States government yesterday demanded the release from detention and the
dismissal of treason charges levelled against opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
of State spokesman Richard Boucher said Tsvangirai’s continued detention by
the State was indefensible and that the treason charges he was facing were
“The prolonged and continuing detention of Movement for
Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai on spurious treason charges, as
well as President Robert Mugabe’s public statements mocking Mr Tsvangirai
and welcoming his imprisonment are indefensible,” Boucher said in a
He added: “The prosecution’s assertion that ‘merely
postulating or contemplating can be to commit treason’ underscores the lack
of credible cases against Mr Tsvangirai. The treason charges against him
should be dropped and he should be released.”
spent the last 12 days in detention, which Mugabe has said will teach the
opposition party leader “a lesson”.
The MDC president was arrested
on the last day of anti-government protests called by his party two weeks
ago, which shut down most of industry and commerce and brought most of
Zimbabwe to a halt for five days.
He has been slapped with fresh
treason charges for allegedly making statements advocating the
unconstitutional removal of Mugabe from office.
The MDC however
says the mass action was merely supposed to press the Zimbabwean leader to
agree to talks for a negotiated political settlement.
who is already charged with treason for allegedly plotting to assassinate
Mugabe in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, has applied for
bail. The High Court has yet to make a ruling on
The United States yesterday said Mugabe should
stop fomenting the harassment of opposition leaders on spurious charges and
address the causes of the crisis that has caused widespread opposition to his
The Zimbabwean government is widely blamed for the
economic crisis that has caused unprecedented suffering and which analysts
say has increased support for the MDC among Zimbabweans.
said: “President Mugabe must stop fomenting harassment of opposition leaders
on spurious charges. He urgently needs to address the causes of the crisis
that is creating such deep and widespread opposition to his
“Vital steps include engaging in dialogue with the
opposition and respecting its political rights, restoring the rule of law and
ceasing human rights abuses, including arrests and beatings of opposition
politicians and supporters”.
The US said until Zimbabwe resolved
its political crisis, any efforts to address the country’s economic crisis
would be futile.
Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980, dramatised by soaring inflation, severe foreign
currency shortages, company closures and worsening unemployment.
The US State Department’s statement on Zimbabwe comes amid reports that
southern African leaders are working with Western governments to pressure
Harare into releasing Tsvangirai from detention.
there are fears that the MDC leader’s continued detention could hamper
efforts to facilitate talks between Zimbabwe’s main political
Boucher’s statement also comes after comments by US Senate
Africa Sub-committee chairman Lamar Alexander advocating a change of
leadership in Harare.
Addressing the US Senate last week,
Alexander said: “Mr President, the White House and the State Department have
responded to the crisis in Zimbabwe, and I hope I will continue to work to
achieve a change of leadership in Zimbabwe.”
He added: “Mr
President, the people of Zimbabwe deserve better. They deserve better than a
regime that commits violence on its people. They deserve better than to see
their economic infrastructure destroyed by a dictator on the rampage, and
they have been standing up for themselves by actively demonstrating against
this terrible regime.
“I hope other countries in the region will
join with the United States and others in opposing this brutal regime in the
hope of bringing new, democratic leadership to power in Zimbabwe.”
MDC youths, NCA set to lead demos for Tsvangirai’s
6/18/2003 8:13:27 AM (GMT +2)
NELSON Chamisa, the national youth chairman of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an umbrella body for civic bodies, yesterday
said they planned to lead nationwide street protests to press for the release
of detained MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chamisa appeared to
break ranks with his party’s national executive, which last week decided to
shelve planned demonstrations following advice from lawyers that such action
would undermine Tsvangirai’s bail application.
As Chamisa told The
Daily News yesterday that he would lead his youth wing in demonstrations to
protest against Tsvangirai’s continued detention, NCA spokesman Douglas
Mwonzora said his organisation had also resolved at the weekend to
demonstrate for the opposition leader’s unconditional release from
Chamisa said demonstrations by the party’s youth wing
would go ahead despite a resolution by the national executive, the MDC’s
supreme decision-making body, to wait for a court determination before
“Our patience has run out. If Tsvangirai is not
released immediately, then we will be left with no option but to resort to
popular action,” he said.
“We are under pressure from our
constituency to do something about our party leader’s continued detention and
there is no way that the youth wing will remain mum while the president rots
Tsvangirai, who is already standing trial for allegedly
plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe before last year’s
presidential election, has spent nearly two weeks in detention after being
arrested on a second treason charge two weeks ago.
judge Justice Susan Mavangira is yet to rule on Tsvangirai’ s bail
application after she reserved judgment to this week.
the youth wing was worried about Tsvangirai’s safety.
worried about his security and safety. This regime cannot be trusted, hence
our worries. Apart from demonstrations, we also urge Zimbabweans to pray that
evil does not prevail over good and that our efforts will succeed,” he
The MDC national executive last week backtracked on an
earlier threat to engage in demonstrations to press for Tsvangirai’s release
after lawyers advised that doing so could undermine the opposition leader’s
chances of getting bail.
But MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi
said his party would back the demonstrations.
“We will be party
to any civic activity whose aim is to restore democracy in this country. We
fully appreciate and understand the motivation behind these demonstrations
because Mr Tsvangirai is a leader whom most Zimbabweans, especially the
youths, look up to in resolving the crisis gripping this country,” he
Chamisa said the youth wing was acting independently of the
national executive, adding that by remaining quiet, the party would give
Mugabe the impression that the party leadership consisted of
“The youth wing is loyal to the national executive but the
decision (not to demonstrate) was based on a legal opinion. But we all know
that this is a political matter and that Tsvangirai’s detention is driven
purely by a political motive,” he said.
“Mugabe wants to test
the waters to see how we would react to our leader’s detention. Remaining
docile would be playing into his hands. We have mobilised throughout the
provinces and we are ready for action.”
He dismissed suggestions
that the demonstrations would strengthen the state’s case that Tsvangirai
would incite violence if he was released from remand prison.
“There are no laws in this country that outlaw the expression
of disenchantment and discontent so we don’t believe that we would
be undermining Tsvangirai’s case if we demonstrate,” Chamisa
On the other hand, Mwonzora said the civic body’s youth
movement would spearhead demonstrations to press for the opposition leader’s
“Our youths will take to the streets to demonstrate for
the immediate release of Morgan Tsvangirai.
“We don’t oppose the
trial, but we will protest until he is dealt with in terms of the fair
process of the law. In terms of the fair process, he must be granted bail and
tried from his home,” Mwonzora said.
He however said his
organisation was disappointed that the MDC leadership and youth movement had
failed to react to Tsvangirai’s arrest and detention.
not amused by the way MDC youths reacted when their leader was arrested. They
were supposed to fight for their dear leader,” the NCA spokesman
DETAINED opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was yesterday
brought from remand prison to join his two colleagues from the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) at the High Court as their high treason
trial resumed after a week’s adjournment.
clean-shaven Tsvangirai came to court with a sprouting goatee and wearing a
grey suit and blue shirt after his lawyers last week successfully applied for
him to be allowed to wear his civilian clothes when he comes to
The trial resumed as Tsvangirai, remanded in custody on
Tuesday last week on fresh treason charges, awaits the determination of his
bail application which was heard last week by High Court judge Justice
Testifying under cross-examination in the
on-going treason trial yesterday, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
director Happyton Bonyongwe confessed that the Zimbabwean government paid Ari
Ben-Menashe, a Canadian-based political consultant, US$200 000 in December
2001 to provide information on Tsvangirai’s travels abroad and lobby in
favour of Zimbabwe’s policies at international seminars and on media
The money was part of nearly US$600 000 paid to
Ben-Menashe and his colleagues for various lobby work on behalf of the
Before his firm was awarded the consultancy
contract, Ben-Menashe had produced a video-tape forming the basis of the
treason charge against Tsvangirai, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and
Renson Gasela, the party’s shadow minister of agriculture.
video-tape was secretly recorded during a meeting at the headquarters of
Ben-Menashe’s consultancy, Dickens and Madson, where Tsvangirai allegedly
requested the firm’s aid in murdering President Robert Mugabe ahead of last
year’s presidential election.
The MDC leaders have denied the
“Mr Menashe had a wealth of information on the movements
of the first accused (Tsvangirai) and the manner in which they were
conducting their business,” Bonyongwe, a retired army brigadier, said. “This
is because he had been working with them before he came to us.”
He said it was “very important” for the CIO to get information
from Ben-Menashe who appeared to be privy to Tsvangirai’s movements. He
said Tsvangirai was in the habit of passing through South Africa whenever
he travelled overseas.
“There they disappeared and bought other
tickets to their other destinations,” Bonyongwe said. “Why they were hiding
their destination, it was up to them. Then we got people like Mr Menashe who
knew their movements.”
Asked by the opposition leaders’ lawyer
why the CIO needed the information on Tsvangirai’s travels, Bonyongwe said
“national security takes care of all Zimbabweans and, as a prominent person,
we wanted to know where he was”.
“For example, when he came back
from Montreal (Canada), he disappeared in the United States and we needed to
know in case anything happened to him there,” the spy chief
He said some time last year, the MDC launched what he said
was a “diplomatic offensive” in West Africa and the CIO needed to enlist
the assistance of Ben-Menashe who, he said, had “very good connections
within that region”.
The trial continues today with the defence
lawyers cross-examining Bonyongwe.
South African lawyer representing retired High Court judge justice Fergus
Blackie on obstruction of justice charges is expected to arrive in Harare
next week to register with the High Court.
Senior counsel Michael
Hellins of the Gauteng Bar in South Africa was supposed to be registered on
Wednesday last week to represent his client in Zimbabwe, but was unable to
because he missed his flight to Harare.
Blackie’s trial has been
set down for 30 June at the Harare magistrates’ regional courtHigh Court
judge Justice Antonia Guvava postponed the registration of Hellins, renowned
in South Africa as an experienced criminal lawyer, to 25 June at the request
of a Harare lawyer who is facilitating his registration with the Zimbabwean
Blackie, who retired from the Bench in July last year,
is facing charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, or
breaching the Prevention of Corruption Act by allegedly “unprocedurally”
handling the appeal of a woman charged with stealing $500 000 from her
When Blackie was arrested in September last year, his
lawyer at the time, advocate Firoz Girach, complained that his client was
denied access to legal representation upon his arrest and to his family and
friends during his detention at Matapi Police Station in Mbare.
ZIMBABWE National Army captain who has been missing from duty for the past 15
months is being held at a centre for illegal immigrants in Botswana, an
official with that country’s prison services said this seek.
Anthony Mokento of Botswana State Prisons said Ernest Moyowangu Chuma, who
fled Zimbabwe after the presidential election in March, was being detained at
the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants.
written questions from The Daily News, Mokento said: “Ernest Moyowangu Chuma
is being held as an immigrant at the Francistown Centre for Illegal
He would not indicate whether the Botswana
authorities were intending to deport Chuma, but said the army officer was not
being charged for any criminal activities. Chuma fled the country last March
after he was allegedly tortured by state security agents who accused him of
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the run-up
to the disputed 2002 presidential poll.
He is said to have
escaped to Dukwe Refugee Camp in Botswana, where he met two Zimbabwean army
corporals from Bulawayo’s Llewelyn Barracks.
The two are reported
to have escaped to the United Nations-run Dukwe Refugee Camp after allegedly
being interrogated by the Zimbabwean army’s counter-intelligence branch,
whose officials also accused them of being MDC members.
close to the matter told The Daily News this week that former Zimbabwean army
corporals Irvine Ntini and Peter Kwanele had since left the Botswana refugee
camp and were now in Australia.
“The two corporals were granted
asylum in Australia. That is where they are living now. They are safe,’’ said
the source. Ntini and Ndou were students on an environmental health course at
the Medical Training School at Llewelyn Barracks.
They were on
field attachment in rural Matabeleland after the presidential election and
were allegedly visited by members of the military intelligence, who accused
them of being MDC members.
The Zimbabwe National Army has in the
past said Chuma was a deserter and that it did not retain records of soldiers
who had fled Zimbabwe to seek political asylum.
A member of
Chuma’s family, who refused to be identified, yesterday said that the former
army captain’s family had no information about his situation and was worried
about his absence from home. ‘’We are not aware of his situation. We do not
know whether he is well or not. We only heard that he fled to Botswana,” said
the family member.
FINANCE Minister Herbert Murerwa this week said the
privatisation of loss-making government companies was not a priority because
the sale of the firms was not in the national interest, reversing a position
he took in last year’s Budget presentation.
Murerwa made the
comments when addressing members of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in
Harare on Monday. The committee had expressed concern over continuing
financial losses that were being made by parastatals despite huge annual
rescue packages by the government.
The committee sought an audience
with Murerwa for him to explain the government’s position on managing
Zimbabwe’s growing debt.
“The government’s position is not to
privatise the parastatals as they are there to serve some national
interests,” Murerwa told the legislators.
empowers the government to continue guaranteeing loans and grants for the
continued survival of the parastatals so that they can serve national
interests. For example, we have to make sure that electricity, fuel and food
Asked by Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the
committee’s chairperson, if the implication of his statement meant that the
government would continue to extend grants and loans to all parastatals, the
minister said:“We will make sure that they are run efficiently and they
should be made accountable. We have asked them (parastatals) to submit their
turnaround strategy plans.”
On whether parastatals such as the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation were of any “national interest”, would not
be privatised and would continue to milk the national fiscus, Murerwa said
Paul Mangwana, the State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister, had asked all
parastatals to be effective and efficient.
“Our objective is
that parastatals should be breaking even and make profit,” said Murerwa. “But
that profit has to be, to an extent possible, so the government will continue
to rescue parastatals whenever possible to safeguard national
During his Budget presentation last year, Murerwa
pledged to speed up the privatisation of the government firms this year to
try to cut Zimbabwe’s domestic debt, which has risen sharply in the past year
to nearly $400 billion.
Zimbabwe’s foreign debt, which is not
being serviced because of an acute shortage of foreign currency, stands at
around US$5 billion (Z$4.120 billion at the official exchange
Murerwa’s statement cast doubt on the future of the
Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe (PAZ), set up by the government in 1999 to
speed up the sell-off of state-funded but loss-making companies.
The privatisation success stories so far include the Rainbow Tourism Group,
the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe and Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited.
But parastatals like the Grain Marketing Board, the National Railways
of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe continue
to make huge financial losses, which consume billions of taxpayers funds
as subsidies each year.
Last year the PAZ raised only $7 billion
against a target of $40 billion from the sale of equities of listed companies
in which government has shares.
FORMER Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans’ Association projects secretary Andrew Ndlovu
appeared before a Harare magistrate yesterday facing fraud charges involving
about $13 million.
Ndlovu, already serving a three-year jail term
for corruption, is accused of defrauding Sankorp Holdings (Private) Limited,
a firm owned and run by war veterans.
The former war veterans’
leader will appear in court again today, when his lawyer is expected to apply
for refusal of remand.
The state alleges that Ndlovu sent cheque
books to Sankorp’s provincial administrators in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare,
instructing them to sign blank cheques that he would subsequently
He allegedly abused his position as Sankorp’s managing
director and converted $12 756 846.92 to his personal use between 17 August
2001 and 7 June 2002.
Ndlovu was represented by David Drury of
Gollop and Blank, who applied for the war veteran not to be placed on remand
because the allegations against him were inaccurate and false.
“There is a generalised preamble with no attempt to specify the manner in
which the said conversion occurred,” Drury told the court. “It is
simply unconstitutional to place someone on remand for purposes of
But Vengai Vincent Kambanga, an
investigating officer, said: “The case is fairly straightforward and in three
weeks’ time, a full docket will be presented in court.”
ANOTHER group of suspected ruling ZANU PF supporters raided a farm leased in
Ruwa by opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator for
Chimanimani Roy Bennet, barely 24 hours after workers on the property were
harassed by suspected war veterans.
Bennet told The Daily News
yesterday that the group arrived on Monday in what seemed to be an army truck
and looted property worth over $5 million, only a day after another group of
suspected ruling party supporters raided the property, known as Bigtull farm,
and grabbed bags of maize.
He said the group, which he suspects
comprised of war veterans, arrived in the afternoon in a green truck with
registration numbers 07BF01. A dark blue Pajero with registration numbers
779-629W trailed behind the truck, the MDC legislator added.
Bennet said he immediately contacted the Vehicle Registration Office, one of
whose officials informed him that the department had no such registration
numbers in its books and it was not possible to trace the owners of the
“I am not really sure if these people who were ferried in
the army truck are soldiers because they were not in uniforms,” Bennet
“They visited my farm on Monday afternoon and broke into the
workshop before confiscating about 150 bags of maize and 2 000 litres of
diesel. The group also looted property worth about $5 million from the
assistant manager and the farm manager’s house.”
Bennet said the
looters also killed three sheep and two cows.
He told the Daily
News: “I don’t believe these people are after my land, but they are just
after victimising me and my workers. Why are these people killing my
livestock and looting my property?”
It was not possible to secure
comment yesterday from Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, who was said to be
out of the office. He was also not reachable on his mobile
It was also not possible to secure comment from Zimbabwe
National Army spokesmen Ben Ncube or Alphios Makotore about the alleged
involvement of an army truck in Monday’s raid on Bennet’s farm. Both were
also said to be out of the office.
Bennet said he had reported
the incident at Epworth Police Station and was given case number
Two police officers identified as Sergeant Dube and
Assistant Inspector Mupararano yesterday confirmed that a report was lodged
at the police station.
Monday’s raid on Bigtull farm follows a
similar invasion on Sunday by about 200 suspected war veterans and ruling
party supporters believed to be from Epworth near Harare.
war veterans spent Sunday singing revolutionary songs and dancing inside the
farm manager’s yard, but did not assault any of the farm workers.
About 150 workers fled the farm on Sunday and are said to be living in the
bush because the suspected war veterans are still camped at the farm. The War
Veterans’ Association has however denied that its members were involved in
The invasion of Bigtull farm came only three days
after President Robert Mugabe warned of the seizure of land belonging to
farmers not loyal to his government.
Mugabe, who was addressing
a rally in Nyanga last week, singled out Bennet as one of the people who
risked losing their properties.
BULAWAYO – About 20 people who were left homeless
when they were evicted from the Kamativi tin mine compound in January to make
way for a youth service training camp were severely assaulted by ruling ZANU
PF youths at the weekend, The Daily News has established.
former Kamativi residents have been living in the open since their eviction
from the compound, where the government is establishing a training centre for
its controversial national youth service programme.
residents this week said they were followed into the bush and assaulted
during the weekend by recruits of the national service programme, who are
derisively referred to as “Green Bombers” by members of the
They said the beatings were carried out without provocation
from the former residents.
Some of the families assaulted during
the weekend had to walk for more than 15 kilometres to seek refuge at the
home of local Member of Parliament Jealous Sansole in Dete, the former
Sansole was not available for comment yesterday. He
was said to have visited the police to seek escort to go and collect the
displaced families’ property.
The police refused to comment on
Seven of the assault victims sustained serious injuries
during the attack and had to be treated at Hwange by a private
One of the injured, who asked not to be named for fear
of victimisation, said the Green Bombers accused the former Kamativi
mine compound residents of sympathising with the Movement for Democratic
Movement (MDC), Zimbabwe’s main opposition political party.
majority of families who were renting houses at the former mining compound
were evicted after a ruling ZANU PF candidate lost to an MDC official in last
year’s council elections.
A court challenge of the evictions was
launched two months ago.
MDC Matabeleland North secretary Nkosi
Tshuma said the assault of former residents of the Kamativi compound was
unjustified and cruel. “The attacks are unwarranted and demonstrate
what the so-called national youth service is all about – violence,” said
Recruits of the national youth service programme are
accused of assaulting MDC activists and suspected members of the opposition
party. There have also been reports of sexual assault by Green Bombers of
female recruits of the national service programme, MDC supporters and members
of the public.
AS one crisis after the other
piles on Zimbabwe, the government and its institutions are increasingly
panicking in their reaction, often failing to distinguish right from wrong
and punishing the innocents together with real criminals.
a country where basic human rights are not known by most, both politicians
and law enforcement agents at times tend to play to the emotions of the
gullible and somehow they get away with it.
The latest example is
the criminalisation of a non-crime: the carrying of large amounts of money by
Despite the fact that there is no law in Zimbabwe
banning anyone from carrying cash, police have recently pounced on several
individuals who they found with large amounts of money.
reasons have been cited by the police for their actions: those arrested must
have been up to no good because they could have made huge payments using bank
cheques, or that the large amounts of cash were being used by the opposition
to buy unemployed people to stage protests.
So the police must now
decide how and in what form individuals should meet their many bills,
otherwise you risk being labelled an official or sympathiser of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who is out to buy political
support using cash donated by the usual suspects.
The right of an
individual to use a bank or credit card or to spend his hard-earned cash in
any manner he likes is ignored, never mind the fact that the law allows
anyone to carry any amount of cash around.
The only time the police
can arrest anyone with large amounts of cash is when there is reasonable
suspicion that the money will be used for illegal purposes, and the police
have to prove that this is indeed the case.
The arrest of
individuals with large sums of cash stems from the latest crisis to hit
Zimbabwe: the shortage of $500 notes, itself a result of a long-running
foreign currency crisis which has made it difficult for the central bank to
buy special paper and ink needed to print paper money.
addressing the two crises – among so many that need urgent attention – the
authorities have found it convenient to pile the blame on these individuals,
who are being forced to explain why they are carrying their own money, as if
this is anyone’s business.
The fact that most goods in Zimbabwe now
cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and that most shops and other outlets
want bills settled in cash and not in cheques because of the same problem of
not having money, is not seen as important – that is if there was even a need
for the justification for carrying large sums of cash.
this is happening, ruling ZANU PF legislator David Chapfika is quoted by the
State media as saying that all the money in Zimbabwe belongs to the
Indeed one police officer went on to warn that such
large sums of money – some individuals are reported to have been carrying up
to $50 million – risked being forfeited to the government unless the
individual carrying it gave a satisfactory explanation. Satisfactory to who –
the police or the owner of the money?
do not want to think the worst – that the seizure of the funds could be
another ploy to raise money for ZANU PF.
And surely the police have
more than enough to deal with as it is – catching up with scores of hired
thugs who have been murdering innocents in the past three years of madness or
catching other rampaging criminals who are terrorising anyone who holds views
that challenge those of the governing party.
This – and nothing
else – is what crisis-weary Zimbabweans pay the police to do, and to carry
out this assignment with as much enthusiasm as the security forces showed in
crushing the “illegal” MDC mass action two weeks ago.
The jingle Rambai Makashinga has become a household
Up and down the streets and probably at all growth
points, everyone is either whistling or singing this tune
There are basically two reasons for this: firstly, it
is naturally a jingle and a half.
Secondly, it encourages and
restores the people’s faith that they should keep on keeping on, as today’s
young people would express it.
Despite the hardships we are
currently facing, at least we are being encouraged by the sentiment that
there is some hope of change in the near future.
I thought maybe
I should start from the point of the jingle
to try to smoothly bend
your minds until we are speaking the same language. At this point in time, no
one with normal taste buds can laud the sweetness of Zimbabwean
Things are just hellish. My Zanu PF T-shirt has just been
washed and is drying out there on the line. What a nice, warm rag to put on
when I sleep during these chilly June nights!
I am not trying to
be political here, but I am simply laying the facts bare, as they should be.
So we begin our journey. I am glad my dad is not one of the men in that
trolley to which the “final push” is being applied. Where they are heading or
being transported to remains a mystery.
As Zimbabweans, we are
simply not realising one thing here. We cannot discover new oceans unless we
have the courage to leave the shore. People’s minds are intoxicated with the
idea that things will become even harder after this ruling regime, but let me
assure you that better days are coming.
When our neighbours comment
on Zimbabwe-UK/US relations, we all say, “Ha!! Those puppets again,”
forgetting that the only person who really listens to both sides of the story
in an argument is the bystander.
So there is every reason to pay
heed to what neighbouring countries are saying. Not everything they say is
good, but the roots from one tree may produce a remedy to a disease, while
its leaves are poisonous.
Towards the presidential and
parliamentary elections, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was
preaching “change” but in some districts, such as Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe and
Wedza, people failed to realise that “change” is not a loss but just
Things are not sweet today because of the energy spent
carelessly by these so-called registered Mashonaland voters. The nation is in
trouble today and those pro-ZANU PF people are also being unmercifully hit
hard by the prevalent strife.
Clinging to the past makes the
This is another “SARS” that has crippled us.
Whenever there is an argument many do not hesitate to make reference to those
pathetic war days – Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Fine,
it’s good to reminisce, but is this putting anything in our
Right now there is no sugar, oil, salt, petrol or even
jobs but we have a Mbuya Nehanda, a Sekuru Kaguvi and the bottom part of the
Zimbabwe bird fresh from exile. What good have these brought us?
A bend in the road is not the end of that road unless you fail to make the
turn. Failure provides an opportunity to start again more
intelligently. Those who have made mistakes have not started again. What
should we do as a nation?
Better aende (if he goes). It is quite
evident that these people have failed somewhere in their capacity as leaders,
but it never ceases to amaze me that none of them has ever opted to step down
to save his/her face.
Instead, we comfort ourselves by blaming it
on Tony Blair and George W Bush. Many would say the devil you know is better
than the devil on the way.
Now, to fellow Zimbabweans heavily
burdened with black market rates for school fees, food, fuel and much more, I
just want to say: procrastinators are not only lost but are even far away
from the nearest exit.
It is high time we as a nation joined
hands to fight tyranny.
Things were pretty fine a few years ago. I
remember buying a Coke at 35 cents, the same Coke that is costing $300 10
years later. If it had not been for the costly, unnecessary flights around
the world our “father” enjoys, probably things would have been somewhat
We can all see these things unfolding and we should not
miss the rainbow because we are looking down.
Brethren, lift up
your faces, take (legal) action. We are not very far from it. Just a few
Newtons are required. I however have a few words of wisdom pertaining to this
“final push”: Everyone should play their part; it is also our duty as
Be wise in your behaviour for only dead fish are swept
away by the stream. A 50-cent head is not worth a $50 haircut. Very little
force is required to push them out.
is working to address Zimbabwe’s ballooning debt, Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa said this week.
Without providing figures on the debt,
he told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC): “I am equally
concerned by the public debt like any other Zimbabwean and we have to make
sure that the issue is addressed.”
He said the government was
being incapacitated by the exodus of expert staff, leading to the
misplacement of records that could not be traced.
“At times we fail
to reconcile our statements because of the de-merging of the ministry and the
movement of staff from one ministry to another,” said Murerwa.
“We also have this issue of staff being poached and leaving the
public service. We hope the recent rationalisation of the Public Service
Commission will go a long way in retaining our staff.”
the government had begun a computerisation exercise that would make all
statistics needed by Treasury and other ministries
PAC chairwoman Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the country’s domestic debt was rising mainly
because of parastatals that were a burden to the fiscus.
wonder why parastatals such as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation should
continue to be getting funds from the national budget when they are not
performing,” she said. “That has to be addressed as a matter of urgency for
us to get out of the debt crisis.”
the land grab campaign was an election gimmick is obvious. In fact, ZANU PF’s
agrarian reform was well-timed to intimidate
One day I accidentally opened a
psychology textbook. I could not believe what I saw and read. I asked myself:
is this a divine revelation of the evilness of the agrarian
But it was only after going through Piaget’s work that I
rejoiced and went home with the self-evident truth that God loves
Piaget was talking about children who are 12-18 months old.
These are in stage five according to Piaget’s theories on stages of
He called toddlers the “little scientists” because of
the exploration that characterises this period of development.
They experiment in order to learn. They question themselves: “What will
happen if I pour water on a cat, throw eggs on the floor?” Yes, I
now understand why some political “toddlers” went off to invade farms under
the guise of the so-called Third Chimurenga.
are still at stage five, where they want to learn through
They employed the principle of epoch. They became part
and parcel of the invaders and tried to learn from experience. Now they have
been taught and facts have spoken.
But there is one sad thing
about people at this stage of development. By throwing the egg on the floor,
they learn something, but the breaking of the egg is a very sad
After that they played mahumbwe (playing house) with the
national egg – land – and it is now broken. What shall they do to revive our
Our economy is agro-based but the agricultural sector is
now unproductive. So where do we start?
Since our national egg
has been thrown onto the floor, we must look for other eggs because crying
over spilt milk won’t help.
But the question is where do we find
these other eggs? We do not have many minerals which are in demand: diamonds,
emeralds etc. So what shall we do?
There is only one solution:
to face the person who threw our national egg onto the floor. There is no
other person than you, President Robert Mugabe. You are responsible for
this economic mess we are in.
First, we want to correct
your misuse of terms. The “land question” was not resolved by your Third
Chimurenga. If you are eager to witness the Third Chabvondoka (mayhem), don’t
worry yourself, you will see it.
The real people’s Chimurenga will
come very soon and when you one day see people carrying placards declaring
“Mugabe Must Go!”, know that it will be the nightmare that you were
Your land-grab policy must be termed the second
colonialism. We know very well that during the Ian Smith regime blacks were
given land that was unsuitable for human habitation. These areas were known
as “reserves/tribal trust lands”.
Now you are employing the same
tactics of giving people arid and infertile land and you believe we do not
have third-eye vision of your “agrarian reforms”. Your cronies are eating
succulent steak whilst the masses squabble over the bones from the
You want to use us as a means to your ends. This is what
the whole of humanity terms oppression, in its worst form. We reject your use
of the land issue to remain in power.
The day shall come and you
will reap what you sowed. If you sow oppression, you will reap it at its
ripest stage. If you chastise us with a rope, we will chastise you with
scorpions. Never believe that anyone will offer you political asylum. Even
under water, we will follow you.
June I received this e-mail message, reproduced here
without editing:“Greetings: I am an Ethiopian. I read your
It is interesting in two aspects. One: I really did not
know until recently that educated Zimbabweans were missing slavery on their
own country. Our so-called previous “leaders” were starving our people but
were busy helping your liberation. For that stupid thinking of them,
we Ethiopians are suffering in the hands of our puppets current “leaders”
with the support of Britain and US in revenge of the past – helping
African brothers in other parts of Africa. Let me tell you, there is 15
million people facing famine from maladministration in Ethiopia today but BBC
likes (President) Mugabe rather. Moreover the behaviour of the likes of you
who do live for eating is so annoying and make me bitter.
second aspect shows how sell out Zimbabwean journalists are. Today, in
Ethiopia, tens of journalists are locked up because they are nationalists.
Therefore, no amnesty or HRW talks about it. In Zimbabwe, no journalist is
behind the bar, but you talk rubbish. Oh! Africa, full
Another e-mail message on the same day read:
“Thanks for the truth. I’ m a teenager from South Africa but had to move to
Australia because we saw that the situation there wouldn’t improve unless the
government took action.
Well, we were smart enough that the
people’s government are busy people and don’t have time to do their job i e
educating and feeding their people; initiating expansionary business
programmes as opposed to affirmative action which make foreign investment
I’m writing to you to thank you for having the courage to
express your views on the OAU and the “governments” it is comprised of. It
really worries me that these leaders don’t put their heart and soul into
their jobs instead of prattling on about “colonial whites” and past
They know that their lack of commitment to their jobs
is a large factor contributing to their people’s poverty. I’m glad that you
had the courage to write that article even in “first world countries” – silly
thing to call them they’re just land masses with people – they don’t
criticise African politicians to any great degree. For instance, in my
English class if you try and criticise anything an African does you’re
“racist”. Don’t get me wrong because I have no problem with other racial
groups. But I don’t like it when people get away with things just because of
their skin colour.
I pray with all my heart that sub-Sarahan Africa
can get its act together and for the well-being of Zimbabwe’s people. Thank
you for writing such an interesting, inspirational and truthful
The 4 June column was How the OAU helped create these
monsters. My Ethiopian critic sounds like a supporter of Mengistu Haile
Mariam, the former Ethiopian dictator, an ideological bedfellow of President
He is not enamoured of his present Prime Minister, Meles
Zenawi, who would not seek political asylum in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe if the
Ethiopians did a “Mengistu” on him.
Neither would Mugabe dream
of asylum in an Ethiopia ruled by Zenawi, if he had to flee
Years ago, we all knew who was a sell-out: an African
siding with colonialism in the independence struggle. Today, without
colonialism, who is a sell-out?
To say every African who hates
African dictators who promote the murder and rape of their people, to help
prolong their stay in power is a sell-out is itself being a
To advocate the perpetuation of murderous and corrupt
dictatorships on the grounds that anything else would be to hand back the
country to colonialism is to be a sell-out worse than Moise Tshombe, whose
name became synonymous with a sell-out in the 1960s.
definition of a sell-out is: a supporter of dictatorships, the murder,
political repression and rape of their own people. A change of government
would result in their being tried for crimes against humanity, or being
deprived of their seat on the gravy train of the
The teenager who fled from Thabo
Mbeki’s Rainbow South Africa was probably hasty in bolting so soon. South
Africa has far more to offer people of all races than Zimbabwe, whose
government is now as racist as Ian Smith’s was.
Africans can believe their countries offer the world an example to be
emulated: proud of their culture and history, but not aspiring – as Asia and
Latin America are – to be as prosperous, as educated, as healthy and as
well-fed as the developed world.
Discard, for the moment, the
conception of “civilised” as defined by the West. Concentrate on well-being,
encompassing the pursuit of happiness, you and yours having good health, good
education, good job, good shelter, good food and good
Why should you not expect all this in your own country?
Why shouldn’t your government, maintained with your taxes, provide you with
This is not Utopia, but the reality of a government whose
first priority is the people’s welfare, not the survival of its
The rich nations of the world are not
driven by philanthropy. They are not inveterate do-gooders.
Norwegians, who loved Julius Nyerere as if he had Viking blood coursing
through his veins, once warned him that if he persisted with his hare-brained
ujamaa policy, they would ditch him.
During the Cold War, East and
West calculated coldly what they would give an African country which declared
in their favour. There was no philanthropy here – and there still
What they are demanding today – as in Nepad – is a quid pro
quo: you treat your people decently and we will help you.
what is confounding Africans is why some of their leaders believe it’s below
their dignity to agree to this deal.
Why should a guarantee to
respect their people’s human rights be anathema to them?
if their own concept of good governance doesn’t entail a respect for people’s
rights, as if it’s alien for an African leader to treat his people with
My colleague in Ethiopia says “educated Zimbabweans were
missing slavery on their own country”, by which I assume he means not hating
There is psychological slavery on the continent today.
There is slavery in the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy and
the Public Order and Security Acts. Read them slowly and carefully and you
will discover that citizens are effectively enslaved by their
The slave master is the government. It is the real
sell-out of its own people.
There is a form of psychological
slavery if newspapers published legally cannot circulate in every part of the
country because government supporters don’t like to read what they are saying
about the government slave policy.
WORLD Animal Watch says the plight of Zimbabwean horses is a major
cause for concern.
The organisation stated that "while we hear
everyday of the appalling conditions the average person has to live with in
Zimbabwe, not everybody has seen the pictures of the plight of Zimbabwean
"Due to land redistribution, farmers were left with the choice
of shooting their horses or simply leaving them behind. The cruelty that
these horses are enduring is shocking," the organisation said.
Animal Watch said it had taken on the rescue and rehabilitation of these
abandoned, abused and neglected horses and had now established a holding
station for them.
"When the horses come to us they are in a terrible
state starving, malnourished, worm ridden and with untreated injuries. Before
any horses are sent to SA, they are examined by veterinarians, given the
correct vaccinations and each horse is issued with a permit before they
leave Zimbabwe and go through Beit Bridge."
World Animal Watch said
raising funds from a nation already destitute was "hopeless".
organisation called for donations to ease the suffering of horses
in Zimbabwe. It could be contacted on its website firstname.lastname@example.org. Jun
18 2003 07:26:02:000AM David Mollett Business Day 1st Edition
HARARE -- The treason
trial of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai resumed
He is accused of plotting to eliminate President Robert Mugabe
ahead of presidential elections last year.
The trial, which resumed
after a three-week break, concerns the first charges of treason brought
against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader and two key members
of his party, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela.
Tsvangirai has also been
charged with treason -- punishable by death in Zimbabwe -- in connection with
anti-government protests organised by his party two weeks ago.
appeared in the Harare High Court looking drawn and tired after having spent
11 days in police custody following his arrest on the last day of
the MDC-organised protests, during which the state accused him of
inciting Zimbabweans to violently oust Mugabe.
Tsvangirai is still
waiting for a high court judge to decide whether he should be granted bail on
the second treason charges.
The charges heard yesterday against the MDC
trio arose from evidence contained in a grainy video tape of a meeting they
held with a Canada-based consultancy firm run by former Israeli intelligence
agent Ari Ben Menashe.
Ben Menashe has accused the MDC leaders of
plotting to murder Mugabe, but Tsvangirai and his two party officials claim
they were set up by the Dickens and Madson consultancy in a bid to sideline
Tsvangirai politically after he emerged as the most significant threat to
Mugabe's 23-year hold on power.
Yesterday, Happyton Bonyongwe, head of
Zimbabwe's intelligence service, gave evidence to the court on the Central
Intelligence Office's (CIO) relations with Ben Menashe.
cross-examined at length by defence lawyer George Bizos -- the South African
lawyer who argued Nelson Mandela's innocence in a treason trial 40 years ago
-- on services rendered to the CIO by Ben Menashe in exchange for significant
sums of money.
Ben Menashe was allegedly paid $200000 (about R1,6m) for
five days' work done for the CIO.
"Information about the movements of
the accused, among other things, I can't be more specific," was Bonyongwe's
"You are trying to cover up the truth," said Bizos,
asserting that Ben Menashe had been paid to concoct a plot against the MDC
Ben Menashe told the court in February, when the trial opened,
that Tsvangirai had clearly asked him to help kill Mugabe ahead of
presidential elections last year.
But in the video tape shown by
prosecutors on the second day of the trial, Tsvangirai was heard to say: "The
discussion was never about the elimination of Mugabe, it was about the
election, and the post-election outcome."
* Zimbabwe's runaway annual
inflation rate climbed nearly 31% to just above 300% last month, the
state-run Herald newspaper reported yesterday.
The rise, which puts the
annual inflation rate at 300,1%, was due to steep price increases of
foodstuffs, consumer durables and services.
With inflation at 300% in
May, the objective of Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa to bring the annual
rate back down to below 100% appears to be out of reach.
the pledge to stem runaway inflation when he presented the budget for 2003 at
the end of last year. -- Sapa-AFP
What Zim needs is a new constitution June 18,
Allow me to make my small contribution to the debate on
The future of democracy in that country is
predicated on the development of viable constitutional arrangements
that can guarantee a viable government.
The Zanu-PF government
has given the people a bureaucracy that emphasises hierachy, compliance and
discipline, without addressing equally important concerns such as public
accountability, responsiveness and participation.
government to successfully address the needs of its people, it must apply
careful thought to the organisation of political, economic and administrative
What is also needed is a constitutional order that
is legitimate, credible, enduring and structurally accessible to the people
without compromising the integrity and effectiveness of the
Considering that Zimbabwe has a large multi-ethnic
grouping just like South Africa, the constitution must be reflective of all
the people, including the so-called minority.
Zanu-PF is used to
a weak parliament, which is often used as a rubber stamp. Constitutionally,
this needs to be a stronger body so that it can ensure an effective check on
The people of Zimbabwe must demand a new
constitution - one that will ensure the government is legitimate by
prohibiting the powers-that-be from acting without a mandate from the people,
which is to be given at periodic intervals through free and fair elections or
referendums that are executed and administered according to the constitution
and well-defined electoral laws.
The Zimbabwean National
Constitutional Assembly should continue with its quest for a new,
all-encompassing, constitution, which should be built on the assumption that
"everyone is evil". This will ensure protective measures to curb human
The last parliamentary and presidential elections in
Zimbabwe indicated how urgently that country needs a new constitution
a.. Ensure system-wide pluralism. There should be no
hindrance to competition to hold public office;
the safety and security of citizens and the rule of law; and
a.. Require public agencies to be responsive to the needs of the public and
to promote social and economic development for the benefits of all citizens
in an equitable manner.
These are just a few of the reasons why the
people from across the Limpopo need a new constitution to have lasting
Suspending them from the Commonwealth or isolating them from
the international community will not solve their problems. As long as
their current constitution is in place, Robert Mugabe and his kind will
continue to terrorise the people of Zimbabwe.
suffered enough from public officials' corruption and abuse of
Some politicians, including Mugabe himself, think politics
is a game of musical chairs among old and tired men. People remain in office
until they die.
Zimbabwe, like other African nations, needs to
have a time limit for an individual to be in office. Power corrupts. There is
a need to guard against this.
The essence of government is
power, and power lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to
abuse. Limits become important to minimise the danger of
dictatorship and the development of an oligarchy in a presidential
Africans should remind those who ascend to the presidency
that sovereignty lies in the people.
Of late, Zimbabweans have
suffered at the hands of police, the army and war veterans. In 1995, enraged
and frustrated by the government's delay in carrying out promised social
programmes, war veterans caused mayhem until they were paid an unbudgeted-for
This time, a new breed of combatants, "green bombers",
have been sent to terrorise people in order to stave off Zanu-PF's political
Some of them have already realised that they are being used
and have fled to South Africa, yet African leaders still believe all is well
in that country.
Mugabe has never been one for listening. For 20
years, he has stamped out dissents, exiled opponents in his own party and
violently suppressed the Ndebele.
The crisis is being told in
two versions: the official one and the truth.
Mugabe and his supporters, Zimbabwe is a strong developing nation whose
progress has been sabotaged by white imperialists led by British Prime
Minister Tony Blair and his "gay cabinet".
According to this
version, Zimbabweans would have enough to eat if only the country's white
farmers would stop stockpiling grain in an effort to undermine Comrade
Mugabe, as the state-owned media still call the president.
reality, Zimbabwe is a country on the brink of economic collapse: inflation
is running at over 200%; unemployment has hit 75%. In the real Zimbabwe,
Mugabe is despised by many, not worshipped by all, and his government is
corrupt and out of touch.
With the world's attention now on Iraq,
Mugabe has set his hoodlums loose to terrorise his opponents.
What was once the breadbasket of Africa is now the basket case
The African Union should work with
Zimbabweans - not only the governing party - to establish a new,
It was with dismay that I listened
to the interview with President Robert Mugabe and the subsequent discussion
panel on SABC TV3 recently.
My dismay was prompted not by the
questioning of Mugabe; that was interesting and it was good to hear his views
and objections, but rather by the unbalanced composition and qualifications
of SABC TV3's discussion panel.
One could reasonably have
expected to have had on the panel a Zanu-PF supporter, an MDC supporter,
possibly a representative from among the large exiled Zimbabwean community
living here - who have recently been so vociferous in their calls for the
removal of what they see as the illegitimate Mugabe regime.
Perhaps even participants from both sides who took part in the Lancaster
House negotiations could have been present to substantiate or disagree with
Zanu-PF's view of agreements reached there.
One does after all
remember that there was supposedly agreement on the sanctity of property
rights in Zimbabwe.
One of the two men chosen by TV3 for the
discussion was described as a Zimbabwean academic, a somewhat blinkered
supporter of Mugabe's actions and objectives.
only other member of the panel was the deputy treasurer of
What his qualifications to comment on the political
affairs of a neighbouring country are, is anyone's guess.
even at the height of P W Botha's illegitimate regime, during which we were
forced to endure ad nauseam "Pik on Sunday", would they ever have dreamed of
permitting a public servant from the South African railways to comment on the
political affairs of a foreign state!
The reputation of SABC TV3 as
a purveyor of unbiased and balanced discussion is already
To avoid the perception of being just another instrument
in President Mbeki's administration it should avoid any repetition of its
badly constituted discussion panel on Zimbabwe.
Your reader Wing Fong in The Mercury of June 4 raises
some important questions regarding the African Union's legitimacy as a
vehicle for change in Africa.
Zimbabwe is subject to the
resolutions of the UN and the constitution of the new African Union - being a
member of both organisations.
The UN proclaimed the universal
Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as a common standard of achievement for
all people and nations and resolved to ensure their universal and effective
recognition and observance among member states.
Germane to the
situation in Zimbabwe is article 12 which states: "No one shall be subjected
to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence,
nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.
"Every person has
the right to the protection of the law against such interference or
And Article 19, which reads, "Everyone has the right to
freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold
opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and
ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
the toothless UN and AU have failed abjectly by not ejecting Zimbabwe as a
member state - despite its human rights record.