From The Sunday Times (SA), 30 July
Zimbabwe's newly Africanised parliament includes granite 'royal' chair to be
used when president visits
Fresh from repossessing white-owned farms for redistribution to landless
blacks in his bid to rid Zimbabwe of colonialism, President Robert Mugabe
has turned his sights on a new target: parliament. His ruling Zanu PF party,
which enjoys a two-thirds majority in parliament, has embarked on a mission
to "Africanise" the house by replacing the vestiges which still remain from
the time of former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith. First into the dustbin of
colonial history were the wigs and heavy gold-coated gowns - each weighing
about 8kg - worn by the Speaker, his deputy and other parliamentary
officials. The colonial relics were removed last year at the behest of a
parliamentary subcommittee set up by Zanu PF to drive Zimbabwe's
parliamentary reform. In their place came light gowns tailored by a party
cadre who has been exclusively contracted to design and produce the
clothing. The second reform was introduced on Tuesday during the official
opening of the second session of the sixth parliament of Zimbabwe. The
hardwood Speaker's chair made way for a granite "royal" chair, weighing
560kg and installed by a crane, which Mugabe will use during the rare
occasions he visits parliament to give his State of the Nation address or to
officially open a session of the house.
Aeneas Chigwedere, the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, charged
with spearheading the reforms in the house, said the new chair was
introduced because "in our traditional society, the Mutapa or Mambo or Nkosi
was the Head of the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. In this context,
the Speaker of parliament or president of the Senate simply represents the
jinda or induna [headman] of the State President. The chair or seat he
operates from is therefore, in essence, the State President's chair."
Explaining the significance and design of the new chair, Chigwedere said the
stone from which it was carved connotes the solidity and imperishability of
the institution of which the Speaker is head. The chair sits on a lion skin,
which Chigwedere says is in line with African tradition. "The chair
represents a lion, in turn symbolising power and authority in line with
African culture. The lion is facing backwards to signify vigilance. "The
stool or seat of the Paramount Chief was placed in the centre of a lion
skin, again to symbolise power and authority," he said. It is flanked on
either side by elephant tusks. Chigwedere, a published historian who tried,
but failed, to reform the country's education sector after vehement
opposition from parents, said the elephant tusks symbolised "protection from
the greatest of forces, both spiritual, natural and physical".
Straps of leopard skin on either side of the chair imply that the Speaker is
draped in a leopard skin - something Chigwedere said represented royalty in
Zimbabwean or African tradition. "No chief was worthy of his salt if he or
she did not have a leopard skin around him or her," said Chigwedere. Apart
from the new Speaker's chair, the interior of the house - including the
Speaker's chamber - also has new African décor. Stuffed animals adorn the
walls - a full-grown leopard hangs on the side of the Zanu PF bench gazing
hungrily at two stuffed kudu heads which grace the side of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) bench. But the new décor has not been
universally welcomed, with critics in the opposition saying the leopard
symbolises Zanu PF's violent nature and intolerance towards any opposing
views. "The picture depicted by the set-up is that the leopard, a predator
animal, will devour the kudus, in this case the MDC who sit on the
opposition bench," commented Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman of the main camp
of the MDC.
However, Chigwedere insists the décor is merely meant to beautify and
"Africanise" parliament, which, he said, had been one of the few remaining
reminders of colonialism and white rule. He said he would be "presenting
further changes and reforms of a truly Zimbabwean parliament at the next
politburo meeting". In keeping with Zanu PF's tradition of secrecy,
officials would not divulge what the redesign had cost. Austin Zvoma, the
clerk of parliament, dismissed concerns that the government was being
extravagant in spending on new décor while thousands of Zimbabweans starved
as a result of a brutal economic meltdown. "The money spent on the new
developments is insignificant to the parliament budget," said Zvoma. "Most
of the fittings were donated. The stone for the chair and trophies and skins
were donated. The animals and skins, specifically, came from the Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority. The carving was done by a local sculptor at
minimal cost." And as Smith's vestiges head for the museum, plans are under
way to construct a new parliament building in Harare's Kopje area, where the
first British settlers hoisted the Union Jack. The new location boasts
spectacular views of Harare and its surroundings.
Mon 31 July 2006
HARARE - Leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition political parties, civic
society and churches called for "democratic confrontation and mass
resistance" to force President Robert Mugabe to accept sweeping political
reforms, raising the stakes in the troubled southern African country.
In a sign that Zimbabwe's opposition forces could be crystallising
into a formidable broad alliance against Mugabe's government, leaders of the
splintered main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
embraced with each other and with leaders of civic groups and pledged to
work together to oust Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.
Most political analysts agree that with efficient co-ordination, such
an alliance could defeat Mugabe's government, which remains firmly in
control of the state's coercive apparatus but is significantly weakened by a
deepening economic crisis.
"There is need for sustainable democratic confrontation and mass
resistance to create a situation where the government is compelled to talk
to its people to resolve the crisis," read part of resolutions passed by the
groups at a weekend convention in Harare that was organised by the Christian
Alliance, a grouping of several churches critical of Mugabe's rule.
It was not immediately clear whether by that resolution the groups
were specifically throwing their weight behind mass anti-government protests
that the main faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has said it will
call this winter to force Mugabe to give up power to a transitional
Tsvangirai and his MDC - who say they have lost faith in elections
because the government routinely rigs ballots - want the transitional
authority to lead the writing of a new democratic constitution and to
organise fresh elections under international supervision.
The opposition and civic groups said mass resistance should be
mobilised around bread and butter issues and should include among others,
nationwide protests and work stoppages, prayers and marches.
The convention was the first time that Tsvangirai and the leader of
the smaller faction of the MDC Arthur Mutambara met in public. The two
politicians shook hands and embraced each other, in a sign the chasm between
the two factions of the country's main opposition party may not be as wide
as earlier thought.
The leaders of three other smaller opposition parties, ZAPU, the
Democratic Party and the United People's Party were also in attendance and
agreed to work with the MDC to push for democratic change in Zimbabwe.
ZANU PF which snubbed an invitation to the convention immediately
dismissed the weekend gathering as lacking seriousness. Reacting to the
opposition and its civic allies' demand for political reforms, ZANU PF legal
secretary Patrick Chinamasa said the party was not going to be told what to
do "by anyone".
Chinamasa said: "We did not even attend it as we felt it was not a
serious thing. ZANU PF does not have any problem so we do not need anyone to
tell us what to do."
Mugabe, who has in the past deployed armed soldiers and police to
thwart dissension, has also warned the opposition that anti-government
protests would not be tolerated and specifically told Tsvangirai he would be
"dicing with death' if he attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style revolt by
A prominent human rights campaigner and political commentator,
Lovemore Madhuku, however said despite Mugabe's boastfulness, he would find
a united broad alliance of opposition and civic forces much difficult to
He said: "Everywhere where the opposition has toppled dictatorship,
unity was the strategy, Kenya and South Africa are good examples .. ZANU PF
must be shivering over this development (coming together of opposition
Zimbabwe is grappling a severe economic crisis marked by the world's
highest inflation of 1 184.6 percent and shortages of fuel, electricity,
essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic survival
The MDC and Western governments blame the crisis on repression and
wrong policies by Mugabe such as his seizure of productive farms from whites
for redistribution to landless blacks.
The farm seizures destabilised the mainstay agricultural sector and
caused severe food shortages after the government failed to give black
villagers resettled on former white farms skills training and inputs support
to maintain production.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the country's 1980 independence
from Britain, denies mismanaging the country and says its problems are
because of economic sabotage by Western governments opposed to his seizure
of white land. - ZimOnline
Mon 31 July 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's economic recovery programme is set to slip further
off the rails as government profligacy continues to bleed the economy,
analysts told ZimOnline at the weekend.
Economic experts said failure by the government to operate within its
means could fuel Zimbabwe's budget deficit, originally set at 4.6 percent of
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the current fiscal and calendar year,
unless Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa found more innovative ways to
finance a supplementary budget he proposed last Thursday.
Murerwa requested Parliament to approve a $327.2 trillion
supplementary budget, a figure more than twice the original expenditure
estimate for 2006 that the Finance Minister had put at $123.9 trillion.
Some analysts have predicted the huge supplementary budget will push
the budget deficit to more than 50 percent.
Harare consultant economist John Robertson said: "By this
(supplementary budget) they are merely acknowledging that they have failed
in the battle against inflation, which is higher than they initially thought
it would be at the beginning of the year."
Bulawayo-based economic commentator Eric Bloch noted that the
supplementary budget was inevitable given the government's failure to rein
in inflation, which at 1 184.6 percent recorded last June is the highest in
"However, more importantly is the question of how he (Murerwa) is
going to finance the extra budget. If he resorts to printing more money to
finance the deficit, the effect of the additional budget will be
inflationary," said Bloch, who is also an adviser to Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.
Murerwa's best bet, according to Bloch, would be to finance the
deficit through selective taxes as well as the privatisation of loss-making
Presenting his 2006 national budget statement in December last year,
Murerwa had projected that inflation would succumb to a host of measures he
was proposing and close this year at around 80 percent.
This was premised on a growth rate of between two and 3.5 percent in
2006, with agriculture expected to register a positive growth rate of 14.8
percent on the back of a normal rain season, timely provision of critical
inputs and the introduction of the targeted production programme to promote
Most international humanitarian organisations, however, estimate that
the 2005/06 season was not as good as has been claimed by the government.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation says Zimbabwe will
need about US$35 million for grain imports to cover a widening food deficit.
Robertson noted that another supplementary budget - now a permanent
feature in Zimbabwe's budgetary system - would worsen an already shaky
"The bottom line is that this will have negative effects on all other
key areas of the economy," he said.
The analysts noted that ordinary Zimbabweans would soon start to feel
the negative effects of the supplementary budget because of its implications
on inflation, the cost of borrowing and the exchange rate.
With inflation on an unrelenting gallop for the better part of the
last six years, Zimbabweans were already feeling the pinch with prices of
goods changing almost on a daily basis.
The government is, on the other hand, also already negatively affected
by prevailing high inflationary environment, which undermined its efforts to
restructure public domestic debt, from short-term to medium and long-term
The structure of domestic public debt reflects the dominance of short
term paper at more than 80 percent of total domestic debt. Long to medium
term debt takes up only 20 percent. Such a debt structure of debt is
expensive and unsustainable for the government to service.
Hyperinflation is one of many symptoms of a severe economic recession
gripping Zimbabwe for the last six years and that has also spawned shortages
of fuel, electricity, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every
basic survival commodity. - ZimOnline
Mon 31 July 2006
HARARE - A senior official in Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party accused of ridiculing President Robert Mugabe
was last weekend released from police custody after paying Z$5 million bail.
Pishai Muchauraya, who is the MDC provincial spokesman for Manicaland
province, appeared in court last Friday facing charges of violating the
Criminal Law and Evidence Codification Act.
Under the tough law, Zimbabweans face a one year jail term for
A Rusape magistrate remanded Muchauraya out of custody to August 25.
"I am supposed to appear in court on 25 August. The case is meant to
scare me and other senior MDC officials," Muchauraya told ZimOnline at the
Muchauraya was arrested last Thursday after he addressed a rally in
Makoni East constituency in the eastern province of Manicaland where he
allegedly repeated allegations that Mugabe had refused to pay Z$90 million
school fees for his son.
The MDC official is said to have repeated allegations first carried
out by a United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean website last week alleging that
Mugabe had refused to pay fees for his son Bellarmine saying the fees were
The state says the allegations are false and were meant to ridicule
the veteran Zimbabwean president. - ZimOnline
Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:03 AM GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono holds one of
the toughest jobs in the world, but he rejects suggestions he is condemned
to fail in his mandate.
The man charged with pulling Zimbabwe out of a deep economic crisis widely
blamed on his boss -- President Robert Mugabe -- speaks with an almost
evangelical fervour about a mission which many analysts say looks
On Monday Gono delivers what may be his most important monetary statement
since his appointment 2-1/2 years ago: a bid to convince a sceptical nation
that he can revive the economy despite a raft of facts suggesting he has
The World Bank says Zimbabwe has the fastest shrinking economy outside a war
zone after eight years of recession.
Its beleaguered people are saddled with an inflation rate of 1,180
percent -- the highest in the world -- 70 percent unemployment, chronic fuel
and energy shortages, mounting debts and isolation by Western donors.
Gono says he accepted his job because he relishes the challenge. With
Zimbabwe's huge but largely unexploited resources of gold, platinum, coal,
chrome, copper, and uranium he sees a potentially very prosperous country.
"I would never have accepted this assignment if I believed that it cannot be
done," he told Reuters in a recent interview.
"I am part of a team which believes that with unity, hard work, commitment
and the full utilisation of all our resources, Zimbabwe can overcome its
current problems and realise its real potential," he said.
Gono's challenge is to introduce measures to tame rampaging inflation and
ease controls on an official forex market which is dwarfed by an illegal one
where the greenback is selling at more than four times the official rate of
Analysts believe another devaluation of the sliding local currency is on the
cards on Monday.
When Gono came on board, he applied a crackdown on errant bankers and set to
tackle black market trade with some success.
Inflation initially fell, but analysts say he has been let down by the
government's loose fiscal policy and his own tendency to be inconsistent.
They also maintain that while Gono enjoys Mugabe's confidence, he lacks the
political muscle to steer the economy out of a freefall critics blame on
skewed government policies, including the seizure of white-owned farms for
Mugabe says without Gono's efforts Zimbabwe would be worse off. Critics say
Mugabe's hardline politics and confrontation with Western powers have left
his central bank boss unable to tempt investors outside of Asia, Russia and
the Middle East.
Gono routinely brushes off as "patronising" questions about his relations
with Mugabe and senior government officials or suggestions that he is tied
on a short leash.
"I think that's a divisive approach, and very patronising. I don't accept
the argument that our leaders don't mean well for the country," he said.
Jonathan Clayton, Cape Town
July 31, 2006
DARKNESS falls early and swiftly over the Limpopo River, marking the border
between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Each night, it also brings hope to dozens of impoverished Zimbabweans who
emerge from bushes along its banks, slip into crocodile-infested waters and
slowly wade across to the other side in search of a better life.
In recent months, as President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe has teetered close
to economic collapse, the steady stream of illegal immigrants has turned
into a torrent that the South African authorities are struggling to contain.
South Africa deports about 265 Zimbabweans a day. Countless more slip
through or simply wait a day or two before trying again and, more often than
More than 51,000 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants were deported between January
and June, Johannesburg's Sunday Times reported yesterday.
"Last year, 97,433 Zimbabweans were deported compared with 72,112 in 2004
... as floods of people fled economic collapse," the newspaper said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a seven-year recession. Inflation has rocketed to
nearly 1200 per cent and the economy has shrunk by more than a third.
The country is also grappling with severe fuel shortages and a lack of
foreign currency. Every day, ordinary Zimbabweans struggle to find basic
essentials in a country that, only seven years ago, was known as southern
Africa's bread basket.
The influx from Zimbabwe is having an enormous effect on its southern
neighbour's budget. Pretoria spent a total of $36.4million on immigration
control last year, more than double the figure for 2004.
Few illegal immigrants find the good life. A report from the Crisis
Coalition of Zimbabwe said refugees suffer from destitution and harassment.
Many women turn to prostitution or are paid a pittance working illegally.
Mr Mugabe has in the past blamed Western sanctions and drought for the
crisis. Critics point the finger at Harare's economic policies, particularly
land reform. About 4000 white commercial farmers have lost their land since
Mr Mugabe introduced his land reform program in 2000. The new owners -- most
of them cronies from the ruling party -- have failed to maintain the farms.
South Africa has in recent months shown signs of exasperation with Mr
Mugabe. Aziz Pahad, Deputy Foreign Minister, has spoken of the danger of a
"failed state on our doorstep" and has called for "fundamental changes" to
Mr Mugabe's economic policies. Official figures issued in Harare suggest
that about 3.4 million people -- a quarter of the population -- are now
living abroad. Some 1.2million are believed to have fled to South Africa.
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 5:19 PM
Subject: no no
THIS WILL EMPHASIZE THE PLIGHT OF THE PEOPLE IN ZIM. SINCE SENDING THIS TO VARIOUS PEOPLE I HAVE HAD THREE PEOPLE WRITE IN AND SAY THEY HAVE WITNESSED SIMILAR INCIDENTS - ALL IN FULL VIEW OF THE PUBLIC !!! WHAT SAVAGES HAVE WE GOT RUNNING OUR COUNTRY ????
KEEP UP YOUR GOOD WORK - DEMONSTRATE LIKE MAD !!!!!!!!!
I have sent this to Lawyers for Human Rights.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2006 10:28 AM
Subject: for your info
I want to tell you of the most terrible incident I witnessed yesterday and this is truly indicitive of the hatred, savagery and total disregard for all human rights and the law, perpetrated by Police.
I had to take a witness to Mabelreign Police station at 3pm - there was one car in the car park, an accused on the ground near the car and four plain clothes (one with an FN over his shoulder), one Cst. and one militia in police uniform. The accused, a small man of about 40, had already been bashed, the left side of his face was like a football. So the Cst. starts shouting at him and punching the swollen side of his face. Then the militia starts his ranting, pulls the accused onto his side on the tar mac and leaning over him starts punching him in the face and ribs and then kicking him. I went beserk. I shouted at him to stop (all the other bastards just stood and watched, their turn to torture would come) but nothing happened so I lunged for the militia and in trying to pull him off the accused (who was now curled up in the foetal position, what else could he do) he lost his balance and fell over. Well he leapt up, straight up into my face - yelling "you assaulted me, I can arrest you". If it hadn't been so gross, it would have been funny - he's screaming that I assaulted him, when he is knocking shit out of the poor accused. I muttered, not quietly enough "f.....ing police", and was then surrounded by the plain clothes guys, two of them being the most evil and hate filled men I have seen in a long time. Many threats from them, while I am shouting back, "you can't just assault people like this" - God how naive am I after all I've seen and experienced (including lengthy interrogations by the cio), that they would feel anything for humanity. It was getting nasty so I drove out, with them yelling abuse and throwing the zanu fist at me.
I was physically ill afterwards and said many prayers for that accused last night. BUT he is one of thousands that experiences the absolute savagery, torture and barbarity of the so called Police/cio/cid on a daily basis. There is absolutely NO RECOURSE - now. I am going to find out their names and lodge an affidavit with Zim Lawyers for H/R's, so that one day they will pay for their crimes against humanity.
Only two months ago, our daughter had to get a form signed at Mabelreign police. She was in the charge office and an accused, screaming in agony, was being beaten on the feet by a militia cop in full view of Lindsay. She asked the cop why they were doing this "he stole a tube of toothpaste from the supermarket". Yes, unbelievable in any sane society, but sadly and tragically, the absolute norm in Zimbabwe. She came home in tears.”
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Steven Price in Harare
July 30, 2006
Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, is in Zimbabwe to pave the way for
next month's more formal visit by Percy Sonn, the new ICC president.
Speed, who is accompanied by Brian Murgatroyd, the ICC media and
comminucation manager, is expected to meet various people before attending a
media conference on Tuesday.
The delegation, who attended today's ODI between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh at
Harare Sports Club, will speak to the ZC board on Monday, and will also get
an opportunity to get an account of the state of affairs from several
Zimbabwe cricket stakeholders.
Speed will be hoping that he receives a warmer welcome that the last time he
visited Harare to meet ZC officials. In May 2004, at the height of the first
player strike led by Heath Streak, Speed was left kicking his heels after
board officials refused to meet him.
Sonn announced that he and Speed would visit Zimbabwe in August to see for
themselves the situation there. That news was welcomed by dissenting
stakeholders whose approaches had previously been stonewalled, with ICC
officials insisting they would only deal with individuals representing the
Second one-day international, Harare: Bangladesh 238-8 (50 ovs) bt
Zimbabwe 175 (44.4 ovs) by 63 runs
Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 63 runs in the second one-day
international in Harare to square the five-match series.
Farhad Reza scored 50 from 57 balls on debut while Khaled Mashud made
48 not out in the visitors' total of 238-8.
In reply, Zimbabwe were dismissed for 175 in 44.4 overs, Vusi Sibanda
(33) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (46) making the only significant contributions.
Paceman Shahadat Hossain was chief destroyer for the hosts with 3-41
while spinner Mohammad Raique took 2-24.
The visitors lost wickets steadily after being put in to bat, although
40 off 25 balls by number three Aftab Ahmed kept them on track.
Bangladesh were reduced to 76-5 in the 20th over before Mashud joined
Reza to add 71 runs for the sixth wicket.
Mohammad Rafique, who scored 32, helped Mashud add 48 for the seventh
wicket while medium pacer Blessing Mahwire took 3-29. Zimbabwe also
sacrificed wickets too readily, and it was left to opener Sibanda to hold
the innings together with his 33 off 61 balls.
Sibanda's dismissal in the 18th over saw Zimbabwe slump to 71-4, and
Matsikenyeri's 46 was not enough to get his side close.