Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:13 PM BST
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Britain's ambassador to Zimbabwe on Saturday accused
President Robert Mugabe's government of "working against its people" and
blocking a United Nations drive to end a political and economic crisis in
Mugabe -- 82 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980 -- says
Britain has been trying to oust him over his controversial seizures of
white-owned farms for blacks.
But in a blistering attack on Mugabe's government in response to questions
from the official Herald newspaper, ambassador Andrew Pocock said Zimbabwe's
key problem was "a government working ... against its people" and not
differences with London, the United States or the EU.
Pocock said Britain welcomed recent efforts by United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to help Mugabe's government implement reforms
the southern African country desperately needs to arrest its deepening
"But the Zimbabwean government blocked the initiative, and with it an
opportunity to build bridges within Zimbabwe, as well as with the
international community," he said.
Britain would however support former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, who
has been accepted by Harare as a mediator, if he can persuade Mugabe to
undertake changes that Zimbabweans urgently want for a more stable and
prosperous future, he added.
Pocock rejected Mugabe's argument that Zimbabwe's economic malaise was due
to "illegal" Western sanctions, saying the EU had only imposed a ban on arms
sales, travel restrictions and an asset freeze on 126 members of the
Dear Family and Friends, Parliament re-opened on Tuesday this week but
attempts to watch the full event on state run TV were in vain. There was a
power cut just a few minutes after the special repeat broadcast began and
the night went dark and quiet - again. Those few brief minutes however had
been more than enough to raise eyebrows. A number of "cultural reforms"
have been undertaken by Zimbabwe's parliament which now resembles a safari
lodge. A stuffed leopard and two antelope heads hang on the walls and a
leopard skin adorns the ceremonial chair used by Mr Mugabe. Two enormous
elephant tusks now frame the Presidential chair and it was between these
two great teeth that Mr Mugabe stood to address the House. Near him sat
Mrs Mugabe on a high backed green leather chair which had been carefully
placed on a striking zebra skin. Hardly had these images registered and
before the speech began, the electricity went off.
The images of our leaders sitting amongst elephants and kudu, zebra and
leopard are particularly ironic now as the country plunges back in time
and people ravage the environment in order to survive.Our lavishly
decorated safari parliament is about as far away from the reality of life
in Zimbabwe as you can possibly imagine.
Every morning the sound in urban and rural Zimbabwe is that of wood
chopping. All day every day you see lines of women walking with bundles of
great long tree branches balanced on their heads and men with hand carts
and wheel barrows piled high with newly chopped indigenous wood. All day,
every day and in every direction you see smoke. Some is from urban
householders cooking outside on open fires. More is from incessant
uncontrolled fires streaming across the horizon, consuming everything in
their path. Seeing the massive amount of wood collecting and looking at
horizons permanently smudged with smoke, you cannot help but wonder how
Zimbabwe's wildlife can possibly survive this unrelenting attack on the
environment. Grass for grazers is reduced to ash, leaves for browsers is
burnt out and trees for shade, shelter and habitat are felled. Undoubtedly
the abundance and variety of birds, reptiles, mammals and insects is under
severe threat as the assault on our envirnoment continues unchecked.
The reality of life in Zimbabwe has been shocking in the last week. In my
home area the electricity was cut for over 29 working hours during the
week. The price of a loaf of bread shot up from one to two hundred
thousand dollars overnight. The foreign currency rate soared on the black
market with one British Pound selling for one million Zimbabwe dollars.
Appreciating cultural reforms of elephant tusks and leopard skins is a
world away from bread we can't afford, bills we can't pay and hours and
hours on end when we cannot work or conduct our business as the
electricity is off. Reality in Zimbabwe draws ever further away. Until
next week, thanks for reading, love cathy 29 July 2006 Copyright cathy
By Lynette Mhlanga
Last updated: 07/29/2006 11:39:02
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security
will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin.
Does Franklin's words apply to Zimbabweans? Oh yes they do!
When Zimbabwe declares its need to protect national security, the first
casualty is liberty!
In Zimbabwe today, if you talk about how President Mugabe ruined the
economy, the Public Order and Security Act is your highway to prison.
Now, Mugabe's government says if you write to your mother that the bread is
too expensive, then the government must take action.
The Interception of Communications Bill, when passed into law, will crack
down on freedom of speech on the internet, and decide how you say and what
you say about your surroundings -- from the trees to the politics.
All this is a sure sign of a dictator clinging onto power by abusing his
government's law-making privileges.
The Interception of Communications Bill highlights the troubling and
worrying manifestations of the Zanu PF government's legislative and
political agenda. The need to protect national security and the need to
prevent crimes has veered off into a war on civil liberties and human
rights; poisoning the legal infrastructure that makes a living democratic
The Interception of Communications Bill is a Zanu PF victory in which we and
our democracy are the vanquished. This Bill's main aim is simply to keep
Zanu PF in power. When the Interception of Communications Act becomes part
of the criminal justice system, Zimbabweans would have lost the last liberty
Should society be accustomed to this process which normalises the abnormal?
Something must be done here. Zimbabwe needs to reflect again. We are on the
brink of losing the vital little liberty that we still have under the
present Zanu PF regime.
This Bill is surely a hysterical act by Zanu PF. Zanu PF is aware that all
forms of government operate as a form of authority in which an individual or
group of individuals wield power over the majority. Zanu PF plays the rule
of law game but fails dismally here. The party is very much aware of the
fact that it now lacks this justification for authority, that its only
method of staying in power is to beat the Zimbabwean population into
subjection using funny laws to force people to tow its line.
The 21st century modern democracy faces not just a paradox but a multiple
duty to balance the demands of national security effectively whilst it
implements human rights and civil liberties; a tripod balance that often
falls on one side to the detriment of the others. Terrorism, in all its
form, is the greatest violator of human rights. It is a clear and present
danger to the world today; it strikes a fatal blow to the human rights of
innocent citizens. The greatest challenge to democracy is to retain long
held and hard won freedoms and human rights from the arbitrary use of power
or wrongful conviction whilst ensuring that democracy and the rule of law
are not used as a cover by terrorists and criminals.
However, the question we have to ask is whether Zimbabwe faces any real
threat of terrorism? No! Is the crime rate so high that that there is now
need to snoop in our emails and letters? No!
Whilst states are responsible for the protection of their citizens from
crime and terrorism, they must ensure that the measures they adopt do not
violate human rights. Whilst the new Bill is clothed with what appears to be
legitimate objectives, it must be seen as it is -- a draconian law which is
unprecedented in peacetime, it is not justified to meet the present dangers
Broadly speaking, modern liberalism places the rights of the individual
above the needs of the group. It seeks a society characterized by freedom of
thought for individuals, limitations on power, especially of government and
religion, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy that
supports relatively free private enterprise, and a transparent system of
government in which the rights of minorities are protected. All this is
being denied to ordinary Zimbabweans who are given laws that keep them from
criticising the government.
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and
personal affairs out of public view, or to control the flow of information
about them. Privacy it's argued, encourages information sharing between
individuals, because it creates an environment in which any perpetuated
information that does not reference a source can be identified as rumour.
This right is under threat in Zimbabwe.
Democracy does not exist in a vacuum. It is premised on the existence of a
polity with members, and for whom democratic discourse with its many
variants takes place. The authority and legitimacy of a majority to compel a
minority exists only within political boundaries defined by the citizens of
Zimbabwe. Simply put, if there is no free speech, there can never be no
operating democracy. Our freedom of speech and our right to Privacy are
essential and this Bill is essentially nonsense upon stilts, a tool for Zanu
PF to stay in power stifling criticising from the public. Zimbabweans must
Lynette Mhlanga, is a, human rights activist, political commentator and
Doctoral candidate based in the United Kingdom She can be contacted at
By Grey Samakande
THE Interception of Communications Bill presented to parliament this
week, is an addition to more than a dozen of other controversial repressive
media laws by President Mugabe's government in a bid to silence journalists
and anyone who has a say against the government.
The Bill will go to the Parliamentary Legal Committee, which will
scrutinise it to see if it does not infringe on the country's Constitution.
Of course the bill will not infringe on the Constitution because the
Constitution was tailor-made to the government's requirement.
This is just a way of trying to fool people into thinking that the law
was passed through the normal procedure, but in reality, this law has
already passed and I doubt very much if it is not already in use. The
success of democracy in any country is achieved through freedom of speech
and expression, without fear of persecution. One would wonder what democracy
means to the Zimbabwean government. People are only trying to express their
opinions and views. I don't see anything that constitutes a criminal act in
The government has formatted and tailor-made laws that make it a
criminal offence for anyone to say or stand against the government. Zanu PF
has run out of ideas and their only option left is to farther oppress people
and the media. The truth is that the majority of Zimbabweans are against
government policies, but due to the environment in which they are living,
they can't do or say anything. Some people think that by chanting their
support to the government policy they get protection.
There is no clear justification for the introduction of this new bill,
although some people are saying that the same kind of laws is being
practised in countries like UK and United States. I'm not in support of
anyone invading my privacy whatsoever, but if we think of the 9/11 attacks
in USA and the 7/7 in UK, surely these two governments may try to justify
the introduction of such a Bill. For Zimbabwe where there is no threat of
terror attacks, what reason can the government give us for taking such
drastic measures? Let's stop these comparisons and ask for proper
President Mugabe's government is defending the Bill by saying that due
to international spotlight and pressure on the country, such a law is
necessary to safeguard the country's national security. They forget that
they are drawing the world's attention through the introduction of such
draconian laws like the one in question. The government is worsening the
situation for itself and the pressure will obviously mount even worse than
it is now.
This new law was designed just for the purpose of breaking into people's
privacy thereby inciting fear among people. It also gives more power to the
CIO, the organisation that is well known for killing innocent citizens
suspected of supporting the opposition party and anyone who is trying to
fulfil his or her quest for freedom.
The President and his government must know that we shall speak until
our destiny is fulfilled.
By Admire Muziro
MASVINGO - ZIMBABWE'S ruling party, Zanu PF, is reported to have
become so unpopular in Gutu district, Masvingo province, that it has
resorted to using the name of a non-governmental organisation to attract
people to its meetings.
According to a school teacher who cannot be named for security
reasons, people generally no longer turn up for Zanu PF meetings "because
they are so disenchanted with what is happening in the country".
Said the teacher: "If Zanu PF has to attract anyone at all to its
meetings, it has to lie to the people that Care International will be
holding a meeting at a given venue to discuss food aid distribution.
Otherwise if Zanu PF openly calls for a meeting and does not use the name of
Care International, no one would turn up. This has now created a problem in
that people are at times ignoring genuine Care International meetings,
thinking they are being duped by Zanu PF."
Care International is a non-governmental organisation, which provides
food aid to the needy in the district. Once the people have gathered, they
are surprised to find out that the meeting has nothing to do with Care
International, but with Zanu PF, the teacher said.
He said people became increasingly angry with Zanu PF and the
government since about three months ago when the government started
interfering with their freedom of association.
"Since the MDC announced its intention to stage anti-government
protests, the people's freedom of association here in the rural areas has
been severely curtailed," said the teacher.
People wishing to brew traditional beer for sale or for social
gatherings were now required to first get permission to do so from the
police, and have to notify them of the date on which the beer will be
consumed, he said.
"Chero doro re humwe chairo," (Even beer which people brew so that
their neighbours can help them communally with work in the fields, also has
to be reported)." Brewing and selling traditional beer is one of the major
sources of income for most peasants in Zimbabwe.
The teacher said this requirement was an unnecessary bother, reminding
people of the difficult colonial times. He said some of the villages were as
far away as 20km from the nearest police point, and people had to walk since
there is no more public transport in most rural areas.
Sporting activities between schools also have to be reported as they
attract other people besides school children, he said, adding that this was
all part of the government's nostalgia.
The teacher said the people were so angry with Zanu PF that were it
not for its prowess in rigging elections, the party would not dare contest
coming polls, even in the rural areas.
The popular Movement for Democratic Change, the greatest challenge to
Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF, says it is making in-roads into the rural
communities which have for some time now been the ruling party's
strongholds. The worsening economic and political crisis in the country is
not only affecting those in the cities but those in the rural communities as
We could not get a comment from Care International last night.
Sat Jul 29, 2006 5:05 PM BST
HARARE, July 29 (Reuters) - Stuart Matsikenyeri struck a career best 89 from
101 balls to take Zimbabwe to victory over Bangladesh in the first one-day
international on Saturday.
Zimbabwe struck 248 for eight in reply to Bangladesh's 246 for seven to win
by two wickets with five balls to spare.
Matsikenyeri scored a feisty 89 off 101 balls with seven fours and a six.
His previous highest score was the 73 he made against England in Bulawayo in
Matsikenyeri and Elton Chigumbura shared a matchwinning stand of 114 after
Zimbabwe's top order had failed.
Chigumbura clipped his unbeaten 70 off 68 balls with six fours and a six.
Opener Shahriar Nafeez faced 116 balls and hit seven fours and a six in his
78, Bangladesh's top score.
Pace bowler Tawanda Mupariwa took four for 61, improving on the career-best
figures of three for 19 he took against Bermuda in Trinidad in May.
Bangladesh slipped to 16 for two before Nafeez put on 59 for the third
wicket with Mohammad Ashraful, who scored 25.
Habibul Bashar, who scored 40, helped Nafeez add 71 for the fourth wicket.
In reply, Zimbabwe slumped to 50 for four before Taylor and Matsikenyeri
shared 51 runs to steady the innings.
Matsikenyeri and Chigumbura came together in the 26th over and they made
steady progress until the 46th over, when Matsikenyeri heaved a delivery
from pace bowler Shahadat Hossain to long-off, where Mashrafe Mortaza held a
Mortaza, another pace bowler, rekindled Bangladesh's hopes when he bowled
Prosper Utseya (8) and trapped Ryan Higgins (0) in front with consecutive
deliveries in the 49th over, leaving Zimbabwe to score five runs off nine
Chigumbura ended the match four balls later when he smashed a delivery from
medium pacer Aftab Ahmed through mid-wicket for four. The second game in the
five-match series will be played at the same venue on Sunday.
By a Correspondent
LONDON - THE Home Office will review every asylum case which involved
employee, Joseph Dzumbira, exposed Thursday by the Sun newspaper for
allegedly helping over 200 people to fraudulently claim asylum in the UK in
exchange for cash.
The troubled department announced also that Dzumbira, who has been
working with the Home Office at its Lunar House headquarters for the past
seven years as an interpreter, has been suspended to allow investigations to
A spokeswoman said Dzumbira, himself an asylum seeker given leave to
remain in the UK in 2001, was not able to approve any applications but
nevertheless, the Home Office will look into all the cases in which he was
"He is not an immigration officer nor does he work in a position of
seniority in the Home Office.
"All previous cases in which this individual has had any involvement
will be reviewed."
Home Secretary John Reid, responding to the Sun story said: "We take
all allegations of corruption seriously and we will investigate them. Where
serious we will refer them for prosecution."
Many Zimbabweans who have claimed asylum in the UK and have come
across Dzumbira as their interpreter have tales to tell about him trying to
get money out of them for assistance with their cases. Fortunately, the
greater majority did not buy into his scam.
One Zimbabwean who lives in Southend-on-sea in Essex where Dzumbira
stays, said he did not believe any word that Dzumbira said to the Sun
"Any fool can actually see that he is an impulsive liar - everyone
here knows that. If he managed to cheat money out of people then that must
very few people because anyone would know that an interpreter does not have
any power to make decisions. Anyway, you need to meet the guy to know he is
a fake," he said.
The Sun revealed that after a number of meetings with Dzumbira, he had
told them that he had assisted people paying up to £ 2 000 to get their
papers oiled through the system in a scam that is supposed to have involved
other people. The newspaper said claimants were advised to pretend they were
from Zimbabwe because of a ban on deportations there.
Dzumbira said he could provide fake Zimbabwean arrest warrants for
those intending to apply for asylum to support their claims that they would
be in danger if they were returned to their troubled country. He even
claimed he was in touch with a former police woman who would be able to
provide such documents without any glitches.
Figures released to Parliament earlier this month show 127 IND staff
were sacked for misconduct or failing to do their jobs properly between
January last year and May this year.
Reasons for the sackings include poor performance but at least 15
followed allegations of corruption so serious they had to be investigated by
The Home Office said the sackings reflected a determination to root
out misconduct and corruption amid the "biggest shake-up" at its Immigration
and Nationality Directorate.
But the shadow immigration minister Damian Green said the system is
"shot through with incompetence and corruption" and should face a full
Political Perspectives to the national crisis
Address by Morgan Tsvangirai, President of the Movement for Democratic
Change at the Save Zimbabwe Convention, Harare, Zimbabwe.
29 July 2006
May I open my address by thanking civil society and the people of Zimbabwe
for staying the course? Against all odds, civil society has never wavered on
matters of principle. You are with the people, as always. The record speaks
for itself. In colonial times, it was the church, student movements and
trade unions that spearheaded the struggle for freedom. After Independence,
the people remained vigilant, constantly demanding their democratic space.
At the end of the first decade of our Independence, it became clear that our
revolution was fast losing track. An avaricious nationalistic clique had
abandoned the ideals of the liberation struggle. Corruption began to
flourish. Our nation's political leadership began to lose their focus. The
labour movement came under pressure from the workers to de-link itself from
that ruling elite. The ZCTU declared its autonomy from Zanu PF. We were
informed and guided by the workers whose welfare was now on the block.
The workers were concerned by a steady erosion of their gains since
Independence and decided to confront both their employers and the
government. The people raised their voices and demanded their space. Part of
Zanu PF's response included far-reaching legislative changes to restrict
academic freedom. This invited the anger of students and progressive
intellectuals. They, too, like the workers, declared a rights dispute with
the government. After the unification of Zanu PF and PF ZAPU and the
declaration of intent to establish a one-party state, Zimbabweans realized
that they faced a hard transition and began to search for political
The introduction of Economic Structural Adjustment Programme in 1991
heightened the ideological confusion in Zanu PF and opened the way for even
greater confrontation between the workers, the church, students and all
advocates of free political space. We felt then that part of the problem lay
with the Lancaster House Constitution. We began to agitate for a new
Constitution. This led to the formation of the Constitutional Movement in
the mid-nineties. After years of struggle along this route, we met as the
National Working Peoples' Convention to debate our fate.
The National Working Peoples' Convention
In short, the National Working Peoples' Convention decided then to form an
alternative political movement to take on Zanu PF. We agreed, as civil
society, to challenge Zanu PF and to attend to pressing governance issues
whose contagion cut across our political, social and economic life. Seven
months later, the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, became a reality. In
February, Zanu PF tested his first defeat in a national referendum to decide
on a government drafted Constitution.
That was another major turning point in Zimbabwe. It was a people's
victory. This was the first victory for civil society. It is not my
intention at this forum to chronicle six years of struggle and intense
political activity in Zimbabwe. But let me place on record that a wounded
Mugabe, in response to the crisis, targeted the people. Mugabe declared a
war with the people. Mugabe declared a war with the world. The aim was to
stretch the MDC and to test the people's resilience and seriousness. Unlike
his peers, Mugabe failed to work out an exit strategy when it was clear that
he had outlived his usefulness.
For two decades, our national and institutional systems failed to address
growing internal frictions and tensions arising from a self-created crisis
of governance. The existing institutions and governance methods no longer
worked. To this day, Zimbabwe finds itself saddled with persistent political
imbalances, which can no longer be sustained because of numerous political
deficits. However, these imbalances and policy flip-flops, which have
affected all of us, show a dictatorship flame-out that should offer us a
superb opportunity to start afresh.
Together, we are bearing the brunt of the social, economic and political
costs of the dictatorship. The MDC, as you all know is an institution that
arose from a resolution of the National Working People's Convention. The MDC
is the political face of the people's struggle. The MDC is a mere symbol of
the people's resistance. But the bulk of the work rests with all of us, with
the people, through the party, civil society and through you. The view of
the National Working People's Convention was that a political alternative
should challenge the status quo and to bring about change. The birth of the
MDC was a people's response to an unbearable set of circumstances around
Our main strategy was to take on the regime at the ballot box. We succeed in
this approach. But the people were unable to assume power. The dictatorship
responded in a manner that has surprised the world. It is fair to note that
on our part, we seriously under-estimated the dictator's ability and
determination to defy reasonable opinion. As we review the performance of
the entire democratic movement, an opportunity presents itself for
self-introspection. It is a fact that the MDC is still more of a broad-based
movement than a political party in the strict sense of the word. We draw our
support from everywhere, literally. Our support emerges from any person keen
to see a new dispensation, a new democratic framework, and a New Zimbabwe.
While some in civil society may argue that they have no vested interest in
attaining political power as individuals, they remain an indispensable part
of this liberation culture.
After February 2000 and the wholesale destabilization of commercial
agriculture and the rule of law, the MDC attracted millions of new members,
new supporters, new sympathizers and new allies whose ideological positions
were at variance with the thrust of the initiators of the MDC project.
Conservatives, liberals, democrats, socialists, patriots, anarchists and
extremists in our society and beyond found a home in the MDC, creating a mix
that was not only difficult to manage but highly open to infiltration,
manipulation and opportunism.
The mix became pronounced more glaringly in our international relations
regime. Liberal democrats sought an association with us; so did the
conservatives and liberals. They invited us to join their international
solidarity groups and to take up membership of the same. But our ideology,
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, is social democracy. Quite often we were
embarrassed to be lumped in the same basket with rebel African rag-tag and
ornamental opposition forces and extremely conservative and racial units.
These contradictions have earned us a lot of misunderstandings and sometimes
Our goal is to complete the unfinished agenda of the liberation struggle: to
extend the people's freedoms. Our objective remains and has always been to
search for a lasting solution to the national crisis. Our vision is a New
We have tried everything: elections, dialogue, local and international
lobbying, symbolic mass action, judicial redress and the law, and
Parliamentary pressure. We know something out of all that. While we made
some inroads here and there in exposing the weaknesses of the dictatorship,
we believe we now have to break new ground in order to make real progress.
The experiences of the past six years are instructive. Countrywide, the
people are demanding a short final phase of the struggle. We all realize
that a long struggle wears down its own activists and supporters. A long
struggle tends to be overwhelmed by unexpected challenges and changed
circumstances. Many expected a short and clean sweep, but that was not be.
We have to be realistic: you can't put time frames to a struggle of this
nature. Together, we have been exposed to a serious onslaught from the
regime. That onslaught almost disorganized us.
The final phase of our struggle
As we enter the decisive and final phase of our struggle, allow me Mr.
Chairman, ladies and gentlemen to reflect on my experience and to attempt to
place a forecast on what lies before us. The roots of this struggle reside
on a serious national grievance: a grievance that is at the heart of our
national politics. The MDC represents a rallying cry for the fulfilment of
an uncompleted national agenda, a national assignment and a national
We cherish a value system that bound us together to confront colonialism.
Zimbabweans always believed in, and even fought for, justice. We respect our
dignity. The concept of hunhu hwe munhu or ubuntu, has guided our relations
in our homes, in our communities and in our natural interactions with our
neighbours from time immemorial. We long for liberty and personal
advancement. We aspire for a society with equal opportunities. Our culture
calls on us to support each other. We believe in stability and empathy. As a
people, we are natural social democrats.
Zimbabweans look in hope and a deep longing for a united nation. Inside our
chests moves a spirit that seeks to express freely the basic traits of our
common humanity and togetherness, which for so long has been suppressed and
negatively exploited by a variety of political parasites.
We feel betrayed because we never expected the nationalistic elite to simply
replace the colonial administrator at Independence and perpetuate
inequality, political corruption and divisions in our society. We question
the seriousness and the changed, modern-day credentials of the new minority
in our midst, the new elite in power. We realized that Zanu PF's equality
debate was flawed right from the beginning - it was based on a narrow
principle of equality across race and colour. The party failed to see beyond
this, such that today, we live in a society soaked in black-on-black
Colonialism taught us that a minority always tampers with our national
values. A minority thrives on a patronage system. A minority develops
cartels and breeds corruption. And when challenged, a greedy minority in
power often retreats into a distorted form of nationalism and invokes fears
of the unknown; a minority looks to our colonial past for opportunistic and
As I said earlier, after 20 years of abuse our national institutions and
systems gave in. The crisis of governance reached a stage when it was no
longer possible to keep the lid on. The people refused to be cowed into
submission. Today, Zimbabweans desire and demand a leadership, at all
levels, with a clear vision, a national sense of modesty, and much courage,
born of honest and patriotic concern to articulate our common humanity, our
common goals and our Zimbabwean identity within the global community.
Zimbabweans are keen to restore their confidence in the concept of public
service and public good. After a serious bruising and more than two decades
of unfulfilled promises and political deception, the people eagerly wait for
leaders with hearts and minds large enough for the urgent task of attending
to our immediate humanitarian emergencies, national healing, national
reconstruction, justice and equality. There is a national consensus
accepting that it will take a great deal of hard work, personal humility and
patriotism to bring us together and rebuild our tattered lives and our
Zimbabweans expect an extension of a system of values that celebrates the
sanctity of life and an unfettered extension of freedom. As a people at the
heart of danger and struggling with hard transition, we must exercise
caution and demand irreversible safeguards to insulate the nation against
possible future abuse, regardless of who is in power. The people expect a
permanent opening for liberty, personal security and collective advancement.
We risk sliding into a form of generational irrelevance; we risk permanent
national disability unless we show leadership and confront the dictatorship
at a time when literally the nation is fully behind us.
More than at any juncture in the past, this is certainly the time we must
take a proactive stance and work out the necessary political and
institutional arrangements that will form the basis of a broadly shared
sustainable solution to the crisis. The crisis here may be clear to every
Zimbabwean, but not to Robert Mugabe and a few of powerful cronies and
associates. Their mental block has become a major source of national
implosion. Mugabe and his team are failing to connect with something larger
than their personal egos. As a result, their leadership is unable to give
Zimbabwean life any meaning at all.
We believe the time has come for Robert Mugabe to step aside because he has
become an unacceptable national liability. He has lost himself. He seems
stuck in a time warp and within the myth of measurement, propelling him to
think that if he goes, Zimbabwe will varnish. In life, you cannot measure
what you have done, especially that which is good. We recognize Mugabe's
contribution to the liberation struggle. However, we differ with his
apparent reluctance to take an exit package and to enjoy, in retirement, an
otherwise noble position as one of the icons of the liberation struggle and
a founding father of modern Zimbabwe.
We find discomfort in his insistence to cling on to power, run the country
aground and destroy the future of millions of young people. We believe he no
longer has the ideas and the energy to grapple with the needs of a new
generation to pilot the ship of state in the right direction. But, we still
need him to assist us in this transition because while he is the source of
the problem and he is also part of the solution.
With his concurrence and influence, we can soft-land the crisis; achieve our
main goal of completing the unfinished business from the liberation struggle
and realize our vision of a new Zimbabwe. If Mugabe allows Zimbabweans today
to search for an honest national solution, the discussion will be over in a
few hours because we all know and agree on what needs to be done to impel
the nation out of the woods. Leadership must give meanings to the lives of
others. Leadership requires an honest application of love and an open heart.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the MDC is fully behind an orderly
transition to a new Zimbabwe. We are against any form of retribution. We are
against the use of force to settle political scores. We pledge to allow the
past to guide, and not to derail, us as we work into the future. We shall
never allow history and our personal preferences or grievances to interfere
with this vision.
We support a democracy charter as a moral, contractual barometer for our
society and a guiding expression of our national values, regardless of who
is in government. We are unhappy with the unnecessary delay in resolving our
national crisis at a time when all Zimbabweans, across the political divide,
are agreed on the fundamental issues confronting our country.
We are dismayed that despite the national consensus on the need for a new
Zimbabwe, some among us wish to see Zimbabwe burn when we know our problem
and politically we have the solutions. For instance, the nation accepts and
expects a new Constitution, good governance and a compassionate state,
economic revival, land and agrarian reform, respect for private property
rights, direct foreign investment and international legitimacy, food
security, an open government, strong national institutions and jobs. We
sincerely believe Zimbabwe must move fast and sort itself out because of the
geo-political, social and economic developments facing the SADC region. In
2010, the region, led by South Africa, hosts the soccer World Cup.
As I said earlier, there is a real possibility of creating a dangerous
political vacuum in Zimbabwe. Together with Mugabe and Zanu PF, we must seek
a way to avoid further damage to our nation. We need everybody in this
delicate transition. As a nation, we must manage that process; otherwise the
2010 World Cup shall be marred by a political blot. A military junta could
step in to fill the possible political vacuum.
Already Mugabe, conscious of his advanced age and with a view to increase
his own security, has militarized our main national institutions: power
generation and supply, food production, food procurement and food security,
fuel management and distribution, national parks and wildlife management,
agriculture, industry and commerce, election management and administration,
key civil service departments and parastatals, land distribution and local
government. The entire state sector is now in the hands of the military.
In theory, there may be nothing wrong with military personnel offering
assistance to a beleaguered regime on behalf of the people. But our
experience in Zimbabwe is unique. In 2002 and thereafter, the military took
over the administration and management of national elections, with
disastrous results. We have it on record that some ambitious elements in the
military harbour a negative view of the people's sovereign right to elect a
government of their choice.
International attention shall shift radically to Southern Africa over the
next four years as the region prepares for the international soccer
competition. Our crisis shall interfere with regional harmony if we continue
to postpone the inevitable. A solution is urgent because of the historic
task ahead. Zimbabwe needs to embark on a major reconstruction agenda and to
re-set its mind and consciousness in order to play a meaningful part in the
hosting of the World Cup.
History will judge us harshly if we allow our own internal problems to soil
this critical event with, as expected, haphazard migration across the
Limpopo, squabbles over disputed elections, lack of political space, a
flawed Constitution, starvation and insecurity and bad governance.
Although Germany played host to the 2006 World Cup, 13 European nations
participated and assisted in one way or the other. Europe housed and
provided facilities to various national teams, visitors and official
delegations before the official kick-off of the competition. We are hosting
the World Cup. Let us join the region in the preparations for this event.
We are therefore proposing that we deal with our national issues way before
2010, better still three or four years before this international showcase to
allow us to rehabilitate our nation, recover our national pride and dignity
and play our complimentary role in hosting the World Cup. Let us avoid
alienating ourselves further from our neighbours. We must work together to
re-open our links with the rest of the business community and participate,
as a stable community, in international events. At the moment, we are simply
an irritant, a gadfly ready to muddy a noble cause in 2010. We hope and pray
that Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF understand that as Zimbabweans we have a
responsibility, a duty to our people and to the region.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, while some in this
struggle may feel tortured and betrayed, powerless and hopeless, my sincere
advice to the people is: stay the course and lead with an open heart. Let us
remain compassionate in our search for a lasting solution to the national
crisis. Let us pay attention to the people's pain, against all odds.
I thank you.
From The Star (SA), 27 July
Wires, beads and bare hands are the tools many immigrants use to make a
living in South Africa. For Naison Ndlovu and Givemore Richard, who began
their lives in South Africa making everything from small roses to life-size
motorcycles, drawing and painting is where their passions lay.
Eighteen-year-old Ndlovu and 24-year-old Richard, both refugees from
Zimbabwe, were the first students of the Taxi Art Education Programme.
Initiated in June 2005, the programme offers free art classes through David
Kruts Publishing. Ndlovu and Richard thought walking into David Kruts
publishing house was a gamble, but they yearned to find any way possible to
get more involved with the arts. "Many people come to me for help on a daily
basis but they showed a real commitment," said Krut, who brought Ndlovu and
Richard off the streets by helping to pay their rent and providing them with
art supplies. They are now learning how the arts allow people to assimilate
into a society," says Krut. Krut said he only supports the programme and
that the real credit goes to Regi Mental, a writer and administrator for the
programme, and the artists who take part.
Mental run free art classes every Friday from 11am to 1 pm at the
Johannesburg Central City Library and a new satellite programme at the
Diepkloof zone one library every Wednesday from 10am-12 noon. The programme
brings in art teachers, local artists and students to work in a variety of
mediums - from drawing to sculpture and even music. "Everyone faces
difficult situations and many people don't know how to express their
feelings," said Luis Yodinko an immigrant from Mozambique. Advocating visual
literacy, the programme emphasises appreciation and understanding of arts as
well as ways to use art as a communicative outlet. "Art and music help
people find themselves," says Yodinko. Yodinko and other artists are
learning that there is another side to the life of an artist: business. "We
hope to create the possibility for sustainable careers in the arts," says
Mental. "We believe art facilitates in the creation and cementing of
personal identity and that participation in arts-related activities gives
individuals a sense of purpose and accomplishment."
The Diepkloof library project is the first of many satellite library
programmes that Mental hopes to start around the city to show people that
art is a passion but can also generate an income. Most of those attending
are street children or unemployed adults who have not completed schooling.
Many are immigrants from surrounding African countries who lack education,
language skills or work opportunities. The programme is modelled after a
series of "Taxi-Art books" by David Krut publishing. Each book comes with a
supplement that promotes the teaching of art and arts-related skills. "Art
exists as a part of life and we want to bring South African art to the
attention of the country," says Krut. The programme helps artists create
their own portfolio to present to future employers. Ndlovu continues to
dream of the future. "My dream is to make a living out of art and have my
own gallery," he says.
Sunday Herald, UK
By Neil Mackay Investigations Editor
BRITAIN is selling arms and technology which can be used by the military to
19 of the 20 nations which the UK's own Foreign Office lists as "countries
of major concern" in its human rights annual report.
The only "country of major concern" not in receipt of military know-how from
the UK is North Korea. The listed countries getting shipments include:
Belarus, Burma, China, Colombia, Cuba, Congo, Indonesia, Iran, Israel,
Nepal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and
The UK is also exporting huge shipments of arms to countries designated
"zones of major armed conflict" and to nations which have been defined as
Red Cross "hot spots" due to poverty, war and disease. Britain also fuels
regional arms races by arming opposing nations.
Countries under arms embargo are also obtaining equipment and technology
which can be used for military purposes from the UK. These include: Burma,
China, Congo, Iran, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and
In 2005, a minimum of £62m in arms - including "components for nuclear
reactors" - were sold to China by the UK. In the first three months of 2006,
a further £19m worth of weapons went from London to Beijing. In the Foreign
Office's human rights report, the British government says: "The UK continues
to have serious concerns about basic human rights in China."
Taiwan, the independent island nation which China wants back under its
control, was also armed by the UK. Between January 2005 and March 2006, it
was sold British arms worth £63m.
India and Pakistan - two nuclear powered nations which are hostile to each
other - were both armed by the UK. From January 2005 to March 2006, India
was sold £72.5m worth of UK arms, while Pakistan spent £27m.
Countries such as Congo and Algeria, which have been riven by brutal
conflict, are also buying up large amounts of UK arms. Recent arms shipments
to Algeria from the UK totalled £33m.
In the Foreign Office's human rights report, the government says of Israel:
"The UK opposes the Israeli policy of targeted killings, which are illegal
under international law." Yet, from January 2005 to March 2006, the UK sold
Tel Aviv weapons worth £27.25m. In the same period, more than £1m worth of
UK weaponry was sold to Lebanon.
Current and former members of the "axis of evil" are also in receipt of UK
military technology. Libya bought nearly £42m in UK weapons recently, while
Syria has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds getting its hands on
so-called dual-use items from Britain. Dual-use goods can be used for either
civilian purposes or for military purposes.
Between October and December 2005, Syria spent £100,000 acquiring technology
for the production of toxins and later bought a consignment of chemicals. It
also acquired goods meant for straightforward military application.
Iran has also spent £180.5m acquiring dual-use technology such as chemicals,
machine tools, animal pathogens and aero-engines from the UK. Even Cuba
bought technology for the flight control systems of rockets. Burma was
allowed by buy £100,000 worth of dual-use chemicals in July-September 2005.
There are concerns that the multi- million pound arms sales to Iraq are not
reaching the newly formed security forces, but being diverted to militias
and other groups involved in the insurgency.
In its 2005 human rights report, the Foreign Office says that it has
"expressed our concerns to the Indonesian government" over attacks on
villages in the Papuan Highlands. Yet in the same year, the UK sold £28.5m
worth of weapons to Indonesia.
Countries plagued by ethnic conflict, internal disorder and poverty are also
key targets for the British arms trade. Between January 2005 and March 2006,
Ethiopia spent £400,000 on arms and dual-use chemicals from the UK. Haiti
spent nearly £1m; Sudan more than £8.5m; Sri Lanka nearly £4.5m; Nigeria
£39m; and Somalia more than £500,000.
The UK has condemned Russia for allowing "the most serious [human rights
situation] in the broader European continent" to develop as a result of the
conflict in Chechnya. Yet recent arms sales to Moscow totalled around £6m.
Saudi Arabia - notorious for frequent abuses of human rights - spent £31.5m
on UK arms.
Almost every imaginable type of weapon is on sale in the UK - from
air-to-surface missiles, electronic warfare equipment, radars, machine guns,
submarines, handguns, rifles, ammunition, parts for military helicopters and
fighter jets and gun silencers.
The UK is also speeding up how quickly it can export armaments. Most
licences for weapons exports are now granted in just 11 days. There have
only been five successful prosecutions for illegal arms trading since 2000;
none resulted in a prison term. In total, the UK made £1.4 billion in arms
deals in 2005.
Amnesty International said "conflict and human rights abuse go hand in hand
and the government needs to operate a safety-first policy - turning off the
tap if there is a real risk of weaponry ending up in the hands of human
Amnesty has called for a tough, legally binding international arms trade
treaty, prohibiting the sale of small arms to conflict zones. It also
supports the suspension of arms being sent to Israel, claiming that the UK
is fuelling conflict in the Middle East not only by selling arms but also by
allowing weaponry such as "bunker buster" bombs to be transported through UK
airports, such as Prestwick, from the US to Israel.
Arms shipped to apparently respectable countries can also end up in the
hands of dangerous regimes. Rosemary Burnett, director of Amnesty Scotland,
said tear gas used in Zimbabwe had come from Britain via a third country.
"The world is awash with British weapons," Burnett said, "and the price
keeps falling. In 1967, it cost 34 cows to buy a gun in Kenya, now it costs
four." The UK military often dumps out-dated weaponry on the world market.
There is little or no control over what UK arms dealers can do outside
Britain. A broker from Britain can buy guns in Mexico and arrange to have
them delivered to Iran via Thailand. Campaigners say this proves just how
ineffectual are the UK's arms trade laws.
When New Labour first came to power in 1997, the party made much of its
pledge to implement an ethical foreign policy which would see repressive
regimes refused British arms and a ban on exporting UK weapons to conflict
zones. "Where is that ethical foreign policy now?" asked Burnett.
"There is a pressure on Britain to sell arms so it can be seen as a big
player on the world's stage. Our manufacturing sector is almost gone and so
the government wants to protect the arms industry. Ethics just get in the
Michael Moore, MP, the LibDems' shadow foreign secretary, backed a freeze on
UK arms sales to Israel on the grounds that its military tactics were
"disproportionate and amounted to collective punishment".
He also supported an international arms trade treaty, saying that existing
controls did not work and that a fresh start needed to be made in order to
make sure "our country reduces its contribution to the sum of human misery".
Moore said that he had "serious concerns about the UK's contribution to
international arms dealing which is causing devastation around the world",
and added: "New Labour's ethical foreign policy was quietly ditched. "
Ian Prichard, of Campaign Against the Arms Trade, said that countries such
as Iran get "vast amounts of equipment" from the UK which could be used for
military purposes . Countries give an "end-user undertaking" to the UK, in
effect promising that dual-use items will only be used for civilian
purposes, not military ones. The Department of Trade and Industry has
admitted that it is impossible to ensure that such promises are kept.
Much of the arms industry is still shrouded in secrecy. There are two types
of arms export licence - a standard one and an open one. Publicly available
details of the standard licence include costs, but no costs are included in
the open licences. Therefore, setting an amount on the value of weaponry
sold by Britain to countries around the world is a minimum estimate.
Prichard said that this prevented "accountability and transparency". Saudi
Arabia, Prichard said, had a "dire" human rights record, yet Britain "will
supply it anything it wants". Such a policy, critics say, leaves the UK
dependent on questionable regimes as lucrative trade makes it less easy to
condemn repressive rulers.
Prichard said arms sales had little to do with grand foreign policy
objectives, adding: "There is almost no moral judgement made when it comes
to arms sales. It doesn't matter about poverty, war or human rights. It is
all about money and business."
Despite the arms sector's central place in British industry, weapons sales
only account for 1-2% of UK exports. Prichard said such importance was
placed on arms sales as weapons manufacturers "have the key to Number 10".
"Arms are something of an addiction for government. The result is that we
are happy to climb into bed with some of the worst characters on Earth," he
said. "We send out a message that the actions of these governments are OK -
that we are happy with what Israel or Saudi Arabia is doing - because we
sell them weapons. "
The UK government has more than 500 staff in the Defence Export Services
Organisation tasked to optimise UK arms sales. Its current head is Alan
Garwood, a former managing director with the armaments company BAe.
"This unit's role is to lobby for the arms industry. It's a dream for the
arms trade," Prichard said. After the USA in first position, Britain, France
and Russia all jockey for second place in the arms sales stakes.
Paul Eavis, director of Saferworld, said: "While the Foreign Office
criticises countries on their human rights performance, the Department of
Trade and Industry issues export licences for military equipment to these
same countries. Ministers must assert a coherent policy.
"The government's arms policy states that it will not issue arms where there
is a risk of regional conflict or instability, yet it has consistently
approved arms to Israel. The current violence in the Middle East is alarming
and the government must now stop all arms sales to Israel."
According to a report by the Control Arms Campaign - comprising Oxfam,
Amnesty and the International Action Network on Small Arms - all 13 UN arms
embargoes imposed in the last decade have been "systematically violated".
30 July 2006
By Foster Dongozi
THE presidents of the two MDC rival factions, Morgan Tsvangirai
and Professor Arthur Mutambara, yesterday embraced, shook hands and pledged
to work together to unseat the ruling Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai and Mutambara were meeting in public for the first
time and were joined by the presidents of three other opposition political
parties as signs of a tentative broad alliance against Zanu PF began to
The unexpected development took place at a Harare convention
organised by the Christian Alliance, a grouping of Christian leaders who
brought together civil society, labour, students, political parties, women's
organisations and churches to debate the future of the country.
Although Zanu PF together with bishops who support the ruling
party had been invited, they snubbed the event.
Tsvangirai, who was presenting his faction's vision for the
country, invited Mutambara to the podium and United People's Party
president, Daniel Shumba.
Zapu Federal Party president, Paul Siwela and Wurayayi Zembe of
the Democratic Party, joined the three leaders.
The five opposition leaders shook hands and embraced in a move
that was greeted by rapturous applause, singing, whistling and ululations.
"I have called my colleagues upfront here because we are the
political leaders that unite or divide the people. There is no political
party which is too small or big. We now make a pledge that we just don't
speak unity but that we act the unity. Let us not listen to our voices but
to the voices of the people," Tsvangirai said to roars of approval from the
close to 500 delegates from around the country.
Mutambara also brought the house down when he said: "I am
prepared to surrender the political power that I have on condition that we
return to the founding values of the MDC which include non-violence and
respect for the constitution."
Mutambara said equally, he hoped other opposition politicians
would be prepared to work under any democratically elected leader who would
lead a united front against Zanu PF.
The show of unity by the opposition, which could further
unsettle the already divided Zanu PF, could be the culmination of behind the
scenes lobbying as Mutambara, Tsvangirai, Siwela, Shumba and Zembe appeared
to be comfortable with each other. They even held a brief discussion during
the tea break.
It was not immediately clear last night how the modalities of
the united front would be ironed out.
Delegates who broke into working groups were discussing issues
pertaining to the constitution, mediation, lobbying, engaging the grassroots
and the possibility of the formation of a broad alliance similar to the
Kenyan Rainbow Coalition which kicked long time dictator, Daniel Arap Moi
out of power.
"Zanu PF continues to put wedges between us because they know
that if we are divided, they have more time to ruin the country. It is now
time to isolate the dictatorship," Zembe said.
In a statement which he sent to the convention, Archbishop Pius
Ncube said: "Zimbabweans have shown themselves to be resilient, noble and
peace loving-despite all provocation including Murambatsvina, a vicious act
of government. The present situation is hurting everyone and a solution is
urgently needed. There seems to be no way we will solve this crisis except
The convenor of the Christian Alliance, Bishop Levee Kadenge
told The Standard in an interview: "For some time we have looked elsewhere
but not here for Zimbabwe's salvation. It is now apparent to all that our
problems can only be solved by ourselves."
By Gibbs Dube
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Wednesday left the entire Cabinet
shaken after he accused most of his lieutenants of incompetence and being
involved in shady deals that have left the economy in tatters.
Authoritative politburo sources told The Standard that an angry
Mugabe told members of the politburo that his ministers had let him down.
Mugabe said some of the ministers were concerned with self enrichment and
had gold mines while others were taking over different farms every month.
One of the politburo sources said Mugabe was in a combative
"He left most of the cabinet ministers shaken and uncertain
about their future. He was unhappy over their high degree of incompetence
and accused most of them of being involved in shady deals.
"Although he sometimes mentions some of these issues, this time
he was very serious. President Mugabe noted that the majority of ministers
showed lack of commitment towards their work resulting in the derailment of
strategic government programmes."
The sources said Mugabe cited the Ministry of Lands and
Agriculture as the worst run arm of government yet agriculture was the
mainstay of the economy. Joseph Made heads the ministry which failed to plan
the past agricultural season resulting in an acute shortage of inputs such
"President Mugabe was not happy with this ministry and expressed
shock over indications that up to now there were inadequate agricultural
inputs for wheat farming. He noted that such ineptitude was totally
unacceptable," said the sources.
Several other ministers were criticised for lack of commitment
to State duties. Some of them were diverting their attention from government
activities to shady deals, Mugabe said.
"It appears as if he has targets who are performing below
expectations and involved in corrupt activities. This includes a minister
who may soon be arrested over the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company saga
which has seen the arrest of Deputy Information Minister, Bright Matonga,"
said another source.
Although the sources dismissed suggestions that the President
may soon reshuffle his cabinet, they said several ministers were expected to
They said among ministers who could be dropped from cabinet were
Ignatious Chombo, Patrick Chinamasa, Christopher Mushowe and Amos Midzi.
By Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO - Former Defence minister and founding member of the
ruling Zanu PF party, Enos Nkala, says he is naming the killers of Josiah
Tongogara and Herbert Chitepo in a book he is writing.
The death of these two liberation war heroes has remained
shrouded in controversy with various theories being thrown around.
Chitepo, the chairman of the legendary Dare reChimurenga (war
council), was killed on 18 March 1975 in a car bomb explosion at his house
in Lusaka, Zambia. A commission of inquiry ordered by the then Zambian
President, Kenneth Kaunda, blamed Zanu PF leaders, some still in government
Tongogara, who was the commander of Zanla, the armed wing of
Zanu PF, died in mysterious circumstances in Mozambique on 25 December in
The death of the 41-year-old guerrilla leader in a car accident
was announced by President Robert Mugabe. The view among the freedom
fighters was that he was expected to be the first President of Zimbabwe with
Mugabe as Prime Minister. No autopsy results or photos of the body were ever
released, fuelling suspicion of foul play.
Nkala, in whose house Zanu PF was launched in 1963, told The
Standard he was going to set the record straight on the death of the two
luminaries as well as the killers of former Zapu stalwart, Jason Ziyapapa
"I know what happened to Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo,
Jason Moyo, Lazarus Nkala and other senior politicians during the liberation
struggle. I definitely know some of the people who killed them and this will
be exposed in my book.
"There are so many unpleasant things that took place from the
time of the formation of the Youth League, African National Congress of
Southern Rhodesia, Zapu and Zanu."
He however insists that the book should only be published after
his death, possibly fearing a backlash from Mugabe and other surviving
veterans of the liberation struggle.
Nkala (74) defended his decision to have the book published only
after his death.
"There are many people who will be exposed for what they did
during the liberation struggle. I know that they will say a lot of things
about the contents of the book but it is better for them to say these things
when I am dead," he said.
Nkala added: "I don't fear anyone in this country because I am
not a coward. My book will correct a lot of impressions, pure lies and evil
concoctions peddled by certain quarters of the ruling elite about the
liberation struggle. I will even tell all about the deployment of 5 Brigade
in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces, which killed more than 20 000
innocent civilians at the peak of clashes between the then rivals, Zanu PF
and PF Zapu in the 1980s.
"I will indicate how it (5 Brigade) was offered and deployed
under whose instructions. People have accused me in the past saying that the
brigade was my project. I beg to differ."
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - United People's Party (UPP) President Daniel Shumba
says he is among thousands of people who lost their relatives in the 1980s
when the government unleashed a North Korean-trained brigade in Matabeleland
and the Midlands provinces to wipe out "dissidents".
Shumba was addressing a public meeting last weekend in Bulawayo
attended by more than 1 000 people who included Paul Siwela of Zapu Federal
Party, Pearson Mbalekwa (United People's Movement), Leonard Nkala (Patriotic
Union of Matabeleland), Wurarayi Zembe (Democratic Party) and Abednico
Bhebhe (Movement for Democratic Change).
Reacting to a question on his role in the 5 Brigade atrocities,
Shumba said he was also a victim of the genocide as he lost his
mother-in-law during the disturbances which pitted the ruling party and PF
Zapu then led by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo.
The UPP leader, a former Army officer, told the meeting
organised by Bulawayo Agenda that he was not among the perpetrators.
"I was in the army then but I did not at all support what was
happening at the time. I did not condone the atrocities. I am also a victim.
I lost my mother-in-law".
The former ruling Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson
condemned the atrocities, saying there should be a commission of inquiry to
bring the perpetrators to book.
"The evil that took place at the time must be examined and
revisited by a commission and the perpetrators brought to book. Nobody
should get away with what happened during that time," said the UPP
But the public dismissed Shumba accusing him of being an
opportunist seeking political capital out of the atrocities which left more
than 20 000 civilians dead and hundreds others maimed.
Responding to the dismissals, Shumba, who was also quizzed on
how he could claim to be "clean" after being a Zanu PF member for quite a
long time until he was expelled, he said: "We are not opportunists. We are
also risking our assets.
"After being accused of being part of the Tsholotsho Declaration
to stage a coup against the President, I did not beg for forgiveness like
others after being suspended for five years.
"Zanu PF is impervious to change. I quit the party because I
refused to be subjected to anything that was not democratic. I felt that I
Shumba was suspended with other provincial chairpersons for
attending a meeting in Tsholotsho condemned by President Mugabe as an
attempt to unseat him. He later resigned to form UPP.
Addressing the same meeting, Mbalekwa attacked the ruling party
for creating a bad image about the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
by manipulating its roles.
He said this after being quizzed about his CIO status and Zanu
"I deny that I applied for a CIO job, you can check the State
records. I was offered a CIO job by the State and not by Zanu PF. CIO is not
"There are some elements within Zanu PF that have deliberately
manipulated the roles and duties of the CIO. They (CIO) are a state organ
and not a party organ," said the UPM representative.
While most opposition parties were fully represented at the
meeting, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change declined to attend the indaba, much to the chagrin of all
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
AFTER he was involved in a nasty accident in 2004, which left
him with a 63% disability, Kenneth Togara was forced to quit his job at the
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
But nine months later, the 60-year-old mechanic had to look for
another job despite nursing an injured backbone.
The reason: "The monthly pension I get is not even enough to buy
two loaves of bread. It's either I die of hunger or I go back to work," he
Togara - a father of nine, four of whom are still under his
direct care - is getting a monthly pension of $337 000 plus a children's
allowance of $42 000.
With his pension earnings, Togara can neither afford a decent
meal for a single day of the month. He can neither afford to buy two loaves
of bread nor any of the basic essential commodities. A loaf of bread costs
$200 000 while a 750 ml bottle of cooking oil goes for about $550 000.
"I am living like a pauper and yet they were deducting money
from my little earnings every month. Contributions to NSSA (National Social
Security Authority) should just be stopped," said a bitter Togara.
A letter to Togara from NSSA reads: "Payment of your award will
be made in the form of a monthly pension amounting to $337 365.00 plus a
children's allowance of $42 170.63 per month."
The letter is dated 10 May 2006.
Togara's plight is reflective of the life most pensioners in
Zimbabwe, who are battling to survive because their monthly earnings have
been eroded by inflation.
Currently, inflation has topped 1 184%, the highest in the world
outside a war zone, say experts.
Most pensioners receive no more than $1.5 million while some
receive as little as $200 000 a month.
Workers contribute 3% of their salaries to NSSA while the
employer contributes an equal percentage.
The retirement age in Zimbabwe is 60 years for men and 55 for
women. According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), an urban family
of six people requires about $68 million a month for the purchase of basic
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country's
largest worker representative body, said with the poverty datum line pegged
at $68 million and inflation of over 1 000%, pensions were inadequate to
sustain retired people.
Wellington Chibebe, ZCTU secretary-general said the labour body
is lobbying that pensioners get reasonable pensions.
Chibebe said it was disheartening to note that 75% of properties
in Harare were built by pensioners' money and yet the contributors were
wallowing in poverty.
NSSA acting general manager, Amod Takawira, could not be reached
for comment. His secretary said he was out of town.
Director of Pensions in the Ministry of Service, Labour and
Social Welfare, Sylvester Mnkandla, said they were doing everything possible
so that pensioners can receive a pension, sufficient to lead a basic
standard of living.
He however said the minimum pension has now been pegged at $3
million a month with effect from the beginning of May.
"Measures designed to ensure that retirees meet basic needs such
as adequate nutrition, shelter, health care and thus maintain a standard of
living consistent with their social norms are under consideration by
government," Mnkandla said in a statement to The Standard.
For the past six years, Zimbabwe has endured an unprecedented
economic decline, characterised by shortages of food, fuel and foreign
Presenting the mid-term fiscal policy review last week, the
Minister of Finance, Herbert Murerwa, proposed to allocate $13 trillion to
mitigate the effects of inflation on pensions.
By Bertha Shoko
THE Global Fund to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and Aids
has dismissed as false a recent report by Health and Child Welfare Minister,
David Parirenyatwa, that the funding body had approved its sixth round
Last week Parirenyatwa told a local weekly newspaper that the
Global Fund had approved a US$60 million grant in the sixth round of
proposals that is meant to go towards HIV and Aids, malaria and tuberculosis
and that government was expecting the funds to be disbursed soon.
Parirenyatwa himself spoke to Standardhealth on Wednesday and
said the country's co-ordinating mechanism (CCM), which is made up of
non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, was in the process of
finalising its proposal.
In a written response to Standardhealth, head of communications
at the Global Fund, Jon Liden, said the reports were false.
Liden said: "The issue of Round 6 is a misreporting. The
deadline for proposals for Round 6 is 3 August. Eligible proposals will then
be assessed for quality by the Technical Review Panel in September.
"Proposals recommended for funding will be approved by the Board
in early November. Only in November will we announce if Zimbabwe's grant
proposal is successful."
Contacted for comment, Parirenyatwa said he was misquoted,
insisting that he had told the paper that it was round five not round six
that had been approved.
l Meanwhile, the Swedish government has pledged support for
Zimbabwe and mobilisation of resources for HIV and Aids programmes in the
Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sten Rylander, made the
announcement last week while addressing a group of women from Chitungwiza
Utano Project who had just completed training on HIV and Aids treatment that
was conducted by the Southern Africa HIV and Aids Information Dissemination
Rylander said: "You have difficulties in this country, hope they
will be overcome one day. I am an optimist and I am therefore certain these
problems will pass one day.
"The Swedish government through our embassy here in Zimbabwe are
behind the people of Zimbabwe all the way and will continue to give you all
the support we can to fight HIV and Aids. We are going to rally behind you
all the way."
Rylander later presented 16 women from Utano Project with
certificates for successfully undergoing training on the SAfAIDS Women's
Treatment Literacy Toolkit.
The literacy toolkits are meant to raise awareness and educate
women with low literacy levels on HIV and Aids.
SAFAIDS said in a statement: "The purpose of the toolkit rollout
programme is to empower women with relevant information to enable them to
full participation in ARV treatment programmes."
By our staff
THE dawn of the treatment era in the Aids fight that has seen
the advent of Anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) brought with it renewed hope to
people living with HIV and Aids across the globe, but Aids activists in
Zimbabwe say this hope has over the years been replaced by "anger and
frustration" as many fail to access the life-saving drugs.
According to the director of the Joint United Nations Programme
on HIV and Aids UNAIDS Dr Peter Piot, one of the barriers to an effective
global Aids response is the "gulf that separates the rich and poor worlds in
terms of access to life prolonging HIV treatment".
In Zimbabwe access to ARVs for people living with HIV and Aids
(PLWAs) in need of the life saving drugs, remains a far cry for numerous
reasons with underlying factors being the political and economic situation
in the country. First, is the lack of funding from the donor community for
government run ARV programmes in various parts of the country that has
resulted in a limited number of people accessing Anti-retroviral Therapy
Analysts have blamed this donor fatigue on the country's bad
human rights record. There are an estimated 60 000 people countrywide who
are accommodated on government's ARV programmes, compared to the
300 000 to 800 000 who are in need of the drugs.
Second, is the high cost of ARVs being sold in the private
sector, now sold for over $4 million for a month's dosage. About 120 000
people are estimated to be buying the drugs on their own in private
pharmacies or outside the country. Most of these people have failed to gain
access to state-run programmes.
Lastly is the issue of lack of foreign currency that has made it
impossible for pharmaceutical companies such as Varichem and Caps that
manufacture ARVs, to operate at full capacity. Players in the pharmaceutical
industry say with full support from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, these
companies have the potential to provide cheap generic drugs for Zimbabwe and
It is against this background that the quest for ART in Zimbabwe
has remained a major challenge for PLWAs.
Presenting a paper recently at a discussion forum, Yananiso Zhou
a representative from the Zimbabwe Network of People Living Positively
(ZNPP+) in Mashonaland West said many PLWAs felt betrayed by the failure by
government to scale up ART.
Zhou touched the hearts of many people when she said: "The
happiness, joy, jubilation and hope brought by the news of these wonder
drugs has been replaced by anger, frustration, bitterness, hopelessness and
Zhou said the arrival of ARVs had brought with it new attitudes
about HIV and Aids and taken away the "initial panic and helplessness" that
was associated with the disease. Zhou however says a lot still has to be
done to ensure PLWAs access the drugs.
She said: "The initial panic and hopelessness has gradually
transformed into a sense of optimism. HIV and Aids has been demystified to
the extent of inspiring appropriate interventions towards its prevention,
plus care and support for the infected and affected.
"But it is the advent of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, which
revived societies from inertia and resignation to a gradual appreciation of
HIV and Aids as just another chronic disease. Yet so much still needs to be
done to bring people in contact with these life-saving drugs."
HIV and Aids activist Sostain Moyo from Zimbabwe Activists on
HIV and Aids (ZAHA) said universal access to treatment will only become a
reality when the government and other key stakeholders keep the "promises"
they have made to the people.
"There is need for the civic society to establish a national and
international campaign to hold our leaders accountable for their promises
and commitments and ensure that they take action necessary to deliver them."
ZAHA is a coalition of Zimbabwean activists on HIV and Aids;
people infected and affected individuals and organisations.
Another activist, Martha Tapfumaneyi, who is also living
positively with HIV and Aids, said it was disturbing that in this treatment
era, many people are continuing to die the "Aids death". She said because of
limitations of the state run ARV programmes and the high prices of drugs in
the private sector many people, particularly in the rural communities, had
no access to ARVs.
BY TERRY MUTSVANGA
THE Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development has set
up a commission of inquiry following allegations that a Goromonzi chief
sought favours for appointing a headman.
Chief Tapfumanei Chigaramasimbe Chikwaka is set to appear at the
Murehwa community court on 8 August accused of violating sections of the
Prevention of Corruption Act.
A team was despatched from the Ministry to investigate various
corruption charges levelled against him by the villagers. But the villagers
fear that the chief may go scot-free because he is a staunch supporter of
the ruling party.
The villagers allege the chief appointed Phineas Dzvete as
headman for Dzvete village and then demanded three beasts from him. The
chief reportedly said the cattle would be given to a spirit medium that
would approve installation of Dzvete.
Afterwards, the chief allegedly ordered Dzvete to demarcate his
village into two. Dzvete refused, prompting the chief to sack him.
Unimpressed, Dzvete demanded his cattle back but the chief
refused to return the beasts. Dzvete then reported the matter to the police
and the Ministry of Local Government.
A team which investigated the chief is yet to make its findings
One of the villagers said: "There is a great danger that the
chief will not be sacked as he has strong links with the ruling party. The
case has been prolonged and the villages he created are still standing
regardless of a directive from the DA who instructed the chief to dissolve
The Deputy Secretary of Local Government, Fanuel Mukwaira,
confirmed that a commission was set up to investigate the chief but would
not disclose the findings.
"Yes, it's true that we sent a commission of inquiry following
the allegations but as a Ministry there is nothing we can do as we are still
awaiting the court judgement. But the villagers should first come to our
offices if they have any complaints rather than the Press alerting us,"
He also accepted that the chief created two illegal villages
that are not recognised by his Ministry.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
THE government has waived the retirement age limit for all
health practitioners in a bid keep the health sector functional, a senior
government official has said.
The chairman of the Health Services Board (HSB), Dr Lovemore
Mbengeranwa, said the 60 years' retirement age limit for health workers had
been set aside due to a critical shortage of staff.
Speaking during the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH)
annual general meeting recently, Mbengeranwa said health practitioners could
now continue working "as long as their bodies allow them".
"There is no longer such a thing as retirement age. They can
continue as long as they are still fit because most of the health personnel
who are retiring here are now actively working in countries such as the UK
and South Africa," said Mbengeranwa.
Those that are too old can be assigned less demanding jobs, he
Doctors, pharmacists and nurses are leaving the country to work
in Botswana, UK, Canada, South Africa and the US, resulting in the
deterioration of the provision of health services in the country. Most of
them cannot afford decent accommodation or vehicles due to poor salaries.
"The time we graduated from the university, a doctor would get a
car the same day he was capped. Car dealers would haunt you so that you
would buy their cars but this is no more," Mbengeranwa said.
He said the HSB was working on modalities to address the issues
of poor salaries, allowances and working conditions in an effort to retain
health workers in the country.
"The setting up of the Health Services Board will no doubt go a
long way to address the issue of the health workers' conditions of service
which will ultimately halt the brain drain," Mbengeranwa said.
Speaking at the same meeting, the director of policy and
planning in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Simon Chihanga, said
the government had set up "a desk" in the ministry to promote community
participation in the provision of health.
"We are finalising the modalities but the desk will be up and
running in the next few months. The desk will spearhead community
participation in health matters and thus promoting health outreach
programmes," Chihanga said.
He said the desk would resuscitate the community health
structures that were established by government in the 1980s in an effort to
promote primary health care.
In the early 80s, there were about 9 000 community health
workers that formed the backbone of the country's health outreach programme.
However, only about 500 village health workers are left.
BY GIBBS DUBE
BULAWAYO - Ninety-nine-year-old Gogo Sehlulekile Mlilo sleeps
motionlessly in a single bed tucked in spotlessly clean blankets. This has
been her nest for almost six years.
A couple of metres away, Daniel Sibanda (77) engages a nurse
aide and constantly refers to his itchy feet and painful legs. For 15 years,
he has been a guest at Ekuphumuleni Geriatric Nursing Home.
The two are among 45 inmates who were discharged from various
referral hospitals after suffering different ailments which left them almost
helpless. All of them need 24-hour medical attention.
From a distance, one may dismiss Ekuphumuleni, literally meaning
a resting place, as just another home for the aged. It is in fact a hive of
activity as it caters for various needs of the elderly until they are fit to
rejoin their families and resume a normal life.
The home is the brainchild of 80-year-old Polyanna Mahlangu, a
trained teacher, state-registered nurse and top class midwife.
Mahlangu says: "I have a big heart for the elderly. When I was a
nurse, it always troubled me whenever old people were discharged from Mpilo
General Hospital while they still needed special medical attention.
"This is the reason why I saw a need for the establishment of
this nursing home for the elderly. After being discharged, these old people
were supposed to be cared for by relatives who had inadequate nursing
experience, facilities and accommodation to cater for their needs."
Born in Plumtree District, Mahlangu whose father was a minister
of religion admired the way her parents cared for other people.
"I was really inspired by the way my parents cared for other
people for no financial rewards. I committed my life to serving the people
and God has given me the light from the time the home was set up at Vundu
Clinic in 1983 up to date," says Mahlangu, a devout Christian.
Mahlangu, attended Zinyangeni Primary School and Mtshabezi
Mission for primary and secondary education respectively before enrolling at
Hope Fountain Mission to train as a teacher.
After completing the course, she studied for a University Junior
Certificate (UJC) at Tiger Kloof in Cape Province, South Africa, where her
father, a minister of religion with the London Missionary Society (LMS)
Still not satisfied with her level of education Mahlangu
enrolled for nursing at McCord Zulu Hospital in Durban. She worked for three
months after completing the course before enrolling for a course in
midwifery. She was voted the best student in both courses.
She came back home and worked at Mpilo Hospital between 1951 and
1984 as a general nurse, senior sister and clinical instructor. It was
during this time that she mooted the idea of establishing a convalescent
home for the aged.
She married the late educationist, Peter Sivalo Mahlangu in
Establishing the home was no easy task as she walked from office
to office in Zimbabwe hoping to find a decent convalescent centre for the
"I used to discuss the idea of setting up this home with my
colleagues at tea time until 1978 when I informed Reverend Enoch Musa about
the importance of a convalescent centre and thereafter a chain of events
unfolded which involved various people in Bulawayo," says Mahlangu.
Some of those people who were involved in the early stages of
the project included the then Bulawayo City Town Clerk Mike Ndubiwa, nursing
sisters Tendai Khumalo and Rosina Mayobe of Mpilo Hospital, Rev. Musa,
educationist Leonard Nkala and Nicholas Mabodoko who played a key role in
fundraising activities, drawing of the home's constitution and other
This led to the establishment of the home in 1984 at Vundu
Clinic with a mere $3 000 in hand amid fears that the home would collapse.
"However, we managed to survive until we were given land by the
council near Mpilo Hospital where we set up our home with the help of
various organisations. We were a registered welfare organisation."
Over the years, the home has received recognition and support
for its work from various companies and individuals including President
Robert Mugabe and organisations such as Oak Foundation, Oxfam, Rotary and
Lions clubs, Swedish pensioners, City of Aberdeen Community, Hillary Trust,
Child Survival Foundation, Help Age International and several others.
Mahlangu's contribution to the community was first recognised in
1998 by Schweppes Company (Ltd) for her sterling community work.
This was followed in 1990 and 1991 by similar awards from the
Rotary Club of Bulawayo South and the Bulawayo City Council which bestowed
her with Civic Honours, the topmost award for a city resident whose work
caters for the interests of citizens.
* Nominations for Nation Builder can be submitted to
editor.standard.mweb.co.zw or The Editor, P.O. Box BE1165,
BY OUR STAFF
FINANCE Minister Herbert Murerwa last week failed to provide
solutions to the country's myriad of problems and instead pulled the rug
from under the table by proposing a $327.2 trillion supplementary budget.
Presenting the Mid Term Fiscal Policy Review on Thursday,
Murerwa acknowledged that the mining sector is projected to decline by 10.8%
attributed to the absence of capitalisation, adequate energy supplies and
against the background of rising production costs which threaten viability.
However, Murerwa did not mention the amendments to the Mines and
Minerals Act, which gives 51% shareholdings to Zimbabweans in all mining
ventures. The amendments have already rattled the embattled mining industry.
Murerwa projected a growth of 23% in agriculture in 2006. But he
could not provide solutions on how the nation would address the recurrent
inputs shortages, a problem that flourishes at the beginning of each farming
Murerwa admitted that parastatals have been a strain on fiscus
and the debt stock for major parastatals stood at $76.43 trillion as at
June. Despite pronouncing that seven state enterprises were up for grabs
when he presented the 2006 budget, Murerwa could not provide progress so far
admitting that the restructuring has been slow.
Murerwa's review was met with resistance from MPs who said the
Minister had not provided practical solutions to Zimbabwe's problems.
"What he (Murerwa) has done shows a lot of dishonest and deceit
on the part of government. The Minister has merely outlined the challenges
the country is facing. We thought he would proffer solutions," said Hatfield
MP Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC).
Mashakada said Murerwa's projection of a 23% growth in
agriculture was doomed as agriculture production was premised upon the
availability of inputs.
The legislator rapped government for printing money saying the
action was "an epitaph to all economic recovery measures". In February
Zimbabwe printed $21 trillion to buy foreign currency and settle an
International Monetary Fund US$9 million debt under the General Resources
Economic analyst John Robertson said Murerwa's policy was
expected as he "wasn't expecting anything better".
Robertson said Murerwa had failed to provide solutions to fix
agriculture, manufacturing and mining.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - The country's gold mining sector has shrunk by almost
50% over the past three years due to the government's failure to set
competitive market rates, says a top Chamber of Mines official.
Chamber of Mines president, Jack Murehwa, said gold mining has
shrunk from 24 to 11 tonnes a year due to the lack of a competitive price as
the government-set price was below the current market rates.
The Chamber of Mines president said this during an interview on
the sidelines of the official opening of Mine Entra at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair show grounds in Bulawayo.
"The mining industry is not showing any signs of improvement and
has, in fact, shrunk over the past three years with gold mining, for
example, going down from 24 tonnes to 11 tonnes a year.
"What has led to this situation is a scenario where one who
takes his gold to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe gets far less than what he
would have gotten on the parallel market," Murehwa said.
Murehwa said for the industry to be revived, the right
environment and the right price had to be put in place.
Deputy Mines and Mining Development Minister, Tinos Rusere, who
was also present at the official launch of the Mine Entra, confirmed that
the gold mining sector had almost collapsed.
Rusere said the government could not match the competitive gold
prices offered on the parallel market.
"Although it has shrunk, the government cannot be seen trying to
match the prices offered by 'briefcase guys' offering better packages,"
Expressing optimism over the future performance of the gold
mining industry, he said the sector was expected to experience better
fortunes if the government reviewed gold prices.
A GLOOMY Thursday it was for Zimbabwe, at least from Finance
Minister, Herbert Murerwa's description of the mid-term fiscal policy.
With a supplementary budget of $372,2 trillion and three times
the original budget analysts said this was the death knell Murerwa needed to
sound for an economy already on its knees.
Murerwa could not do enough to save the situation except to beg
for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono, for completion of the
work he failed to do.
But still then, analysts said, Gono has been thrown a hurdle in
"The expenditure is huge and without other sources of revenue
finances would have to be raised from the domestic market. This implies that
interest rates will have to rise and already that is throwing a hurdle on
the RBZ which had indicated a shift to a low interest policy last week,"
said a Harare-based economist, who declined identification.
"The intention is to keep rates low but how do they do that when
they have to raise a significant amount to finance the budget? The domestic
debt should balloon."
Government said it expects to raise $216 trillion from taxes to
finance the supplementary budget and estimates total repayment of $1,076
quadrillion if they were to borrow from the domestic market.
Murerwa also announced the introduction of a penalty for
informal traders who fail to pay presumptive tax, an increase in carbon tax
level to $5 000 a litre from $1 000 a litre and the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe debt redemption levy to $25 000 in a bid to increase revenue.
Analysts said the increases of carbon tax and the NOCZIM levy
would not release significant revenue to the economy and was likely to leave
the country in a worse off condition.
For analysts this is an indication of an economy already coming
to a "standstill".
"With sources of revenue limited the economy can be at a
standstill," said the economist.
Already they have predicted that the 2007 budget would run into
quadrillions driven by the inflationary supplementary budget.
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group economist, Andy Hodges said
inflation should rise.
"The Minister was in a tough position having to balance huge
interest rates and borrowing appetite as well as inflationary pressures,"
Analysts predict that inflation would end the year at 2 000% and
said it would be left up to the RBZ Governor to introduce measures to
contain the increase when he announces his monetary policy tomorrow.
"There is a lot of detail that has been left for the monetary
policy. The major issues include inflation, money supply growth and exchange
rate management," Hodges said.
BY Ndamu Sandu
ZIMBABWE has to form a working committee to identify an
appropriate strategy for the implementation of an indigenisation programme
in the mining sector, South Africa's leading adviser in mineral valuation
projects has said.
In a confidential document, Strategic Assessment and Response to
the Proposed State Participation Policy for Multinational Mining Companies
in Zimbabwe, Venmyn Rand Pvt Ltd proposes a committee to be composed of
officials from government, industry and labour to consider participation and
alternative policies and to make recommendations to the Minister of Mines
for possible implementation.
The document is in response to nationalisation of mines proposed
by Mines and Mining Development Minister Amos Midzi in May. Midzi sent
shivers down the spines of mining houses when he announced that government
had agreed to the proposed indigenisation that would entail a 51% ownership
by Zimbabweans. According to the draft bill, the first 25% would be free
while the remaining 26% would be paid for either by government or nationals.
Venmyn said: "In the interim, the mining industry should
formally request President Mugabe to give assurance that its investments in
Zimbabwe are safe, the cost of doing business will not rise without
consultation, property rights will be strengthened in law and the government
will protect mining assets from being unlawfully invaded."
Venmyn said that the working committee "must be tasked to
recommend a strategy that will balance the expectations of all stakeholders
and is in the best interest of the public, the economy and political
stability." Such a strategy, Venmyn said, should have immediate, short-term
and long- term dimensions.
"The mining industry should also remind Zimbabwean government of
the significant success in the attracting of foreign direct investments as a
result of implementing investor friendly policies in the late 1980s, which
period experienced an exponential growth in capital inflow. Furthermore,
appropriate tax policy, macro-economic discipline and good governance has
yielded better results in the past than state actions," Venmyn said in a
document in possession of Standardbusiness.
Venmyn said that the committee has to recommend a strategy for a
smooth transition over a realistic period of any policy instrument.
It urged the mining industry to inform government that the 25%
free equity is "creeping expropriation" and that a quarter of projects
values would be destroyed by such an action.
"In addition to this value destruction, further value will be
lost because of the negative message it will send to investors," Venmyn
The evaluation experts implored government to ensure that the
local ownership target of 26% "should not be enforced by law but
systematically increased as and when finance becomes available".
It said that for a company to manage mineral projects
dynamically, government's share of ownership for existing operations should
be paid for and that it should be less than 10%.
It said the current macroeconomic environment in Zimbabwe is not
business- friendly and that past experiences in Africa demonstrated that the
mining industry is particularly vulnerable when governments are under
pressure to manage unsustainable fiscal deficits, service international loan
agreements and foreign exchange to pay for basic consumer goods.
"The Zimbabwean mining indicators describe an economy that is in
such a desperate situation. It is exacerbated by the reduction in mining
applications approved, declining mining exports, falling contribution to GDP
and rising unemployment and poverty rates," Venmyn said.
President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday spoke of what he sees as
close collaboration between the government and business, critical to and
underpinning implementation of the National Economic Development Priority
It is doubtful whether the business community necessarily shares
this view. Some government actions suggest unilateralism rather than
Harare's central business district is the hub of commercial
activity, but on Tuesday the government decided that it would demonstrate
who matters most. It cordoned off a key section of the city centre during
the morning peak hour.
No one in government, it appears, considered the impact this
would have on the activities of a number of businesses that continue to
power the economy where many others are closing shop. Consultation on the
matter would have advised the government to keep the routes open for the
morning peak traffic until 9AM, thus enabling those who work in the city
centre an opportunity to get to their workplaces on time.
The opening of Parliament is important but there are numerous
ways of going about it without causing such disruption to the people whose
activities support and sustain the economy.
The police do this very often. They set up roadblocks when
people are rushing to work. No one seems to care about the impact and
consequences of such actions on the economy.
There is need to cut down on hollow rhetoric that does no good
to the economy and the citizens of this country.
The disruptions precipitated by the opening of Parliament were
worsened by the extension of the area that is normally cordoned off for such
ceremonies. In the past it was Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela bounded by
Sam Nujoma. Whether the extension was occasioned by the increasing paranoia
that the West is out to remove Mugabe from office is a matter for
speculation. But we do not need to fear the West when we are busy subverting
the few remaining attempts to hold the economy together.
Mere lip service to turning around the economy is not going to
get us far. The problem with the government is that it believes that it
knows better than the private sector. The government could do itself and
this country a huge favour by not taking the business community for granted.
Unless there is concerted effort to take the input from the
business sector more seriously, the NEDPP will suffer the fate of the other
economic roadmaps before it. An example of how the government does not
listen is in the mining sector where the industry has cautioned against
creeping expropriation, when lessons from South Africa could have informed
Zimbabwe's attempts at indigenisation of the sector.
Mere pronouncements do not turn around the economy. It is their
implementation that matters most. With more than 90 days having passed since
launch of the NEDPP, the government will be hard-pressed to
prove benefits or achievables of the programme.
This is because there is a belief in government that its role
ends with mere declarations.
But turning around the economy is more than speeches and plans.
It is about demonstrating political will while allowing the drivers of the
economy the latitude to become engines of growth. The real danger is that at
the end of the next 90 days there will be no deliverables but a plethora of
excuses for failures. Zimbabwe deserves better.
Sunday view By Desmond Kumbuka
A FORMER Deputy Minister who appears to have fallen on hard
times and spends a great deal of his time scrounging for beer and cigarettes
in seedy bottle stores and beer halls in the western suburbs, harangued me
the other day just because I'd bought a cabbage.
"See, - there goes another lazy bugger," he chided. "He has to
buy cabbage because he is too lazy to grow his own. At my farm, I feed the
stuff to rabbits," he continued to sniggers from a group of people drinking
outside a bottle store who seemed amused by my discomfiture.
Unable to decide whether this verbal onslaught was in jest or a
serious criticism of my failure to grab some land of my own, I tried vainly
to explain to him that we could not all be farmers; and even if we were, we
could not all be vegetable growers; and even if we were, we could not all
But the man was obviously determined to score points in defence
of the country's largely failed agrarian reforms. I soon realised it was
pointless arguing with him. So, drawing some comfort from the old adage
about people not being able to tell the difference if one argues with a
fool, I let the man have the last word.
Another regular at the same bottle store is a belligerent
ruffian who claims to be an ex-combatant and is frequently heard promising
anyone who cares to buy him a beer some land on farms he claims to have
invaded. It is difficult to verify his claims on account of his irascible
disposition, particularly when confronted with probing questions.
In the normal course of events, it is easy to dismiss these two
characters as the usual pub cranks whose blandishments are inspired by the
simultaneous intake of alcohol. What is not so easy to ignore is the culture
of impunity with which anyone claiming allegiance to Zanu PF will seek to
position themselves within the context of national affairs.
The former deputy minister, sacked by President Robert Mugabe
sometime in the early eighties for certain unspecified indiscretions, is
probably now the proud "owner" of prime land wrested from some unfortunate
commercial farmer on the strength of the all powerful "offer letter" to show
for his new career as a farmer.
He is probably one of the scores of other so-called "new
farmers" who, after failure in their political, professional or business
careers, have opted to try their luck on the land, often without the
slightest inkling of what is involved let alone the passion for the back-
breaking work that farming invariably is.
After cutting down all the trees on the farm for firewood sold
in the cities, in addition to a lucrative sideline yielding billions of
dollars from selling government-subsidised fuel, many of these new farmers
are a lost cause on the farms they occupy. The most notable activity for
many is lavish weekend braai parties to squander the proceeds from the fuel
racket and in some cases, stolen crops from previous owners of the farms.
Come the beginning of the cropping season, the begging bowl is
out as the new farmers indulge in their favourite pastime, which a colleague
famously described as, the "dai hurumende (If only the government could.)
The key symptom of this deadly disease that has paralysed
agriculture in the country is perennial whingeing about the government not
providing this or that support to the new farmers. Because many of them have
no farming track record to use as collateral to obtain loans from the
financial sector they rely solely on government handouts.
Granted, farming like any other business, requires substantial
investment to succeed, but only if such investment is properly channelled
into productive activities. This is seldom the case with the new farmers.
Many are keen to immediately cut the figure of the successful farmer by
driving the latest 4x4 all - terrain vehicles and acquiring all the material
accoutrements befitting a resident in the palatial properties that some of
the new farmers have reportedly been fighting over.
While no reasonable person would condone the skewed land
ownership structure of the pre-colonial era which spawned a small clique of
immensely wealthy white farmers to the exclusion of the black majority,
astonishingly, the same pattern is emerging today under the government's
so-called agrarian reforms. The only difference is that the occupant of the
big farm homestead today is a Zanu PF bigwig, who only visits the farm at
the weekend when he is not busy with his Cabinet duties.
In the meantime, he entrusts the running of the farm to the
wife, who may also have other business interests in the city, and some
relatives who are expected to show their gratitude for being allowed to live
on the farm, by offering their labour gratis. Many of the unfortunate farm
workers, overworked and under-paid, contain their frustration, but secretly
resolve to "fix" the farmer by routinely stealing from him.
Unknown to the new farmer who is happy to simply issue
instructions to his farm workers via his mobile phone from the comfort of
his city office, fuel, fertilizers and other farming inputs obtained at
greatly subsidised prices find their way onto the parallel market and the
under-paid workers find sustenance.
Invariably, the crops fail, and the farmer is unable to repay
his loan to Agri-bank, signalling the start of a new round of whingeing
about the paucity of government support to farmers which results in
inadequate inputs leading to crop failures.
Farming is serious business and many of the commercial farmers
that were displaced from their lands built the nice houses that the new
farmers envy so much on the farms because that is where they lived. Most
personally supervised their farming operations and were practically involved
in the work.
While working for the now defunct Commercial Farmers' Union
publications section a few years ago, I came into contact with some of the
commercial farmers whose general appearance was enough testimony of their
vocation. Tanned to the bronzed earthy-brown of the soil they worked, and
clad in khaki shorts and shirt, and the famous farmers' shoes, many of them
not only looked the part but were also distinctly out of place in a city
office. These were men and women driven by the age-old saying "there is no
sweet without sweat, and theirs was a rustic existence devoid of the
conveniences and comforts of city life.
Indeed, farming can be exceedingly rewarding, but only for those
willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in terms of hard work, commitment and
sheer love of the land.
Many urban dwellers have a rather romantic perception of
farming - they imagine the big boss waking up from his large residence at
10AM on Monday morning, dictating instructions to the farm manager on what
needs to be done, then off he goes to his city office for the rest of the
week. Many are blissfully ignorant of the back-breaking work that goes into
farm work, but can easily visualise themselves collecting a hefty cheque
from Grain Marketing Board with which they proceed to pamper their
acquisitive instinct and proclivity to ostentatious living.
There is also the perception that limitless amounts of cash are
all one needs to be a successful farmer. For many of the new farmers, it
comes as a rude shock when these myths explode in their faces as they
discover that they are pouring money into a bottomless pit. Without proper
and meticulous planning and supervision by someone who understands farming
both in theory and practice, investing in farming is like gambling in a card
game one has little understanding of.
ANY country must be able to stand tall and be proud of its
intellectual property: its scholars.
Whenever one hears of Oxford or Cambridge it is obvious that you
are talking of Britain, in the case of US, it is Harvard, and Uganda boasts
Makerere University. There was a time when one would be proud to be
associated with the University of Zimbabwe wherever they would be in the
The current situation however is as different as day and night.
This is because education and in particular higher education, a pivotal
tenet for development has literary gone to the dogs. With the importance and
centrality of education to economic growth the situation is indeed grim for
our beloved country.
A country must guard its universities and other tertiary
Unfortunately, the situation in Zimbabwe in the majority of the
universities and the other institutions leaves a lot to be desired and it is
a matter of time before the institutions grind to a halt.
This is not saying that in the environment in whichwe are
currently operating we should expect miracles from the highest institutions
of learning. In other words, the conditions in most institutions of higher
learning are indeed a microcosm of the rot in the whole country.
Of late work stoppages by lecturers, shortages of books and
equipment, high fees and poor living conditions have threatened higher
institutions by turning them into resettlement schools/upper tops.
For most students in the majority of these institutions life has
literary become hell on earth. Hell as in the sense of a place of torment,
agony and great suffering.
In the early '80s the country made major strides in the
education sector, a situation that reduced illiteracy levels by more than
three quarters. The majority of those who had been denied higher learning
(including most of the ministers in government today) through bottlenecks
created by the colonial system of educationfound themselves with an
opportunity to reach the sky and excel.
Up until the late 1990s the situation in most colleges and
universities was divine to say the least.
However, as from 2001 the situation took a sudden twist leaving
most students with a peasant background in a quandary as to whether they
should leave college and look for work or simply go back home to face their
poor parents who are surviving from hand to mouth.
One student lamented that they are really between the sea and
the devil because they do not know what to do. The government has over the
past two years literary abandoned them, leaving the majority in the lurch.
The government used to fund student loans and grants before the
economic crisis set in. These were for essentials like food, clothing,
station ery, shelter and above all health. The majority of the students thus
knew very well that when they went to college they would not incessantly
bother their parents who were already failing to make ends meet.
Students thus were able to concentrate on their books despite
some skirmishes with the authorities here and there. The end result was that
the institutions in the country produced the best of the best not only in
Africa but also in the world. Most of the graduands were thus employed all
over the world with the majority being able to make the grade in developed
The present scenario, however, is as different from that
situation then as day is to night.
Infrastructure is in shambles while hunger has become the real
enemy for most students. The majority have been forced into extra-curricular
activities to "augment" the grants that they no longer receive as they are
gobbled up with the ever-escalating fees or the hyperinflation.
Higher institutions of learning last year increased fees with
the bless ing of government citing the ever-escalating cost of running these
In the majority of cases fees were increased by more than a
1000% without a concomitant increase in loans. On ave age a student who was
paying less than $3 million a year was all of a sudden e xpected to fork out
more than $30 million excluding boarding and food.
According to official statistics at the University of Zimbabwe
for instance, more than 40% of the students dropped out citing the high
increases in fees. The situation was especially worse for those intending to
pursue higher degrees who were expected
to pay between $64 and $100 million.
As if to add insult to injury this situation came at a time when
the government had recently embarked on "Operation Murambatsvina" that
triggered off sharp increases in accommodation, far beyond the reach of many
students who used to stay around the city.
Thus, most students found themselves at crossroads. The
situation has reached a climax level to an extent that most female students
have been forced into prostitution. In these days of HIV and AIDS it has put
of them in a precarious position. Their male counterparts have either
resorted to thievery or vandalism with a lot of infrastructure including
tapes, door handles, toilet seats sockets among others vandalised and then
To make the situation worse, most the students from these
colleges know one thing for a fact that they are being educated for
frustration, as the country is not creating any employment because the
economic growth rate is in the negative.
A recent survey at the University showed that most students are
failing to raise money for meals and thus are threatened with starvation. I
remember a friend of mine saying that he would do "anything" to survive - a
sure sign of desperation indeed.
In the halls of residence the scenario is no different to that
at Matapi in Mbare. Sewage is always gushing and flowing everywhere while
the toilets are in a mess. University authorities seem to pay a deaf ear to
all this or is it because they are also tired of this situation themselves?
Most students are "squatting" with their fellow colleagues to an extent that
one finds more than four in a single room designed for one student.
The situation reached a climax between 2003 and 2004 when the
authorities allowed the students to cook in their halls of residents.
It was terrible and a sure breeding ground for diseases such as
Chombo's actions in Lupane timber deal deplorable
THE conduct of Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, as reported in the story headed "Chombo
named in timber scandal," in the The Standard, of 16 July is regrettable
because it is tantamount to conflict of interest.
By his own admission, Chombo concedes that he facilitated the
submission of an application for the granting of a tender for a timber
concession in Lupane. Chombo was able to "facilitate" because he exploited
his implicit asymmetrical power relations with his subordinate chief
executive officer of Lupane Rural District Council, Mhlaseli Mpofu.
His subordinate would be hard pressed to ignore an application
that was "facilitated" by his boss. Corporate governance rules condemn such
behaviour. But Chombo sees nothing wrong, which tells the level of his
Granted, Chombo might not be having shares in the company but
the ability for him to step forward to "facilitate" this "deal" was made
possible by the implicit application of superior-subordinate power
In fact, away from the public's eye, Patriotic Union of
Mandebeleland (PUMA) does not know what rewards Chombo might get or how the
business relations are organised or will eventually come to be organised.
This is an example of the sophisticated murky activities that Zanu PF
ministers are involved in.
PUMA will examine this concession granting procedure to see who
finally wins the tender. This is important because the people of
Matabeleland want one of their own able persons or a group of persons to win
PUMA strongly believes that our people have the capacity and
capability to satisfy the conditions of the concession. PUMA supports the
people from Matabeleland to win the concession because they need to control
and benefit from their resources.
While Chombo is right that a win-win situation is needed, that
however, does not grant him the right to trample governance rules. In fact,
a corrupt-free system could address the system of calling for tenders and
issuing a tender in a transparent and fair manner without Chombo's
Interim Foreign Affairs Secretary (PUMA)
Zesa accountable for power-related fires
RECENT fires such as the one that resulted in a whole
dormitory at Gokomere High School in Masvingo being burnt down suggest that
it is high time we played hard ball with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
I was horrified to hear politicians such as Stan Mudenge,
the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, merely appealing to all and
sundry to assist in the rebuilding of the hostels that were destroyed by
They should have called a spade a spade and apportioned
blame on Zesa. Better still they should have asked Zesa to contribute
towards the rebuilding or hit Zesa where it hurts most - sued them for
responsibility in causing the fire.
There are numerous reports of electrical appliances that
are damaged because of Zesa power surges as a result of Zesa failing to
adhere to its schedules for load-shedding. For as long as we do not hit Zesa
where it hurts most, it will continue to take consumers for granted.
It is my view that pressure groups such as the Combined
Harare Ratepayers' Association should spearhead this quest for reparations
Prosecute Zanu PF lawbreakers as well
NOW that the MP for Mabvuku and other members of the
anti-Senate MDC have been brought before the courts on allegations of
violently attacking the MP for Harare North and her entourage in Mabvuku a
couple of weeks ago, it is pleasing that our courts are finally dealing with
political violence. The courts must be commended for that.
What the whole country and the whole world are
waiting for is to see Zanu PF and government criminals, who have been
roaming free, brought before the courts immediately without any delaying
The likes of Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of
Justice, should have been kept in remand pending trial.
Other Central Intelligence Organisation and Zanu PF
offenders are free today, many years after committing murder, rape, serious
assaults and other forms of mayhem. Why have they not been committed to
trial? Because their offences were political and the law has no power over
The question which needs a quick answer is: Where
did the law suddenly find the power to arrest the MP for Mabvuku and the
other anti-Senate MDC members since the alleged offence they committed is
The government is in a dilemma. How can it commit to
trial in a court of law members of the opposition for violence when its
criminal supporters are granted immunity against arrest?
Numerous political analysts have, over the years,
warned the government against the dangers of a partisan judiciary. Now the
chickens have come home to roost. Timothy Mubhawu, the MP for Mabvuku, and
his co-accused deserve what they will get from the courts if they are
convicted. The MP would have betrayed the founding principles of the MDC of
non-violence if he is convicted of the charge. Millions of Zimbabweans would
also feel betrayed because they joined the MDC because of its non-violence
The commission of inquiry set up by the MDC is the
right route to take and its findings must be made public even if the
findings are unpalatable to the party. The MDC should avoid emulating Zanu
PF, which has set up many commissions of inquiry whose findings have never
seen the light of the day.
The MDC is the only hope left for Zimbabweans to
attain true liberation and democracy. It should have the interests of
everybody at heart irrespective of colour or creed, political affiliation or
religious belief. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
What is done to the MDC should be done to Zanu PF. Let the MDC avoid
selectivity in their dealings with opponents.
As a possible government in waiting, the party
should avoid wasting time plotting revenge against the hapless Zanu PF,
which has lost support and respect because of vindictiveness and selectivity
in dealing with criminals in its rank and file, who have been allowed to get
away with murder. Zimbabweans are generally peace-loving. They like to see
fair play in what government does.
MDC leaders should guard against infiltration by
government agents who are bent on the destruction of the party. Money is no
constraint to the government because they can always print more to pay
destructive elements that may be used to infiltrate the opposition.
NAC missed the point on role of the media in reporting
I READ the letter by the Information and
Communication Manager of National AIDS Council - with total amusement and
shock on her interpretation of simple facts and concerns of the people
living with HIV and AIDS virus in Mashonaland West.
Nothing is political about this article unless you
choose to read it the NAC way. People have and continue to express concerns
on the selection of the hospital to support the ARV programme. However, the
issue of location is not its catchment area.
The point that the communications manager misses is
that taking journalists for a media tour is not equal to making them act as
your public relations arm. Journalists have the duty to report facts as they
are presented and to ensure that at the end of the day good is done in any
The media has a duty to present divergent views
without fear of statements such as the one from NAC. The media has to be
able to question issues that the society questions without thinking of such
unfortunate statements coming from a public institution.
It could be the official view that Father O'Hea
Hospital is among the good practices that has exceeded the uptake target,
however, the centrality of the hospital is still important and critical for
the country that has generally failed to reach its targets on the provision
of ARVs in the public sector.
If the programme had been placed at a more central
hospital, it will exceed in triplicate the enrolment of people accessing
treatment. It will help make life a lot easier for people who have to travel
long distances to access treatment.
It is sad that NAC's statement shows a public
institution bent of squashing criticism of any nature on the pretext that it
is political and less constructive. The statement indicates a poor public
relations approach. It demonstrates a culture that has fast eroded our
society and left us at the mercy of celebrating mediocrity.
It shows a culture of closing dialogue on critical
issues because they are said to be political. It creates a layer of the
unspoken about issues that has left many people suffering. It is the same
culture that took us long to accept that HIV is there and gave it room to
spread underground only to emerge a bigger problem later on.
This culture has to change. We need to appreciate
each other's views and appreciate criticism to develop.
My appeal is for institutions such as the NAC to
look at criticism with a positive attitude, non-combative and be
Mugabe a hostage
WHEN the farm invasions began in 2000 many concerned Zimbabweans
pointed out that the exercise would cause havoc to the economy, if not
destroy it. Our agro-based economy was left at the mercy of hungry vultures.
Today, the results speak for themselves.
Those who took advantage of President Robert Mugabe's
desperation to hang onto power sang the loudest, while at the same time
milking the country dry. They knew and still know exactly what the President
wants to hear and they do exactly that or even more than is expected because
the ultimate result is promotion by the President.
Every high-ranking Zanu PF supporter can plunder at will such
agricultural enterprises as Kondozi and nothing will happen to them, while
the President continues to blame external forces.
We have heard many times from the President that the land reform
is over and that the Zanu PF's policy on land is one man one farm. But what
is happening on the ground is far from what is being preached. A good number
of Mugabe's lieutenants are proud owners of many farms.
Zim disaster vocabulary
SOVEREIGNTY, land reform, war veterans, opposition, integrity,
inflation, monetary policy, fiscal policy, Homelink, millennium goals, Merp,
Nerp, parallel market, black market, Senate, anti-Semite, pro-Senate,
fugitives, curator, corruption, political violence, torture, Bush, Blair,
Tibaijuka, Tsvangirai, Mutambara, robotics, 28,82, Robert Mugabe, Operation
Murambatsvina, Hlalanikhule, Garikai, Operation Tasangana, Operation
Ngatizivane, nepotism bribes, MDC mediation, price controls, aids, galas,
billions, trillions, zillions of dollars,
Bearer cheques, by-elections, elections, constitution, docility
all equal the current disaster.
Charging for DStv in US dollars discriminates against the
I wish to comment on the advert currently doing the
rounds in the media concerning the free-to-air SABC TV channels that can be
accessed by anyone with a special type of Digital Satellite Decoder.
I strongly suspect that MultiChoice is putting
pressure on SABC to disable these channels in Zimbabwe. MultiChoice has been
losing subscribers due to their insistence that locals pay in US dollars.
The question is; why is MultiChoice Zimbabwe allowed
to charge in foreign currency while subscribers in Botswana and South Africa
pay in their local currency?
Where does an ordinary citizen get US dollars? And
why does the government allow MultiChoice to denominate their services in
US$ when other players are barred from doing so? This, to me, smacks of
government complicity and hypocrisy!
A lot of low and middle-income citizens who had
invested their meagre incomes in MultiChoice decoders have since lost out
because they can no longer access the DStv bouquet because of this
ridiculous foreign currency subscription requirement.
Official media would have us believe that the
majority of ZTV viewers are very happy with programmes that insult our
intelligence like Valve, Avenues, and Kapfupi etc!
MultiChoice Zimbabwe responds:
WE would like to re-iterate that the DStv service is
an imported service provided by MultiChoice Africa, a foreign-based company.
The majority of the costs incurred by MultiChoice Africa are based in US
dollars - this includes the cost of international channels and satellite
transponder space. For this reason DStv subscriptions are charged in US
dollars and are payable to MultiChoice Africa.
As the subscription management company for DStv in
Zimbabwe, MultiChoice Zimbabwe's role is to collect payments on behalf of
MultiChoice Africa and provide customer service to Zimbabwean subscribers.
MultiChoice Zimbabwe is not associated with the
South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and is not in a position to
comment on the company's operations. However, it is our understanding that
broadcast rights for SABC channels do not extend to other countries; and
that the encryption of the SABC signal is being upgraded, in order to
prevent the illegal viewing of these channels outside of South Africa.
Debzim not mining diamonds in Zimbabwe
DEBZIM (De Beers Prospecting Zimbabwe Limited)
wishes to state the following in response to an article by Deborah-Fay
Ndlovu in The Standard Newspaper of Zimbabwe (23rd July, 2006), which makes
some factually incorrect assumptions.
To state clearly for the record, Debzim has no
mining operation anywhere in Zimbabwe and is not involved in the mining or
export of diamonds from the Marange district, as alleged by your newspaper,
or for that matter from any other area in Zimbabwe.
Debzim is a Zimbabwe registered diamond exploration
company that has carried out exploration in eastern Zimbabwe since the
mid -1990's. Debzim has over the past two years relinquished all of the
exploration prospecting orders (EPO's) granted to it in this area and its
exploration findings have been reported to the relevant authorities.
Debzim is aware of a small diamond deposit at
Marange, which Debzim considers to be of no commercial interest to Debzim
due to the limited size of the deposit and its poor grade. We understand
that in April 2006, prior to the current activity in the Marange area,
mining claims were granted to another company and we wish to state
categorically that no diamond digging took place whilst Debzim was actively
managing this ground.
The De Beers Group of Companies (De Beers) is one of
the primary initiators of, and contributors to, the Kimberley Process; a
worldwide diamond industry initiative to protect diamonds from those who
seek to use them to fund civil war.
The Kimberley Process (KP) includes in its
governance structures governments, international organisations, and civil
society bodies such as diamond trade organisations and NGO's.
The KP has been successful in bringing into the
legitimate channels of trade 99.8% (two tenths of one percent of diamonds
still remain questionable) of the diamonds traded in the world and for this
success De Beers stands proudly alongside the world's leading governments
and companies engaged in producing, cutting and trading diamonds.
We are not aware of any other industry that has
sought to certify its product in such a way. We take seriously the role and
responsibilities with regard to this membership.
Any reports suggesting that De Beers is involved
(directly or indirectly) in mining and/or exporting of diamonds in Zimbabwe
are incorrect. Debzim (De Beers Prospecting Zimbabwe Limited) based in
Bulawayo, is registered in terms of the Companies Act of Zimbabwe and is
listed in the telephone directory.
Dr Martin Roberts
De Beers Zimbabwe Prospecting Ltd.
Let nation benefit from rare talent
MUCH has been said about the new kid on the
political block and the President of the other faction of the MDC, Professor
Arthur G O Mutambara's rare talent and leadership skills.
Much more has also been said about his
secretary-general, Professor Welshman Ncube. It is my humble view that all
Zimbabweans who cherish a better future for us all and a better Zimbabwe for
generations to come should seriously reflect on the legacy we wish to leave
behind after we die.
Zimbabweans are agreed that the nation missed the
opportunity and failed to exploit the leadership skills of the legendary and
born leader, former ZAPU supremo, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo. Yes, we failed as a
nation to appreciate the rare skills of this great man. Today when we look
back with nostalgia at his prophetic insights and we curse ourselves because
he predicted this sorry state.
The government of President Robert Mugabe, which is
responsible for the present crisis, is in a state of denial. Instead of
owning up and accepting its ugly past for posterity's sake, the government
is bent on manipulating the nation's history, by creating the impression
that it always revered Nkomo.
It is a known fact in Zimbabwean political history
that Nkomo was ill-treated by his supposed colleagues after this country
obtained its independence from Britain.
It is no secret that the likes of Mugabe and Enos
Nkala tried in vain to contaminate the minds of Zimbabweans in a deliberate
effort to dissuade the people from supporting Nkomo. Stories were concocted
to the effect that Nkomo was a sell-out and had sought to sell the country
to the whites.
I remember the then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe,
Robert Mugabe derisively calling Nkomo "bhuru rengozi" (a bull possessed by
evil spirits) during a parliamentary election campaign. The country's first
female Vice President, Joice Mujuru had her share of insults directed at
Nkomo when in 1996 she referred to him as a "senile old man" when she was
responding to an issue relating to the Strive Masiyiwa's Econet licensing
Today the Umdala Wethu galas, which are supposed to
be a commemorative festival for the life of this great man and are now a
national phenomenon, have been unashamedly patronised and manipulated for
political gain by Zanu PF and the government.
The late ZAPU leader is at every turn, projected and
showered with heroic accolades by the very same Zanu PF leadership, which
contemptuously refused to recognise his leadership attributes even when it
was evident that the nation needed him for its survival in the globalised
Zimbabweans must learn to be tolerant and allow
every Zimbabwean, regardless of ethnicity or regional location to contribute
to the democratic discourse in the struggle against Mugabe's autocracy.
Our nation is fortunate that it is endowed with a
lot of talent. Mutambara is one such talented leader. Described by some as a
"rare talent, which Zimbabwe has ever produced," Mutambara promises to be a
great leader. He possesses a wealth of energy, stamina and innovativeness
and in my view he could be the prescription that the doctor has recommended
for us to restore sanity to our nation.
His secretary-general, Professor Ncube is another
talented Zimbabwean. Described as the "kingmaker" in some circles, he
possesses a calculative mind and incredible administrative skills. The
combination of Mutambara and Ncube has produced a rare intellectual breed,
which will have a serious impact on Zimbabwe's political discourse for a
long time to come.
This country needs a leadership with a vision and
the capacity to outflank the regime and the Mutambara leadership promises to
have the afore-stated credentials.
Zimbabwe is currently at a political crossroads
having been betrayed by Mugabe for the past 26 years, it cannot afford to
entrust the future of this nation in the hands of a flip-flopping leadership
that lacks policy consistency, has demonstrated its inability to navigate
through its internal leadership conflicts and has clearly demonstrated its
lack of creativity to out-manoeuvre the regime.
Zimbabwe's future depends entirely on our ability as
a nation to identify men and women of exceptional talent, vision and
leadership attributes who can motivate Zimbabweans to fight for their right
to seek to be governed by men and women of their choice. Let us give
Zimbabwe the opportunity to benefit from rare talent.