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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Mugabe threatens US, UK descendants, report

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has warned Britain and the
United States that their descendants living in the country "will be the
first to die" if the two countries launch an attack, a newspaper said on
Sunday.
"They will never attempt to do here what they did in Iraq because it is
their children who will be the first to die," the private Daily News on
Sunday quoted Mugabe as telling a rally two weeks ago.

The rally, held shortly before a visit to southern Africa by US President
George W. Bush, was one of several at which Mugabe issued  stern warnings to
Britain and the United States.

State media did not report the threat, which was made in Mugabe's native
Shona language, but the Daily News on Sunday claimed it had a recording.

Zimbabwe's white minority - mainly descendants of British and white South
African immigrants during the last two centuries - has dwindled to around
50,000 from some 200,000 before political tensions began some three years
ago.

Many whites, along with an estimated two million blacks, have left because
of the economic and political fallout of the government's controversial land
reform programme in which it has taken over white-owned commercial farms for
redistribution among new black farmers.

At the same rally Mugabe described Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair as "liars" who should stand trial for genocide over their invasion of
Iraq earlier this year.

"They have told lies to the world. They have committed genocide, and they
are criminals these two, Bush and Blair," he said.

Mugabe frequently lambasts the West, especially the United States and
Britain, which he accuses of supporting their "kith and kin" still in the
country above the interests of the black majority.

State media accuse the two Western allies of wanting to effect a "regime
change" in Zimbabwe in favour of Mugabe's main rival Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

But the British and US governments have never openly spoken of wanting to
invade Zimbabwe.

Washington, which does not respect Mugabe's victory in a disputed
presidential poll last year, has said it wants Mugabe to step down and fresh
elections to be held.

AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Age
 
If Victoria's farmers think they are doing it tough...

July 21 2003
By Stathi Paxinos
Regional Affairs Reporter


Photo: JOE CASTRO
Andrew van Veen, the reluctant Zimbabwean refugee.

Victoria's farmers, after years of drought, bushfires, variable commodity prices and kangaroo, wild dog and emu problems, could justifiably feel hard done by. But today they will hear from a farmer who had to leave all that was familiar and rebuild his life.

Zimbabwean tobacco farmer Andrew van Veen arrived in Australia last October after being forced, by President Robert Mugabe's supporters, from the farm where he was raised.

Mr van Veen, who is being sponsored to work as a senior farm hand at a Berriwillock cereal farm in north-west Victoria, said the "wheels fell off" his life in Zimbabwe when Government supporters invaded his and neighbouring properties and prevented the farming of the lands.

Mr van Veen said landowners in Mashonaland East, where he lived, supported each other but were prevented by angry mobs from making a living. In the end, it was a choice of moving to the cities for work or transporting his wife and daughter, now 21 months old, to a new country. The van Veens, who had a second daughter in January, have been sponsored on a four-year visa.

"I could probably have carried on living there but I might have ended up with a bullet in my head or an axe in my arm," Mr van Veen said. "It was just so unpleasant and we weren't allowed to farm, (but) you have got to put food on the table."
");document.write("  advertisement

");}}

Mr van Veen will today address 200 farmers from around the state at the Victorian Farmers Federation pastoral group AGM. The conference, expected to be attended by 500 farmers, is expected to include fiery exchanges during a "politics and the environment" panel tomorrow and in a GM crops debate on Wednesday. A VFF spokesman said the conference would provide a forum to debate a number of issues affecting farming in Victoria.

Mr van Veen, who wants to move into managing farms, will also discuss the differences between Australian and Zimbabwean agriculture.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Doubts shroud new civil service salaries
      By Caiphas Chimhete

      THOUSANDS of civil servants are unlikely to get their highly
publicised new salaries this week because the exercise to effect them is
chaotic and the cash-strapped government is still frantically trying to
effect the new figures, The Standard has established.

      Government sources said the State's Salaries Service Bureau (SSB) was
still punching in the new salaries as late as Thursday, and would probably
work overtime, raising fears that many government workers may only be able
to draw their old salaries when their pay checks arrive this week.

      Under normal circumstances, salaries for Zimbabwe's huge public
service staff are effected on the 6th day of each month. But by Friday, July
18, workers at SSB said they were still to finish the exercise.

      Fears were abound in government circles last week that the rush by SSB
workers to solve the problem and effect all the payments on time could
result in more serious anomalies, that could see some civil servants not
getting their proper salaries or not getting paid at all.

      Official sources said while the government "made the political
decision" to award the new salaries, no consideration was taken that it was
broke and might have difficulties raising the huge amounts needed.

      Addressing a rally in Mhondoro a few weeks ago, President Robert
Mugabe set the ball rolling when he said the government had completed a
major job evaluation exercise whose results would "shock" civil servants.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said the sources, had told the
government that there was no money to make the new salary adjustments, but
was ordered to print more money.

      In a statement yesterday, Public Service Secretary Ray Ndhlukula
admitted that there was chaos in the process as government tries to effect
the new salary increases.

      "Due to the size of the Public Service and the variety of grades to be
assimilated, there may be errors and/or omissions noted in the first months
of implementation," said a statement from Ndhlukula placed in the public
media.

      "Public servants are therefore urged to bring these anomalies to the
attention of their heads of ministries who will ensure that they are
corrected and adjustments made accordingly. Any inconvenience caused is
sincerely regretted," he said.

      Meanwhile, the new salary increments have however failed to catch up
with those offered in the private sector, or Zimbabwe's runaway inflation
which is now over 360%, and analysts said the increments were unlikely to
stop the brain-drain from government institutions.

      Over the past years, professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers,
engineers and academics have fled the public sector in droves for greener
pastures in industry and commerce or abroad.

      Poor salaries and working conditions have been blamed for the exodus.
It has also emerged that the recent exercise to uplift the working
conditions of civil servants has largely benefited top managers only leaving
those in lesser grades earning less than their counterparts in the private
sector.

      For example, a senior nursing sister general (graduate) now gets $2,4
million a year in the public sector, while a similar person in private
practise earns $2,7 million.

      "Nurses in private institutions will remain well above their
counterparts in the public service because they are also getting an increase
this month," said a leading medical doctor with a local private health
institution.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      MDC mulls Parliament boycott
      By our own Staff

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will meet tomorrow
to decide whether to attend President Robert Mugabe's official opening of
the fourth session of the Fifth Parliament on Tuesday.

      MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi said they would make a decision on
whether to attend the official opening, which the MDC has been boycotting
since 2002.

      Opposition MPs last year boycotted the official opening of Parliament
saying they did not recognise the legitimacy of President Robert Mugabe as a
Head of State.

      Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa warned of tough measures to curb
the proposed boycott of Presidential addresses to Parliament to "uphold the
dignity of the office of the President of Zimbabwe".

      Already his ministry is working on a Privileges Amendment Bill that
criminalises the boycotting of presidential addresses. The Bill will soon be
introduced to Parliament.

      Legislators who boycott the addresses would risk losing a six-month's
salary if it is passed into law.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard


      Lack of funding affects '0','A' level exams
      By Henry Makiwa

      ZIMBABWE'S beleaguered national examination system is headed for more
trouble after investigations by The Standard revealed that the Zimbabwe
Schools' Examination Council (Zimsec) has no funding to mark June's "O" and
"A" Level papers.

      The cash strapped Zimsec is yet to invite examiners for the initial
moderation exercise, three weeks after the "O" and "A" level examinations
were ready for marking. Sources at Zimsec last week attributed the lack of
funds to the low examination fees the government charges the students.

      In what government sources described as "developments that may put the
final nail" on the country's education system, fears were raised that the
June examination results may this year come out later than September as per
tradition, or may not "see the light of the day" altogether.

      In a normal situation, sources said, the government should have by now
booked accommodation for the examiners in the different centres throughout
Zimbabwe.

      Traditionally, examiners camp at tertiary institutions such as
Harare's Zesa training institute, the University of Zimbabwe campus and the
Harare Institute of Technology, during the marking period where food and
accommodation are provided for them.

      "Because the government itself is bankrupt so it is unable to give
Zimsec money that will cover the accommodation and catering bills at the
centres where examiners are supposed to stay," said a well placed source.

      "Zimsec has actually been moving around the schools to identify
classrooms they can use for the moderation process and probably use them for
marking during the school holidays in two weeks time," the source added.

      He said the examination marking process should have begun in earnest
by now, under normal circumstances, starting with the moderation period and
the random selection of "dummy papers" to familiarise examiners with the
process.

      "The expenses of paying the item writers who set the examinations, the
proof readers and printing the papers have just been too straneous for
Zimsec given the low fees the institution gets from examination fees," said
another source.

      It is understood that item writers demand a minimum of at least $100
000 per paper they set, while experts have described this year's costs of
scarce and expensive printing paper as "astronomical".

      Zimsec's examiners, who are composed mainly of experienced local
schoolteachers, have however complained that the government has sacrificed
them by offering little pay to mark this year's papers in order to balance
its books.

      Last year, "O" and "A" level examiners earned between $25 and $67 for
each paper marked.

      But Thompson Tso-dzo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of
Education, Sports and Culture, on Friday denied that the government was
unable to fund the marking process.

      "We can never do that to our (children). We have money to pay for the
marking of examinations. This is a crucial issue and if I find out as you
allege that Zimsec is not marking papers, then the new guy Ndanga (Zimsec
boss William Ndanga) will have to go," Tsodzo said.

      "I thought you wanted to talk to me about some of your British
bootlicking stories but however 'thank you' for your investigations. Though
Ndanga is a fairly new guy who may be ignorant of Zimsec's operations, that
will not save him if he is in the wrong. I am going to phone him right away
and find out what he is doing," said Tsodzo.

      Ndanga, who has been in office for four months now since Zimsec's boat
was rocked by a messy scandal exposed in The Standard early this year when
some top employees were convicted of manipulating and forging results, could
not be reached for comment.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Chinotimba 'a fake' war veteran
      By Caiphas Chimhete

      MAVERICK war veterans' leader and former municipal guard, Joseph
Chinotimba, has failed once again to prove that he actually fought in the
liberation war during Zimbabwe's bitter 1970s civil war, as he claims.

      War veterans' secretary general Andrew Mhlanga told The Standard that
Chinotimba has not been vetted by the organisation because he had failed to
produce three witnesses, as demanded by the association, to confirm his
"liberation war credentials".

      Chinotimba, a fiery former chairman of the war veterans in Harare who
endeared himself to President Robert Mugabe by playing the hatchet man
during the farm invasions, claims he fought the war on the side of Mugabe's
Zanla forces before independence in 1980.

      Said Mhlanga: "Chinotimba cannot appear before the vetting panel
because no one is willing to come on his side and testify that he is a true
war veteran, because he is not. He never trained anywhere."

      Mhlanga said Chinotimba would not be allowed at the association's
national congress scheduled for September in Mutare, as he is still
suspended pending the outcome of the vetting panel.

      War veterans' leader Patrick Nyaruwata advised Chinotimba to join the
war collaborators' association, an organisation ranked lowly in the Zanu PF
hierarchy.

      "We can't waste time on Chinotimba Š he should just join the
collaborators' association because he never went to war and that has been
established beyond doubt," said Nyaruwata.

      But the militant Chinotimba has vowed to stand before any vetting
panel.

      Chinotimba, popularly known as "Chinos" and the subject of numerous
cartoons, was suspended early this year when other war veterans questioned
his war liberation credentials.

      He has declared that he would attend the congress and stand against
Nyaruwata for the post of national chairman.

      "I will silence them. They themselves will not attend the congress. I
know they are trying to get me out of the race," Chinotimba told The
Standard, declining to divulge how he would silence Nyaruwata and company.

      Mhlanga said Chinotimba is a war collaborator, who operated in the
Devure area of Masvingo and that is why he had failed to have anyone testify
for him.

      But Chinotimba claims he trained in Zanla camps in Tanzania in 1976
before going to Romania between 1978 and 1979 together with Zimbabwe Air
force Commander, Perence Shiri.

      "If Perence Shiri is a war collaborator, then I am also a war
collaborator. If he is a real war veteran Š then I am also a real war
veteran because we trained together," claims Chinotimba. Shiri could not be
reached for comment.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Catholic benefactor on plight of the downtrodden
      By Henry Makiwa

      THE gentle spattering of water disturbs the serene surroundings that
characterise this roomy auditorium.

      Squatting elderly figures extend bowls of water to adolescent youths,
who are seated. On closer inspection, one notices that the adults are
actually washing the feet of the minors.

      Such was the scene at Harare's Jesuit Training Centre Arrupe College
on Tuesday when The Standard met revered Swiss-born Canadian spiritual
leader, Jean Vanier.

      Vanier says the symbolic washing of the feet, adopted from a Biblical
episode when Jesus Christ bathed his disciples, was a sign of "bending low
of the powerful to the weak" in a show of humility and unreserved love.

      The world-renowned religious figure and advocate for the mentally
handicapped was in the country for a three-day visit of the capital where he
met mentally handicapped people from across the country, and from as far as
Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

      Founder of 1 500 charity homes for the mentally disturbed world-wide,
Vanier - who received the Paul VI International Prize for his lay ministry
work - bemoaned society's lack of regard for the downtrodden.

      "The world has become a rueful sight, like the former Rhodesia and in
Zimbabwe now where most people are obsessed with amassing power and wealth
at the expense of others," said Vanier.

      "What is saddening most is that humans tend to neglect their beloved
ones in their quest for earthly dominance," the affable Vanier
philosophised.

      "I have noticed for a long time now that the most ignored among us in
society are the mentally handicapped. It often begins in their very homes
where their parents are ashamed of them, then this scorn spreads to
communities and eventually society as a whole."

      Vanier, 75, says his compassion for the mentally disturbed began
during his visit to France soon after serving in the British and Canadian
navy during the Second World War.

      He says he became a member of a community of lay people who lived and
worked together while studying philosophy and theology.

      "I learnt that mentally handicapped people are not the useless retards
we are made to believe by the world every day. They have a lot to teach most
of the normal people but only if they are first shown love," Vanier said
with an ever affectionate smile.

      This realisation, Vanier says, led him to acquire a small house in
1964 which he named "L'Arche" (French for "The Ark") and as a practical
application of his belief, invited two men from an asylum to live with him.

      Two years later, a total of eight men had been welcomed into his home.
Gradually many more L'Arche community homes were established in France,
Canada and the United States of America.

      Vanier opened Zimbabwe's own L'Arche in Harare's Waterfalls suburb in
1997 where 12 house mates stay together.

      "It took us as long as 20 years to get the home in Waterfalls up and
going because of a series of problems. The core philosophy behind the home
is to give mentally handicapped people a chance to live a secure family home
life; and to relax and feel liberated," Vanier said.

      "It is all in the hope of giving a few people an opportunity to
discover their value and develop themselves.

      "A lot of people who visit many L'Arche's wanting to assist are indeed
more often than not surprised because when they leave they discover they are
the ones who would have been helped ... it's such a miracle," said the
spiritual leader with a hearty laugh.

      There are also three other L'Arche homes in Africa: in Burkina Faso,
Uganda and Ivory Coast.

      Although Vanier frequently refers to some episodes of his experiences
during World War II, he says he now practices a wholesome, life enhancing
Christian life.

      Through his public addresses, television appearances and writings,
Vanier emphasises that Christians have a special responsibility to be
caring, sensitive individuals, attentive to God and to their fellow human
beings.

      "After the war I learnt that what we need is not to fight for peace,
but to work for it," says Varnier.

      "There is no peace without justice and no justice without
forgiveness," said the philosophy teacher of 40 years quoting Pope John Paul
II.

      Last week's visit by Vanier also saw him touring Chikurubi Maximum
Prison where he addressed inmates before he flew out to Cape Town, South
Africa.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Terrified MDC MP goes into hiding
      By Tracy Mpofu

      BULAWAYO - The Hwange Member of Parliament, Jealous Sansole, has gone
into hiding since Monday night after his home and shop were attacked by Zanu
PF militia in his constituency.

      Movement for Democratic Change provincial spokesperson, Victor Moyo,
said Sansole was driven into hiding in fear for his life after a brutal
attack by Zanu PF militia.

      "Sansole is still in hiding and is not presenting himself in public,
he has been seen by some of our guys and is currently in safe hands.
However, we understand that the militia is searching high and low for him,
including his brother, Emmanuel Sansole, whose whereabouts are also not
known," said Moyo.

      Moyo said the incident occurred on Monday night after there were
disputes in the area where the youth militia told wood sculptors not sell
their wares to tourists whom they accused of promoting colonialism.

      The area where this heated debate took place is close to Sansole's
home and he came out and tried to settle the issue, incurring the wrath of
the militia.

      The ZANU PF militia then attacked and looted the home and shop
belonging to the opposition legislator and the MDC youths retaliated by
burning down a youth militia camp base in an area called Cross Dete.

      Police in Dete confirmed the skirmishes, adding: "There were a couple
of people injured when these clashes occurred on Sunday and Monday nights
and so far we have arrested 14 youths."

      Moyo said Sansole went to the police station in Dete to seek refuge
after he heard that the militia were after him but the police escorted him
back to his home.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      'Freedom Trains' or death traps
      By Henry Makiwa

      KENNEDY Khomu gets up every working day at 4 am to walk a 5 km
distance from Crowbrough North to Warren Park in Harare where he gets the
only transport that can now take him to work.

      When the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) train arrives at the
station, Khomu and hundreds other early morning commuters, mainly industrial
workers, storm into the rattling coaches of the so-called "Freedom Train".

      The train is always overcrowded with many passengers dangling
precariously on its sides and rear panels all the way to town despite the
risks involved and the biting winter cold.

      Besides the danger of getting a severe beating from soldiers who often
lie in ambush at the Lorchnivar railway intersection, there is worse danger
of certain death, if the train crashes. Inside, the situation is not that
much better either.

      So full is the train that some desperate passengers, both male and
female, travel the whole way into the city in a tiny gents' toilet despite
the overwhelming stench of human waste and urine that wafts from the room.

      "Taking a train is very risky these days," says Khomu. "Only last week
I was one of the 1 400 passengers who survived when a commuter train
derailed. But I can't stop boarding the train because it is the only mode of
transport I can afford," the 28-year-old father of two said wistfully.

      The crash, which occurred when the train plying the Dzivarasekwa and
Tynwald route, came off the rails near Rugare, has highlighted the dangers
associated with the so called "freedom trains" introduced by government
during the campaign for the 2002 presidential election.

      The trains have become the cheapest mode of transport since commuter
omnibus' operators hiked fares following fuel price increases. A single trip
into town with the commuter buses now costs between $300 and $500 while the
train charges a mere $60.

      These, low fares, experts say, have however adversely affected the
operations of the debt-ridden parastatal which is incurring massive losses
on the urban commuter routes.

      The government has failed to cushion the NRZ, leaving hard up
passengers travelling in potential "death traps", at a time when memories of
the Dete train disaster in which 50 people died, are still fresh on the
minds of Zimbabweans.

      Albert Mutembo, a Kuwadzana resident and regular traveller with the
commuter train, says both the government and the NRZ have no regard for the
lives of the passengers.

      Mutembo said: "The government has shown no interest in ensuring that
the NRZ provides efficient and safe services to the people.

      "The derailment of the train at Rugare last week, is in many ways
similar to the disastrous accident that killed 50 people in February but the
government keeps neglecting this threat to human life by delaying the
refurbishment of the dilapidated rail system," he said.

      An NRZ employee who refused to be named, said the trains were
introduced "as a political gimmick by Zanu PF to recapture lost support
among the urban population".

      "This has however been a body blow to the NRZ because of the losses it
is incurring. It means that the NRZ can no longer sustain the costs of even
repairing its equipment," said the employee.

      But Munesu Munodawafa, the NRZ acting general manager, attributed the
recurrent railway accidents to foreign currency shortages to replace
equipment and the inadequacy of tools.

      "We are working very hard to refurbish our railway networks. However,
like everyone else in Zimbabwe, we are affected by the country's lack of
foreign currency which makes the importation of tools and equipment very
difficult," said Munodawafa.

      "You also have to take into account that most of these accidents are
caused by uncouth vandals who reverse all the progress we would have make
... we make one step towards the plus direction, they draw us two steps in
the minus direction," Munodawafa said.

      For Komu and thousands of others who hang precariously on the train
rails to get to and from work, the dangerous "freedom trains" remain their
only mode of cheap transport, whatever the consequences.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Letter

      We were denied land


      This is an open letter to Dr Charles Utete. It is our hope as
patriotic and loyal Zimbabweans that your appointment to the land review
committee will help to weed out corruption and irregularities that have been
associated with the Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe.

      The recent consultation of stakeholders by the committee is greatly
welcome but we think that your first port of call should be the Ngungunyana
Building and The Herald newspaper.

      We the undersigned collectively support the Land Reform Programme
currently in its final stages and we forwarded our applications for
consideration. Our names were published in The Herald newspaper.

      One of the requirements for A2 farmers was proof of satisficatory
financial resources which we attached together with other supporting
documents. Mystery still surrounds the disappearance of our applications
since no communication from the relevant department has been received.

      If proper procedures were followed as required by the law or
responsible ministry then Zimbabwe could have experienced a bumper harvest
in 2002 and 2003. Most of the people who benefited from the A2 scheme were
mostly those without proof of financial resources.

      Flaws in the allocation of land to A2 farmers contributed to the
current dwindling food supplies for almost two years as now some of the
farms are either lying idle or being leased by some politicians.

      Some of these politicians have more than one farm in total defiance of
the presidential decree stipulating a one-man one-farm policy.

      Others are leasing the farms which could have been allocated to people
like us with the intention of dumping the land when it's exhausted.

      We believe that the land issue is a national issue implemented to
reclaim our national heritage and economic power regardless of political
affilliation, race, tribe or colour.

      We would greatly appreciate it if Dr Utete can respond to our
concerns.


      Moses Mazhande and

      Kurauone Chihwayi,

      Glen Norah A, Harare
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Letter

      MDC must be weary of foxy Zanu PF


      As the two main parties, the young MDC and the aged Zanu PF continue
their stalemate, Zimbabwe continues to crumble into political and economic
ruin and the rubble continues to take its toll on innocent Zimbabweans.

      In my opinion it is very clear to Zanu PF that not even the rising
from the dead of Aristotle will bring back its political fortunes. That
party knows it is finished. Therefore, they have absolutely nothing to lose
by prolonging the stalemate as long as it takes. To them it serves many
purposes. It gives them the chance to loot as much as possible from the
State coffers in preparation of "mazuva enzara arimberi kwavo" (days of
poverty ahead of them).

      Secondly, they want the economy to be a total wreck and the political
situation totally ungovernable so that the next government will find it
difficult to run the country and bring it back to sanity again.

      Thirdly, they are afraid that the moment they stand up from where they
are sitting, Zimbabweans will call for their heads on discovering the state
of mess and the personalisation of State assets.

      As it stands, and for reasons stated above, Zanu PF is already a
"winning loser" both in the short term and long term as the stalemate will
ensure that their objectives are met. Cunningly, Zanu PF is leveraging on
their 'enemy' and in that sense the MDC is actually helping the spent Zanu
PF party by contributing to prolonging this stalemate.

     Simon Bere

      Harare
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Russian TV to boost local tourism
      By our own Staff

      IN an effort to tap tourism traffic from Eastern Europe, local
authorities have engaged the services of a Russian television crew, Extreme
Television, to film a travel programme for broadcast on the former Soviet
Union's leading television stations.

      The five-member crew from Extreme TV, a travel television programme on
the Russian speaking market which also covers parts of the former Soviet
Union bloc, arrived in Zimbabwe a fortnight ago and is currently touring and
shooting tourism attractions scattered across the country.

      Their first port of call was one of the world's greatest wonders, the
Victoria Falls, from where they proceeded to Hwange National Park.

      Other resort centres they toured include Kariba, Bulawayo, Great
Zimbabwe and the scenic Eastern Highlands. The crew will wrap up their
assignment today in Harare before their departure scheduled for tomorrow.

      The Russians also had the chance to sample the recently launched Great
Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a massive wildlife project being implemented by
South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

      The film project is a result of concerted efforts by the Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority (ZTA) and private players in the tourism industry.

      In an interview with Standard Business, Givemore Chidzidzi, the ZTA's
marketing and communications director whose organisation is co-ordinating
the group, said the visit by the Russians is part of the tourism apex body's
marketing plan.

      "It is part of our marketing strategy where we invite publicists to
look at our tourism products and experience our hospitality first hand.
Russia is a new market we are exploring," said Chidzidzi.

      This is the second group of journalists from the former Soviet Union
to tour Zimbabwe on a similar mission. Last year, a travel writers' team
visited the country at the invitation of the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism
(ZCT).

      Chidzidzi said market intelligence carried on the Russian market
indicates that Zimbabwe is a destination familiar with the Russians.

      "There is a very big market which has been lying dormant which opened
up when Russia started interacting with the world society. Zimbabwe is not
new to Russia as we have been interacting from pre-independence. It is a
destination you find that people are aware of Zimbabwe," he said.

      He also disclosed that ZTA would be launching a vigorous assault on
China as traffic from traditional source markets dwindles.

      Zimbabwe's once prosperous tourism industry continues to receive a
knock as evidenced by the slump in the occupancy rates of the major hotels.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Soaring inflation hits Zimbabwean consumers


      ZIMBABWE'S Consumer Council (ZCC) has said the latest jump in
inflation would put the price of basic commodities further beyond the reach
of the urban poor.

      The Central Statistical Office pegged the inflation rate for June at
364.5 percent, more than 64 percent up from the previous month's high of 300
percent.

      "Price increases continue to push the cost of living for the urban
poor well above their income levels," CCZ director Elizabeth Nerwande told
IRIN.

      The CCZ estimates that an urban household of six members would now
need over Zim $200 000 (about US$241) per month to cover its basic needs. On
average a domestic helper in Zimbabwe earns Zim $25 000 (about US$30) per
month, while a court orderly's salary is $60 000.

      "In high-density suburbs across Harare (the capital) we are seeing
people facing real poverty. Most people have exhausted their coping
mechanisms and are living from hand to mouth. And the situation is unlikely
to improve, given the broader economic crisis in the country," Nerwande
said.

      A government decision in May to suspend price controls on some
commodities had "slightly" improved the situation.

      "Some basic foodstuffs have re-appeared on shelves in supermarkets,
but these are often sold at parallel market prices and are unaffordable for
most households," Nerwande said.

      Earlier this week bakers unilaterally hiked the price of bread from
Zim $550 (US 60 cents) to Zim $1 000 a loaf, following an increase of more
than 1 000 percent in the Grain Marketing Board's (GMB) selling price of
wheat.

      In response to the price hike consumers boycotted bread, forcing
retailers to reduce the price to $800.

      Nerwande also raised concerns that the current inflation rate did not
reflect reality, because it ignored the thriving parallel market where
prices were almost double controlled rates.-IRIN.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Economic crisis threatens financial sector
      By Caiphas Chimhete

      THE economic crisis that has gripped Zimbabwe seriously threatens the
future of its once resilient financial sector as customers and investors
begin to lose confidence in the sector, economists warned last week.

      The economists said the sector could soon implode if the loss of
confidence, which emanates from the shortage of bank notes in the banks and
the general economic decay, is left unchecked.

      Witness Chinyama, an economist with Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited
(KFHL), said many banks expected to produce lukewarm half-yearly financial
results because they are operating below capacity.

      He said the banks' function of cash acceptance has virtually been
taken away from the financial institutions as customers, including
individuals and wholesalers, have since stopped depositing their money with
banks, preferring to stock it at homes and offices.

      High domestic inflation, currently topping 364%, gave negative real
deposits rates, thus discouraging people from placing funds, on a long term
basis, in the banking system. Presently, savings deposit rates are generally
about 15%.

      "It (the shortage of cash) threatens to take away the function of
banks of accepting cash on behalf of customers as most people are no longer
depositing their money in banks," said Chinyama.

      Independent economic analyst, John Robertson, concurred that the
economic problems, characterised by shortage of bank notes and high
inflation, have impacted negatively on the operations of financial
institutions.

      Robertson said although financial institutions were likely "to make
huge profits, in real terms there would be no profits" because of the
runaway inflation.

      Said Robertson: "Banks will record high figures but when inflation is
adjusted, that would not be much profit ... $1bn profit last year is about
$4bn this year."

      Last year, most financial institutions made profits above the $1bn
mark for the first time in the history of the sector.

      The shortage of bank notes has resulted in huge cheque transactions,
thereby also clogging the whole banking transaction system.

      "The whole transaction process has been slowed down because of
shortage of cash. It now takes more than two weeks to get a new cheque book
but it used to take only a week. Companies that print cheque paper are also
failing to cope with demand," said Chinyama.

      As a result, the value of cheque-supported transaction leaped from
$8,168bn at the beginning of May this year to $12, 086bn at the end of the
same month.

      However, most customers are now reluctant to carry out cheque
transactions because of the huge levies charged by banks. Presently, a
cheque transaction costs $750 compared to $5 charged on ATMs.

      As a result, a significant portion of the domestic savings are kept
outside the banking system, said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, thereby
starving the financial sector and the nation of critical invertible funds.

      Tapiwa Mashakada, the Movement for Democratic Change's shadow minister
for finance, believes the shortage of cash and loss of confidence in the
financial sector would not have a significant impact on the banks'
half-yearly results.

      He said banks continued to make huge profits because they are changing
foreign currency on the black market as well as charging exorbitant
commissions to customers.

      Mashakada said with about $200bn in circulation as cash, the RBZ
should be issuing cash notes at the rate of $60bn a month to maintain the
availability of cash in the banking system.

      "By ignoring the rapid rate of inflation and not bringing out new bank
notes with a higher value, the Reserve Bank is trying to meet demand by
printing $50 and $100 notes," said Mashakada.

      He called on government to print higher denominations of $2 000, $5
000 and $20 000 before the end of the year.

      For the past few years, the financial sector had been resilient to the
effects of the economic downturn, which has virtually destroyed the
country's manufacturing base, agriculture and tourism.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Civil society initiates 'transition economics' programme
      By our own Staff

      ZIMBABWE'S civil society movement has initiated a process of
"transition economics" for adoption during Zimbabwe's transitional period
being advocated for by the opposition, the civil society and the
international community.

      In a document entitled 'The Economy In Transition' drawn by the Crisis
In Zimbabwe Coalition-a bloc of civil society organisations-the restoration
of the operations of bureaux de change is chief among the immediate measures
to deal with the acute shortage of foreign exchange, basic commodities, the
parallel market and the restoration of confidence among stakeholders.

      The West, whose proposals are being supported by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and civic organisations, is calling for a
transitional government that would organise new elections in Zimbabwe after
President RobertMugabe's early departure from office.

      Mugabe, in office for 23 years, is largely blamed for mismanaging the
Zimbabwean economy and creating an economic and political crisis that has
forced the southern African country, once a beacon of hope on the continent,
on its knees.

      "In the crisis state of Zimbabwe's balance of payments, immediate
concerns of the transition will be the restoration of bureau de change to
normalise inflows of foreign currency through official channels," the
document states.

      The paper also takes into account some of the immediate issues which
had been agreed upon during the tripartite discussions between labour,
government and industry that include price stabilisation and the
establishment of an anti-corruption commission.

      Brian Kagoro, the co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, said the civil
society movement would host a series of meetings to solicit for inputs into
the formulation of an economic blueprint.

      "We should stimulate discussions if this country enters into
transition and look at what processes would enhance recovery. Thus we are
going to further engage with ordinary citizens, key private sectors,
business and organised labour to broadly discuss the plan," said Kagoro.

      "The frameworks we have thought about in the past should be stimulated
with a new focus," he added.

      Government has since independence from Britain in 1980 concocted
several economic blueprints that have all largely failed.

      Its current National Economic Recovery Programme (NERP), lauded at its
launch early this year, has now been derailed by the runaway inflation, hard
currency shortages and lack of commitment from government to adhere to
budgets.

      Kagoro however said there should be answers to the subnormal economic
factors the country is enmeshed in.

      "The question is how do we get all factors of the economy to perform
optimally; there is the issue of the vast domestic debt, the management of
the exchange rate and interest rates and how to enhance revenue collection
because three quarters of the economy is now run on the parallel market," he
said.

      Economic consultant, Daniel Ndlela, said the lack of policies that
involve civil society is the crux of under-development in Africa.

      "Any economic plan that involves civil society will turn out to be a
better plan and any consultative process is in the right direction," said
Ndlela.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Shavings from The Woodpecker


      WELCOME to "Shavings", the column that promises to poke beneath the
surface and make sense of all that might appear senseless and bizarre in
modern day Zimbabwe.

      'Imbedded journalists'

      Tenants at a house in Arcadia were pleasantly surprised recently to
find out that they are now an endangered species that deserves an
around-the-clock security guard, courtesy of the managers at the struggling
Zimpapers' stable.

      Official sources at the house told The Woodpecker that it was only
after some investigation of their own, that they realised that their newly
found status really belonged to one of their fellow lodgers at the house -
Munyaradzi Huni - that Sunday Mail reporter who is "imbedded" in the junior
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo's office.

      Apparently, the bungling managers at Zimpapers' - in their haste to
please Johno's favourite - decided to offer 24-hour security protection to
Huni, the government's star propagandist.

      It was hastily and quickly agreed to despatch a 24-hour security guard
for Huni, because it was felt some concerned residents - fed up by the lies
that he peddles weekly and tries to pass off as investigative stories in the
Sunday Mail - might one day try to panel beat his face.

      In their haste, though, the Zimpapers' managers forgot one key detail:
Huni does not own the house, he occupies only a room or two, and other
lodgers take up the rest of the house!

      Doddering dinosaurs and dreams of grandeur

      Woodpecker laughed so much that he almost choked on his shavings when
he read somewhere that the Zanu PF dinosaur from Mutare, the one and only
Didymus Mutasa's ambition is to become State Vice President!

      Mutasa, one of Mugabe's bootlickers par excellence, says while he does
not harbour ambitions for the high office, at all - he would love to become
Zimbabwe's vice president. Dream on, Didymus.

      The succession debate, fuelled by the fact that it has finally dawned
on Zanu PF that Mugabe "is not the son of God" after all, but a mere mortal
who is reaching the end of his public life, has once again exposed how so
much out of touch with reality some of our leaders are.

      Doddering Joseph Msika - of all people - believes the time is ripe for
him to become the next Zimbabwean president after Mugabe. Imagine!

      That brings us to the billion-dollar question: Who is fuelling this
succession debate? Is it Mugabe himself, or is it the ever-manipulating
Johno?

      The fact that this debate has been sponsored by The Herald, which as
everyone else knows is run from Johno's Munhumutapa offices, and is being
spearheaded by another of the imbedded journalists in his office, inevitably
shows that there is more than meets the eye.

      Is the nutty professor once again being too clever by half, and trying
to use his hold on the media to clear the field for himself? Time, indeed,
shall tell.

      'Farewell Mazambani'

      Those who were old enough to read newspapers in the late 1980s must
surely have come across reports by Wilberforce Zweni, the South African
journalist who has died after a long illness in Soweto, Johannesburg.

      Willie Zweni, or better known as Mazambani, was a colourful character
in the heady days of the 1980s when he worked for The Herald.

      A South African who fled the Soweto uprisings of 1976 to end up in
Zimbabwe in the early 1980s, Mazambani was an accomplished journalist and a
well-known socialite in Harare. His parties were famous.

      Willie was a member of the now submerging Pan Africanist Congress of
Azania which was so loved by Zanu PF that this almost created tension with
the bigger South African liberation organisation, Nelson Mandela's ANC.

      Mazambani, who at his death was a brigadier general in the South
African Defence Forces (SANDF), was well travelled and spoke so many
different languages that it was amazing.

      Among the languages he spoke so elegantly was Korean and Cantonese,
the Chinese dialect that is spoken by billions of people in the Far East and
worldwide.

      So good was he in Cantonese that a Chinese diplomat visiting Herald
House was stopped on his tracks when he encountered Willie, then a court
reporter for the newspaper, in the newspaper's third floor offices.

      The diplomat, in the halting English that is familiar with many less
travelled Chinese, was painstakingly trying to explain the reason he wanted
to see the Herald Editor, when up stepped Willie and began a conversation
with him in faultless Cantonese!

      So shocked was the poor Chinese diplomat that he almost bolted out of
the door.

      (woodpecker@standard.mweb.co.zw)

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Mbeki pursuing own hidden agenda
      Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

      ZIMBABWEANS are a rare breed of people. They have a way of coping with
suffering and hardship which no other people on earth have.

      It is a kind of fatalism which accepts a given situation as it is
without necessarily condoning it. Some have mistaken this for timidity or
even cowardice, but it is not that at all. It is a way of coping with
adversity with fortitude. This enables them to then deal with the otherwise
devastating situations in a calm and collected manner.

      Ian Smith and his Rhodesian Front made that mistake. They seriously
thought that black Zimbabweans were so timid and afraid of white power that
they would dare challenge their oppressive rule, let alone through violent
revolution. Their leader, Ian Smith, vowed that blacks would never rule the
country in his lifetime or in a thousand years. Today, he is regretting that
statement.

      This Zimbabwean social psyche or spirit manifests itself clearly
during bereavement. At such times the ritual friend (sahwira) of the
bereaved family does not visibly display his or her emotions. Instead, he or
she plays the clown.

      He cracks jokes and imitates the antics and mannerisms of the dead
person in such funny ways that the mourners can't help but laugh. This
lessens their suffering and helps them to accept the death and to deal with
it in a rational manner.

      Today, Zimbabweans are in the middle of a real tragedy caused by Zanu
PF's misrule. In order to keep their sanity they need as many sahwiras as
possible to make them laugh. The independent press cartoonists are doing an
admirable job. No matter how hungry or angry one is, they can't fail to
laugh at the Minister of Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo's egg
head. It really captures what the man is.

      I will also be your sahwira on this occasion and tell you what
happened recently: Some soccer fans, who had just heard that the Warriors
had qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia next year,
passed by a beerhall singing. A patron went outside and asked what they were
celebrating. A naughty young man said. "President Mugabe has resigned."

      The patron dashed back into the beerhall, jumped on a stool and
shouted: "Zvanzi va Mugabe varizaina! President Mugabe has resigned."

      There was a loud cheer followed by singing and dancing. Everybody was
hugging everybody else, some with tears of joy streaming down their cheeks.

      That beerhall sold more beer on that day than on any other day during
the year. It was like three Christmases rolled into one. Some people tried
to shout above the noise that it was all a joke but their voices were
drowned by the din of happiness in the beerhall. The disappointment must
have been great, along with the hangovers the next day.

      Indeed, the people will rejoice when Zanu PF and President Mugabe
finally go. By the looks of things it won't be long now. Some people would
want me to be analytic and point out the various factors which have brought
me to this conclusion.

      I would rather be philosophical and quote the wisdom of our ancestors
who said "hapana chisingapere. Chinobhururuka chinomhara" (everything has an
end, what goes up must come down), or have you not heard? It has been
reported in the international press that South African President Thabo Mbeki
assured US President, George W Bush that President Mugabe will quit in
December.

      My only prayer is that when Zanu PF falls, the landing will be soft
and not be forced.

      The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough. A violent crash-landing
will just about destroy the country. I therefore encourage Rev Chimbambo and
his intercessors for Zimbabwe to really pray without ceasing for divine
intervention. We also need the intervention of nations with goodwill towards
Zimbabwe. The country most well placed to play the role of honest broker and
peacemaker is our neighbour South Africa.

      Unfortunately, South African is not an honest broker in the situation
at all. I smelt a rat a long time ago when President Mbeki started to
implore the Commonwealth to lift Zimbabwe's suspension because, according to
him, "things had returned to normal". What is normal about our situation?
Unjust laws are still on the books, the opposition is still being harassed
and State sponsored violence is still the order of the day.

      How can Mbeki be an honest broker when he lied to President Bush that
the MDC and Zanu PF are negotiating a settlement when we all know that no
real talks are going on?

      Both Zanu PF and MDC denied publicly that they were talking. Instead
of Mbeki backtracking like a seasoned politician, and saying he was
misquoted or something, he still insists that he was telling the truth. He
is either confused in his thinking or he is trying to be too clever by half.

      In a BBC radio interview last week, Mbeki reiterated his statement
that the MDC and Zanu PF were in the middle of negotiations. He went further
and blamed Morgan Tsvangirai for the present political impasse. He almost
justified Tsvangirai's arrest on a charge of treason by saying that he
should not have called for a national mass stayaway since the court had said
it was illegal.

      Zimbabweans beware. Thabo Mbeki can never be an honest broker in our
situation. An honest broker has to be honest and impartial and Thabo Mbeki
is neither of these. I personally don't trust him further than I can throw
him. Being well fed as he is, I can't throw him anywhere. So, I don't trust
him at all.

      President Mbeki has his own agenda which has nothing to do with the
majority of long-suffering Zimbabweans.

      That agenda is to see a resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis which will
leave Zanu PF in effective control with a pacified MDC opposition. The
feelings of a majority of Zimbabweans are immaterial to him. He does not
believe an MDC government can safeguard his interests. Whether these
interests are national or personal only he can tell. They definitely are not
Zimbabwe's interests.

      Zanu PF is emboldened by South Africa's stance that Zimbabwe is a
sovereign State and must be left alone to solve it's problems. Our president
hardly makes a speech without referring to this chimera called national
sovereignty. Total national sovereignty no longer exists because we now live
in Alvin Toffler's 'global village'.

      Already the situation in Zimbabwe is economically, politically and
socially affecting the whole region negatively. If Zimbabwe goes down, the
whole region will go down with us.

      He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Why blame Grace for Mugabe's failures?
      Sundayopinion by Thandi Chiweshe

      EVER since Adam gave that not so clever response to God in the Garden
of Eden, men have sought to blame women for their own misdeeds.

      "It's the woman you gave me Lord", said Adam.

      This kind of ingenious response could only come from a five-year-old
boy, not a grown man like Adam - even though we have never been told his
exact age.

      Perhaps that is why many women count their husbands as their children?
Many an author, journalist and political analyst on Zimbabwe has tended to
behave like Adam. In trying to find an explanation for Mugabe's "madness",
they quickly point to his wife Grace, who they then blame for the crisis
that Zimbabwe finds itself in.

      The one that finally got my goat was an article in the South African
Mail and Guardian of June. The author claims, that it is from his marriage
to Grace that we can trace Mugabe's malaise. He argues that because Grace is
so young, loves shopping and has young children Mugabe cannot think straight
anymore! Other newspapers have gone to town about Grace's shopping sprees at
Harrods, in Italy and lately in Johannesburg.

      Even my wonderful driver who thinks he knows all the gossip in Harare
has very tall stories about how Gracie abuses the guards at State House,
rules the roost and basically pulls poor Bob by the nose.

      The picture painted is one of a hapless "Bobby", following Gracie
sheepishly. He panders to her every whim and gives her the national credit
card to go shopping every day. The image of a towering Grace, whip in hand,
(mmm, there is a good one), and cracking it, looms large in the male psyche.
You can feel and hear the tinge of fear, adoration, lust and hatred all
rolled into one.

      Truly since Eve men have never known what to do with women, have they?

      Feminist that I am, I find it really hard to believe the images of
these two people that are peddled about. The decades of experience of
working with and for women makes me refuse to accept that a mere former
concierge at Munhumatapa building is the invisible hand that is now running
our country.

      In typical Adam fashion, men find it hard to believe that one of their
own can go well and utterly berserk the way Mugabe has. They refuse to
accept that on his own, a man can be such a rotten despot. They did it with
Ferdinand Marcos, (remember the craze over Imelda's shoes?), Monica
Lewinsky, (the silly girl who almost brought down the good Clinton), and now
Grace. In most mythology and fable, women are alwaysŠwitches, temptresses,
or evil matriarchs. There are no ordinary, straightforward women. Grace fits
the mythical pattern.

      But, let's retrace the relationship between Mugabe and Grace. She was
a mere concierge at Munhumutapa building, married, (happily or unhappily we
are not told). Mugabe spots this (relatively) pretty young thing and thinks,
"I must have that one". He has her moved to the typing pool, closer to where
he can see her. The rest is a blank page. Fast forward, they have a child
while Sally is still alive and a few years later they are married. Grace
dumps her husband somewhere in the process.

      Whether this relationship grew out of love - that very elusive
concept - or coercion, we will never know.

      What we do know is that this has always been an unequal relationship
from day one. Mugabe is a man in a position of power. He owns this country
and all that crawleth in it. Grace included. On what leg was she going to
stand on and say to him, "haa sorry chef' ndiri mukadzi womunhu", (sorry
Sir, I am a married woman)?

      Picture it yourself.

      What rock would she have had to hide under to escape this man's
preying? She could have refused. But think of the consequences.

      We all know of the secretary who refuses her boss's advances in a two-
bit company. We have seen what happens to pretty young things who refuse
their lecturers at college. And we all know what pastors can do to
non-conforming members of the congregation. We also mustn't forget we still
live in a society where a raped woman is always asked, "what were you
wearing/doing when he did that to you?"

      The female victim is always turned into the aggressor. Poor men, we
are told, they can't help the predatory nature of their libidos to say no.
It is a woman's responsibility to uphold so called moral values. The men
chase and the women must run. It is the law of the jungle. If the women are
"caught", then it is surely their own fault! The Adam myth continues.

      Grace and Mugabe finally got married. White wedding and all. Let's go
back to the facts. Mugabe is now almost 80, and Grace is not even 40. The
woman has a whole long life to lead, God willing. Why should she not enjoy
it? Let us engage in some speculation; what does Grace spend her time doing
then? She can be involved in charity work. But isn't it an assumption though
that First ladies love babies and other causes? What happens if she is not
into that sort of thing? What if she is allergic to flowers and horse
racing? The woman's got to do something with her time, right?

      Grace is not expected to hold a job - as the wife of a Head of State.
So she "eats" what Bob gives her. Don't blame the woman if he gives her a
blank US dollar cheque! I have heard some very big men boast to one another
about their wives who spend their time at the hair salon, playing bridge, or
just hanging out with friends at the Italian Bakery. They feign exasperation
at their "mindless" spouses who really "don't know what to do with
themselves". Yet they are the same guys who insist that their wives should
quit their jobs and be full time wives - just so they can be like the wives
of other executives! On one hand men say they want women with their own
minds, who have careers, and with whom they can discuss the war on Iraq. But
deep down they really don't. Ask any senior executive you know.

      Same goes for middle class so-so men. Hands up anyone I went to
university with who is married to a wife with a degree? What they really
want is someone who is pretty, has well coiffured hair and spends all her
time having manicures. They want a wife who can discuss the price of coffee,
but who doesn't challenge them and their power. The self-sufficient types
are better accepted as girlfriends, you don't have to deal with them every
night. So they go and marry a Grace.

      Why marry Grace and expect her to behave like Aung Sun Syu Ki?

      Dai ndaive ini Grace? Chokwadi magrosa aindiona! (If I was Grace the
shops ain't seen nothing yet).
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Good bold strokes from the ZCC


      AN explicit apology! Yes indeed from the much-maligned Zimbabwe
Council of Churches (ZCC). A repentance of sorts - Yes. What are we to make
of this good news from ZCC?

      What follows is what the Zimbabwe Council of Churches said in their
Communiqué after holding its 37th Annual General Meeting on July 2, 2003
called to discuss the role and work of the Council vis-à-vis the country's
ever deteriorating situation:

      "While the Church has noted all these developments (the Zimbabwean
crisis), and while we have continued to pray, we have not been moved to
action. James says: "Šand I by my actions will show you my faith!" We as a
Council apologise to the people of Zimbabwe for not having done enough at a
time when the nation has looked to us for guidance".

      What an acknowledgement of the Church's failures - the failures of her
sons and daughters for the past three years during which Zimbabwe was
plunged into an unprecedented crisis of governance. This was indeed such a
long-awaited acknowledgment.

      For the past three years, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches has been
severely criticised for its inaction, aloofness and lack of participation in
seeking solutions to the Zimbabwean tragedy. In fact, many were daily
expressing their profound sadness and sorrow over the Church's deafening
silence and inaction in the face of evil and violence stalking this land.

      The Church was very far behind in its understanding of what needed to
be done and was preaching a gospel which in many respects was far removed
from the actual sphere of struggle and suffering of most Zimbabweans.

      As the opening segment of the Communiqué rightly observed: "We, as a
Church have watched as violence, rape, intimidation, harassment, various
forms of torture have ravaged the nationŠwatched as the health delivery
system continues to crumbleŠtaken a back seat on the constitutional
reformŠlooked on as the land reform programme has progressed without proper
infrastructure resulting in decreased productionŠ"

      This indeed is a historic statement; an admission of guilt, an
acknowledgment that the Church has not acted in the best interests of the
people who seek salvation and deliverance from the suffering in their midst.

      The ZCC's 37th Annual General meeting Communiqué is a notable
departure from acquiescent position of the last two AGMs. It challenged the
easy view that the central mission of the Church was merely to preach the
word of God only, stressing instead the essential link between the Church on
one hand and those who are involved in the struggle for the rule of law, for
justice and for reconciliation in this beautiful land of ours.

      It is indeed the moral duty of the Church to be involved and to be
concerned about the whole issue of the struggle for democracy, for justice
and reconciliation. This is a task that cannot be separated from God's
specific assignment for the Churches and all religious organisations. That
task is a requirement from which the Church cannot in any way be absolved.

      In the Bible, we read from Amos 5:24 that "But let justice roll down
like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream". It is also
written in the Scriptures: "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has
chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty
to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to set free the
oppressedŠ" (Luke 4:18).

      Clearly, the Church in Zimbabwe has made the right choice. It is good
to see the church give up the sickly diet of spaghetti and begun to eat with
the rest of us sadza and muriwo (if we can get the mealie meal). It is
something to celebrate to see the Zimbabwe Council of Churches coming
forward to present the good news. Good news is based on truth, love, justice
and what is actually happening in the lives of people and communities. It is
indeed an important step forward from the dishonesty and insincerity before
God that has characterised the work of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches in
recent years.

      Why is Archbishop Pius Ncube of the Roman Catholic church in Bulawayo
such a celebrated Christian leader in Zimbabwe at the moment? It is not just
because of courage and refusal to compromise his Christianity in the face of
evil and abhorrence of violence but also because he is one of those rare
people, good men and women who make the world the theatre of their
operations in the pursuit of liberation, freedom and justice. Archbishop
Pius Ncube's name has become synonymous with courageous, forthright and
uncompromising soldier of Christian values.

      The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has a tremendous responsibility to
the future generations of this nation. We have been heartened by the way in
which they have humbled themselves and openly pointing to their
shortcomings. We celebrate the way they have paused and taken stock of their
Christian witness.

      The gloves are off now and we applaud it. Another ZCC is rising, A ZCC
that is going to work. In the closing segment of their Communiqué, they talk
about lobbying Government to do this and that. They talk about intensifying
their work on many fronts notably the economy, political life of the
country, social sectors, HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support and indeed
many other things.

      It does appear indeed that they now understand the agonies of
Zimbabweans and the despair that has been haunting this country for the past
three years or so and the unspeakable misdemeanours of this crisis-ridden
Mugabe regime.

      We are delighted to see that the ZCC has finally joined the many
Zimbabweans and well-wishers who are actively involved in this most
tremendous development in Zimbabwe.

      In the final analysis, the most crucial point that needs to be said to
the Zimbabwe Council of Churches is that they must, as a matter of urgency,
turn their awareness of past sins into a firm resolve to build a new future
for Zimbabwe.

      May the Lord our God bless the Church in this country.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Nation, Kenya

Comment
Monday, July 21, 2003
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Conflict resolution: AU has failed Africa
By TONY SISULE
The Bush administration has deployed peacekeeping troops in Liberia, the
first time since the Somalia debacle that the US will be playing a military
role in an African conflict.

It could be argued that the American interest in Liberia is a moral one
given the human suffering and the obligation the US feels towards a country
that is largely made up of descendants of freed slaves.

Elsewhere in the continent, there are foreign troops keeping the peace in
Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and a few years ago, it took British
troops to quell a civl war in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

That it takes European and American troops to restore peace in Africa is
enough cause for us to judge the African Union harshly. The AU is failing as
surely as the Organisation of African Unity did. Why is it that Africa
continues to have so many conflicts unlike other regions in the world, and
our governments have no capacity to solve them when they arise?

The AU replaced the OAU because the former was ineffective in dealing with
modern African affairs. Save for the important role the OAU played in
helping end colonialism on the continent, the organisation was sworn to
non-interference in the internal affairs of nations.

This was interpreted liberally by dictators harassing their citizens and by
warring groups to mean conflict resolution by the organisation would be
tantamount to transgression against a nation’s sovereignty.

The AU cannot succeed if it adopts the same policies. It has to play a
complementary role to the UN efforts in preventing conflicts in Africa.

Conflicts in the continent arise due to two main factors. Most wars on these
fair shores are motivated by a quest for power in an undemocratic
environment. The belligerent parties are usually a ruling elite intent on
holding onto power and therefore determined not to allow free and fair
elections.

Taken together with tribal and clan voting patterns, religious differences
and racial tensions, those in power endeavour to allocate resources to their
cohorts and exclude the rest of the population. This stokes the fire of
rebellion among the excluded classes, who, lacking constitutional means to
ascend to power, take up arms.

The fire of conflict in Africa is fed by the vast natural resources that
provide a huge incentive to wage war and are used to pay for arms. Whereas
industrialised countries pretend to ban trade in illegal arms on paper, they
preside over huge industries that turn out tonnes of arms used in African
wars.

The arms industry in these countries is a major contributor to the election
funds of politicians and their trades are protected as long as they are
hushed-up.

The proliferation of arms in West, East and Central Africa is helped by
these policies. The West should stop its moral charade and admit that
sections of their economies thrive on African blood.

The position the AU has taken on Zimbabwe – not condemning the heinous
crimes Mugabe and his supporters are committing against the innocent
citizens – negates the key tenets of Nepad.

Mugabe merely uses the excuse of fighting for land to suppress his own
people. Had his problem been the white farmers alone, why would he be
torturing and jailing black Zimbabweans legitimately opposed to him? Why is
his government presiding over a collapsed economy and famine? Why do people
have to carry Zanu-PF cards to get relief supplies?

The AU should be at the forefront of getting Mugabe to relinquish power in
Zimbabwe and the holding of free and fair elections soon.

Institutional capacity building for peace is vital as well. The AU needs to
develop credible mechanisms for conflict resolution, arbitration, and
peacekeeping.

Notably, steps in this direction have been partly taken through the Kofi
Annan International Peace Training Centre in Ghana and the Peace Support
Training Centre in Kenya. But political will is still wanting at the Summit
level of the AU to confront undemocratic governments, curb military
aggression and prevent rebel groups operating in some countries.

Financing such an initiative is a big challenge, but serious commitment from
governments and the UN Security Council would make it work. This is the most
viable, acceptable and sustainable way of maintaining peace in Africa.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

  Mr Sisule studies development management at the University of Birmingham.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

IOL

New lease of life for Zim animal activist

      July 20 2003 at 10:28AM




      By Edwin Naidu


Zimbabwean animal rights activist Meryl Harrison has received a new lease of
life thanks to the generous contributions from members of the public after
an appeal by a Johannesburg radio station.

Harrison was fitted with a pacemaker during a successful operation at the
Milpark Hospital in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

The operation followed a Sunday Independent report about Harrison's brush
with death after her battle to save or mercy-kill domestic animals in
Zimbabwe.

The feisty Harrison spoke of her heart ailment and not being able to afford
treatment in an interview on the John Robbie Show on Talk Radio 702 just
over two weeks ago.

      'It had nothing to do with politics'
Harrison suffered from a potentially fatal condition that results in a rapid
heartbeat. Doctors said she would not suffer any further attacks after the
operation, which they described as a success.

After the interview, listeners phoned the station with pledges totalling R60
000 and offers of other help, including flight costs.

On Friday, Harrison spoke about her wish to return to Zimbabwe to continue
with the animal rescues that have put her life in danger on several
occasions.

"I can't wait to get back and continue the work," she said.

Harrison said she felt as if she had a new lease of life and was committed
to working to save animals suffering as a result of the political turmoil in
Zimbabwe.

"Animals are the innocent pawns in our life there.

"Humans are struggling and have it bad but the suffering for animals is 10
times worse," she said.

She thanked 702 listeners and Robbie, who visited her at the hospital on
Friday, for their generosity, adding that she would not have been able to
afford the operation.

"It's not us [Talk Radio 702], it's all our listeners who opened their
hearts and made it possible," Robbie said.

He said the station picked up on Harrison's experiences because her story
was inspiring.

It had nothing to do with politics, it was a story about people who were
doing wonderful work under very difficult conditions.

"It's totally apolitical and they're making a real difference," he said.

Cardiologist Dr Graham Cassel, who conducted the operation along with Dr Pro
Obel, said the procedure had been a success.

Cassel said the doctors who had worked on Harrison had not charged for their
services, while the hospital had waived theatre and ward costs, and a
Johannesburg company donated her R25 000 pacemaker.

"It was a fairly routine procedure, which has been very successful. If she
had paid for it, the whole operation would have cost between R60 000 and R70
000," Cassel said.

"The attacks she suffered will no longer occur."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
WEEKLY BRIEFING NOTE

20 July 2003
 
For Further Information Please Contact:
 
Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of Information: 0263 91 248 570
James Littleton, London: 00 44 7771 501 401

We are encouraged by the statements of Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and George W. Bush of the United States, that there has been a meeting of minds between the two presidents on the Zimbabwe crisis.

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
QUOTES
 
We are encouraged by the statements of Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and George W Bush of the United States, that there has been a meeting of minds between the two presidents on the Zimbabwe crisis?.We also hope that a firm time-frame will be established to restore democracy to Zimbabwe, which reflects the need to resolve the crisis urgently as expressed by President Mbeki,?  said MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai (9 July 2003)
 
International organisations such as the UN should ensure that rigorous vetting procedures are adhered to if they decide to continue to select members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police force. This clearly did not happen in the case of Detective Inspector Henry Dowa. This is an officer who is guilty of committing gross atrocities against innocent civilians in Zimbabwe?.His deployment in Kosovo is an affront to human rights, an affront to democracy and an embarrassment to the UN,? said Professor Welshman Ncube, MDC Secretary General (11 July 2003)
 
The protests (2-6 June) called by the MDC were not illegal?.Not only are assertions that the MDC defied court orders dangerously misleading so to are reports that the ultimate aim of the week of mass action was the forced removal of the Mugabe regime?The aim of the mass action was to peacefully bring pressure to bear on Mugabe and his regime to enter into unconditional dialogue aimed at resolving the crisis of governance in Zimbabwe,?  said Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity (15 July 2003).

 

On Thursday 17 July, the High Court ruled that the trial of the Presidential Election Petition, filed by the MDC, will begin on Monday 3 November 2003. In response to the ruling, MDC Secretary for Legal Affairs, David Coltart said:
 
?The MDC remains committed and determined to press ahead with the Election Petition in the High Court and is confident that justice will ultimately prevail. Whilst it is a matter of grave concern that it has taken so long for the matter to come to trial, at least now Zimbabweans and the world will be able to understand how the will of the people was denied in March 2002.?
 
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Political Violence/Intimidation
 
MDC MP?s Home Destroyed
The home of MDC MP Jealous Sansole was recently destroyed by Zanu PF militia. The militia also looted a shop owned by Sansole. Sansole reported the matter to the police, however, the police have yet again failed to take any action against the violent crimes perpetrated by Mugabe?s militia.
 
Chimanikre Charged Under Draconan Act
MDC Deputy SG, Gift Chimanikire, last week became yet another victim of Mugabe?s draconian Public Order and Security Act, a piece of insidious legislation widely condemned as a systematic assault on basic civil liberties. Police charged Chimanikire under POSA for allegedly authorising the publication of advertisements in newspapers that denigrated Mugabe. Chimanikire denies the charge.
 
Harare Mayor Under Constant Attack
Since returning from a recent private visit overseas, MDC Mayor for Harare, Engineer Elias Mudzuri, has been arrested twice, had his official bodyguards removed, and is currently resisting attempts by the Mugabe regime to force him out of his official residence. In a move that was clearly politically motivated, Mudzuri was ?suspended? on spurious grounds by Mugabe?s Minister for Local Government, Ignatius Chombo on April 29. MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai recently urged Harare Councillors to ignore the regime?s directives against the Mayor unless they are endorsed by the full council.
 
Mugabe?s Militia Attack Again
At least 12 people were injured last week when a group of Mugabe?s violent youth militia assaulted people evicted from a mine complex that has been turned into a ?training camp? for the militia.
 
Churches Say Sorry
Last Thursday the Zimbabwe?s Council of Churches apologised for not doing enough to help stop political violence, hunger, and the economic collapse of the country.
 
?We have, with our own eyes, watched as violence, rape, intimidation, harassment and various forms of torture have ravaged the nation. Yet some perpetrators have been set free,? the council said in a statement

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Humanitarian Crisis
 
Belated Appeal For Food Aid
The Mugabe regime is expected to make a belated appeal next week for humanitarian assistance. The MDC and civil society groups have been urging the regime for months now to appeal for food aid, given the low level of food stocks available, the expected yield from this year?s harvest and the number of people in desperate need of food aid.
 
The WFP recently issued a warning that it has been unable to secure funding from donors because there had been no official appeal for aid from the regime. In the latest crop and food supply assessment report by the WFP and the Food and Agricultural Organisation, it was estimated that 4.4 million people in rural areas and 1.1 million in urban areas would require food assistance in 2003/04. 
 
UN Human Development Report 2003
According to the UN Development Report 2003, Zimbabwe dropped to 145th position from 128th in 2002. The report concluded that Zimbabwe was one of the worst performers amongst developing countries. The findings of the report underline the scale of economic and social deterioration under Mugabe and Zanu PF. Until democracy is restored in Zimbabwe our standards of living and quality of life will continue to deteriorate at alarming rates.
 
Life Expectancy
Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now estimated at 35 years for the period 2000 to 2005, as compared to 61 years in 1990.
 
Blood Transfusions Under Threat
Zimbabwe?s National Blood Transfusion Services last week issued a dire warning that it might be forced to close down in September if it fails to import materials used in testing donated blood for diseases. This deeply alarming development is symptomatic of the pervasive collapse of the public health system over the past three years. Scores of healthcare professions have fled the country to escape atrocious working conditions, poor remuneration and the ubiquitous nature of the state sponsored violence, whilst the lack of foreign currency, precipitated by the politically induced economic collapse, has precluded the importation of critical medicines.

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Economic Crisis
 
      Inflation Rate Spirals Out of Control
The rate of inflation has gone up by 64.5% over the past 4 weeks, according to official figures, and now stands at 364.5%. The ?real rate? of inflation, however, is considered to be much higher. Economists are estimating that, on the basis of current economic trends, Zimbabwe is likely to have an official inflation rate nearing 1,000% by the end of the year. 
 
      Price of Maize and Bread Becoming Unaffordable
Mealie-meal prices have gone up by 500% after the state controlled Grain Marketing Board recently increased the selling price of maize to millers by 1,600% from Zim$9,600/tonne to Zim$211,756.
 
Last week the price of bread leapt from Zim$550 to Zim$1,000 a loaf following the GMB?s decision to increase the selling price of wheat by 1,000%.
 
Such huge increases in the prices of essential foodstuffs increases the number of ordinary Zimbabweans who are simply unable to afford basic commodities, even when they are available. 
 
    Zimbabwe Heading for Darkness
An article in the Daily News last week reported that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is now unable to pay for vital spares and equipment needed to keep the national power grid up and running. In addition, the article suggested that many parts of Harare could be plunged into darkness because ZESA is unable to pay for 18 transformers it needs to keep power flowing to 12 of the Harare?s residential areas.
 
      Tobacco Sales Down
According to the Tobacco Industrial & Marketing Board, sales of tobacco, traditionally Zimbabwe?s biggest source of foreign currency, are down 34% this year in comparison to last year?s figures.
 
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
General News
 
Zanu PF Mayors Lavished With Gifts
Zanu PF run Gweru and Kwekwe city councils, have approved substantial exit packages for their executive mayors who are scheduled to stand down from their positions ahead of elections planned for next month. Both mayors will be allowed to keep their official Mercedes. In addition they will also receive a new Nissan truck, a piece of land and a sum of money.
 
These exit packages are an offence to the millions suffering in gratuitous poverty in Zimbabwe. Whilst senior Zanu PF officials continue to live in comfort, enjoying ostentatious lifestyles, the rest of Zimbabwe is forced to wait for hours in queues for basic foodstuffs which often are unavailable or unaffordable.
 
New Bill To Fine MDC MPs
The illegitimate Mugabe regime, in yet another attack on civil liberties, is planning to introduce a ?Privileges Amendment Bill?, that will contain provisions enabling the authorities to punish MDC MPs who boycott presidential addresses and who ?wilfully absent themselves from parliamentary sittings or interrupt Presidential addresses to parliament?. MDC MPs, found guilty of contravening this insidious and undemocratic proposed piece of legislation, would be liable to fines equivalent to 6 months salary.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sokwanele Press Release 20 July

 

Chiredzi

 

Fuel Update

Apart from fuel delivered to Duly’s Triangle and Croco Motors Chiredzi
for ZANU PFs’ use only, the area has not had fuel delivered for seven weeks.
There is fuel available every now and again on the black market at between
$2300 and $2600 per litre and it is suspected that this fuel comes from Noczim
to ZANU PF to be sold on the black market.

War Vets Rob Bank

War vets have allegedly robbed the Barkleys Bank at Triangle.  Details of this story are very sketchy, and everybody is too frightened to talk, even the police. Obviously they have been threatened and told not to let this story out. More details to follow as soon as possible.

Settlers Up Stakes

The following is an exact copy of a letter to Mugabe that has been passed on to a reliable source.  The contents indicate that the Chiredzi district may be in for some trouble.
It is very significant that the meeting was held in the Hippo Valley Boardroom and included higher management.


THE DISTRICT ADMINISTRATOR
P.O. BOX 199
CHIREDZI

3 JULY 2003


FOR THE ATTENTION OF:

HIS EXCELLENCY,
THE HONOURABLE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE,
CDE ROBERT MUGABE

COMPLAINTS FROM A2 FARMERS: SUGAR CANE FARMERS:
CHIREDZI DISTRICT


IN A RECENT MEETING CONVENED BETWEEN A2 FARMERS AND HIPPO VALLEY ESTATES
MANAGEMENT ON 02-07-03 AT HIPPO VALLEY ADMINISTRATION BOARDROOM THE FOLLOWING
ISSUES WERE NOTED:-

1.IT SEEMS CHIREDZI DISTRICT IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DISTRICTS IN
THE COUNTRY IN THE SENSE THAT ALL TOBBACCO, WHEAT AND CATTLE
A2 FARMERS IN OTHER DISTRICTS HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH THE WHITE
COMMERCIAL FARMERS. THERE ARE NO INTERFERENCES WHATSOEVER
IN THEIR DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS. IN CHIREDZI DISTRICT THE FORMER
WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS ARE STILL CLINGING ON THE LAND
THAT WAS DESIGNATED FOR RESETTLEMENT PURPOSES. RACISM BY
THE UNREPENDENT WHITES IS STILL RIFE AND THE A2 FARMERS IN
CHIREDZI ARE CONSIDERED OR LABELLED AS THIEVES WHO STEAL THE
WHITEMAN’S SUGAR CANE.

2. THE A2 FARMERS WHO IN APRIL THIS YEAR DELIVERED THEIR CANE TO
HIPPO VALLEY MILL ARE NOT YET PAID FOR THEIR CANE.
SURPRISINGLY HIPPO VALLEY ESTATES ENTIRE BLACK MANAGEMENT
WORKING IN CAHOOT WITH WHITE FARMERS HAS STOPPED ALL
PAYMENT AND HAVE LODGED THE MONEY WITH THE HIGH COURT
PENDING DECISION BY THE COURTS.
IN A MOVE SEEN AS BACK TRACKING FROM EARLIER PROMISES THE
COMPANY HAS TAKEN UPON ITSELF TO USE ITS OWN LAWYERS-
SCARLEN AND HOLDERNESS TO GIVE THE INTERPLEADER NOTICES TO
A2 FARMERS THUS DEPRIVING THEM OF THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY
FROM THE SALE OF CANE. THE CASE HERE IS NOT BETWEEN HIPPO
VALLEY ESTATES AND A2 FARMERS BUT A CASE BETWEEN THE FORMER
WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND THE ACQUIRING AUTHORITY –
MINISTRY OF LANDS. THIS ALONE SHOWS THAT HIPPO VALLEY
ESTATES WANTS TO FRUSTRATE GOVERNMENTS AGRARIAN LAND
REFORM PROGRAME.

3. IN CONTRAST TRIANGLE LIMITED IS PAYING THE A2 FARMERS FOR
CANE DELIVERED TO TRIANGLE MILL. THE CANE COMES FROM THE
SAME FORMER WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS. IF ONE SENDS HIS/HER
CANE TO TRIANGLE MILL HE/SHE IS PAID BUT IF ONE SENDS TO HIPPO
VALLEY ESTATES HE/SHE IS NOT PAID. THERE IS THEREFORE NEED FOR
POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL TO TELL ANGLO-
AMERICAN CORPORATION THAT FRUSTRATING GOVERNMENT’S LAND
REFORM PROGRAMME IS TREASONABLE AND UNCALLED FOR.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. TO AVOID FURTHER PROBLEMS WITH A2 FARMERS HIPPO VALLEY
ESTATES SHOULD PAY A2 FARMERS IMMEDIATELY FOR THE CANE
DELIVERED AS PER AGREEMENT ie, 7 DAYS AFTER THE END OF EACH
MILLING MONTH.

2. HIPPO VALLEY ESTATES SHOULD EMULATE TRINGLE’S EXAMPLE OF
PROMOTING CO-EXISTENCE AND GIVING UNWAVERING SUPPORT TO
A2.

3. IF HIPPO VALLEY ESTATES IS NOT FORTHCOMING IN PAYING A2
FARMERS. THE FARMERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RE-ROUTE
THEIR CANE TO TRIANGLE MILL FOR PROMPT PAYMENT OF THEIR
PRODUCE.

4. ALL WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS SHOULD MOVE OUT OF ALL DISIGNATEDLAND
FORTHWITH.

5. SECTIONS 5 AND 8 SHOULD BE MADE BINDING AND CLEAR GUIDELINES
ON THE ACQUISITION SYSTEM BE PUT IN PLACE.

6. A2 FARMERS SHOULD BE PAID THEIR MONEY SO THAT THEY PAY BACK
BANK LOANS. BANKS ARE NOW HISITANT TO GIVE LOANS TO A2
FARMERS FEARING THAT THEY WOULD NOT GET THEIR MONEY BACK.



COMPILED BY MEMBERS OF CHIREDZI DISTRICT LAND COMMITTEE


C.C. MP. CHIREDZI NORTH

 

 

Masvingo Update.

 

First they rape the land, now commerce and industry?

The Ministry of International trade and Commerce in Masvingo has been sending letters to white, Indian and Asian business owners advising them that it is government policy that twenty per cent of the shareholding in their company must be transferred
to indigenous Zimbabweans and asking what steps they have taken to transfer
those shares or what steps they are taking in this regard.

 

The letter explains that "key strategic industries" must be accessible to indigenous
Zimbabweans although the letter does not define what a “key strategic industry” is, and neither does it define what is meant by “indigenous”.

 

In some cases, the letters have been sent to business people who are sole proprietors and in no case can the business in question be said to be a key strategic industry. The largest company in Masvingo is a family concern, owning a wholesale and several retail outlets in town and in the province. It is not an industry. An estate agent and a travel agent have also received the letters.

 

When the local office of the Ministry was contacted, the signatory of the original letter, Mr. Rubaya, was amiable and stated he was merely carrying out instructions from his head office. He then proceeded to inform the concerned businessman that he advised all business owners to respond to the letter as Cabinet needed to discuss the replies in the near future, and that it would not be in their best interests to ignore the letters.

 

Further into their telephone call, when it was pointed out to the official that regardless of the response from the business community, the Government would do whatever they wanted, the official cheerfully agreed.  He went on to remind his caller that, as with the commercial farmers, Government could and would simply ignore the law.  He agreed that there is no legislation in place at the present time which could compel any company to transfer its shares to anyone it did not want to. Indeed, the constitution in its present form does not allow discrimination on the grounds of colour.

 

Most business owners have simply torn up the letter. Others have responded by saying that the shareholding in the company is already entirely in the hands of indigenous
Zimbabweans, thereby leaving it to the Ministry to come back to them
and define the term indigenous.


Apparently one business owner in Chiredzi has received the same letter, but none in any of the major Zimbabwean cities.

There are sinister signs indicating that Zanu PF's platform for the next parliamentary elections will work on the basis that they can score major inroads into MDC urban strongholds.  They may be preparing to tempt workers, that they will empower them economically by giving them a stake in the companies for which they work. Whilst the letter does say that funding for the purchase of the shares is being worked out, it does not say specifically that employees of the company will be the beneficiaries and it does not say who will set the price of the shares.

 

A copy of the letter is available on request.

 

Fuel Update

 On the fuel front, it has been reported that most service stations have not received petrol since the 6th June and diesel since the 17th May. The notable exceptions to the fuel crises are Exor, owned by Simon Muzenda, and a Total station in Mucheke, owned by a Mrs. Mandaba, a Zanu pf party stalwart.

 

It has been established that about ten days ago about 30 000 litres of fuel came to the Total depot.  According to the retail marketing manager at Total in Masvingo, the fuel was owned by zanu pf, who directed that Total then deliver some of it to Mandaba and that the remainder be distributed to Exor. It was then available at the gazetted pump price, but only to those who were in possession of coupons issued by zanu pf.

 

When complaints were lodged, the retail manager claimed the fuel was designated to be sold to people who had to attend the president’s rally at Tokwe Mukorsi Dam in Chivi last Saturday. He had no answer to the question as to why a multinational fuel company should be taking instructions from a political party regarding the invoicing and distribution of fuel to particular service stations.


When the matter was taken up with a Stanley Hatendi, the second in charge
of Total in Harare, he professed ignorance about the matter. At the time of this release, diesel (not petrol) is available from Exor at a pump price of $1200 per litre. There is a sign boldly proclaiming "plenty diesel" outside the garage. It appears to be available to anyone - not just party card holders.

 

Copy of a letter from Roy Bennett

Dear friends.

 

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since I last wrote, but I guess that is now par for the course.

 

You never quite become used to it. It still makes your blood boil every time one of these thieves thinks they can steal or kill with impunity.

 

Well, as I stated last time, the government has reacted to the considerable pressure that many of those of you who are in the media managed to exert. For this I am grateful, and again in your debt.

 

However, it was a victory of limited worth, as before they left, the evil thieves managed to steal over $110 million dollars worth of property. Much of this was the personal possessions of my farm manager and his wife, Norm and Isobel Gardiner. These are two who have already suffered so much, in the last farm invasion and beatings. To now lose all their photographs, their clothes and their children’s clothes is heartbreaking.

 

The assistant manger, MR Brown Leston and his family had everything trashed and stolen, including his kid’s school books and Sunday school materials.

 

Unfortunately, it now looks like the whole saga may start again. One of the key organisers, a Mr Tendai Gurira, has been threatening to invade the farm again. In his arrogance and assumption of immunity from the law, he has identified himself. 

 

We also have more arrests and harassment at Chimanimani, but this has become a daily note.

 

But you never must let this get you down, and I am in the process of filing a legal suit against Mugabe, as the prime instigator of the these actions. If we back down here once, we let them win. So we fight on.

 

On a more general note, Morgan Tsvangarai is now out of jail, and more fiery than ever. So we are looking at interesting times in the future. But certainly the struggle is stepping up again. This time we will hopefully learn from the mistakes of the past, but I am very hopeful that many of the problems we have are already ironed out.

 

It cost the regime a lot to stop the mass action last time, more than many people know, and their capacity is reducing every day.

 

The US president’s visit to Africa has come and gone, and now we wait to see what the effect of his efforts with the African heads of state, in particular Thabo Mbeki.

 

 Meanwhile, on the home front we are redoubling our efforts to keep the pressure on these thieves, these kleptocrats that are still clinging to control, trying to squeeze still more money out of the rapidly dying Zimbabwean economy.

 

Thank you again for your support. Change is coming.

 

Roy Bennett MP

 

 

  1. Police take over school on Charleswood
  2. Ruwa occupation leader identifies himself
  3. Assault charges against Shane Kidd Thrown out of court

 

 

1. Police take over school at Charleswood Estate

 

In a further act of political harassment, Zimbabwe republic police officers from Chimanimani have forcefully occupied a class room in the Charleswood Estate school and are using it as a base for harassment and illegal detention of farm workers.

 

Below are the details of their actions. For more information, please call 04748240.

 

 

07.07.03                                            At around 1030hours a Defender Registration Number 288D arrived at the farm with police officers in uniform.  Among them were Inspector Mabunda from Chipinge, Inspector Chogugudza, Assistant Inspector Chivandika and Sergeant Zulu.  They were armed with FN rifles.  They went to see the headmaster, Mr. Majokwiro, at the school and told him they needed a classroom so they could stay at the farm.  Mr. Majokwiro had no alternative but to give them they keys.

They left four constables who are based at the school. As justification for this action, they falsely alleged that people at Charleswood are assaulting the settlers.

 

09.07.03                                            The four policemen based at the school arrested Chaveni Ngwenya, Gift Jari, Danai Shokobishi and Tari Mukungatu, all farm workers at Charleswood estate for questioning.  They were kept at the school for five hours and later released. The police allege that the reason they were detained was for assaulting settlers. However, then did not substantiate who was allegedly assaulted or have registered such a complaint. These arrests and the presence of the police on the farm substantially hinders ordinary operation of the farm, in spite of court orders against the Chimanimani ZRP officers from doing so.

 

Inspector Chogugudza visits the policemen on a daily basis.  He arrives with his deputy, Assistant Inspector Mufiriranwa and Sergeant Zulu.

Gift Jari claims he was assaulted by an army settler by the name of Jokoja and a worker of Jokoja’s who slapped him twice on the face.  A report was made to the police - but no action has been taken.

 

11.07.03                                            Shepherd Rufeyo a worker at Charleswood Estate was arrested on 7th July 2003 and taken to Chimanimani Police Station.  He was found with two tins of maize in his room.  The Police allege he stole the maize friom the settlers.

 

There have also been several incidents where the Police open fire on the farm for no reason.  Workers now run away each time they see the Police around the farm.

 

The presence of the police on the farm is disrupting most operations as the farm workers fear they will be victims of assault and unlawful arrest.

 

Efforts to trace Shepherd Rufeyo at the Police Station were fruitless and the matter has been handed over to Mr. Maanda at Henning Lock and Mr. Tsunga of ZLHR.

 

 

 

2. Ruwa occupation leader identifies himself, admits involvement.

 

Monday, 30 June at 4:06 pm, Roy Bennett received a threatening phone call from an unidentified individual stating,

 

Caller: we have taken your farm. Cease operations.

 

At this stage Roy Bennett cut them off. They then called straight back and said

 

Caller: you are not listening to us. Obviously you do not realise who you are dealing. You are calling sanctions on Zimbabwe. You are MDC.

Mr Bennett: the land invasions are over

Caller: you will see, they are just beginning. People like you we will destroy. You insulted the government.

Roy: I don’t know you, why don’t you see me and we can talk face to face.

Caller: you will see what we can do to you.

 

At which time Roy hung up the phone again.

 

The phone call was from Netone number 011422836. We have know identified the caller as Tendai Gurira, a failed Zanu-Pf candidate for Harare city Council and the leader of the June violent occupation and looting of the farm that Roy leases in Ruwa.

 

Since the Daily News made his identity public, Gurira has desisted from further calls to Roy. He did however admit that he was involved in the June occupation during a debate with Roy on SW Radio only recently. (A transcript will be forwarded shortly).

 

3. Assault Charge against Shane Kidd thrown out of court.

 

Assault charges against Shane Kidd alleging he assaulted Chimanimani ZRP Inspector Choguguguddza were thrown out of court by Magistrate Timothy Khumala in the Chipinge Magistrates Court on Monday the 23rd of June.

 

Mr Kidd is working in the forestry industry in Chimanimani and is a stauch MDC supporter.

 

Attached below is the successful Accused Defence outline submitted by Mr Shane Kidd’s counsul, Arnold Tsunga.

 

 

IN THE MAGISTRATES COURT

FOR THE PROVINCE OF MANICALAND

HELD AT CHIPINGE

In the matter between

The state

And

Michael Shane Kidd                                                                                      Accused

 

 

ACCUSED’S DEFENCE OUTLINE

 

 

1          The accused who is a law abiding, responsible citizen and employer in Chimanimani will plead not guilty to the maliciously trumped up charge.

 

2.         On the day of the alleged assault, the accused went voluntarily to the police station once he gathered information that the police were interested in him.           This voluntary co-operation with the police by the accused is inconsistent with the implication of the charge against the accused person, which suggest a completely unco-operative attitude by the accused.

 

3.                  Once the accused had voluntarily submitted himself at the police station, he was in a foreign and hostile environment, where he was outnumbered by well trained, fit and  armed policemen, central intelligence organisation (CIO) operatives, and the army which are all housed to his knowledge at Chimanimani police station premises. Hardly an environment where even the most brave and stupid could start a physical confrontation with the Officer-in-charge of a police station, let alone even a mere constable.

 

4.                  Despite having submitted himself to the police voluntarily, he was still detained. Not only was he detained, but over detained unlawfully until this Honourable court granted him bail . This demonstrates the inherent vindictiveness of the complainant.

 

5.                  When he submitted himself to the police  voluntarily, the initial impression which only came out when the state outline in casu, was submitted to the accused, was that the accused had held political gatherings/meetings (See para 3 of state outline). What is of course strange is that the state does not make an effort to explain why the accused was never charged in respect of the actual reason why police summoned him to the police station in the first place. This is entirely consistent with the fact that the accused is an innocent civilian who is being persecuted for his political beliefs.

 

6.                  Further and in any case, the accused requested further particulars of the alleged political gatherings/meetings on 17 February 2003. The State’s further particulars completely abandon the initial allegations of public meetings/gatherings and provide a completely new allegation that the accused had in April 2002 been taking photographs in Chimanimani and that such conduct offended ZANU PF supporters, (see para 2 of the State’s further particulars.) This material departure from its case is not explained at all and is again entirely consistent with malice and ulterior motives as the main drivers in this case. The State does not make any effort whatsoever to show why the alleged holding of a political meeting or the taking of photographs (even if these allegations are denied by the accused) should be an issue of police inquiry. The failure by the state to show clearly why the accused was wanted at the police station shows on a balance that the police were actuated by ulterior motives when they invited the accused to the police station.

 

7.                  The complainant was in plain clothes and the accused was within his rights to expect him to identify himself.

 

8.                  The complainant initially charged the accused with C/S 20 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which offence is linked to public order and security and invites severe penalties if convicted. Yet the state allegations go no where near showing any involvement of the public. If anything the facts in the allegations if proved, show a minor conflict which did not warrant the complainant undergoing any medical treatment. Again this conduct by the complainant, shows not only abuse of power, but malice and ulterior motive and a determination to punish the accused by detaining him before this Honourable Court intervened and had him released on bail after overdetention.

 

9.                  The state’s alleged facts which are denied, at best show a possibility of common assault. Yet the accused was detained for over 48 hours. This demonstrates malice ulterior motive and lack of professionalism on the part of the police.

 

10.              The complainant and other police details and CIO operatives tortured the accused person and his initial co accused while they were in detention. The complaint of torture was made to this Honourable Court at the first available opportunity by the accused. This Court ordered that a medical examination be done on the accused. Sadly the results of the medical examination show that the accused was indeed assaulted while in detention and suffered serious injury including a perforated eardrum. His initial co accused was also seriously assaulted while in detention. The police released him before Mr Kujinga saw him in order to conceal the fact of assault and also out of shame. Clearly the accused who is the actual victim of police brutality is in this position because the police as part of their wider abuse of power and the judicial process, have switched roles to portray themselves as the victims. This is consistent with selective application of the law which the complainant is guilty of since his assumption of office as Officer-in-charge at Chimanimani.

 

11.              It is also common cause and on record that the accused was denied access to his lawyer, Mr. Kujinga and also to his wife during detention. This was wanton violation of the law by the complainant. Sadly he has always done this with impuntiy in his area of authority to the extent at one time of chasing away in collusion with the CIO ,lawyers Ndhlovu and Maanda at gun point when they had gone to see their clients, one of whom incidentally was the accused in casu. On one occasion this Honourable Court had to issue an order directing the complainant and his fearsome partner CIO operative Joseph Mwale and sadly the Dispol Minor to produce the Hon MP for Chimanimani Roy Bennet who they had detained and tortured and denied him access to see his lawyer and family in September 2002. Given his track history, position in the police force, and control over the decision as to who should be charged, is it a wonder that he has managed to switch roles with the actual victim to become the complainant himself?

 

Clearly this is a case where this Honourable court must frown at the abuse of judicial process by the complainant who has a well documented history of unprofessionalism and partisanship, especially in a deadly and wicked partnership with arguably the most feared and cruel CIO operative Joseph Mwale in tormenting innocent, law abiding people in the Chimanimani area.

Dated at Mutare this 23rd day of June 2003

                                                                                                Arnold Tsunga

                                                                                                Counsel for the Accused

Back to the Top
Back to Index