|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Zvakwana Newsletter #34 - Looking Forward
June 15, 2003
In The Shadow Of The Flag
By Thamsanqa Ncube
They speak of Peace,
And they send the Green Bombers to our houses,
They spoke of Unity,
And Gukurahundi stared us in the face,
They speak of Freedom,
And the Draconian Press laws leap out at us from every corner,
And in the Shadow of the Flag, the Motherland burns . . .
He travels around the world,
The gospel of arrogance and defiance spewing out of his lips,
She tags along, raiding the malls of the West,
As our children die of hunger on the streets of Harare,
He speaks of the future and rebuilding our land,
As he robs this country blind,
She struts the conference halls of the world, funny hats and all,
As our young women prostitute themselves in the red-light districts of Diaspora,
And in the Shadow of the Flag, the Motherland bleeds . . .
Our neighbours pretend they
"Quiet diplomacy", they call it,
As our young men swim across crocodile-infested rivers,
Risking life and limb to flee the tyranny in their land,
They humbly serve the tyrant at their tables of plenty,
As this once proud people is reduced to begging,
And in the Shadow of the Flag,
The cries of the orphans of the motherland
Reverberate against the African sky . . .
The civilised world turns a
As the blood of the sons and daughters of this land flows,
They speak of 'a Zimbabwean solution for a Zimbabwean problem',
As they prepare to attack Iraqi, 'To rid the world of all dictators',
When does a tyrant become a dictator,
When do we become a part of the world,
Does our suffering mean anything, to anybody,
For how can they watch us,
In the Shadow of the Flag?
The Massacre goes on . . .
Spirit of Nehanda and Kaguvi
Turn in your graves, Nkomo, Tongogara
Speak voices of Africa,
Samora where are you?
Madiba we need you,
For, in the Shadow of the Flag,
Even if it does not happen in my time,
Or in my children's time,
Peace will come to this land,
And the flame of freedom will burn again . . .
In my country we go to prison first and then become President.
The mugabe regime has made its most foolish blunder by imprisoning the leader of the opposition party. Just south of our border the evil apartheid regime imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Mandela then became President. History looks set to repeat itself here in Zimbabwe.
Feedback on the
week of mass action
Email us your views, ideas and suggestions about stayaways, mass action and democracy in Zimbabwe. There is a lot for us to learn from each other.
Messages of support for Morgan
If you want to give Morgan Tsvangirai some upliftment while he is in jail under harassment of zanu pf, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
The great betrayal
I feel we as Zimbabweans are seriously letting Tsvangirai down in his moment of need. The man has done nothing wrong yet he languishes in remand prison while business goes on as usual throughout the country. It is totally unacceptable that we can turn our back on this brave man who is fighting on our behalf. MDC MPs continue to attend parliament to debate non issues. The majority of these people should know that they owe Tsvangirai everything as we would not have voted for them were it not for him. We had not even heard of them before the elections and even up till now only a handful are active. It seems only Susan and her children are crying while Baba suffers.
From a Zvakwana subscriber
bob we are
1980 achiri mufana tayidya mazai na borewores, na bacon every day, sadza na nyama, rice na chicken every day, 20 years later achembera takudya mavegitaburu na bakayawa magitaburu na bakayawa,
zvino manje vegitaburu rakwadza matumbu angu, POVO YATI MUSHE AYEEEEENDE!
In 1980 when he was young we were eating eggs and borewores and bacon every day, sadza and meat, rice and chicken, everyday. 20 years later now he is old and we are eating vegetables and dry bread and
roots. Now the vegetables have giving me a stomach ache.
THE PEOPLE SAY HE MUST GO!
From a Zvakwana subscriber
SW Radio Africa: In Zimbabwe, tune in to the short-wave broadcast at 4880 KHz in the 60m band. Outside the broadcast area, listen over the internet at www.swradioafrica.com.
Broadcasts are between 6pm and 9pm Zimbabwe time daily.
VOA Studio 7: In Zimbabwe,
tune in to the short-wave broadcast at 13600 KHz and 17895 Khz, and at 909 AM.
Outside the broadcast area, listen over the internet at www.voanews.com.
Broadcasts are between 7pm and 8pm Zimbabwe time, Monday to Friday.
A leader is best
When people barely know that he exists
Not so good, when people obey and acclaim him,
Worst when they despise him.
Fail to honour people,
They fail to honour you
But of a good leader who talks little
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled
They will all say: "We did this ourselves."
~ Lao-Tzu, Chinese Philosopher, 6th Century BC
IT is a real disaster when one finds more business cards
than cash in
one's wallet. That is now our situation in Zimbabwe today, and the blame
must rest squarely on the shoulders of President Mugabe. Which ever way one
looks at it, Mugabe is now an anachronism.
He has destroyed nearly every facet of our economy. He has destroyed
the transport industry, the milling industry and the cement industry. In
fact, if the truth be told, he has destroyed everything that made Zimbabwe's
economy one of the strongest in the region.
All the problems that we are currently facing can be traced right back
to him. Mugabe is simply no longer wanted. He should understand this simple
reality. He should face reality or stand condemned. Mugabe and his cronies
are behaving like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Everything they touch
smashes into smithereens.
To be fair, I believe the biggest mistake that Mugabe made was to
protect his thieving and bungling colleagues. That's when real disaster
caught up with us. Mugabe's personal tragedy started when he began to regard
State House as his natural home.
Mugabe has taken us back in time. We can no longer afford a visit to
our rural homes.
Postal charges have been hiked. So we are only waiting to get Aids
here in town because we can no longer afford to visit our wives in rural
areas.Our schizophrenic leader is failing to come to grips with reality. He
is afflicted by a serious personality disorder.
In short he, has an attitude problem. Power like a drug, is addictive.
The dear leader should desist from always doing the opposite of what we
expect. He should learn to listen.
It is now evident that our president is afflicted with delusions of
grandeur. He thinks that he is indispensable and that Zimbabwe cannot
function without him. He confuses party with government. He also confuses
himself with Zimbabwe.
Mugabe is neither synonymous nor interchangeable with Zimbabwe. Mugabe
is always harping on the past and past glories. Matakadya kare haanyaradzi
mwana. He cannot face the future. He is bereft of vision. He should have
been taken to an old people's home yesterday.
We have the political dimensions of the fuel crisis, the food crisis
and the HIV crisis. These are all the problems that currently bedevil us but
Mugabe shows he has neither the will nor the capacity to tackle them. Our
economy is on a cul de sac because he rides rough shod over common sense
His unbudgeted largess for the war veterans was a harbinger of worse
things to come. The war veterans staged a bloodless coup.He abdicated his
power to the war vets. As a result, the war vets ended up doing more harm to
the nation than they should have been allowed to .
So what is to be done?
Something urgent and radical has to happen. We must reject Mugabe's
notion of "My little Zimbabwe" which only shows that he is self-centred and
egocentric. Group and personal interests should never be confused for
Our paranoid leader blames everyone and everything else except himself
and a few praise singers. In short, he cannot accept responsibility for his
actions. He should realise that imaginary enemies are the most dangerous and
the most difficult to conquer for they lurk in the labyrinth of one's own
It seems to me that to all intents and purposes, our President is
afflicted with persecutory delusions. He should realise that supersonic
inflation such as we now have, the HIV crisis, hunger, load shedding, coal
shortages, power shortages, food shortages, forex shortages and fuel
shortages are actually more dangerous than any MDC or ZCTU inspired
Milton Njuzu Mandaza
Zimbabwe's foreign currency situation worsening
By Primrose Kalonga
ZIMBABWE, which is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis
since attaining independence in 1980, is becoming more and more isolated
At present Zimbabwe's foreign currency position has reached crisis
levels as the country finds itself unable to meet basic imports such as
fuel, electricity, food and drugs. Shortages of foreign currency have also
been cited as one of the reasons behind the recent shortages of local bank
notes particularly the $500 note.
The country's export base has been on the decline while no balance of
payment support has been forthcoming from multilateral agencies. At the
moment no hope is in sight for the resumption of the Balance of Payment
Support, while the macroeconomic environment continues to deteriorate. On
June 6, the International Monetary Fund suspended Zimbabwe's voting and
related rights. Effectively this means that the country can no longer
appoint a governor to the IMF, participate in the election of an executive
director for its board or take part in IMF decisions on policy or country
Zimbabwe has been suspended following its failure to service its
foreign debt, which stood at SDR164.9 million (US$233 million) as of end of
May. On September 24 2001, Zimbabwe was taken off the list of the countries
which could access resources under the IMF's Poverty Reduction And Growth
Facility. A few months later on June 13 2002, the executive board adopted a
declaration of non-cooperation with Zimbabwe and suspended all technical
assistance to the country.
Zimbabwe has not been receiving any balance of payment support for the
past four years following its failure to effectively carry out economic
reforms and for not complying with some of the conditions set by the
In light of this some people may argue that the latest action by the
IMF has little effect on the affairs of the country since we have not been
receiving any support anyway. This may however not be entirely true as this
action by theIMF attaches a stigma to the country and to some extent worsens
the credit worthiness position of the government as well as that of
businesses in the country. Most international financial organisations take
their cue from the Breton Woods institutions and usually would not provide
funding to a country that has essentially been ostracised by these
Virtually all the sectors that have been the main sources of foreign
currency have been on the decline since the year 2000. The agricultural,
tourism, mining and manufacturing sectors, which used to bring in
significant amounts of hard currency have been plagued by problems in the
last three years, thus their foreign currency earning capacity has been
The land redistribution exercise and the bad publicity that
accompanied it saw foreign currency earnings from the tourism sector, which
had become one of the leading foreign currency earners, decline as most
international tourists began to shun the country as it was considered an
unsafe tourist destination. Between 1999 and 2002, the sector experienced 11
percent and 38 percent drop in arrivals and receipts respectively.
This is despite the fact that neighbouring South Africa is
experiencing a tourism boon on the back of its image as a safe destination
after the September 11 attacks in America, the Bali bombings and the strife
in the Middle East. In addition to the political problems, tourism in
Zimbabwe has also been hard hit by fuel shortages and the cancellation of
flights to Harare by some of the international airlines.
The agricultural sector, which earned the greatest percentage of the
country's earnings amounting to some US$800 million especially from the
golden leaf (tobacco) which contributed US$590 million on average and
horticulture, has seen its contribution falling to US$376 million. The
continued uncertainties surrounding most commercial farming activities will
continue to see a slide in the ability of the sector to grow its foreign
currency earning capacity. The shortages of fuel, fertilizer, coal and
adequate water are all aiding to the constraints faced by the sector.
The kick off of the tobacco-marketing season, which was expected to
bring in significant foreign currency, has so far failed to do so. So far
tobacco earnings are approximately US$16 million dollars.
The manufacturing and the mining sector on the other hand have been
hit by closures as most organisations found themselves unable to stay
afloat. Foreign currency controls and the scrapping of foreign currency
accounts by the authorities have made it difficult for many exporting
companies to access their foreign currency earnings. As a result many
organisations are finding it difficult to access the necessary foreign
currency needed for the importation of essential inputs and equipment needed
to continue operating thus forcing some companies to reduce their scale of
operation while others decided to close down.
The country is in desperate need of foreign currency injections. It is
imperative for the authorities to address the macro-economic problems facing
the country. In addition, they should put in place measures that will arrest
the soaring inflation, reduce government expenditure and the budget deficit
to manageable levels and introduce measures that will guarantee property
rights in Zimbabwe so as to attract foreign direct investment.
At the same time efforts should be made towards mending relations with
international finance institutions and donor agencies to facilitate the
resumption of Balance of Payment support and the restructuring of our
foreign debt. It can also be worthwhile for the authorities to consider
relaxing controls on exporters as a way of encouraging exports.
This document has been prepared from sources we believe are reliable.
While reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the facts given are
correct, no responsibility of any kind can be accepted by Intermarket Asset
Managers (Pvt) Ltd any of its directors, employees or associates either as
to the accuracy or completeness of any information herein or whatever
material facts have or have not been included.
Mobile phone technology foxes Zanu PF
By Caiphas Chimhete
AN intransigent Zanu PF government could have been prophetic in the
early 1990s when it tried to deny permission to proponents of mobile
technology to set up bases in Zimbabwe because this technology is now
providing more headaches for the embattled administration.
Mobile technology, only allowed in Zimbabwe after a protracted court
battle that lasted four years, is now haunting Zanu PF, the party that is
more determined than ever before to stifle the free flow of uncensored
information in a country facing its worst economic difficulties.
Only a fortnight ago, as the rampaging Zanu PF-sponsored militia,
police and soldiers ran amok-sometimes tearing and burning copies of
independent newspapers to starve people of information on the MDC-organised
stayaway-Zimbabwe's urbanites switched to the use of mobile phones, e-mail
and the Internet to keep abreast with the latest developments on the mass
True-the Border Gezi-trained militia together with the ruling party's
supporters bussed from peri-urban and farming areas might have succeeded in
stopping many of the independent papers from being read, but they could do
nothing to stop the text messages that flew among those with computers and
Analysts said Zanu PF should know that technology is changing our
lives faster than ever and burning newspapers only strengthens the people's
resolve to want to know what is happening around them.
During the demonstrations, anyone caught reading any of the
independent newspapers in the city centre ran the risk of being severely
assaulted before the paper was confiscated and burnt providing further
evidence of how President Robert Mugabe's embattled regime is now
desperately seeking to silence alternative views.
However, as Mugabe tightened his grip on the flow of information,
churning out mediocre propaganda through the state-owned newspapers and the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporations (ZBC), people had to seek alternative
means of getting news through modern technology.
On discovering that conventional avenues of communication were being
deliberately blocked by the government, the MDC sent out messages briefing
its supporters on what was happening in other areas using the mobile phone.
In one of the messages sent through the mobile phones' SMS text
messages, the MDC said: "Don't be fooled, the march is still on tomorrow",
dispelling rumours that were being circulated in the government media that
the mass protests had been cancelled.
As a result of these messages, thousands of people heeded the MDC's
call for mass demonstration aimed at forcing Mugabe, accused of rigging the
2002 Presidential poll and ruining the country's economy, to step down.
"I was receiving updated information about the stayaway every hour
from a friend in Bulawayo and I was also doing the same thing for him from
here," said Stanford Kaseke of Harare's Warren Park suburb.
New technology experts said the switch to modern technology to eclipse
Zanu PF's repressive tendencies clearly showed how the e-mail, mobile phones
and the Internet could be harnessed to promote democracy in societies where
information was heavily censored.
They said the use of such modes of communication made the State's
attempts to control the free-flow of information very difficult, if not
In the late 1980s, China's repressive Communist government nearly
collapsed through mass protests in which the fax, photocopiers and e-mails
were extensively used to mobilise people support.
The mass protests, led by students, are remembered for the Tiannanman
Square protests, and the subsequent massacre of demonstrators, which nearly
resulted in the overthrew of China's Communist government.
"Although the Communist government survived just like what happened to
Zanu PF, it was seriously shaken by the protests," said Munyaradzi Gwisai,
the leader of the International Socialist Organisation (ISO).
Gwisai, who was chucked out of the MDC for being too critical of the
party's policies, said the MDC should not fall into the "Tiannanman square
trap" in which the opposition in China was later integrated into the
government and then "swallowed".
He said although the use of modern technology is highly encouraged in
the wake of intensified repression by Mugabe's government, mass protests
were the ultimate solution to a regime change in any country.
"Nowhere in the world has technology alone forced a regime change. It
needs to be complimented by courage and human sacrifices. Humans are the key
agents of social change," said Gwisai.
MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba-Nyathi said in the wake of increasing
hostility from Mugabe's desperate regime, new technology had become one of
the best tools of "underground" communication.
"Zanu PF is increasingly finding it difficult to suppress information
flow and alternative views in the wake of new technology. Apart from the
mobile phones, some people are privileged to watch global channels such as
BBC, CNN or even surf the Net for uncensored information," said
Hiring rural militia to burn newspapers is an archaic mode of
repression, which can only be used by a desperate and cornered regime, said
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama
week I almost couldn't contribute to this column because of
illness. I had a condition which needed immediate surgery. I had never been
really sick in my life and had, therefore, never been hospitalised. To say
that I was afraid when I was admitted into the West End Hospital in Harare,
would be an understatement. I was scared stiff.
I went into hospital with great pain and trepidation. Thanks to God,
the operation was successful and I am still in the land of the living.
However, with all the violence and ugliness I see around me, I am inclined
to wonder whether it would not have been better if I had proceeded to the
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt
gratitude to the very able Professor Midion Chidzonga who operated on me and
the very professional staff of the West End Hospital who cared for me.
I will not forget the chef, whom I never met, who cooks such good
food. Believe me, the service at this small private hospital matches any
five star hotel. This says something about private enterprise, doesn't it?
Just look at our own government hospitals and other health institutions.
They are all in a mess. I take my hat off to West End Hospital.
I also take my hat off to Chief Ndondo of Umguza. He has shown that he
understands that his role as chief is that of caring for his people. For the
sake of the people he threw out all caution to the winds and called a spade
a spade. At the fourth annual congress of the Rural District Council's
Association, he said what all chiefs should be saying loudly today.
He said: "The land reform programme did not achieve its intended goals
like the decongestion of the rural areas where population pressure remains.
Instead, the fast track programme saw party heavy weights and their
relatives benefiting at the expense of the general public.
"We are appealing to the government to dissolve the land committees
because of nepotism, corruption and favouritism."
According to The Standard of 8 June, he also said some war veterans
who invaded white-owned farms since 1999 were still staying in shacks,
casting doubts if they had capabilities of turning around Zimbabwe's
agricultural industry that has suffered a major slump.
"Some have already resorted to gold panning, environmental
degradation, the killing of wild animals and rampant poaching and have
abandoned the intended agricultural activities they promised to participate
in," Chief Ndondo observed.
Surely, it would make such a difference if our chiefs would refuse to
be the running dogs of greedy and lying politicians and say the truth for
their people's and Zimbabwe's sake. They would be chiefs indeed.
Right now, they are chiefs in name only. They have lost the respect of
their subjects. They are serving the interests of the Zanu PF government
which is oppressing their people under their very eyes.
What I am saying about chiefs is also true of the armed forces, the
police, the judiciary and the church. They have abdicated their mandate and
responsibility of caring for and protecting the well-being and freedom of
the people of Zimbabwe and have even joined criminal politicians in
The country is now at the crossroads. We are at the edge of the water.
It's either we sink or swim. A few weeks ago it seemed as though we might be
able to swim and cross over to walk in unity towards a peaceful, democratic
and prosperous Zimbabwe. President Mugabe had publicly signalled that he had
abandoned his 'handiende'(I will not go) stance by encouraging open debate
about a successor to his presidency.
Some of us, habitual optimists, thanked God for this breath of fresh
air. We concluded that the visit of Bakili Muluzi, President of Malawi,
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, had resulted
in a break-through.
Their much criticised quiet diplomacy had finally borne fruit after
all. They had succeeded in persuading the old tiger to call it quits. Zanu
PF secretary for information, Nathan Shamuyarira explained the procedures.
He said that the the debate on Mugabe's successor would start within the
provincial structures of the party and would continue at the Zanu PF annual
In the ruling party, coalitions began to emerge around two names. It
seemed that the contest was going to be between Speaker of Parliament,
Emmerson Mnangagwa and the boyish former Finance Minister, Simba Makoni.
Speculation was rife across the country. In buses, pubs, churches and
other gathering places, people painted all kinds of possible post-Mugabe
scenarios. The most prominent scenario was that Zanu PF would have a new
leader who would immediately enter into negotiations with the opposition
MDC, without any preconditions; a transitional government would be formed; a
new constitution hammered out, and general and presidential elections would
"Cry no more beloved country and fear no more. The end of your
suffering is in sight," we told poor Zimbabwe.
Alas we spoke too soon. The old pugilistic tiger is not going
anywhere. After retaliating against the MDC-led peaceful demonstrations and
mass stayaway with uncalled for brutal force, he dismissed reports that he
was about to retire. In a combative and usual belligerent mood, "I don't
want to retire in a situation where people are disunited and where certain
of our objectives have not been achieved. It would be nonsensical for me, a
year after my election, to resign. As long as there is that fight, I am for
a fight ... And I can still punch."
Whether Mugabe had been lying about his stepping aside for another
leader or whether he had suddenly changed his mind, only the devil knows.
All we know is our troubles are just beginning.
Who is going to tell the dear leader that there will be no unity as
long as he is President, for he is the one who brought the disunity and is
nurturing hatred among Zimbabweans. Who is going to tell the poor deluded
old man that as long as he is there, no objectives will be achieved except
the further ruination of Zimbabwe for he has no worthy objectives.
So we are back to square one, my countrymen and women. The old tiger
refuses to go and it looks like we are going to sink. Only divine
intervention can save us now.
Respected Zimbabwean economist, Anthony Hawkins, is quoted as saying:
"From an economic viewpoint, one cannot see it (the Zimbabwe situation)
lasting more than six months, maximum, a year.
You and I know when there is economic meltdown, civil unrest and even
violent revolution will occur."
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Not singing about the people's revolution
overthetop By Brian Latham
LIFE in the troubled central African regime took a turn for the worse
last week after the arrest of the More Drink Coming Party's leader. He was
charged with a second charge of treason, making him possibly the first man
ever to appear on two treason charges in the same court in the same week-at
least in the troubled central African dictatorship.
The move, which made headlines around the globe, surprised millions of
people at home. "Why," they asked, "was the arrest necessary if the events
leading up to the arrest had been described as a flop by the people who
ordered his arrest?"
If that sounds complicated, that's because it is complicated.
The arrest followed a week of protest that saw the More Drink Coming
Party close down the troubled central African nation in what some observers
said was the continent's biggest ever national strike.
Propagandists working in the troubled central African country's
ministry of misinformation described the strike as a flop, but the Zany
police obviously thought differently. They arrested the leader of the More
Drink Coming Party, suggesting that their bosses had perhaps privately
thought the strikes weren't such a flop after all.
And the rest, as they say, is probably sub judice, so we won't go into
it-unlike the state's own Horrid newspaper which crowed on billboards around
the capital that the More Drink Coming Party leader had been denied bail,
even before the bail hearing began.
On the other hand, it's entirely plausible that The Horrid newspaper
knows something the rest of us don't. It is a strange but well known fact
that in the troubled central African banana republic, state-controlled
journalists often report what is going to happen in the future, rather than
the normal practice of reporting what has happened in the past.
How they get these "facts" is anyone's guess, but perhaps they work cl
osely with those men in cheap nylon suits and dark glasses more than would
normally be considered professionally acceptable.
It's a little like a curious but not unknown practice of announcing
election results before the elections have actually taken place that's been
known to happen on the troubled continent.
Still, back to the flopped strike that didn't flop...
The arrest of the More Drink Coming Party leader didn't seem to
distress him too greatly. Apart from an ugly incident that saw him coming to
court shackled in irons and cuffs and wearing a skimpy prison uniform not
entirely appropriate for the middle of winter, the leader of the More Drink
Coming Party sat impassively in court, exchanging pleasantries with
supporters-and even his prison guards.
Each time he entered the court room, the scores of supporters in the
gallery stood to greet him, no doubt out of respect. On at least one
occasion, Zany police officers also stood, but perhaps they made a mistake.
If they didn't, they'll certainly have told their superiors, who're
even zanier than they are, that they thought people were standing because
the judge had wandered in unannounced.
The trial also saw almost unprecedented security at the troubled
central African regime's High Court, with scores of armed cops brandishing
AK47 assault rifles. Some even came into court carrying weapons, though
quite what they thought was going to happen in those once hallowed confines
Perhaps they thought the More Drink Coming Party leader was going to
hop over the dock and make a dash for the street!
Humility, Mr President, not paranoia
Bringing Tsvangirai to court in leg irons like an
armed robber is
cruelty of the worst kind.
OVER and over again President Mugabe and his captive media say it but
that does not make it true. Constant repetition of an ugly political fantasy
in the pursuit of self-interest and self-preservation might eventually
become a truth unless it is exposed for what it is.
It is very important to continuously put on record that nobody in
Zimbabwe is calling for the unconstitutional removal of President Mugabe.
Neither is violence intended to be part of any demonstration.
It is in the nature of democratic societies to have disagreements and
for people to demonstrate peacefully as a means to express anger and
discontent with failures of governments to solve economic and social
problems bedevilling those societies. This is what democracy is all about.
And there is nothing treasonous about it.
Differences of opinion must exist side by side in any society. If as
Zimbabweans we disagree with each other-and we should-it does not then mean
that we become enemies locked in some kind of mortal combat. Growth comes
from opposing each other.
It is in this regard that Zimbabweans are shocked and extremely
saddened by the callous and cruel treatment of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai by the authorities. For heaven's sake,
Morgan Tsvangirai is a leader of the opposition for which more than one
million people voted in the last election and for him to be brought to court
manacled in leg irons like a dangerous murderer or armed robber is
inhumanity and wickedness of the worst kind. There can be no justification
by any stretch of imagination for this kind of callousness. To make matters
worse, Tsvangirai has not been convicted of any crime.
Clearly, the State is guilty of abusing its power. Is there no remedy
when the State abuses its power like this? It happened to Joshua Nkomo in
the post-independent Zimbabwe. It also happened to Rev Ndabaningi Sithole.
Personal vendettas were pursued against these stalwarts of the independence
Is Zanu PF and President Mugabe so blinded and corrupted by power that
they treat fellow Zimbabweans like this? Has ambition and the quest to
remain in power at any cost led the ruling party to sink to such depths of
depravity and immorality?
We ask again: Is there no remedy when a government becomes guilty of
abusing its power like this?
Another gross abuse of power was when President Mugabe said with a
straight face that there was no place for white commercial farmers who
supported the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Ah! really, Mr President?
Since when has Zimbabwe become your private property? Who are you to
Governments and individuals come and go. Zimbabwe will forever remain.
The country has eternity before it. Zanu PF is not and will never be
synonymous with Zimbabwe. The country is much bigger than any individual.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees freedom of expression,
association and assembly including the right to be a member of a political
party of one's choice. A majority of Zimbabweans fought or supported the
liberation struggle in one way or another. It is simply not true when Zanu
PF claims, as it regularly does, an absolute monopoly in the liberation of
The reality of the situation, however appalling to behold Mr
President, is that Roy Bennet may be or is from a different ethnic
background, but that does not make him any less Zimbabwean. It is his
God-given constitutional right to belong to the Movement for Democratic
Change just as Andre Holland was once a member of Zanu PF. We are part of
the same people.
After your statement that "if they have any land left we will take it"
as you did in Nyanga on Thursday, June 12, at your Manicaland rally and at
Umguza, Matabeleland the following day, you cannot cry foul if your critics
attach the racist label to your name.
It does not help Mr President to see imaginary enemies everywhere. You
have created an atmosphere of comprehensive propaganda and you have
virtually become a prisoner of such an environment. Now there is an enemy
lurking in every nook and corner of the country. And even the British are
We think it is important for the President to learn to listen and
listen to learn from people of goodwill outside the ruling party, Zanu PF.
People from your own party will invariably tell you what you want to hear
and in the process there is always a danger that some will lie, distort, or
be biased in their endeavour to endear themselves to you. The
goverment-owned media stands accused of this-big time!
Zanu PF cadres-top and ordinary-would want to tell you what they
consider music to your ears because they know that membership of the ruling
party is the passport to promotion, high office and privilege. Privileges of
the office-holders include access to scarce goods and services and under
conditions of chronic shortages of everything currently prevailing in the
country, this gives them enormous advantages.
That is why it is crucial to talk to people of all races outside the
ruling party, and if you do, you will find that a very different picture
will emerge and the payoffs will be big. Ham-fisted clampdown of your
opponents and imaginary enemies cannot be the way forward towards a return
If the difficult and turbulent times which Zimbabweans now find
themselves in are to end-and end they must-the US, European and British cash
and investment will be crucial in the regeneration of the country.
Obviously, the road between now and then will hardly be a smooth one.
But the smoothness of it will be helped by a cocktail of factors.
Key among them is the need to desist from injudicious talk by the
President which only alienates friends and foes alike. It does not help to
see treason charges where none exist either, nor is seeing imaginary enemies
internally and externally reflective of a President confident of the support
of his people.
Ian Smith's inflexibility appealed to the whites at the time as a sign
of strength of character and purpose. Where did that take him?
It was Albert Einstein who said: "The problems that we face cannot be
solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
Food for thought, Mr President.
Dad's ghost haunts the land until Mugabe pays
June 15 2003 at 05:09PM
Harare - A Zimbabwean man, whose family's farm was seized and vandalised
under President Robert Mugabe's "fast track" land reform programme says his
dead father will haunt the land until proper compensation is paid, the
Sunday Mail reported.
The ranch in Kwekwe, 30km south-west of Harare, has now been converted into
a school, and teachers claim that the ghost of Fritz Meyer, who died ten
years ago, can be heard at night-time driving across the land.
Even during daylight teachers say they hear mysterious knockings on doors.
The ghost can be heard jangling keys, takings baths and showers, moving
furniture around and whistling.
In an email from South Africa Meyer's son Phillip told the Sunday Mail the
problem would only stop when the family received proper compensation for
land taken by Mugabe's troops.
'The ghost will do no harm to anyone'
"I believe that my father's ghost haunts the house, but I can assure the
teachers the ghost will do no harm to anyone as my father was extremely fond
of the property, and of the people who lived there," he was quoted as
Traditional healer Lameck Chikava believes Meyer's cremated ashes, still
stored in a locked room in the farmhouse, are the source of the haunting.
"We appealed to Miss Annette Meyer, daughter of the late Mr Meyer, to remove
the ashes, but she told us it was her father's will that his remains be kept
within the farmhouse forever," he said.
Kwekwe district education officer Clifford Parirenyatwa said he had been
"inundated" with teachers demanding transfers away from the haunted
school. - Sapa-DPA
Zimbabwe bans public sector strikes
The Zimbabwean Government has banned strikes in many parts of the
public sector following five days of protests by the country's opposition.
The new legislation will prevent doctors, nurses, employees of the
state power utility, firefighters and transport and communications industry
workers from striking as they are what the law defines as "essential
Employees of state radio and television are also forbidden to strike.
Labour Minister July Moyo has also been given powers to declare any
other sectors an essential service if a strike "persists to the point that
the lives, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population
There are no specified penalties, but lawyers and union leaders said
that strike-breakers could face prison sentences of up to five years.
"It is a desperate measure which will not change anything, because if
workers feel that their grievances are not being addressed they will always
turn to the streets despite the laws," said Collin Gwiyo, deputy secretary
general of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
Strikes broken up
The move follows a crackdown by President Robert Mugabe on a week-long
protest called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)as part
of a "final push" to topple the embattled Zimbabwean leader.
The marches were ruthlessly broken up by the police and army, but a
general strike was widely observed.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested on Friday, and remains in
custody charged with treason.
Mr Mugabe has remained unswayed by criticism of his government's
treatment of the opposition.
"We hope they have learnt their lesson. If they haven't, they will
learn it the hard way," he was quoted as saying in the state-run Herald
newspaper on Friday.
Tsvangirai's detention: Catch-22 for MDC
June 15 2003 at 08:42AM
By Basildon Peta
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
faces a dilemma about how to react to the continued detention of its leader,
MDC leaders had considered embarking on another strike to demand his release
but opted to heed the advice of Tsvangirai's lawyers, led by George Bizos,
to refrain from threatening any form of protests until the high court rules
on Tsvangirai's bail application.
Militant members of the party are insisting that the MDC should call for a
national strike, similar to the one that shut Zimbabwe down for a week,
unless he is released.
Tsvangirai faces two charges of treason. In the first, he stands accused of
plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe. Then 10 days ago he was arrested
and charged with treason for calling the strike - dubbed "the final push" -
and for allegedly calling for the overthrow of Mugabe.
"It is a very tricky situation," said a top MDC official.
"If we embark on some sort of action, there is the danger that we might
aggravate the situation against Tsvangirai and our party. If we do not do
anything, we send a signal of capitulation to Mugabe."
After a series of meetings this week, the MDC national executive decided to
wait for the outcome of Monday's court proceedings before deciding how they
"If they don't give him bail, then it means the hawks in the party may carry
the day after all. The hawks want immediate action, either in the form of
another job stayaway or some other action," said another official.
Gibson Sibanda, the MDC's deputy president who had earlier threatened mass
action unless Tsvangirai was released, issued a guarded statement on
Thursday urging Zimbabweans to remain calm in the face of provocation.
"We urge all Zimbabweans to remain calm in the face of repeated attempts to
provoke them so as to get a pretext to crush their resolve through violence.
We should remain focused on our objectives and calculated in our actions."
Tsvangirai is spending his second weekend in jail after a high court judge
said she needed time to consider his bail application.
The opposition leader was brought to court this week dressed in khaki prison
garb and wearing handcuffs and leg irons.
The state asked that Tsvangirai be incarcerated for the month before it
proceeded with the new treason trial. Judge Susan Mavangira adjourned the
case to Monday.
Analysts said it was vindictive to keep him in prison for calling for a
demonstration when it was within his rights to do so.
Mavangira has shown no urgency in dispensing with the matter. She was
promoted from the attorney-general's office to the bench last year at the
height of Mugabe's campaign of weeding out independent judges.
Legal analysts said they saw no reasonable justification why Mavangira
needed a whole weekend to decide on a mere bail application. "She is not
dealing with the substantive aspect of the case," said a lawyer.
Another lawyer said Tsvangirai's release on bail on Monday was by no means
guaranteed. "It will not be surprising if the judge agrees with the decision
of the lower court that Tsvangirai be jailed for a month until the next
hearing. It will also not be surprising if the judge says she still needs
more time," he said.
Mugabe has repeatedly vowed to "teach Tsvangirai a lesson" and to crack down
"harder" on the MDC.
Tsvangirai has become the first Zimbabwean to be slapped with double treason
charges. Even during the struggle against white minority rule, nationalist
leaders were never slapped with double treason charges.