Sat 17 June 2006
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has indefinitely shelved its
controversial plan to nationalise the country's fertilizer industry amid
revelations this week that the total asking price for the three targeted
companies has more than quadrupled in the past four months.
Sources close to the botched deal told ZimOnline that Harare had
relented on its take over bid for Windmill, Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company and
the fertilizer section of Sable Chemicals after the initial excitement at
the beginning of the year.
"They have been quiet since the deadlock over valuation of the three
firms around March and we hear they could be looking for other ways of
ensuring stability of supply and affordability of fertiliser without
destroying the industry," said an executive with one of the fertilizer
firms, who spoke on condition he was not named.
A new firm, to be called the National Fertiliser Company of Zimbabwe
and in which the government would have had controlling shareholding, would
have been formed to take over the three companies.
Takeover talks, however, collapsed following disagreement over
valuation of the companies. The government had set aside Z$1.5 trillion for
a leveraged buyout of the main shareholders in the three companies which
were at the time believed to be valued at about Z$13 trillion.
"We are now talking of a valuation of upwards of Z$60 trillion if
talks have to be resuscitated now," said the executive.
No comment was available from Obert Mpofu, Minister of Industry and
International Trade, whose ministry was spearheading the takeover bid.
The takeover, described by analysts as tantamount to nationalisation
of the fertiliser industry, was seen as another nail in the coffin of
Zimbabwe's battered economy. - ZimOnline
Sat 17 June 2006
HARARE - At least 150 ruling ZANU PF supporters have forcibly taken
over houses built for victims of last year's controversial government
demolition exercise at Whitecliff Farm west of the capital Harare.
The houses were built under a government reconstruction exercise
codenamed Operation Garikayi (Operation Live Well) for the benefit of
thousands of people made homeless under last year's housing demolition
exercise that left at least 700 000 people homeless.
ZANU PF legislator for Manyame constituency under which Whitecliff
Farm falls, Patrick Zhuwawo, is said to have recently brought the ruling
party's supporters and allocated them houses displacing individuals who had
already received written offers for the same houses from the government.
Zhuwawo could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.
But one of the victims who lost his stand to ZANU PF supporters,
Messiah Muchuro told ZimOnline yesterday that he had been chucked out of his
stand with officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works
telling him that the initial offer letters were no longer valid.
"I was told by one Mawoyo that I will be allocated another stand under
the second phase even though I have a provisional offer letter. It's very
disappointing because the government is now only rewarding its supporters,"
"I was told that the allocation system had changed and I should keep
on making enquiries," he said.
Local Government and Public Works Minister Ignatius Chombo denied that
the government was allocating the houses to ZANU PF supporters only.
"It's not true. The houses are strictly for the homeless and those who
are earning less than $10 million a month," said Chombo.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and
human rights groups have often accused President Robert Mugabe's government
of grabbing the clean-up houses and allocating them to ZANU PF supporters
The Harare authorities, battling an unprecedented six-year old
economic recession, have also struggled to complete the houses with only 500
houses out of the 9 000 available stands at Whitecliff having been completed
so far. - ZimOnline
Sat 17 June 2006
HARARE - An ambitious project by the Zimbabwe government to produce
bio-diesel appears to have hit a snag with only 6 000 hectares of land put
under the jatropha tree, whose oil-rich seed is used to produce fuel, out of
a planned 80 000 hectares.
A special parliamentary committee reviewing the bio-diesel project
urged the government to act urgently to improve the supply of jatropha seeds
if it was to achieve its target to substitute 10 percent of national diesel
consumption with fuel produced from the seeds.
The committee said: "In order to get 10 percent - the nation has to
plant 80 000 hectares of land. Each province is expected to grow about 10
000 hectares. Currently there are 6 000 hectares of land with jatropha
Under the project the government hopes to blend bio-diesel produced
from jatropha seeds with fossil fuel and in the process reduce the country's
over dependency on imported diesel.
Zimbabwe has grappled an acute shortage of fuel for the past six years
because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
The foreign currency crunch has also seen the country facing severe
shortages of food, essential medicines, electricity, machine spares for
industry and several other key imports.
In a desperate bid to ease the fuel crisis, the government last year
launched the project to produce diesel from jatropha seeds.
The state-controlled National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and the Forestry
Commission were tasked with producing jatropha seedlings to be distributed
Jatropha is a drought resistant succulent plant that produces seed
with a high oil content of 37 percent that can be refined to produce
Energy experts say if efficiently and competently implemented, the
bio-diesel project could yield impressive results but could never be the
panacea to Zimbabwe's fuel shortages. - ZimOnline
Bulawayo South MP David Coltart ended months of speculation about his
political future Thursday by joining a faction of the oppostion Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) led by Professor Arthur Mutambara. Here is his full
By David Coltart, MP
Last updated: 06/16/2006 11:35:57
I AM very proud to have been a founder member of the MDC and to have been
part of the courageous struggle of the MDC during the last seven years to
bring an end to tyranny in Zimbabwe.
In particular I was proud to be part of a united organisation that
transcended the tribal, ethnic, racial and gender divisions which have
plagued Zimbabwe for so long.
Accordingly from the moment I became aware of the very serious divisions
which emerged within the MDC in late 2004 I have been convinced that I
should do all in my power to keep the party united and focused on defeating
I believe that the split in the MDC we have observed in the last seven
months has been a betrayal of the struggle for democracy and a betrayal of
the massive sacrifices made by so many Zimbabweans. Because of that,
although I had very strong views as to who and what was to blame for these
divisions, I believed that I should do everything possible, within my own
limited power, to try to reconcile the opposing factions and failing that to
mediate an amicable divorce between the two factions. As is now public
knowledge, those efforts came to an end when the faction led by Morgan
Tsvangirai declined my offer to mediate in early May.
Since then I have consulted widely within my constituency and elsewhere. I
have held several public and private meetings to consult with and listen to
people. I have spoken to a wide variety of old friends, supporters and
people I trust regarding what I should do. For reasons I have already
explained in other public documents I cannot join the faction of the MDC led
by Morgan Tsvangirai. That has left me with three remaining options, namely:
to resign from politics altogether and to go back to civil society, to
become an independent or to join the faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
An overwhelming majority of the people I consulted were not in favour of me
leaving politics. Indeed only one person felt I should do so. A small number
of people were in favour of me becoming an independent. However I am
convinced that that is simply not feasible for both constitutional and
practical reasons. Indeed given the direct and indirect attacks on me by
members of the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai it has become apparent to me
that remaining an independent would be increasingly untenable.
A majority of those who have come to my meetings and who have written to me
have expressed to me that they understand why it is impossible for me to
join the Tsvangirai faction and support me in that decision.
I must now move on. For the last seven months I have been in a state of
limbo and I believe it is imperative that I resume my work in this
collective struggle to bring freedom and democracy to Zimbabwe. I believe
that I will be more effective working in conjunction with colleagues who
share a similar vision for a new Zimbabwe and who are committed to using the
same means as I am to reach that goal. I should also state that I find
myself in an invidious position in that I would far rather remain in a
united MDC than join any faction, but that clearly is not possible now.
With this in mind during the last few weeks I have met with leaders of what
I perceive to be the pro-democracy faction of the MDC and in particular with
Arthur Mutambara. I have been encouraged by these discussions and in
particular by the following:
1. Their agreement to set up an independent commission of inquiry to
investigate and remedy all the violence which has afflicted the MDC since
2. Their stated commitment to adopt a zero tolerance disciplinary approach
to any future acts of violence within the MDC;
3. The acceptable assurances that I have been given regarding their
commitment to engage in peaceful, constitutional and, most importantly,
nonviolent forms of mass action designed to get the ZANU PF regime to agree
to a new constitution and free and fair elections;
4. Their commitment to respecting all the policy decisions taken at the
December 2003 conference of the MDC, in particular the resolution to press
for a victim orientated Truth Commission which will investigate all human
rights abuses, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide which have been
perpetrated in Zimbabwe since 1965;
5. The acceptable assurances that I have received of their intention to
rebrand the pro-democracy faction of the MDC, to end as soon as possible the
present confusion experienced by the Zimbabwean electorate following the
division of the MDC into two factions.
Accordingly I have now decided to formally align myself with the
pro-democracy faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara. In stating this I
should stress that I will continue to work within the pro-democracy faction
and with friends and colleagues in the faction of the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai to unite the two factions. I remain absolutely convinced that the
struggle for democracy will remain severely handicapped for so long as we
I am pleased that I have been able to make this decision after the result of
the Budiriro by-election. Since adopting my position of neutrality seven
months ago I have been accused of fence sitting, which also implies that I
have been waiting to see which way the wind would blow. I trust that my
decision today will lay to rest those accusations. I have solely based my
decision on principle and am pleased that no one can now accuse me of acting
expediently in the aftermath of the Budiriro by-election. Indeed I would
rather lose my seat in Parliament than compromise certain principles that
are fundamental to my belief system.
The Budiriro by-election shows that the pro-democracy faction of the MDC has
a mountain to climb if it is ever to govern Zimbabwe. However I am not
impressed by mere numbers. I was never impressed by the overwhelming
majority of support ZANU PF received in the 1980s when its leaders were then
committing crimes against humanity. Likewise today the mere fact that the
faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai won so convincingly in Budiriro
does not in itself persuade me to join that faction.
In this regard the words of Thomas Jefferson in his inaugural address
delivered on the 4 March 1801 are pertinent:
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of
the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be
reasonable; that the minority possess equal rights, which equal law must
protect, and to violate would be oppression."
The pursuit of freedom is never an easy task. There is always the temptation
to take shortcuts and to compromise regarding the means of reaching the goal
of liberty. In this regard I have been very impressed by the courage and
determination shown by my colleagues in the pro-democracy faction in the
face of unjustified and sometimes vicious attacks simply for standing up for
what they believe in.
I remain convinced that unless we stand on principle and for what we know is
right this long and desolate night of tyranny will continue in Zimbabwe,
albeit under another guise. We will only change Zimbabwe for the better if
we change our own ways first - that is the very essence of "chinja maitiro".
Accordingly I now look forward to putting my shoulder to the wheel with
colleagues of a similar mind so that we, working in conjunction with
democratic compatriots in other organisations, can bring this long night to
an end and usher in a new dawn of democracy and freedom to Zimbabwe.
God bless Zimbabwe.
David Coltart is the MP for Bulawayo South. Visit his website:
SW Radio Africa producer/presenter Lance Guma interviewed MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai on the 9th June 2006, soon after an MDC National
Executive Committee meeting that day. Below is a transcript of the
This week on Behind the Headlines, my guest is Movement for Democratic
Change president Morgan Tsvangirai. Now on the 12thOctober last year, the
MDC split into two camps over whether to participate in senate elections or
not. Our listeners are by now aware of the arguments presented by both sides
and so the focus of this interview is to review the situation as it stands
now. Now Mr Tsvangirai would you say at the moment it is a priority for your
party to try and re-unite the two sides of the MDC divide?
Well this is a perennial question. For us the priority is not on that, the
priority is set by the agenda of the people, which is to confront Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF. Of course we have had a tragic event in October 12 and
it's a sad development but we need to be united on purpose and as far as we
are concerned the two formations, as long as they are focussed on the
question of Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, I think we are on the same
The Budiriro by-election must have given you quite a lift in terms of
legitimacy with the people, now there are people who are suggesting that
because of that you seem to have lost interest in engaging your former
colleagues, would you say that's fair criticism.
Far from it we are not in a position of finding relevance, the relevance is
defined by the struggle. The Budiriro by-election was a testimony; it was a
litmus test on where the people's feelings lie inspite of the confusion
around the two symbols, people chose the party that they thought best
represented their project. Let me also add that this emphasis on the
question about MDC is totally immaterial. When I go around the country,
people are not asking about that, people are asking when is this crisis
going to end. That should be where the focus should be.
Right but in terms of having a stumbling block, because you do have a
constituency of people who do want to see you reunited, what would you point
out as the main stumbling blocks Mr Tsvangirai.
We are not the main stumbling block at all. If at all I have gone to such
lengths to take personal initiatives, there have been so many initiatives on
our behalf to persuade our colleagues to come back to the fold, indeed some
of the people have come back and we have said we have welcomed them. So it
is not a question of anybody being a stumbling block. It's a question of
whether strategically you are all focussing on the same issue and the
strategic question that confounds us is the issue of Mugabe and Zanu PF and
how we should deal with it. To us we believe that confrontation with the
regime is the best strategic option available to us. The others think that
compromise with the regime and those kinds of collaborations with the regime
is their strategy, they maybe right but as far as we are concerned, we don't
think they are right. So if there is a fundamental difference around
strategy, it doesn't matter. Bodies can come together, but certainly, you
need to be united on purpose.
The other important issue still on this split and that will be my final
question regarding the split. Mr David Coltart wrote a letter in which he
says violence in the MDC has discouraged him from joining your party. Now do
you have any particular response to Mr Coltart on the issues he raised?
David Coltart has written a piece about violence and to us it is irrelevant
because there is no violence in the MDC, there is no structure of violence
in the MDC. Apparently, David Coltart has become so paranoid about violence
because he believes that Zanu PF does not have violence. The violent
environment in which we are operating in, is a result of Zanu PF state
sponsored violence. There is no structure of violence in the MDC. If there
is any violence, which is to mean, absence of law and order, which is a
responsibility of the state, that is how it should be dealt with. It is not
a personal issue, but David Coltart has the freedom of association and
freedom of disassociation. And I've not in any manner witnessed the kind of
perpetuation of this argument, which has come as a secondary issue. The
primary issue of our division was the senate election. Now the violence has
become his champion when we are all committed to non-violence in the
struggle. So where is the difference?
An article in the Zimbabwe Independent seemed to suggest you were dropping
mass action in favour of a diplomatic offensive, now is this true
Absolutely no truth at all because this is speculation. It's a speculative
article without any substance, they didn't quote me, they just made a
conclusion out of no substance. The MDC is committed to see a resolution of
the national crisis. The crisis has assumed such a catastrophic level that
for us to divert from this people's project, and the people's project being
to popular resistance against the dictatorship, I think it's the greatest
betrayal, so there is no substance to that story. It is meant to discourage
people who are committed to a certain path towards resolving the national
crisis and it has no substance at all.
The euphoria for mass action seems to be building up rapidly, now is there a
sense on your part as an opposition to feel that maybe you are taking too
long in mobilizing and in the process handing the initiative back to Zanu
No, we have a window of opportunity and we believe strongly that our action
is determined by our state of preparedness, nothing else. Our state of
preparedness is that we need to organise people on the ground, we have had
past experiences from which we have to learn our mistakes. And we believe
that when that action is taking place it must succeed, so those who are
anxious to get a time frame and all that, I can't define how they position
themselves, but as far as we are concerned our action will be determined
when we are ready.
Most journalists received an e-mail from a group calling itself Concerned
Zimbabweans in which they were announcing a date for mass action sometime in
June, I think it was the 15th June. So a lot of people were feeling maybe it's
the work of the CIO or people within the party who are trying to motivate
the party to go along that route or to announce a date for the intended
You don't motivate people by undertaking some adventurist activity, you
actually cause a lot of despondency because people want to see a more
organised, a more concerted effort with potential for success. They don't
want a one-off shot activity that then dies off. They want a sustainable
programme until their goal is achieved, so we don't know about that group,
maybe these are just 'agent provocateurs,' but certainly they don't enjoy
our support, they are not part of us as far as I know.
I have just done a story, a few days ago covering the political violence in
Gokwe and I interviewed Mr Aaron Chinhara, now soon after the rally the MDC
held there two weeks ago, your supporters are being beaten up in the full
view of policemen, do you feel given such an environment Zimbabweans can
muster the courage to engage this regime.
Well the incident in Gokwe is a replica of the state sponsored violence I'm
talking about, that is being sponsored by the state and Zanu PF, and our
response is that the police have an obligation to protect people, if they
don't have that obligation then people have a right to protect themselves,
so I don't feel that is a discouragement, I think that people feel
threatened by those small incidents, I'm sure at a national scale people
have overcome those kind of fears and they are determined. In fact,
Zimbabweans are so resilient against this regime that it has tried all
tactics in the book, but it has failed.
Today you have just had a press conference in which various issues were
discussed and I have a few questions based on that press conference. The MDC's
position on participation in elections, has been greeted with mixed
reactions, some feel you should not participate at all because you always
legitimize a rigged process. Do the disadvantages outweigh the advantages?
Well let me say that I think it's all one and the same thing. The struggle
assumes various forms , qualitatively I think that participating in a
particular election strategically chosen by the MDC adds value than
subtracts the disadvantage, so the question is we believe that elections
carefully selected, are a way of mobilizing our people and therefore are an
important aspect in advancing the struggle rather than disorganizing the
struggle. So to us we have now come to the conclusion that we are not
going against the resolution of our congress which says that we shall choose
tactically where to participate and where not to. So like we decided today,
we will go into Chitungwiza and Kadoma for the very same reasons. Overall I
think that it's debatable. All opinions especially from those who are
against participation are very persuasive but ultimately the leadership has
to make a decision where tactically it takes advantage for the struggle.
In your press statement today you talk about the roadmap to legitimacy, now
how do you intend to achieve this.
Well our intention in unveiling this roadmap is that we believe that
Zimbabweans must come and resolve this national crisis which has now assumed
a very catastrophic level. So we believe that Zanu PF must be forced by the
action of the people, the demands of the people, to come to the negotiating
table and find a solution to the national crisis that we all face and that
process includes the question of transitional authority, the question of the
constitution and the question of free and fair elections, that is a roadmap
we are going to fight for and that is why the resistance is being organised
in order to achieve those demands.
Mr Tsvangirai Zimbabwe currently has a cross mix of different civic groups
that seem to be pulling in different directions, now some observers have
suggested, why don't you co-ordinate protests at the same time because the
feeling is that the regime will not be able to deal with a united protest.
Well we do believe that yes I think some of those actions tend to be
sporadic and fragmented but we are working with our colleagues in civic
society to achieve that objective, so that a broader alliance of democratic
forces is built around confronting the regime. I am sure all these
activists that are participating in these fragmented approaches would like
us to work towards that goal, so I'm sure that as we move forward that
becomes even more imperative and the MDC will not be found lacking in giving
leadership to such a movement.
Robert Mugabe's regime has said that the economy is in a mess because the
MDC and its allies have called for economic sanctions.
Well these perennial accusations have no substance at all. Mugabe knows that
what we are talking about are targeted sanctions, these are travel bans for
Zanu PF elites to go out to Europe and America, that's only the limitation,
its an incentive for good behaviour, unfortunately they have hidden behind
it because they are in a state of denial and in a state of scapegoating,
Mugabe knows that it is not travel bans that have caused inflation to reach
1000percent, it is not travel bans that have led to food shortages, to job
losses, to massive drug shortages in hospitals, all those are contributing
factors arising out of his own misrule.
My final question Mr Tsvangirai, Party Secretary General Tendai Biti was
quoted by Reuters News Agency as having disclosed that the MDC had accepted
in principle, a proposal to grant to Mugabe immunity from prosecution for
human rights violations if that would help to save the nation from further
catastrophe. Now it seems that statement has created some controversy with
people supporting and some disagreeing, what's the MDC's position on this.
Well before the March 2005 election we were talking of a Truth and Justice
Commission, a commission which will hear the perpetrators as well as the
victims of violence. The position of the MDC which I know the Secretary
general has not misinterpreted is that we are now in a phase in which should
there be a choice by Zimbabweans as to the choice between Robert Mugabe
going and finding a solution to the national crisis, if that is the price
that has to be paid by Zimbabweans then of course Zimbabweans will be asked
to consider that. That is my understanding of his interpretation, he didn't
say that, that is the position of the MDC. He said it is a possibility
people have to consider in order to find a solution to the crisis that we
face, which crisis has now transcended ethnic, racial and whatever divide
and I'm sure that Zimbabweans will be able to make a choice, as to what is
the way forward, but he didn't say that we are giving Mugabe blanket
immunity, he recognises the extent of human rights abuses.
That was MDC President Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
SW Radio Africa
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 16 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - As winter sets in, the Zimbabwean government
has launched another operation to purge the capital, Harare, of "illegal"
homes and market stalls in an effort to "clean" the city.
The demolitions began at the crack of dawn on Thursday, when truckloads of
municipal police raided the high-density suburb of Glen Norah in Harare and
brought down "illegal" structures with crowbars and set them alight. More
than 400 people were affected, including school children.
Last winter the government launched 'Operation Murambatsvina' (Drive out
Filth) in cities and towns across the country. The campaign to demolish
informal settlements left over 700,000 people homeless or without a source
of income and was met with widespread condemnation from human rights bodies,
including the UN.
Martha Manda, a widow with two children, was inconsolable as she watched her
house go up in flames on Thursday. "I have nowhere to go now. My
grandparents came from Malawi and settled in this country as migrant
labourers. As a result, I cannot go back to Malawi because I don't know
Authorities said the people being weeded out of urban areas should return to
their rural villages of origin, but although many have done so, the
descendants of migrant workers from Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia have been
left in a quandary.
The mayor of Harare, Sekesai Makwavarara, informed residents of the new
operation, saying: "as residents you should support the council and
government when they embark on the clean-up exercise".
Two weeks ago the government launched what it called 'Operation Round-up',
in which street children and homeless people were picked up and dumped at a
farm outside Harare.
Precious Shumba, a spokesman for the Combined Harare Residents Association,
said they were trying to help those who had been affected. "We are trying to
get aid for the people, like food and blankets, especially because this
unfortunate exercise has again been launched in the middle of winter."
Humanitarian bodies have condemned the latest demolitions. Crisis Coalition,
a grouping of NGOs, said, "We have to unite to defend our rights, which are
not privileged gifts parcelled out by generous politicians but [are]
inalienable because we are human and legitimate citizens of this country. No
one, regardless of their political, economic and social standing, should be
given the right to dump the lives of the citizens of this country into
Gabriel Chaibva, spokesman for the pro-senate faction of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, also condemned the destruction. "Harare
officials have demonstrated their insensitivity to the plight of the poor -
the demolitions have been carried out with brutal force and in cold winter
season, when it is clear that the victims of the demolitions, especially the
elderly and children, are likely to be exposed to the vagaries of cold
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 16 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - Media organisations and human rights activists
in Zimbabwe have slammed alleged threats made against journalists by the
minister of information, Tichaona Jokonya.
Reports on a press conference addressed by Jokonya early this week quoted
him as commenting on "unpatriotic" journalists by saying: "The end of a
traitor is always death. The unfortunate thing about a traitor is that you
are killed by both your own people and the person whom you are serving. Our
problem in the media is that we don't have the umbilical cord. If you don't
have that you will serve any master."
The press briefing was addressed jointly by Jokonya and the Washington-based
Pan-African Liberalisation Organisation, which reportedly is trying to help
lift sanctions imposed on Harare by western countries.
Rashwheat Mukundu, executive director of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa, described the minister's alleged threats as
"unfortunate" and added, "I think the minister is not being sincere when he
accuses journalists of being traitors. Being patriotic does not mean being
loyal to a certain leadership or political party."
He suggested that if the government wanted to prevent journalists from
working for foreign media organisations, it should reopen newspapers closed
as a result of oppressive media laws, which would create employment
opportunities in Zimbabwe. Four newspapers, including the country's biggest
daily, The Daily News, have been closed since 2003, and independent radio
stations have been kept off the air as a result of the restrictive
Broadcasting Services Act.
Njabulo Ncube, vice-president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, said
government's complaints of negative international media coverage seemed
inconsequential, as its top officials continued to shoot themselves in the
"In any civilised society [such remarks], attributed to a top government
official, [would create] a scandal and, naturally, it attracts negative
publicity. Our call is very clear: the government must just open media
organisations which it banned. In any case, the advantage ... is that it
would be able to regulate their operations."
Human rights lawyer Jacob Mafume also criticised the minister's remarks. "In
terms of patriotism, it is the minister who is not being patriotic. A
patriotic minister would ensure that all Zimbabweans would have access to
jobs and better life. Closing down jobs and opportunities, and denying
citizens a decent life, is hardly patriotic. The minister should just open
the closed media organisations."
Jokonya joins a growing list of senior government officials who have
allegedly threatened journalists working for private media or writing for
foreign media organisations.
IRIN was unable to get comment from Jokonya.
15 Jun 2006 23:01:29 GMT
By Jeremy Lovell
LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - The world's growing number of poor slum dwellers
is a ticking time bomb that governments dare not ignore, the United Nations
said on Friday.
The world will pass a critical point in 2007 when the majority of its 6
billion people will be urbanised, the world body said.
One-third of them will be slum dwellers, many trapped in poverty but
overlooked by governments and with no prospects of improvement.
"When a critical mass of people are in one place, if you don't empower them
they will empower themselves through revolution," Anna Tibaijuka, head of
UN-HABITAT said in London, presenting the agency's State of the World's
Cities 2006/7 report.
"If we want to avoid chaos we have to empower the poor people," she told a
news conference ahead of the third World Urban Forum meeting in Vancouver,
Canada, from June 19-23.
Far from being better off than their rural cousins, the urban poor were in
many ways worse off, ignored by aid agencies and with little access to
housing, adequate sanitation, clean water, education or health services.
For example, even the children of relatively affluent slum dwellers had
higher rates of killer diarrhoea than poor children in the countryside, the
report said, noting that slum dwellers also tended to die young.
Tibaijuka said the world's slum dwellers faced multiple disadvantages being
near to services, durable housing and the seat of political power but having
no access to any of them.
This in turn led to rising divisions and tensions between the "haves" and
"have nots" in burgeoning towns and cities.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 72 percent of the urban population live in slums,
attracted there by prospects of a better life but, once sucked in, are
trapped in a cycle of poverty, degradation and violence.
By 2030, the urban population of Africa, the least urbanised continent, will
be larger than the total population of Europe, the U.N. report said.
"The peace and stability of cities is in question if the majority are in
slums," Tibaijuka said, urging governments not to simply bulldoze them as
President Mugabe had done in Zimbabwe but to provide housing and services
The report said that in seven African countries surveyed, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Zambia, HIV/AIDS was more prevalent
in the urban than rural population.
It also noted the rise of mega- and even metacities -- conurbations with
populations of more than 10 million and 20 million respectively -- saying
nine percent of the world's people now live in megacities against four
percent in 1975.
The trend is accelerating, the report said, noting that by 2030, nearly 4
billion people, or 80 percent of the world's urban dwellers, will live in
cities of the developing world.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the central bank, has vowed to
continue fighting inflation until it comes down to manageable levels.
RBZ Governor Gideon Gono said on Thursday the central bank would
implement wide-ranging measures to reign-in inflation, now at 1,193.5
"We are determined to make sure that by end of next year inflation
will be in the lower double digit levels, and we will unleash all measures
necessary to ensure that we reign in inflation," he said when addressing
participants attending the 45th annual congress of the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association in the capital of Harare.
He said a dramatic change in the inflation outlook was only expected
in the medium to long-term and reiterated the need for unity in the fight
against the scourge.
"Bringing inflation down does not require a singular effort but
requires all of us to play our part. The economy is a sum total of our
individual activities wherever we are," the governor said.
Zimbabwe's inflation is one of the highest in the world and has played
havoc with the country's economy, which used to be rated among the best in
the southern African region.
13 June 2006
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) remains proud to be a
member of the broad struggle for genuine democracy in Zimbabwe. Our
contribution to the struggle is unquestionable and we continue to develop a
loud voice on behalf of residents in the capital in the face of horrendous
repression by an illegal Commission working for an illegitimate regime.
In 1999 we sent our delegates to the Working People's Convention and
wholeheartedly supported the creation of the Movement for Democratic Change
as a device through which civic society could contest directly for political
power to rescue the nation from the depredations of a rapacious clique
masquerading as a liberation party. This was a logical development for
civil society and the strategy may have paid off were it not for the blatant
theft of the 2000 election by the mugabe regime.
We remain adamant that only the structural reformation of our State and its
institutions, coupled with a respect for the rule of law and due process,
will begin to create a political environment in which all Zimbabweans,
irrespective of gender, ethnicity, class and other differences, can
participate and derive benefit from. We seek not to exchange the faces of
our masters but to engage in a profound re-ordering of society that does
away with masters and subjects altogether.
Since 2000, we have witnessed with dismay the transformation of our Movement
into a political party whose agenda is driven by politicians rather than
activists. A party moreover that has exhibited many characteristics of
Zanu-PF especially in its hegemonic and dismissive attitude to civics, its
intolerance of alternative viewpoints and its acceptance of violence,
patronage, treating and other vices that unfortunately appear to be
entrenched in our political culture.
In 2002, we forced the mugabe regime to hold elections for Harare's local
authority only to see many incompetent, self-serving individuals using their
election as councillors to further their narrow political ambitions. The
subsequent defections of councillors to zanu-pf highlighted the failure of
the MDC to select candidates of suitable principle, proven civic commitment
and strength of character to represent residents properly. The 2005 split
within the party has convinced us of the need to re-affirm our commitment to
non-partisan principles. To this end we have strengthened our constitution
to restrict the role of office bearers of political parties in the
structures and organs of CHRA. We continue to welcome members of all
political persuasions provided that they are committed to the principles of
the Association, namely participatory democracy underpinned by transparency
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is a membership-based
organisation bringing together residents of Harare in a collective effort to
defend the interests of residents and to promote democracy, accountability
and transparency in Local Government.. For more information contact the
Information Officer on 011612860 or visit our website at www.chra.co.zw or
our office at 103 Daventry House, South Ave, Harare.
6/16/2006 5:01:52 PM (GMT +2)
The Zimbabwean crisis can no longer be treated as a domestic issue,
the director of Ditshwanelo Alice Mogwe, said on Wednesday. Speaking at a
church service in Gaborone, which was conducted in solidarity with victims
of the Zimbabwean crisis, Mogwe called on Southern African Development
Community (SADC) governments to intervene.
Mogwe said the crisis could no longer be ignored as its effects have
spilled over to neighbouring countries. "Our trade with Zimbabwe has been
affected, Zimbabweans are exposed to harassment, exploitation and xenophobic
tendencies right here," she said. Mogwe pleaded with security and law
enforcers to treat both foreign and local lawbreakers with dignity. She
affirmed that it is important to teach people the dangers of Xenophobia. She
said the unending crises in Zimbabwe should be a concern to all mankind. She
noted that the oppression in Zimbabwe could no longer be condoned. She
pointed out that since 2000, the Zimbabwean government has continuously
oppressed those they deem to be its enemies. "We don't like it when the
government oppresses the press and trade unions," she said. She took a swipe
at the government for Operation Murambatsvina, which left thousands of
people homeless. A member of the Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition, Nkosilathi
Tshuma pleaded with SADC leaders to intervene in Zimbabwe. "President Robert
Mugabe would have not succeeded in 1980 had you not assisted him. Even today
the problem cannot be solved without the intervention of SADC countries,"
Tshuma said. He decried the harsh living conditions that Zimbabweans are
exposed to in foreign countries. In South Africa, Zimbabweans who seek work
there are exploited and in some cases they are not paid for the duties they
execute, he noted. Members of the press are at times kidnapped and tortured.
"But the attitude in the SADC region has always been that Zimbabwe should
solve its own problems but that would not assist any of us," he said. He
applauded Batswana for their efforts to highlight the plight of Zimbabweans.
He stressed that by highlighting the Zimbabwean crisis, it does not mean
that they hate Mugabe or ZANU-PF but do not condone the abuse instituted by
the government. "We don't want farms to be given to people who cannot
produce, we do not appreciate it when the private and independent press no
longer have a voice," he said. Tshuma said a lot of Zimbabweans are willing
to go back home provided the situation improves. He said people in Zimbabwe
live in fear and cited a case in which police interrogated pastors who
marched in commemoration of the victims of Operation Murambatsvina. He said
the operation has resulted in the influx of Zimbabweans to neighbouring
countries. Speaking at the same event, a manager of the auspices that
shelters homeless Zimbabweans in South Africa, Joyce Dube condemned the
repatriation of illegal immigrants as she feels it is expensive. Dube said
that instead of spending money repatriating Zimbabweans, they should spend
money documenting them so that they could be traced. "The reason why they
commit crime is a result of lack of documentation, they know that they can
do as they please as they cannot be traced. It is the law of the jungle,
kill or be killed," she said. She called for the speedy intervention, as the
Zimbabwean situation is disheartening. In some instance people are deprived
of food rations because they do not have ZANU-PF cards. She said a lot of
young people have fled Zimbabwe because they fear participating in youth
militia. She indicated that violence has heightened; women are raped, their
men tortured and everyone is living in disarray. She narrated a sad story of
a man who was tortured and had his foreskin removed only to find his wife
raped when he got home. She said a lot of Zimbabweans die along the
borderline as they enter at ungazetted points. "Our people are eaten by
crocodiles. But nobody does anything about this. Women think rape is normal
because they experience it every day," she said. Botswana Civil Society
Coalition for Zimbabwe, which comprises Botswana Council of Churches, the
Botswana Council of Non - Governmental Organisations, the Botswana
Federation of Secondary School Teachers, Ditshwanelo and the Media Institute
of Southern Africa, (Botswana Chapter), hosted the service. Activities to
highlight the plight of Zimbabweans will take place until July 18.
By Howard Lesser
16 June 2006
The international research group the International Crisis Group (ICG) is
denying charges from the spokesman for Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party that
the group is supporting Britain and the United States in calling for
President Robert Mugabe's removal from power. In Washington, the ICG's
program executive for Africa, John Norris, defended the group against
accusations made Wednesday by ZANU-PF Party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira. A
report issued last week by the Brussels-based ICG cites divisions within
ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as
impediments to Zimbabwe's return to democracy. Norris told Voice of America
English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser that the government is trying to
detract attention from existing hardships.
"The International Crisis Group has never advocated a violent coup or
violence of any sort, and we think this is the kind of behavior from a
government that is desperate to change the subject. With inflation over
1000%, it's understandable why President Mugabe and his ministers would seek
to blame the Crisis Group or Great Britain or the United States or pretty
much anyone other than themselves for the desperate situation in which
Zimbabwe finds itself."
The ICG report recognizes Zimbabwe's neighbor South Africa as the regional
power most suited to exert leverage on Harare for reform, but it says
Pretoria and the leaders of institutions like the African Union and various
regional groups have done little to address the crisis.
"I think it's important that Africans themselves stand up and say what's
going on in Zimbabwe is unacceptable, that President Mugabe does have a
legacy as somebody who fought and won in liberation struggles, but I think
the people of Zimbabwe have suffered overwhelmingly under this government,
and I think the best thing that Africa can do for itself is stand up and say
'We think these kinds of human rights abuses are wrong.' I think this kind
of sense that this behavior is wrong in our own back yard for the Southern
African Development Coordination Committee (SADCC) for the African Union,
for South Africa, I think, would go a long way in bolstering opposition
forces in showing the world that things are indeed headed in a different
Let us know what you think of this report and other stories on our website.
Send your views to AFRICA@VOANEWS.COM, and include your phone number. Or,
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identification, press 30 to leave a message. We want to hear what you have
Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to:
Job Opportunities; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted 18 May 2006
We URGENTLY require 2-3 Montessori trained and qualified pre-school and
primary level teachers with a B.Ed or similar qualifications for our school
in Yellowknife, NWT which is located 1500 kms north of Edmonton, Alberta
here in Canada.
Experienced individuals willing to relocate to Canada on 3-5 year work visas
are welcome to apply. In addition, they should be able to obtain police
clearances from their countries and with Interpol. A medical exam will
also be required. The cost of these clearances will be borne by the
individual. We also require traceable, recent references with contactable
telephone numbers and emails of the referees. The selected individuals
should also be ready to travel to Canada this September to start work when
the new school year starts. Travel costs to Yellowknife, will be paid by the
The Montessori School will apply for a 3-5 year Canadian work visa for
successful candidates, who will be required to sign 3-5 year contracts with
the School. There are also excellent opportunities for self-development and
growth, as well as a lifetime experience in Canada's fastest growing region,
due to diamond mining, natural gas and oil.
Interested individuals should send their resumes, via email to: email@example.com
BEFORE 30th May 2006.
NB: PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY OR OTHER CONSIDERATION. THIS IS NOT A
SOLICITATION FOR FUNDS.
Ad inserted 18 May 2006
Wanted Primary School Teacher
We are urgently in need of an experienced Primary School Teacher to teach
our eight-year-old daughter, in Bulawayo. We need to start with the private
tutor as soon as possible, please contact us on Tel: 241489/241490 or Cell:
091387423 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted 24 May 2006
An exciting, challenging and potentially fun filled position exists for a
very positive, rapidly growing company in the tourism industry. Ideally the
Would be based in Harare
Should be mature, totally committed and experienced in all fields of
Able to travel to several safari camps around the country
Be computer literate
The position could also suit a retired accountant.
Please write to email@example.com
Ad inserted 24 May 2006
Any form of junior secretarial/ office/ managerial work. Preferably located
in the Greendale, Chisipite, Highlands area.
Please contact Steven on 011 639 258.
Ad inserted 24 May 2006
WANTED - OUTDOOR INSTRUCTORS
CHALLENGING, EXCITING POSITION OFFERED.
RAPIDLY GROWING OUTDOOR ADVENTURE COMPANY REQUIRES THE SERVICES OF QUALIFIED
AND EXPERIENCED INSTRUCTORS IN ALL OUTDOOR ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES.
FOR THE RIGHT PERSON THIS JOB OFFERS A VARIETY OF OPPORTUNITIES IN BOTH
SOUTHERN & EAST AFRICA.
PLEASE PROVIDE FULL CV AND DETAILS OF EXPERIENCE
MY CONTACT DETAILS ARE AS FOLLOWS
MOBILE: 011 211 457
OFFICE: 04 882721, 851901
Ad inserted 24 May 2006
WANTED - FREE LANCE PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS & GUIDES
WE ARE LOOKING FOR FREELANCE PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS & GUIDES WHO HAVE DAYS
AVAILABLE TO GUIDE AND INSTRUCT IN A RAPIDLY GROWING AND EXCITING OUTDOOR
IF NOT ALREADY COVERED, INSTRUCTION & TRAINING WILL BE OFFERED IN ALL
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES.
PLEASE SEND FULL CV, DETAILS AND REFERENCES.
MY CONTACT DETAILS ARE AS FOLLOWS
MOBILE: 011 211457
OFFICE: 04 882721, 851901
Ad inserted 1 June 2006
If you are seeking a job in the above field, please contact Sarah at OXFORD
I.T. on 309274/309371-2 or alternatively email Sarah on
The above position is working for Oxford I.T. and involves about 75% data
basing, 15% filing, 10% assistant duties to Sarah.
The position is available immediately and interviews are being conducted
with Sarah at the Oxford I.T. offices.
Ideal candidates would be school leavers due to the nature of the position,
but other candidates will be considered.
Don't hesITiate - IniTiate!
Call Oxford I.T. today.
Ad inserted 8 June 2006
Concession Manager. Mozambique - based
TCT successfully recruited a manager from Zimbabwe in February 2006 and are
now looking for an additional manager to join the team.
Forestry and sawmill operation in northern Sofala Province seeks bush
manager as part of a team managing 2 forest concessions, 2 sawmills and a
Should be self-motivated, industrious, able to work alone and live in remote
areas. Owing to nature of work the candidate should have good technical
sense. Suit an ex-Farmer experienced in running low-skilled teams,
overseeing maintenance of machinery and equipment and "doing whatever is
necessary to get the job done"!
The candidate should be prepared to reside in Mozambique full time, with the
majority of time spent in bush. Fully legal residence and work permits will
Package in US$ with vehicle & accommodation in bush.
Portuguese not essential at the start but the successful candidate would
have to learn to communicate in the language.
Basic computer literacy an advantage.
CV's will be accepted until the 26th of June 2006, short listed candidates
will be advised by the 5 July and a candidate will be selected by the 20th
of July, candidate expected to start as soon as possible, preferably August
Package to be negotiated
Please send your CV to email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax +258 23 30 21 61.
Included in your CV or on the covering letter please advise what package you
will be expecting.
Those candidates who submitted their CV's for the first position that has
been filled and would like to apply for the second position, please resubmit
For additional company information see www.dalmann.com
Ad inserted 8 June 2006
Tobacco Farm Manager Required
Irrigated and Dry land Crop. Good Package for Experienced Person.
Ad inserted 15 June 2006
VACANCY: PERSONAL ASSISTANT
A personal assistant is required for a busy company executive. The
incumbent should be fully computer literate, with a working knowledge of
email and will be required to attend to general office duties, minute
taking, personal and business correspondence, travel arrangements and
organisation and coordination of business and personal diary. The position
is interesting and varied and prospective incumbents will be expected to
have had previous experience in a similar environment. Needless to say,
total confidentiality and loyalty are a prerequisite. The office is
situated in beautiful surroundings in the Avenues and an attractive package
will be offered to a suitable applicant.
Please contact Cherry on 251150/2.
Ad inserted 15 June 2006
A keen and enthusiastic person wanted to fill a secretarial position at
Garden Genius Pvt ltd. Hours would be 8 - 5 from Monday to Friday.
Please phone 746538 if you are interested.
Ad inserted 15 June 2006
Manager Wanted - Namibia
Zimbabwean farmers, who may be interested in exploring the possibility of
moving to other African countries to start projects or equity in business.
Farm of 4433 hectares situated 7 km from the mining town of Tsumeb, Namibia.
The farm has 7 boreholes but only two of them are currently used. It has a
transformer with continuous electricity power supplied by NAMPOWER. In the
past, 30 hectares have already been cleared for crop production and
currently we have 21 cattle, which we would like to increase to make it
economically viable. Also, wild animals such as kudu, eland, wild boar and
many small buck animals roam freely through the farm. The farm also has
ample supply of trees for firewood.
We require somebody to manage, develop and run the farm profitably because
at the moment we have our jobs in the city, Windhoek, which is 440 km from
the farm. We will be interested in entertaining business proposals for
profit sharing ventures or applications from individuals who will be
interested in developing, managing and running the farm as a business
For further information they might like to contact us at our email address,
email@example.com or contact Estefania at +26461223088 (After 18h00
Namibian time) or Stephen at mobile phone +264812988991.
Ad inserted 15 June 2006
General Manager Wanted
General Manager required for locally based international seed company.
Applicants should have a good background in administration with particular
emphasis on the ability to operate in an economy affected by hyperinflation.
Experience in horticulture is essential.
Position would suit a mature ex-farmer who is computer literate.
Motor vehicle and other benefits included in package.
Please apply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted 15 June 2006
TRANSPORT MANAGER / FUEL MANAGER
We need a Transport Manager as soon as possible that can handle the basic
transport management side as well as fuel procurement.
Competitive salary offered to the right person.
Please apply to email@example.com with CV and references.
Phone no. (067) 28603/4 (067) 29299 011609841
Ad inserted 15 June 2006
OPERATIONS MAN / CONTROLER REQUIRED
1) Small scale tobacco project in D.R.C.
2) Tough conditions (but safe!)
3) Project in developing stages.
4) This post is for a "Jack of all trades" person with sound knowledge of
tobacco and admin skills.
5) Applicants to reply to advertiser, at Box 4601, Harare. Please advise
contact phone number.
6) Salary to be negotiated.
Ad inserted 18 May 2006
I am an ex Zimbabwean farmer living in the UK and want to return to Africa
to farm. I am married and have children and am looking for a farm-managing
job any where in Africa. I have 7 years experience in Tobacco, maize, seed
maize, paprika, beef cattle, dairy cattle and pigs. If anyone might be
interested in employing me please contact me on the following.
firstname.lastname@example.org Bradley de Wet
Ad inserted 18 May 2006
FIX IT MAN
For any small electrical, plumbing repairs and general odd jobs around the
house/property, please call Charlie 091209883
Ad inserted 18 May 2006
Michael (Aged 19). Looking for a well paid job (preferably Mozambique) and
is willing to give it his all if given the right employment opportunity,
with any company that is willing to take him on and train him as to how it
would best suit the companies needs.
Previous employment experience includes, Trainee Motor Mechanic & Panel
Beater, Sales Rep for Painting
Company, Sales Rep & Managing Tyre Company in absence of Manager, Salesman &
He is a hard worker, fast learning, social, independent,
motivated, and willing to learn. He is currently unemployed and it is a
necessity for him to find employment as soon as possible.
Please contact Mrs J Pieters using the following details:
Cell No - 091 371 041
Work Tel - (020) 63934 [8am to 5pm]
Home Tel - (020) 61027 [After Hours]
E-mail - email@example.com
Ad inserted 24 May 2006
Qualified artisan electrician/millwright, 16th Edition, with extensive
knowledge and experience on diesel and petrol driven motors/generators,
truck and vehicle repairs and maintenance and electrical-mechanical field
service engineering. Also sound knowledge & experience on construction to
roof level and plumbing. Skilled in gas welding/braising, CO2 & Arc
welding, Steel metalwork and construction. Experience in foundries
(induction furnaces), gantry-cranes, power stations, high-volume grain
extraction and bagging machines, electrical construction sites, factory
maintenance, transport vehicle fleets, high-speed packaging machinery and
construction and installation of agricultural incubators, construction and
maintenance of holiday resort. Can do basic steel lathe work and spray
Holds full Zimbabwe Drivers License for Heavy, light and construction
I am 52 years old, of European / Italian descent. Health status -
healthy/strong I have high work standards, calm disposition and get on well
with people. I enjoy the outdoors and would be happy in a safari/holiday
resort-based environment, but am equally happy to work anywhere I am
available immediately. Contact Arthur Barnet on Byo 241020 or 286163 or
Ad inserted 1 June 2006
Situations wanted Tourism/Hospitality for a management couple or assistant
Management couple with experience for a Lodge, bush camp or fishing camp in
Zambia, Botswana, South Africa or Kenya.
Situations wanted Motor industry. Workshop Manager, warranty officer/Parts
manager. With extensive experience in the motor trade totalling 30 years on
Mazda, Nissan and Peugeot vehicles. We would prefer expatriate conditions of
employment if possible. Prepared to relocate to Zambia, Botswana or Southern
Please contact N A Spreeth on 091369872, 091951340 or email
Ad inserted 8 June 2006
SITUATION REQUIRED FOR MAID/CHILDMINDER
I will be relocating to the UK in mid-July and would like to try and find
suitable employment for my maid who has been in my employ for approximately
8 years. She is a mature, single woman of exceptional honesty. She has
looked after my home and pets on a number of occasions when I have been away
and is very hard working and reliable. She undertakes simple/plain cooking
and the usual household chores. I would have no hesitation in recommending
If interested, please contact : Cherry 251150 - 2 (Business) or 304095
For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact
firstname.lastname@example.org (updated 15 June 2006)
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 16 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's social welfare department has
divulged details of a religious cult led by a teenager, which abused
children after their parents forced them to join.
The cult, 'Mudzimu Unoyera', or Holy Spirit, had acquired 130 child
followers before the police moved in and arrested joint founders Mai Maria,
or Mother Mary, and Enwas Nyanhete, referred to as 'Baba Josefa', or Father
Joseph, in April this year. They claimed to be the parents of Girl Jesus,
13, the cult's spiritual leader.
Both Mai Maria and Nyanhete have been charged with child abuse and
assaulting members of a crack police unit that raided the cult's premises in
Guruve, 120km north of the capital, Harare. The children have been placed in
a safe house at an undisclosed location.
According to a welfare department report, the sect had "features of a
Doomsday cult" and there were fears that its leaders might induce mass
deaths among the children, some of whom were only one year old. The
department was alerted by police after a parent sought help to retrieve his
The cult had managed to attract followers throughout Zimbabwe and in other
countries, and "unfortunately, children have been captured and trapped in
the process", said the report.
"There is a case of open abuse at Mudzimu Unoyera - the subtle weapon of
religion is being used to offset juveniles from mainstream society," said a
report prepared by the social welfare department's probation officer in
Girl Jesus, who was being breastfed by her 'mother' before she was arrested,
was believed to have wielded powers of prophecy and healing, and spoke a
strange language called 'Tritnoi', which she also taught young recruits at
the cult's shrine, which was set up in 1998.
The report said most of the parents who handed their children to the sect
did so for promised material gain. "Gullible and greedy parents have
sacrificed the future of their children for temporary gain. One good example
is that of a person running a business: for the business to prosper, he/she
has to surrender a child to [Girl] Jesus. This is the reason why the
children are flocking to the shrine."
Mai Maria and Nyanhete received gifts from parents who had surrendered their
children to the sect.
The department said it was concerned that the children, who had been removed
from their families, given new names and even made to sing the national
anthem in 'Tritnoi' had "lost their personal identity".
It was also concerned over the unhealthy conditions the children were living
in - they were not properly fed and most were found to be suffering from
various skin ailments. They were also barred from accessing formal
The cult's co-founder, Nyanhete, who is out on bail, denied allegations of
abuse and told IRIN that that the young children had been looked after by
older girls, some of whom were 17 years old.
Nyanhete admitted that they had even held one-year-olds, insisting that the
parents had voluntarily handed them over and would periodically visit them.
"There is nothing wrong with that - we accepted the children because Girl
Jesus would have directed that we do so. It is the work of God."
But parents who attempted to reclaim their children met with resistance by
cult supervisors. "On one occasion, one parent from Zambia had to involve
the court to get the custody of his children," wrote the probation officer.
The social welfare unit also expressed concern that Girl Jesus might have
been sexually abused and "experienced negative parental grooming" by
Nyanhete, who shared her bed.
Nyanhete dismissed the possibility. "I shared the same bed with her before
the police took her away because that was what was ordained by the Holy
Spirit, and how could I defile her by sleeping with her, my own daughter?"
he said to IRIN.
The children, now placed in a safe house, would be given medical treatment
and counseling. A Harare-based children's rights NGO, who did not want to be
named, told IRIN that their and the department of social welfare's challenge
was to make sure the children were adequately prepared for reintegration