolved to reaffirm the SACC programme of solidarity and pastoral
involvement with the people and churches of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
refugees in South Africa.
Some delegates said the SACC fell short
in its resolution as it failed to call things by their names rather than make
diplomatic statements when the majority of Zimbabweans are suffering in
Asked during the press briefing how the SACC hoped to deal
with the issues of repressive laws in Zimbabwe, Tsele said the government had
pledged to remove obstructive legislation to ensure next years elections are
free and fair. But what we should all remember is that we have had a
frank discussion with Zimbabwes information minister Jonathan Moyo and he
has assured us that something positive was coming up. As the SACC, we
do not impose ourselves on them. They have an agenda. We will mobilize
all Christians to rally behind Zimbabweans.
They are doing
something but it is not good enough, he said.
the general secretary of the SACC youth forum, said their major concern was
that the church lacked the spine to confront the issues affecting Zimbabwe.
We believe the church should give direction to the politicians. The efforts
of the church should be complemented by the youths in Zimbabwe who seem to be
docile in their countrys affairs. We intend to visit Zimbabwe and make
contacts with youth groups that are really there for the national interest so
that we share our experiences. Zim Online
WFP still feeds hungry Zimbabweans Fri 16 July
JOHANNESBURG/SOUTH AFRICA - The United Nations World Food
Programme (WFP) is still feeding hundreds of thousands hungry Zimbabweans
despite claims by the government that its newly resettled farmers have
produced a bumper harvest enough to supply the country¹s needs until next
"The WFP still has many beneficiaries on its list in the
rural areas and other urban areas," said Mike Huggins, WFP¹s Southern Africa
regional public affairs officer. "There is urban poverty which has to be
addressed. To the best of our knowledge, people we have fed for the past two
weeks in Northern Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo are almost
"The beneficiaries are getting this food through targeted
assistance, meaning the WFP gives food to people who are really desperate and
have no other income to keep going."
Under the targeted
assistance programme, Huggins said the WFP was feeding children who are in
school, people suffering from HIV/AIDS, and young children who have lost one
or both their parents. Huggins said the situation remained sad in some
quarters of Zimbabwe where people had no capacity to grow their own food, not
because they did not want to, but due to grinding poverty, HIV/AIDS and lack
of access to the means of production.
On the government's claims
that it has enough food to last until next year, Huggins said: " If they (the
claims) were true and sincere, they should be applauded. From our
perspective, if what they have been saying is substantiated, then it is
wonderful news. The continued assistance of the WFP in Zimbabwe's food crisis
very much depends on what the government does. People should just have
access to food."
President Robert Mugabe told British television
network Sky News last month that Zimbabwe's new farmers had produced 2,4
million tonnes of maize and this was enough to feed Zimbabweans until the
next agricultural season.
Aid agencies, inculding the UNDP and the
WFP, have disputed the figures saying a substantial number of people in
Zimbabwe will still need food assistance.
A UNDP food
assessment mission had been kicked out of Zimbabwe prior to Mugabe's
interview. The UNDP office in Harare had said it still expected Zimbabwe to
have a deficit of more than 600 000 tonnes of the staple maize. Zim
Exiles call for the right to vote Fri 16 July
PRETORIA - A group of Zimbabweans living in South Africa
yesterday demanded that Harare should allow exiled Zimbabweans to vote in
next year¹s March election.
About 400 placard-waving protesters
staged a demonstration at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria and handed over
a petition. They want Harare to set conditions for free and fair elections
and stop human rights abuses. Gabriel Shumba of the Zimbabwe Exiles
Forum, which organized the demonstrations together with the Johannesburg
chapter of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said we want (President
Robert) Mugabe to respect the vote of all the exiles that have been forced
out of their motherland through the regime¹s political repression and
economic mismanagement. We want to raise awareness that we (exiles) are
a voice to reckon with and cannot just be ignored. We have a right to
determine how we want our country to be governed.
for foolproof mechanisms to ensure that the exiles¹ vote is not tampered with
if they are allowed to vote.
The petition was handed to an embassy
official after Zimbabwe¹s ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya-Moyo
,refused to meet the demonstrators. Efforts to get comment from Khaya-Moyo
were fruitless. Officials at the Embassy said he had no time to respond to
the issues raised by the protesters.
Some of the placards made
reference to Mugabe taking Zimbabwe back to the stone age, in an apparent
reference to the country¹s recently introduced ox-drawn scotch-carts turned
ambulances. Vote must be respected. Murderous Mugabe should go. Tsvangirai
for President, read some of the placards.
Nicholas Nqabuto, the MDC
administrator for Johannesburg, urged the demonstrators to demand their
rights from Mugabe. Mugabe¹s government has been trampling on our rights for
a long time and we cannot allow him to rig another election. We have to fight
for the restoration of democracy in our country, Nqabuto told the
The demonstrators dismissed the recent ZANU PF propsal
for electoral reforms as a non-event. What we want is an electoral commission
that is entirely independent. Also understand that any reforms that do not
include a reversal of repressive legislation, a stop to violence and
intimidation and apolitical security organs fall short of our expectations,
said Shumba. On the situation of Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa,
he said: We are worried about South Africa¹s attitude. South Africa, through
its support for Mugabe, has become an active player in fomenting the
Zimbabwean crisis. Hence South Africa has an obligation to ensure humane
treatment of Zimbabweans flooding the country from the conflict in Zimbabwe.
The organisers said they are planning more demonstrations in Pretoria
and Johannesburg. Zim Online
Billions needed to put tobacco sector back on track Fri 16
HARARE - The tobacco industry in Zimbabwe needs ZW$85
billion (US $ 17 million at unofficial exchange rate) to get back on track,
officials from the the country's marketing board have said.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) general manager Stanley Mutepfa,
speaking at the National exporters conference, said there was need for the
provision of funds to rehabilitate tobacco irrigation. "While acknowledging
the provision of ZW$85 billion for irrigation rehabilitation in the wheat
programme there may be need to provide specific developmental funds for
tobacco irrigation rehabilitation, he said.
Mutepfa said it costs
at least ZW$20 million to grow one hectare of tobacco. He said TIMB, a
statutory body under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
mandated to regulate the tobacco industry, had produced a three year
strategic plan. This was meant to revive tobacco production to levels above
200 million kilogrammes in the case of flue cured Virginia tobacco and 20- 30
million kilogrammes for burley.
Current projections stand at 60
million kilogrammes for flue cured and 1 million kilogrammes for burley
The tobacco industry has been in free fall since the
start of the chaotic land reform in 2000. At its peak, tobacco accounted for
more than a third of total forex earning a whopping US$680 million annually.
Tobacco production has plummeted to 60 million kilogrammes in 2004 from a
high of 237 million kilogrammes in 2000. At its peak the industry provided
jobs for more than a million people. Zim Online
'SA must intervene for coup suspects' Estelle Ellis
July 16 2004 at 03:57AM
South Africa had a constitutional duty at
the very least to give diplomatic protection to stop suspected mercenaries
held in Zimbabwe from being sentenced to death or executed by Equatorial
A group of international law experts have argued in papers
filed at the Constitutional Court on behalf of the Society for the Abolition
of the Death Penalty that the death sentence would violate international
law, international customary law and the South African
The alleged mercenaries are suspected of planning a
coup d'etat in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year.
the society's legal team - advocates Wim Trengove SC, Anton Katz and Max du
Plessis - the South African government is compelled by the constitution to
intervene in the fate of the men.
No way the government could
wash its hands of its citizens The society was allowed to join the case
of 69 men to be heard by the Constitutional Court, in an extraordinary
session, on Monday.
The men want the court to order the government
to either bring them back to the country or prevent them from being
extradited to Equatorial Guinea to stand trial.
the South African lawyer for Simon Mann, the 70th alleged mercenary and group
leader, said her client felt "most unhappy about the action against the South
African government and considered it unwise, unhelpful and
He no longer wished to be part of it, she
The society's legal team, however, made it clear there was no
way the government could wash its hands of its citizens. They focused their
argument on the risk that the men could be sentenced to death and could be
"The state is obliged under the constitution to take all
steps reasonably open to it to protect the (men) against that risk," they
said in papers before court.
The society's legal team asked the
court to order that, at the very least, the government should seek an
assurance from the government of Zimbabwe that it would not extradite the men
to Equatorial Guinea - or at least not do so without an assurance from
Equatorial Guinea that the men would not be sentenced to death. If they did
receive the death sentence, society wanted an assurance that the sentence
would not be carried out.
"We submit that the state is entitled,
but not obliged, under international law to afford diplomatic protection to
the applicants against the risk that they may be sentenced to death and
executed in violation of international law.
"It is, however,
obliged to do so under the constitution... It would be a violation of
international law if the applicants were to be sentenced to death without a
The team dismissed the government's argument that it
is bound only by its constitutional duties in domestic situations, stating
that this interpretation "unduly" strained the interpretation of the
They said the South African government was compelled
to act subject to the constitution, both locally and in the international
domain - simply because there would be no government without the
"It can never escape the constitution because it has
no existence and no powers beyond the constitution."
NAIROBI, Kenya --
The zealous display of patriotism by President Robert Mugabe's administration
may appear to benefit thousands of landless black Zimbabweans who are now
able to own a chunk of property that once belonged to someone else. Ethnic
cleansing in Sudan, another show of misguided patriotism, is appeasing the
Arab ruling class in Khartoum. Yet for Africa, these are wounds that will not
just heal. Their consequence is vicious civil wars, as is happening in Sudan,
and a tragedy for Africa's human development.
civil wars] are retrogressive, holding back the gains already made," said
Ross Herbert, head of the NEPAD Governance Project at the South African
Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).
It is five
years now since African leaders initiated NEPAD, which aims to re-start
Africa's development process by raising capital to build new bridges, roads,
hospitals and evaluate governance trends by regularly monitoring performance
of political regimes. The NEPAD blueprint is meant to be a panacea for
Africa's many socio-economic problems. Yet little has been achieved outside
the seminar, conference, and summit rooms.
non-African reads and hears about what is happening in Zimbabwe, Sudan and
the Democratic Republic of Congo, the questions spring up: where is NEPAD's
peer review mechanism that is supposed to check on governance? Where is the
African Union peacekeeping force? While most Africans hope NEPAD will offer
the answers, that hope has become the initiative's main weakness because it
is not an implementing agency for projects: it does not do the ground
Regardless of this fact, little progress has been
made in contracting the private sector to undertake projects identified by
Moeletsi Mbeki, of Endemol, a South African media
company that produces the Big Brother Africa program, said there is a need to
infuse seriousness of purpose for the NEPAD to succeed. "The NEPAD office
in Johannesburg is understaffed. Getting your calls answered there is
a problem,"" says Mbeki.
Indeed, NEPAD has been
dismissed in some quarters as a money-spinner for people interested in
holding conferences and seminars in order to get the attendance allowances
that go with such gatherings. This cynicism is founded on the fact that five
years down the line, NEPAD has not implemented any serious program, despite
it being the subject of discussion at every regional and global meeting
looking at Africa's development agenda.
during the recent Africa Economic Summit in Mozambique, African leaders like
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano waxed lyrical about how NEPAD holds all
the solutions to pan-African problems. What Chissano failed to mention is
that his immediate neighbor to the west, Zimbabwe, is sinking fast and
threatening to derail the continent's progress.
leaders do not appear to have the political will to take on the problems
afflicting their countries. They are not too keen to get involved in the
affairs of other African countries despite visible evidence that these
problems are retarding development not only in the specific nations, but also
the continent as a whole. That is why when millions of Africans are killed or
displaced from their homelands in Sudan by the Arab ruling elite, African
leaders watch and wait for the Americans to react and provide money to
facilitate peacekeeping activities.
"We need to address the
challenge of dealing with the concept of Africa," South African President
Thabo Mbeki said when he spoke at the economic summit in Mozambique. "We
forget that [Africa] is 53 states, and at times there's an expectation that
decisions will be reached faster."
J. Brooks Spector, a
former American diplomat who served in Africa and Asia, says that the common
denominator defining Africa is lack of democratic institutions. It is poor
governance and not the perceived diversity that is holding the continent
back. African leaders give the impression that they understand this. For
instance, at the end of the Maputo economic summit, they issued a communiqué
that recommended good governance as a way of fighting poverty that will
eventually lead to the development of the continent.
Indeed, successive studies have pointed to how poor governance in Africa has
been the catalyst for the many civil wars that have been fought in the
continent in the last four decades and how such wars have eventually eroded
the socio-economic status of the continent. A senior US administration
official attending the just concluded G8 Summit noted that while billions of
dollars have been invested in Africa, it is the one continent that will
probably not meet the Millennium Development goals by 2015. This means that
the developed world has not had answers to the problems facing African
Nevertheless, he said the US was optimistic
about the potential of NEPAD. "NEPAD is probably the first and the strongest
indication of a coordinated effort on the part of Africans to be held
accountable for the problems and solutions," the official
To counter bad governance, the architects of NEPAD
came up with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). "The mechanism is the
most tangible manifestation out of the NEPAD process," says Stanley
Subramoney of the NEPAD Business Group.
The APRM is a
voluntary mechanism open to all member states of the African Union. To join,
the country concerned has to sign up to the NEPAD Declaration on Democracy,
Political, Economic and Corporate Governance, and agree to allow periodic
peer reviews of good governance at both the political and economic levels. It
is a polite way of telling errant governments that they are stepping out of
line. Nineteen countries have already signed up to the APRM. Ghana will be
the first to be reviewed, followed by Uganda. Lack of how to censure those
nations who do not toe the democratic and economic governance line is
watering down the mechanism.
In early June, African leaders
meeting in Mozambique refused a request from business leaders to give the
mechanism additional muscle to censure errant governments. The group
expressed frustration with the "toothless" peer review system, saying
business intended pushing for an additional rating mechanism to assess a
country's political governance as an investment aid.
African political leaders think otherwise. President Chissano, the present AU
chairman, said punishment would come when investors shy away from countries
found to be lacking in good political and economic governance. He said that
if investors found that in a country the tax or the judicial system was not
good, "they will not come".
Herbert said there is one major
flaw with the mechanism: it only looks at the existing political and economic
governance systems in a specific country. It does not address the big
question of why the problems happened in the first place.
We didn't know whether to laugh or cry over the
photograph showing us Zimbabwe's new ox-drawn ambulance.
almost beyond belief that, in 2004, Zimbabwe should have to use this mode of
transport for its medical emergencies. But then the ambulance, donated by the
United Nations Children's Fund, is a sad reflection of the hard realities
that ordinary Zimbabweans have to deal with on a daily basis.
We have also been unable to decide whether pregnant rural women in Zimbabwe
would be more in danger having to give birth at home or having to reach
hospitals aboard what must one of the most uncomfortable forms of transport
The ox-drawn ambulance
introduced in Zimbabwe by the United Nations is symbolic of the crisis our
neighbouring nation faces. Firstly, the pace at which this new "emergency"
vehicle would be able to move reflects the pace of the struggle for change in
Zimbabwe - painfully slow.
Secondly, the UN Children's Fund
(Unicef) should hang its head in shame for saying that heavily pregnant
African women or those in need of urgent medical attention should be
transported in an ox-drawn ambulance. What an insult!
will probably say the ox-wagon will survive days when there is no fuel, but
really! This band-aid approach to the deep problems faced by Zimbabwe is
Yesterday, we saw Zimbabweans in their hundreds
marching on their high commission in Pretoria. The purpose of the march by
members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was to highlight the
plight back home. It was also to urge the South African government to go
beyond the quiet-diplomacy approach adopted by President Thabo
The march on the offices of Zimbabwean high commissioner to
South Africa Khaya Moyo came on the back of strong calls by church leaders
in Zimbabwe and South Africa for something to be done about the
Big credit must go to the MDC and civil society in
Zimbabwe for raising the awareness of the world to the excesses and
undemocratic tendencies of President Robert Mugabe and his government. These
groups have brought to the fore the kind of hardships the people of Zimbabwe
- particularly those who cannot run to places like London or Johannesburg
- face daily.
These efforts have assisted in changing the
world's perception about the political and economic situation of our northern
neighbour and led to Mugabe and his ministers being ostracised by the
However, this cannot be enough.
the rooftops is a step in the right direction, but why, for instance, aren't
Zimbabweans taking to the streets and rising up against a government that
Why is there no mass movement and mobilisation by
those who are dying of hunger as a direct result of the mismanagement of the
country by Mugabe and his cabinet?
An argument can be made that
Mugabe's notorious security forces have suppressed even the slightest of
resistance, but should the people give in so meekly?
South Africa, at the height of apartheid and when the National Party
machinery was at its most murderous, people of this country doubled their
efforts to defeat the evil system.
Organisations were formed, and
banned, and in their place, others were promptly formed. When leaders of
organisations such as the United Democratic Front were being targeted by the
security forces, an amorphous body called the Mass Democratic Movement was
formed. This movement organised stayaways and other activities that made
South Africa ungovernable.
Maybe it's time the MDC and civil
society in Zimbabwe reinvented themselves and came up with new strategies to
rise against Mugabe and free the people of Zimbabwe from his
Perhaps a start, for the MDC, could be using the action of
one of their own MPs as the beginning.
Despite being banned from
his constituency, Roy Bennett, MP for Chimanimani, has returned home for a
series of rallies.
Bennett has gone back home to campaign for his
party in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for March
Bennett is a brave man. He knows only too well the brutality
of the Zimbabwean police and Zanu-PF militia. But he is not sitting back and
saying he cannot go back home and do something about his
Archbishop Pius Ncube shares the same sentiments as
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but I would like to see Ncube doing more inside
It is okay to expect the outside world - starting with
South Africa - to help, but Zimbabweans themselves must do something about
their own situation. They must put an end to a situation where, on the one
hand, we hear of the hardships faced by those living in Zimbabwe but, on the
other hand, people in the country go on as if there is nothing
The pace of the Zimbabweans' struggle for freedom must
change from that of the wagon drawn by oxen to one where increased and
sustained pressure is brought to bear on the Mugabe government.
Negotiations or silent diplomacy might work one day, but the people on the
ground must begin to vote with their feet.
The world will help
Zimbabweans, but they must first help themselves. And helping themselves must
mean going far beyond tame protests 1 000km away from Harare.
Zimbabweans in South Africa: Denied Access to Political
South Africa is denying access to political asylum to thousands
of Zimbabweans seeking to escape persecution. Of the 5,000 applications
for political asylum filed by Zimbabweans to date, fewer than 20
Zimbabweans have actually received political asylum in South Africa. But more
troubling still is the fact that few Zimbabweans are able even to apply for
The South African government office that handles
immigration, Department of Home Affairs (DHA), has five Refugee Reception
Offices in the country. There are two offices close to the Zimbabwe border.
The largest office, in a shopping center in the Rosettenville section of
Johannesburg, has been moved and closed repeatedly since October 2003. There
are no signs identifying the office, but it is easy to find if one looks for
the hundreds of people clustered in an alley trying to gain access. Asylum
seekers sleep overnight to get a good place in line and queue for hours. One
asylum seeker told Refugees International, "This is the third time I've been
here. I've never been in, you just wait in line."
While DHA has
acknowledged its problems and is working on a "turnaround strategy," in the
words of DHA Director General, Mr. Barry Gilder, it "still has a long way to
go." All of the offices are woefully understaffed, resulting in a backlog of
up to 80,000 cases waiting to be reviewed. DHA claims that Zimbabweans do not
face more barriers than asylum seekers of other nationalities, but that is
contrary to the direct observations of RI. A Zimbabwean told us that he lined
up at 11 a.m. the day before the office opened so he could be first in line.
"They only took one Zimbabwean that day. I was number two." While the senior
management of the Immigration Department acknowledged to RI that Zimbabweans
have the right to be considered refugees, Refugee Reception officers were
unable to state whether or not Zimbabweans had the right to political asylum
in South Africa. Staff in the Reception Office told RI that Zimbabweans were
not a priority because "there is no civil war in Zimbabwe, so there is no
reason to apply." Other Zimbabweans told us they were denied access to the
process because they did not have valid passports. Even the UN agency in
charge of refugees could not agree. The Office of the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Africa was also unable to provide a clear
determination as to whether Zimbabweans qualify for asylum. They told RI that
they were waiting clarification themselves from Geneva. o apply." Other
Zimbabweans told us they were denied access to the process because they did
not have valid passports. Even the UN agency in charge of refugees could not
agree. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South
Africa was also unable to provide a clear determination as to whether
Zimbabweans qualify for asylum. They told RI that they were waiting
clarification themselves from Geneva.
Corruption is widespread within
the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Police Services. RI
interviewed people who told of being asked for a bribe merely to receive a
letter giving them an appointment to present their asylum claim. Police
officers ask for bribes to look the other way when rounding up undocumented
asylum seekers or those whose temporary permit of stay has expired. One
Zimbabwean told us, "I was stopped while walking down the street. The
policeman asked for my papers but told me that for 200 Rand [U$33] he would
not deport me." At the Lindela detention center, bribes are demanded for
release, while deportees can also pay to jump from the "deportation train" on
the way back to Zimbabwe.
In 2003, over 100 Zimbabwean asylum seekers
were unlawfully detained in the Lindela Detention Center. Zimbabweans
comprise the second largest group of deportees. Most are repatriated without
ever having seen an immigration official. According to organizations that
work in Lindela, there are very few immigration officers who work in the
facility. "On any given day there may be between two and zero for a facility
that holds up to 5,000 people."
There is no Refugee Reception Officer in
Musina, a town that rests on the major thoroughfare between South Africa and
Zimbabwe. If an asylum seeker were to request to apply, they would be
directed to go to Pretoria or Johannesburg, over five hours away. No
transportation would be provided. RI interviewed Zimbabweans along the border
who told us of being arrested and immediately dropped over the border without
any contact with immigration officials. Police and Army in the border regions
rely on spurious methods to identify Zimbabweans, such as asking questions in
a South African language or checking which arm bears a smallpox scar.
According to an NGO working in Musina, "The police have no training. Some
people are being deported because [Zimbabweans] are darker."
. The Government of South
Africa earmark and disburse more funds to DHA in order to staff and equip the
Refugee Reception Offices in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
immediately form a task force to address the backlog of pending political
asylum cases and prioritize interviews with Zimbabwe political asylum
. DHA continue to root out corruption among its officials and
implement their Counter-Corruption operational plan.
. DHA increase
the number of immigration officers in the Lindela Deportation Center and
ensure that there are always immigration officers on duty.
establish a Refugee Reception Office in Musina as soon as possible. In the
meantime, they should increase capacity of passport control officers at the
border to issue temporary permits to asylum seekers.
. South African
Police Services institute measures to address corruption at all levels and
train all relevant staff in the proper handling of political asylum
Refugees International Advocates Sarah Martin and Andrea Lari
just returned from a three-week assessment mission to Zimbabwe and South
Reporter PREPARATIONS for general elections scheduled for March next year
have been intensified with the training of 20 000 election monitors expected
to begin next month.
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) spokesman
Mr Thomas Bvuma this week said the 20 000 monitors would adequately cover the
country during the polls.
"We have also trained 40 provincial
co-ordinators and 755 district monitors, who have been deployed countrywide
to supervise the ongoing voter registration exercise," he
Provincial supervisors and district monitors were recruited from
the various Government structures with supervisors required to have at least
a university degree and 10 years' experience at management level.
voter registration exercise, Mr Bvuma said, was proceeding smoothly but there
had been overwhelming response.
"The major challenge to the exercise has
been resource constraints and this has resulted in the Registrar-General
(RG)'s Office extending voter registration by two weeks," he said.
Bvuma said the situation had been compounded by the fact that the RG's Office
was not only conducting voter registration, but was also issuing other
documents such as national identity cards.
The commission, he said, had
embarked on a non-partisan civic voter education exercise to ensure maximum
participation in the elections.
"As the ESC, we want to supervise the
registration of voters and the conduct of the elections in a transparent and
non-partisan manner in terms of the Constitution," Mr Bvuma
Government has proposed reforms to the country's electoral system
and these have already been approved by the Zanu-PF Central Committee, the
ruling party's highest policy-making body outside congress.
sweeping reforms include the running of elections by an independent body to
be called the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Functions of the ZEC
include organising and supervising presidential, parliamentary and council
elections as well as accrediting observers.
The commission will have
financial autonomy to run its own affairs and appoint its own staff except
the chief electoral officer, who is appointed by the
Another major highlight of the proposed reforms is the
restriction of voting to one day from two as happened in the past.
proposed electoral reforms are in line with the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) draft principles and guidelines governing democratic polls
that are expected to be adopted at the regional summit scheduled for next
month in Mauritius.
Zimbabweans have welcomed the proposed reforms,
saying it was gratifying that the Government was taking the lead in coming up
with proposals that are in line with the consultations that have been going
on among Sadc member states. Man accused of raping daughter (5)
Police have arrested a 53-year-old Bindura man after he
allegedly raped his five-year-old daughter on several occasions.
man was arrested after someone anonymously supplied information to the police
through a letter put into a police suggestion box.
On receiving the
information, police from the Support Unit went to the man's house and
The man is still in police custody and is expected to
appear in court soon facing rape charges.
Police Support Unit
spokesperson Assistant Inspector Charles Jack confirmed the arrest and said
investigations were still in progress.
Several children countrywide have
been raped or killed, sometimes for ritual purposes.
Only last week,
the mutilated body of a six-year-old schoolgirl was found dumped near Norton
Doctors found that she had been sexually abused and, in a
macabre deed, the body had been refrigerated for a few days before being
Police suspect that that the girl, Isabel Makusha, was killed for
ritual purposes since her genitals and other body parts were missing.
Reporters TWO police officers and a civilian from Chipinge have been arrested
for allegedly robbing three gold panners of millions of dollars and
household property worth nearly $90 million.
The three - Dickson
Kampira, an officer based at Harare Central Police Station, his wife Susan
Mtetwa, an assistant inspector with Chipinge Urban Police, and Happison
Nyeredzanai of Masvi- ngo - appeared before a Masvingo magistrate on Tuesday
charged with armed robbery and two counts of robbery.
They were not asked
to plead when they arraigned before provincial magistrate Mr Jimmy Ntonga,
who remanded them in custody to July 27.
The three were advised to apply
for bail at the High Court because magistrates' courts do not have
jurisdiction over such cases.
Mr Dan Ndebele, who appeared for the State,
said the State would summon to court a witness, Mr Tonderai Banga, who was in
the company of the accused when the alleged robbery and armed robbery were
The court heard that on July 2 this year, Kampira, Mtetwa and
Nyeredzanai went to Chitowa Business Centre in Chivi and confronted Trust
Gandiwa, Godfrey Takaendesa and Thomas Nhara over more than two kilogrammes
of gold they had allegedly stolen from a mine belonging to Mtetwa's brother
The State alleges that Kampira approached Gandiwa and
identified himself as a detective from Chimanimani and demanded part of the
proceeds they had panned at his brother-in-law's mine. He was allegedly given
The court heard that he demanded all the gold Gandiwa had
brought from the mine before he allegedly assaulted him with booted feet and
Kampira allegedly took Gandiwa to one Madzivadondo, where
they met with Takaendesa and they arrested him.
Madzivadondo allegedly led Kampira to Nhara's homestead, where the police
officer is said to have pulled out a pistol and demanded cash
The police officer was allegedly given $26 million and some
household property which they put in a hired car.
It is further
alleged that the three drove to Takaendesa's home, where they used the same
tactic and took $30 million, some household property and building
The trio is alleged to have gone to Mr Gandiwa's homestead,
where they assaulted him while handcuffed before force-marching his younger
brother to a riverbed, where they had allegedly hidden $26 million. The
accused allegedly took the money.
The State also alleges that the
accused drove with their victims and dumped them at Lundi River Bridge along
the Masvingo-Zvishavane Road.
It is alleged that the trio shared the
money and went to Chipinge.
However, the accused's lawyer, Mr Langton
Mhungu of Matutu Kwirira and Associates, in his bail application at the High
Court said Takaendesa, Gandiwa and Nhara were contracted to pan for gold at
peg number 34 belonging to Mtetwa's brother and sister-in-law, Mr and Mrs
Blessing Dhliwayo, in Chimanimani.
He said Takaendesa, Gandiwa and
Nhara asked for permission to pan for gold from the peg belonging to the
Dhliwayos and the accused granted them permission.
He said the
accepted procedure was that when one was granted permission to pan in someone
else's peg, all the proceeds belong to the owner of the peg and the reward
for finding the gold is that the finder would be entitled to half of the gold
Mr Mhungu said Takaendesa, Gandiwa and Nhara found 2,213kg
of gold at the peg but did not surrender it to the owner of the peg and
allegedly fled to Chivi. They allegedly only sold a portion worth $16,5
million to Fidelity Refiners, the State-owned final buyer of all gold
extracted in the country.
The accused then hired a vehicle and tracked
down the three to recover the gold. They were assisted by Banga, who knew the
three's communal homes. They located them in Chivi and the three allegedly
pleaded with them not to report the gold theft to the police. But the three
allegedly assaulted Banga, saying he had reported them to the
"The applicant will aver that, in actual fact, they made peace
with complainant, who freely . . . apologised for their dishonesty and
tendered the property and cash which they now inflate, yet it was not more
than $4 million," said Mr Mhungu in the bail application.
He also said
the accused were never armed and alleged that Takaendesa, Gandiwa and Nhara
had fabricated this to escape the charges of theft of and possession of gold
without a licence.
"The applicant avers that it is just and equitable for
him to be granted bail by the honourable court in the light of the
circumstances surrounding this matter. He is a serving member of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police. He wife is an assistant inspector."
Reporter/Brendan Boyle Last updated: 07/16/2004 05:43:39 SOUTH Africa's
ruling African National Congress (ANC) is mired in controversy following
reports that it had agreed to work with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's
party ahead of key elections early next year.
South Africa's biggest
selling newspaper, The Sunday Times reported Sunday that top ANC officials
led by President Thabo Mbeki recently held a top-secret meeting with leading
members of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF to forge closer political
South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance's acting leader,
Douglas Gibson demanded that Mbeki directly address the reports which further
weaken his position as a mediator between Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change and Zanu PF.
"The South African public has a
right to know what is going on. We need to know exactly how close the ANC and
Zanu PF are. It seems that the relationship between the ANC and Zanu PF is
closer than most people realise.
"Mbeki must break his silence and tell
us the truth about Zimbabwe. Is it silent diplomacy or is it covert
The June meeting reported in the Sunday Times was confirmed by
ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe and Zanu-PF's chairman, John
The meeting took place at the ANC's headquarters in central
Johannesburg on the eve of last week's African Union summit, where an
official report critical of Zimbabwe's human-rights abuses was circulated for
the first time and as Mbeki's self-imposed June deadline for resolving the
Zimbabwean crisis loomed.
Besides Mbeki, other ANC officials who
attended the meeting include Motlanthe, ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma,
treasurer-general Mendi Msimang and chairman Mosiuoa Lekota. The Zanu-PF
delegation was led by Nkomo.
A Zanu-PF politburo member told the Sunday
Times that his party had asked the ANC to help it secure a convincing
majority in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections due early next
The ANC endorsed Mugabe's hotly disputed re-election in 2002 and
Zanu-PF's controversial 2000 victory. Zanu-PF officials said the party now
wanted the ANC to go further than "just mere endorsement" of elections and
help it win at the polls.
They said the ANC had agreed in principle to
deploy between four and six election strategists to Zimbabwe ahead of the
election to help Zanu-PF prepare a winning campaign.
Senior members of
the Zanu-PF executive were briefed about the meeting
"Zanu-PF has asked for the ANC to help to win next year's
election and my understanding is that the ANC has in principle agreed to send
between four and six 'strategists' to assist it during the forthcoming
election," a senior official said.
Motlanthe said no such agreement
had been made, but added that there was an "open invitation" to Zanu-PF to
study the South African party's success.
He confirmed that a Zanu-PF dele
gation had visited the ANC headquarters "on a Monday" in June, holding
discussions for about three hours until noon with the top six ANC
office-bearers, including Mbeki.
"I was at that meeting. I am not at
liberty to say what we did talk about, but it is true they were here to
congratulate the ANC, not to ask for help. I am sure they will do that when
it comes closer to the election," said Motlanthe.
Asked whether the
ANC had agreed to make strategists available, he said: "There is no truth to
that. We did not agree to that."
Nkomo, widely regarded as a possible
successor to Mugabe, said Zanu-PF and the ANC had "close ties and shared
vision in the region". He said the ANC had done better than expected by
winning 70% of the vote in South Africa. He added that Zanu-PF had also come
to congratulate the South Africans on winning the rights to host the 2010
Mugabe attended Mbeki's inauguration in Pretoria on April 27
and was wildly cheered by the crowds at the ceremony. Already the oldest
leader in Africa, Mugabe, 84, has said he will retire when his term ends in
"Mugabe is desperate to win the election because if his party loses
he will have to resign or rule for three years with an opposition-dominated
and effectively hostile parliament," a South African government official
told the Sunday Times.
Nkomo said: "We wanted to congratulate them
[the ANC] on their election victory. We were not there necessarily to borrow
election strategies because their situation is different from ours... but, of
course, it would be expected that they would tell us how they did
"The ANC is a sister party and our relations date back many years ago
when the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo was in South Africa [in the 1940s]
and also during our liberation struggles," he said.
delegations before and after the election to South Africa. The first one was
there to monitor the election and the second went to congratulate our sister
Zanu-PF failed to secure 50% of the vote in parliamentary
elections in June 2000, taking 62 seats to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change's 57 seats. The ruling party's majority was increased by
presidential nominations and seats for traditional leaders, but the result
shook Mugabe's confidence.
Motlanthe said Zanu-PF delegations regularly
visited the ANC to study organisational and strategic issues.
sister parties always have access to the ANC. They send people. Some go to
the provinces, some go to headquarters," Motlanthe said.
The ANC hosted a
conference of liberation movements and parties outside Johannesburg in 2000
to share experiences of a series of multi-party elections across the region.
Among the issues discussed were ways to prevent former liberation movements
being ousted by parties perceived to have close ties with Western
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, often
attacked by Mugabe as a "British-sponsored puppet party", has accused the ANC
of colluding with Zanu-PF in the stop-start inter-party talks intended
to resolve the country's deep political and economic crisis.
said the ANC had sent a 10-member delegation to the 2000 election in Zimbabwe
and would probably send a similar or larger delegation to next year's
election to "gather first-hand information". Additional reporting Sunday
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