JOHANNESBURG - When Alan Jack, a
Zimbabwean farmer, was summoned to meet Nigeria's president during a visit to
the capital, Abuja, he never envisaged that two months from then he would be
packing his bags to emigrate. ††† Yet this weekend, Mr. Jack is making final
arrangements for a pioneering expedition of more than 200 farmers from
Zimbabwe who will set off on a 1,800-mile journey across Africa to settle in
a remote Nigerian state. ††† At the personal invitation of President Olusegun
Obasanjo, they will become the first white commercial farmers in the
country's history. ††† Mr. Jack, a maize and tobacco grower, has been given
2,500 acres of land in Kwara, along the upper reaches of the Niger river, and
granted "pioneer status," entitling him to a five-year exemption from tax or
import duties on farming equipment. ††† In return, he has promised to
bring modern farming methods to Africa's most populous nation, which spends
$3 billion a year importing food - including rice, sugar, chickens and milk -
which it could grow for itself. ††† Mr. Jack's farm at Guruve, in northern
Zimbabwe, was expropriated four years ago under President Robert Mugabe's
land-grab program. Mr. Jack had been planning to leave Africa altogether when
he was invited to inspect the fertile land - seldom farmed before - along the
Niger and found himself face to face with the Nigerian president. ††† "Why
leave Africa and go to Australia?" Mr. Obasanjo asked. "We do not want to
take away what is good for Zimbabwe from Zimbabwe, but I believe that it is
in the best interests of Africa that you do not leave." ††† A number of
farmers have left Zimbabwe in the aftermath of Mr. Mugabe's policy of land
"redistribution," which has left farms idle and the country dependent on
secret grain imports to sustain the myth that it can feed itself. Hundreds
have moved to neighboring Zambia and Mozambique, but Mr. Jack and his
colleagues are the first to take their skills halfway across the continent to
Nigeria, whose economy revolves around revenue from its oil reserves. †††
Bukola Saraki, the newly elected governor of Kwara state, is spearheading a
national drive to wean Nigeria off oil-based revenues, which have totaled
more than $374 billion over the past 40 years, and make it self-sufficient in
food. ††† "In Kwara, we don't have oil, but we have 2.3 million hectares
[5.7 million acres] available for agriculture," Mr. Saraki said. †††† "If
I truly thought our peasant farmers could take us where we want to be, I
would probably not have invited the Zimbabweans, but we decided the only way
to push agriculture was through commercial farming." ††† The governor
approached the Zimbabweans after trying to launch a "Back to the Farm"
campaign last year, only to discover that Kwara's peasant farmers, most in
their 60s and 70s, were unfamiliar with modern technology and had no capital
to buy tractors. ††† "When we found oil [in the Niger delta], we didn't ask
people in southern Nigeria to look for shovels to dig for oil," said Mr.
Saraki, who trained as a banker. "We brought in foreigners with expertise.
Our land is an asset that isn't being utilized. The only way to do that is to
bring in people with the necessary skills." ††† William Hughes, one of his
pioneer team, was regularly voted Zimbabwe's top dairy farmer, producing
5,000 liters of milk a day. After receiving death threats, he was forced to
give up his farm and his life's work and now plans with four other Zimbabwean
dairy farmers to build the first modern dairy in Nigeria. ††† Locals
insist that the new immigrants will be welcome. Mohamed Alasan, headman at
Yelwa, said: "We want the whites to come and run the sugar estate because
they won't mismanage it."
††††† Critics says parliament set to become an
implosive, self-congratulatory institution
††††† The Pan African
Parliament (PAP) of the African Union will be hosted by South Africa, and its
delegates will be temporarily seated at Gallagher Estate, neatly wedged
between pulsating Pretoria and jostling Johannesburg.
architects, estate agents, caterers, masseurs and bankers are lining up to
schmooze, wine and dine the African elite that will descend on the
not-so-civilised plains of the Midrand. It is expected that representatives
from 53 African countries, international observers, hangers-on and their
spouses will come armed with credit cards and dollars seeking the best that
money can buy.
††††† A veritable feast of opportunities beckons and no
stone will be left unturned in the new scramble for Africa that is likely to
characterise the invasion.
††††† The local opposition's snot en trane
about how much this will cost taxpayers is germane only in relation to
accountable spending of the public purse. More pertinent is that the PAP
seems set to be a repository of "kept" men and women unlikely to seriously
challenge the hegemonic hold of South Africa and Nigeria over the pace and
scope of continental development.
††††† Not unlike the emerging enclave
economies dotting the African landscape and the proliferation of elite
accommodation bedevilling grass roots development, critics assert that the
parliament is set to become an implosive and self-congratulatory
institution ††††† . What it will lack in substance it will make up in
fantastic outfits, cars, self-adulation and consumerism.
that's the cynical view.
††††† On a more positive note, the institution
will be a consultative forum for five years, eventually acquiring legislative
authority to pass laws for the entire continent. It will gather for two
two-week sessions a year to oversee governance and security.
PAP follows the secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
as the second African Union institution to be housed in South Africa. To this
end, it places a responsibility on its host to see that clean water,
sanitation, adequate housing, electrification, jobs and medical care top the
agenda when the PAP meets.
††††† While Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has
overstayed his welcome at the top of the food chain, his continued grip on
power must not be allowed to fracture an already divided
††††† There are equally important issues that need to be
Mugabe Said to Use Law as Political Tool Dissidents
Face Zimbabwe's Justice System By Craig Timberg Washington Post Foreign
Service Sunday, July 18, 2004; Page A18
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe --
Remember Moyo, a burly man with sad, withdrawn eyes, was arrested on Nov. 11,
2001, and beaten repeatedly and savagely over the next several days. He was
charged with murder.
The day after the arrest, Moyo said,
police pummeled and stomped him by the side of a road. At a police station
outside this southern city, he was stripped, his hands were tied behind his
back and his feet were shackled to a metal ring hooked to a wet cell floor,
he said. Several times, he said, thugs let themselves in at night and beat
him bloody and mute.
"This thing, you cannot forget," said Moyo, who had
been an intelligence official and bodyguard for Zimbabwe's main opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change. "You can try, but it just
The beating Moyo suffered and the murder charges against him and
several other men were part of an attempt to cover up two killings ordered
by officials of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, according to human
rights activists, opposition members and church leaders. The case, they
contend, underscores how Mugabe has used the law as a weapon against his
Moyo, who spent more than two years in prison
without bail, was released in April. On Monday, prosecutors acknowledged that
they no longer had a case against Moyo and five others charged with
In the first years after white rule ended in Zimbabwe in 1980 and
Mugabe assumed power, this landlocked southern African country of 12 million
was largely regarded as a beacon of democracy and prosperity on a
troubled continent. But in recent years, Mugabe's government has curbed the
right to public assembly, shut down newspapers, expanded police authority to
detain suspects without charges, put the main opposition leader on trial
for treason and taken control of thousands of private farms.
International and other human rights groups have chronicled the decline of
the rule of law, saying Mugabe uses the criminal justice system to punish his
rivals and protect his allies, and that to oppose him is to invite false
arrest, torture and even death.
"These people are innocent," said the
city's outspoken Catholic archbishop, Pius A. Ncube. "That's what they do all
the time in ZANU-PF. . . . We're dealing with such a devilish government
here, all to defend one man: Robert Mugabe."
The government has
consistently disputed such claims, blaming them on what it has termed
treachery by its opponents, dishonest journalists and meddling from the
British, the country's former colonial rulers. Mugabe and other officials
have characterized Moyo and his co-defendants as terrorists out to undermine
Zimbabwe's peaceful democratic system.
The roots of Moyo's case, as
detailed by human rights activists and in court documents and news reports,
can be traced to the national election in 2000. It was the first contest in
many years in which Mugabe's party faced significant opposition -- from the
Movement for Democratic Change, which had been formed the year
The new opposition drew support from human rights lawyers,
farmers, civic activists and some former members of ZANU-PF. One of them was
Patrick Nabanyama, a ZANU-PF activist who believed that the ruling party had
grown corrupt. In the parliamentary race in June 2000, Nabanyama made a
public break with the party and backed an opposition candidate, David
Coltart, a white lawyer.
As the election neared, Nabanyama said he
began receiving death threats. The culprits, he said, were so-called war
veterans, a loosely organized force loyal to the government and consisting
mostly, but not entirely, of former guerrillas in Zimbabwe's war against
white rule in Rhodesia, as the country was then known, in the
"I have been subjected to several death threats since last month
by pseudo war vets," Nabanyama wrote in a letter dated June 19, 2000,
addressed to the Daily News, an independent newspaper since closed by the
government. "Killing me will not stop the change. Instead, MDC is daily
That afternoon, before Nabanyama got a chance to
mail the letter, a gang of men seized him at his house and bundled him into a
waiting vehicle as his wife and daughter looked on.
initially drew little attention from authorities. But Coltart and other
opposition members organized vigils to keep pressure on the government to
Over the next few months, authorities arrested 10 war
veterans in connection with Nabanyama's disappearance, including Cain Nkala,
a Mugabe loyalist and the local head of a war veterans
After Nabanyama had been missing for a year, prosecutors
upgraded the charges to murder. Nabanyama's body has never been
As the trial date approached, reports reached opposition leaders
that Nkala intended to implicate top officials from the ruling party in
Nabanyama's killing. He never got the chance.
On Nov. 5, 2001, a gang
abducted Nkala in much the same style that Nabanyama had been taken, bundling
him into a waiting vehicle as his wife watched. Nkala has not been seen
Coltart, Archbishop Ncube and others said they believed that
Mugabe's party was involved in Nkala's kidnapping, which they described as an
attempt to eliminate him before he could implicate party leaders in the
killing of Nabanyama.
But the police and the government put the blame
for Nkala's disappearance on the Movement for Democratic Change. "The MDC and
their supporters should know their days are numbered," Mugabe said at Nkala's
funeral, according to news accounts. "The time is now up for the MDC
terrorists, as the world has been awakened by the death of
Moyo, now 36, was arrested as police began a highly publicized
roundup of more than a dozen opposition activists in connection with Nkala's
Two other opposition activists who were arrested in connection
with Nkala's murder, Sazini Mpofu and Khethani Augustine Sibanda, were shown
on state-controlled television seemingly directing police to Nkala's body, at
a site a few steps off a road outside the city. The grave was so shallow
and obvious that Nkala's toes stuck through the dirt.
charged Moyo, Mpofu, Sibanda and three other opposition activists with
Nkala's murder. Court proceedings began soon afterward, and remained
front-page news in Zimbabwe for the next 2 1/2 years.
But in court, where
some independent judges remain even after years of Mugabe's efforts to
consolidate power, the government's case began to unravel.
Sibanda said police threatened and beat them, then dictated confessions that
the two were forced to write and sign. Sibanda said agents from the Central
Intelligence Organization had abducted him and compelled him, through torture
and threats, to participate in a plot to frame the others for the
Cross-examination of police officers also revealed numerous
inconsistencies in their accounts, according to a ruling in March by the
Perhaps the most damning was the inability of police to
explain why their own investigation diary recorded that Sibanda supposedly
pointed out the location of Nkala's body to police hours before the diary
showed he was taken into custody. The trial judge rejected police
explanations that the illogical diary entries were merely mix-ups.
diary also revealed that officials from ZANU-PF and Mugabe's office directly
intervened in the case to deliver intelligence two days after Nkala's
disappearance. That same afternoon, police raided opposition headquarters.
What the diary described as an undercover "ferret team" started developing
leads tying the activists, including Moyo, to
Accounts of beatings and torture also emerged
during the testimony.
After hearing these and other stories, High Court
Justice Sandra Mungwira ruled that the confessions and the police testimony
were so tainted as to be inadmissible.
"In conclusion I would comment
that overall the evidence of the State witnesses who are police officers is
fraught with conflict and inconsistencies," the judge wrote in March. "The
witnesses conducted themselves in a shameless fashion and displayed utter
contempt for the due administration of justice to the extent that they were
prepared to indulge in what can only be described as works of
Mungwira also held open the possibility that, as the defense
claimed, government agents -- whom she called a "third force" -- had twisted
the case to their own ends.
The following month, Moyo, Mpofu and
Sibanda -- who had been denied bail for more than two years -- were freed
from prison. The three other suspects had been given bail
Then, this week, prosecutors told the judge that they had no
case remaining against five of the suspects, including Moyo. The sixth,
Sibanda, still faces the possibility of prosecution when the case resumes on
Attorneys for all the defendants, however, say they are
confident that their clients will soon be exonerated. If that happens, no one
will have been brought to justice for the killing of either Nabanyama or
Coltart, now a member of parliament, said: "This is the history of
ZANU-PF in microcosm. They've used violence to achieve political objectives.
. . . They have killed their own and portrayed it as an attack on their own
Moyo is broke and sick, suffering from a variety of
maladies including dizziness, weakness and headaches that he blames on the
beatings he endured in police custody. He fears more violence leading up to
the national elections in March.
"This next coming election will be
the killing election," Moyo said. "People will die."
Dictator sues British 'coup plotters' By Miranda
Mclachlan, Philip Sherwell and Jane Flanagan (Filed: 18/07/2004)
former SAS officer and three other men alleged to have been behind a plot by
mercenaries to stage a coup in Equatorial Guinea are being sued in the High
Court in London by the government of the West African state.
lawyers acting for Equatorial Guinea and its president, Teodoro Obiang, say
that they are seeking millions of pounds in compensation on the rarely-cited
legal grounds of civil conspiracy.
Court documents seen by The Sunday
Telegraph name Simon Mann, an Old Etonian scion of the Watney brewing family
and a former Scots Guards officer, who is being held in jail with 70 other
alleged mercenaries in Zimbabwe.
They were allegedly en route to
overthrow the regime in Equatorial Guinea, but they insist that they had been
recruited as security officers at a Congo diamond mine.
Also named in
the documents are Eli Calil, a Chelsea-based oil tycoon; Greg Wales, a London
businessman; Severo Moto, the exiled opposition leader; and two of Mr Mann's
Lawyers for Mr Calil and Mr Wales, on whom the papers were
served last week, denied the accusations. Mr Calil's solicitor, Imran Khan,
said that he would be offering "a vigorous defence". "There is no substance
to the claim," Mr Khan said.
Sarah Webb, representing Mr Wales, also
said that the "proceedings will be defended vigorously". Her client said:
"What is going on here is the attempt by President Obiang to hang on to
Mr Moto, who is based in Madrid, told The Sunday Telegraph that
he had spoken to Mr Mann about arranging "protection" for him on a planned
trip to Equatorial Guinea in March but said that he was not aware of any coup
plot. He said Mr Calil was a good friend.
Mr Mann is a neighbour and
friend of Mark Thatcher, son of Baroness Thatcher, in the exclusive Cape Town
suburb of Constantia. He was involved with Executive Outcomes, the South
African mercenary company, and Sandline International, the outfit at the
centre of the arms-to-Africa scandal in Sierra Leone.
legal action in London comes as Mr Mann and his South African co-accused, who
were arrested at Harare airport in March, face key court cases in
Johannesburg and the Zimbabwean capital this week.
Deep fault lines have
opened up between Mr Mann and his fellow defendants.
The other men, many
of whom are black soldiers who served in the apartheid-era South African
army, believe that their legal prospects would be better there than in
Harare. The South African government, however, has refused to seek their
extradition from Zimbabwe.
Mr Mann has now dropped out of their joint
appeal against that decision, to be heard tomorrow in the Johannesburg
constitutional court, and has appointed a new legal team to seek his transfer
to Britain. At present, he is in solitary confinement in Chikurubi maximum
The move has angered relatives of his fellow defendants.
"Simon Mann is the linchpin of the whole operation," said Marge Pain, whose
60-year-old husband, Ken, was the flight engineer on the seized
"He got my husband and all the other guys into this mess and now
he seems to be cutting and running. It's not right."
proceedings begin in Harare on Wednesday, when Mr Mann will face four charges
relating to immigration and aviation offences, and possession of dangerous
His legal representative said last week that Mr Mann "absolutely
denies" the allegation that he was leading a coup. "The idea that some 70 or
80 men could mount a successful coup against any government is militarily
laughable and amounts to Boys' Own propaganda," he said.
Mann's new legal ploy, Zimbabwe is widely expected to extradite the men to
Equatorial Guinea in return for a deal to supply oil at discounted prices to
prop up the country's collapsing economy.
In London, the statement of
claim on behalf of President Obiang and his government has been lodged in the
Queen's Bench division of the High Court and was served last week on Mr Calil
and Mr Wales. The solicitors are seeking court permission to serve the
documents on Mr Moto in Madrid and Mr Mann in jail in Harare.
is also under investigation by a French judge over allegations of illegal
payments involving the oil giant Elf-Aquitaine.
An ethnic Lebanese
entrepreneur with British citizenship who lives in a mansion off the Kings
Road in London, he made his millions as an oil trader in Nigeria. His actor
son George appears in Holby City.
He has hired Lord Bell, once Margaret
Thatcher's public relations adviser, to put his case.
claim that the alleged conspirators met in London, Madrid and South Africa to
plot a coup with Mr Mann and Nick du Toit, a South African businessman now in
jail in Equatorial Guinea.
Mr Wales, an old Africa hand whose business
interests have ranged from a mine clearance operation in Somalia to
consultancy work with Executive Outcomes, said that he had met Mr du Toit to
discuss legitimate business deals in Equatorial Guinea.
He denied that
he was involved in any coup attempt, but said that there were frequent
rumours of such plots. "Equatorial Guinea is the sort of place where if you
don't hear that a coup attempt is being planned, then there's something
wrong," he said.
The South African government has been determined to
clamp down on mercenary operations being run from its soil. The Sunday
Telegraph has been told that its intelligence services had been tapping Mr
Mann's phone and monitoring his activities in the run-up to March's
Equatorial Guinea is a small, malaria-infested country on the
Gulf of Guinea which has been ruled by Mr Obiang since he overthrew his uncle
in 1979. It is enjoying an oil boom following the discovery of large deposits
in the mid-1990s - daily barrel production is slated to rise from the
current 450,000 to 750,000 - but the proceeds have mainly been pocketed by
the small ruling elite.
America aims to obtain at least five per cent
of the oil it needs from Equatorial Guinea over the next few years as it
seeks to lessen its reliance on Middle East supplies.
The US state
department, however, has been extremely critical of the country's human
rights record. Last week, Senate investigators issued a highly critical
report linking the Obiang family to secret accounts valued at about £500
million at Riggs Bank in America.
THE tussle to succeed President Mugabe has spilled into the
newsrooms of the State-controlled Zimpapers and the Zanu PF mouth-piece, The
Voice, sources have revealed.
They said a senior official in the
Department of Information and Publicity in the President's Office has ordered
journalists at The Herald and The Chronicle and the Sunday publications - The
Sunday News and The Sunday Mail - to stop publishing stories that portray
some veteran Zanu PF politicians in positive light.
targeted include Zanu PF vice president Joseph Msika, chairman John Nkomo,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the party's secretary for administration and Nathan
Shamuyarira, its secretary for information and publicity. Nkomo and Mnangagwa
are tipped as the most likely to fight out the battle to succeed President
Robert Mugabe when he eventually retires.
According to sources, the camp
which has issued instructions to sideline the veteran politicians has in its
ranks the likes of younger Zanu PF politicians Jonathan Moyo, Patrick
Chinamasa and Joseph Made.
The so called Young Turks' association with
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has resulted in them getting favourable
publicity in Zimpapers' newspapers which are controlled by
Nkomo, Mnangagwa and other senior Zanu PF heavy-weights have
resorted to using the little read Voice to get some good publicity because
Zimpapers has become a no go area for them. The Voice is run by Shamuyarira,
Moyo's boss in the ruling party.
In Bulawayo, senior journalists at
The Chronicle said they were under strict orders to write little or no
reports on political gurus in the region except Andrew Langa, the deputy
minister of transport who is not regarded as a threat by the Young Turks,
sources said. "We have been instructed that except when it is absolutely
unavoidable, photographs of political heavyweights in Matabeleland like
Dumiso Dabengwa or Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema should not be used on the
front page of the newspaper," said one senior journalist. "We have been told
that they belong to the inside pages and can only appear on the front pages
when being portrayed in a negative light," the senior journalist at the
He said only Mugabe, Moyo, Made and Chinamasa as well
as Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, were guaranteed good
Mnangagwa has generally been ignored by the State controlled
media while Nkomo, Msika, and Shamuyarira have recently been lampooned by
newspapers from the Zimpapers stable. Nkomo now depends on his weekly column
in The Voice to announce party programmes. Mugabe himself has not been
left untouched by the media war.
A day after addressing the Zanu PF
Youth Conference last week, Mugabe's photograph - as is the tradition - did
not grace the front page of The Sunday Mail or The Herald on
Instead, the publications had photographs of Moyo and his coterie
of associates launching his pet musical project, Back2Black double CD,
in Victoria Falls. Among those invited to the Victoria Falls jamboree
were fellow political greenhorns, Francis Nhema, Made, Christopher
Mushowe, Ignatious Chombo, Chinamasa and Flora Bhuka.
leadership from Matabeleland, including the three governors,
Chiefs to run urban cities From Savious Kwinika in
HWANGE - IN a move that is designed to usurp the powers of MDC
mayors controlling many of the key towns and cities, the government intends
to establish provincial councils presided over by governors and chiefs to
run Harare and Bulawayo, The Standard has established.
The new set up
will start in Zimbabwe's second largest city - Bulawayo - and would spread to
other main cities countrywide.
While Harare has been "neutralised"
following the dismissal of Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri, a powerful
MDC-dominated council led by Japhet Ndabeni Ncube is running
Bulawayo's Governor Cain Mathema - appointed by President
Robert Mugabe early this year - is currently tussling with Ndabeni-Ncube for
the control of the city, a bastion of opposition politics.
of the government's intention to establish provincial councils came out
during a three-day workshop on local governance held in Hwange
Bulawayo acting provincial administrator, Linsie Manjengwa,
said Mathema would lead the "new Bulawayo metropolitan council". Executive
Mayor Ndabeni-Ncube and traditional leaders from the five districts would be
part of the council.
"According to the proposals made we are going to
have a provincial council set up comprising the Bulawayo mayor, PA,
traditional chiefs and district administrators with the Governor being the
provincial council chairman," said Manjengwa.
NGOs and civic groups have described the new development as amounting to
"ruralising" the major towns and cities.
This follows hot on the heels of
the creation of urban metropolitan governors' posts for Harare and Bulawayo
believed to have been made to reduce the MDC's influence in urban areas,
where it draws most of its support.
In Bulawayo, the government has
already gone further and incorporated five rural district
Bulawayo councillors - who asked how the new provincial
councils would work - expressed grave concern over government's "emotional"
and "crude" reaction to political opposition.
Bulawayo Town Clerk
Moffat Ndlovu told participants that the new metropolitan province directive
had created lots of problems on the city's development plans.
government does not understand the implications of this arrangement, instead,
it is creating lots of problems. We are definitely experiencing political
challenges and these political challenges must be addressed immediately,"
He said the Urban Councils' Act did not provide for the
creation of governors and provincial councils.
"Without amending these
laws, the Governor has no role in Bulawayo except to co-ordinate State
functions such as the Heroes Day, Independence Day and Defence Forces Day,"
The Bulawayo Affirmative Action Group regional president,
Sam Ncube, said the creation of provincial councils would cause lots of
problems, not only to Bulawayo, but also to the entire nation.
Ncube: "I tell you, Bulawayo as we know it has gone . it is dead."
Heads of private schools decry education crisis By our
HEADS of private secondary schools that were closed by the
Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture in May following increments in fees
and levies without the ministry's approval have, for the first time, voiced
grave concern over what they described as the "education crisis bedeviling
A Committee of Heads of Independent Schools of Zimbabwe
(CHISZ) which met in Marondera last week said the current crisis has serious
effects on the standards of education in the country.
one of the many sectors reeling from the effects of the current economic
"Amid the very real crisis that currently affects all our
schools, we cannot remain silent about the daunting prospects the future will
bring unless there is some relief.
"We are seriously concerned about
the deleterious effects upon the country as a whole which failure to resolve
the crisis will engender, as well as the resultant reduction in the quality
and variety of education Zimbabwe will be able to produce," said the
committee in a statement.
The statement was signed by 13 representatives
from different schools.
The Minister of Education, Sport and Culture,
Aeneas Chigwedere, in May illegally closed 45 non-government schools that
hiked fees by more than 10 percent without the approval of the Secretary of
Riot police were deployed at the school premises to stop them
from reopening for the second term. The move affected more than 30 000
children. The schools were forced to revert to the old fee structure despite
the fact that many said it was not economically viable.
and individually, we have had to deal with bureaucratic confusion, police
harassment and arrest, the illegal closure of schools, intimidation,
distortions, half-truths and misinterpretations, and intransigence in our
efforts to remedy the situation through normal channels," said the school
The statement concluded: "We offer our sympathy to our colleagues
in the Government and church school Sector who have been suspended for
similar reasons as those that have affected us.
"We thank the great
majority of our pupils' parents who have supported us so far, and we call
upon all reasonable people, in and out of the education sector, to use their
influence wherever and whenever possible to bring this needless crisis to a
Among the school heads that wrote the statement include
Arundel, Chisipite, Christian Brothers College, Hillcrest, Gateway,
Masiyephambili, Midlands Christian College, Petra, Lomagundi College,
Peterhouse, Peterhouse Girls, St Georges College and St John's
Former ESC boss blasts new electoral reforms By Caiphas
FORMER chairman of the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC),
Bishop Peter Hatendi, has criticised the electoral reforms announced recently
by the government saying they have a 'negligent effect' on next year's
elections unless accompanied by far-reaching constitutional
Bishop Hatendi, who served as ESC chairman from 1985 to 2000,
said effecting the electoral reforms without making various changes to the
constitution was like 'putting the cart before the horse'.
introduce a new electoral law before a new constitution, as suggested, is
putting the cart before the horse. Elections being the pillar of a democratic
government must meet democratically elected principles,' said Bishop Hatendi
speaking at a Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn)-organised workshop in
Masvingo last week.
The Anglican Church Bishop, who resigned from the ESC
in 2000 because 'the commission was powerless and not independent from
government', described the ESC – headed by lawyer Sobuza Gula-Ndebele – 'as a
If the reforms are to work perfectly, said Hatendi,
several laws such as the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) would have to be revisited for them to be in tandem with
The Constitution was the absolute law of the country so the
new electoral reforms should not 'contradict' the supreme law or vice versa,
'We might have the reforms today but Mugabe, using the
Presidential Powers Act, might change the goal posts a few days before the
elections. There has to be a holistic approach … not piecemeal,' said the
Bishop, who suggested the scrapping of most of President Robert Mugabe's
For example, in September 2000, Capital Radio (Pvt)
Limited took the government to the Supreme Court to challenge Section 27 of
the Broadcasting Act (1957) which provided for a State monopoly over all
broadcasting in the country.
Although the Supreme Court found the Act
to be unconstitutional, the government promulgated the Broadcasting
Regulations, with a six-month life span, through the Presidential Powers Act.
The regulations were described as draconian.
AIPPA restricts access to
official information by the media and the public and also impacts negatively
on electoral issues such as voter education, a role that would be assumed by
However, Zesn chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said he did not
quite agree with 'putting the cart before the horse' theory as alluded to by
'It is better to accept the little positive changes
that we have achieved but still strive to achieve more,' said Matchaba-Hove,
whose organisation has been advocating for electoral
Matchaba-Hove however said the electoral reforms alone, though
welcome, were not the means to free and fair elections.
democracy, human rights and the rule of law were of fundamental importance to
holding a free and fair poll.
'New electoral laws and processes will not
necessarily bring about free and fair elections. It is imperative that we be
guided by values and principles that are shared by the majority of civilised
humanity,' said Matchaba-Hove.
The government recently succumbed to
pressure from civic society and opposition parties and admitted to an
independent, publicly funded Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that would
be accountable to Parliament.
However, the chief electoral officer will
still be appointed by Mugabe casting doubt on the independence of the body.
'The will and urgency to effect holistic electoral changes are not there.
Where is the voice of conscience … conscience of the nation State,' said
According to the new electoral reforms, the President will
appoint five members of the commission and its chairman, in consultation with
the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and four other members from a list
of seven names submitted by Parliament.
But Zesn in a booklet titled
Electoral Reforms suggested that IEC should be composed of nine members, two
of whom are nominees from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
said two members should be lawyers, four House of Assembly nominees while the
chairman would be nominated by JSC in consultation with the Law Society of
Zimbabwe. A suitable candidate would then be approved by two-thirds
Electoral laws in Zimbabwe are not in tandem with the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) norms and standards on
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's distressed administration is not yet
off the hook from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) whose executive board
has delayed Harare's expulsion from the 184-member fund to
In a statement released soon after the fund's recent meeting,
the IMF said Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Production (GDP) has fallen by 30%
over the last five years and another 4-5% decline is expected this
Year-on-year inflation -undoubtedly the highest in the world -
reached 600 % at the end of 2003.
Unemployment, currently estimated at
80%, is increasing while social indicators -which were once among the best
in Africa -have worsened, and the widespread HIV/Aids pandemic remains
Despite weird claims of a bumper harvest this year by
President Robert Mugabe and his Ministers, severe food shortages would
necessitate massive food imports and donor assistance in the crisis-racked
southern African nation.
'Directors attributed these developments
mainly to inappropriate macro-economic policies and structural changes that
weakened its economic base,' said the IMF.
The Bretton Woods
institution once again took a swipe at the violent and disorderly
implementation of the land reform programme, which it blamed for the sharp
reduction in agricultural production.
Concerns about governance and human
rights issues and the continued lack of clarity about property rights have
severely damaged confidence, discouraged investment and promoted capital
flight and emigration, said the fund at the end of the meeting meant to
consider a complaint by the fund's Managing Director regarding calls for
Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the IMF.
The grievance stemmed from
Harare's overdue debt obligations and non-cooperation with the
Contrary to claims by central bank Governor Gideon Gono reported in
the State media that Harare was off the hook, the multilateral lender
was adamant that the country must improve its co-operation with the fund
and adopt a comprehensive policy package aimed at halting the
further deterioration of the socio-economic situation before relations could
Harare was also ordered to increase payments to the
fund. As at the end of June, Zimbabwe, which has been in continuous arrears
to the IMF since February 2001, owes the IMF US$309 million.
resumption of some payments from Zimbabwe -a meagre US$9 million paid so far
since January -and limited improvements in economic policy persuaded the IMF
to postpone the compulsory withdrawal of the southern
However the IMF directors said the resumption of
payments is insufficient to stabilise the country's arrears to the
'Executive directors expressed grave concern over the continued and
sharp decline in economic and social conditions,' read part of the IMF
Although the board's decision does not impose further
sanctions on Zimbabwe, it tests Harare's capability to sort out its economic
mess and its ability to settle overdue financial obligations.
have however ruled out Zimbabwe's chances of reconciling with the IMF in the
'It is shocking that the government of Zimbabwe is being
given a verbal assault by the IMF and yet they are celebrating … the
suspension of Zimbabwe is still there and there are no balance of payments
support yet. The IMF statement is a public admonition of the Zimbabwe
government,' said Tendai Biti, the opposition MDC's secretary for economic
1,4 m Aids orphans by 2010 Aidswatch with Bertha
THE number of children orphaned by HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe is set to
increase by 53,5 percent from 761 000, as of last year, to 1,4 million in
2010, as many HIV-positive parents become ill and die of Aids, according
to projections in the 2004 Children on the Brink' report.
the Brink is a joint report published each year by UNICEF, the United States
Agency for International Development (USaid) and the Joint United Nations
Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids).
The report estimates that the orphan
population in sub-Saharan Africa will increase from 12 million last year to
18 million in the next decade, presenting a percentage increase of about
There were an estimated 1 820 000 Zimbabweans living with HIV last
year and 135 000 Aids deaths among adults in same year while in sub-Saharan
Africa they were about 23 million adults infected by HIV in the same
This year's report, says Southern Africa is the most affected
region in the world where an estimated 12,3 million children have been
orphaned by Aids.
The report notes that the number of children orphaned
by Aids will continue to rise for 'at least another decade' as adults living
with HIV succumb to Aids-related illnesses.
'Sub Saharan Africa is
home to 24 of the 25 countries with the world's highest levels of HIV
prevalence and this is reflected in the rapid rise in the number of orphaned
children,' reads the report.
'Millions of children have been orphaned or
made vulnerable by HIV and Aids. The most affected region is sub Saharan
Africa where an estimated 12,3 million have been orphaned by Aids. This
orphan population will increase in the next decade as HIV positive parents
become ill and die from Aids.'
The 2004 report observes that 'orphaning''
due to HIV/Aids is not the only way that children are affected by HIV and
'Other children made vulnerable by HIV/Aids include those who have
an ill parent, are in poor households that have taken orphans, are
discriminated against because of a family member's HIV status, or have HIV
themselves,' notes the Children on the Brink report.
joined a host of other factors including extreme poverty, conflict and
exploitation to impose additional burdens on society's youngest, most
As mitigation, the report proposes that causes of
vulnerability of children orphaned by Aids be addressed and that there be
reintegration of the child into society through emotional and psychological
'To children and households in communities affected by HIV/Aids
addressing only Aids-related problems and ignoring other causes of
children's vulnerability does not make sense.
target geographic areas seriously affected by HIV/Aids and then support the
residents of these communities in organising to identify and assist the most
vulnerable children and households ...'
The report also says that because
children have lost their primary caregivers, they are more than ever, in need
of care and stability
Zim health sector on brink of total collapse newsfocus By
THE health delivery capacity of public health institutions
has been adversely affected by the poor economic environment and some clinics
and hospitals are now operating without essential drugs and medical
Zimbabwe's public health sector -once the best in sub-Saharan
Africa -is now reeling as a result of neglect and inadequate funding by the
Years of economic turbulence and rampant inflation,
averaging almost 600 percent a year, have left the health sector on its
Contributing to the deteriorating health standards has been the
acute shortage of foreign currency from the late 1990s and the withdrawal
of support by international donors to protest allegations of
maladministration by the government.
Although the foreign exchange
supply situation has improved, the price of medicines and medical supplies
remains highly prohibitive.
Over the years, Zimbabwe has witnessed a
massive brain drain and the health profession has been one of the worst
affected sectors. Recent investigations by The Standard revealed that major
hospitals in the capital city -Harare and Parirenyatwa -are operating below
capacity because of inadequate staff and the shortages of basic drugs and
At Harare Hospital, patients with serious wounds that require
dressing and cleaning at least once a week, were last week being turned away
because the hospital had no bandages.
'I have been told to go back
home because there are no bandages. They have said I should keep this one
clean because it will be a while before they get some more supplies. I am
afraid the wound might develop infection if it is not cleaned and changed
regularly,' said a helpless Paul Sadomba from Warren Park who was injured at
work when a layer of bricks fell on his leg.
Mpilo Central Hospital in
Bulawayo, also a referral hospital, recently suspended major operations such
as those in the caesarian section because there are no anaesthetic drugs and
intravenous fluids. In cases of emergencies, patients are asked to provide
their own intravenous drips.
The fact that major hospitals are suffering
is a major reflection of the general decay in the state of affairs at other
smaller health institutions in remote areas in the country. City council-run
public clinics have also not been spared the rot.
prolonged strike by nurses and doctors, which is now into its third week,
Harare City Council has failed to keep a constant supply of even basic drugs
such as paracetamol and those for tuberculosis and malaria.
clinic in Harare there were no TB drugs and general painkillers when a
Standard news team visited a week ago. Patients were being
given prescriptions to buy the drugs at private pharmacies.
cases TB treatment is administered for free because it is part of the
government's policy to control and eradicate the disease.
are supposed to collect their drugs every week and are not supposed to
abscond treatment for whatever reason. This erratic supply of TB drugs is a
danger to patients,' said a nurse who spoke on condition
Mufakose clinic, also in Harare's high density suburbs,
has been closed for more than two weeks now, as the strike by nurses
Getting Zimbabwe's health sector back on track requires strong
political will, according to medical experts.
'The bottom line is that
there is need for proper management of resources, experienced staff, adequate
remuneration of health personnel to avoid further brain drain,' said Dr Billy
Rigava, chairman of the Zimbabwe Medical Doctors' Association
'I would feel that government has not given the health sector the
importance it deserves,' said Rugava.
' If they had given the health
sector the same priority that they have given to the land reform and giving
land to landless Zimbabweans, then they would not be any problem in the
health sector to talk about,' he said.
MDC to probe Chitungwiza violence By Valentine
THE Movement for Democratic Change has set up a commission to
investigate problems in Chitungwiza in what insiders fear could be a way of
building a case against controversial St Mary's MP, Job Sikhala, ahead of the
2005 general elections.
The commission -which is headed by MDC
legislator Esaph Mdlongwa -is to establish why there has been violence in
Chitungwiza between youths in Zengeza and St Mary's. Sikhala has at times
been at the centre of some of the clashes and, at one point, his house was
Party sources say it is only after the commission has
presented its findings that Sikhala will be vetted by the party's structures
to determine if he can still represent the constituency in the March 2005
The MDC has carried out a confirmation exercise in all
the constituencies that have sitting Members of Parliament except in St
Those MPs who have been confirmed by party structures in
their constituencies will automatically be the MDC's candidates in the
So far five MPs have since failed to garner the two
thirds majority support from the structures that is required. These are Trudy
Stevenson (Harare North), Bennie Tumbare-Mutasa (Seke), Bethel Makwembere
(Mkoba) and Dunmore Makuvaza (Mbare East).
'Those who have failed to
make it in the first phase still have a chance to represent the party when
they contest in the primaries that are going to be held soon. It is an urgent
matter for the party, we need to confirm all the candidates in time so that
they have time to campaign,' said Remus Makuwaza, the party's elections
MDC sources say some party activists were wondering why a
commission had been appointed before the vetting exercise was done in St
'It looks like they (authorities) want to raise as much murk as
possible that will discredit Sikhala. This would certainly be used to
influence party structures when they vet him. It is not surprising the party
superiors regard Sikhala as troublesome,' said a party official who declined
to be named.
Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary general, said the
commission to investigate the violence in Chitungwiza was set up by Gibson
Sibanda, the party's vice president.
'The commission is not
investigating (Job) Sikhala or anyone in particular but as a party we need to
know the causes of the violence in the area and if there is anyone behind it,
that should also be established,' said Ncube.
Ncube said the commission's
report would be used in the selection process in St Mary's.
prudent for us to get the information in the constituency before carrying out
the confirmation exercise there. The commission is going to make
recommendations to the party and efforts would be made to try and reunite all
those who have been fighting,' he said.
The commission is expected to be
through with its report within a week and make recommendations to the party's
Sikhala, however, told The Standard he was not aware of any
commission at work in his constituency or Chitungwiza in general.
don't know of any commission … but what I know is that the party is carrying
out a confirmation exercise in all the 52 constituencies,'
'If the commission that you are talking about is about
solving the problems in Chitungwiza then it is good for the party and my
constituency. Some of these problems should be resolved once and for all,'
said the MP.
Fear as Green Bombers invade State newsrooms By our own
AN atmosphere of fear and trepidation has gripped some State
controlled media organisations around the country amid reports that graduates
of the notorious Border Gezi National training camps have been attached to
some newsrooms ahead of the crucial March Parliamentary elections, The
Standard has established.
Their mandate, according to some journalists
in the State media, will be to monitor the political inclinations of staff
working for government run news organisations, following suspicions in ruling
party circles that a majority of employees at government controlled news
organisations may infact be opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Plans are also afoot, insiders say, to infiltrate
independent newspapers, regarded as anti-establishment by the Zimbabwe
government to monitor their activities.
The graduates are also
expected to act as political commissars of the ruling party at the
work-places and whip media practitioners into line, The Standard was
Informed sources at government run media organisations said the
graduates, who are studying journalism at Harare Polytechnic also underwent
the National Strategic Studies (NSS), a new subject recently introduced
at colleges by the Zanu PF government.
Insiders say the subject is in
favour of Zanu PF and its leadership and also glorifies their role in the
armed liberation struggle.
Some senior journalists working for government
media organisations have vowed to resist attempts to saddle them with the
'If authorities want to flood the newsrooms with those
hoodlums then they can go ahead as we will simply resign,' said senior
Another journalist in Harare yesterday said panic had also set
in after 'suspicious looking' students reported for attachment
'Journalists in most newsrooms are nervous about the presence
of a few shady characters who flooded our newsrooms recently. Some of them
just come to sit and they hardly know how to write a story.
past, editors would discuss with us on the number of students to be absorbed
for attachment but this time, we had an avalanche of people who are said to
be on attachment but because we don't have enough computers and desks, they
just loiter around and get into everybody's way,' said a disgruntled
journalist with the State media.
RBZ pumps $12bn into Zambezi water project Loughty
BULAWAYO -The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has thrown
the Matabeleland Zambezi water project a lifeline by injecting $12 billion
into the scheme, a move that has seen contractors returning to the
construction site, The Standard has established.
Chinese Electrical Machinery and Equipment (CEME), has returned to the site
after abandoning work late last year following government's failure to pay
what it owed the company.
The Chinese company was demanding to be
paid a total of $25 billion for work it would do this year with half of the
amount paid upfront.
However, it is not clear to whom the $12 billion was
loaned since the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) is not permitted to
carry out transactions on the money market since it is not a registered
RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, confirmed this week that the central
bank had released the money and that the Chinese company was already at the
site. 'We have been monitoring the progress of the MZWT and were concerned
with the progress. As a result we have availed $12 billion towards the
commencement of the water project and the Chinese company is already doing
work on the ground,' Gono said.
He, however, said the RBZ was not
taking over the project but was just ensuring that it takes off the ground.
'The RBZ has not taken over but just provided funds to kick-start the
project. The administration and the day to day running of the project is
still under the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust,'Gono said.
not clear whether the money was released to Hope Mount Services, a company
formed by the MZWT to source funds for the project. Gono refused to shed
light on the matter citing client confidentiality.
'Any banker would not
reveal confidential information about the client but all these details will
be announced soon,'Gono said.
Hope Mount Services has failed to raise the
US $50 million that it had promised to secure to kick-start the
The long awaited water project has been on the drawing board for
over 100 years but previous governments had always deferred it due to the
huge costs involved.
Government this year availed only $300 million
towards the pipe-line project which, when completed, will pump water from the
Zambezi River to the arid Matabeleland region. The Standard understands the
money has already been exhausted before work on the project
The water project has been mired in controversy with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change alleging that the government was
using it as an election gimmick to win elusive Matabeleland votes while the
government says it is committed to ending the region's perennial water
problems by implementing the ambitious scheme.
executives in Bulawayo complained to Gono about the escalating crime rate in
the city's central business district with some challenging him to look into
the security issue. They alleged that crime in the city was having an adverse
effect on tourism and investments as thieves and robbers were having a free
rein in the city.
††††† Mau Mau back, says UK probe a hoax ††††† By our
††††† FLAMBOYANT boxing promoter and Zanu PF stalwart, Stalin
Mau Mau is back in Zimbabwe, The Standard has established.
arrival comes hardly two weeks after local and international Press reports
said British police and immigration officers were investigating him in
connection with his businesses in Essex and how he had acquired documents to
stay in the United Kingdom.
††††† The British Daily Telegraph
newspaper reported that Mau Mau's name had cropped up during investigations
of an organisation called Zimbabwe Community in the United
††††† Contacted by The Standard yesterday Mau Mau said he was in
the country to prepare two boxers in his stable for title fights in July and
August in South Africa.
††††† "Misheck Kondwane will fight Antony
Chesa for the Pan African Boxing title on July 30 while Farai Master will
fight for the World Boxing Federation's Inter-Continental title on August 6,"
said the veteran boxing promoter.
††††† He deftly parried questions
about his stint in the UK and circumstances leading to his being placed under
††††† "I returned back home on Tuesday. Nyaya yeku UK
inotoda takagara pasi takatarisana. Otherwise if we talk on the phone, we
might end up misquoting each other and then topedzisira takunetsana." (The UK
issue requires that we discuss face to face to avoid any
††††† Mau Mau said the story concerning his alleged
investigation should not be taken seriously because its co-author, David
Blair, was a discredited journalist who was deported from
††††† Mau Mau reportedly sought sanctuary in the UK in 2002
after be received a drubbing at the hands of the MDC's Tendai Biti in the
2000 parliamentary elections.
International Aids Conference which ended on Friday in Bangkok, Thailand
provided yet another opportunity to the world take stock and point the way
forward on an epidemic which has ravaged this continent in general and
sub-Saharan Africa in particular for decades.
Last month, Zimbabwe held
its own first ever conference on this epidemic in as many years, whose theme
was apt and appropriately titled Taking Stock: Looking to the Future.
Clearly, there is no shortage of passion and dedication of those in the field
including our own Ministry and Health and Child Welfare to tackle this
But despite these concerted efforts to fight HIV/Aids, we do
not seem to be stemming the tide. The incidences of new infections are not
decreasing. Young women in the 15 -24 age range are extremely vulnerable not
to mention the married women category who are at great risk because of the
small house syndrome.
Human nature is human nature everywhere. But in
Africa, things are different. Men in this part of the world tend to run
several women at once. In the west, it is generally one woman at a time.
Therein lies the difference in the manner in which HIV and Aids is spread.
Little wonder therefore that in western countries the rate of new infections
has dropped dramatically.
Consider these facts: Of the more than 38
million people infected with the HIV virus worldwide, about 25 million of
them are in sub-Saharan Africa. The United Nations Development Programme
reports that life expectancy for citizens of eight countries in sub-Saharan
Africa namely Angola, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Mozambique, Sierra
Leone, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe has fallen since 1990 to 40 years or
less due largely to the HIV/Aids pandemic. The fall is as much as 20 years in
some countries -very frightening indeed! And it is now very clear that an
Aids vaccine is still a long to way off.
In Zimbabwe, the epidemic is
on the march. Yes, there is indeed a strong focus on Aids: by the Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare,by non-governmental organisations, by businesses,
citizens and non-citizens alike. Yes, there is growing cooperation and
collaboration, working together to address the HIV/Aids
Although the war on HIV/Aids is being fought on many fronts -
prevention, treatment and care -there is no doubt that this disease has
become the leading killer in this country and elsewhere in Sub-Saharan
Africa. The incredible orphan crisis in this country and elsewhere has to be
seen to be believed. Women and children are at the heart of this HIV/Aids
crisis. We are, indeed, dealing with a humanitarian crisis of enormous
Unlike all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe is
losing out as far as the international partnership against HIV and Aids in
Africa is concerned. The people of Zimbabwe are being punished because of
the misgovernance and wayward behaviour of their political
We are not benefitting from the UN-sponsored global fund that
was established to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Neither are we
included in the 15 target nations of President
Bush's Emergency Plan
for Aids Relief. Countries such as Mozambique with little or no
infrastructure such as laboratories to utilise the fund do know what to do
with the avalanche of funds coming their way.
This is the tragedy of
Zimbabwe. South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique are benefitting
immensely because of their good governance and good human rights records.
these countries are accessing the anti-retroviral drugs and more testing is
taking place because of the funds that are being made available by the
international community, while Zimbabwe is being shunned and
Former President Nelson Mandela's fervent appeal at the 15th
International Aids Conference in Bangkok last Thursday for governments and
businesses to donate generously to the war on HIV/Aids must have done wonders
for his country South Africa -a country with the highest percentage of
people affected with HIV and Aids. This is what happens when you have
political leaders in and out of office who are highly respected and admired
by the international community.
We need cheap generic Aids drugs and
accelerated testing to halt the progression of HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe. But
we cannot hope to make a difference if we are cut off from the global
resource base that other sub-Saharan countries are tapping into because of
the misdemeanors four political leaders.
It is in this context that we
call on the international community to make a clear distinction between the
political leadership of a country and the population of a country. People
cannot be made to suffer for the sins of their leadership. By all means,
punish the leaders but spare the citizens.
We are talking about a global
emergency. And for the most part, leaders are not affected. It is the people
who are devastated by the social and other consequences of HIV and Aids.
of broadcasting in Zimbabwe has taken a serious nose-dive. It is now an
ordeal to listen to any of the local radio stations which play the same
boring music by amarteurish local bands day in and day out. The
radio stations are just like my old CDs; I can't expect anything new from
The person who decreed the 100 % local content is obviously
enjoying watching DSTv because if he was subject to the local content ruling,
he would see sense and drop this ridiculous rule. And if we are so
serious about local content, why do we not extend it to everything
Why not, for instance, have 100 % locally assembled cars so
that everyone, including President Mugabe and the ministers, drive the Mazda
323 etc. This would certainly amount to leading by example.
I am so
sick of the whole charade that I now switch my radio on in the evenings to
listen to Metro FM and Studio 7 on the AM band.
I AM sure
you all know basically what has been circulating in the news media in regard
to Kariba Municipal Council affairs in general, and the councillors and me in
I shall not go into much detail of the allegations that have
been made, suffice to say that my councillors and I have done nothing to be
ashamed of; nothing dishonest and nothing secretive.
last article in the national news media, a team of investigators has been
dispatched to Kariba and, recently, representatives from the ratepayers'
associations, the councillors, my heads of departments and I have been
interviewed. A report will be compiled and presented to the Governor,
While it is not clear why the responsibility for this
urban council has drifted away from the provisions of the Urban Councils Act
and now falls under the Provincial Governor, Mashonaland West, we welcome
the investigation, as it will hopefully unveil the truth with regard to
What the investigation will not reveal though, is
the real reason for the constant attacks by a particular individual using the
national news papers, The Herald and The Sunday Mail, as a platform to launch
Much time and effort has been wasted, many meetings
disrupted and considerable delays to progress inflicted as a direct result of
these attacks. I am no longer prepared to sit back and accept this
In the interest of progress, I owe it to the
people of Kariba to expose the nature of the beast and to urge the news media
to desist from publishing unsubstantiated libelous and defamatory
Samu Mawawo has been involved in Kariba for quite some time but
I have had very little, if anything, to do with him prior to my nomination as
mayoral candidate for the MDC.
Mawawo, together with seven
accomplices, six of whom were said to be members of the Zanu PF ‘Top Six'
from Chinhoyi, arrived at the premises of my former employers looking for me,
apparently to ‘persuade' me to withdraw my nomination.
There they met
my wife who confronted them and resisted their abuse. On their departure my
wife discovered that her cellphone had gone missing. She called the police,
who reacted very swiftly, made follow up efforts and arrested six members of
Mawawo was found in possession of my wife's cellphone. The
others arrested were: Admire Ndlovu, Ellias Saida, Taengwa Kadzanga, Stewart
Torongo and Dominic Chiweshe. The police investigation report is No. CR
It was revealed that the group had been attacking various
other MDC councillor candidates and supporters and had stoned and ‘petrol
bombed' some houses. Incidentally, there was a shortage of petrol at the time
and the ‘bombs' were filled with diesel instead and were not very
The accused were held in remand and attended court on various
occasions before finally being granted bail in early September last year,
after the elections!
Mawawo and his associates had spent about five
weeks in custody, largely because of my wife's response to the intimidatory
attack on her -and the case is still on-going. The charges include theft,
kidnapping, assault, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, damage
to property and various other charges. My wife is a witness against
The accused appear to have been abandoned by their former
associates and they are without even legal representation at their trial
hearings. They appear to have no valid defence against most charges and face
incarceration if convicted.
Mawawo claims to be the chairman of the
Kariba Incorporated Area Residents and Ratepayers' Association
He broke away from the original Kariba Residents and Ratepayers
Association which was dominated by the low density residents, and formed his
association which, by all accounts, was functional at some time prior to my
term of office. His association has been Zanu PF-oriented.
year a new Zanu PF dominated residents and ratepayers' association was formed
and is headed by a Isaac Mbongo, who advised me that the new association had
been formed and was not associated with KIARRA. Two additional MDC, initiated
residents and ratepayers associations have since been formed and are in
association with each other.
We now have five residents and ratepayers'
associations, four of which do not wish to be associated with Mawawo or his
association, which leaves KIARRA on it's own.
At consultative meetings
with residents held in both high density areas, the Zanu PF leadership in
Kariba disowned Mawawo saying, 'we did not send him. He does not report to
us. He is not our representative'.
The two MDC initiated associations do
not believe he has any followers, nor do the rest of the ratepayers. Mawawo
has lodgings here, which is where his wife resides, but it is believed that
he is employed in Karoi and presumably resides there. One wonders why he
should be so interested in the affairs of Kariba.
It is my opinion
that Mawawo has embarked on a personal vendetta against me because of the
part my wife and I play in his very uncertain future.
Zimbabwe now a totalitarian State Sundaytalk with Pius
WHEN Zimbabwe gained its independence from Britain it had as its
head of government, the former guerilla leader, Robert Mugabe, an
avowed Marxist-Leninist. From the word go, he set about creating a
Leninist, totalitarian, one-party State under his party, the Zimbabwe African
National Union (ZANU).
The World Book Encyclopedia describes
totalitarianism as "a form of government in which the State controls all
phases of people's lives".
Totalitarianism allows only one party,
headed by an absolute leader. He maintains his power over the party and the
rest of the people by force and violence. Freedom of religion does not exist.
The State permits only those churches and ministries that co-operate with
The labour unions are outlawed. The ruling party dictates the
country's economic policy. The government strictly controls all means
of communication. It usually abolishes private schools and forces
public schools to teach the party line, or ideas and policies approved by
Communist Russia established the first totalitarian State
in 1917. Other modern totalitarian States included Nazi Germany, from 1933 to
1945 and fascist Italy, from 1925 to 1943.
In order to establish a
totalitarian regime in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe is faithfully following in
the footsteps of Vladimir Lenin. This is despite the common saying that those
who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat its
Russia abandoned as unworkable the political philosophy of the
atheist Lenin who, at one time said, "There are no morals in politics, only
Marxist-Leninism led the Soviet Union to untold human
suffering and economic ruin. Faced with economic collapse, Russia abandoned
Marxism, dismantled the totalitarian machinery and is now building a free
democratic State based on free-enterprise.
In order to achieve this
one party-State, Robert Mugabe violently bludgeoned the only credible
opposition party, the Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union (ZAPU) into submission.
Its leader, Joshua Nkomo was hounded into exile. The notorious Fifth Brigade
was unleashed upon the minority Ndebele, most of whom supported ZAPU.
To avoid further decimation of the Ndebele population,
Joshua Nkomo capitulated and signed the now much celebrated "Unity Accord" to
form Zanu PF. This was touted as unity between ZANU and ZAPU with the PF
standing for patriotic front when, in actual fact, ZAPU was effectively
swallowed by ZANU to establish a one party State.
Britain, the former colonial power, started to fund a land redistribution
programme, as it had promised. This was stopped in 1990 because the aid was
not benefiting the poor, as intended, but government officials and Mugabe's
relatives and friends.
Through corruption and poor governance, the once
robust economy of Zimbabwe started to totter. When they saw that their
war-time comrades were enriching themselves, veterans of the liberation war
vociferously and threateningly demanded a piece of the
Frightened by this turn of events the government dished out to them
billions of dollars which were not budgeted for. The country also embarked on
a costly military adventure in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to prop
up the regime of an unelected dictator, Laurent Kabila, who had promised
untold riches to those who would rescue him from rebel armies. He was
later assassinated by one of his own guards.
Soon the country was
broke and had to print money which was not backed by real wealth. Inflation
started to soar and the common people could no longer afford to buy basic
The people of Zimbabwe desired change. They, therefore,
joined the newly formed opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
their thousands. Facing this challenge, the ruling party crafted a new
constitution which would guarantee its continued stay in power and presented
it to the people. In a referendum, the people, led by the fledgling MDC,
overwhelmingly rejected it.
Zanu PF could brooke no such opposition to
its hegemony. The new party was met with unprecedented persecution. In order
to rally the people against it President Mugabe said it should be crushed
because it, was a puppet of the British who were bent on recolonising
In Zimbabwe land has always been a bone of contention between
whites and blacks.
Through colonisation, the minority whites had
allocated to themselves about 60% of Zimbabwe fertile land and forcibly moved
the majority blacks to poor soils. This imbalance, Zanu PF had ignored for
years. But, because white farmers had backed the new political party, led by
Morgan Tsvangirai, a young trade unionist, the land issue came to the fore.
Whites had to go.
White farms were violently seized from about 4 000
white commercial farmers. These were allocated to Zanu PF heavy weights,
troublesome war veterans and some peasants. White farmers who resisted, even
those who had bought their farms after independence, were imprisoned,
tortured, raped or killed.
The government propaganda machine went into
top gear. The people's champion, Zanu PF, was now taking land from the white
oppressors and giving it to its rightful owners, the landless
This worked very well for Zanu PF for the 2002 Presidential
elections were in the offing. Zanu PF won the election but neutral observers
and the opposition allege that they were rigged.
In view of the
expense of media propaganda and waste of manpower required to obtain a
forgone conclusion in elections, one wonders why the
totalitarian dictatorship bothers with elections at all. My conclusion is
that they hold elections in order to create the illusion of complete support
by the people.
In all totalitarian dictatorships much effort is expended
to appear as the popular and lawful leadership. The results of this procedure
(charade) are not only for home consumption. They provide propaganda abroad
to help maintain the myth of democracy when, infact, Zimbabwe is a
With general elections slated for March 2005,
President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party are pulling all stops to make sure
that they win the elections by hook or crook. Faced with the real possibility
of losing power to the MDC in the year 2000 elections, Zanu PF wooed mostly
rural voters with the so-called land reform programme.
Now that the
land card is played out the indefatigable Zanu PF has found another one. It
is going to use food as part of its campaign strategy in next year's
Zimbabweans and the international donor community were
astounded when the government and President Mugabe proudly announced that the
country was going to reap a bumper harvest. He therefore, told a United
Nations crop assessment mission to stop their work and leave the country. He
said the UN should take their aid elsewhere.
"We are not hungry," said
the President. "Why foist this food upon us."
listened in disbelief. The President was either grossly misinformed or he was
deliberately lying. The later is true for this is a well planned election
tactic to use food as an incentive for people to vote for Zanu PF in the
coming elections. This will also move the prying eyes of the donor community
and the United Nations from observing Zanu PF's underhand
According to donor agencies the country is not going to meet
its food requirements. The reputable German development agency, Friedrick
Ebert Foundation, in a report commissioned two months ago titled Famine
in Zimbabwe, predicted that Zimbabwe would have food shortages of between
600 000 to 900 000 tonnes.
Gift Phiri, writing in the Zimbabwe
Independent on May 21 2002, said according to a statement sent to that paper,
Victor Angelo, UN resident coordinator in Zimbabwe said, "We are concerned
that should a food assistance need be identified later in the year, and were
the government to issue an appeal at that time, a very rapid response may not
THE RESERVE BANK of Zimbabwe has prescribed new conditions that
are aimed at inhibiting borrowers from easily accessing the cheap funds that
are being ditched out under the Productive Sector Facility
Under a new criterion for considering applications for rollover of
existing loans that was circulated to exporters at the end of June, the
central bank said the rollover interest rate for loans approved from July 1
will now be 50% per annum, up from 30%.
The performance variables
for non-exporters to be considered for rollover of loans will be the
potential to create employment by at least 10%, and reduce prices by at least
25% respectively over the last quarter.
For exporters to qualify for this
extension, beneficiaries have to show evidence of confirmed export orders,
actual export performance and a remittance record.
The central bank
expects an increase of at least 20% in exports by the beneficiaries over the
period they are being reviewed.
However, a 25% tax on export proceeds is
militating against the viability of exporters to the extent that some have
suspended exporting citing the non-profitable blend rate, say
'We are operating against an environment where we have lost our
markets and to try to regain them is another problem,' observed Luxon Zembe,
the president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC).
tightening of the lending conditions comes in the wake of reports
that beneficiaries of the funds were abusing the cheap money by investing
and committing the borrowed funds into non-core projects and
Of late, the benchmark industrial index has been bullish
scaling past the 900 000 psychological mark last week, fuelling suggestions
that some of the cheap money was being invested in ZSE stock.
concessional financing scheme that is being disbursed to various productive
sectors and capped at a revolving fund of $1,5 trillion was introduced by the
central bank in 2003.
The main beneficiaries of this facility have been
the manufacturing sector - which chewed up to $683 billion -and agriculture
($522 billion), mining ($115 billion) as well as transport, which has
accounted for $69 billion.
The new capping is meant to balance the need
to stimulate a supply response while at the same time containing the
potential downside of demand-push inflation arising from increased money
The central bank said future disbursements to productive sectors
would be financed from repayments of maturing loans into the fund. The
refunds were due at the end of June.
Other additional conditions are
that non-exporting borrowers should demonstrate that they managed to maintain
at least constant staff levels during the period under review and that there
were no retrenchments.
They are also expected to show that any price
increases were not greater than 42%, which is consistent with inflation
levels during the period January to May 2004.
Borrowers who can
demonstrate scope for price reductions and increase in employment levels will
be given priority.
However, Zembe says the 42% ceiling is an
understatement of the rise in inflation.
'Prices have gone up by more
than 42% given the increasing costs of electricity and rates. That is going
to be restrictive to borrowers in this sector who are also going to be
disadvantaged by the 42%,' observed Zembe, who said access to the cheap funds
needed to be broadened to all economic sectors rather than selected
For exporting borrowers to access funds, the central bank says they
should be exporting at least 50% of output.
Witness Chinyama, an
economic analyst with Kingdom Financial Holdings, says the new conditions -
which he likened to a carrot and stick approach -are intended to generate
more foreign currency.