remains of a student murdered while on holiday in Zimbabwe have
been repatriated to South Africa.
The body of Conan Thomas, 18,
accompanied by his girlfriend Megan Bezuidenhout, 18, arrived at Lanseria
Airport last night, where it was received by his mother,
Accompanying Bezuidenhout were Kathy Thomas's partner, Warren
Bainton, and her friend Georgina Caetano.
As Bezuidenhout came through
the terminal doors, she burst into tears and had to be
'Conan had everything going for him' Conan had been
holidaying in Zimbabwe with Bezuidenhout and her family when he was gunned
down during a robbery at the Hillside Dams resort near Bulawayo on
Suspects have already been arrested.
Bainton said: "Conan
was a really good kid who was a sensible and loving young man. It was a
"Conan had everything going for him. This year, in his
first year at varsity, he scored a 96 percent average."
described as a keen skateboarder and an excellent baseball
"Although they caught the guys, it will never bring Conan back,
and it is still hard to believe that he is gone. He was very close to his
mother and his brother Kyle, who is a year younger than him.
also taking it very badly - it has been hard on all our families," said
Kathy Thomas was too distraught to speak.
Zimbabwean high commissioner Simon Khaya Moyo said on Tuesday that the people
of Bulawayo were hospitable and that the city was known for its peace and
"The speed with which the police have moved to apprehend
the suspects is commendable," Moyo added.
The funeral service for
Conan Thomas is due to be held at the Methodist church in Boksburg at 10am on
Bulawayo - Police in Zimbabwe have
arrested three men in connection with the murder of South African tourist
Conan Thomas at Hillside Dams in Bulawayo on Sunday.
was strolling near the picnic spot in the company of his girlfriend, her
father and her two young sisters was shot dead by one of three
He was a sound and lighting student at Allenby College
Bulawayo police on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of the
three suspects but could not be drawn into giving more details about the
circumstances surrounding the incident.
Leon Bezuidenhout, the
father of the Thomas's girlfriend Megan said the police brought the suspects
to his home early on Tuesday morning. He positively identified them as the
men who had shot his would-be son-in-law before robbing them of personal
items and cash valued at Zim$12-million (almost R12 000).
suspects have been arrested and the police brought them to my place for
identification early today before taking them into custody," said a
He said the shortage of commercial
flights in Zimbabwe had hampered the transportation of Thomas's body to South
Africa for burial.
"We are working out logistics on the
transportation of the body to South Africa. We were looking forward to
ferrying it sometime today or tomorrow but Air Zimbabwe has told us there are
no commercial flights," he said.
As a result, said Bezuidenhout,
they were now arranging for the body to be transported by road through
Zimbabwe's Beitbridge border post.
"The body will be leaving on
Thursday at the latest." he said.
Bezuidenhout, an official at a
South African tourism company, said Thomas's murder was typical of the
violence he said was common in Zimbabwe. He said there was no hope of a
revival of the tourism industry.
"It is so pathetic that tourists
who bring in the much-needed foreign currency in Zimbabwe can be murdered
like this. Zimbabwe's tourism industry has ground to a halt because of the
rampant lawlessness and if the government cannot stop it then there is no
hope for its revival at all," he said.
.. Late last
year, an Australian tourist was killed by unknown assailants in the resort
town of Victoria falls before being robbed of his possessions. - Sapa
resolution of the political impasse in Zimbabwe and the implementation of the
New Partnership for Africaıs Development (NEPAD), the continentıs economic
blueprint, will top the agenda of United States President George Bushıs first
ever visit to Southern Africa on 9 July, diplomats disclosed
The diplomats spoke as American Secretary of State
Colin Powell pledged Washingtonıs full support for a transitional government
in crisis-weary Zimbabwe, ratcheting up pressure on President Robert Mugabe
to go after US Senator Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Sub-Committee
on Africa, called for a regime change in Zimbabwe two weeks ago.
The international fight against global terrorism, efforts to combat the
HIV/AIDS pandemic and moves to end Africaıs civil wars will also feature in
the wide-ranging discussions when Bush visits Africa for the first time since
his election to the White House in 2000.
diplomats, speaking ahead of Bushıs five-day trip starting on 7 July, said
Bush would press South African President Thabo Mbeki to resolve Zimbabweıs
political stalemate when the two leaders hold talks in Pretoria on 9
³President George Bush will indeed call and impress on
President Mbeki to work towards finding a quick resolution or way to break
the political impasse in Zimbabwe,² a senior diplomat told The Daily
³That will indeed be one of the top issues to be discussed.
In return, Mbeki is expected to seek to have the sanctions slapped on the
Zimbabwe government by the United States under the Zimbabwe Economic Recovery
The diplomat added: ³The implementation of NEPAD,
which the United States is very much willing to support, will also come up
The US government does not recognise Mugabeıs
widely criticised re-election last year, accusing the President of stealing
It has banned him and his entire Cabinet from
travelling to the US, frozen their assets overseas and cut off all official
aid to the government.
A Press Secretary at the White House
yesterday confirmed Bushıs Africa visit.
³President Bush will
travel to Africa from July 7 to 12, 2003 to continue to build Americaıs
relationship with the continent. This visit highlights the Bush
administrationıs commitment to working towards a free, prosperous and
³The President looks forward to his visits to
Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria,² the spokesman
Colin Powell and Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
Walter Kansteiner are expected to be among senior US government
officials accompanying Bush.
South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal
are spearheading NEPAD, an ambitious economic recovery plan for Africa which
seeks increased Western aid and trade in return for tough political reforms
by mostly one-man-run African governments.
Setting the tone for
Bushıs African safari, Powell writing in the New York Times yesterday
said Washington would be ready to assist Zimbabwe if the ruling ZANU PF and
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislated constitutional
changes to allow for a transitional government.
³There is a way
out of the crisis. ZANU PF and the opposition party can together legislate
the constitutional changes to allow for a transition,² Powell
³With the President gone, with a transitional government in
place and with a date fixed for new elections, Zimbabweans of all
descriptions would, I believe, come together to begin the process of
rebuilding their country.
³If this happened, the United States
would be quick to pledge generous assistance to the restoration of Zimbabweıs
political and economic institutions even before the election. Other donors, I
am sure, would be close behind. Reading this, Robert Mugabe and his cohorts
may cry Blackmailı (but) we should ignore them. Their time has come and
Powell dwelt at length on the causes of Zimbabweıs economic
and political collapse, which he said had been caused by ³reckless
governmental mismanagement and unchecked corruption².
article highly critical of Mugabe and his government entitled Freeing a
nation from a tyrantıs grip, Powell referred to the recent detention of MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who he said was waging a non-violent struggle for
democracy in Zimbabwe.
³Like the Burmese junta (holding democracy
campaigner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi), President Mugabe and his Politburo
colleagues have an absolute monopoly on coercive power, but no legitimacy or
moral authority,² he said.
The Daily News, which will run Powellıs
article in full tomorrow, last month broke the story that there was a
financial aid package being worked out by the international community to
support a transitional government in Zimbabwe upon Mugabeıs
The government predictably attacked the story, claiming
it was a falsehood.
Powell called for greater efforts to be made
by governments in Southern Africa to rescue Zimbabwe.
perseverance of brave Zimbabweans, a strengthened commitment from their
neighbours and the strong support of the international community, we can
rescue the people of Zimbabwe. This is a worthy and urgent goal for us all,²
Powell said US efforts to help Zimbabweans would not
succeed without greater engagement by Zimbabweıs neighbouring states. ³South
Africa and other African countries are increasingly concerned and active on
Zimbabwe, but they can and should play a stronger and more sustained role
that fully reflects the urgency of the Zimbabwe crisis,² he
South Africaıs government has been widely criticised at home
and abroad for using its policy of ³quiet diplomacy² on Zimbabwe in the face
of increasing repression by the Harare government against its opponents and
any one holding divergent political views.
South Africaıs Mbeki,
together with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawian leader Bakili
Muluzi, has repeatedly urged ZANU PF and the MDC to dialogue to solve the
countryıs crisis but has failed to bring the two parties to the negotiating
³If leaders on the continent do not do more to convince
President Mugabe to respect the rule of law and enter into a dialogue with
the political opposition, he and his cronies will drag Zimbabwe down until
there is nothing left to ruin and Zimbabweıs implosion will continue to
threaten the stability and prosperity of the region,² Powell said.
ruling ZANU PF is trying to lure former party strongman Edgar Tekere back
into the fold, it emerged yesterday.
Ruling party officials
told The Daily News that the decision to invite Tekere back into ZANU PF was
made at a meeting of the partyıs provincial co-ordinating committee held in
Mutare two weeks ago.
Tekere, a war veteran and former ZANU PF
secretary-general, was sacked from the ruling party in 1989 after he resisted
attempts by President Robert Mugabe to bulldoze Zimbabwe into a one-party
Senior ruling party members yesterday said
following the provincial meeting, a three-member delegation led by a senior
ZANU PF official in the province had met Tekere at his residence in Mutare
and invited him to rejoin the partyıs ranks.
ZANU PFıs external affairs chief, is reportedly spearheading the moves to
bring Tekere back into the fold.
Mutasa confirmed these moves
yesterday but said he would not give out details until official communication
on the matter had been relayed to Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ruling partyıs
powerful head of administration who is widely seen as a leading contender to
replace Mugabe if and when the latter retires.
³I do not know
whether the letter (on this issue) has been written to Mnangagwa. But wait
until that letter is written,² Mutasa said.
Efforts to contact
Mnangagwa were fruitless yesterday.
Other senior ZANU PF luminaries
in the province are reportedly backing what most of them see as Tekereıs
long-delayed political rehabilitation.
Tekere himself appeared to
lend credence to the swirling speculation when he said yesterday: ³All I can
say is that I did not resign from ZANU PF. I was sacked when I still wanted
to be in the party.
³I toiled a lot for this party. When I was in
Gweru, the first successful party rally was held there because I was there
with people like (Kenneth) Manyonda. That is why even the first congress of
the party was held there.²
He said he was in frequent contact
with prominent ZANU PF members and enjoyed their respect and friendship
³Many of them visit me frequently and we discuss a lot of
things,² Tekere said.
Charles Pemhenayi, ZANU PFıs spokesman in
Manicaland, said: ³It will be a homecoming if it happens.²
Tekere said several top ZANU PF members, including Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, former Cabinet minister Victoria Chitepo and Mutasa often called
or visited him to inquire about his health.
Tekere, who was
admitted to hospital last year after he fell ill, yesterday said he was now
well. He did not disclose the nature of his illness.
were unable to get treatment at hospitals around the country yesterday as a
doctorsı strike that began in Bulawayo on Monday spread to other parts of
Doctors in Harare, Mutare and Gweru joined the industrial
action, which the medical personnel say is to protest against a new salary
structure introduced by the government.
Under the new structure,
the lowest paid doctor will get $167 000 a month, far below the $2 million
demanded by the doctors.
Business was slow at Harareıs Parirenyatwa
and Harare Central Hospitals, where some patients said they had failed to
receive treatment after waiting for the whole day.
But nurses at
Parirenyatwa Hospital said the effects of the strike would begin to be felt
from today as more patients failed to get treatment.
is still a bit manageable, but it will obviously become worse from tomorrow
(today) onwards. We hope a speedy solution is found,² a nurse at Parirenyatwa
hospital said yesterday.
In Bulawayo, several patients who had
spent the whole day queueing to be examined eventually went home without
Nurses at Mpilo Central Hospital said only a
few senior doctors were attending to patients as all junior doctors had not
turned up for duty.
Only the maternity ward at the hospital was
Marble Ndlovu, a patient at Mpilo Central
Hospital, said: ³I have been waiting for a doctor for the past five hours and
I still havenıt been attended to. I am just going home and I will probably
visit a private doctor tomorrow.²
The situation was the same at
Bulawayo Central Hospital and at Mutare General Hospital.
Gweru, patients were being attended to by expatriate Cuban doctors.
³The situation is not very bad here. We have not yet felt the strain because
of these Cuban doctors,² said a hospital official in Gweru.
Hospital Doctorsı Association (HDA), an umbrella body for
doctors countrywide, said the medical personnel would not return to work
until the government met their demands.
Leo Katsidzira, the HDA
secretary-general, accused the government of failing to respect doctors,
saying they would not wait for another re-grading exercise to be done. He
said: ³We donıt want to talk about re-grading because that is not the issue
at hand. The next time we meet the government we will be expecting them to
tell us what they will be offering us.²
Health Minister David
Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment.
ZIMBABWE Air Force Commander Perence Shiri, who was testifying in the treason
trial of three opposition party leaders yesterday, refused to
answer questions about a statement issued by the countryıs defence forces in
the run-up to last yearıs presidential election.
to answer questions relating to a statement made by Zimbabwe Defence Forces
commander Vitalis Zvinavashe at a Press conference in the run-up to the
The Press conference was attended by Zimbabwe
National Army Commander Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe Prison Services
Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, then
Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Elisha Muzonzini and Shiri
At the Press conference, the defence and security chiefs
indicated that they would not accept a political leader ³whose agenda
reverses the gains of the liberation struggle².
utterances of General Zvinavashe and I am not acting on behalf of General
Zvinavashe,² Shiri, who spoke through an interpreter because he was speaking
in Shona, said under cross-examination by defence lawyer Eric
He however said he did not dissociate himself from
Zvinavasheıs utterances, saying Zvinavashe was ³the highest-ranking officer
and all junior officers are accountable to him not vice-versa².
He denied that Zvinavashe had insinuated that the service chiefs would not
accept a leader who did not participate in the countryıs 1970s liberation war
and said the army were ³not zombies² and that they had always followed the
provisions of the countryıs Constitution.
Zvinavasheıs statement meant that the defence forces intended to change or
subvert the Constitution, Shiri said: ³The statement was made by General
Zvinavashe who is senior to me. If you have any queries on the statement, you
can call him to testify. I cannot answer for him.²
that he had a meeting with MDC Members of Parliament Tafadzwa Musekiwa and
Job Sikhala in January last year.
He said the meeting was
instigated by Musekiwa who said he had been instructed by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who wanted Shiri as an adviser once the opposition party assumed
³Honourable Sikhala told me that Mr Tsvangirai wanted me to
be the commander of the armed forces when the MDC came to power in order to
ensure peace and to pacify armed forces and war veterans to accept the MDC if
it assumed power,² Shiri said.
He said since the MDC emissaries
were making the proposals in the run-up to last Marchıs presidential
election, they were talking on the assumption that Tsvangirai would win the
Shiriıs testimony contradicted star witness Ari
Ben-Menasheıs claims that the MDC wanted to enlist Shiri to aid them in
organising a coup after the assassination of President Robert Mugabe before
Tsvangirai and two senior MDC officials have been
charged with plotting to assassinate Mugabe and overthrow his government,
charges that they deny. ³I told them that it would be difficult for
me because I did not agree with their policies,² Shiri said. ³My problem was
with their policy to tarnish the name of the head of state, forgetting that
it was the president who led the struggle for the liberation of this
³Also on land redistribution, the MDCıs policy was not
clear and they appeared to be puppets being used to safeguard the interests
of white farmers and their relationship with our former colonisers, the
British, which tended to suggest that they were being used as fronts. But
even though I was against their policy, if they won the election it would be
the will of the people.²
Shiri said four days after their
initial meeting, Sikhala and Musekiwa returned with Gift Chimanikire, the MDC
deputy secretary-general, who came to explain the MDC policies.
³Chimanikire repeated that he had been sent by Tsvangirai to tell me that I
should not leave the army when he assumed power,² he said. ³Sikhala said if I
agreed to go along with them and persuade other generals, the MDC would pay
me $10 million.
³But I told them I was not a mercenary and did not
work for rewards. I was not interested in their money.² The trial continues
today with Constantine Musango, a recording supervisor in the Ministry of
Justice, giving evidence.
Daily News on Sunday
Editor Bill Saidi was yesterday charged under the Public Order and Security
Act (POSA) for allegedly publishing a false story last year.
Saidi was summoned to the Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police
Station yesterday afternoon and was questioned for close to two hours before
he was released.
Saidi told The Daily News that the police had
charged him over an article published in The Daily News last year, which
claimed that President Robert Mugabe had attended the African National
Congress conference in South Africa.
The police say Mugabe was
in Harare at the time of the December conference and did not attend the
Saidi said he denied the charge, arguing that he was not in
charge of the newspaper when the article appeared. Saidi was an assistant
editor of The Daily News when the story was published.
asked to make a statement and they charged me under POSA for publishing a
falsehood. Of course I denied the charge,² he said.
officers were reasonably friendly and they didnıt harass me at all,² he
financially-troubled Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) could be
losing millions of dollars in unpaid bills because of problems with its
billing system and in collecting data on clientsı monthly power consumption,
it was learnt yesterday.
ZESA officials said there were problems
with a billing system imported from Kenya and commissioned last October,
which they alleged had affected the parastatalıs ability to access some
clientsı accounts and to send monthly statements.
said some clients had gone for between two to four months without receiving
or paying electricity bills.
They said cities such as Bulawayo,
Mutare, Chinhoyi and Gweru had unpaid debts running into nearly $2 billion as
³The new billing system has caused customers headaches
because it takes long to print the bills and even access clientsı accounts,²
an official at ZESA headquarters in Harare told The Daily News
³The new system was imported from Kenya and we wonder
how it came to us. It is an outdated system which is causing us serious
problems in our functioning.²
While admitting that Zimbabweıs
power utility could be losing money because of unpaid bills, ZESA Harare area
manager Stephen Pieron however denied that the billing system was the primary
cause of the problem.
He said the initial hitches experienced when
the new system was first installed had been overcome.
The Daily News: ³We had problems with the new system but l think it is now
understood. Any new system is bound to cause some problems, but they have
He attributed billing problems to acute fuel,
foreign currency and computer shortages, adding that the computer printer
used by the parastatal for customersı bills had broken down and a smaller
machine was being used as a substitute.
He said the replacement
equipment was failing to cope with the amount of work involved in compiling
The ZESA official said Harare residents alone owed the power
utility at least $451 million, a figure he said was much higher than the
monthly average of $320 million for the capital city.
the amount of money owed to ZESA in Harare had shot up because of back-logs
in the billing system partly resulting from strikes and
job stayaways. ZESA workers have been on strike twice this year
while there have been several work stayaways called by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Strikes and stayaways have also affected the Zimbabwe
Postal Servicesı ability to deliver electricity bills on time, Pieron
This has forced ZESA to enter into an agreement with the
postal company to ensure that its statements are sent out as soon as
³Most of the complaints we receive are due to estimate
readings and this constitutes 90 percent of the complaints,² Pieron said.
³Our problem is that we canıt read all meters every month.
fuel crisis has impacted negatively on our operations and coupled with the
shortage of vehicles, we really have a crisis. The delays are also being
caused by the shortage of computers.²
Pieron said one of the ZESA
computers broke down several weeks ago and it would cost the parastatal about
$50 million to purchase a new one, money that the heavily-indebted
state-controlled company does not have.
He said ZESAıs Harare
office had only 180 functioning vehicles and 200 others had been forced off
the road due to shortages of foreign currency to buy spare
The remaining functioning vehicles are supposed to service
and are failing to cope with about 231 000 ZESA customers in Harare,
whose households have to be visited every month.
Masvingo Police in Masvingo have summoned and quizzed former Zimbabwe Council
of Churches human rights regional chairman Sonykis Chimbuya over prayers that
are allegedly anti-government.
Chimbuya, a reverend with the Church
of Christ in Masvingo, was summoned to the Criminal Investigations
Departmentıs Law and Order Section last week and ordered to desist from
saying prayers that are political.
He was released without being
Chimbuya said yesterday: ³I was ordered not to say prayers
which are political. They even told me that I should write down my prayers
for them to scrutinise. They took my curriculum vitae and warned me to be
careful with my prayers.²
Police in Masvingo yesterday confirmed
that they questioned Chimbuya but declined to give details.
Chimbuya said he was not a political activist but a preacher.
just believe in peace and unity in the country,² he said.³Our church is full
of both MDC and ZANU PF supporters and we do not talk about that in the
Sources said the police seem to have been concerned that
Chimbuya was invited to pray before a rally which was addressed by opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials.
has also been invited to pray at functions organised by the militant Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions.
Chimbuya said his mere presence at such
functions did not mean that he was an MDC activist.
³I am just
shocked. I have been invited to minister even at ZANU PF functions but that
does not mean that I support that party², he said.
Court judge Justice Sandra Mungwira will make a ruling next Monday on an
application by the state to call three new witnesses in the trial of six
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists charged with
kidnapping and killing Bulawayo war veteransı leader Cain Nkala.
Justice Mungwira did not give reasons for postponing a ruling on
the application, which was made last week.
Kandemiri and Neville Wamambo last week told the court that they wanted to
call Isabel Mhlope, a formerofficerincharge at Mbembesi Police Station, where
one of the accused, Remember Moyo, was allegedly tortured and denied food and
The other two state witnesses in the trial are a Detective
Constable Sibanda and a Detective Sergeant Shumba, who witnessed the taking
down of warned and cautioned statements from Sazini Mpofu and Army
Moyo, Mpofu and Sibanda are facing trial
together with Fletcher DuliniNcube, the Member of Parliament for
Lobengula-Magwegwe, Sonny Masera, the MDCıs director of security, and Kethani
Sibanda for murdering Nkala.
Nkala was kidnapped and murdered in
Kandemiri said the state wanted to call Mhlope to
rebut allegations that she had given Moyo food and water despite alleged
orders to the contrary by Superintendent Martin Matira, who was in charge of
the investigation into Nkalaıs kidnapping and murder.
detectives Sibanda and Shumba were omitted from the state outline but the
defence was aware of the stateıs intention to call them.
these three witnesses will be of no prejudice to the defence,² said
The four defence lawyers, advocates Eric Morris, Edith
Mushore, Deepak Mehta and Happias Zhou, opposed the application, saying it
would prejudice their clients.
Morris described the claim by the
state that the defence knew of the new witnesses as ³nonsense². Said Morris:
³What the state wishes to do is to delay the administration of
LUKE Mushangure, the deputy
headmaster of Rusvingo Primary School in Harareıs Highfield suburb, was shot
dead yesterday as he attempted to break up a fight between two
The school closed early after the death of the deputy
headmaster, who was shot as he tried to separate one of the primary schoolıs
teachers, Gertrude Ngundu, and a woman identified by the police as Chiedza
The two women are believed to have been fighting over a
man. The police confirmed the deputy headmasterıs death and said
investigations into the shooting would start soon.
at Southerton Police Station said Mushangure was shot once through the mouth
while Ngundu was shot three times in the shoulder, hip and stomach. Ngundu
was detained at the Avenues Clinic yesterday.
the Daily News yesterday afternoon that the alleged assailant was still at
large and a manhunt had been launched to track her down.
However, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation quoted police
officials yesterday evening as saying the woman involved in the shooting had
been apprehended and was in their custody.
It was not possible
to confirm the arrest with the police before going to press last
Rusvingo Primary School headmaster Bernard Gowere, who was
away when the shooting occurred, told the Daily News: ³The deputy head wanted
to counsel the two women, who have a longstanding dispute over a
³This woman came to our school yesterday (Monday) and fought
He said he was attending a workshop elsewhere when
his members of staff were shot.
³Since I was away, my deputy had
to attend to the feuding women in his office. The woman claims her husband
was taken from her by our teacher,² the headmaster said.
Mushangure was allegedly shot through the mouth and subsequently died in a
classroom, Gowere said.
When The Daily News visited the school
yesterday, hundreds of Highfield residents were gathered at the school gates
as they tried to come to terms with the tragedy, while Mushangureıs relatives
cleaned blood from the school pavements and from the classroom where he
Mushangureıs relatives would not discuss the tragedy, saying
they were trying to come to terms with his death.
conducted a small service in the classroom as the deputy headmasterıs
relatives were cleaning his blood from the room.
the alleged assailant came to the school yesterday intending to apologise to
Ngundu for a fight the two women had the previous day.
went to discuss the matter in the deputy headmasterıs office and at around 12
noon, Tembure produced a pistol,² one witness said.
body was taken to a mortuary at Harare Central Hospital, while Ngundu was
finally admitted at Harareıs Avenues Clinic after she had earlier been taken
to a council clinic in Highfield.
MORGAN Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), says he has been placed under 24-hour surveillance
by Zimbabwean state security agents since his release from Harare Remand
Prison last Friday, after facing allegations of attempting to topple
Tsvangirai, speaking to The Daily News
yesterday, said he was aware that government security agents were monitoring
his movements. He had taken steps to beef up his security.
actually under surveillance. I have witnessed some of these movements. What
we are doing is that we are increasing our vigilance. We cannot rely on the
police because they may be part of the scheme,ıı he said after this newspaper
obtained information that unknown persons driving in Mazda 323 vehicles were
trailing him each time he leaves his home in Harareıs Strathaven
But the government yesterday quickly dismissed Tsvangiraiıs
statement, saying it was not aware that the opposition leader was being
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi told The Daily News:
³I do not think it (the surveillance) is true. There is nothing that I know
to that effect. I think he is seeing his own shadow.ıı Tsvangiraiıs aides say
since his release from prison last Friday, people in plain clothes and
calling themselves policemen have been moving in Mazda 323 vehicles
near Tsvangiraiıs home and sometimes parking about 100 metres from the
³On Sunday evening, I approached one of the drivers and
asked him why he was driving aimlessly around the house. He told me that he
and others were policemen doing their duties and that we should go and sleep
and leave them to perform their duties,ıı one of the aides said yesterday.
The aide said Tsvangiraiıs security team had conducted its own investigations
and had established that during the day some of the suspected state security
agents parked their vehicles at Strathaven shopping centre and then moved
closer to the house of the MDC leader at night.
unidentified people will just walk around in the area during the day. When we
leave the house for the High Court proceedings, they connect with each other
using cellphones and suddenly several vehicles will be trailing Tsvangiraiıs
team,ıı the aide said.
The aide alleged that some suspected agents
had resorted to vending at strategic points along the roads leading to
Tsvangiraiıs house in order to monitor the opposition leaderıs movements.
SIX months after President
Robert Mugabe promised Zimbabweans that he would personally intervene to sort
out once and for all the countryıs fuel crisis, all the government has come
up with is the kind of half-baked solution that it is good at.
It has announced that it is banning Zimbabweans from carrying the scarce
commodity in containers.
This is just confirming what Zimbabweans
have sadly come to realise: that the government has neither the will nor the
courage to confront the root causes of Zimbabweıs crisis.
Indeed, the ruling ZANU PF seems to have made a vocation out of pursuing the
trivial while Zimbabwe burns.
Deputy Energy Minister Reuben
Marumahoko this week announced that the government had outlawed the carrying
by motorists of fuel in jerry cans or any other containers. This is
supposedly in order to curb a flourishing black market for diesel and
Marumahoko told The Herald: ³If, for example, someone has a
funeral or is a farmer who needs diesel, he has to apply to the ministry to
be given permission to carry the fuel to his farm, otherwise he will get
This applies even to operators of diesel-powered
grinding mills in far-flung rural areas where there are no fuel service
stations and who, even if there was no fuel shortage in Zimbabwe, would need
to stock fuel at their mills.
What utter nonsense!
Just for argumentıs sake, how will the government ensure that the fuel will
be used for the reasons stated when one applies for the so-called permit and
that it is not resold on the black market where, ironically, some of
Marumahokoıs colleagues in the government and ZANU PF are said to be making
According to the deputy minister, the permits are
only issued on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Why this must be so when fuel
is virtually in permanent short supply in this country and people must carry
petrol or diesel in containers every other day, only the government
If the governmentıs new policy is carried to its logical
conclusion, a motorist would have to leave his or her car on the road on
Friday evening if it runs out of fuel, wait until Monday to secure a permit
to carry petrol or diesel in a container and take it back to the vehicle to
Surely this is the height of madness!
Marumahoko or anyone in government heard about the marauding car jackers and
thieves ready to pounce on any vehicle they can lay their hands on for spares
to resell on yet another thriving black market for car spare
The government is clearly unwilling to take the painful
steps that are necessary to resolve not only the fuel crisis but the wider
economic and political crises that are engulfing Zimbabwe.
instead resorting to these ill-thought-out and childish ideas.
There is no foreign currency in the country that is the major reason Zimbabwe
is grappling with a severe fuel crisis and this is the problem the government
needs to be tackling to resolve the shortages of petrol
Zimbabwe has no foreign currency because the
government has virtually destroyed the hard cash-earning agricultural sector
and other exporting industries through ill-considered policies that have led
to a flight of foreign capital and the suspension of donor
The starting point to addressing the fuel and the other
myriad shortages throttling Zimbabwe is for the government to clean up on its
land policies and its human rights and democracy record, which have
estranged Zimbabwe from vital international donors, trading and development
partners. This is what Mugabe, Marumahoko and ZANU PF must
If this is proving too difficult for them, they should have
the courage to resign, something they should have done years ago.
HAPPINESS, I suppose, is relative. Charlie Brown had his security blanket,
Kojak had his lollipop and Mukadota had Amai vaRwizi.
would probably be over the moon if the response to his maiden speech in
Parliament was thunderous applause, with only one inaudible interjection:
³What a lot of baloney!²
A man facing a murder charge would hug
everybody in court if the judge pronounced: ³Youıre discharged. This man was
dead before you touched him. He hadnıt eaten for six weeks. This is
A mother giving birth for the first time after 20 tries
would be ecstatic, but her husband, now in his 60s and grouchy as hell, might
wonder if his spine would survive playing with the kid.
Wallowing in a bubble-bath would bring happiness to the housewife, if she
didnıt have to get out and queue for food, fuel and foreign
For a journalist not the fly-by-night phonies of Sunshine
journalism a lead story on the front page would be the crowning
For a Kambuzuma FC soccer supporter, beating a
full-strength Highlanders Xl in a league match would call for week-long
Winning at anything makes people happy. But to
achieve a permanent state of happiness is something else. Wealth doesnıt
necessarily guarantee happiness. Neither Nelson Rockefeller nor Paul Getty
were happy all the time they had trouble with women and that cannot be
Bill Gates and Philip Chiyangwa cannot be said to have
achieved the pinnacle of happiness. Gates has been embroiled in a fight with
the United States government over his alleged unfair business
As for Chiyangwa, his partyıs performance could not be
giving him days and nights of unbridled happiness. The party is virtually
under siege. Chiyangwa may be a tough cookie politically, but he canıt be
unaware that if there was a sudden change of government, his fortune might
just go up in smoke.
Gates probably doesnıt have to worry about
that. It wasnıt politics which helped him.
When the Central
Statistical Office gives out information such as the percentage of people
living below the poverty datum line, you should relate that to the happiness
quotient: 80 percent with incomes theoretically poorer than
Inflation at more than 300 percent. Then add deaths from
Aids, the shortage of fuel, food and foreign currency.
scale of one to 10, only one person could qualify unconditionally to be
happy. In Zimbabwe, according to unofficial statistics gleaned
again unofficially from taxi drivers and commuter omnibus drivers by
foreign visitors, there are people who have lost track of the meaning of
They respond with a blank ³What is that?² when asked
what would make them really happy.
I know a foreigner who said
when he asked someone what would make them really happy, the answer was a
swift ³To die now!² He could have been exaggerating or could have
misunderstood the respondent, who probably replied in Shona or SiNdebele or
Kalanga or Tonga or Venda or Nyanja or Chikunda, to the effect that he didnıt
care one way or the other, as long as he could die a happy person, knowing he
had done his best to look after his family, but that if he failed, then The
Almighty would understand.
What prompted me to delve into the
happiness syndrome was the constant grouse by many people that when most
independent newspapers carried stories of political crime and destruction
they were not aware what damage they were inflicting upon the peopleıs
pursuit of happiness.
Many may be unaware of this, but this
complaint goes to the very heart of good journalism. Do you spare your
readers the brutal truth about their society, to protect them from an
unidentified ³evil², or do you tell them everything they ought to know,
whether they like it or not?
Some Zimbabweans believe their country
should not be portrayed in a negative light by its own newspapers. They
believe that the outside world should have a positive image of Zimbabwe,
whether this is true or false.
But others insist that it would be
immoral and criminal to portray the country as progressive, law-abiding and
peaceful when there are people being sjamboked (whipped) by soldiers, MPs
being brutalised in their homes and ordinary citizens being harassed and
tortured because they are suspected of supporting the
Do you love your country? If you do, how can you say
such nasty things about it? Where is your patriotism? These questions are
always posed to journalists from the independent media.
perhaps trying to be subtle, put the question differently: ³Is there any hope
for this country? If there is, why donıt you tell us about it?²
This would be easy enough to do. The government media do it consummately
every day, ignoring the bad and the ugly and concentrating only on the good
the Sunshine journalism we talked about.
Then, when there is a
sudden explosion of violent dissent, they have no answer for it, except to
ascribe it to the British, the Americans and the Movement for Democratic
Change, or all three together.
The critics seem convinced that the
independent media would ignore a positive story about Zimbabwe if it walked
naked into their offices with bells on and demanded to be recognised as a
Stories which walk into newspaper offices raise the
suspicion that they could be phony or planted. Usually, the journalistıs
instinct that something is not right is vindicated.
ought to set the reporterıs alarm bells ringing, but occasionally they donıt
and the reporter is suckered into writing a story which may turn out to be of
the classic cock-and-bull variety.
But what people ought to learn
of their country at this critical moment is that the government is clueless
the economic crisis has overwhelmed it and in frustration, it will attack,
blindly most of the time, anybody who is critical of its bungling, in the
hope that they cannot really hit back.
The government too knows
that people are happiest when they are reassured everything is fine, that
there is a plenty of food, fuel and foreign currency so donıt worry, be
But by now only a half-wit would believe the
Time and time again, the independent
media have exposed the governmentıs lies. On fuel, foreign currency and food,
the government has often insisted the independent media were being alarmist
yet the queues have lengthened.
The citizen who aspires to be
happy most of the time, it would seem, is one who seeks and finds the truth.
You are often more comfortable with the truth than with half-truths and