The Sunday Times, UK
July 1, 2007
Christina Lamb, Bulawayo
ZIMBABWE'S leading cleric has called on Britain to invade the country and
topple President Robert Mugabe. Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo,
warned that millions were facing death from famine, unable to survive amid
inflation believed to have soared to 15,000%.
Mugabe, 83, had proved intransigent despite the "massive risk to life", said
Ncube, the head of Zimbabwe's 1m Catholics. "I think it is justified for
Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe," he said. "We should do it
ourselves but there's too much fear. I'm ready to lead the people, guns
blazing, but the people are not ready."
Some parts of Zimbabwe have seen 95% of crops fail, leaving families with
only two or three weeks' food supply to last a year. Prices in the shops are
more than doubling every week and Christopher Dell, the American ambassador,
predicts that by the end of the year inflation could hit 1.5m%.
Ncube said that far from helping those struggling on less than £1 a week,
Mugabe had just spent £1m on surveillance equipment to monitor phone calls
and e-mails. "How can you expect people to rise up when even our church
services are attended by state intelligence people?
"People in our mission hospitals are dying of malnutrition. We had the best
education in Africa and now our schools are closing. Most people are earning
less than their bus fares. There's no water or power. Is the world just
going to let everything collapse in on us?"
Daily Mail, UK
Tell us who was behind the plot and you go home, Sir Mark Thatcher's friend
By BARBARA JONES† Last updated at 22:44pm on 30th June 2007
A British mercenary accused of a "Dogs of War" plot to take over an oil-rich
African state has been offered a secret deal that could see him released and
reunited with his family.
Former SAS officer Simon Mann faces a life sentence at a brutal prison in
Equatorial Guinea if found guilty of planning to overthrow the country's
But he could return to England to his young wife Amanda and their children,
the youngest of whom he has never seen - if he discloses the names of the
men who, lawyers for the Equatorial Guinea government allege, funded him.
Two years ago Mann's friend, Sir Mark Thatcher, was fined £265,000 but
escaped jail thanks to a plea bargain in which he admitted "unwittingly"
helping bankroll the coup attempt.
The aim was to topple President Obiang, install a puppet leader and control
Africa's third biggest oil producer.
Old Etonian Mann, 53, who has denied any involvement, is in solitary
confinement at the maximum security Chikurubi Prison in Zimbabwe, facing
extradition to Equatorial Guinea.
In correspondence seen by this newspaper, lawyers representing the central
African nation say they will "discontinue" all legal proceedings against him
and withdraw the application to extradite him from Zimbabwe.
The offer includes a suggestion that a neutral third party - possibly the
British Ambassador in Zimbabwe - could hold all information, documents and a
sworn statement from Mann.
He would need to be given agreed guidelines to enable him to judge if the
information measured up to the agreed values.
And Equatorial Guinea's lawyers also acknowledge that the neutral party
would need to hold the information until Mann was safely home in England.
One of the country's legal team said: "Simon Mann has never been our prime
concern. We want to get to those who planned and funded this coup and who
could continue to be a threat to the President."
However, there is a possibility that as he has denied under oath any
involvement in the coup attempt, he could incriminate himself by
co-operating and might end up facing perjury charges. And if he were to
co-operate - but not satisfy President Obiang's lawyers with the
information - it could have a devastating impact on his case.
A source close to Mann said all offers - "no matter how cynical" - have been
put to him and that both their "content and obvious motive" are spelled out
to him by his legal team.
Mann's London-based lawyer Anthony Kerman is unable for legal reasons to
discuss his case in any depth and neither can he acknowledge that an offer
has been made.
He said: "Speaking personally, I can say that if such an offer were to have
been made it would be yet another preposterous act of a criminal regime.
"Such an offer would in reality amount to a threat by Equatorial Guinea to
do its best to extradite Simon to a place where his human rights would be
violated, unless he agreed to incriminate himself and others to the
satisfaction of the ghastly President Obiang and his torturers.
"I do not understand how even Obiang might conceive Simon could contemplate
this when Simon has consistently denied under oath an involvement in any
plot to murder or abduct Obiang."
The offer to free Mann was first raised at a meeting soon after his arrest
in March 2004 when a delegation from Equatorial Guinea told him they would
look favourably at dropping extradition proceedings if he co-operated.
On another occasion an old friend of Mann was persuaded to visit him in
Chikurubi to reiterate the offer.
In May 2006 lawyers from Equatorial Guinea visited Zimbabwe to discuss the
matter with Harare-based solicitor Jonathan Samkange, who was brought in by
Kerman to handle Mann's case locally.
They claim Samkange refused to discuss the matter with his client or even
inform him that Equatorial Guinea representatives were in the country to
open negotiations. Last night Samkange told The Mail on Sunday: "I take my
orders from Anthony Kerman.
"We believe Simon can beat the extradition order in an appeal and think he
should take his chances there rather than negotiate."
Mann's legal team insist he was coerced into making a 'confession' and it
was dictated to him.
In a case with numerous surprising turns, it emerged that Mr Kerman is a
friend of the man accused of instigating the botched coup, and to have been
its major funder. He is multi-millionaire oil dealer Ely Calil.
Kerman first came into Mann's case a few weeks after his arrest. He and
Samkange advised Mann to plead guilty to illegally attempting to buy weapons
and ammunition in Zimbabwe - against the advice of an earlier legal team.
Mann pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to seven years. That was reduced to
three years on appeal.
He chose to do his three years in solitary confinement, wary of threats by
the mercenaries imprisoned. Mann, who is appealing against the extradition
order granted to Equatorial Guinea, fears for his life if he has to go
The alleged plot unravelled when a plane carrying Mann and 69 mercenaries
was seized in Zimbabwe while an advance team was arrested in Guinea.
Mann maintains the team was flying to the Democratic Republic of Congo to
provide security for diamond mines.
† BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
ZANU PF has already started rigging next year's harmonized elections
by denying supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in rural
areas the right to register as voters, the opposition party has said.
The party claimed the Registrar-General's Office had made it a
requirement for villagers to produce proof of residence - a letter from a
chief or a village head -before they can register.
The RG's Office launched the registration exercise on 18 June and
expects it to end on 17 August.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said thousands of their supporters had
been denied registration countrywide.
"In some cases they (officials) demand letters from traditional
leaders, while in others Zanu PF youth militias physically drag our
supporters from registration queues," Chamisa said.
"Mudede (RG Tobaiwa Mudede) is taking instructions from a Zanu PF
Most traditional leaders are known to be staunch Zanu PF activists who
have openly refused to give the letters to suspected supporters of the MDC,
the party claimed.
On several occasions, traditional leaders known to be loyal to the
opposition have had their salaries withdrawn by the government as
In some cases, registration centres were being increased in areas
where Zanu PF membership is predominant, Chamisa said.
Mudede's office yesterday confirmed it now demands villagers produce
proof of residence from traditional leaders before registration.
"Parents, landlords, house owners, village heads etc can write
confirmation letters regarding voters with whom they reside," said Chris
Goredema, Mudede's spokesperson for voter registration.
He said proof of residence was a requirement in terms of sections 23
(4) and 34 (6) of the Constitution and also in accordance with court order
Chamisa said the RG's office, "working in cahoots with Zanu PF
operatives", were turning away youths, telling them the registration
exercise was only for those above 40 years.
Goredema dismissed the accusations, saying his office was registering
all aspiring voters who are 18 years and above, in accordance with the
Chamisa said voter registration must be conducted by a truly
independent electoral body and not the RG's office, which he said was a
major cog in Zanu PF's election rigging process.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) runs polls in the country but
the registration of voters falls under Mudede, who stands accused of rigging
previous elections in favour of President Robert Mugabe, in power for the
past 27 years.
Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira could not be reached for
The MDC claims the police are denying them clearance to hold rallies
in rural areas, demanding that they first get cleared by village heads.
As a result, said MDC spokesperson for Manicaland Pishai Muchauraya,
the party last week failed to hold two major rallies after police denied
He said the police were demanding letters of clearance from village
heads before allowing them to hold rallies.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena denied the police were referring
MDC to chiefs for clearance.
"I don't think there is anything like that happening. If the police
feel that peace and security are threatened, they always resort to the law,"
Under the Public Order and Security Act political parties require
police clearance before holding rallies.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) acting director Gift Mudzonga
said he had just sent a team to check on the voter registration exercise.
"Our guys went out this week and they have not reported back yet. We
can only give an informed comment when we get feedback," he said.
But Zesn has already expressed concern that voter registration was not
adequately publicised and the time spent on each centre was too short to
render the exercise fair.
The SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections
underscore the full participation of citizens in the political process.
"Zesn believes that voter registration should not be a cosmetic
exercise but should be a meaningful and all-inclusive electoral process in
order that it may amply serve its purpose in the conduct of fair elections,"
The network said a situation where the RG's office conducts voter
registration was "undesirable" and a potential source of electoral disputes.
† BY FOSTER DONGOZI
ORIRANDO Manwere, a colleague who relocated from Bulawayo to Harare
recently, told me how he had still not adjusted to drinking Harare water,
which he said was probably not fit for human consumption.
He said he only drank bottled water or boiled the water before
"There is something wrong with Harare water, unlike the water in
Bulawayo where there is a superb purification system," he said.
I forgot about the conversation we had until some concerned
environmental and health activists invited me to Lake Chivero, Harare's main
water supplier, two weeks ago.
The tour involved visits to a number of rivers which feed into the
Towards the end of the tour, we drove into a complex which I assumed
was a sewage treatment plant because of the pungent smell of untreated waste
that hit us as we disembarked from the truck.
"It's smelly but for a sewage treatment complex, it is very† clean," I
said to myself.
Then the shocker.
"Welcome to Marimba Angling Club! We used to hold a lot of fishing
tournaments here until the Harare Commission and then the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority, ZINWA, started pumping raw sewage into Marimba River."
The welcome was made by Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the club.
I was stunned.
He invited us to take a walk towards the banks of the Marimba River,
where it flows straight into Lake Chivero.
Raw untreated sewage was flowing into Lake Chivero, where the capital
city draws its water from.
The water hyacinth weed which thrives on untreated sewage is now
choking the river but cannot hold back the effluent, which includes
industrial waste from Harare's industries from flowing towards Lake Chivero.
Among the deadly industrial toxins flowing into Lake Chivero are lead
and mercury which end up being consumed by Harare residents.
Experts warn that a build-up of mercury and lead in a human body could
result in cancer.
Paddy Buxton, the club manager at Marimba Angling Club, says ZINWA was
discharging effluent into the river and there was an urgent need to stop it.
"This club used to attract a lot of foreign and local tourists in the
past, but since ZINWA started discharging effluent into the river, the
number of visitors has declined. The number of club members has also gone
down because of the overpowering smell of untreated effluent," she said.
"People used to come to the club from all over the world for angling
competitions while others would come to enjoy boating and holiday
facilities, but you obviously cannot do that in a river full of effluent,"
said Buxton who lives at the club and only enjoys fresh air when she drives
into town for fresh supplies.
She said of major concern was the fact that there were fishermen
catching fish in nearby contaminated water where the river flows into the
The fish find their way to Harare where they are sold to fish vendors,
some of whom supply leading restaurants.
The tour then traced the effluent to its source near the Kuwadzana
sewage fields, where ZINWA workers have decided to just dump the effluent
into the river as their treatment equipment has broken down.
Residents who have given up on ever getting quality service from ZINWA
were wading through lakes of sewage which was spilling from one pipe and
flooded roads and paths.
The spokesperson for the Zimbabwe National Parks Authority, which
monitors the area surrounding Lake Chivero, Retired Major Edward Mbewe, said
they were equally concerned about the discharge of effluent into the lake.
"This year's commemorations for World Wetlands Day were held at Lake
Chivero in order to have all stakeholders understand the impact of allowing
effluent to be released into the lake."
Mbewe said they had registered their worries with ZINWA.
"We raised our concerns with them as an authority and they promised to
attend to the problem. But they need money to import spare parts for their
Mbewe said the large fish population in the lake was not safe in the
face of the continued discharge of effluent.
"If this goes on unchecked, we could have a situation where fish could
die in large numbers as they would not be able to breathe in contaminated
Rodrigues said they had sent samples of water taken from different
parts of Marimba River and Lake Chivero to determine the levels of
The results are unlikely to excite smiles of contentment from
Rodrigues or the Marimba Angling Club, or for that matter from Mbewe,
Manwere and the residents of Harare. The fish in Lake Chivero are also
unlikely to be pleased!
A year ago, another sampling had confirmed people's worst fears: the
contamination levels were "unacceptably high".
Something needs to be done - and soon!
† By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - State security agents at Joshua Mqabuko International
Airport last Wednesday briefly detained a South African pastor and
confiscated the passports of five others, a day after they had delivered
sermons strongly condemning the government's human rights record.
Outspoken Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube, who hosted the pastors, said
Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg was detained for two hours, while the
other pastors had their passports briefly seized.
Ncube said the detentions were a demonstration that the government
On Tuesday the pastors had told about 100 people at the church service
that the government was resorting to torture and arbitrary arrests to break
the spirit of its opponents, as the apartheid regime in South Africa tried
to do during its last days.
This was after they listened to testimony by Cleopas Shiri, a Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) activist from Gweru, who was tortured and left
for dead by suspected state agents.
Shiri was bundled into a car by four men as he arrived at his house on
18 May in the evening. After enduring several torture sessions with electric
gadgets and wet sand bags, he was dumped unconscious 50km outside Gweru.
They accused him of being a leader of the so-called Democratic
Resistance Committee which police blamed for a spate of petrol bombings in
He spent almost a month recuperating at a private hospital in Bulawayo
and is yet to go back to work as he still walks with a heavy limp.
Dowling said Christians in South Africa were concerned about
escalating political repression in Zimbabwe and were prepared to support
"They are using torture to crush the spirit of the people so that the
government stays in power.
"Just as God was not on the side of the apartheid regime, he is not on
this regime's side and it will fail."
† BY OUR STAFF
OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday told party provincial
leaders he was against "elitist pacts" with a rival faction of the MDC which
he said would not guarantee victory against President Robert Mugabe.
He warned Mugabe had won in the past when the party was united and
could still manipulate the elections, even if they were united.
What was important, Tsvangirai said, was unity under the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign in fighting for a level political playing field and thereafter
anyone could contest any position they wanted.
Tsvangirai, who is facing a $200 million lawsuit from members of the
Arthur Mutambara faction, dwelt at length with the contentious subject of
unity within the split opposition yesterday at Dombotombo in Marondera,
where he addressed provincial leaders.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, later told The Standard five
armed men, driving a Toyota sedan, had chased them from near Ruwa where
their convoy had stopped. They identified Tsvangirai by name and ordered the
MDC to drive away. But they followed them into Harare, without further
† BY NDAMU SANDU
THIRTY-year-old Clemence Munda will curse the day the government
imposed price controls on selected commodities: they have now disappeared
from shop shelves.
Munda, employed by a security firm, at first thought the government
had given him some relief by increasing the tax-free threshold and last week
ordering producers, retailers and wholesalers to slash prices of many
commodities by half and revert to the 18 June prices.
In addition, the government also announced an increase in the tax-free
threshold to $1.5 million from $100 000.
But Munda is still to enjoy the benefits of this State generosity as
most products have suddenly become scarce. "I can't find bread on the
shelves, which means that I have to pay more for it on the streets," he
said, gazing forlornly at an empty shelf in a supermarket.
"My worries are that there would be shortages which will make it
difficult for low-income earners to survive."
Clemence earns $1.5 million a month. He supplements his income by
selling cigarettes outside the premises he guards. To buy groceries for his
family's needs, he says he needs to spend up to $2 million a month. But the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says that an average family of six requires
$5.5 million to survive - a figure beyond the means of many families.
Analysts say while an increase in the tax-free threshold would give
some workers relief, the slashing of prices was a populist measure likely to
boomerang on the intended beneficiaries.
"If you are cutting the price of a finished product, without looking
at the cost analysis, then you are not serious," said economic analyst Dr
"The government is so desperate it will hang on to anything if it
thinks it will make it popular with the masses. The so-called rough game
will bring more misery to the intended beneficiaries. Workers will lose
their jobs while consumers will lose the products."
Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe agrees: "As the
situation becomes increasingly difficult, rationality is thrown out of the
He says President Robert Mugabe's threats of company takeovers would
remain just that - threats. "It's one thing to go around taking over farms,
but taking over modern businesses is not as easy as that," Hawkins said.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) responded with what
appeared to be quiet diplomacy to the government threats.
"CZI has resolved that manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers should
do their utmost to ensure that they continue providing goods and services,"
it said in a statement.
"We urge maximum restraint and advise that pricing decisions are
guided by the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation and
the National Income and Pricing Commission."
It said the CZI leadership was engaging the Cabinet Taskforce on Price
Monitoring and Stabilisation. "The main reason is we want the taskforce to
be fully appraised on the matters on the ground regarding the causes of
Last week, the CZI estimated the manufacturing sector's productivity
to have declined by seven percent last year, compared with 3.2% the previous
year. The CZI said capacity utilisation had declined in the period under
review to 33.8% compared with 35.8% in the previous year.
The government will introduce subsidies to cushion manufacturers,
wholesalers and retailers, a measure analysts predict will be inflationary.
In its input to the Fiscal Policy Review last year, the CZI said
Zimbabwe had lost a staggering $124.9 trillion to maintain subsidies.
A subsidy is generally a monetary grant given by a government to lower
the price faced by producers or consumers of goods, generally because it is
considered to be in the public interest.
The CZI said that beneficiaries of these subsidies were not vulnerable
groups but speculators and middlemen.
For Munda, hopes of buying a 2-litre bottle of orange crush at $120
000 from $400 000, and bread whose price was more than halved to $22 000,
have become a mirage.
The only thing whose price was reduced and was still available was
beer. "Unfortunately, I don't take alcohol. I could have drowned my
sorrows," Munda said.
Like Simba Makoni's "Beer and Bicycle Budget in 2000", the slashing of
beer prices to $30 000 a pint from $60 000 has given beer guzzlers an air
ticket to Wonderland - for a little while.
† By Our Staff
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce has said the government's
recent arbitrary price cuts were "retrogressive" and undermined the
confidence and trust required for the Social Contract to work.
ZNCC president, Marah Hativagone told The Standard that companies were
in a "deep economic crisis" because of exchange rate imbalances.
There are three exchange rates against the US dollar: $250, $15 000
and $140 000 on the parallel market.
"The price slashes will result in shortages of basic commodities, as
business will choose to keep their products rather than sell them as this
will be unviable. When we signed the Social Contract's Protocols on Prices
and Incomes it was stated that the government's obligation is to put in
place a measure that will ensure the availability of foreign currency
through the right channels," she said. "The government, according to the
protocols, should have done that by 7 June 2007 but to date they have not
In addition, she said, many businesses were using replacement value
based on the parallel market rate from where most businesses are getting
Hativagone said the ZNCC was worried by the delays in the
implementation of their recommendations to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) which is currently spearheading the economic turnaround.
She said while they had put forward recommendations, the monetary
authorities had always implemented them at a later date when damage would
have been inflicted on the economy and business.
But Hativagone urged business to comply with the government orders to
reduce prices by 50% while engaging in talks at the same time.
The social contract concept has worked in other countries such as
Slovenia and Ireland, among others but in Zimbabwe it is likely to fail as
the parties are not in agreement.
Recently the social partners - business, government and labour -
gathered to set up a full-time secretariat for the contract, but last week a
cabinet taskforce was hastily put in place without the knowledge of the
Its mandate was to find ways to slash prices of commodities which shot
through the roof during the past two weeks.
† BY OUR STAFF
HIGH Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu has reserved judgement in a
matter in which the Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers' Association
(CHIRRA) is seeking an order to stop the council from effecting the proposed
2007 Supplementary Budget.
CHIRRA took the Chitungwiza Municipality and the Minister of local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatious Chombo to court
over the proposed supplementary budget saying council was in contempt of
Early this year Chitungwiza residents made a court challenge at the
High Court (Case No. HC 645/07), after the municipality effected tariff
increases and started implementing them despite their objections.
CHIRRA chairperson Arthur Taderera through the association's lawyer
Wantson Chagwiza made an urgent High Court chamber application recently
challenging the legality of the Chitungwiza Municipality's decision to
propose asupplementary budget when the court was yet to make a determination
on the main budget.
Taderera said the respondent's actions "are legally and procedurally
incorrect" in that the Municipality had effected tariff increases in
contravention of the law. The challenge seeks to bar the Chitungwiza
Municipality from preparing the proposed 2007 supplementary budget, until a
final order is made on the legality of the main 2007 financial budget.
Taderera, in his founding affidavit, said the municipality on 28 and
29 May 2007 advertised the proposed supplementary budget in spite of the
pending challenge at the High Court.
"The 1st respondent (Chitungwiza Municipality) is now proposing a
supplementary budget to the one which is a subject of contention in this
Honourable Court," Taderera said. "Once a matter has been placed before this
Honourable Court for determination it becomes sub-judice and no further
actions should be taken by the parties concerned until the case is
He said the residents and ratepayers were vehemently opposed to both
the 2007 budget and the supplementary budget.
"The 1st respondent has been trying by all means to prevent the
residents and ratepayers from lodging their objections by refusing to accept
the said objections," wrote Taderera.
† By Tapiwa
STUDENTS at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) are paying dearly for the
two-month lecturers' strike: they have to pay an extra $1 million for the
extension of the semester to compensate for lost lessons.
Students from the faculties of Arts, Social Sciences, Veterinary
Science, Commerce and Sciences at UZ have been affected by the lecturers'
strike that started in February.
Their semester which should have ended at the beginning of last month
(June) at the UZ has been extended by seven weeks to 27 July.
The UZ Students' Executive Council (SEC) president, Lovemore
Chinoputsa, said they had filed a High Court Order compelling the university
to stop demanding the top-up fees as well as to stop the eviction of
students who have not paid the fees.
"We cannot be held responsible for the administration's incompetence
and failure to end the semester," he said.
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) president, Promise
Mkwananzi, said the students were paying for the government's incompetence.
"On several times, we warned that the government should address the
plight of lecturers in order to avert strikes but as usual they ignored us,"
UZ lecturer and political analyst Eldred Masunungure said the students
were caught in the crossfire between the staff and the employer.
"The university has run out of financial resources to extend the
semester but who should bear the brunt? This is the issue in contention," he
"I sympathise with the students because it was not their fault that
the semester was extended," Masunungure said.
But National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students,
also affected by the strikes, will not pay anything.
NUST director of information and public relations Felix Moyo, said the
examinations were only delayed by two weeks.
"There was a slight confusion in January at the beginning of the
semester and we started two weeks later than the scheduled date so we had to
compensate," he said.
Moyo said then that the students had not paid any extra money for the
The Midlands State University semester was not extended and according
to their website they closed last week in line with their timetable.
The acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary
Education, Martha Muguti, refused to comment directing all the questions to
the permanent secretary, Washington Mbizvo, who was said to be out of the
Since the beginning of the year in February, university lecturers have
been engaged in a bitter row with the government over salaries. For several
weeks they refused to work, seriously affecting studies.
Meanwhile Whitlow Mugwigi, the Students' Representative Council
President for Masvingo State University is in a critical condition after
being severely assaulted by security personnel at the campus. He is
receiving treatment at Masvingo General Hospital where he has been admitted.
Edison Hlatshwayo, the Secretary General of the students' union was
also assaulted by the security personnel; however, he escaped serious
The two were assaulted in an examination room at the university after
authorities accused them of flouting standing regulations on suspended
students - which state that a suspended student is not allowed anywhere on
the campus or the vicinity of the campus.
The two had hoped to obtain a High Court order which would have
enabled them to write their examinations but failed.
† By Caiphas Chimhete
FORMER Manicaland area prosecutor Levison Chikafu has filed a notice
to sue Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri for $5 billion following his recent "unlawful arrest and
detention" for more than 100 hours.
In court papers dated 27 June, Chikafu also intends to sue Assistant
Commissioner Musarashana Mabunda, Superintendent Phillip Ncube,
Superintendent Dhliwayo, Sergeant Mushwete, Sergeant Chivhuro and Sergeant
Trust Maanda of Henning Lock legal practitioners served the notice on
behalf of Chikafu, who is facing charges of corruption and fraud.
Chikafu was detained by the police from the 19 to 24 April when he was
taken to court and later released on bail.
Maanda said Chikafu was detained for about 120 hours, beyond the
statutory 48 hours within which a detained suspect should be brought before
"As a result of the unlawful detention and arrest our client suffered
damages in the sum of $5 billion. It is our client's intention to sue for
the damages aforesaid and claim them with costs from you and the police
officers aforesaid jointly and severally the one paying the others to be
absolved," said Maanda in the court papers.
On 19 April, Chikafu, accompanied by his lawyer, Chris Ndlovu,
presented himself to the police on learning they were looking for him.
Later that day, he was released as the police had decided to proceed
by way of summons.
But on the same day, the police officers, on instructions from Ncube,
re-arrested Chikafu, although he had been released on summons, Maanda said.
When Ndlovu advised Ncube that Chikafu could not be rearrested on the
same charge he had been released on, Ncube said he was acting under
"Having been released on summons our client could not be lawfully
arrested again on the same charges, especially where there was no indication
by our client that he was taking steps to flee or abscond," Maanda said.
Police spokesperson superintendent Andrew Phiri said he was unaware of
the impending lawsuit.
Meanwhile Chikafu, who is out of custody on $500 000 bail, has
requested that he be tried in Harare, alleging political interference in
The case is set to be heard on 10 July in Harare.
"I want it to be heard outside the jurisdiction of Manicaland province
because there is too much political interference there. It can't be a fair
trail," said Chikafu.
The State is alleging that Chikafu destroyed court records and enabled
undeserving suspects to obtain bail.
It also alleges that Chikafu and a prison officer, Wilson Sengu,
solicited money from two murder suspects, Terrence Katsidzira and Richard
Muparutsa, with promises that he would facilitate bail for them.
Chikafu has denied all the charges, but ruffled feathers when he
charged Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick
Chinamasa with attempting to defeat the course of justice. Chinamasa was
accused of attempting to put pressure on a key witness in a case against the
Minister of State for Security, Didymus Mutasa.
Chikafu took up the case after other prosecutors recused themselves,
fearing to prosecute Chinamasa, effectively their boss.
Chinamasa was subsequently acquitted by the court.
Chikafu also dominated the headlines when he pushed the police to
arrest Central Intelligence Organisation agent, Joseph Mwale, for allegedly
petrol-bombing a vehicle carrying two opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party activists, Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya, in the run-up
to the 2000 general election. Mwale has never faced trial amid reports top
politicians have shielded him from justice.
† BY OUR STAFF
REPRESENTATIVES of civic society organisations have said talks between
the government and the opposition party, mediated by South African President
Thabo Mbeki, were "a sheer waste of time".
They were pessimistic over government efforts to allow a level playing
field in next year's harmonized elections.
The representatives spoke during a workshop organised by the Crisis
Coalition of Zimbabwe last week.
They slammed Zanu PF, claiming the talks and proposed amendments to
the Constitution were designed to divert the people's attention from their
misery, resulting from bad governance.
The activists called for opposition parties to boycott next year's
elections, unless a new constitution allowing for a level electoral playing
field was put in place before the polls.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Masvingo regional chairperson
Ray Muzenda said the talks and the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 18
were a device for Zanu PF to buy time as the elections drew nearer.
"Come election time and Mbeki will be dumped. Zanu PF will never
listen to Mbeki," Muzenda said.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, a Crisis Coalition Advocacy officer, said
participating in next year's elections under the current electoral laws
would be a waste of time because Zanu PF would emerge the victors.
"The results of the elections are predetermined, given the current
electoral laws that can be manipulated by the ruling party. There is no use
for any opposition to take part in the elections since the winner is already
known. A new constitution should be a priority if the elections are going to
be free and fair," Ruhanya said.
He said the ruling party had been using the same constitution to "rig
elections" since it came into power in 1980 and would do the same next year.
President Robert Mugabe will seek re-election next year, but has ruled
out the possibility of a new constitution.
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution will allow for harmonized
presidential and parliamentary polls for an enlarged parliament.
Zanu PF is being represented by justice minister Patrick Chinamasa,
and labour minister Nicholas Goche, while the front-men for the two MDC
factions are Tendai Biti (Tsvangirai) and Welshman Ncube (Mutambara).
† By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - Zanu PF founding member, Enos Nkala, has joined the newly
formed Patriotic Union of Matabeleland (PUMA), which is seeking greater
autonomy for the region.
The disclosure followed a meeting of "senior citizens" organised by
PUMA at the former minister's home last weekend where it was resolved that a
strong delegation will soon be sent to Harare to seek audience with
President Robert Mugabe.
The delegation is expected to present grievances that include concerns
about the "marginalisation" of the region and the existence of a tribal
document known as the 1979 Grand Plan which they say is linked to Zanu PF
Zanu PF has disowned the document, which is also circulating on the
Zapu Federal Party leader, Paul Siwela, was in 2002 arrested for
discussing the document, which advocates for the economic marginalisation of
people of Ndebele origin, at a public meeting.
Nkala, a long-time Mugabe confidant, resigned from government after he
was implicated in the Willowgate scandal in 1989.
"I am a card-carrying PUMA member and at my age I cannot seek any
leadership role," Nkala said. "I thought Mugabe could be helped and that is
why I agreed to his meetings but he cannot be rehabilitated."
PUMA secretary general, Pinos Darlington Ncube, said Nkala was on the
advisory board of the party.
"Senior citizens from all parts of Matabeleland and Midlands were at
Nkala's house on Sunday and we discussed a number of issues affecting the
region," Ncube said. "We agreed that our problem lies in the system of
governance and that there is a need for devolution of power to provinces.
"Of major concern was the 1979 Grand Plan tribal document, which we
believe is the root cause of all the problems in the region because what it
advocates for is happening on the ground."
He said a copy of the document would be forwarded to Mugabe before the
In a separate interview, Nkala said he was prepared to tackle Mugabe
because he had since realised that "he is a treacherous man".
"I know Mugabe better than anyone, "Nkala said. "We were together in
detention for 10 years as well as in the struggle and government and
therefore he is not a stranger to me."
"If he wants to do anything to me, I am ready for him." Zanu was
formed at Nkala's house in Harare in August 1963.
Turning to the ongoing peace talks between Zanu PF and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Nkala said a settlement was unlikely because Mugabe
was not prepared to relinquish power.
"I will be pleasantly surprised if (South African) President Thabo
Mbeki pulls out any concession from that treacherous man," he said.
Zanu PF and MDC delegations are engaged in peace talks in Pretoria,
South Africa under Mbeki's supervision. Before the talks even started there
were reports that Mugabe had set tough conditions for the opposition,
including demands that they must recognise his controversial reelection in
"He is a man who has committed too many crimes against his people and
he knows what happened to Charles Taylor," Nkala said.
Nkala resigned from government and the Zanu PF politburo where he had
been secretary for finance for 30 years.
† By Bertha Shoko
Zimbabwe last week joined the international community in commemorating
the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is
celebrated on 26 June every year.
Commemorations for this day were initiated in 1998 at the United
Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem after
member-states decided to set aside this day to step up efforts to fight drug
abuse and trafficking.
This, year, as part of the commemorative activities in Zimbabwe, the
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP) set up a tent in First Street (between Jason Moyo and George Silundika
Avenues) where information on drug abuse and illicit trafficking was
distributed to the general public. There were also displays of some of the
most common illicit drugs.
Health officials told Standardhealth that the most commonly abused
drug is said to be marijuana or cannabis (mbanje).
Although drugs such as cocaine and heroin are said to be now available
in the country they are less abused because of their high price.
UNIC information officer, Tafadzwa Mumba saiddrug abuse was a global
phenomenon that affected almost every country differently.
"Although its extent and characteristics differ from region to region,
drug abuse trends around the world, especially among youth, have started to
converge over the last few decades," said Mumba in a statement.
"The most widely consumed drug worldwide is cannabis. Three-quarters
of all countries report abuse of heroin and two-thirds report abuse of
cocaine. "Drug-related problems include increased rates of crime and
violence, susceptibility to HIV/Aids and hepatitis, demand for treatment and
emergency room visits and a breakdown in social behaviour."
In his statement to mark drug abuse day the UN secretary-general Ban
Ki-Moon said drug abuse was a problem than could be prevented, treated and
He said: "While efforts must be stepped up to reduce supply - by
helping growers of illicit crops find viable licit alternatives, and
ensuring that law enforcement agencies continue their good work in seizing
drugs - the greatest challenge in global drug control is reducing demand.
With less demand, there would be less need for supply, and fewer incentives
for criminals to traffic drugs.
"Combating drug abuse is a collective effort. It requires political
leadership and sufficient resources - particularly for more and better
treatment facilities. It requires the engagement of parents and teachers as
well as health care and social workers. It requires the media and criminal
justice officials to play their part."
† BY OUR STAFF
THE government should concentrate on resolving the country's political
crisis in order to attract investment, instead of expending its energy on
crafting draconian laws that will only throw the country into further
economic turmoil, top Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials have
The government has indicated its determination to bulldoze the
controversial, populist Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill into law within
the next month.
The MDC's secretary for economic affairs, Mufandaidza Hove last week
said the government should instead strive to stabilise the political
environment which has thrown the nation into the current economic meltdown.
"They (government) continue to sing that Zimbabweans have the capacity
to run the economy - but that is not the issue," he said. "Indeed, our
people are running companies abroad; their capacity is unquestionable.
"The issue is the prevailing political crisis which makes the economic
environment difficult. That is why our businesspeople are not here in the
first place. The economic environment has to be stabilised but this can only
be possible after the political crisis has been addressed.
"The government must commit itself to respecting such things as the
rule of law, property rights and political legitimacy to attract sound
His call came shortly after President Robert Mugabe had announced his
government would go ahead with its indigenisation plans, in spite of
widespread criticism at home and abroad.
Though the new law, the government says it intends to economically
empower indigenous black Zimbabweans through forcibly seizing at least 51%
shareholding from all foreign owned companies through the Indigenisation and
Empowerment Bill expected to be passed into law soon.
Speaking at the burial of Brigadier-General Armstrong Gunda last
Wednesday, Mugabe repeated his government's threats to seize all
foreign-owned companies, including mines. He accused some of the owners of
such enterprises of economic sabotage and hiking prices as part of an
alleged campaign to oust his government.
He said: "We will seize the mines . . . we will nationalise them if
they continue with the dirty tricks. All companies - we will take them over
if they continue with their dirty game. Be warned. We will be equal to the
challenge. We are also capable of playing the rough game."
Economists have warned that the planned seizure of companies could
deepen the country's economic crisis, scaring away potential foreign
Among other reasons for anxiety, economists fear the move could lead
to the further deterioration of the productive sector while promoting the
proliferation of substandard products.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the plan would see government
cronies looting companies, as they did with the farms under the 2000 land
"Mugabe's government has bastardised the good idea of indigenisation
by confusing it with Zanu-Pf patronage," he said. "In fact, they don't
understand the meaning of indigenisation. Their warped thinking would
translate into asset-stripping in the good name of indigenisation.
"History has shown us that only Zanu-Pf cronies benefit from whatever
indigenisation plan is implemented, yet the idea should not be used as a
tool to handicap investment."
He said government's indigenisation laws had always been marred by a
lack of transparency.
"Land redistribution came in the good name of indigenisation but not
every Zimbabwean benefited. The same will happen with the current plan.
"As it is right now, they (government) are also going ahead with the
snooping (Interception of Communications) Bill which will badly affect
e-commerce. All these laws are an antithesis to what we should be doing. We
should be concentrating on resolving the prevailing political and economic
crises," he said.
Chamisa dismissed the laws as primitive.
† BY JENNIFER DUBE
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is struggling to pay out more than US$17
million due to mining companies because of a serious foreign currency
crunch, it emerged last week.
In a statement accompanying mineral production data for May, the
Chamber of Mines said gold producers, for example, had still not been paid
since last November.
But the producers continued to deliver gold to the RBZ's subsidiary,
Fidelity Printers and Refiners on the strength of assurances by the central
bank of prompt payments for deliveries.
"These promises have not been honoured," the chamber said last week.
"Most gold producers are operating at below 20 percent capacity, with some
having suspended operations completely.
"Although some payments were made in June, the amounts were small, in
the region of US$50 000 per producer for a few producers."
The chamber said some external creditors had resorted to charging
interest on outstanding debts, principally those owed for goods delivered,
while others are insisting on cash before delivery. "This has eroded all the
goodwill created over the years between gold producers and external
The chamber called for an upward review of the gold support price,
arguing that the $35 000 per gram support price gazetted by the RBZ governor
Gideon Gono in April had now lost its value.
Paying the price in Zimdollars made it insufficient to even cover
"The hyperinflation currently prevailing has pushed operating costs to
levels where the price needs a huge adjustment, considering that in the
absence of US$ payment, gold producers are forced to buy all inputs on the
local market (if they are available).
"The support price, at US$650/oz international gold price, translates
to US$1:Z$16 747.77 (and) the gap between the revenue rate of exchange and
that for costs has become too wide to be managed through borrowings or
support from principals. If a support price is not adjusted within days, the
collapse of the gold sector is highly likely,"
The chamber said the mining industry was facing a plethora of other
problems, among them the uncertainty of power supply by the government-run
power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).
"Some mines are experiencing upwards of 12 hours of daily
interruptions. Besides losing production time, there are issues of damage to
equipment such as electric motors and gear boxes. Some mines have resorted
to working whenever power is available.
Power had gone up by 100 percent in June, and there was the matter of
55 percent month on month inflation in April. For May, it was likely to be
much higher while labour went up by 25 percent in May and another 20 percent
in June, which was likely to increase significantly in July.
"Spares and chemicals have shot through the roof. Some commodities
have increased by as much as 818 percent in less than two months yet the
support price remains static, as if the relevant authorities are not aware
of the movement in input costs."
The chamber said for other mineral producers, shortages of foreign
currency in the official system had meant they were forced to deal with the
parallel market to stay in business.
The central bank's failure to honour its promise of adjusting the
acceleration factor regularly had exposed exporters to viability challenges
arising from high input cost movements.
While chamber figures show that 3,631.52 kgs of gold were produced in
May, the chamber projected 2007 volume will total 8,715.66kg, which is a
huge decline from last year's 11 tonnes.
† By Raphael Khumalo, recently in
THE German Chancellor is expected to visit four African countries in
October this year under a new initiative that marks scaling up German
interest in issues on the continent, ahead of the Africa -European Union
Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the presidency of the G8
group of developed countries is due to visit Ghana, South Africa and
Tanzania and Namibia - two of its former colonies - in a bid to intensify
dialogue between the industrialised countries and African nations.
The visit will also be an opportunity for the German Chancellor to
demonstrate the critical importance and the prominence her country's foreign
policy attaches to issues of Africa.
The visit follows the G8's Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, in June.
In Germany and other G8 countries there is little appreciation of what
Africa is about and why it is poor as it is often depicted in terms of Aids
statistics and /or people dying of wars and diseases.
Africa's cause is not helped by anti-poverty activists who continue to
portray the continent as AIDS-infested.
It was in this context that Germany, as host of this year's G8 Summit
wanted to pioneer a new approach - which is different from all others - on
the G8's relations with Africa.
After meeting members of the Africa Partnership Forum comprising
leaders of Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia and
Nigeria represented by Presidents Hosni Mubarak, Abdelaziz Bouteflika,
Abdoulaye Wade, John Kufuor, Thabo Mbeki, Meles Zenawi, and General Olusegun
Obasanjo respectively a decision was taken to place African issues more
prominently on the agenda.
Building on meetings with African finance ministers, Germany sought to
encourage western businesses to invest in Africa as one of the pillars of
encouraging economic development and reverse the characterisation of the
continent that portrays it as not just home to poor starving Africans.
This new approach to G8-Africa relations all seemed to fit in with the
theme of the gathering - Growth and Responsibility.
For Africa the theme meant that with good governance, rule of law, a
concerted fight against corruption it could count on the support of the
world's industrialised nations for support in pursuing growth policies in
foreign direct investment, institutional capacity building, the fight
against HIV and AIDS,building health systems and innovation among others.
Africa can also count on the leading industrialised nations for
support in building its own institutions such as NEPAD, SADC, ECOWAS, Africa
Peer Review Mechanism and Africa Stabilisation Force.
But responsibility for African governments involves caring for those
affected and infected by HIV and AIDS, reducing new infections through well
supported health institutions, increasing agricultural productivity,
retaining skilled human resources, protecting property rights and ensuring
accountability of donor
For both the G8 countries and Africa, the success or failure of the
summit will be judged by whether or not the two parties meet their
obligations. Africa will be expecting the leading industrialised nations to
comply with the ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) commitments on debt
relief and trade.
African nations will no doubt count on the huge non-governmental (NGO)
lobby consisting of Oxfam, Global Call for Action Against Poverty, Medecins
Sans Frontieres, Care, The Global Fund and numerous others who were
represented throughout the summit, with some calling for reparations
and referring to the theme colloquially as Growth for the G8 members and
responsibility for Africa.
The G8 members will however be expecting that countries representing
Africa will honour their commitments by ensuring democratic elections, by
the commitment of African countries to solving conflicts such as the ones in
Sudan and Zimbabwe, and transparent and efficient use of external funds
including overseas development aid.
African countries will be expected to increase the number of countries
undergoing peer review as laid out in the African Peer Review Mechanism and
the African Charter for Human and People's Rights.
The summit acknowledged that already some 26 countries have signed up
whilst only three have been reviewed.
The G8 is composed of eight leading industrialised nations - Canada,
Japan, Italy, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and the United States of
America and is represented at the level of head of state through annual
Leaders of these industrialised nations meet annually to discuss the
two pillars affecting the world which are the world itself and Africa.
Issues affecting the world that came under the spotlight are,
alleviating global economic disparities, investment and avoiding global
protectionism whilst levelling the playing field, innovation and protection
of property rights while benefiting both poor and rich nations.
Climate change and energy, including reduction of carbon emission
levels and getting consensus on the Kyoto Protocol, sustainable use and
extraction of natural resources, formed part of the discussions. There was
some input on the
World Trade Organisation, including mechanisms of speeding up and
concluding of Doha trade talks, which are critical for the emerging markets.
The G8 expressed its commitment to the Gleneagles summit on
multilateral debt relief as a follow up to the G8 Africa Action Plan passed
in Canada in 2002, which forms the framework for G8 support.
Practical measures agreed to in the Summit Declaration on Africa
include support for financial reforms in African states. These reforms
include the fight against corruption.
Capacity development in administration and measures to address loss of
skilled personnel from Africa as well as their return, form part of the
measures agreed on.
The G8 expressed commitment to support and encourage as well as reward
countries taking part in processes started by Africans themselves including
the African Peer Review Mechanism as well as the NEPAD process.
This support would also extend to regional organization charged with
integration and co-ordination such as SADC, ECOWAS and many others.
Investment climate was proposed to include ensuring that World Bank
finance for Africa works, based on lessons learnt in Asia, encourage the
setting up of a regional micro-finance fund as well as other measures to
insure against financial fluctuations, and World Bank programmes for women.
For Africa, the G8 summit marked a major break with the past in that
for the first time the leading nations made it clear that while they are
committed to providing more funds these will be given to countries where
there is positive, constructive change and where conditions for the
effective use of those funds exists.
This is a major departure from Gleneagles where leaders simply
committed themselves to doubling the amount of aid by 2010.
† By our correspondent
HOTELIERS, farmers and residents in the Bvumba area outside Mutare are
becoming increasingly angry at the frequency of the load-shedding affecting
their area, described as "excessive and unfair."
The issue has been taken up with the electricity authorities but to
date there has been no let-up in the daily power cuts being imposed on the
area. They say that the relentless shortage of power is affecting business
and making the Bvumba area uncompetitive in business terms.
Among the most vocal proponents of a more equitable load-shedding is
Gordon Addams, executive chairman of Inns of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Council
for Tourism chairman for the Eastern Highlands.
Confirming the overwhelming regularity of the power cuts, he said: "We
are disappointed that the power cuts for our area go way beyond that which
had been advertised and we are particularly keen to know why this area
receives much more load-shedding than any other in the country."
It has been estimated by some residents of the area that during June
there were more hours without power than with power, with one period of
load-shedding for most of the day for four days in succession.
Addams said visitors to the area were now starting to look to other
areas of the country, and further afield, for their holidays, as they did
not wish to spend long periods of time in the Bvumba with no power.
"We are worried that this area will become devoid of visitors because
of this problem and we call on the authorities to take immediate steps to
implement a fair and equitable load shedding schedule," he said.
"I have been asked by a number of businesspeople and local residents
to lobby for this - not only for the tourism sector, which has been badly
affected, but for all local businesses and homes. My principal concern, of
course, is for hotels and other tourism operations in the Bvumba but it does
not serve tourism well if the overall residential and business
infrastructure is hampered and perhaps made redundant."
Addams said special privileges were not what was being sought, but a
reasonable load-shedding programme that is spread evenly across Zimbabwe so
that no area, group of people or economic activity is made to carry an
The government never learns. Ever since 1998/1999 the government's
obsession with controlling the price of fuel has failed dismally to ensure
that fuel is readily available, while its ill-thought out take over of
commercial farms has not guaranteed food security.
Sadly, these lessons have been lost on the government. Last week it
ordered that basic commodities be sold at controlled prices as President
Robert Mugabe threatened nationalisation of private companies, which he
accused of playing "dirty tricks" intended to "incite a rebellion".
There are serious contradictions in government. On one hand there is
professed commitment to dialogue with commerce and industry but on the other
it harbours rabid distrust of the business sector. The singular
pre-occupation of the government from the time of independence has been to
exact revenge on virtually everyone and everything that does not toe the
The language Mugabe chose to use last week is also extremely
unfortunate. The business sector, buffeted by a volatile economic situation,
was described as "snakes" and because of this the government promised it
would "play it rough".
It is difficult to understand why a government with all the State's
resources at its disposal to deal with any acts of illegality would descend
to the level of a street brawl.
It is most likely that there is no shred of evidence to the "dirty
games" and "incitement to revolt" that he has to resort to such
unpresidential conduct. The intention seems to be to browbeat and intimidate
everyone into silent submission ahead of next year's polls. But it could
also be a violent reaction by someone bereft of ideas out of Zimbabwe's
If the government had the capacity to listen and learn, they would
find out from the business sector what the government should be doing to
enable them to provide services at affordable prices.
But what the government has decreed is that business Zimbabwe's
worsening crisis should run at a loss. They will do so with the limited
stocks at hand but once they are exhausted they will close down. We doubt
that is what the government wants.
The threatened take overs are tragic. There has been an escalation in
the number of factories and companies that have closed down over the past
decade. Perhaps the government is unaware. It ought to go round the
industrial sites to appreciate first hand the companies that have closed
Businesses are not in the habit of opening new factories in order to
close them down. Anyone who fails to grasp this point is setting
himself/herself up for failure.
The threats to businesses are regrettable because they subvert
business confidence. It is such uninformed and unguided rhetoric that has
driven Zimbabwean businesses into countries in the region.
The government needs to appreciate that Zimbabwe is not the last
investment destination on earth! There is competition for investment but
this country seems intent on telling investors that it can do without them.
The government is very good at conspiracy theories. The collapse of
the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority and the Cold Storage
Company under the government's watch must therefore be a sinister plot to
unseat the government!
The truth, however, is that there is no such thing. But this is the
only context in which it can confront and understand the harm it has
inflicted on this country.
They can raid, fine and take over as many business concerns as they
want, but one day the people's patience will be taxed to the extreme and
their bottled-up anger will exceed the wrath of Mount Vesuvius.
† sunday opinion by Bill Saidi
THERE have been many failed coups in Africa, South America, Asia and
Europe too, since the end of communism.
We're not the only failures in these major human endeavours, as we are
at looking after our own or borrowed money - if we happen to have a lot of
it, before THEY loot it.
In Africa, there could be failure of a more grievous kind: that of
looking after our own lives.
The continent's life expectancy is still the lowest in the world.
African leaders rarely take responsibility for that and don't you wonder
If it isn't the West to blame - they started it all by colonising us
in the first place - then it must be the people themselves, the lazy
There have been some weird coups. In Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara was
assassinated in 1987, after he had been made president in the wake of a coup
against the government of what was then called The Upper Volta.
I have always assumed there was a Lower and Middle Volta, probably
named after the Volta Dam, as there was Southern and Northern Rhodesia, the
Gold and the Ivory Coasts. Portuguese East and Portuguese West Africa -
Mozambique and Angola, to those too young to remember these vital
Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso, probably its real name
before the French arrived there in the dead of night and ordered the
inhabitants: "Hands up, or we'll fill you with big holes! We're taking over
your country. It's got something we want - we don't know exactly what, but
we'll soon find it. Meanwhile, don't anybody move - or else."
All this must have been said in French, of course. Thomas Sankara and
Blaise Campaore, his successor, had to learn French and be baptised into
Christianity because I doubt that Thomas is original Burkinabe.
Did Blaise kill Sankara over a girl or a gold mine or an AK47? People
say they were bosom buddies. They fell out over something precious enough
for one to feel so much anger he filled the other's body with deadly lead.
I realise there will be Burkinabes furious with me for taking such
matters lightly. Some of them have elevated Sankara to the same status as
In Zimbabwe, we may have a street named after The Osagyefo, but not
after Sankara, whose title in Burkinabe I am not sure of.
Then there is Nigeria, where they have elevated the coup into a rare
art form, where the success rate of coups is spectacular.
Murtala Mohammed must have staged one of those rare coups - the people
cheered him and his sidekick, an obscure soldier named Olusegun Obasanjo.
But those who didn't applaud had decidedly evil designs on the pair -
they killed Murtala, but Obasanjo survived to carry on his legacy, until he
was overthrown by another soldier and thrown into the clink by a man named
Sani Abacha, definitely Nigeria's own Idi Amin.
Abacha was thoroughly unpleasant and deserved to exit the scene as
unpleasantly as he had entered it.
Eventually, Obasanjo returned to the throne, as a civilian president.
Then he tried to stage a civilian coup, floating a balloon over a third
term. They burst that balloon and took the moon away from him.
Nigerians probably knew what he was up: you can't take the soldier out
of the soldier - or something like that. He ended up presiding over a
presidential election so manifestly corrupt not many Nigerians could give it
a clean bill of health.
Obasanjo's own health might eventually hang on the quality of the
answers he provides to the many embarrassing questions over that election.
Incidentally, the story of an attempted coup in Zimbabwe was given
this absolutely informative headline by The Voice: Govt speaks on coup.
"The government is in control of the situation and there is stability
in the country despite reports of an alleged coup to topple President Robert
Mugabe by some retired and serving officers."
The paper's slogan is Bold, Factual and Fearless. It is Zanu PF's
On Wednesday, Mugabe presided over the burial at the Heroes' Acre of
Brigadier-General Armstrong Gunda, killed in a car accident in Marondera the
Most people had never heard of him until then. But that doesn't have
to mean anything, does it?
† sundayview by Judith Todd
ON the bright Tuesday morning of 8 March 1983, I flew to Bulawayo from
Harare with Joseph Lelyveld of the New York Times. He wanted to see
something of our work. Lelyveld, who would later become the same newspaper's
foreign editor and then editor in chief, was based in Johannesburg, where he
wrote his book Move Your Shadow: South Africa Black and White, a clinical
account of the horrors of apartheid.
The shadow in question was that of a black caddy employed by a white
golfer. Susa lo-mtunzi gawena. Move your shadow. Hayikona shukumisa lo saka.
Don't rattle the bag.
Albert Ngwena fetched us at the airport and drove us to town, where,
quite by chance, we saw Makhatini Guduza standing on a corner, frantically
waving us down. We stopped, and Guduza, trembling like a leaf and grey with
exhaustion, fear or both, said he would meet us at our nearby office a few
Guduza was one of Joshua Nkomo's closest aides. Born near Plumtree in
1927, he had worked in Johannesburg from 1944 to 1964, becoming a chef for
the Chamber of Mines. He married Poppy Lotter from Soweto and joined the
South Africa's African National Congress in 1950, delighting in knowing such
luminaries as Walter Sisulu, Alfred Nzo, Thomas Nkobi, Dr James Moroka,
Chief Albert Luthuli and Bram Fischer. He was also quietly proud of having
participated in the crucially important build-up to the Congress of the
People at Kliptown in Soweto, as well as in the congress itself, where the
Freedom Charter was adopted on 26 June 1955.
Some time after that, he was arrested on a pass offence and defended
in court by the attorney Nelson Mandela.
In January 1964, Guduza returned home for a short visit, but on a
tip-off from South Africa, was detained by the Rhodesians at Gonakudzingwa
(Where the banished ones sleep). There he met Nkomo and became a loyal
I excused myself from Lelyveld and Ngwenya and saw Guduza privately.
He told me of terrible events. The previous Saturday evening, police had
sealed off Bulawayo's high-density townships in one of which, Pelandaba,
Nkomo had built his home.
Dr Herbert Ushewokunze, TG Silundika's "brilliant delinquent", was now
Minister of Home Affairs, in charge of the police. Within the police cordon,
soldiers of 5 Brigade had searched for Nkomo, but had been unable to find
him, as he was staying elsewhere.
Nkomo was well aware that his life was in grave danger after verbal
threats of violence from Prime Minister Mugabe: "Zapu and its leader, Dr
Joshua Nkomo, are like a cobra in the house. The only way to deal
effectively with a snake is to strike and destroy its head."
Shortly after eight that night, Nkomo received a message that his
driver and two others had been shot dead in cold blood at his house. The
killers then rampaged through his home, destroying all they could, smashing
the windscreens of three cars with their rifle butts and slashing the
Nkomo's wife MaFuyana was with him and implored him to flee Zimbabwe.
He had done so on Sunday night.
It had been past midnight when Guduza, with five other men in two
vehicles, escorted Nkomo from Bulawayo to Plumtree and then a further ten
kilometres south along the Empandeni road to an unguarded section of the
They walked across the dry bed of the Ramakwabane River, and then the
enormous Nkomo had to climb two fences on the Botswana side, his companions
desperately helping to push him over. At 6.20 that Monday morning he had
safely stepped onto the soil of Botswana.
Guduza knew that once it was discovered that Nkomo had gone, the
authorities would be hunting for Guduza himself. He had returned to Bulawayo
to hide his wife Poppy and family, and now it was Tuesday and he had to make
a dash for it. I emptied my pockets and gave him all the money I had on me,
which wasn't much, and he walked out of our lives. I was careful not to use
even one cent of Zimbabwe Project money.
After Guduza left, Lelyveld asked me to go and have a cup of coffee
with him. "I can see that something terrible has happened," he said. "I
think you should tell me about it."
"I can't", I replied, my mind filled with Guduza, who had yet to hide
his family and get to Botswana. "Something too awful for Zimbabwe has
happened and I haven't the right to tell anyone yet."
Lelyveld was quiet and thoughtful, and then he said, "I think for your
own sake you should tell me. I give you my word that whatever it is, I will
not report it until the story has been broken by someone else."
"Joshua Nkomo has fled Zimbabwe," I said. "Yesterday he crossed the
border to Botswana."
Joseph Lelyveld kept his word.
While the work of the Zimbabwe Project appeared to be going well and
was attracting a great deal of favourable comment both at home and abroad,
my life behind the scenes was increasingly fraught. People were suffering
dreadfully, and some seemed to believe I could help more than I actually
In July 1982, six young tourists had been abducted on the Victoria
Falls-Bulawayo road. Two were America, and their fathers came to Harare. The
American Ambassador Robert Keeley and his wife Louise had become dear
friends of my family. They invited me to dinner to meet the tourists'
fathers, who were desperately seeking ideas about how to find their boys.
They had hired a British firm, Control Risk, to assist in the hunt.
Hundreds of people were fleeing Zimbabwe for Botswana, and it was thought
that among these refugees, many of them ex-Zipra combatants, some might have
information. Control Risk wanted to consult Nkomo, and I provided a letter
of introduction for them to carry to him. As far as I knew, he was still in
I had last seen Nkomo at his Pelandaba home a few days before he fled.
When I telephoned to make an appointment, he told me to get into a taxi
outside any hotel in Bulawayo and instruct the driver to take me to him.
"They all know my house."
When his bodyguards allowed me into his home, it was like walking into
a nightmare. There were about fifty supplicants in the huge lounge, many of
them evidently bruised and with broken bones, some in bloodied bandages.
Nkomo was on the telephone trying to raise help and money for them all.
"Even just ten dollars," I heard him saying to someone he was calling.
Now it was my turn to ask for help from him . . .
On the afternoon of 11 March, when I wrote the letter Michael Behr
unexpectedly called on me at my office in Harare . . .
When he left I was so distressed, shocked, almost winded, that I made
notes of what he had said. He spoke about a meeting that had been held at
4PM on Thursday 24 February by our informal steering committee . . . Michael
said it was now known that I had offered to give evidence for the defence in
the trial of Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku, Isaac Nyathi and others who
were charged with enlisting the help of foreign powers and plotting to
overthrow the government by violent means. The fact that I was going to
testify on their behalf in the treason trial was a serious matter that I
should have referred to the steering committee, Michael said.
I was overwhelmed by his words. It was quite true that I had been
approached by Bryant Elliot of Scanlen & Holderness a few days earlier with
a request to be a defence witness. Elliot was looking after the Zapu
defendants in that trial (just as in later years he would look after Morgan
Tsvangirai and others of the Movement for Democratic Change when it was
their turn to face trumped-up treason charges). But I wondered how Michael
could possibly know about this, since the names of witnesses had not yet
*Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness: A life
in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.
† sundayopinion by Webster
The mediation process between the main political parties Zanu PF and
MDC that is being brokered by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has
torched debate not only among ordinary men and women but at very important
global forums as well. It is a process whose outcome will claim a place in
global geo-politics, with special reference to Africa as a continent and the
SADC region in particular.
This article will contribute to the body of knowledge around a
mediation process, the challenges that our process faces as well as input to
the role that civil society can play as the process unfolds. The civil
society input is motivated by the loud calls from various civil society
organisations who feel left out of the on-going process.
Mediation is not new to us as an African people especially in this
part of the continent. It has had a place in our culture. Our aunts and
uncles have played mediatory roles since time immemorial. However, it has
gained enormous credence in dealing with conflicts, and has undergone
substantial developments to the level where it has become a professional
discipline with its own body of theory, comparative research, case-studies
and tested techniques.
Laurie Nathan (1999) defines mediation as a process of dialogue and
negotiation in which a third party helps disputants, with their consent, to
manage or resolve their conflict. It is therefore best thought as a mode of
negotiation in which a third party helps the parties find a solution which
they cannot find by themselves.
In the disciplines of peace studies and international affairs, our
on-going process falls under Track I diplomacy because it involves the
official participation and interaction of state and/or official actors in
the formal governmental power structure. This is so because both MDC and
Zanu PF are represented in both houses of our parliament.
Track II diplomacy is more subtle and personal, involving actors
representing non-governmental organisations engaged in activity at the grass
roots level. The division of the actors into two is only one method of
distinguishing the different participants in conflict management. While it
is generally recognized that both actors fill useful functions, boundary
issues and other role-related issues continue to create tensions between the
two tracks. However, they are two mutually reinforcing processes in conflict
management - two overlapping circles sharing common characteristics and
responsibilities within a conflict. Each track possesses its own
effectiveness and despite similar methods used by both tracks, the role of
Track I and Track II cannot be filled by the other.
As our process unfolds, it is important to note that a mediation
process is based on six main strategic principles: mediators should not be
partisan; the parties must consent to mediation and the choice of the
mediator; conflict cannot be resolved quickly and easily; the parties must
own the settlement; mediators should not apply punitive measures; and
mediation is a specialised activity. While all these are very important,
with more others that can be added to the list, l am motivated to
contextualise only two of them here, the third and fourth, and may dilate
upon the rest when another opportunity avails.
Our political and economic situation deteriorated so fast that many
cannot even believe it is Zimbabweans in this situation. This time last year
I wrote in this good paper that everything that can go wrong has gone wrong
(by then). We are in a worse off situation since.
We are now in such a desperate situation that we would wish a solution
to the conundrums pertaining in our country should come in less than a blink
of an eye. We cannot endure these levels of poverty any longer. We have lost
everything - our esteem, our love, our humanity, ourselves! But hold on -
conflict cannot be resolved easily and quickly. It is important that our
main political adversaries have agreed to talk, but more important is that
real work for a sustainable peace is just about to begin.
This compounds with the principle that as Zimbabweans we must own the
settlement. There has been a lot of excitement around the on-going mediation
process, but, unfortunately, many people naively put President Mbeki on at
Calvary for our own problems.
It is true that the value of the talks rests on South Africa, a strong
and forceful state that has faith that the two parties can reach an
agreement and find common ground. But going to the basics of a mediation
process, President Mbeki's presence only helps diffuse tensions and creates
common language through which the parties can negotiate and settle
differences. It is not what Mbeki will do for Zimbabweans, but what we do
for ourselves. We are not far from knowing and shaming who our real traitor
is through our main political parties' willingness or lack of, to open the
doors of the Zimbabwe we want.
I find two main threats to this very important process. The first is
from the rhetoric. A mediation process will remain capricious if these
political adversaries want to send each other to "Never-land"- never to be
associated with the politics of Zimbabwe again.
It is common for political parties to hold entrenched positions and
view the conflict in zero-sum terms. From their perspective, mediation
entails talking to "the enemy" and the prospect of compromising core values
in order to reach a settlement. They may fear losing face in the eyes of
their supporters, being outmanoeuvred by their opponent's negotiating
tactics, and being pressurised by the mediator to dilute their goals. Be
that as it may, the truth remains that in a mediated conflict there is no
possibility of outright victory. While the concerns of both Zanu PF and MDC
are products of conflict, they should not be obstacles to its resolution. It
is illusionary to think that any settlement can fully satisfy the
requirement of either side.
The second threat is that we have elections next year. Politicians
follow the same dictum: "Seek ye first political power, and the rest shall
be added." There is therefore a myriad of possibilities that can be brought
about by this Track I process. For some civic society organisations to want
a chair in the talks I have my reservations. It is fallacious to believe a
truce between Zanu PF and MDC guarantees democracy. It is not wrong for our
vibrant civil society to lobby and advocate on issues that influence the
outcome of the talks, just like we do to our parliament where we do not sit.
Going to the basics of a mediation process, reasonable and altruistic
interaction with foreign countries cannot be an alternative to traditional
Track I diplomacy.
No single actor or activity can create sustainable peace and security.
Co-operation among official and unofficial actors can enhance the potential
for achieving shared and complimentary goals to peace and security.
As of now, let the process progress, hopefully for the good of our
Mbeki's mediation task is a mission impossible
I do not wish to sound like a cynic or appear to be throwing spanners
in the works in President Thabo Mbeki's mission of trying to mediate between
Zanu PF and the MDC, but developments in Zimbabwe suggest a comedy at play.
President Mbeki has got all the negatives stacked against him and
consequently the mission that he was assigned by SADC is impossible to
Although he tried his best, in the past such initiatives have failed
dismally and Zimbabweans should not place too much faith in the talks. For
example, what has changed now to instil confidence in the outcome of the
President Mbeki is not to blame, but he must come out clean about the
gigantic task that he was assigned to carry out. In fact, he should be
honest and report correctly to those who gave him the mandate to mediate.
The problem is that he is dealing with President Robert Mugabe, a seasoned,
There is a combative, honest but raw Morgan Tsvangirai. Events on the
ground show that Zanu PF and Mugabe in particular do not appear to take the
talks seriously and this infers disrespect for President Mbeki.
The tricky situation in Zimbabwe demands a fact-finding mission, the
mood among the generality of the population and then the preparedness of the
concerned parties to dialogue. Otherwise what President Mbeki is doing is
prolonging the suffering of the people by offering an artificial assistance.
President Mugabe is so stubborn that he does not really care for the
mediation. This is shown by the choice of his representatives to the talks.
The MDC is fragmented and handicapped to the extent that it leaves a serious
mediator in a quandary. I am not being rude but the odds are against
And as for the Reserve Bank Governor's turnaround of the economy, it
is turning him around so much that he finds shelter in signing the so-called
Zimbabweans were assured that inflation would come down from a
heart-breaking level of 3 700% to 25% in December. This is a comedy because
it is not real. All the economic indicators do not show any sign of the
economy improving. Instead, the situation is getting out of hand and the
government does not have an answer.
The social contract will not work as long as the environment is
volatile and poisoned as it is. What can only reduce inflation is increased
production, not a document written in flowery, wishful language.
All the hype about the signing of the social contract is meaningless
because it is trying to save face for a government that has ruined
everything in its way. Government officials are so corrupt that they are no
longer ashamed and do not make a secret of it.
Unless the government changes its hostile conduct towards the business
sector, no amount of rhetoric will bring inflation down. In the meantime,
the environment is not conducive to serious investment because of the
immense risk posed by the government's shameless appetite to bulldoze
legislation that scares away not only foreign but local investors as well.
The MDC factions are confusing the electorate by claiming that they
are re-uniting when they are not. Arthur Mutambara, the president of the
other MDC formation is preaching unity but his colleagues are busy driving a
wedge of disunity by proceeding with their lawsuit against Tsvangirai.
If one carefully interrogates the reasons why the MDC disintegrated
into factions, one discovers that it was because of deep rooted personality
clashes. The only solution is not to keep people guessing but to part ways
so that people make their own choices - that is the solution.
More problems will always emerge if the MDC factions re-unite. There
will always be sell outs. We know them and the party could pay heavily come
It is a pity Mutambara's efforts appear to be hampered by the actions
of his colleagues.
†Dangers in the Diaspora AS travel is increasingly becoming a necessity
because of the economic hardships being experienced by many Zimbabweans, it
is essential for many in the Diaspora to be aware of some of the dangers of
living and working abroad.
A strong note of caution as well as a warning needs to be
communicated, especially to those travelling overseas for work. They need to
be aware of the various pitfalls they might encounter.
Many Zimbabweans in the Diaspora - students included - often find
themselves the targets of recruitment by foreign intelligence missions
around the world. For many, there is need to emphasize the risks and some of
the acute dangers associated with such recruitment. Many who may enter such
organisations find themselves unable to leave and therefore bound to their
Many individuals may be unaware of some of the demands and the nature
of work involved. Many Zimbabweans in the Diaspora ought to be aware of the
existence of such organisations in order to enable them to exercise caution.
A great deal of care should be taken when choosing travel destinations
for education and other activities that require long-term stay outside an
individual's country or region.
†Economy, now biggest opposition
THE collapse of the economy has tamed the once vicious Zanu PF
and what is now left of the ruling party is a grouping of confused, failed
and shameless politicians whose challenge is to be relevant to the present
and future but who continue to focus on their glorious liberation struggle
Zanu PF has no one to blame but itself for the ugly turn of
events where even its supporters would sooner belong to any other party
except Zanu PF. Most of those who claim to be President Robert Mugabe's
supporters are opportunists driven by their selfishness.
They take advantage of Mugabe's desperation and disastrous
policies to amass wealth at the expense of the suffering majority.
Unfortunately for the oppressed Zimbabweans, the regime does not listen to
their cries. Sadly, too, is the realisation that many among us are willing
agents of continued repression.
Today Zimbabwe is a crisis-ridden state which is leaderless.
Those who are supposed to be leading the nation are busy shouting at our
neighbours, telling them to go hang while the country is being consumed by
fire. Zimbabwe is burning and we are at a crossroads. The economy has turned
out to be the biggest opposition to Zanu PF.
Daily price increases, shortages of foodstuffs, fuel, foreign
currency and company closures, unemployment, power cuts and massive brain
drain characterise our economy. The president pressed the self-destruct
button in 2000 and since then the mess it has spawned is indescribable. And
Mugabe's single priority has been the complete annihilation of the
It is a miracle the country has survived this far in this
Maunganidze M V Mlambo
†Advice to Zanu PF bigwigs: it's time to ditch Mugabe THE time has now
come for every right thinking person in Zanu PF to abandon their leader,
Robert Mugabe, not only because he is aging, but also because he has failed
to run the country even when he was still youthful, 20 or more years ago.
My appeal goes direct to members of Mugabe's inner circle, who
have felt the brunt of international sanctions because of their support for
a leader who has lost the game. Giving Mugabe another five years as leader
will not only hurt Zimbabweans but will hurt members of the politburo whose
assets will remain frozen.
Zanu PF members are among the wealthiest people in Zimbabwe. The
British realised this and that is why they froze their assets. What is the
good of wealth if you cannot use it? People realise how wealthy you are when
they see you travelling all over the world and enjoying life - things the
governing circle cannot do.
The targeted members will never use a cent of their money in
foreign European banks and sooner or later that money will be repatriated
back to Zimbabwe. It will be to their advantage for the targeted members to
do a Brutus and Julius Caesar on Mugabe so as to redeem themselves and get
the chance to use what they stole from us.
No one would like to be associated with our president when the
day of judgement comes. I am not suggesting that by abandoning President
Mugabe, his supporters, will have justified enjoying their ill-gotten lucre.
On the contrary, most of them will join Mugabe at the International War
Crimes Tribunal to answer for their misdeeds.
The souls of thousands of innocent murdered Zimbabweans are
still in limbo, waiting for Mugabe's date with the judges. However, by
abandoning Mugabe, Zanu PF members will have gained the praise of
Zimbabweans who are being tortured, maimed and slaughtered like worthless
Many dictators all over the world have been defeated by combined
efforts of former supporters and the general public. A united front against
Mugabe in Zimbabwe is the only way of removing this man. Normal leaders do
not behave the way our president is behaving.
Why is it that prominent members of Zanu PF are doing nothing
about this man's dictatorship when in private rallies they are acknowledging
that Mugabe is a liability?
They are telling us that everywhere they have visited they have
been told in no uncertain terms that Mugabe will hinder development in the
country if he is not removed from office.
Developed countries are definitely anti-Mugabe because of his
damaging policies which have reduced a once brilliant jewel of Africa into a