I was tortured, says Mugabe's consultant By Henry Makiwa
in Surrey, UK
LONDON - President Mugabe's British-based public relations
consultant, David Nyekorach-Matsanga, says he was tortured by security
personnel in Harare last month and is contemplating cutting ties with the
The Ugandan-born Matsanga - who has propped up Mugabe's
image internationally since his controversial "re-election" in 2002 - told
The Standard members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
assaulted and tortured him at Harare International Airport before bundling
him out of the country for bringing Britain's Sky News to shoot
Matsanga fell out with some elements in Mugabe's
government when he flew into Harare with a Sky News TV crew to shoot an
interview with the President and make documentaries on the country's land
The productions, according to Matsanga, were meant to dispel the
negative international news coverage of events in Zimbabwe since Mugabe began
the chaotic and bloody seizures of white-owned commercial farms in
Though Mugabe had agreed to the interviews, Matsanga
said his "starry-eyed Information Minister" Jonathan Moyo was against the
idea insisting that nothing good could ever come out from "the colonial
"Mugabe knows that I was unjustly tortured by his secret police
who not only assaulted me but stole my £645 gold wrist watch, my flight
tickets as well as the cash that was on me - US$173 and £1700," Matsanga said
in an interview in Surrey on Friday.
"I have done so much work for
Mugabe and his government and for free. The least Mugabe can do for me is to
publicly apologise for the treatment I got and reprimand his Information
Minister, Jonathan Moyo who instigated my assault and gleefully celebrated my
humiliation in the Zimbabwean State-controlled Press."
Matsanga - an academic on conflict resolution who insisted on being addressed
as "Dr." throughout the interview - wrote and published a book entitled Why I
Support Mugabe widely seen as a PR stunt for the President which was
distributed for free in Britain.
In addition to this, Matsanga has
through his African Strategies PR company, been at the helm of an intensive
drive to restore international recognition of Mugabe following Zimbabwe's
flawed 2002 polls.
He has also written numerous articles commending
Mugabe as a "great leader" and was at the fore of lobbying for the support of
African leaders within the African Union and the British Labour Party to
legitimise Mugabe's regime.
"Unlike Ari Ben-Menashe (Mugabe's
Israeli-born Canadian-based PR consultant) I was never paid a cent by Mugabe.
I was doing all my work voluntarily for the good of Zimbabwe and its people,"
"But now I see why everyone calls Zimbabwe a pariah State
because Mugabe allows all this repression to happen under his nose and never
says a thing, let alone move a finger," he added.
So bitter is
Matsanga that he is contemplating cutting ties with the Mugabe' s
Matsanga alleges that Moyo harbours immense political
ambitions of succeeding Mugabe as President.
"I am convinced, from
what I have gathered within Zanu PF (Mugabe's ruling party), that Moyo is
heading a traitor clique of ambitious and overzealous individuals who want to
put a total blackout on Zimbabwe from the international world in order to
acquire power," Matsanga said.
"With such elements, Zimbabwe is fast
hurtling towards a point of no return and I no longer want to be part of
that," he said.
Secret document outlines plot against Ndebeles By Loughty
BULAWAYO - A secret and controversial document that calls for
the marginalisation of Ndebeles will soon come under the spotlight during
the trial of Zapu FP president, Paul Siwela, and another politician,
The two were arrested in December 2002 after
addressing a public meeting in Bulawayo and are facing charges of uttering
inflammatory statements likely to breach peace.
document titled: "For the eyes of the Shona Elite Only" which is reportedly a
continuation of the "1979 Grand Plan" outlining why Ndebeles should not rule
Zimbabwe, forms part of the two politicians' evidence to be presented in
However the State was opposed to a public trial, preferring the
case - which is likely to attract public interest - to be held in
In an unsuccessful court application on Wednesday last week,
State Prosecutor, Jeremiah Mutsindikwa, said the State felt that the
documents contained sensitive information and therefore the case had to be
restricted to the public.
He said the contents of the document were
likely to cause disorder or intolerance in the country.
Magistrate Themba Kuwanda, however, ruled that there was nothing wrong with a
public trial since one of the documents, the "14 page-report" was no longer
The controversial document, which was allegedly crafted by senior
Zanu PF politicians, calls for the marginalisation of the Ndebele people
and outlines how the party intended to proceed against the minority
Allegations against the two Zapu FP leaders are that they used
inflammatory language when they were guest speakers at a public meeting on
the lack of development in Matabeleland.
Siwela is alleged to have
said the people of Matabeleland should arm themselves with spears and "drive
away the Shona people from the region".
Mkhwanazi is alleged to have said
Mugabe trained the notorious Fifth Brigade long before the existence of the
1980s "dissidents" who caused havoc in the Matabeleland and Midlands
He is alleged to have said Mugabe created the dissidents as an
excuse "for dealing with the Ndebele people".
According to court
documents, Siwela alleged that Mugabe's security forces murdered six tourists
killed in Victoria Falls in 1982 and then blamed "dissidents" in order to use
that as an excuse to kill Ndebeles.
Representing the two is Nicholas
Mathonsi of Coghlan and Welsh.
Students scrounge as the UZ crumbles By Valentine
IT'S around 6 PM on a Monday at the University of Zimbabwe's
Harare campus where several women selling tomatoes, onions and other
vegetables stand in a row close to the entrance waiting for their
Shortly, a young man who could be in his early twenties,
arrives at the “market" and buys a bundle of vegetables and a single tomato
and then strolls across the yard to the hostels. He opens his door with the
ease of one getting into his own house. In less than a minute he emerges with
an empty 5-litre container, walks straight to the tap and fetches
He is ready to prepare his meal for the day and says that is
much cheaper than buying from the canteens scattered around the
This is what has become of the University of Zimbabwe, an
establishment that was once touted as the centre of academic excellence, but
which is increasingly beginning to look like a home for the
At the Manfred Hodson Hall for male students, the smell of
boiled vegetables fills the corridors.
Female students at the Swinton
Hall also do their own cooking, but the aroma here is somewhat different as
the girls — far more enterprising than their male counterparts — can afford
“luxuries" like cooking oil.
Dirty water spilling from blocked drains and
bathroom sinks flows along the corridors into the passages, causing a serious
health hazard for the students. Most of them, embarrassed to be seen carrying
or washing cooking pots, just fling leftovers out through the
There are signs everywhere that the University of Zimbabwe, once
revered as one of the best universities in Africa, is at an advanced stage of
decay with most of its infrastructure in a run down state. The majority of
the students at the institution now have to cook and prepare their own meals
on single plate electric or primus stoves in their tiny rooms posing not only
a health hazard but also a fire risk.
Only the few “rich" students
from well-to-do families can afford to go out and eat at restaurants or buy
food from “takeaway" stores in the city centre.
The Standard visited
one of the university canteens at around 6PM last week and and found only
four students having the their meals in the vast hall.
Most of the
students no longer patronise the canteen facilities which they say offer poor
food at exorbitant prices.
Sadza served with beans costs as much $3 000,
which seems cheap but is a princely sum for a university student struggling
to survive on a stipend.
When served with beef or chicken, a plate of
sadza costs $4 000. “The food in the canteens is sub-standard and too
expensive. With the little money we last received in February, we cannot
afford to get into the canteens everyday," said a second year student in the
Faculty of Arts.
Charles Mahuda, a bachelor of arts part two student,
said this semester was “one of the longest ever", and the students were
struggling to survive on their meagre payouts.
“Food from the canteens
is not just expensive but badly prepared and the time we waste cooking for
ourselves could be better utilised for studies or something productive," said
Mahuda, who says he survives on a single meal a day that he prepares in his
Some of the students who spoke to The Standard said the government
should increase the amounts of their payouts.
“At the beginning of
this semester we were promised $1,5 million each but we have only got $500
“We cannot afford to buy food from the canteens throughout the
semester with that money, which we also need for other projects and
assignments," said Gerald Ndlovu, a final year student of
He urged university authorities to subsidise food at the
canteens as happened in the past. The government used to subsidise food at
the college and the students were issued with meal cards.
of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Levy Nyagura, said they were working towards
re-introducing catering services so that students can once again be well fed
so that they can concentrate on their studies.
“I cannot say I am not
aware of the cooking that is going on in the hostels but as you know the
price of a single plate of sadza has gone up and there will be some students
looking for alternatives," said Nyagura.
“By the beginning of August we
are going to be changing the whole system and we will be re-introducing the
subsidised catering services so that the students can concentrate on their
studies rather than cooking," Nyagura told The Standard.
Nationalisation spells doom for agriculture By Caiphas
AS the dust raised by the violent land invasions spearheaded by
war veterans is still to settle, government last week stirred more
controversy when it announced plans to nationalise all productive farmland in
Land experts and political commentators said the latest move
by government could signal the end of the agro-industrial sector, once
Zimbabwe's economic mainstay.
They said that no farmer would want
to commit huge financial and material resources on land that belongs to the
State, especially in a country where the government has shown complete
disregard of property rights over the past four years.
John Nkomo, the
Minister of Special Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet in
charge of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement announced that government was
working on modalities to nationalise all productive farmland, from crop
fields to conservancies in Zimbabwe.
He said this would abolish title
deed holdings and replace them with 99-year-leases for land set aside for
crop production. Wildlife and conservancies will have 25-year-leases, Nkomo
“Ultimately, all land shall be resettled as State property. It will
now be the State which will enable utilisation of the land for land
prosperity," said Nkomo in an interview with The Herald.
Agriculture (JAG) — an organisation that stands for the rights of commercial
farmers — said the government move was a continuation of a sustained attack
on property rights that the country has been subjected to in the past four
“All the free market societies are built on individual title to
land. That is how all the strongest economies in the world were
“Nationalisation is a recipe for disaster because it takes away
the freedom of an individual and puts into disarray the whole agriculture
system," said JAG spokesman Ben Freeth, whose organisation represents former
members of the white-dominated Commercial Farmers' Union
Constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku, said nationalisation
of land was unconstitutional because it contravenes Sections 16 of the
Zimbabwe Constitution, which provides for private ownership of
Madhuku said the government could only nationalise land it
compulsorily acquired under the land resettlement programme.
allow that we are all doomed because they (government) can even take our
houses. Under the current constitution, there is nothing like a house but a
person owns a piece of land so they can just take it," said Madhuku, who has,
on numerous occasions, clashed with Mugabe's government over his demand for a
new democratic national constitution.
University of Zimbabwe political
science lecturer, John Makumbe also lambasted the idea of nationalisation of
land. He said it deprives the agricultural sector of the much-needed
“It is the final nail in the coffin of agro-industrial
development in the country as no one will commit money on land he or she does
not own," said Makumbe, a vociferous critic of President Robert Mugabe's
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, described land nationalisation as “old-fashioned and
“It is an outdated concept which is unproductive. No
amount of tampering on the land will solve the current land chaos unless
accompanied by the restoration of the rule of law and respect for property
rights," said Tsvangirai.
He said: “What will happen to all the people
who bought their land before this chaos?"
But land expert Sam Moyo
believes the change from free hold to lease hold system (nationalisation) —
as advocated by government — would not affect agricultural production or
“kill" investor confidence because the leases were long.
that both land tenure systems were equally good if sound agricultural
policies and other support mechanisms are in place.
“One is not superior
to the other as long as there are good support extension services. Any of
those will work. Development of individual farmers is necessary," said Moyo,
a renowned researcher on land issues in southern Africa.
Zimbabwe farmers who were migrating to Mozambique and Zambia were being given
long leases, which they refused to accept in Zimbabwe.
Tanzania and the
United Kingdom also practiced leasehold land tenure systems, said
Over the past four years, there have hardly been any encouraging
conditions for long-term investment in agriculture in Zimbabwe.
has forced several white commercial farmers to reloca
te to countries
such as Mozambique, Zambia and Nigeria where they were given long farm
The president of Zimbabwe Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union
(ZCFU), Davison Mugabe, said although nationalisation of land was a noble
idea, there were contentious issues to be resolved.
will work for us because it will no longer be difficult for our members to
enter into agriculture since they would not buy land. However, we want to
know whether the leases are tradable or inheritable," said
“Are they renewable or can a farmer recoup the cost of
development made on the land? asked Mugabe, who conceded that ZCFU members —
mainly black farmers — have been facing problems buying farms for
But Freeth remained adamant that it was better to
“free up the economy and allow individuals to buy and sell the land as well
as use the land as collateral to develop the economy.
Zim total foreign debt balloons By Kumbirai
ZIMBABWE'S total external debt has soared to an unprecedented
US$4 billion as the crisis-torn southern African nation slips into economic
catastrophe by the day.
Central bank sources said the total debt -
which stood at US$3,3 billion in 2002 - accumulated US$700 million more in
interest charges to reach the unprecedented US$4 billion.
result of Harare's failure to service its principal debt, total external
arrears ballooned to US$1,8 billion in December 2003, up from US$1,3 billion
The massive shortages of foreign currency have resulted in
failure to pay interest on foreign debt in time. In 2002 alone, the
government only managed to pay $173 million, about 1% against a target of $46
billion it had set or itself.
Zimbabwe, which is in the midst of its
worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, has
experienced dwindling supplies of foreign currency because of strained
relations with multilateral lenders and the collapse of its agricultural
base, the country's major hard currency earner.
Next month Harare
faces possible expulsion from the IMF for failing to co-operate with the
fund, which it now owes about US$290 million in arrears as of
"Nobody is lending to us because nobody will trust us," says
John Robertson, an independent economic consultant.
At home, President
Robert Mugabe's administration is handicapped by a huge domestic debt, which
is forecast to surpass $2 trillion by December.
Analysts last week told
StandardBusiness that it would take more than 22 years for Zimbabwe to clear
Besides the Bretton Woods institutions, Harare is also
indebted to other multilateral creditors such as the African Developmnet
Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the African Development
"We are locked up in a debt trap," says Tapiwa Mashakada, the
opposition MDC 's shadow finance minister who says the central bank's figures
of what Zimbabwe owes are modest. Mashakada puts the external debt at US$5
"Our creditworthiness in the eyes of lenders is at stake," said
Analysts pointed out that the surge in Harare's total debt
would put to naught frantic efforts by central bank chief Gideon Gono to
restore normal relations with multilateral lenders.
Gono is this month
expected to take his lobbying efforts to Washington where he will attend a
series of meetings with the Bretton Woods institutions.
HARDLY a month after President Robert Mugabe declared that the
country had recorded a bumper harvest and needed no food aid, his government
is secretly buying maize from South Africa, The Standard has
The move - which could cost the country millions of dollars
in scarce foreign currency - comes barely weeks after donors were told by
Mugabe to take their food to "hungrier people than
"Our estimates are there and they are showing us we will
have enough food for the country and with a surplus," Mugabe said in an
interview with Sky News.
The Standard however has learnt that the
government is buying maize from South Africa through a US$700 million credit
line extended by US firm Sentry Financial International and the giant tobacco
dealer, Dimon Incorporated.
The first order of the white maize sourced
under the deal landed in Bulawayo last week from South Africa. The quantities
involved could, however, not be verified at the time of going to
Sources in Bulawayo said several rail wagons belonging to
Spoornet, South Africa's State-owned rail service, were moving the white
maize to the empty Grain Marketing Board silos.
The landed cost of
maize from South Africa is estimated to be currently about US$185 per metric
It is believed that a United States firm will source about 200 000
tonnes of white maize from South Africa's Transvaal and Free State
Last month Sentry Financial International and Dimon
Incorporated - the world 's second largest tobacco-leaf trader - extended
credit worth US$700 million to Harare with security being provided by tobacco
merchants as part of the credit line to import grain for Zimbabwe.
secretive deal, first reported in a London newsletter Africa Confidential,
raised questions about the motives of President Mugabe's government which
recently forbade a United Nations crop assessment team from independently
verifying the country's food levels.
MDC shadow agriculture minister
Renson Gasela, who maintains this year's harvest will be between 600 000 to
800 000 tonnes, questioned government's rationale in importing grain when the
donor community was being prevented from doing so.
Trouble brews in Masvingo over Mzembi ouster By our own
MASVINGO - AS the 2005 parliamentary elections beckon, trouble is
brewing in Masvingo province where a new Zanu PF district co-ordinating
Committee (DCC) chairman has been elected to replace the beleaguered Walter
Mzembi, long before the completion of a disciplinary case against
The election of Masvingo rural district council Chief Executive
Officer, Steven Makwarimba, to the position of DCC chairman, comes amidst
allegations that a certain section of war veterans sympathetic to the deposed
Mzembi are planning demonstrations in the province to force his
However, the Zimbabwe National War Veterans'
Association national chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, has warned that his
organisation would not stand by while "discredited politicians" abused its
"We have to make it clear that war veterans were born out of
Zanu PF and PF Zapu. We are a disciplined association and we cannot
demonstrate against our leaders and any war veterans caught doing that would
be punished heavily," said Sibanda, in an interview in Bulawayo.
election of a new DCC chairman in Masvingo came after the
inter-district committee passed a vote of no confidence on Mzembi last
Mzembi had been hauled before the Zanu PF disciplinary committee
on accusations of double standards, gross insubordination as well as
causing factionalism in the province. He denied the allegations.
week Makwarimba - the new Masvingo DCC chairman - told The Standard that his
election was above board even though a disciplinary action against Mzembi had
not been concluded.
"After a vote of no confidence was passed on Muzembi
by the inter-district committee, elections were conducted and I emerged
victorious. If anyone is doubting that they should challenge me. I have no
doubt I would emerge victorious again," said Makwarimba.
PF provincial chairman, Daniel Shumba, said the planned demonstrations "would
not affect the running of the party".
Contacted, Mzembi said: "I don't
comment on whatever discredited people like Makwarimba are saying."
an increase in fraudulent activities at the Deeds Office and some documents
are falling into the hands of conmen while other important records have gone
missing, says a Parliamentary report on the Operations of the Deeds
The third report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs on the Operations of the Deeds Office expressed
grave concern over the handling of documents by staff at the
“There is also an increase in the prevalence of conmen
selling immovable property on the basis of fake or forged documents.
Admittedly some of these misdeeds are beyond the scope and control of the
“There is, however, a need to enhance security of documents
and the office in general," said the report, adding that the documents reach
the fraudsters “presumably" with the assistance of staff at the Deeds
Presently, there are only two Deeds offices in the country — in
Harare and Bulawayo — and both are facing similar operational
While investigating a story early this year, Standard reporters
went to the Deeds Office in Harare and copied notes about a certain case but
on a second visit after the story had been published, that particular file
could not be located.
There are several other people who have
complained about similar incidents.
According to the parliamentary
report, some conveyancers have complained that some important, irreplaceable
documents were returned to the Deeds Office with “smudges and food stains".
“This does not give a good impression of this office," said the
The Portfolio Committee, chaired by Member of Parliament for
Silobela, Abedinigo Mate Malinga, also expressed concern over the high staff
turnover at the Deeds Registry due to unattractive
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shadow
minister for legal and constitutional affairs, David Coltart, who was part of
the parliamentary committee, said the team's investigations unearthed
worrying inadequacies in the operations of the Deeds Office.
discovered that the Deeds Office was seriously understaffed … there was no
space for the records and staff. The two offices need to be
fully computerised," said Coltart.
Due to inadequate manpower, the
office is operating with an organisational structure that worked “well in the
1960s" and which has not been improved to meet the demands of the
“There is need for the Deeds Office to move to a more
spacious modern building and not the old dilapidated building they are
currently housed in. The space is now too small and the documents are not
safely filed," noted the committee.
The report said despite the
partial computerisation of the department, the problem of manpower shortage
continues due to the growth in the workload. It said this causes delays in
the processing of documents particularly when inexperienced staff raised
queries which were “unsupportable at law and in practice".
important that the staff structure be improved. Staff should be motivated and
well trained to undertake their functions," urged the report.
the Harare office has been partially computerised, the Bulawayo office is yet
to be computerised and records are still kept manually. When documents are
kept manually, there are dangers of misfiling and some get lost when they are
pulled out and filed back, said the report.
In 1997, Parliament approved
a Revenue Retention Fund under the Audit and Exchanger Act, which stipulates
that the department retains 5 percent of the money it collects for
However, the committee urged the revision of the
5 percent retention fund up-wards to above 20 percent, saying the 5 percent
The Deeds Department is a major contributor to the
national fiscus through the collection of stamp duty on registrations of
transfers and bonds.
For example, the Bulawayo office collected $1
billion for both deeds and companies' sections in 2003 while the Harare
office netted $8 billion from January to July of the same year.
committee recommended that the Deeds Office and the Surveyor General's Office
should come under one ministry to ensure that they are
Presently, the Deeds falls under the Ministry of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs while the Surveyor-General's Office
is under the Ministry of Lands Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.
Mugabe wanted me, says MDC's Mudzuri By Henry Makiwa in
ELIAS Mudzuri, the dismissed executive mayor of Harare, says
President Robert Mugabe tried to lure him from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change to join his governing Zanu PF party after the March 2002
In an interview with The Standard in London where he
is on a visit, Mudzuri said the President — through Local Government Minister
Ignatious Chombo — send emissaries of secret police operatives and members of
the Vapositori sect to try to lure him to the governing
Mudzuri, dismissed by Mugabe in April on allegations of
incompetence and corruption, said he had received numerous visits from the
dreaded Central Intelligent Organisation (CIO) operatives and Vapositori — a
pro-Zanu PF religious sect — who promised him “political security" if he
toned down his stance against the government.
“Soon after taking
office, Mugabe send — through his cousin and Minister of Local Government
Ignatious Chombo — teams of first Vapositori and later CIOs on missions of
convincing me that if I toed the Zanu PF line or better still relinquished my
post, I would be given boundless riches," Mudzuri told to The Standard in
“I could not betray my principles for cars and houses so my
conscience told me to stand firm. Yet Mugabe kept pestering me until he
decided to fire me in April."
The embattled former mayor said only a
“regime change" would save Zimbabwe from total collapse. He called for the
union of all pro-democracy elements to organise the people to demonstrate
against Mugabe's rule.
“I have probably suffered more than anyone else in
my party at the hands of Mugabe. The only solution to the Zimbabwean crisis
is to get rid of Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF," he said.
civil engineer and Harare's first elected executive mayor, was in London to
attend a business conference in his capacity as Harare mayor.
conference dubbed: Assessing South Africa's Role In Africa, was expected to
be chaired by Aziz Pahad — South Africa's deputy minister of Foreign Affairs
— and business magnate Jonathan Oppenheimer of Anglo American.
Zimra linked to NRZ failure to pay workers By our own
BULAWAYO — THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is yet to pay
most of its workers their May salaries amidst revelations that the parastatal
was failing to do so because of a garnish order effected by the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra) for unpaid tax, The Standard has
The NRZ reportedly owes Zimra billions of dollars in unpaid
tax, a situation that prompted the revenue authority to enforce a garnish
order with NRZ's bank, Zimbank, to recover the money.
The NRZ has
not been remitting tax returns to Zimra for months, say
NRZ employees were supposed to be paid their May
salaries three weeks ago but the parastatal wrote to the workers explaining
that the salaries would be paid on June 4.
The workers, however, told
The Standard that they did not receive their salaries on the promised day and
management, instead wrote to them apologising for the failure to pay the
Meetings were held on Monday and Tuesday between NRZ
management, Ministry of Transport officials and Zimra where it is believed
the revenue authority agreed to lift the garnish order on the understanding
that the government would help NRZ pay its tax bill.
Affairs Manager Misheck Matanhire, confirmed that the company's Zimbank
account had a garnish order from Zimra but denied that this was the reason
for the parastatal's failure to pay its workers in time.
“Although it is
true that the NRZ Zimbank account has been garnished by Zimra, such a garnish
has been uplifted following arrangements with Zimra on how the NRZ will
liquidate its overdue tax obligations," Matanhire said.
the rail company had failed to pay May salaries on time because of “cash flow
problems". He said workers would now be paid starting this week.
is the second month running that the NRZ has failed to pay salaries to its 9
000 workers on time because of a cash crisis exacerbated by the shortage of
locomotives and wagons to ferry goods. The NRZ wage bill is understood to be
about $33 billion a month.
The NRZ and the workers are currently locked
in a bruising legal battle after management unilaterally withdrew a 25
percent cost of living adjustment that was awarded employees at the beginning
of the year.
Sources at the parastatal also told The Standard that the
new salaries were unsustainable because the NRZ was not getting adequate
revenue from its train services.
The NRZ has since banned overtime
payments to staff and introduced a stringent clocking in system at all levels
to cut down on costs.
THE High Court has ordered William Zvinavashe, nephew to retired
Zimbabwe Defence Forces' chief, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, who fraudulently
acquired Turnpike Service Station to hand it back to its owner, Kenneth
Greebe, who says he is now almost a destitute.
Zvinavashe took over
the property now valued at $3 billion from Greebe after duping him into
believing that he was a genuine buyer in December 2002.
promised Greebe that he would pay him R4, 164 million for the “business
concern including the fixed assets, fixtures, fittings, stock in trade,
debtors and creditors" using funds raised from his trading operations in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Mozambique.
With such an
undertaking, Greebe who wanted to go into retirement, also surrendered his
house and two vehicles to Zvinavashe who gave him a fake UK Lloyds Bank
By the time the cheque was dishonoured by the bank, Zvinavashe
had assumed control of all his property, leaving Greebe facing
A helpless Greebe, who could not dislodge Zvinavashe from
the property, 25 kilometres from Harare along the Bulawayo road, took the
matter to the courts last year after several promises of payment failed to
Surviving on the benevolence of friends, Greebe also sought
the assistance of Vice President Joseph Msika, the Commissioner of Police
Augustine Chihuri and the Minister of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies
Didymus Mutasa to recover his property, but to no avail.
In her ruling
on the matter made available to The Standard yesterday, Justice Susan
Mavangira declared the “sale" which enabled Zvinavashe to take over the
property to be of no force or effect.
“The respondents are ordered to
return to applicants within seven days herefore upon 24 hours notice
possession of Turnpike Service Station and its contents, stand 42 and its
contents…," said Mavangira. She also ordered that Zvinavashe hand over the
two vehicles belonging to Greebe.
“The respondents are ordered to return
... the Honda motor vehicle registration number 721-856G and Isuzu 280 D
Twincab 785-755F failing which the Deputy Sheriff is hereby authorised to
evict them from both properties and to recover the contents and motor
vehicles and return them to the applicants," added Mavangira.
lawyer, Jonathan Samukange, told The Standard that they had already issued
Zvinavashe with papers to vacate the premises.
“We have already issued
him with the necessary papers and we hope by now he is off my clients'
property," said Samukange.
He added that what Zvinavashe had done was
clear theft and police had been reluctant to prosecute him.
Greebe said: “I have had so much trouble in trying to get my property back. I
just hope that William (Zvinavashe) vacates the place and does not vandalise
Stephen Ndlovu fabricated report on editors Windhoek meeting
Moyo By our own staff
STEPHEN Ndlovu, the editor of the Bulawayo-based
Chronicle newspaper, extensively fabricated a story alleging that former
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) lawyer, Gugulethu Moyo, had urged the
international community “to put pressure" on Zimbabwe “even if it means
taking the Saddam route," to restore normalcy in the country.
a known praise-singer of Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo,
claimed the former ANZ lawyer said that while addressing the Southern Africa
Editors' Forum (SAEF) in Namibia recently. ANZ is the publisher of the banned
Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.
In an interview with The
Standard last week, Moyo said all the comments attributed to her by Ndlovu
were either fictitious or inaccurate.
“All the comments attributed to me
are either fictitious or inaccurate. There were many participants at this
meeting who can confirm that the publication is fictitious," said
She said that at no time did she suggest there should be
military intervention in Zimbabwe and she never mentioned the name Saddam
Hussein, the ousted Iraqi dictator.
“For Stephen Ndlovu to attribute a
statement that suggests that if there was war in Zimbabwe I would be
concerned about buildings being destroyed and not the loss of life is the
height of slander," Moyo said.
In the disputed story, Ndlovu claimed that
Moyo had said there was “an urgent need" for “practical" action against
Zimbabwe for “increased repression and unmitigated attacks" on the private
He also wrote that Moyo had described the Zanu PF government as
being “worse than the colonial (Ian Smith)" regime.
Ndlovu could not
be reached for comment.
At the Windheok Forum, SAEF declined to recognise
the State- sponsored Zimbabwe Editors' Association (ZEA) represented by
Ndlovu because it did not conform to its values and
“Council resolved that it would not recognise the Zimbabwe
Editors' Association because it did not truly represent the pluralistic
nature of the media in Zimbabwe, in that it is predominantly made up of
representatives from the State media," said the SAEF. It also called for the
restoration of the rule of law and freedom of expression in the
The forum also called upon South African Development Community
(SADC) countries to pressurise the Zimbabwean government to re-open
newspapers that that it closed down.
SAEF also said the government
must cease threats against the media to allow journalists to practise “their
craft without fear and to allow the State owned media to serve the Zimbabwean
people as a whole and not favoured parties".
UK envoy sees no end to Zim crisis By our own
BULAWAYO — OUTGOING British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sir Brian
Donnelly, says gross violation of human rights and the undermining of the
authority of the judiciary would continue to haunt Zimbabwe for years to
Addressing guests at a function to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's
birthday combined with his farewell party in Bulawayo on Thursday, Sir Brian
said he did not see Zimbabwean authorities respecting the rule of law,
democracy and human rights.
“I have successfully completed my tour
of duty but my main worry is that I can't see those in power allowing people
to have freedom of expression and democracy.
“During my stay here I
have seen people being deprived of their land, seen the impact of HIV and
Aids and the ever increasing rate of unemployment," said Donnelly.
however said that the British government managed to make a “small difference"
in feeding thousands of orphans whose parents died of HIV/Aids and
implemented several developmental projects in Zimbabwe.
“I am not leaving
Zimbabwe with any illusions but I have successfully accomplished my mission,"
He dismissed propaganda peddled by the Zanu PF government
that his mission in Zimbabwe was to advocate for a regime
Meanwhile, the United States has denounced the government's move
to nationalise commercial land saying it was not only destructive
to agriculture but to all sectors of the economy.
A US Embassy
official said if implemented, the abolishment of private ownership would
threaten further economic harm, “not only in agriculture but to the
financial, tourism, investment and other sectors as well".
that the details of the land nationalisation policy must be resolved prior to
implementation. We hope that Zimbabwean authorities use this time to rethink
this decision and steer their economic policy in a different direction," said
The official said the current economic crisis could not be
solved without the resolution of the political crisis. He expressed concern
about intimidation, violence and electoral misconduct in the recent
closure of the privately owned Tribune newspaper is an ominous sign that the
journalism profession, as practised by dedicated, fair minded and impartial
professionals, is under threat in Zimbabwe.
When the Daily News and the
Daily News on Sunday were closed down by the government appointed Media and
Information Commission, it was generally agreed that while the action was
harsh, cruel and unnecessary, the newspapers' owners - Associated Newspapers
of Zimbabwe (ANZ) - had erred by deliberately choosing not to register with
the commission, more so after the MIC had appealed to them to do
While no-one - except those in government - could condone the
Tafataona Mahoso-led commission's action to close down the two newspapers and
force thousands of people onto the streets, there was a general belief that
the commission's failing was not to show compassion on the plight of
the journalists, and other media workers affected, who were bound to lose
their jobs and their livelihoods.
It was then felt, in some quarters,
that were the MIC's intentions noble, then surely it could have made ANZ pay
a hefty fine for its failure to register with the commission.
course it was clear from the word go that the MIC would never be magnanimous
even in victory because its actions were driven by political agendas rather
than legal or media concerns.
It became clear that the comission would
use whatever powers at its disposal to make sure that the two titles, which
the governing Zanu PF party accused of favouring the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, would never see daylight again as long as the MIC - as it
is presently constituted - remains in office.
The action on the Daily
News and the Daily News on Sunday, though how much unpalatable, could be
explained as part of the on-going battle between democratic forces and the
powers that be.
The closure of the two newspapers in September last year,
to those who are fighting for change in this country, could be easily
explained in the same vein as the horrific deaths of the likes of Talent
Mabika and others - the martyrs for freedom who have shed their lifeblood for
a democratic modern day Zimbabwe.
It is the closure of The Tribune, a
paper owned by a Zanu PF legislator who obviously sympathises with the ruling
elite, that to ordinary Zimbabweans - and that includes Zanu PF supporters -
would not make much sense.
That is if one fails to acknowledge the
immense power that was invested in junior Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
in the two pieces of legislation that he is said to have had a personal input
- the Access to Information and the Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and the
Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
The Tribune closed down last
month when its publisher, Kindness Paradza, dared to challenge aspects of
Aippa in Parliament. When Paradza made that statement, and it was widely
reported in both the private and State media, the die was cast.
challenging Aippa, Moyo - a man who is well-known for his aversion
to criticism - took it as a personal challenge to his office and his
standing in the ruling party.
By making that statement in the divided
house, which must have been sweet music to MDC legislators in the House that
day, Paradza - to Moyo and his supporters - had declared war and everyone
knows that the junior Minister of Information does not take any
So the livelihood of yet another batch of journalists has been
threatened because of political expedience, not because the owners of The
Tribune committed the cardinal sin that caused the closure of the Daily News
and the Daily News on Sunday: the failure to register with the all-powerful
Media and Information Commission.
What this all means is that there is
no media house, or practising professional journalist, who is not under
threat from being closed down or from having their licence withdrawn as long
as Zimbabwe remains as polarised as it is today.
But then, things
shouldn't have gone the way they have. The idea of a Media and Information
Commission was actually mooted by journalists in the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists in the early 1990s as one way of regulating the industry and
chucking out the chuff.
ZUJ at the time envisaged an independent
commission - funded by media institutions - that would play watchdog to the
newspapers, the radios and the television stations so that fair play was
It was felt that such a commission would improve standards
and the quality of journalism in this country - and not destroy the
profession as is happening today.
Petty jealousies, lack of resources
and poor leadership at ZUJ caused the establishment of an independent media
commission to remain a pipe dream over the years until Moyo and his boys
"discovered" it. The rest, as they say, is history.
But until the
journalists in this country stop petty quibbling and work together to form a
united front, their professions and livelihoods - whether in the State media
or in the so-called independent private organisations - are under threat.
What has happened at The Tribune and the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday
should remind us that for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
††††† In the grip of conspiracy ††††† overthetop By
††††† A troubled central African rumour factory has been
plunged into a cesspit of conspiracy.
††††† According to right wing
sources in a clearly disturbed southern African country, the Zany party has
for some years been in bed with the notorious Taliban officials who did such
spectacular damage to New York City a few years ago.
Meanwhile increasingly troubled Zany officials are looking nervously skyward,
wondering when the amazing B52s are going to zoom over and drop large bombs
on their heads.
††††† The Zany officials say there is no truth to the
conspiracy theory. Instead, they claim, the story is the invention of
deranged spin doctors who want the US of A to invade the troubled central
African banana republic.
††††† Meanwhile in the USA an official said the
troubled central African basket case might be invaded "one day."
He said their hands were rather full at the moment trying to
pacify troublesome Iraqis and, anyway, "where the hell is this troubled
central African nation?" He was unable to find it on a map.
Still, while the conspiracy theorists swore blind that the Zanies had been
colluding with the Taliban, the Zanies themselves said, "Not
††††† One Zany insider who refused to be named told
Over The Top that on the contrary, the troubled central African power had
been financing anti-Muslim rebels in the horn of Africa for the last two
††††† He said it was more than improbable that they'd be doing
that on the one hand and cosying up to them on the other.
††††† But a
nervous political analyst, looking at the heavens, said anything was possible
given the most equal of all comrades' curious relationship with the king of
the sand people in Libya.
††††† For his part, the king of the sand people
says he has given up terrorism "for now" and is making friends with notorious
western imperialists like George and Tony B.
††††† Not so, say the
conspiracy theorists. The king of the sand people is just pretending and the
chances of him giving up terrorism are about as remote as democracy taking
hold in his country. Besides, the Imperialist Yankee devils killed his niece,
didn't they? And they blew up his tent with one of their clever
††††† Still, OTT believes the whole thing is far too vague to take
seriously at this stage.
††††† Clever ploys and clever stories filled
with murder and intrigue may influence the general population, but the US has
this thing called the CIA which probably knows better.
††††† Had there
been a link between the notorious Taliban and the notorious Zany Party,
something surely would have been done about it by now. And they' d certainly
have known about it long before some obscure story written from the depths of
a disturbed southern African nation emerged in the fringe press.
Still, it's an intriguing story and one worth discussion and debate, if for
no other reason than the idea of the most equal of all comrades and Mr Osama
Bin Liner breaking bread over the breakfast table would be amusing.
Quite what they'd discuss is impossible to foretell, but perhaps discreetly
sited, anonymous retirement homes would be high on the agenda - except that
Mr Bin Liner's needs are few, while the most equal of all comrades has a wife
whose needs are great and well documented. Adjoining duplexes therefore seem
a remote possibility.
††††† Meanwhile residents of the troubled central
African nation are urged to keep their ears open for the amazing B52s or
those other clever stealth bombers. You never know, someone might think it's
a good idea.
Falls curio sellers clash with police over stalls By our
VIC FALLS - The Tourism Police Unit (TPU) deployed in the
resort town of Victoria Falls continues to fight running battles with curio
sellers who are refusing to market their wares at a designated stall built by
the local authority.
The Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) in
collaboration with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in December last year
set up the TPU to deal with crime and the harassment of
There had been reports that some sophisticated thieves,
masquerading as curio sellers, used to crowd tourists and pretended to be
marketing their wares while their colleagues rummaged through tourists'
Months after the construction of the multi-million dollar
facility to house the curio sellers and harmonise operations, the move has
been met by stiff resistance from the sculptors.
complain that the new site is not economically viable for them to market
"I should not be restricted to a certain place and wait for
potential customers visiting the Falls to pass by and visit my stall. I have
to be free to visit places where I know tourists visit and take a chance to
make money. I cannot be confined to one place," said one curio
"The so-called tourism police should know this is not a strategic
location and therefore not viable. The city council should have at least
sought our opinion before the construction of the market about where to
locate the market."
Another sculptor, Luke Dhewa, blamed the tourism
police for painting everyone with one brush.
The new stall should
house about a hundred curio sellers but at present only a few are utilising
IMF ponders closure of its Harare office By Kumbirai
ZIMBABWE'S strained relations with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) could culminate in the latter closing down its offices in
September, Standard Business has learnt.
Doris Ross, the fund's
division chief for the Southern 1 Division that oversees Zimbabwe, told
Standard Business from Washington last week that there were no specific plans
to appoint a new resident representative in Harare.
Harare representative Jerry Johnson's term of office expired at the end of
September 2003. Since then the fund's office in Harare is manned and run by
local staff. Rodney Matemachani - a Zimbabwean - is the officer in charge and
oversees the local team's affairs.
The IMF seconds resident
representatives to countries that are utilising its loans or countries that
have a very active policy dialogue with the fund.
"This situation is
expected to continue through September 2004, at which time the office may be
closed, unless there is a significant improvement in Zimbabwe's co-operation
with the fund," said Ross.
If the IMF closes its office, Zimbabwe might
make history within the organisation because there is only one case of
compulsory withdrawal - Czechoslovakia in 1954 - in the IMF's
More recently, the fund issued a complaint regarding Sudan's
overdue obligations in April 1994, but this complaint is no longer
The closure of the IMF offices at Number 100 Nelson Mandela
Avenue would be the sternest action the global lender has meted on Harare
since the defaulting southern African country joined the fund at independence
Zimbabwe and the IMF have had a love-hate relationship that
spans two decades.
The government of President Robert Mugabe has since
the early 1990s complained that IMF prescriptions were too strict and
seriously affected State spending in key social sectors such as health and
"It is surprising that the offices have not been closed
because the country has been in arrears to IMF for a prolonged period. This
doesn't make any differences for we are not eligible for any IMF programme,"
said a Harare-based economist who requested anonymity.
Zim can't phase out leaded fuel by UN's 2005 By our own
ZIMBABWE, which has experienced a fuel crisis during the last four
years, will not be able comply with international resolutions to phase out
leaded petrol by 2005, say experts.
Three years ago, African
governments resolved to join the rest of the world to phase out the use of
leaded petrol which environmentalists say posed a health
In 2001 sub-Saharan African governments committed themselves
to end sales of leaded fuel by 2005. In 2002, Zimbabwe followed this up by
signing the United Nations' Convention on Climatic Change at the World Summit
on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
South Africa and
Mauritius have already taken the lead in stopping the sale of leaded petrol
by achieving 35% and 100% compliance levels respectively. Both South Africa
and Mauritius began phasing out leaded petrol in 2002.
Nations' Environment Programme (Unep) says the end of leaded fuel in Africa
is "in sight" as most African countries are switching to
It also reports that about 90% of global petrol
supplies are now unleaded with most of the remaining 10% burnt in developing
Zimbabwe's problems to comply with the UN resolution on leaded
petrol are compounded by its difficulties to sourcing hard currency to buy
Because the southern African country continues to suffer hard
currency shortages, it does not have a single supplier of fuel and is forced
to settle for anything that comes its way, said experts.
the source problem, there is also lack of awareness among Zimbabweans of the
health risks involved with the use of leaded fuels.
Experts said there
were misconceptions about the impact of unleaded fuels on old
Some people who drive older cars are still convinced they would
suffer engine damage if they filled up with unleaded fuel that they are not
very familiar with.
The other problem is that the majority of vehicles
that roam the streets of Zimbabwe are from the early 1990s and were designed
to run on leaded petrol. Traders say even local vehicle assembly plants have
not yet shifted to manufacturing vehicles that use unleaded fuel.
A tribute to Chief Gahadza wa Svosve Sundaytalk with Pius
THE mountain has tumbled down - "Gomo rakoromoka." Chief Gahadza
waSvosve, Enock Muvirimi "Chikondoma" Zenda is no more. May his soul rest in
eternal peace. He was a good leader - an enlightened chief who tried his best
to care for his people under very difficult circumstances.
was born in Marondera in 1928. He was educated at Chinhoyi Primary School and
Moleli and Howard secondary schools. In 1950 he trained as a teacher at
Waddilove Institute. He also did diploma courses in business management at
the Harare Polytechnic College and the Institute of
Enock taught at various schools and was
appointed a permanent headmaster. After 20 years of teaching he retired and
trained as a master farmer through an Agritex programme. While farming in
Wedza in the 60's, he became chairman of the Wedza Agricultural Show Society
and was elected a councillor of the Wedza Council.
In 1970 he joined
the Harare City Council as Chief Training Officer in the then City Marketing
Department. He retired in 1989 and was appointed assessor at the Harare
Magistrate's Court. In 1993 he succeeded to the Svosve Cheiftainship as Chief
Gahadza waSvosve. He died of hypertension on Tuesday, June 8, at Marondera
As a young man I boasted that I had two chiefs one white
and one black. The white one was "Katsekera;" the superintendent of Harare
African Township, Mbare. He was a Mr Briggs whom nobody seemed to like. My
other chief was Chief Svosve of my ancestral home "kumusha" in Marondera. At
that time the reigning chief was Chapendama. After his death he was succeeded
by Enock Zenda.
I feel very privileged to have known Chief Svosve and
to have been his subject. He had the dignity and demeanor of a real Shona
chief in the Mbire tradition. He treated his subjects the same, without any
favouritism. He was effable and approachable. He was quite a diplomat and
would manage to reconcile the bitterest of enemies. He hated strife and
disorder. His training and work experience had prepared him well for his role
Chief Svosve had one major goal. It was the development of his
area and the economic empowerment of his people. He organised the Svosve
Development Association which he chaired. He invited me, and my brother
Cosmas, to a meeting and charged us with the responsibility of fund-raising
for various projects.
Chief Svosve's main head ache came from ruling
party politicians who wanted him to show open support for Zanu PF. Some
complained that no Zanu PF slogans were chanted at the development
association meetings. This is because Chief Svosve had very decided and clear
views on his role as chief. One day I interviewed him for the Institute of
Directors magazine, Direct Report of March 1999. I asked him whether he
thought chiefs had any role to play in politics.
"No," he said,
"Chiefs should have no political role to play. They are the custodians of the
values and cultural traditions of their people. They should concentrate on
the well-being of the people and the development of their areas. All people
owe allegiance to their chief regardless of their political affiliation.
Political leaders are elected and their terms of office expire. Chiefs are
hereditary and their terms of office are for life. They owe allegiance to
whichever government is elected by the people."
Yes, Chief Svosve had a
clear understanding of what democracy is all about. This is unlike some of
his fellow chiefs in Zimbabwe who are being used, like serfs, by politicians
to campaign for them. They are fooled into thinking that they are being
patriotic to their country when in actual fact they are prostituting and
demeaning their royal positions.
Can you imagine the Queen of England
going out to campaign for Tony Blair or whoever? That is definitely below her
dignity as the traditional leader of her people. How can royalty be ordered
to work for commoners who are looking for political positions? How can
chiefs, who are members of Zimbabwes' royal families allow themselves to be
used like that? Are they, therefore, not selling their royal birthright for a
pot of porridge? Politicians pay their hirelings well, especially if they are
I said Chief Svosve was a diplomat. He tactfully refused to be
drawn into the political arena without alienating the powers that be. He was
so dignified in his demeanor that both maverick politicians, war-vets and
the government respected him highly.
In reporting about his death,
Newsnet said that Chief Svosve was one of the leading supporters of the land
reform programme. He was no such thing. It is true that his people are
well-known for being the first to invade white-owned commercial farms for
settlement. He supported his people and and not the programme because
government had no reform programme to talk about. They only used the Svosve
incident as an excuse to launch their own hate-filled, unplanned and chaotic
land reform programme.
Speaking about the farm invasions, Chief Svosve
said, "My people are peace-loving and generally are not law breakers. They
were forced into it by circumstances. When white colonialists first came they
took most of our land by force and put us into so-called Native Reserves. In
1932 we were again moved from most of the rich areas and were herded into a
smaller area. In 1947 the last good land we had left was taken and given to
white farmers. About 15 village heads and thousands of their people were
forcibly moved to other provinces and districts like Wedza and Murehwa. The
rest were herded into the mountains to live together with baboons. No
compensation whatsoever was given to the Svosve people for their
"When our people protested because they had no grazing land left
for their cattle, a compromise was reached. A two-mile wide buffer zone
was established for the grazing of our cattle. After a few years the
white farmers annexed that land as well and no action was taken by
"At independence we expected our lands to be given
back to us immediately because we had sent our children to war to fight for
the land. Nothing was done. When I became chief, I approached the appropriate
authorities about my people's desperate need for land; I was met with total
silence. When my people took the law into their own hands and moved back to
their traditional lands there was nothing I could do. As their chief I knew
their suffering and shared their feelings."
About his relationship
with the white commercial farmers around his area Chief Svosve said, "We have
a good relationship. We visit each other often and talk to each other. We
have our differences over the land questions but we discuss as friends who
respect each other. There is no question of saying we hate them and they
should go away. We want to live side by side with them as equal neighbours.
There is enough land for us all."
These are the words of a true
statesman. Zimbabwe has indeed lost an illustrous son in Chief Svosve. If his
style of leadership and his humanity would be emulated by our leaders,
Zimbabwe could again be a leading light in the region and all of
South Africa will continue to help Zimbabwe and Swaziland find
solutions to their problems, said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the foreign affairs
minister, while addressing Oxford University's executive body in England
Detailing how the ANC-led struggle and the world solidarity
movement had helped form South Africa's current foreign affairs policy, Zuma
said: "Through our own experience of overcoming overwhelming odds and
through world solidarity, South Africa remains hopeful and determined to be
a positive agent for change at this critical juncture in history."
said that while many called South Africa's transition to democracy
a "miracle", she saw it as the result of the hard struggle and
the contributions made by the solidarity movement internationally.
(the miracle) presupposes that there were some extraterrestrial powers at
play and that it may be impossible to sustain and repeat elsewhere. However
improbable it may sound to the sceptics, Africa will prosper,"
South Africa's achievements In her speech, Zuma outlined
South Africa's achievements locally and the role it sought to play on the
continent and further afield. She said the country had become a peacemaker on
the African continent.
"Our National Defence Force is now the tenth
largest contributor of forces to UN Peacekeeping missions and we shall
continue to play that role," she said, adding that the country would continue
to do so as a member of the African Union Peace and Security
South Africa has lent its support to peace initiatives in
Angola, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Rwanda, Burundi,
Madagascar, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Sudan, East
Timor, Israel/Palestine and Iraq, she said, adding that it would also
continue to help Zimbabwe and Swaziland to find solutions to their
Talks between Zanu (PF) and MDC President Thabo Mbeki,
recently addressing the G8 summit, however, admitted that talks between
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) party and the opposition, Movement for Democratic
Change, had been slow.
And despite Zimbabwe's acquisition of 12 new FC-1
multipurpose fighter planes, sparking fears of a Southern African arms race,
Zuma told the executive council that South Africa would continue to work
towards disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
through the Non-Proliferation Treaty and other similar
Addressing the gathering of intellectuals, Zuma backed the
UN anti-terrorism initiatives when she declared that South Africa firmly
believed that the fight against terrorism could only be done effectively and
collectively if led by the UN. "Consequently, it is crucial that the centre -
which is the Security Council - must hold so that things do not fall apart,"
she urged. - Sapa
Harare - Cash-strapped Zimbabwe has bought 12 fighter jets and
100 military vehicles from China, the opposition shadow defence minister
Giles Mutsekwa said on Sunday.
"It is true that new military equipment
has been purchased. It was confirmed by the permanent secretary for defence
and the minister at various fora," said the lawmaker for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
The cost of the equipment has not been
disclosed, but Mutsekwa estimated the deal at around US$200m.
said the parliamentary committee on defence was kept in the dark about the
deal, only discovering it during a recent review of the defence ministry's
"It was during a quarterly review of the defence
ministry budget when it was revealed that the ministry has purchased these
things," Mutsekwa told AFP.
Defence ministry secretary Trust Maphosa was
reportedly quizzed on why the equipment was bought without going to tender in
line with regulations.
Maphosa reportedly cited security reasons for the
breach in procedure.
He also reportedly argued that the military
purchases from China were necessary due to the arms embargo slapped by the
European Union and the United States on Zimbabwe.
Maphosa said it was
now impossible to find spare parts for the fleet currently in
Zimbabwe's arsenal was put to heavy use in
the Democratic Republic of Congo where President Mugabe deployed more than 10
000 troops to shore up government forces of Laurent Kabila and later his son
Joseph, from 1998 to 2002.
Zimbabwe is reeling from an economic
crisis, with runaway inflation of over 400%, unemployment hovering at about
70% and capital flight since the controversial 2000 elections and land reform
that saw thousands of white-owned farms seized and redistributed to landless
Defence ministry officials could not be reached for comment
on the arms deal.
The opposition shadow defence minister said the
decision to buy the military equipment without parliamentary approval was
worrisome, and suggested it was linked to next year's elections.
suprises all of us, we are quite disturbed that this kind of purchase went
ahead without parliament clearance," said Mutsekwa.
"We believe this is a
kind of intimidatory tactic because we are going towards very crucial
elections next year," he said.
"The idea is that whatever the public
does, there is a possibility of it being subverted by the military".