|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 22 ? Zimbabwe's president dismissed a conciliatory gesture by the opposition and threatened Tuesday to hit his opponents with ''the full wrath of the law'' if they tried to destabilize the nation.|
In a strongly worded speech opening Parliament, President Robert Mugabe said ''internal and external forces'' were trying to plunge the nation into chaos, but it remained a role model for Africa.
Political violence, mainly blamed on ruling party militants, has been rampant over the past three years, leaving Zimbabwe's economy devastated, with unemployment at 70 percent and inflation topping 300 percent a year.
''We pride ourselves in our peace and stability,'' Mugabe told Parliament.
Mugabe's speech came after the opposition Movement for Democratic Change announced its lawmakers would not boycott Mugabe's speech as they usually do.
Spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the party hoped its move might clear the way for ''amicable negotiations'' for Mugabe's retirement.
''We believe we owe it to the nation and all the people who elected us to take bold steps in creating a political environment conducive to successful dialogue,'' he said.
Soon after that announcement, police detained Nyathi on allegations that a series of opposition campaign advertisements ridiculing Mugabe violated controversial security laws.
Nyathi was freed after signing a statement acknowledging that the MDC's information department, which he heads, was responsible for an advertisement depicting Mugabe as a thief fleeing an angry crowd, said Innocent Chagonda, his lawyer.
The opposition refuses to acknowledge Mugabe's declared victory in presidential elections last year that international monitors said were flawed. Two national strikes it has led this year to pressure Mugabe to retire have shut down what remains of the economy.
Mugabe, 79, remained defiant.
''I strongly warn those who seek to indulge in attempts to create political instability will face the full wrath of the law,'' he told Parliament.
Mugabe arrived at Parliament in an open-backed vintage Rolls Royce, once used by colonial era British governors, escorted by police on horseback carrying lances and wearing colonial-style pith helmets.
Judges in scarlet robes and long, white, traditional British wigs filed into the building ahead of Mugabe.
Communities begin by putting their favourite
individuals known for
exhibiting traits that would not be met in everyday experiences up there on
a pedestal. And the heroes meanwhile imagining their popularity is supposed
to last as long as they live, thrive in that world of make-believe and in
the process, only succeed in alienating themselves from those very people
who built statues, named highways, buildings and schools after them.
So much has been documented about how Robert Mugabe
himself from a guerrilla leader who led "his" people to the promised land,
only to go down that road of many yesteryear heroes who along the way
transformed themselves into villains waging a battle of wills with their own
As if the woes wrought on millions here
were not enough, the men whose
aid Mugabe enlisted to seemingly immortalise his rule have sought to outdo
themselves. The war veterans have been in the papers recently, and not only
because they have upped the ante in their quest to fully take over all white
commercial farmland or are giving nightmares to Roy Bennet.
This time, they have asked for the long-suffering
woman and child to fund their activities. Amid the many sufferings the
people of this country have been forced to travel through since the
invasions on the farms spelt doom for the economy and social being of the
state, the same people responsible for those migraines still expect largess
from the impoverished masses here.
It is safe to say
that after the ruling party, veterans of the
liberation war are the most collectively abhorred group of people in the
these men and women still expect Zimbabweans, reeling under the
despotism they have fervently supported, to bankroll their annual jamboree.
Small wonder then that they have said – or rather
complained – that they have not received any alms from any well-wisher
towards the hosting of their annual get-together. What is absurd is that
these men appear to be surprised that no one has actually shown any interest
in funding their annual congress.
But in this
country, what have been bred are dead consciences to
levels that would shock even the most "primitive" of societies. In the past,
the ruling party has used taxpayers’ money to meet the costs of hosting the
activities of the war veterans and this despite the fact that the country’s
coffers have already been bled by other unnecessary undertakings.
The violent fringe
of these heroes for hire has caused untold mayhem
across the country ever since they were handsomely rewarded for their role
in a war that took place more than two decades ago, and surely the people of
Zimbabwe should be speaking out at these many evils and making their
What would insult the long-suffering and perennially
and the corporate world whose firms were invaded and their staff beaten up
for crimes ranging from staying open during the mass stayaway and also
staying closed during the mass stayaway, is that these guys have dared ask
for their money despite the circumstances.
since the ruling party decided to transform itself from a
pretending democracy to an unapologetic tyranny, the people who will go down
in the country’s annals as those who brought ruin to a once prosperous
nation will no doubt be those men and women who wanted to be feared like
vengeful gods simply because they introduced themselves to a browbeaten
public as war veterans.
It is precisely for that reason that war veterans
came to be
identified with people or individuals who were synonymous with death, were
above reproach, above the law and could jump any queues, and with those who
voiced their disapproval bearing the consequences.
And then we also saw young men whose virgin chins had never been cut
by a razor claiming they were war veterans!
These young men expected
even their own fathers to fear them on that
one score, that is second to simply claiming they were ruling party
gamut of butchers, from the war heroes to the young men and
women graduates of the national youth service pejoratively called Green
Bombers (after a nuisance fly of that colour) and other foot soldiers who
took sides against the peace-loving people of this country, will take a long
time to be forgiven because all their activities were bankrolled by
It is through ZANU PF as the party forming our government that these
people fleeced money from the taxpayer. The war veterans have, however,
decided to do it themselves by asking us to donate to their cause!
took our money by proxy through the ruling party, through the
government, but hey, what the heck, these forgiving – and forgetful –
Zimbabweans must give us the money themselves, after all, we died for this
What kind of muntu (person) fails to exhibit
any kind of remorse and a
sense of shame that no, we have done so much harm here, it is time we
respected our fellow countrymen?
ever since the declaration about the ruling party being born of
blood and all the bragging about many degrees in violence, it was another
sure sign that the yesteryear heroes had outlived their popularity.
Indeed, every hero becomes a bore at last. It is only in fairy-tales
that we meet with folk heroes who are forever the people’s favourite.
Zimbabwe surely needs a collective personality rebirth, first that these
people may change, and second, that we may find it in our hearts to forgive
them. By Marko Phiri Marko Phiri writes on social issues.
State targets colleges, NGOs for crackdown
THE fourth session of Parliament will be asked to amend legislation
governing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and institutions of higher
learning, in a move that analysts yesterday said could empower the
government to clamp down on NGOs, students and lecturers.
Opening the fourth session of the fifth Parliament,
Mugabe said: "In order to ensure that the operations of Non-Governmental
Organisations are consistent with and supportive of government policies and
programmes, the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill will amend the current
Act and broaden the definition of NGOs to include Trusts," he said.
"This Bill is also intended to prevent
foreign interests from using
NGO structures to subvert our sovereignty."
Mugabe said the National Council for Higher
Education Act would be
amended "with a view to improving the operations of institutions of higher
learning by investing council with certain disciplinary powers over students
that armed forces, accused of using excessive force against
anti-government protesters, would continue "to maintain law and order when
called upon to do so", and that any attempts to "create political
instability will face the full wrath of the law".
Analysts said if approved by
Parliament, the proposed amendments would
enable the government to exert greater influence over the operations of
NGOs, students and lecturers.
NGOs operating in Zimbabwe have come under fire from
the government in
the past two years, with the government accusing them of "meddling in
politics" by allegedly promoting foreign interests and those of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
government last year ordered NGOs to register under the Private
Voluntary Organisations Act, a law that civil society groups have criticised
as "undemocratic" and inadequate to create a conducive environment for NGOs.
Many NGOs resisted the move to compel them to register
under the Act,
saying they were operating as trusts and were, therefore, not governed by
Analysts said using the
Non-Governmental Organisations Bill to broaden
the definition of NGOs to include trusts would allow the government to rope
in those NGOs that had used loopholes to evade its control.
They said giving the National
Higher Education Council the power to
discipline students and lecturers in colleges and universities would also
allow the government to rein in two groups
that are perceived to be highly critical of it.
Brian Kagoro, the co-ordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe
which represents civic groups, said the government wanted to suppress
He told the Daily News: "Basically, what
Mugabe wants is to silence
all dissenting voices - be it the Press or the opposition - so that his
successor will not be opposed.
saw this happening in the 1980s when ZANU PF started pouncing on
students, later the workers, white commercial farmers and the economy
through silly policies - all under the guise of
'protecting our sovereignty'."
Parliament has already passed legislation that
critics say has
curtailed free speech, movement and assembly.
The Public Order and Security Act and the Access to
Protection of Privacy Act have been used against the independent Press,
opposition party supporters and officials as well as individuals perceived
to be anti-government.
reported to have promised regional leaders that the
government would amend the repressive legislation to restore freedoms
enshrined in Zimbabwe's Constitution.
However, apart from the Non-Governmental
Organisations Bill that
analysts say could adversely affect NGOs, students and lecturers, the
government is proposing legislation that would enable Parliament to dock the
pay of legislators who boycott Mugabe's speeches.
Meanwhile, the President said HIV/AIDS remained the
The pandemic is said to be killing about 5 000 people every week. By
Columbus Mavhunga Staff Reporter
People, not Zanu PF, must declare national heroes
MY sense of moral imperative coupled with the exclusion and absence
of alternatives prompt me to invite you for a little introspection upon our
dearly departed. We always avoid debating about our national heroes, but at
the same time wonder if they really deserved the honour bestowed on them.
Because of our pious tradition, people
feel uncomfortable and
reluctant to question "the goodness" of a deceased. And in the case of our
heroes, the situation is made worse by the fact that the so-called
politburo, a party appendage composed of hand-picked participants from one
minority political party,
decides who is and who is not a national hero.
The result is that the
Heroes’ Acre, which is supposed to be a
national shrine, has slowly filled up with mediocrity as "entry
requirements" are altered for personal and political expediency.
But I do say, and I submit for your
judgment, the fact that if
Zimbabweans can be allowed to offer a binding definition of a national hero,
about 70 percent of the 54 heroes lying at the National Heroes’ Acre would
Before we go any
further, let us accept that all the people who lie at
the national shrine are worthy of the honour, although in varying degrees
and to various constituencies. Every individual is valuable.
But it is when we
hold their contributions and history up for the
nation to see that most run into a credibility problem thick as a block of
Initially, the Heroes’ Acre was a shrine that ZANU PF and PF-ZAPU
concurred to erect in honour of fallen distinguished participants in the war
Having won the war and living with civilians, they
noticed that there
were other people in civil society who had made equally important
contributions to the war effort or to society without leaving the country.
Commendably, the two parties made amendments to
consider and include
such people. They did not, however, amend, alter or add the requirement to
invite civil society and the generality of the citizens to also recommend
individuals for national hero status. They reserved the right to pick,
choose, accept or deny national hero status to anyone.
So now we have a situation where a group of hand-picked
men and women
sit down to consider and deliberate on the status to be bestowed on the
fallen citizen. Keep in mind that this politburo only considers awarding
such status after its party’s district or provincial committees have
recommended to them that the deceased be considered for such an honour.
Then the politburo members, reminiscent of Catholic
the Conclave to elect a new pope, stream into the ZANU PF headquarters to
take tea as they "deliberate" on the fate of a fallen citizen. Mercifully,
the politburo does not send a smoke signal like the bishops do, but they let
Nathan Shamuyarira issue a statement announcing the arrival of a new hero,
something we would already have known because ZTV will have been playing the
song NeSango – now a precursor to heroism. This is arrogance at its worst.
The politburo is really a non-essential
group that is not even a
government body, is not national and is not adequately representative of our
society. It has no constituency, but it decides who is a hero as if heroism
they have only granted heroism to politicians of a certain
persuasion; all Zimbabwe’s heroes are politicians. ZANU PF finds no heroes
outside itself. Some people at the National Heroes’ Acre are lucky to be
I don’t believe in luck myself. I believe people
make their own luck.
Josiah Tongogara, Joshua Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo, Jason Moyo, Leopold
Takawira, Jairos Jiri, Nikita Mangena and a host of others made their own
They did not need to be declared national
heroes by ZANU PF or anyone
because they were heroes even before they fell; their heroism is
self-evident. Their heroism need not be explained or deliberated upon.
And now here we are and we see that the
presence of some people at the
national shrine highlights the unjust omission of others. Conversely, the
absence from the Heroes’ Acre of well-deserving national heroes mocks the
presence of many people buried there.
The heart of the matter is that the manner in which
national heroes are identified and declared is fraudulent in intent, in
design and in execution.
Out of the 54 national
heroes, a little more than 22 are former
Cabinet ministers and governors. Now, let’s keep in mind that one is not
elected but is appointed to a Cabinet post. And this is done to reward an
individual for loyalty, ability or such qualities. That is quite normal.
But then when a ZANU
PF-appointed Cabinet minister dies, he is
declared a national hero. In short, therefore, ZANU PF Cabinet ministers
have national hero status bestowed upon them as a reward for having accepted
an earlier reward.
It has nothing to do with the nation at large nor does it have
anything to do with ability. It’s just what is called camaraderie. It is
simply bogus. I predict that many families will one day be asked to come and
reclaim the remains of their sons for reburial elsewhere.
If a nation has no say in the identification of its own heroes, it is
folly to believe that those who are literally appointed to heroism will be
regarded as heroes by the people. Heroism is not bestowed; heroism is
earned. It is born from the selfless yielding of one’s own self to one’s
Do we remember how Guy Clutton-Brock, the only Caucasian to be so
honoured by ZANU PF, came to rest at the Heroes’ Acre? South Africa and the
African National Congress (ANC)’s Joe Slovo died on 6 January,1995. There
was every indication that after less than a year in office, the new ANC
government was going to acknowledge and honour a white son as a hero of
their liberation struggle.
In our 15 years of independence, we had not done so yet; we faced
embarrassment. Guy Clutton-Brock died three weeks later on 28th January
1995. The President did the unusual thing of personally flying to the United
Kingdom to beg and bring back some of Clutton-Brock’s ashes. Clutton-Brock’s
ashes were interred at our Heroes’ Acre on 11 August 1995, more than six
months after his death. I hope it was sincere because sacrifices made must
be acknowledged. You think my suspicions are far-fetched? I do not think so.
Remember for most of the Eighties, Zimbabwe was run under a state of
emergency. When F W de Klerk initiated his reformist policies, he proposed
and actually lifted the ban on political activity in South Africa during the
first quarter of 1990. ZANU PF summoned its MPs back to Harare to officially
lift our state of emergency, which they did but only hours before De Klerk
unbanned the ANC and other political parties in South Africa. South Africans
were poised to enjoy more political freedom under the white minority
government than Zimbabweans did under Mugabe.
Our state of emergency was lifted to avoid such an embarrassment, not
because we were to be freer. The ZANU PF politburo must simply refer the
declaration of national heroes to the people. “National” implies some sort
of national consensus and that should involve various bodies, sectors and
the communities. The practice has been nauseatingly politicised and is
clearly being abused.
I watched in awe as ZANU PF superfluously declared Joshua Nkomo a
national hero. He did not need ZANU PF for that. ZANU PF used him. I felt
sorry even more when his wife was taken to Harare’s Heroes’ Acre. She too
was shamelessly used. Her family should have declined like Judith Todd did.
Mrs Nkomo suffered the humiliation of dressing her husband in a woman’s
outfit as a desperate camouflage to literally run away and hide from Robert
And then the man turned around and declared both of them heroes as
their families cheered. Sheba Tavarwisa was buried in Gutu after being
denied national hero status despite being the only woman ever to sit on ZANU
PF’s Dare ReChimurenga, the War Council.
One man I met at Chachacha Business Centre hours after the President
had left was furious when I asked him about heroes and what he thought about
the treatment given to his homeboy, the late hero Clement Muchachi. “I do
not understand what our heroes are all about,” he declared. “I do not know
what they are supposed to espouse. Tell me yourself, do you really think
people like Border Gezi, Chris Ushewokunze, Swithun Mombeshora and all those
people ZANU PF calls heroes did more for Zimbabwe than Ndabaningi Sithole or
Michael Mawema? “I think it is time for some of our known surviving heroes
to decline being soiled by ZANU PF and refuse to be buried at that shrine.
Mugabe would not be President if it were not for the bravery of those men.”
Obviously, there is quite a number of people we hold in the highest
esteem at the Heroes’ Acre. But ZANU PF’s conceited manner of anointing
heroism takes away the reverence from otherwise deserving people. Even the
innocent deceased are mocked by their unjustified elevation.
By Tanonoka J Whande Tanonoka
Joseph Whande is a Zvishavane-based writer.
Riot police called after angry
TSHOLOTSHO – Riot police were called in to defuse a potentially
explosive situation in Tsholotsho when villagers besieged the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) depot demanding that maize be sold to them, it was
learnt this week.
According to eyewitnesses, a delivery of maize was
Friday in the area, which had gone for more than a month without any
supplies of the staple food crop.
When the Daily
News visited the area on Monday, eyewitnesses alleged
that some villagers suspected to be supporters of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) were told that they would not be given maize.
said to have led to a commotion that the police were called in
Eyewitnesses said the maize was then sold under the
watchful eye of
They said District
Administrator Frederick Mbila attempted to plead
with GMB officials to sell the maize to all villagers but he was threatened
with assault by members of the area’s food task force.
Mbila yesterday refused to comment
on the matter, saying: “I don’t
want to discuss that with the Press.”
GMB officials also declined to comment on the issue.
However, the police officer in charge of Tsholotsho,
confirmed police presence during the distribution of maize on Friday.
“There was maize being sold and as you know, when
people know that
there is maize that is being delivered, they gather in large numbers. In
fact, what the police did was just control the crowd, not what people are
saying,” he said.
He denied allegations that 20
bags of maize weighing 50 kilogrammes
each were discovered hidden at the depot. The maize bags were allegedly
destined for a local chief who the villagers identified by name.
Gopudza said if such an incident
had occurred, those responsible for
hiding the maize would have been arrested.
Villagers who spoke to the Daily News on Monday said
they were struck
off the list of beneficiaries of donor food and were not being allowed to
buy maize from the GMB because they were suspected to be MDC supporters.
Some villagers were still milling around the GMB
depot on Monday
despite being told that the maize had run out.
“The situation is getting desperate. Our children are
going hungry for
days and we are being denied maize even if we want to buy it,” said
Siphelile Nyoni, a villager who said she was at the GMB depot on Friday.
Another villager, who spoke on condition he was not
named, added: “All
villagers from ward 13 are not getting donor food and they are also not
being allowed to buy maize from the GMB because they are perceived to be MDC
Mtoliki Sibanda, the Member
of Parliament for Tsholotsho, last week
warned of a humanitarian disaster in the area if villagers were not given
food before the end of the month.
“Hunger is so widespread that people have resorted to
fruits to survive,” he said.
Villagers did not harvest any crops this year because of inadequate
rain and a severe shortage of maize seed.
Shops in the district are well-stocked with
various commodities that
are in short supply around the country, but villagers say they cannot afford
Deputy sheriffs appeal for 453pc fee increase
ZIMBABWE’S deputy sheriffs and messengers of court have appealed to
the government to raise their fees by 453 percent to enable them to continue
operating, it was learnt yesterday.
Nhamburo, the national chairman of the association representing
deputy sheriffs and messengers of court, told the Daily News that his
organisation had written to the Justice Ministry asking it to review
The tariffs were last reviewed five years ago, he added.
“At the moment we are being paid $34 for every
kilometre travelled by
a messenger of court and $35.20 for a deputy sheriff,” Nhamburo said.
He added: “We wrote to inform the ministry that
the fees need to be
reviewed because if we continue to be paid at those stipulated rates, our
operations will collapse. At the moment, over 80 percent of our fleet is
grounded and, coupled with these pathetic rates, it becomes unbearable. We
have a serious backlog of court papers that have not been served.”
He said his association was proposing that the
fees paid to deputy
sheriffs and messengers of court be increased to $188 a kilometre. The
proposed tariffs were submitted to the government last month, Nhamburo said.
He said the government had yet to respond to the proposed fee hike.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa could not
be reached for comment on
gazettes the tariff structure for deputy sheriffs and
messengers of court.
The tariffs were last reviewed five years ago, but
Zimbabwe’s rate of
inflation has shot up in the past five years, making it difficult for deputy
sheriffs and messengers of court to continue operating.
Nhamburo said his association had also brought up
the issue of fuel
deliveries with the government because severe shortages of petrol and diesel
had adversely affected the operations of members of his association.
Zimbabwe is facing a serious fuel crisis arising
from a foreign
currency squeeze that has almost crippled industry and commerce in the
Nhamburo said deputy sheriffs and
messengers of court were being
forced to buy fuel on the black market, where prices are significantly
pushing up the operating costs of most businesses around the country.
“Our respective offices are expected to
sustain themselves, but we can
’t make ends meet,” he said.
He added: “The pump price of petrol is $450 a litre but the black
market rate is about
$2 200 a litre, and it’s readily available there, leaving many without
an option but to source it from there.
“Our fleet has been grounded and we are failing to execute our duties.
“We want a situation where we access the fuel through
points like government departments.”
Mugabe to make firms sell stake to black investors
July 23, 2003
By Bloomberg and Reuters
Harare - Zimbabwe planned to force local companies and the units of
foreign firms operating there, such as Anglo American and Old Mutual, to
offer a fifth of their shares to black investors, President Robert Mugabe
Forcing investors to sell may deepen Zimbabwe's five-year recession.
An indigenisation bill would be introduced in the current session of
parliament, Mugabe told MPs in a speech outlining the government's programme
for this year. The mining law would also be amended to make it easier for
black people to own mines.
White Zimbabweans, who make up less than 1 percent of its 11.5 million
population, own more than half the companies traded on the Zimbabwe stock
exchange, according to official figures
"[The government] will intensify indigenisation by enacting an
indigenisation bill forcing companies to offer 20 percent of shareholdings
to indigenous people," Mugabe said.
He said Zimbabwe would cultivate friends in the Third World to break
out of international isolation because poor countries could not afford to be
"We have to recover lost alliances, resuscitate those that are dormant
and reconstruct those we may have neglected because it has become clear that
the evolving global environment is unkind to the small, dangerous to the
weak and the isolated, and tempting to the greedy," Mugabe said.
Mail and Guardian
Churches' apologies no help to ordinary Zimbabweans
23 July 2003 10:44
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has apologised for "not having done
enough at a time when the nation has looked to us for guidance" during the
A news release on the website of Christian Aid, a ZCC partner organisation,
said the ZCC was apologising for "standing by while its country's people
have starved to death due to food shortages and while violence, rape,
intimidation and torture have 'ravaged the nation'".
According to Christian Aid a communiqué issued at the council's annual
general meeting earlier this month said the churches "have watched as
children have been forced onto the streets out of poverty".
It quoted the communiqué as saying that "while the church has noted all
these developments, and while we have continued to pray, we have not been
moved to action ... 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
But the churches' apology has left some commentators under-whelmed. "We've
heard many apologies before," said human rights activist Brian Kogoro.
As to the significance of the churches' statement, Kogoro commented: "After
the Matabeleland massacre [in the 1980s] the churches issued an apology and
condemned the genocide, so for those of us who have been monitoring church
involvement in socio-economic, political and justice issues, we are waiting
to see something more than just an apology.
"We are waiting to see what practical steps aimed at dealing with the
current situation [will be taken]. We are waiting to see the church taking a
decisive position on human rights; a tough position on the issue of
political transition and repressive legislation."
He added that "whilst the apology might serve to soothe their moral and
religious sense of duty", it did not ease the circumstances of ordinary
Zimbabweans. - Irin
Lawyer accused of conniving with suspected robber
A HARARE lawyer yesterday appeared in court to answer charges of
obstructing the course of justice by conniving with an alleged armed robber
to dispose of firearms in order to conceal evidence.
The lawyer, Mande Baera, was remanded out of custody
to 6 October on
$10 000 bail when he appeared before Harare magistrate Faith Musinga.
Musinga ordered Baera to surrender his travel
documents and not to
interfere with state witnesses.
state alleges that on 16 July this year, one Clifford
Chikatanda,who is facing a series of armed robbery charges involving more
than $24 million, was arrested.
The following day, Chikatanda advised his lawyer,
Baera, about his
arrest and he interviewed him at the Criminal Investigation Department.
During the interview, Chikatanda revealed to Baera
that he was in
possession of three firearms hidden in a radio at his house, the state
The court heard that Baera and Chikatanda
agreed to dispose of the
firearms before a search was conducted by the police.
On the same day, Baera went to Chikatanda’s house in
ordered Chikatanda’s wife, Sarah Chidiya, to remove a bag containing pistols
from the radio and dispose of them, the state alleges.
Chidiya took the pistols and hid them at her cousin’s
house in St Mary
The pistols were recovered by
the police from underneath a bed
following which Chidiya was arrested.
Administrative Court reserves judgment on MABC appeal
ADMINISTRATIVE Court president Alfonse Chitakunye yesterday
indefinitely reserved judgment on an appeal by Munhumutapa African
Broadcasting Corporation (MABC) against a decision by the Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to deny it a broadcasting licence.
The BAZ turned down MABC’s application because it
allegedly did not
provide sufficient details on its sources of funding.
Chitakunye did not give reasons for reserving judgment.
Advocate Happius Zhou, representing MABC, argued that
was limited to advising the minister and it did not have power under the law
to reject the aspiring broadcasting station’s application.
“The mandate of the authority, which is a creature
of statute, is
limited to advising the minister and not to pass a decision on licence
application,” Zhou said.
“The decision which is the
subject of this appeal is not by the
(information) minister,” he added.
"I submit that the appeal must be allowed in terms of law.”
Harare lawyer Johannes Tomana, who represented BAZ, said
was without merit because the authority’s licence committee communicated the
minister’s decision that MABC’s application for a broadcasting licence was
“MABC had two basic
remedies and firstly they had to consider an
appeal like they have done and to take the matter for review if there are
procedural irregularities they feel can be corrected ,” Tomana said.
He said MABC’s
application was rejected on the basis that it did not
have the capacity to operate a satellite subscription service if it were to
“In terms of the Broadcasting Services Act, MABC was
commence operations in the first six months after a licence was granted,” he
said. “But the station intended to begin the service in the fourth year and
furthermore, not as a paid subscription service but free-to-air.”
Tomana said there was no written undertaking by
MABC on how it was
going to finance its satellite broadcasting project.
“There was no proof placed before the licencing
committee on how MABC
was going to meet the financial obligations of the project,” he said.
“Rather, they are leaving the funding
capacity to after they have been
But Zhou said
documents showing how the project would be funded would
be provided if the court allowed the matter to be remitted for inquiry
before the BAZ.
In reserving judgment, Chitakunye said both parties would
of the date when judgment would be delivered.
MDC to challenge nomination process
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday said
its lawyers had begun preparing to challenge in court the nomination process
for urban council elections, for which it failed to field several candidates
because of alleged violence by suspected ruling ZANU PF supporters.
opposition party was on Monday prevented from presenting
candidates for next month’s urban council elections in Karoi, Rusape,
Bindura and Chegutu because ruling party youths allegedly blocked roads
leading to the Nomination Courts in these areas.
ZANU PF candidates were as a result declared
winners of the Bindura
mayoral seat and 41 wards.
spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the party’s lawyers were
compiling evidence case by case before challenging the results.
He said: “We have
instructed our lawyers to start cracking on the
matter. We will not allow the results to stand, otherwise posterity will
blame us for letting the law of the jungle
He spoke as it emerged that
Fred Chimbiri, the party’s candidate for
the Bindura mayoral election, had fled the town with his family in fear for
his life because of threats by ruling party supporters. The ZANU PF youths
are said to have barred all opposition candidates in Bindura from submitting
Speaking from his hideout in Harare, Chimbiri said he
felt insecure in
Bindura, where ZANU PF youths reportedly spent Monday night chanting slogans
and hunting down opposition candidates.
do not feel safe and secure in Bindura,” said Chimbiri. “I have the
intention to go back to Bindura, but not for now.”
He said he was not
comfortable discussing his ordeal and referred all
questions to Nyathi.
In Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC provincial
alleged that armed ZANU PF militants barred his party’s candidates from
entering the Nomination Court venue in Rusape, where ruling party candidates
were also declared winners.
ZANU PF Manicaland
spokesman Charles Pemhenayi denied the reports,
saying: “The MDC has been fielding candidates since 2000. We have not heard
any reports from the police that they were chased from the Nomination
“We have recorded a clean sweep in Rusape. We are extremely
humbled by the people of Rusape.”
But Muchauraya maintained that ZANU PF
youths threatened MDC
candidates with death if they filed their nomination papers. He said the
youths launched a door-to-door campaign on Friday, aimed at flushing out MDC
candidates and their supporters.
Muchauraya said the youths confiscated vehicle keys from one MDC
activist, accusing him of using his vehicle to transport MDC aspiring
councillors and their supporters.
If you smell a witch you are one yourself
INDEPENDENCE did not give the majority economic control of the
For quite some time, the government was not
even concerned with
redressing the imbalance. Members of the ruling elite were far too busy
getting a slice of the rich cake for themselves.
When they finally decided to change the lopsided
destroyed it altogether, which was like getting rid of a disease by killing
When things go wrong, you need
someone to blame. You need a scapegoat.
This is a deeply felt human need. The awful alternative would be to accept
responsibility oneself. Unthinkable!
In our case, the ruling elite settled for the
local whites and the
British as the collective scapegoat. True independence, of course, would
have meant acknowledging one’s own failure whereas before one could have
blamed the colonial masters.
Talking about decolonisation of the mind!
In our extremely stressed society,
traditional witchcraft beliefs
provide apparent relief. At times of economic repression, suspicions of
witchcraft abound, as do the consequent witch-hunts (M F C Bourdillon, Where
are the Ancestors, p 119).
Chavunduka admits that some aspects of witchcraft are not
empirically provable. (Daily News, 9 June 2003). If that is so, then as a
social scientist he should not argue for witchcraft as a physical reality.
Parapsychology, however, is engaging in methodical
observation of, and
experimentation with, psychic phenomena, and witchcraft techniques which
operate at a distance without actual physical contact should be proven to
exist by such tests.
Or else they exist only in
people’s minds. Which is what most social
scientists assume witchcraft to be, a reality only if people believe in it.
As such, it cannot be ignored though.
It may cause people to commit ritual murder, for instance.
Gwinyai Dziwa says you cannot prove the existence of
God either, and
yet people believe in him (Daily News, 14 June 2003). But then God is on a
different plane altogether. He is everywhere and nowhere – everywhere as the
ultimate cause of all natural phenomena and nowhere if you think him an
observable part of nature to be seen through a microscope or telescope.
Chavunduka admits further that the Witchcraft
Suppression Act may have
prevented some innocent people from being accused of witchcraft.
But he is concerned with the witches (who) have
been set free over the
years for what the
court said was lack of concrete evidence, not with the innocent
wants us to accept the authority of persons in trance and of
traditional healers as expert witnesses whose claims would not be
empirically provable. He disregards the fundamental legal principle which
says that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
If courts had to accept the word
of such experts as evidence without
further proof, who would be safe?
This principle of Roman law is older than Christianity,
but we find it
quoted in the founding document of the Church, the New Testament (Acts 25:
16). Instead of accusing the Church of misleading society, Chavunduka should
be grateful that Christians stand up for the innocent. The head of the
Zimbabwe Traditional Healers’ Association is on the side of the accusers,
the Church thinks of the accused.
There is little we can do about the evil that may be in other people,
but a great deal about the evil in ourselves.
The Church lost an
opportunity to remove evil spirits from society
(Chavunduka). Not at all. Start with the evil spirit in yourself. That is
the only one you can remove.
The question is: why do people accuse others of
bewitching them? Maybe
Shona wisdom has the answer: Kuziva uroyi hwomumwe, iwe unahwowo. (If you
smell a witch you are one yourself). Even if Chavunduka’s wish was fulfilled
and Zimbabwe had a more effective law against witchcraft, it would not
liberate people from their fear of witches. In fact, the more witches were
convicted, the greater the fear of them would become, thus proliferating
witchcraft accusations. Fear of witches and hatred for them never solved
anything. If the economically powerful ethnic minority were eliminated from
the country altogether, would that turn us into a paradise? We all know it
would not. Fear and hatred are socially disruptive forces. They never
produce anything positive, they never create well-being and happiness.
Social tensions which reach fever-pitch under ever increasing stress are not
relieved by witchcraft accusations, but only made worse. Zimbabweans are
forever engaged in working out new schemes how to escape disaster and to
land the big coup that will banish poverty from their doorsteps once and for
all. When these schemes fail, there is general despondency and despair. Why
did I fail to get onto the flight to “Harare north” when everybody else has
a brother there who is making plenty of money? Some jealous person must have
thrown a spanner into the works or placed some poison in my path. Isn’t it
time we faced reality, sorted out our mess and became productive ourselves
instead of forever hankering after getting a finger into other people’s
pies? Isn’t it time to admit that in the end, we have none but ourselves to
blame and to lift the upset scotchcart out of the ditch? Belief in
witchcraft may offer an escape route, but it is no better than getting drunk
on kachasu; the morning after things are worse than before. It is never a
substitute for competence in running a business or hard work for passing an
exam. And it does not spare you the effort of sitting down with people you
fear or hate and having it out with them. Shout at the British or anyone
else you loathe as much as you like; in the end you have no choice but to
live together with them on this shrinking globe where there is less and less
chance to run away from each other. Or indeed from witches. By Father Oskar
Wermter Father Oskar Wermter is a Catholic priest and social commentator.
A cowed nation suffers in silence
THE violence that predictably marred nomination of candidates for
local government elections this week is a sad reminder that murder and
common thuggery have become “acceptable” means of staying in power in
An opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party candidate in
Chegutu, Albert Ndlovu, suffered a broken neck while several others had to
be rushed to hospital after being attacked and injured by suspected ruling
ZANU PF party youth militias during nomination on Monday.
ZANU PF won the mayoral seat in Bindura and at least 30
wards in the
municipalities of Marondera, Chegutu and Rusape unopposed allegedly because
MDC candidates in those areas could not submit their nomination papers after
ruling party thugs apparently chased them away from nomination courts.
The government, if it was interested, could
put an end to this
senseless violence and lawlessness, be it caused by the MDC or ZANU PF.
Indeed, one could almost say that it is in the
personal interests of
President Robert Mugabe and his top officials to be seen to be upholding the
rule of law and democracy so that punitive Western travel and financial
sanctions imposed on them – and on them alone and not on Zimbabwe – could be
The government’s apparent
unwillingness to act against widening
violence, as evidenced by the lawlessness that marked the nomination of
election candidates in some municipalities this week, can only suggest that
the government itself stands to gain from the political violence.
How else could one explain
the failure by the government’s
controversial Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, or that equally useless
outfit known as the Electoral Supervisory Commission, to condemn violence
against MDC candidates this week?
That political violence could be allowed against the MDC
so soon after
South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki staved off American pressure for
democratic change in Zimbabwe by telling President George W Bush that ZANU
PF and the MDC were talking should be cause for Mbeki to seriously
reconsider whether some people are worth his trust.
We are sure Mbeki would agree that breaking each other’s
hardly the way to encourage dialogue and tolerance between the MDC and ZANU
But more importantly, the fact that thousands
of ratepayers in not
less than four municipalities could be disenfranchised by a group of
political thugs should surely test the patience and tolerance of
Zimbabweans, who have long been subjected to mindless provocation,
oppression and continued abuse of their basic rights.
For far too long, Zimbabweans have sat back playing the
blame game or
calling on Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo or even Bush to come
to their rescue, a burden that should be the responsibility of Zimbabweans
Zimbabweans owe it to themselves and to
their children to do what they
should have done years ago: standing up and reclaiming their power from the
political thugs who have reduced this country to a pariah state, which is
rightly shunned by all but the rogue states such as North Korea and Libya.
Indeed none but Zimbabweans
themselves can free this country from
repression and economic hardship.
Others, no matter how hard they try and
peace-making efforts are, can only offer words of encouragement and no more.
So it’s up to us all, the cowed nation of Zimbabwe which continues to suffer