|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
July 25, 2003
Posted to the web July 25, 2003
More than 500,000 Zimbabweans have been forced to leave their homes since
the start of the government's controversial "fast track" land reform
programme, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has claimed.
In a recent report, "Displaced and forgotten: Internally Displaced Persons
(IDPs) in Zimbabwe", the NRC estimated that since the government's takeover
of commercial farms began almost three years ago, some 240,000 farm workers
had lost their jobs.
ex-commercial farm workers had been able to continue living in
farm compounds, "many of those without resources have become internally
Food security was a key concern, since large numbers of farm workers had no
access to land during the 2002/2003 season, while internal displacement had
taken its toll on the most vulnerable members of the farm worker population.
"These are, in particular, people who are unattractive as labour for the new
farmers and who do not have the resources required to find long-term
resettlement opportunities. It includes, among others, the elderly,
female-headed households, orphans and people in poor health, e.g. HIV/AIDS
victims," the report stated.
Farm worker representative groups told IRIN that in some cases former farm
workers found themselves drifting from farm to farm seeking temporary
shelter and employment.
"We have noticed that people have found ways of coping. Gold panning is a
major activity in some parts, but also, families have resorted to selling
firewood and even their own personal assets. Unfortunately, there are those
who have turned to commercial sex as way of making money to buy food," Farm
Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ) director Godfrey Magaramombe said.
Initially the situation was made all the more precarious as many labourers
were excluded from food aid programmes.
"That situation has been slightly remedied as donors have been forthcoming.
We are feeding about 100,000 ex-farm workers and about 160,000 children. But
our capacity is limited and we can only manage so far with the little
resources," Magaramombe said.
While farm workers were the majority of the casualties of land reform in
Zimbabwe, political activists, "especially during elections periods", also
faced continuous displacement, the NRC said.
"While in the past the [ruling] ZANU-PF youth militias and the war veterans
focused much of their violence on rural areas, since 2002 the capital,
Harare, and its suburbs (often opposition strongholds) as well as other
major cities have become the focus for the ruling party's campaign to
suppress the opposition," the NRC claimed.
IRIN was unable to obtain comment from the government on Friday.
Among its recommendations the refugee NGO called for a countrywide survey to
assess the needs and coping mechanisms used by ex-farm workers. However,
before such an assessment was conducted, the NRC called on the government
and the humanitarian community to agree on how to include farm labourers in
their food aid programmes.
There was also an urgent need to give ex-commercial farm workers access to
land and farm inputs before the 2003/2004 agricultural season.
"This could include more ex-farm workers being included in the government's
land distribution scheme as well as finding temporary solutions to use the
largely under-utilised land allocated for commercial farming." the report
Police beat up women protesting against POSA
BULAWAYO – Thirty-five women, five with babies, were yesterday
arrested and two were assaulted by riot police during a demonstration to
protest against the controversial Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
The demonstration involved about 300 protesters
from several local
Those arrested were
still in police custody by late yesterday
women, including one in her late 70s, were assaulted by riot
police who reacted to the protests.
Police appeared to have been taken by
surprise by the demonstration,
with the placard-waving protesters managing to march undeterred from the
Lobengula Street Mall and hand over a petition to the senior prosecutor at
the Magistrate’s Court at Tredgold Building.
The group then marched to Egodini commuter omnibus
rank, where they
were then intercepted by riot police.
Police refused to comment on the incident yesterday.
demonstration, which was held under the banner of Concerned
Citizens of Zimbabwe, involved representatives of churches, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), the National
Constitutional Assembly and other Bulawayo residents.
Although the police had initially seemed to want to
official Jenni Williams only, several other women voluntarily gave
themselves up in solidarity.
The Daily News witnessed
some of the women voluntarily getting into
police vehicles. A group of people followed the police vehicles to Bulawayo
Central Police Station.
In their petition, the protesters demanded the repeal
of POSA, which
critics say is being used to deny Zimbabweans basic rights enshrined in the
organisations say the legislation, which was enacted
before last year’s controversial
presidential election, has hampered freedom of speech, the Press,
movement and assembly.
organisation leaders, opposition party officials and
journalists have been arrested and charged using the legislation.
Part of the
petition handed over to the senior prosecutor in Bulawayo
yesterday reads: “We, concerned citizens, say time is up for POSA. Time is
up for silence and the time has come for us to be allowed to meet freely.
is even talk of party dialogue, how will politicians speak
whilst the nation is forced into silence?”
From Chris Gande
Corpses donated to UZ
THE government-run Harare Central Hospital has donated 41 bodies
lying unclaimed in its mortuary since 2000 to the University of Zimbabwe
(UZ), as the health institution battles to cope with the rising number of
bodies in its mortuary cold rooms.
Harare Hospital mortuary, with a holding capacity of 146
been forced to squeeze more than 500 bodies into its cold rooms as a result.
The hospital’s medical superintendent, Christopher
confirmed to The Daily News that the institution would donate the bodies to
the UZ’s anatomy department following a request by UZ vice-chancellor Levi
The hospital’s mortuary, he
said, had become overcrowded and could not
hold any more bodies because of the high number of corpses that went
said Nyagura had asked the hospital to donate the bodies
because the anatomy department had run out of bodies for research.
“The UZ appealed
to us that they had run out of bodies for their
research and we decided to donate to them the extra bodies we had,”
“We have a lot of bodies that have been abandoned and unclaimed by
relatives for various reasons, including, for example, the cost of a
funeral. Some bodies have been in our mortuary for more than three years and
that is well beyond the time limit we should keep a body in our mortuary,”
“The UZ guys will choose those that are suitable for the
the selection of bodies that are available.”
But Tapfumaneyi said the UZ would only choose from the bodies that had
been targeted for pauper’s burial while the hospital would keep the rest of
the bodies that did not qualify for a pauper’s burial.
across the country have been complaining of overcrowding in
their mortuaries as bodies pile up in cold rooms.
Hospital authorities have
attributed the overcrowding in mortuaries to
the high death rate caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is claiming more
than 2 000 lives a week in Zimbabwe.
Relatives of the dead often fail to collect bodies of
because of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, which raised sharply the cost of
Asked whether it was procedural for the
hospital to donate the bodies
without approval of the relatives, Tapfumaneyi cited the Anatomical
Donations and Post-Mortem Examinations Act, which empowered government
medical officers to donate bodies to the university so that they could be
used for research at the medical school.
According to Section 4 of the Act, any government medical officer
authorised to donate the body of a deceased person to a government hospital
or medical school engaged in medical or dental education or research.
But in donating the body, the medical officer should
first get consent
from the relatives of the dead person but, where the relatives are difficult
to locate, the officer should have sufficient reason that the relatives
would not oppose the donation in future.
Tapfumaneyi said a dead person would be declared a pauper first before
the hospital moved to donate the body to the medical school.
have had no cases where relatives who took two years to claim
their dead relatives come to the hospital saying the donations or the
paupers’ burials were granted against their will. They would not have any
basis to appeal against the decision,” he said.
Comment could not be obtained
from Nyagura but a technician in the
anatomy department said it was the first time in about three years that the
department had asked for such donations.
Former UZ vice-chancellor and social commentator,
Chavunduka, recommended that the hospital must conduct a traditional ritual
when handing over the bodies to the medical school.
“They must bring in a traditional religious leader to
conduct a ritual
to enable the deceased’s spirits to go away in a peaceful manner,” said
Chavunduka, a supporter of African values and traditions.
“We cannot ignore culture completely,” he said. “A spirit medium
should preside over the hand-over ceremony.” By Obert Matahwa Staff Reporter
NRZ forks out $400 m monthly to regional firms
THE cash-strapped National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has been
pumping out at least $400 million every month in foreign currency to
regional railway companies from which it is leasing locomotives to service
its local and international routes, it was learnt this week.
The national rail utility is relying on foreign firms to
routes because its own locomotives have been grounded due to poor
maintenance, sources told the Daily News.
NRZ has said it has been adversely affected by severe
foreign currency shortages, sources said the parastatal was paying railway
companies in Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa at “exorbitant”
rates and in hard cash.
But several of the NRZ’s trains have been involved
in accidents, some
of which have been fatal, because of poor maintenance of infrastructure
blamed on lack of foreign currency to buy spare parts.
The sources said the NRZ had been leasing two
locomotives from Camino
de Ferro Mocambique (CFM) and was paying $US800 (Z$659 200) per locomotive
per day to service its eastern region, which includes Mutare and Harare.
The parastatal has also been
leasing an unspecified number of
locomotives from Spoornet of South Africa, Zambian Railways, Botswana
Railways and the locally based Bulawayo Beitbridge Railway (BBR) to service
its Midlands and southern region branches.
“We are paying at least US$1 600 (Z$1 318 400 on the
rate or Z$4.16 million on the parallel market rate) a day to CFM while the
other companies actually charge more than that,” an NRZ official told the
The official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, added: “All in all,
we are paying a minimum of $400 million, but it usually goes up depending on
the services we would have got for a particular month.”
NRZ corporate affairs manager Misheck
Matanhire confirmed that
although the loss making parastatal was failing to raise foreign currency to
pay for spare parts to service its own fleet and rail system, the company
was paying for leased locomotives in hard currency.
But Matanhire said leasing locomotives was supposed
to improve the
services provided by the NRZ.
“It is worth noting that such an arrangement of hiring foreign
locomotives has been in existence for some time. This arrangement has
improved the NRZ’s current locomotive problems,” he said yesterday.
“It is pertinent to mention that
the NRZ fleet of locomotives was
reduced due to the shortage of foreign currency to import spare parts for
repairing the locomotives and wagons.
“The NRZ requires a fleet of 150 different classes of
use in both its shunting and mainline operations.”
Sources said only a quarter of NRZ’s locomotives
countrywide were in
operation and even these had to undergo frequent service checks due to
The sources also said the
NRZ had been failing to recoup expenses
incurred as a result of the leasing of the locomotives because the
government insisted on the national rail service provider charging below
said: “Although the NRZ is paying in foreign currency for
hiring locomotives from other railway organisations, it is also being paid
in foreign currency for transporting transit traffic and is therefore able
to service the account for hiring locomotives.
“With regard to the maintenance of
locomotives, the NRZ boasts of
having highly skilled manpower, which is capable of overhauling and
repairing its fleet of locomotives and rolling stock.”
By Farai Mutsaka
MDC confirms poll candidates
GWANDA – Thandeko Zinti-Mnkandla, a renowned educationist, anti-AIDS
activist and human rights campaigner, was this week confirmed as the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate in the mayoral
elections scheduled for next month.
He was confirmed alongside nine other prospective
councillors in the Nomination Court on Monday.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said: “Mnkandla has already done a
lot in the service of the town. As an educationist and education
administrator, he headed Gwanda Government Secondary School for years before
taking up his current lecturership post at the Joshua Mqabuko Polytechnic.
“At community level, he is still the chairman of the Gwanda District
AIDS Action Committee while the human rights fraternity knows him as the
Matabeleland South provincial chairman of the Zimbabwe Human Rights
The Nomination Court also confirmed
Mqabuko Ndlovu, Busani Mhlanga,
Huggins Dube, Justice Sibanda, Misheck Ndlovu, Themba Nyoni, Ernest Nyathi,
Japhet Mkhwananzi and Petros Mukwena as MDC candidates for wards one to nine
will stand against incumbent mayor Rido Mpofu, who is seeking
a second term on a ruling ZANU PF ticket.
Let’s have the fuel, please
THE government was at it again this week, trying to give excuses for
its unparalleled incompetence and ruinous policies that have brought hunger
and suffering unto this once prosperous country.
Deputy Energy and
Power Development Minister Reuben Marumahoko was
yesterday quoted by the government Press saying that fuel shortages in the
country would soon be a thing of the past once a restructuring of the state’
s grossly inept fuel-buying company, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(NOCZIM), was completed.
Marumahoko said a restructured NOCZIM would import
fuel only for
government departments and its parastatals, while efficient and
resource-rich private oil companies would be responsible for importing fuel
for ordinary consumers.
Long abused Zimbabweans will
recall that the new fuel procurement
arrangement that Marumahoko is now touting as the final panacea to the fuel
crisis choking Zimbabwe was first mentioned by President Robert Mugabe
himself last year.
Mugabe said then that the government would leave oil companies to
import fuel on their own because they were the ones who, at the end of the
day, stood to gain from fuel sales to the public.
In fact, Mugabe mentioned
again the new fuel buying arrangement when
he officially opened Zimbabwe’s Parliament on Tuesday this week.
Mugabe said: “NOCZIM, after
restructuring and refocusing, will be
competing with private oil companies in importing and distributing fuel
products through a dual pricing structure.”
The time it is taking to restructure NOCZIM and
allow a dual pricing
system for fuel so that private companies can be attracted to import diesel
and petrol is an indictment against the government.
The fuel crisis has wrought so much havoc on
industry and commerce,
already near total collapse because of the effects of a myriad other
ill-thought-out government policies, that one would have thought that ending
the fuel shortages would be the government’s first priority.
And as if to illustrate the government’s inability to
planning on anything no matter how critical, Mugabe and Marumahoko
contradicted each other, with the deputy energy minister telling the
state-controlled Herald newspaper that there would be no dual pricing of
fuel, which Mugabe had promised in his speech to Parliament barely 48 hours
It is because of this sort of bungling that
millions of innocent
Zimbabweans must endure hunger and starvation due to the government’s
decision to take its sweet time to tell international donors that the
country requires 700 000 metric tonnes of food aid for the 2003/2004 period.
Needless to say that this country was once
self-sufficient in food
until the government decided in 2000 to embark on a poorly planned and often
violent land reform programme that has destabilised the country’s mainstay
experts say it will take up to three months before the
first shipment of aid can be expected in the country. This when families in
some parts of the country worst hit by hunger say they have food only enough
to last them until next month.
Surely, there could hardly be a clearer example
that the government
has run out of ideas on how to rescue Zimbabwe from the economic hardships
that its policies and actions have driven this country into than its
mishandling of the fuel and food situation.
But it remains the sovereign decision of Zimbabweans to continue
putting up with this shoddy treatment a little longer or to free themselves
from man-made misery.
Zimbabweans cannot afford entertainment
THE Central Statistical Office (CSO) in calculating its consumer
indices on how Zimbabweans spend their monthly income includes percentages
of the income spent outside other daily necessities like food and other
domestic needs that would be termed basic.
Each year, the CSO includes what it
claims people use as peripheral
needs, which obviously would form an integral part of the life of every
individual anywhere else in the world.
But apparently, Zimbabwe is not “anywhere else in the
seemingly justify the breakdown of the monthly incomes to include
“entertainment and other leisure”.
According to the
CSO, Zimbabweans spend more than 60 percent of their
income on entertainment and other needs, with the remaining 30-something
percentage points being spent on food.
This among other grave flaws on the statistics
the CSO has always
furnished the nation, and indeed the world, with would fall short of making
informed presentations of the order of things here.
In the first place, what is the average Zimbabwean’s idea
entertainment today, when more than half the time those same people worry
about what they will put in their stomachs?
number of people’s idea of social life has taken a severe
knock, and long gone are the days when people could throng the local
community halls and local stadiums for a weekend to remember.
And these were the
days when really good and extremely fulfilling
weekend wind-downers got some daredevils skipping work on Monday because of
a terrible hangover!
The average Zimbabwean just does not have the
disposable income that
would give them an outing each weekend even though they would have loved to
considering the mind-blowing depression they go through each day.
When Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi
became the first musicians in
the country to have their shows pegged at $1 500 in local currency only last
year, many enthusiasts thought they were very exorbitant. But these same
people, feeling these artistes were indeed in that league that justified
such high entrance fees, still thronged the venues where either of those two
icons was performing.
interesting, or rather disturbing, to note that the highest
entrance charge so far for a music gig in the country has not been what
others would, with a sense of pharisaic pietism, call “worldly music”.
It has rather
curiously been the spiritual kind which in the halcyon
days of such pioneers like Jordan Chataika and Freedom Sengwayo were
virtually free of charge. But then, we ought to let the devil tell his own
story, and indeed he has many to tell. But I digress.
In any society in the free world, it has
been noted since
entertainment was invented that in the absence of an outlet for letting out
steam and taking a detour from every day’s hectic schedules and many
headaches, the people thus deprived of all that and more pursue activities
that would be far from socially correct.
Zimbabwe, such has become the norm, and it is only them who are
literally cash-rich who would be found gyrating in the now very many sleazy
nightspots across the country as soon as the weekend announces its arrival.
The majority meanwhile can no longer afford the
unlimited swigs of
their favourite brews as even the spirits (chapomba) they turned to for a
quick psychedelic drift to another world would leave their children
starving. They have also become too dear.
the notion of entertainment would be presented as virtually a
sine qua non for a healthy state of mind.
And even better yet, this in a
world where revolutions driven by
advances in technology have presented man as a techno-wizard where movies
are downloaded from the Internet and the DVD has seemingly sought to take
the viewer right into the movie itself by its amazing visuals.
But then, not many from the high-density
streets would still claim to
have that in their homes, or even claim to have seen any DVD movie! Home
entertainment itself has become a thing of the past with the out-of-reach
prices of video cassette players, which only in 1997 went for what would be
a song at less than $10 000.
Obviously with the erosion of the disposable income, it has not only
meant it is the basic commodities that have been taken away from the average
worker, but those very activities they used to enjoy during weekends.
was taken aback when Dan Tshanda came to Bulawayo a couple of months
back and some gainfully employed fellows could not afford to spend the
“paltry” (depending on who was talking) $2 500 charged as entrance fee.
Breaking down the expenses, they felt they would still need close to
four or more times that given that they would not simply get down with the
pelvic gyrations without taking in the inebriating drink, which invariably
at such occasions goes for more than double the official price. For all the
toiling, the pittance that many get at the end of the month goes to food and
shelter. The third so-called basic necessity in man’s life, clothes, just
does not make it in the monthly budgets of the average Zimbabwean home
anymore. In the absence of the government deliberating on recommendations by
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
on what would be the favoured average monthly income, this trend is set to
continue. If the CSO then imagines the ordinary Zimbabwean still has money
to burn on entertainment activities, one has to wonder who it has as its
source of such grossly misleading information. It will be agreed that beer
has always formed the social life of blacks, be they well-oiled self-made
billionaires, the lowest paid guard or garden man. However, with the many
increases which have been effected this year alone, this has become an
enterprise that the average wage-earner would engage in only at their peril.
They would be rombes (non-achievers) for life. But, as if that was not bad
enough, these developments have not stopped that fraternity of
ever-ubiquitous dipsomaniacs from expecting a free drink from those who can
still afford the time out at the local watering hole. One has to wonder,
therefore, how long it will take for the locals here to get back the good
old days when real entertainment formed a part of the lives of the ghetto
souls. It will also be poignantly recalled that in the not-so-distant past,
schools would organise trips for school children to holiday resorts, with
parents forking out the monies without giving it a second thought. It was
only the children themselves who would willingly let pass that chance for
some reason, but looking back, it just indicates how badly that so-called
disposable income has been eroded by events here, namely bad governance and
what others have not very kindly called voodoo economics. One has to
empathise with those women whose husbands, because they can no longer afford
beer, now spend the weekend cooped up at home and inevitably monitoring what
they cook, how they cook it, who their friends are and generally getting on
their nerves all the time. So much for the entertainment the Central
Statistical Office talks about. By Marko Phiri
It’s what they do after war that counts
Marko Phiri makes some good points in his opinion article "Who is
ready to bankroll the war veterans?"
Let me perhaps add one more point,
along the lines of “the emperor’s
new robes”. Wasn’t it actually supposed to be the war veterans who were
going to bankroll the country by turning unproductive white-owned land into
Instead, agricultural production has plummeted by close to 90
according to some reports. Now, the war vets cannot even fund their own
annual congress and there is not enough of a tax base from commercial
activity for the rest of the citizenry to fund anything.
Since the war vets have no pension fund any more and
no bounty from
the seized land, of course they have their begging bowls out. And who can
blame the indolent youths – most of whom have no prospect of ever holding
down a paying job in their lives – for wanting to get in the line with them
Who cares if the youths have to stretch the
definition of a war
veteran to the limit? There has been a perception that the war vets are
somehow going to be “taken care of”, and anyone who can get in on that gravy
train is lucky.
There are many sad ironies
in the war vets’ plight. They fought to
free the country so that their children could grow up well-educated, with
prosperous jobs and then they would retire comfortably, regarded by one and
all as father figures.
Now they must watch their children live in dire
prior to the war. And, far from being independent from the colonising
powers, they have no option but to accept international food aid to avoid
As we here in America are finding out
in Iraq, it is sometimes not
what you do during the war that defines your status as a hero, but what you
do in the peace afterward.
Perhaps many of the war veterans did not realise that the real test of
their mettle was to come after the end of the war.
Better to be puppet of the West, not East
Allow me space in your informative newspaper to air my views about
this week’s presidential speech in Parliament.
While the presence of
the Movement for Democratic Change legislators
and party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the House is certainly a positive step
towards reducing tension, let it not be regarded as a sign of weakness.
I do not
agree with the notion of making friends from the poor Third
World. While the opposition is accused on a daily basis of being a puppet of
the West, I think it’s better to be a direct puppet than to be an indirect
one with heavy links to Western puppets in the East.
Take China, for example. The
Chinese government has even relegated the
Taiwan issue to a political problem for their economic interests.
Economics comes before politics!
Our leaders should get to grips with
the dynamics of the world’s socio-economic climate.
While making friends is not a bad idea,
Zimbabwe’s economic problems
cannot be solved by getting along with poverty-ridden countries.
Those same poor countries are also
begging the West. Zimbabwe should
aim to get out of the Third World grouping and not sink deeper into it.
There is no comfort in poverty.
In my opinion, it’s better to be a direct puppet of the West than to
be a puppet of another
puppet. Let’s not misinform Zimbabweans that Eastern countries need
the West less than we do.
Organisation to rehabilitate violence and torture victims
AN organisation has been formed to rehabilitate Zimbabweans who have
been affected by political violence and torture in the past three years, it
was learnt this week.
the Centre for the Rehabilitation of Torture
Victims, was formed last week by alleged victims of violence and torture.
for Democratic Change legislator Job Sikhala, who
is a member of the organisation, told the Daily News that the group was
Sikhala, who has been arrested several
times, told the courts in
January that he was tortured by state security agents while in police
The Centre for the
Rehabilitation of Torture Victims will be involved
in income-generating projects that will be funded by well-wishers.
The projects are
expected to help in the rehabilitation of the victims
Taurai Magaya, a member of the organisation said: “As
we suffer from a variety of post-traumatic disorders. The majority of us
become hopeless, insecure, feel alienated from the society and most of the
time we live in despair.”
“The society is bound
to support torture victims and the victims
should be able to do things for themselves,” he said.
Other members of the Centre for the
Rehabilitation of Torture Victims
include Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer who was allegedly tortured
while in police custody early this year.
Shumba, who was arrested while conducting a meeting with
was his client at the time, left Zimbabwe for South Africa saying he had
received death threats.
He has been tasked
with highlighting the problems faced by victims of
torture in Zimbabwe and with securing funding for them from international
Sikhala said the Centre for the
Rehabilitation of Torture Victims was
formed because of increasing reports of people being tortured around the
country, especially while in police detention.
The government has denied that state security agents
are involved in
torture and the results of a court-ordered investigation into allegations of
torture in police stations have not been made public.
“It (torture) has been practiced with impunity for a
from the colonial times through the Smith regime and the Gukurahundi
violations in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in the 1980s to the
present wave of organised violence, which has been particularly marked since
April 2000,” Sikhala said.
According to the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, 1 061 cases of
torture were reported in the year ending in December 2002, with the majority
of victims not receiving any counselling or rehabilitation.
Sikhala said the introduction of
repressive legislation such as the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) had contributed to the rise in alleged
which was passed last year, has been used against opposition
party officials and supporters as well as civic group leaders and the
“One such (repressive) law is the notorious Public Order
Act, which gives considerable powers to the police,” Sikhala said. “As a
result, unlawful detention and arbitrary arrest is now the order of the day,
especially for those in opposition political parties and civic groups.”
Bulawayo families surviving on one meal a day – survey
BULAWAYO – A poverty survey by a civic alliance of Christian
organisations calling themselves Christians Together for Justice (CTJP) has
revealed that more than 55 percent of families in the city of Bulawayo are
surviving on one meal a day.
The survey, whose
results were released yesterday, was carried out to
investigate food supplies in selected high-density areas of Bulawayo because
most food donors have channelled their aid to rural areas, ignoring equally
“There is . . . help in place for most rural
parts from various
organisations. The same cannot be said of urban areas, hence the need to
carry out a near-comprehensive survey to highlight the general food
situation (there),” the survey said.
publication follows reports that 179 people had died of
malnutrition in Bulawayo in the first four months of this year.
“Due to the
scarcity of maize-meal, many families (in Bulawayo) now
have tea in the morning and afternoon and sadza in the evening,” the survey
“It is of note that this tea is taken with
nothing to go with it such
as bread, (which) is scarce or too expensive at the black market rate,” it
It noted that even the one
solid meal a day in most city households
was not always available because of severe shortages of maize-meal.
According to the survey, many
families in Bulawayo suburbs such as
Lobengula, Old Lobengula and Njube are surviving only through the help of
bread winners abroad.
survey said 76 respondents interviewed complained of corruption
and favouritism in the selling of maize-meal. The residents, according to
the survey, complained that deliveries of maize-meal took an interval of at
least three months.
The survey noted that in Makokoba, Nguboyenja,
Barbourfields, one percent of the population now depended on crime to make
In the same suburbs, 91 percent of
the people said they no longer
could afford to have three meals a day, which they used to have before the
onset of the food shortages.
“For most people, they borrow maize-meal from neighbours or buy from
the black market, which sells at $400 per cup or $5 000 per bucket of
maize,” the survey said, noting that the maize-meal price was beyond the
reach of already hard-pressed Bulawayans.
It also revealed that apart
from the increase in the levels of hunger
and starvation in urban areas, Zimbabwe’s galloping inflation – officially
pegged at nearly 400 percent – had fuelled crime and prostitution,
especially among the youth, as a means of income.
“There is an increase in the number of child-headed
single-parent homes mainly headed by females,” the survey said, explaining
the increase in child prostitution.
there was increasing overcrowding in most homes, especially in
Bulawayo’s older suburbs. CTJP was formed in 2001. Its members are the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the
NCA threatens poll demos
BULAWAYO – The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) will disrupt
next month’s municipal elections to protest what NCA chairman Lovemore
Madhuku said was the government’s reluctance to adopt a democratic
Speaking at a public meeting here on Tuesday, Madhuku said his
organisation, which has been agitating for constitutional reform for several
years, would cause “chaos and disarray” during next month’s polls.
the NCA was “greatly incensed by the government’s
unwillingness” to adopt a new constitution that would allow for a
“democratic dispensation in the country”.
“The NCA believes that there cannot be any change of
politically unless a new and democratic constitution is effected,” Madhuku
“We have, therefore, resolved to tackle
(President) Robert Mugabe’s
regime head-on, and in three weeks’ time, we will be going into the streets
to protest,” he added.
said his organisation had resolved to “cause chaos at the
polling stations to show that we are not happy with the current
The government has, however, indicated that a new constitution is not
at the top of its list of priorities. A government-driven constitutional
draft was rejected in a referendum in February 2000.
“Opposition parties and the society at large must unite
and speak with one voice against Mugabe’s regime.
“During the municipal elections,
people must be out in full force to
cause chaos at polling stations as a way of expressing disgust at the
current Constitution. I think that’s the only language the government will
The NCA has in the
past defied the draconian Public Order and Security
Act (POSA) to stage street marches, most of which have been suppressed by
Demonstrations are outlawed under POSA, which critics
say has made
illegal basic rights enshrined in Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
Agrippa Madlela, president of a local opposition
party, ZAPU, told
Tuesday’s public meeting that
Zimbabwe’s political parties should unite to lobby the government to
adopt a new constitution.
Madhuku?? added: “Zimbabwe needs a home-grown
constitution and for
this to happen, opposition parties must come together, put their differences
aside and lobby for a new and democratic constitution.
“Our Constitution has been savagely amended in
the past to protect the
interests of one party – which is ZANU PF – and indeed one individual – who
is Mugabe.” he said
Harare City is Broke
The Herald (Harare)
July 25, 2003
Posted to the web July 25, 2003
HARARE city is broke and its expenditure exceeded income by close to $2
billion between January and June this year.
As a result, the city has suspended the implementation of new projects such
as the Glaudina and Hopley residential estates and the upgrading of Firle
and Crowborough sewerage treatment works.
Sources said the city was operating on a tight budget and it
was feared the
council might not be able to pay its creditors and workers' salaries.
A number of measures have been proposed to redeem the situation, among them,
stepping up of revenue collection, reduction of purchases of non-essential
goods and suspension of purchases of furniture and equipment.
All departments will be asked to submit lists of essential requirements that
have to be bought, purchase of other items being deferred.
A letter written by chief accountant Mr Everisto Rukasha to city treasurer
Mr Misheck Mubvumbi read: "From January 2003, our monthly expenditure has
been exceeding our monthly income.
"To date, our expenditure is $11,430 billion compared to income of $9,472
billion from January 2003 to June 2003."
Mr Rukasha said because of the indebtedness, council had used all surplus
funds that had accumulated in 2002.
The council's investments were at an all time low of only $337, 959 million.
The investments were running at a deficit of $352,655 million as of June 30
Mr Rukasha recommended that the revenue division go out in full force to
recover all outstanding payments.
The Herald understands that a council school in Hatcliffe had its water
supplies cut over non-payment of bills.
The city had to resort to operating on overdraft during the time of former
Executive Mayor Solomon Tawengwa in order to pay workers.
Mr Rukasha said all finance officers should be made aware of council's
financial position and that the situation was to be reviewed every week.
The latest developments at Town House come at a time councillors are
demanding monthly allowances of $200 000 each, up from $15 000.
The new allowance would mean that council would have to fork out over $9
million every month, compared to $675 000 at present.
The MDC dominated council assumed office in March 2002 after the expiry of
the Chanakira Commission's term of office.
The Commission left behind a healthy financial position of $4 billion.
When the Commission took over the running of Harare, the city then had an
overdraft of over $100 million.
It also had debts of more than $299 million.
The overdraft and the debts were cleared in the first six months of the
Commission being in office.
Sources privy to business at Town House apportioned blame on councillors
whom they said did not listen to advice from officials.
"They view officials with suspicion and think we are out to bring them
down," said one official.
"They bring party politics to Town House and forget they are there to serve
Acting mayor Ms Sekesai Makwavarara refused to comment on the matter.
"I cannot comment on that one. I am not aware of that letter (from Mr
Rukasha to Mr Mubvumbi)," she said.
Harare executive mayor, Engineer Elias Mudzuri was suspended by the Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing early this year, for
alleged corruption and mismanagement of council affairs.
Millions Lost Through Cheque Frauds
The Herald (Harare)
July 25, 2003
Posted to the web July 25, 2003
COMMERCIAL banks and individuals have been swindled of millions of dollars
in recent weeks through cheque frauds by conmen taking advantage of the bank
notes shortage gripping the country.
The conmen are said to have formed a network with bank employees to steal
bank cheques, which are then encashed at the country's major outlets and
Bank certified cheques are fully guaranteed by the financial
from where they originate and can not be dishonoured once provided for
Usually, they are signed by the senior officials from the issuing commercial
institution and are accepted by all major outlets in Zimbabwe.
Police confirmed that fraud cases had increased in recent weeks although
they could not immediately supply the relevant statistics.
"It is true that there has been a significant increase in cases of cheque
fraud in recent months," said police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Oliver
"We have already stepped up a publicity campaign informing the public to be
cautious in their dealings especially those involving bank cheques as the
risk of being cheated is very high these days.
"Every effort is being made to bring most of those involved in these
unethical dealings to book," he added.
He said while many cases of bank cheque fraud had been reported, more went
unreported because some of the cheques would have been issued through
Asst. Ins Mandipaka said even commercial institutions were unwilling to
publicise cases of theft as they feared that doing so would bring bad
publicity to their operations.
"Most prefer to deal with the issue internally. It is only when the
prejudice of clandestine deals is higher that some commercial institutions
warn the public," said Asst. Insp Mandipaka.
Efforts to get a comment from officials of the Bankers Association of
Zimbabwe proved fruitless yesterday.
However, some bank executives said there had been incidents where entire
bank chequebooks have "vanished" from a number of branches.
"The stolen cheques are used by the conmen to purchase various products from
individuals and companies," said a senior manager with one of the commercial
Several commercial banks and building societies have already issued a series
of notices advising the public and merchants to exercise extreme caution
when accepting bank cheques purportedly issued by the respective
Some of the banks that have issued such statements include Kingdom Bank,
Beverly Building Society and Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited.
Officials from Barclays Bank said the cases of "fake" bank cheques had risen
dramatically over the last four weeks.
"The rate at which merchants and members of the public are bringing in
cheques that are being dishonoured is quite alarming.
"We advise these parties (merchants and public) not to release any goods
unless the cheques have been cleared," said one official who declined to be
The clearing period for bank cheques issued within Harare was five days
whilst those outside the capital took up to 10 days to clear.
It has emerged that some conmen are actually printing and circulating bank
cheques similar to those issued by local banks.
Instances of bank cheque fraud have also spread to auction centres where
perpetrators are using fraudulent cheques to make purchases while using the
clearing period to make good their escape.
Auctioneers said they were still accepting bank cheques despite the
escalation in cases of bank fraud.
A spokesperson for Hammer and Tongues, Mr John Chitsamba and ABC Auctions'
managing director, Mr Mike Bremer said their companies were only accepting
"What we basically do is that when we receive a bank certified cheque from
someone, we actually phone the bank to confirm the validity of the cheque
and if everything is in order we proceed with the sale," Mr Chitsamba said.
The central bank, in a bid to address the current cash shortages bedeviling
the financial sector is encouraging the use of plastic money and non-cash
transactions that include the use of cheques.
The country has been experiencing an acute shortage of cash for the past
three months, forcing banks to reduce withdrawal amounts for their clients.
In a bid to curb the cheque fraud, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe this week
increased the amount for special clearance to $1 million from $250 000.
Friday July 25, 06:04 PM
Husbands justified in beating Zimbabwean wives
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half of Zimbabwean women surveyed say
a husband is justified in beating his wife sometimes, U.S. researchers have
Men are within their
rights to beat their wives if they argue, neglect
the children, refuse to have sex, burn food or leave the home without
permission, most of the women surveyed said.
"If nothing is done, the next generation of
women may be just as
likely to believe that wife-beating is acceptable behaviour since younger
women seem to be more accepting of wife-beating," Michelle Hindin of the
Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore said in a
statement on Friday.
reviewed data from a 1999 World Health Organisation
survey of 5,907 Zimbabwean women aged 15 to 49.
Women aged 15 to 24 were 2-1/2
times more likely than women aged 45 to
49 to believe that wife-beating was justified, researchers found. But among
the older women, more than half said wife-beating was often acceptable.
Poor, rural women, those
with less than a secondary education and
those with lower occupational status were more likely to say their husbands
had the right to beat them.
"Interventions that promote joint decision-making might
be a promising
strategy for increasing women's views towards equality in marriage, while
promoting men's views that household disputes should be settled with
negotiation, not violence," Hindin said.
Zimbabwe: Rival Political Parties May Hold Talks
25 Jul 2003, 16:27 UTC
After a week of
reduced political tension in Zimbabwe, efforts are under way
to get talks started between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC.
The state-controlled broadcaster and newspapers loyal to the ruling party,
have toned down their criticism of the opposition this week.
According to political analysts, this was a response to the MDC's agreement
to attend President Robert Mugabe's speech on Tuesday at the opening of
parliament. Since Mr. Mugabe's disputed election victory last year,
opposition legislators have walked out before he addresses each new session
Two weeks ago President Bush and South African president Thabo Mbeki agreed,
on a public platform in Pretoria, that the Zimbabwe crisis needed urgent
resolution, leading to new elections.
Since then there have been increased contacts between the opposition and
The MDC's justice spokesman David Coltart said this week that if substantive
talks begin the MDC will suspend, but not cancel, its legal challenge to Mr.
Mugabe's re-election. The MDC and most foreign observers say the election
The MDC has appointed a negotiating team, led by its secretary-general
Welshman Ncube. Mr. Ncube is one of three top opposition leaders who are on
trial for treason. The opposition has also chosen various technical teams to
support its frontline negotiators. It says it is ready to begin talks, as
soon as Zanu PF is ready.
Zanu PF has not yet selected a negotiating team. In addition, party leaders
have not decided who among them will replace President Mugabe. If Mr. Mugabe
retires, fresh presidential elections have to be held within 90 days.
Political analysts believe Zanu PF has no candidate who could win a fair
election against the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
One of the early points for negotiation will be the opposition's demand that
repressive security legislation be dropped immediately, in order to allow
free political activity.
Economists across a wide range of opinion said this week that negotiations
are urgent as there is almost no food or fuel in Zimbabwe.
On Friday, pay day for most employed people, there were long queues snaking
around banks and building socities across the country. But only a few people
were able to draw cash from their salary checks, because there are almost no
New Dual Fuel Pricing System On Cards
The Herald (Harare)
July 25, 2003
Posted to the web July 25, 2003
THERE will be a dual fuel pricing system once the restructuring of Noczim is
finished, with the Government and critical economic areas being able to buy
cheaper fuel from Noczim than that imported by oil companies for the general
The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde Amos Midzi, yesterday said
Noczim would charge one price to Government departments, parastatals and
critical economic areas, while private oil companies would charge a
different price for the public.
"Noczim will be supplying at a price that will not be the
same with the
price charged by private players," said Cde Midzi.
"The policy has not changed from targeted subsidisation and the Government
would continue to subsidise Noczim."
Cde Midzi said critical economic areas that would be supplied by the Noczim
include public transport.
He said negotiations were underway between the Government and oil companies
on several issues in preparation for the total deregulation of the industry.
"This touches on the regime of pricing and the management of the new
dispensation after deregulation."
Officially opening the Fourth Session of the Fifth Parliament on Tuesday,
President Mugabe said there would be a dual pricing structure for fuel once
the restructuring of Noczim was completed.
"On the other hand, Noczim, after restructuring and refocusing will be
competing with private oil companies in importing and distributing fuel
products through a dual pricing structure."
"What I want to inform the nation is that the President clearly enunciated
and said the policy. As Government we are going to implement the policy as
enunciated because there should be a dual price regime."
The Government recently increased the prices of petrol from $145,20 a litre
to $450 and diesel to $200 a litre from $119,43.
But some service stations were reportedly selling petrol at $1 500 a litre,
almost the same price it cost on the black market.
Zimbabwe has been facing fuel shortages since 1999 when foreign currency
shortages began affecting the country.
The shortages eased after the Government and Libya signed an agreement under
which Tripoli supplied 70 percent of the country's fuel needs.
The deal had some problems, but was renewed last month.
Zimbabweans 'can't afford to bury their dead'
By Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent
26 July 2003
Zimbabweans are abandoning the bodies of their relatives at mortuaries
because they can no longer afford to bury them.
Harare Central Hospital, whose mortuary is designed to handle only 146
corpses, is holding 500 unclaimed bodies. Other hospitals around the country
are having to cope with a similar problem.
"We have a lot of bodies that have been abandoned and unclaimed by relatives
for various reasons, including, for example, the cost of a funeral," Harare
Central Hospital's medical superintendent told the country's only privately
owned newspaper, The Daily News.
Burying a relative has become extremely costly for Zimbabweans, coping with
a deepening economic crisis. Because of a fuel shortage, people are unable
to perform traditional burial rites, which entail travel. Some families are
carrying dead relatives to the few petrol stations that manage to obtain
fuel, hoping for sympathetic managers who will allow them to queue jump.
President Robert Mugabe's government yesterday launched a food appeal,
asking foreign donors to provide about a third of the country's food needs
to avoid famine ahead of harvests early next year. It forecast a food
shortfall this year of about 712,000 tons, mainly of corn.
Zimbabwe has been reduced to asking for donations because it lacks foreign
currency to pay for imports. The UN food agency said that the lateness of
the appeal meant that aid might not arrive in time.
I still belong to Zanu-PF: Tekere
By Isdore Guvamombe
EDGAR ''Twoboy'' Tekere, the maverick veteran politician, on Thursday said
he still belonged to Zanu-PF.
Speaking at a debate organised by Crisis Zimbabwe Coalition in Harare, Cde
Tekere said he wanted to rejoin the party in his former position as the
"Zanu-PF is my party but it has been messed around by these people. They
have messed up my party.
"I did not resign from Zanu-PF. Those who fired me must bring me back to my
post,'' he said while answering a question about his return to the ruling
"Besides, I am the patron of the War Veterans Association in Manicaland, an
association in which (President) Mugabe is the national patron. Ndiri shefu
wema war veterans and hushefu hwangu hausati hwapera (I am still a leader of
the war veterans.),'' said Cde Tekere.
Clean-shaven and clad in a navy blue suit, the flamboyant former Zanu-PF
strongman told participants at the debate that he wanted to make his
"I want to be heard loudly. Some of what I will say here might not be
palatable, some of it might be controversial and some will say I am speaking
on behalf of (President) Mugabe. I want to be heard.
"The most talked about issue is (President) Mugabe grabbed the land but
whatever you say, the land issue is irreversible. That is a fact,'' he
"Let us live with that reality because even if (President) Mugabe said I
have had too many enemies because of the land issue, it is irreversible,''
On the method used to implement the land reform programme, Cde Tekere pulled
a shocker for detractors of the agrarian reform, saying there was no better
method than the one used by the Zanu-PF Government.
"I believe there could be no better method used except the compulsory
acquisition of land.
"That was a revolution and revolutions by their nature cause pain and
suffering. Some lose their valued property and some lose their lives. That
is a revolution.
"Personally, I would have agitated for a blanket nationalisation of all land
where no one except the Government owns the land.''
He appealed to the opposition MDC to join hands with Zanu-PF to clean up the
grey areas of the land reform, through the Presidential Land Review
Committee led by Dr Charles Utete.
President Mugabe, said Cde Tekere, had called for a clean-up exercise, which
every Zimbabwean and especially the MDC should accept and join in.
"The President himself has acknowledged that there is a mess there and we
must all stand up to clean up the mess so that no one owns more than one
Cde Tekere was booted out of the ruling party in 1988 after an eventful
political career spanning 31 years.
Of late, Cde Tekere has made statements about the ruling party coercing him
to rejoin it, claims which Zanu-PF denies.
After unceremoniously leaving Zanu-PF, Cde Tekere formed the Zimbabwe Unity
Movement, which went into several alliances with smaller political parties
before it crumbled.
Succession: Mahofa lashes out
By Lovemore Mataire
THE Deputy Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation,
Cde Shuvai Mahofa, believes that people harbouring presidential ambitions
should declare their interest in running for the office.
Delivering a broadside against some of her Zanu-PF colleagues whom she
accused of dangerous political ambitions that are threatening to divide the
party along tribal lines, Cde Mahofa said the succession issue should be
tabled before the Politburo where presidential aspirants should make their
The Politburo, which is the party's supreme decision making body, should
then draw the criteria and qualifications for one to be eligible for the
presidency, said Cde Mahofa, who is also the Member of Parliament for Gutu
Popularly known as the "Iron Lady" of Gutu, Cde Mahofa accused senior party
officials of clandestinely de-campaigning President Mugabe and
Vice-Presidents Muzenda and Msika thereby dividing the party into several
She claimed she was approached by some senior ruling party officials who
told her that they had taken it upon themselves to scout for possible
successors to President Mugabe because very few people were courageous
enough to do so.
"I was shocked to realise that some people were already canvassing support
for certain individuals. But in that process they were also saying very bad
things about President Mugabe and the two Vice-Presidents," said Cde Mahofa.
She said the proper way of dealing with succession was for the matter to be
discussed at the Politburo and later to the provinces, going down to the
districts and the lower echelons of the party.
Cde Mahofa said ordinary party supporters should have the final say. "So I
told those who approached me that I would be comfortable with a situation
where the ordinary supporters of the party decide on their future leaders."
She said a private committee to scout for possible successors to President
Mugabe was already in existence but said she was not aware how it came into
Cde Mahofa said that since the matter had not been discussed at any of the
organs of the party, it was important that the issue be clarified so people
were aware whether the committee was properly constituted to carry out the
Instead of consulting people, she said the committee was in fact fanning
divisions along tribal lines.
"The language that is being used by some of the members of this committee in
soliciting support for their covert operations is frightening. Some are
openly denouncing the President while embracing the opposition MDC," Cde
She said it was not proper for party members to start dividing themselves
into factions when the country faced several economic problems that had to
"I am facing problems at work because I'm seen as belonging to a certain
faction while other junior employees have also been victimised. This is
completely undesirable and is being done by people who are just power hungry
and do not have the interest of the party at heart."
The tough-talking veteran politician said as someone who worked with the
party even during the liberation struggle, she would always stand by the
truth and would not fear to express her views on certain issues.
She said the people leading the so-called committee on succession did not
want to consult ordinary members of the party because they knew they would
Cde Mahofa said when President Mugabe said the succession issue should be
discussed he did not mean that party members should go about denouncing the
"We are setting a very bad precedence. This is not the way revolutionaries
should behave. Are we supposed to be playing hide and seek with those who
should lead us?" she asked.
She said it was surprising that some people were talking about succeeding
President Mugabe as if he was leaving office tomorrow.
Cde Mahofa was convinced people in her constituency would not agree with
anyone advocating the immediate exit of President Mugabe.
Expressing her views on whether a government of national unity with the MDC
was desirable, Cde Mahofa said she was against the idea.
She said there was no basis for such a government because most of the people
in the MDC were former Rhodesian sympathisers and Selous Scouts who
participated in the maiming of black people during the liberation struggle.
"Personally, a government of national unity is out of the question. Why
should we have a government of national unity? I think it's good to have
opposition political parties that make the Government accountable. After all
there is nothing common between us and the MDC," she said.
Turning to women representation in top political positions, Cde Mahofa said
capable women in the party should not hesitate to aspire for the
vice-presidency. She, however, said that women representation in positions
of leadership should not just be based on affirmative action but on merit.
A nurse by profession Cde Mahofa was born in Chivi and grew up under the
repressive colonial regimes.
She said she became conscious of the inequalities that existed between
blacks and the minority whites at an early age.
It was that consciousness that later inspired her to actively participate in
the liberation struggle when she became a liberation war collaborator
assisting liberation fighters with logistics, passing on information and
various other essential duties.
After independence, Cde Mahofa held several public posts and served as a
deputy minister for various ministries.
She is one of the most powerful women politicians in Zimbabwe and has been a
legislator for more than a decade.
Cde Mahofa broke her silence over her relationship with Major Mike Madombwe
saying her foes were bent on exploiting the relationship to score political
Cde Mahofa, who was in the company of Major Madombwe when The Herald
interviewed her, said she was free to be involved in a relationship.
She confirmed that she was involved in a relationship with Major Madombwe
but that the relationship was outside her public office.
"What is so special about my private life? Who said I should just
concentrate on politics and not have my own private life? Am I not a woman
just like any other woman?" she asked.
Cde Mahofa said she was not the only public figure with a male friend and
that her situation was nothing out of the ordinary as she was not married.
She said her political enemies were always following her private life to
destroy her politically.
"I have been through a lot and all efforts to destroy me have failed."
She said she was the only MP in the country who had a referendum held in her
constituency to decide her suitability to continue as a legislator.
This was after some party members felt that she could not continue being an
MP because of her love relationships.
Cde Mahofa's first husband died in 1973 and she later got married to Mr
Custon Taderera who is also now late.