By Stephen Bevan in Pretoria
Zimbabwe's white farmers' union has given warning of an impending
"humanitarian catastrophe" after the government reneged on a promise to pay
evicted white farmers the full value of the buildings and equipment seized
along with their farms, leaving many of them destitute.
The government refuses to pay for the land seized from the estimated
3,800 white farmers forcibly evicted since 2000, but it had pledged to pay
in full for the "improvements".
Last week, however, farmers were outraged to learn that they will
receive a fraction of the value of improvements, to be paid over the next
few years in instalments - which, with inflation running at more than 1,100
per cent, means that some will be almost worthless.
Eric Harrison, the chairman of Justice for Agriculture, said the
compensation scheme was a "scam to show the world the government is treating
the farmers properly".
Trevor Gifford, the vice-president of the Commercial Farmers Union,
accused officials of pressuring farmers, many of whom have "lost everything
and are now desperate", to accept deals they knew were unfair.
"They are waiting until people are desperate and then offering them
between two and 10 per cent of what it would fetch at auction," said Mr
Gifford. "They say, 'We can give you 25 per cent now, another 25 per cent in
two years time and the remainder in five to seven years time.'
"But with inflation as it is, that's going to be eroded quickly. In
two years time, you're not going to be able to buy a packet of crisps with
the money, let alone restart your life. This is a humanitarian catastrophe."
Few of the 1,800 farmers invited to register for compensation have
accepted. The government revealed last week that it had paid out a total of
Zim$441 billion to just 206 farmers - an average of Zim$2.1 billion (£3,800)
But it insisted it would not revise the payments. "Of course they
(farmers) can do their independent assessments, but we will go by what is
done by a government evaluator," Didymus Mutasa, the lands minister, told
Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette. He dismissed the farmers' complaints as
"statements from people who just want more money".
Ken Fraser, 59, said he was called to a "compensation hearing" on
Thursday at which he was offered Zim$14.7 billion (£25,000) for one of the
five farms he once owned. "What they were offering me was quite ridiculous,"
said Mr Fraser, who was almost beaten to death by "war veterans" two years
"We had a shed put up there about five years ago that was worth
Zim$13.9 billion (£23,000), but that's what they are offering me now for the
entire farm." He lives on savings and some income from contract work and has
refused to leave his last house.
Nicholas van der Bergh, who lost several farms, and was finally
evicted from his last 1,250 acres in central Zimbabwe last November, said
the compensation he has been offered for one farm was "just about enough to
buy a 60-horsepower tractor".
Another farmer, who asked not be named, said he had rejected an offer
of £38,000 compensation for buildings and equipment that he claims were
worth £1.36 million. "The only people who have accepted are desperate and
living in old people's homes. Anybody who is able to work is trying their
damnedest to hold out," he said.
"We've been living by selling the furniture we managed to rescue from
the farm, but we're reaching the end of our tether."
Mr Gifford contrasted the treatment of white Zimbabweans with that of
foreign land owners, who were told last week they would be compensated for
land and equipment in a currency of their choice. The government's reneging
on its compensation pledge represents an extraordinary about-turn by a
regime that a few months ago was talking about returning farms to their
owners in an attempt to boost dwindling food production.
The government insists its land reforms were necessary to redress the
legacy of British colonialism, which left 70 per cent of the most fertile
land in the hands of a few thousand whites.
Dear Family and Friends,
Zimbabwe has been slowly and painfully slipping downwards for the last six
years but this week the pace moved into top speed. It has been a shocking
here and everyone is reeling as services and prices have suddenly taken on a
life of their own.
Petrol was 260 thousand dollars a litre three weeks ago. Last week it rose
360 thousand a litre and this week it galloped to 500 thousand dollars a
and then disappeared altogether.
In the supermarkets the price increases are staggering and everywhere you
people bending down and counting digits on stickers before turning away
handed. The smallest bag of shopping now needs great handfuls of money.
people have resorted to handing a huge stack of notes to the tellers in
and asking them to use the money counting machines to arrive at the required
amount because it just takes too long to count by hand. Either way the
the tills are endlessly long as tellers count and recount and then struggle
close their tills which bulge at the seams with our almost worthless bank
This week I met a friend who is a retired civil servant on a government
aid scheme. The pensioner showed me a letter just received saying that with
immediate effect monthly contributions had increased by nine hundred
apologies, no excuses, no humanity - not even for a woman as old as
In complete contrast to the realities of four figure inflation, this week a
dramatic crisis arose with bread. Bakers put the prices up, the government
ordered them to put it back down. Bakers took out a full page advert in the
press detailing the increases of everything from flour and yeast to wages,
packaging and delivery. At the price stipulated by government, bakers said
were operating at a loss and putting twenty thousand jobs at risk. The
government refused to allow the price increases and called in the police. In
week over 280 bakers and shop assistants have been fined for overcharging.
the bread war continued all week the obvious happened and fewer and fewer
had bread on their shelves as less and less loaves were baked. It has been
absurd but now familiar case of denial by the government. The inflation
is calculated and published by the government. From April to May the
said that inflation rose by 151 percent and yet they insist that the price
bread must remain unchanged. Its not funny just frightening but one
classic report in the state owned Herald raised a grimace of a smile. A
was given by an Assistant Inspector Police woman who said: "I can confirm
we are arresting bakeries for overcharging." Not bakers, but bakeries :
and mortar !
Some months ago the opposition promised a cold winter of discontent in
Zimbabwe. Well, it's cold and we are all very very discontented and winter
half way in and now...? Thanks for reading, until next week, love cathy
Copyright cathy buckle 24 June 2006. http://africantears.netfirms.com
Zimbabwe arrests its bakers
Posted by Peta Thornycroft at 23 Jun 06 10:12
The most predictable fact of life in Zimbabwe is that inflation continues to
The government said last week inflation hit 1193 percent, the highest in the
world. The reality of course is that it is very much higher.
So the bakers increased the price of bread from about Z$120 000 a loaf to
about Z$135 000.
No, said the government, you can't raise the bread price above the gazetted
maximum of Z$85 000 for a standard loaf.
It hasn't been down there at that price for a couple of months.
So on Wednesday as the price control police toured some bakeries, the ovens
got turned off and the bread stopped coming. Maybe as many as
eight bakers were briefly arrested. There are now no regular standard loaves
of bread available in much of Harare.
It will take a few days for the price police to either run out of fuel or
realise, as they eventually usually do, that the people must have
bread. At any price.
The government also relaxes after a few headlines of how they are trying to
keep costs down have saturated the state-controlled media.
Posted by Peta Thornycroft at 23 Jun 06 10:12
Zimbabwe is by any definition a failed state, one that is the final stages
of economic meltdown. Trouble is, there are no precedents, at least not
recent ones, that allow us to predict what is likely to happen there in the
coming years or even months, far less to offer the beleagured population any
prospect of respite from their present dire predicament.
Presumably if Mr. Mugabe were developing a nuclear weapons programme, or
fomenting international terrorism or (according to the cynics) was sitting
on a giant oil field, there would have been not just international
condemnation by now, but the threat of economic sanctions, even military
intervention, not that I'm suggesting either of these is appropriate or
desirable. So the agony goes on for ordinary Zimbabweans, while we watch
helplessly from the sidelines. And just when we thought things couldn't get
any worse, the bulldozers moved in on the Harare shanties, leaving thousands
without even a sheet of corrugated steel above their heads.
At the risk of sounding like an ineffectual hand-wringing Edward VIII, one
feels that something must be done, but the question is what?
Are we in the West so preoccupied with events in the Middle East, or even
our own dangerous and crime-ridden streets, that we can abandon an entire
country to the whims of an octagenarian tyrant, one who owes his continued
power to the actions of a private army of intimidatory thugs?
One is in a cleft stick here, especially re sanctions, since the very people
they are supposed to help in the longer term will, if anything, suffer even
more in the immediate future. One suspects that Mr.Mugabe recognizes only
too well our impotence in this respect: his continuing smug expression says
I believe it's time for the UN to set up a "Save Zimbabwe" study group,
charged with the task of developing a new 21st century strategy for dealing
with the likes of Zimbabwe, failed states in which a mockery has been made
of democracy. It should be made to report back in three months, say, with a
broad-brush programme of international action, the details to be worked out
later. The task force should be given funds that would enable it to co-opt
the best brains on the planet, people who have track records of combining
power with discretion. One hesitates to mention names where, at least for
some, there may be unattractive baggage, so to speak, but those of George
Bush Senior, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela spring to
mind. Nothing should be ruled out, up to and including military
intervention. But thinking of the present quagmire that is Iraq, no state,
or group of states, should be permitted to go down that road without
authorization from the UN Security Council.
We in the civilized(?) world should act now, and give those long-suffering
Zimbabweans the prospect of some light at the end of their nightmarish
Rob the Reveller at 23 Jun 2006 11:52
Lean on Mbeki, somebody
Mugabe's old buddy, Thabo Mbeki, quite literally has the power to switch off
Mugabe's presidency at any time, as South Africa is supplying electricity,
petrol and food to Zimbabwe. But he won't because he fears a backlash from
his party. If only the international community would give Mbeki a bribe
(jobs, investment, development, cheap drugs) that would make him look the
hero in every way, this whole tragedy could be over.
Al at 23 Jun 2006 16:00
The documents detailed below have been sent to the following recipients in accordance with the Action Plan. There are some omissions which I am still working on, these email addresses are not easily obtained, I may have to use registered post. Supporters could assist in this task by forwarding the documents to any or all members of the British Government. It would be most effective if every member of the Commons and Lords received an avalanche of 2000 sets of documents, either by email or registered post. - AND THAT APPLIES TO ANY TARGET ON THE ACTION PLAN.
If supporters are able to assist in this way, please let me know the names of the recipients, so that I can cross them off my Action Plan list.
ACTION Date Emailed
1. The Queen. 4th June 06
2. The British Prime Minister:Tony Blair 4th June 06
3. 38 emails to British pensioner associations 14th May 06
4. email the petition to Trade Unions for support 21st May 06
5. email the petition to Human Rights Leaders for support
6 email the petition to I.M.F. for support. 21st May 06
7. email the petition to Leading British Newspapers 4th June 06
8. 220 British news reporters. 4th June 06
9. email the petition to G8 Headquarters
10. email the petition to Amnesty International
11. email the petition to Church Leaders for support. 21st May 06
12. email Members of the British Government (2 MP's) 24th June 06
13. email the petition to the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
14. email the petition to Celebrity activists
15. email the petition to "All Things Considered".
16. email the petition to International Companies with pension links to Zimbabwe
17. The Carter Centre UK: 14th May 06
18. Spingbok clubs 28th May 06
19. email the petition to bbcnews.com "have your say". 11th June 06
20. email the petition to Radio Talk-Back Hosts.
21. email the petition to all possible sympathisers.
It is reported that the IMF have our pensions on their agenda. They are "Planning to put all pension obligations on a completely new footing and to use existing accumulated pension assets to support this plan. They hope to lift exchange control and float the Zimbabwe dollar simultaneously as soon as possible after the present regime ends. This would enable pensions to be paid out abroad without restriction, and, hopefully, they would reflect current values in terms of pension rights ".
Whatever that means. I think Z$2 to one pound Sterling has a more specific and solid ring to it. . However, it is encouraging to know that Zimbabwe Pension Entitlements are now on the agenda of the International Monetary Fund.
The success of this endeavour will only be achieved with widespread publicity; Therefore, it is imperative that all supporters forward these documents to at least 3 influential people or groups, i.e, local newspaper editors, clergy or anyone who stands up for Justice, Human Rights and Morality. And, above all, to every member of the British Government
Don't give up. There is no failure except in no longer trying.
These Documents, (Referred To Above), Have Been Sent To The Recipients in the Action Plan:
PAYMENTS CUT OFF AND ARREARS STOLEN
I am an 84 year old Zimbabwe pensioner, now living in Australia, and I beg you to support the attached petition which has been signed by nearly 2000 ex-Zimbabwe pensioners and their families; many of whom are now in dire straits. It will be delivered to the British Minister of State on the 30th of June 2006.
For several years, our pensions have been withheld, and, we suspect, the arrears have been stolen. Zimbabwe has gone from barbarism to degeneration with only a small interval of civilization. The people mainly responsible for that civilizing interval were dumped when Britain offloaded it's Colonial responsibilities.
Most of us are British and we are enraged by the silent acceptance of our stolen pensions. Many of us served in the British Forces in the second world war, our fathers fought in the first one. Some of us were encouraged by the British Government to go to Rhodesia and help in it's post-war development. We then became victims of "The Winds of Change" and the blunders of inept or deceitful politicians.
Britain cut off our roots, then left us in the hands of an educated savage with jungle instincts, who would rule with traditional despotism. So far, only the politicians involved know the full story. Rhodesian citizens were ignorant of the settlement details, and they still are. They were asked to vote on what the politicians told them, but there were no solid guarantees; we had good and valid reasons to resist. We knew that our pensions would be in jeopardy; now, even the guarantees given on the selected group of civil servants, have not been honoured, If pensions are not honoured, we are all dishonoured and Human Rights, Justice and Morality are in the garbage bin. This is a grievous wrong begging for redress.
Recently, the G8 countries cancelled 3.5 billion dollars of African debt, now they are discussing more billions to be given as aid; a fraction of this money would settle all Zimbabwe pension entitlements. Payment of pensions and arrears at the historic rate of Z$2 to one pound Sterling should be made a condition of any future aid procedures.
Many Zimbabweans are descendants of Rhodesian Pioneers, who were heroes of Britains' Colonial Empire. They turned bushland into the breadbasket of Central Africa and made Rhodesia the Pearl of Africa. Now, the breadbasket has become a basket-case and these people are surviving on handouts from charitable foundations.
Many pensioners cannot leave Zimbabwe; they are old and frail, their monthly pensions (paid in Zimbabwe) will buy no more than a loaf of bread. They were born there, they have no other citizenship, their British stock is not recognized. They are dying Britain, dying. Please help us in any way you can.
To go to the petition site, click here: ------> www.gopetition.com/region/222/7681.html
To go to the Blog site, click here: ------> www.zim-pensions.blogspot.com
Selected comments,from the petition site, indicating the plilght of many of these pensioners, are as follows:.........
1. Zim Pensions by T G C Yeomans (16/03/06)
Pension and Medical Aid Unpaid.
Desperately need money for medical purposes.
2. Pension by Pat (15/03/06)
My parents are in their 84th year now and haven't had their pension from Zim for over 8 years now. It's absolutely disgusting. My mother was working until last year to supplement their British pension. Why should this be allowed?
3. Zim Pensions by Sharon Smith (14/03/06)
What happened to the Lancaster Agreement?
It was a stipulation in the Lancaster Agreement that the Zimbabwe government should pay the pentions. Well they would have if they had the forex to send the pensions out to countries which pensioners had settled in. Now... if Britian was the one who said the pensions should be paid and Zimbabwe could not pay them... it is then Britian who should uphold that part of the agreement, is it not? I lost my wonderful young husband in that war and he was a British citizen living in Zim. We were married in Zim (Rhodesia at the time).Our son and daughter(she was born 6 weeks after after he was killed in the bush war)had to grow up without their Daddy. Without any pension I can't even keep a bank account nowadays and don't have money to buy my 3 grandsons birthday presents.I could not have stayed in Zim so moved to South Africa as I knew the standard of education would drop and I could never have afforded the Zimbabwe private school fees for my two children on a pension. It's been a hard, hard struggle since my ZESC pension stopped about 4-5 years ago! If I was living in the UK, I would have had to go on the dole. What happened to the Lancaster Agreement?
4. Zimbabwe Pension by Gwyneth Cartwright (14/02/06)
At 95 years old, it is difficult to make out and pay the high nursing home fees on very limited resourses. Family have to pay considerable shortfall which is also hard for them as ex-Rhodesian pensioners.
5. Zimbabwe Pension by Peter Anthony Cartwright (14/02/06)
Worked for Rhodesian Ministry of Education for 23 years. No pension since 2000 or medical aid since 1998. Facing considerable financial difficulties.
6. Zimbabwe Airforce Pension. by Peter R. Nisbet. (12/02/06)
After servicing 20 years of "Pensionable Service" in the Airforce under the Federal, Rhodesian and Zimbabwe Governments and having my pension guaranteed by the British Government under the Lancaster House Agreement in London, payment was stopped after February 2003, with no communications having been received in respect of this matter. It has been 36 months since I last received my monthly pension. My father served in the Royal Airforce in England during WWll and died in Zimbabwe in 1975. I am having to support an 81 year old mother and a handicapped sister aged 54 hear in South Africa, as they had to leave Zimbabwe with no funds. I am forced to retire next year at age 63 by my Airline Employer and am not sure how I am going to exist without this pension.
7. Govt pension by E.M.Carew (09/02/06)
As the dollar devalued the deduction for my medical aid exceeded the monthly pension so I lost my medical cover, then the bank started charging more to process the pension payment than it was worth.
Thus I am totally stymied.
8. What about the folks still there?? by Karen (08/02/06)
My parents are still there. My Dad is 73 years old and Mom 71. My Dad has had 2 bi -Pass heart operattions and the bottom line is if he does not work he does not eat. What does he have to do to enjoy old age like "normal" people in nthe world?. He has worked since he was 15 years old. If they they did not want to pay the money to the Government to pay the old people there , then is is possible to set them up in a home with a pension with the right medical access in Britain perhaps where the money could be policed and not go into the Mugabe coffers. Someone needs to understand that only people born into "British" familly heritage or folks that have married into British famillies from yesteryear have the opportunity to get into Britain. Can someone tell me how please he and my mother and countless others like them go about finding out how to obtain entry into England. Something has to be done. These old people are dying like flies. Having oversea's organisations sponser them when all these people want is a life with a bit of dignity and not an existance that is now for many a "never never". Can the English Government please help these oldies enjoy what time that they have left.
I hear what you are saying about the pensions. The Old people that are there should be a priority for the people who read this petition. I would be interested to see what anyone has as a solution to the old age problem in Zim.
9. No old age pension by Diedrik Venter (07/02/06)
I am 84 years young and I have lost count when last I received any pension money from Zimbabwe. I worked on the Railways for 30 years in Bulawayo and know of many more buddies that are in the same "boat". Please can someone help
10. Pensions by G C Leach (06/02/06)
I am a workmens compensation pensioner. I damaged my back in 1968 as a mechanic and had surgery in Rhodesia twice following the event. I was given a 70% disability pension. I havent seen a cheque for years. Those that I did recieve about 12 years ago - the bank charges were more than the cheque. I have had to foot the bill for 2 more operations on my back at a cost of R140 000. Zimbabwe refused to assist with a penny.My letters go unanswered
11. Zimbabwe Pension by Mrs Margaret Lowe (05/02/06)
It is good that a petition has been put forward as since I have not recieved my pension life as been rather difficult as I am 83 yrs and having to rely on help
12. Pension Entitlements by Mrs I whincup (04/02/06)
A Total Disgrace is no a strong enough phrase to describe what the Pensioners and so many other are suffering in Zimbabwe and around the world. My late Dad did not receive his pension for
years and if it had not been for my husband and myself supporting him he would have died years earlier.I might add he was an exremely proud man and it totally desrtroyed him that he had to rely on us for his keep. He had worked for over thirty years for a government dept anworked so hard to ensure he would have a secure retirement. What a JOKE!!!!!! Things are so bad and unreal in Zimbabwe it make a sane person wonder if the country has been taken over by aliens, as surely only someone so foreign to our world could treat people in such an unspeakable manner!!!
Please those of you with the power in the world to make this right do it now before it is too late.
13. Railway Pensions by Roland Mauseth (02/02/06)
My father passed away on the 19th April 2004 and he had not been paid anything for so long and his letters were never answered, yet within a month of him passing away, as his executor I had a letter saying that it had been brought to thier notice (condolances on his passing had been placed in a Zimbabwe Newspaper by an old friend)that he had passed away his pension was being stopped! I wrote back stating that he had not recieved anything for X time and guess what, no reply....
14. Zim Pensions by P. Wright (01/02/06)
My dad is also 83. He brought our family to Paraguay as refugees in '78 and still lives here. He had been reciving a pension from the Mine Worker's Pension Fund which he contributed to(he worked for about 20 years in the Gatooma (Kadoma) area). For a number of years now he hasn't been recieving his pension, which had dwindled down to almost nothing when he last recieved it. He isn't well and has to live off the stipened that we, his children, give him. Of course he resents having to do this, but he has no choice. It would be a terrible shame if all that he contributed to gets stolen with all the other blocked funds that have already been taken by that so-called "president".
15. Zimbabwe Pensions by Warren Higgins (31/01/06)
My Godmother (89) has not received her late husbands railway pension for over 10 years,
the reason given, yes you guessed it, no forex.
16. Re: Rhodesia/Zimbabwe Pension by Nikki (31/01/06)
Yea my folks worked hard and dad retired and his pension 3 years ago couldn't buy a small bottle of coke! they left
17. Pension by Maria Brunner (23/01/06)
My husband Rudolf Brunner died in 2001 and I have had endless problems trying to get some help regarding his pension. Letter, phone calls you name it I tried..but for nothing. I have almost given up as I dont have the strength anymore.
18. ZIMBABWE PENSIONS by R Bushby (23/01/06)
I have not had my pension since June 2001 and have not even had the decency of a reply to the Old Mutual or Standard Bank. Old Mutual says they paid all the monies to the bank but it does not show up on the statements received to date. Emails, letter and even telephone calls have fallen on deaf ears. Please someone, do something!
19.Pension Entitlements by Terry Bruce (Mrs) (22/01/06)
Oh what a wonderful thing it would be if indeed, the pension payments were to be paid out. My mom was receiving my dad's pension who had been a Civil Servant for some 20 odd years, due to the fact that this was no longer coming through, my husband and I were supplementing her income to the same amount. We are no longer in the same country that she is, and so obviously we have not been able to assist her in this area, due to Forex Exchange in SA. This as you can imagine has been a big burden and concern for us. It would be through devine intervention that they start to be paid out again.
Good Luck and God Bless to you and yours
20. Non-payment Pensions by Gordon Cormack (19/01/06)
I have not been paid my pension for 40
months and have great difficulty in finding employment. I have had no sensible reply from either the South African or the British Governments.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive Karikoga Kaseke said on
Saturday that the country is aggressively putting in place strategies aimed
at boosting the country's image and increasing tourist arrivals.
Kaseke said the strategies are part of efforts to turnaround the
economy under the National Economic Development Priority Program which has
identified tourism as a key sector expected to contribute to economic
He noted that some of the strategies that have already been
implemented to counter negative perception about Zimbabwe and attract
tourists through tourist ambassadors in source markets which include China,
Indonesia, Malaysia, France and Ireland.
Kaseke said journalists from abroad have been invited to Zimbabwe for
a practical experience on the country's true story as a safe tourist
destination being demonized by the Western media.
To date 133 personalities who include journalists and business people
from source markets have come to Zimbabwe under this program. China tops the
number of arrivals, he said.
BY OUR STAFF
THE Minister of Information and Publicity, Tichaona Joseph
Benjamin Jokonya, has died.
He was 68.
George Charamba, the Secretary for Information and Publicity,
confirmed the death and said the minister's body was found in a hotel room
yesterday morning by his aides. The hotel is understood to be the Rainbow
Towers, formerly the Sheraton.
Charamba said: "He was scheduled to address heads of parastatals
under his Ministry this morning at 10:00hrs. A government pathologist is
carrying out investigations. A statement will be issued once the
investigations are complete."
Mourners are gathered at Samaita Farm in Beatrice.
Ronaldo Jokonya, a family spokesperson, said no details had been
"We have just officially informed President Mugabe," Ronaldo
Sources said Jokonya was supposed to meet senior officials from
his ministry before proceeding to his farm for another meeting with State
They said Jokonya had summoned all editors from the State media
to a meeting yesterday at his farm in Beatrice, 65km south of Harare. The
meeting was cancelled following his death.
"There was supposed to be a meeting of State editors with the
minister at his farm in Beatrice today (yesterday) to announce the
appointments at ZBH but we received a notice of cancellation of the
meeting," said one of the editors.
Jokonya's death comes at a time when he was moving in to
restructure the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) and turn it into a
He had dissolved the ZBH board and was supposed to announce a
new board with nine members.
From 1983-1988, he was the country's Ambassador to Ethiopia and
Permanent Representative to the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
He was Zimbabwe's permanent representative to the United Nations
from 1992 to 2002. He was then appointed CEO of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
in 2003 and headed the tourism promotion body up to December 2004.
He was elected MP for Chikomba in March last year and
subsequently appointed Minister of Information and Publicity.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
THE United People's Party (UPP) was launched yesterday in Harare
with interim President, Daniel Shumba, (pictured) announcing that it would
contest forthcoming Rural District Council elections.
He said UPP would not resort to violence or any other
unconstitutional means to remove Zanu PF from power but would pursue
A fired-up Shumba told cheering delegates drawn from all the 10
administrative provinces of Zimbabwe that he would use his inside knowledge
of Zanu PF to defeat the ruling party at the polls.
Shumba said: "I was once part of them (Zanu PF) and tried to
sort out things from within. I know how they rig elections and I know how we
can achieve our goal."
The former Zanu PF provincial chairman for Masvingo was
suspended from the party after attending the ill-fated Tsholotsho indaba in
2004. Shumba later resigned from Zanu PF as the party intensified a
witch-hunt for the people accused of plotting to block the selection of
Joice Mujuru as Vice President.
"Tangova nhapwa dzoga dzoga nekuda kweZanu PF (we are all slaves
because of Zanu PF). Today UPP is saying to Zimbabweans, let's stop this
madness. This is our country. We cannot submit to any evil. The process of
change needs not bring another form of madness. It must be peaceful and
The full interim leadership of the party, Shumba said, would be
announced at the end of the month following countrywide consultations.
UPP's inaugural congress would be held at the end of the year.
Masvingo Alderman Antony Pedzisa was the master of ceremony at
the launch also attended by Bulawayo Alderman Charles Mpofu and diplomats.
By Caiphas Chimhete and Foster Dongozi
THE Central Intelligence Organisation, President Robert Mugabe's
dreaded storm troopers on Thursday threatened pastors from Harare and
Chitungwiza saying a meeting held at a Methodist Church in Highfield earlier
in the day was "illegal".
The increasingly paranoid government has resorted to threats in
order to prevent, religious leaders, students and workers from demonstrating
against economic hardships, fearing the protests might degenerate into a
nationwide uprising that could remove it from power.
The threats are being carried out at a time when uncertainty
surrounds a planned mass protest this winter by the opposition MDC.
The Standard has established that during the past few weeks
state security agents and government officials have threatened student
leaders and workers' representatives in a bid to deter them from mobilising
Those threatened include Zimbabwe National Students Union
(Zinasu) leaders, Harare Municipal Workers' Unions (HMWU) and General
Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz)
representatives and church leaders.
Mugabe is blamed for the current economic collapse.
Authoritative sources in the Harare Municipal Workers' Union
(HMWU) told The Standard that senior government officials recently
threatened union leaders after calling for protests against low salaries.
However, HMWU chairman Cosmas Bungu last week played down the
issue saying they only had "a meeting" with senior government officials over
the pay dispute.
Zinasu president George Mkwananzi said student leaders have
become the target of government repression because of their potential
political influence, especially in times of economic hardships.
He said some students had received death threats from suspected
state security agents after threatening to mobilise protests against
The chairman of the Agricultural Labour Bureau (ALB) Joseph
Mafanuke recently wrote to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare, Nicholas Goche, urging him to deregister Gapwuz for revealing that
farm workers would down tools if wage grievances were not addressed.
But Gapwuz secretary general, Getrude Hambira, is unyielding.
"We will continue to speak on behalf of the workers, to champion their cause
regardless of the threats."
The government has also vowed to crush the MDC if it goes ahead
with its planned winter protests against continued economic decline that has
caused untold suffering among Zimbabweans.
"The MDC and its supporters will be trashed, humiliated and
split even further when the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) will be
forced by the workers to go on its own way," Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan
Bishop Levee Kadenge of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, has
gone underground after he was threatened with death by a CIO operative, who
warned him "mudhara tinoda kuku tsvaira (Old man, we want to wipe you out)."
He has not been to his house since Thursday.
The government is concerned that the pastors may have mobilised
their congregations to boycott today's Zimbabwe National Day of Prayer rally
which has been organised by some pro-Zanu PF church leaders, the ruling
party's Commissariat department and the department for information and
publicity in the ruling party.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have taken up Bishop
Kadenge's case and written to Didymus Mutasa, the minister responsible for
Kadenge is the convenor of the Christian Alliance, a grouping of
church leaders around the country who have been outspoken against the
government's "Operation Murambatsvina" and the collapse of the economy, rule
of law and violation of human rights.
President Mugabe claims he is a devout Roman Catholic.
The crackdown against the Church came after close to 100
pastors, who are members of the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference met at
a Methodist Church in Highfield to find out if some of their members had
been consulted by church leaders who met Mugabe at State House on 25 May.
Two CIO operatives attended the pastors' meeting in Highfield,
claiming they were priests.
Soon after, someone claiming to be from the President's Office
telephoned the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Bishop
Simbarashe Sithole, warning him against the use of the church's premises by
the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference.
Sithole declined to tell The Standard what transpired during the
discussion with the official purporting to be from the President's Office,
saying: "I cannot comment on that. When something like that happens, I first
have to consult the church leadership before making a comment."
BY GIBBS DUBE
BULAWAYO - Heavily armed police have sealed off Jijima Lodge in
Gwayi, Matabeleland North, following the eviction of a prominent businessman
who has been locked in a land dispute with Speaker of Parliament and ruling
party chairman, John Nkomo.
The businessman, Langton Masunda, served with an eviction order
signed by National Security, Lands, and Land Reform and Resettlement
Minister Didymus Mutasa a few days ago, has left the lodge currently
cordoned off by armed policeman but has vowed to fight to the bitter end.
Sources at the lodge said:"Police told us to stop working saying
that our employer was involved in illegal hunting activities at adjacent
farms owned by (John) Nkomo. They also informed us that (Langton) Masunda
was not supposed to visit the lodge anymore."
Several other sources said the heavily armed police were
patrolling most sections of Subdivision One of Volunteer Farm's sections 47,
48 and 49 - offered to Masunda by the government in July 2002.
The fate of 36 other workers is unknown following the departure
of their employer.
Masunda told The Standard that he was afraid to visit the farm
but said he would fight to repossess his property to the bitter end using
His lawyers, Majoko and Majoko, have already written to Mutasa
notifying him that Masunda's eviction was worse than what was experienced by
whites who lost their land at the height of the land reform programme.
Masunda and Nkomo have been locked in a dispute in the past
three years, over the ownership of Lugo Ranch which is part of Volunteer
Farms and Jijima Lodge.
Nkomo has unsuccessfully lodged eviction orders against Masunda
in the courts.
By OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - President of the pro-Senate Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) faction, Arthur Mutambara, has started holding meetings with
war veterans as part of efforts to improve relations with the former
liberation war fighters.
Mutambara is also meeting ex-detainees, restrictees and widowed
spouses of the liberation war fighters in moves also meant to enlighten them
on the party's struggle against Zanu-PF.
Deputy pro-Senate secretary general, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, confirmed the meetings.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the meetings were meant to
"conscientise" the war veterans about the role of opposition political
parties in the country.
"The meetings are part of the re-branding exercise of the
party - Zanu PF had privatised the war veterans and their role.
"We are re-engaging them and trying to make them realise that
opposition political parties have a role to play in the country," said
Zimbabwe Liberators' Peace Initiative (ZLPI) president, Max
Mnkandla, said of the meeting with Mutambara: "As seasoned political players
in the country, we will be looking for the truth and what he has to say.
"We are sharing ideas. It is not like we are saying we want to
be in the MDC structures."
Mnkandla confirmed attending one of the recent meetings held in
Pro-Senate deputy spokesperson, Abednigo Bhebhe, said the
meetings were meant to improve relations between two and "clear the
propaganda" that Zanu PF had created about the MDC.
"We recognise the role they played in the liberation of the
country and we are against their politicisation. Mugabe has taken advantage
of the war veterans and created a picture that any other party is against
"It's not correct what they were told by Mugabe. We want to
clear that perception and we believe those were some of the fundamental
things that were lacking in the party before the break-up," Bhebhe said.
Both Bhebhe and Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the party had
received "overwhelming response from the war veterans who have pledged their
support in our struggle".
By our staff
STAFF members at the country's premier institution of higher
education, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), have gone on strike following
the government's failure to pay them their salaries on time, The Standard
It is understood that the staff were due to be paid on Friday
last week, but when they went to their respective banks, no money had been
deposited into their accounts.
This frustrated both the academic and non-academic staff, who
resolved they would not report for duty until they received their salaries.
The lecturers are demanding a 40% salary increment backdated to
John Makumbe, a lecturer at the UZ confirmed the strike, saying
it was "symptomatic of the crisis which our country is facing" and that the
government's failure to pay its workers is "very shameful".
Non-academic staff also joined the strike saying the 150% salary
increment they received was inadequate.
UZ vice-chancellor, professor Levi Nyagura, was yesterday
unavailable for comment because he was said to out of the country.
By Walter Marwizi
AFTER operating in Mashonaland West for several years, Paul
Mangwana, the Minister of State Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and
Anti-Corruption, is heading back to his home province.
The Standard understands that Mangwana who lost the Kadoma seat
last year is scouting for a safe constituency amid reports that ethnic
politics in Mashonaland West may have prompted him to go back to his roots.
Mangwana's move has already sparked consternation among some
Masvingo politicians who fear the non-constituency MP may threaten their
stranglehold on local Zanu PF politics.
Mangwana has already endeared himself to the Chivi community by
embarking on development projects in the arid area, which has little
infrastructure. Villagers blame local politicians for their predicament.
Among other projects, Mangwana has contributed $800 million for
the construction of a headmaster's house at Mangwana primary which he
attended for his primary education.
The community has responded to his endeavours by appointing him
the patron of the Better Schools Programme, an initiative aimed at improving
schools run down through years of neglect.
But politicians appear to be rattled by the inroads Mangwana is
making in Chivi.
Prominent among those who are riled by Mangwana's return to the
once populous province is Chivi Senator Samuel Mumbengegwi, Zanu PF sources
told The Standard.
Mumbengegwi is reported to have been unsettled by the way
Mangwana was fast establishing himself in Chivi where the Senator had
emerged the dominant politician following the downfall of former Governor
The Standard was told that over the weekend Mumbengegwi openly
clashed with Mangwana in Chivi where they met face- to-face at a meeting
called by the anti-corruption minister.
Mumbengegwi demanded that Mangwana explain why he had made
forays into the area without seeking clearance from the provincial leaders.
Mumbengegwi is the Zanu PF provincial chairman. While the Senator was not
available for comment, Mangwana confirmed that Mumbengegwi had expressed
disquiet over his presence in the constituency.
But he dismissed reports that the two politicians almost came to
blows and were only restrained by their aides.
"Yes, the chairman had certain concerns. He wanted to know how I
had become involved in the Better Schools Programme and why I had not sought
the blessing of provincial leaders before I started the projects in Chivi.
He also wanted to know whether I was coming to the province for good. We
discussed the matter and we had good meeting afterwards," said Mangwana.
"That is my place of birth and there is nothing amiss when I
assist the community in development projects. I don't hold any position in
Zanu PF structures in Masvingo, but since I am a non-constituent MP, I don't
see any problem working hand-in-hand with the two MPs in Chivi to bring
Asked what he would do if the community asked him to represent
them in Parliament, Mangwana said:
"I will consider their request. I am in politics to serve the
people. Who would turn down a request by the people to lead them?"
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
BUHERA - There is no honour for the dead in Zimbabwe as long as
they belong to the "wrong" political organisation.
Police officers on Wednesday tormented mourners at the funeral
of Chibwe Tsvangirai, the father ofMorgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The officers told MDC national chairperson Isaac Matongo minutes
after their arrival to order mourners to remove their MDC regalia or leave
"This is not an MDC rally. All the people wearing party T-shirts
must remove them forthwith because this gathering was not registered with
the police as required by POSA (Public Order and Security Act). We don't
want to hear any MDC slogans here," charged Inspector Tomukai of Murambinda
Police Station who refused to give out his first name to opposition
The intrusion by the police forced Morgan Tsvangirai to cut
short his address to mourners who had gathered for the funeral.
An unimpressed Matongo said:
"We are burying someone who was born in 1928, the father of a
very key figure in Zimbabwean politics and he deserves a decent burial. That
can only come from us as MDC because we were working with him in several
ways. We are very disappointed with your attitude towards our party. After
all makokwa nani parufu rwuno (who invited you to this funeral) to cause
Matongo referred the police officers who arrived at the scene in
a packed truck, to MDC secretary for security, Giles Mutsekwa, who was also
annoyed by the behaviour of the police.
"This is a funeral of a very important person in the MDC and no
one has a right to stop party supporters from wearing their regalia," said
Another MDC official Willias Madzimure the MP for Kambuzuma
accused the police of applying the law selectively.
"We have never heard you ordering Zanu PF supporters to remove
their party T-shirts during the burial of their members. What is wrong with
MDC supporters putting on their regalia when burying their colleagues? Can't
you see that you are being partisan and after all which section of POSA have
we violated?" asked Madzimure.
But the questions were just too many for Tomukai who responded:
"POSA is POSA".
The argument between the police and senior MDC officials lasted
30 minutes, prompting some youths to threaten to beat up the officers.
Matongo, who ordered his party's angry youths to leave, spared the police
officers from what could have turned out to be a nasty confrontation.
The policemen who told the MDC leaders they were, "working under
instruction from the top" then left in a huff.
Asked by this reporter whose instruction his team was following,
Tomukai said: "I am disappointed and I will not talk to you anyway."
The funeral was attended by more than 1 000 people, with some of
them coming from as far as Victoria Falls, Hwange and Gokwe.
BY GIBBS DUBE
BULAWAYO - TRADE unionist-cum-politician Gift Chimanikire, who
together with four members of the pro-Senate faction of the MDC filed a $100
billion lawsuit against anti-Senate MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, has
withdrawn defamation charges.
Chimanikire defected from pro-Senate MDC faction led by
Professor Arthur Mutambara to the Tsvangirai faction.
Pro-Senate group lawyer, Nicholas Mathonsi, said Chimanikire who
had been elected chairman of the pro-Senate group, withdrew his $20 billion
lawsuit against his new boss a fortnight ago for personal reasons.
"Chimanikire instructed me to withdraw the $20 billion
defamation claim against Tsvangirai saying he was no longer interested in
the case. I have already filed a notice of withdrawal at the High Court on
that basis but the other four are still pursuing the lawsuit," Mathonsi
Chimanikire was not available for comment.
Sources close to Tsvangirai indicated that it was no longer
possible for Chimanikire to pursue the matter as he had since joined the
anti-Senate faction of the MDC.
Mathonsi noted that a pre-trial conference was being arranged
with a Bulawayo-based judge in order to discuss the evidence and number of
witnesses to testify in the case despite Chimanikire's move to pull out of
"When that (pre-trial conference) is held, we will then set a
trial date. Hopefully, the case will be dealt with between September and
December this year," he said.
Tsvangirai has already hired a top law firm to represent him in
the lawsuit filed by pro-Senate faction secretary general Professor Welshman
Ncube, treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube, vice president Gibson Sibanda and
former Gwanda North Member of Parliament Paul Themba Nyathi.
Each claimant is demanding $20 billion from Tsvangirai following
his alleged remarks to the diplomatic community in December last year that
the pro-Senate group had connived with the ruling party to kill the former
The claimants are also alleging that Tsvangirai told the same
gathering that the pro-Senate faction had entered into a secret political
pact with the ruling party for a cohabitation project on a post-MDC
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
Masvingo - THE Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe, Masvingo chapter,
has threatened to demonstrate over the failure by police to properly
investigate a senior Zanu PF official accused of raping his 14-year-old
The official, who is a headmaster, is facing charges of raping a
14-year-old girl he had been entrusted to look after. He was questioned by
police but was not brought to court after the Attorney-General declined to
The girl is a Form One pupil at a school in Masvingo.
Angered by the turn of events, gender activists in Masvingo say
the police are downplaying the case in a bid to protect the headmaster, who
is a stalwart of the ruling party.
Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe Masvingo chapter chairperson,
Mabel Sikhosana, said her organisation will take to the streets to pressure
the police to finish their investigations so that the headmaster faces the
full wrath of the law.
She said: "We heard reports of the case and we will be
organising demonstrations in the city to pressure the police to do their
job. This is violence against the girl child and if we just fold our hands,
more girls will continue to be abused while the perpetrators go unpunished.
"We are not saying that he (the headmaster) is guilty but the
case should be brought before the courts and if he is innocent he will walk
Sikhosana added that police should investigate the case fully
and leave everything to court officials who should determine headmaster's
"Police should investigate this fully despite the fact that he
is a political figure," she said.
The matter was reported to the police last month and police
subsequently questioned the headmaster before the docket was sent to the
courts. However, prosecutors referred the docket back to the police saying
it was incomplete. They also ordered investigating officers to complete it
and return to court.
Masvingo Regional Prosecutor, Elson Chabarika confirmed to The
Standard that the docket was sent back to the police.
"His case was brought here sometime last month but we returned
his docket because there were issues that needed to be completed. Up to now
they have not come back to us with the case and we are still waiting for
them," Chabarika said.
It is alleged that the headmaster raped the minor whom he stays
with last month and the child reported the case to her mother who threatened
her not to tell anybody.
The girl however reported the case to her school teacher and the
matter was reported to the police.
BY OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - Police in Bulawayo have launched an investigation
into the alleged disappearance of court documents in a high profile case
involving Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Gweru business mogul Patrick
Documents in the possession of The Standard indicate that at
least two clerks of court have been questioned by the Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) over the issue after the High Court initially ordered the
attachment of Mnangagwa's property through a default judgement granted by
Justice Maphios Cheda.
The court last August ordered the Sheriff or his deputy to
attach the minister's property in a $112 billion (US$20 million) lawsuit
after Mnangagwa's lawyers allegedly failed to file opposing papers.
The judgement was reversed when the minister's lawyers appealed
against it, claiming that their opposing papers were missing from the court
files, which resulted in the default judgement.
Latest developments indicate that the CID has questioned two
clerks, Nqobile Mlotshwa and Nokuthula Mpfulili, over the disappearance of
the court papers.
A letter written by Njabulo Mabuya, the High Court Acting Deputy
Master based in Bulawayo, dated 24 May 2006 and addressed to the Master of
the High Court, C Nyatanga, advises the latter that the court was awaiting
the outcome of investigations being carried out by the CID.
It reads: ". Please note that N Mlotshwa and N Mpfulili were
called by the CID officers and they (CID) are yet to advise on the progress
or outcome of their investigations."
The two refused to comment saying they were instructed by the
CID not to talk to the Press or any person regarding the investigations.
Although Mabuya confirmed that investigations were in progress,
he was not at liberty to divulge any information on the issue. Nyatanga
could not be reached for a comment.
Mnangagwa's lawyer, Nicholas Mathonsi of Coghlan & Welsh being
instructed by Dzimba Jaravaza & Associates, said he was not happy with the
slow pace of the investigations since a formal complaint was filed by the
aggrieved party earlier this year.
"It is surprising that the CID have not even bothered to
interview us as complainants. They have only questioned two people in the
matter," said Mathonsi.
He indicated that after filing the complaint, he was called by
Justice Maphios Cheda who informed him that he had asked all employees to
write reports on the issue.
Justice Cheda could not be reached for comment as he was said to
be busy with court proceedings in Bulawayo.
Lawyers representing Patrick Kombayi, Chitere Chidawanyika &
Partners and the CID, declined to comment on the issue.
In a letter to the Registrar of the High Court earlier this
year, the minister's lawyer said that several documents relating to the case
had gone missing, raising eyebrows over the handling of the matter.
Mathonsi said that documents filed by Ben Baron & Partners on
behalf of Gollop & Blank and Coghlan & Welsh instructed by Dzimba Jaravaza &
Associates for an appearance to defend the respondents - Mnangagwa, Mambo
Press and Fredrick Shava - had gone missing at the High Court.
A writ of execution against Mnangagwa and Shava's properties
worth $224 billion was subsequently issued by the High Court following
default judgments against the two. Similar lawsuits against Mambo Press and
Professor Ngwabi Bhebe, author of the book, Simon Vengayi Muzenda and the
Struggle for and Liberation of Zimbabwe, are still pending.
Kombayi is demanding US$20 million from each of the four
defendants claiming that they defamed him in the book detailing the life of
the late Vice President Simon Muzenda.
BY GIBBS DUBE
BULAWAYO - Long distance bus and commuter bus drivers, facing
stiff competition from the recently introduced Bulawayo-Francistown
passenger train service, have attempted to "derail" the passenger train in a
bid to boost their dwindling business.
This has resulted in the governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe
and top railway officials in both countries appealing for fair competition
amid concerns that the kombi drivers may cause serious train accidents while
trying to block the passenger train.
According to the chief executive officer of Botswana Railways
(BR), Andrew Lunga, "some unscrupulous road transporters recently placed a
sleeper across the railway line in an attempt to block the passenger train".
"It is fortunate that the train crushed the sleeper, otherwise
we may have recorded a serious accident. We know that commuter bus and long
distance bus drivers are not happy about the reintroduction of the train
service as this has affected their operations," said Lunga.
He said BR was prepared to hold an all-stakeholders meeting with
the long distance transport operators in order to find ways of resolving the
conflict as they were other few incidents in which their competitors
protested against the reintroduction of the train service.
His Zimbabwean counterpart, Mike Karakadzai, noted that the
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) was also concerned by "certain
unorthodox ways" of attempting to derail the passenger train service.
"I believe that unorthodox ways of blocking our services will
not work. What will happen if we decide to stop our trains at rail-road
crossings in order to block commuter omnibuses and buses from ferrying their
customers to the two cities? We do not want to get involved in such
clandestine business operations just for the sake of fixing our
competitors," Karakadazi said.
He said although there were no recorded incidents in Zimbabwe
where road transporters attempted to forcibly push them out of business, the
NRZ was willing to negotiate with their competitors in order to find a
lasting solution to the problem.
Although commuter bus drivers in Zimbabwe and Botswana plying
the Francistown-Bulawayo route distanced themselves from attempts to
sabotage the passenger train, they admitted that their operations had been
seriously affected by the reintroduction of the railway service.
"We believe in fair competition and there is no other way to
stop this train service. Although our fares are almost the same, we have
lost a number of clients to the new train service," said one of the
long-distance drivers in Francistown who identified himself as Lerato
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
CHINHOYI - People living with HIV and AIDS have added their
voice to a chorus of discontent in condemning the selection and setting up
of an Opportunistic Infections Clinic (OIC) at Father O'Hea Hospital in
Mashonaland West, The Standard can reveal.
Father O'Hea Hospital popularly known as Kutama Hospital, which
is a stones throw away from President Robert Mugabe's homestead has been
chosen to benefit from support from the Global Fund.
Kutama and four other centres were chosen to administer
Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARVs) to rural folk. The other centres under the
programme are Karanga in Mashonaland East, St Anne's in Matabeleland in
Plumtree and Mutambara in Manicaland.
Patients, who talked to The Standard during a recent media tour
organised by National AIDS Council (NAC), said the Hospital is not central.
People from as far as Kariba, Siakobvu and Karoi have to board transport
thrice before they can reach Kutama.
Yutham Chiyangwa, who lives in Chinhoyi and travels to Kutama
monthly to collect ARV drugs, said the hospital is not central and it is
difficult for many of the people dependent on ARVs to find transport from
Murombedzi to Kutama as the route is not busy, which makes it very expensive
for those who must visit the hospital to collect their medication.
Chinhoyi is the provincial capital of Mashonaland West province
and transport from most parts of the province travels to Chinhoyi, which
means if the OIC was located in Chinhoyi patients would face less
difficulties when they travel to collect their monthly supply of medication.
The same problems are also shared by Wadzanayi Muchena, who
comes from Karoi. She said since travelling is now expensive - following
recent escalation in the price of fuel - many people are likely to default
Others labelled the decision to locate the OIC at Kutama a
political move since Kutama is not central and a health official, who
declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said Chinhoyi Hospital would
have been ideal. Chinhoyi Hospital is the biggest hospital in the province.
On the allegation that most times people from outside Zvimba
District are refused treatment at the hospital, Dr James Kanonhuwa said
sometimes it is necessary to screen patients as those who came from afar
were likely to default on treatment due to failure to travel on stipulated
But many of those who are turned away said this confirms the
clinic was located at Kutama to serve the interests of the First Family and
their relatives, lending weight to allegations that the whole issue is
The clinic provides ARV's to 600 HIV and AIDS patients and hopes
to extend this to an ambitious target of 700 000 in three years' time. It
started operating in December last year with a target of 300 000 - a figure
that is 500 times more than current patients. The hospital is funded by
Global Fund and also receives an allocation from National Aids Council
By Vusumuzi Sifile
MAKONI - THE Minister of Health and Child Welfare, David
Parirenyatwa, recently acknowledged that the government's negative attitude
towards western governments was scuttling efforts to revitalise the country's
ailing health system.
During the launch of the national Measles Immunisation and
Vitamin A supplementation programme, Parirenyatwa acknowledged that donor
organisations from countries viewed as Zimbabwe's top enemies were keeping
the country's health sector alive with generous donations.
Addressing villagers who had gathered at Nyahukwe Primary School
in Makoni district, Manicaland Province a fortnight ago, Parirenyatwa
deviated from his written speech and turned to the Senator for
Makoni-Nyanga, Stanley Sakupwanya, saying: "Senator, DFID iyi iri kutaurwa
nezvayo ibazi remaBritish rinoona nezvebudiriro kunedzimwe nyika.Kana zvazvo
tichinetsana nedzimwe nyaya, DFID inotibatsira senyika.(This DFID we are
talking about is the British government's Department for International
Development. We might have our differences in other areas, but they are
helping us as a nation.)"
DFID and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
were the major donors towards the Immunisation programme. Most of DFID's
funding was through the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF),
one of the major partners in the programme. CIDA contributed US$900 000,
about Z$91 billion at the official exchange rate. The money was channelled
through Hellen Keller International.
Speaking during the launch, Canadian ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Roxanne Dube, said the money would prevent an estimated 4 900 deaths in
She said: "We are encouraged that some two million children in
Zimbabwe will benefit directly, preventing an estimated 4 900 deaths. For as
little as US$1 per person, a twice-yearly distribution of high dose Vitamin
A capsules will prevent blindness and improve these children's chances of
Sakupwanya commended the Canadian Ambassador for her
contributions towards the welfare of disadvantaged Zimbabweans. In his
closing remarks at the launch, Sakupwanya said the Canadians were neither
here nor there in relation to Zimbabwean politics.
Following the launch of four-year Measles Immunisation and
Vitamin A supplementation programmes eight years ago, it is understood that
reported measles cases have declined from around 20 000 in 1998, to less
than 100. The World Health Organisation reports that the number of deaths
related to measles have also declined from over 100 in 1998, to the current
less than three deaths a year.
Manicaland provincial Governor and Resident Minister, Tinaye
Chigudu, said the government needed to work closely with international
donors to "sustain this commendable standard".
Humanitarian organisations partnering the government in the
immunisation programme include UNICEF, CIDA, WHO, DFID, Hellen Keller
International, Plan International and Rotary International.
BY OUR STAFF
UNDER the current operational challenges most banks are unlikely
to post any profits in the six-months to June or for the full year to
December 2006, the Bankers Employers' Association (BEA) has said.
In a position paper for the banking sector negotiations, BEA
said the high prime-lending rate of 500-560% per annum had credit risk
"As at 31 December 2005 non-performing loans for the banking
industry averaged 16.9% as compared to international best practice standards
of below 4%," BEA said.
It said Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) accommodation rates were
so high and unsustainable that they could not be transferred to the final
RBZ charges 850% and 900% per annum for secured and unsecured
BEA said: " For example if you borrow $1 trillion from the
Reserve Bank over a month you will have to pay interest of $994 billion
while on the other hand if you lend the same amount to customers at 560% the
bank will only receive interest of $447 billion."
BEA said that the high inflation rate was forcing operating
costs to rise faster than income resulting in unsustainable cost to income
The association said that with problems bedevilling the sector
most banks are unlikely to meet the 30 September 2006 deadline for the new
"Thus, some banks may actually be forced to close or merge with
other banks if they are to survive and retain their workers," BEA said.
Commercial banks are supposed to raise $1 trillion, merchant
banks, and building societies and finance houses ($750 billion) discount
houses ($500 billion) and $100 billion for asset managers as minimum
Only six banks -Standard Chartered, Merchant of Central Africa,
Stanbic, Barclays, CBZ and Zimbank- are reported to have met the capital
requirements while Kingdom Financial has announced a $1.4 trillion rights
offer to finance its recapitalisation.
With RBZ governor Gideon Gono insisting that there is no going
back on the capital requirements mergers would be the only option, analysts
BY VALENTINE MAPONGA
A high-powered delegation from the ministry of Energy and Power
Development recently went to the Gulf state of Qatar looking for possible
fuel suppliers but returned emptyhanded.
The trip came hard on the heels of a similar visit to Equatorial
Guinea, where another delegation to that country returned with nothing
despite several memorandums of understanding having been signed between the
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo visited President Robert
Mugabe recently. Zimbabwean officials had hoped the visit would pave way for
the flow of oil from the West African country.
President Mugabe has also visited Venezuela, but brought no fuel
Realising that nothing was forthcoming, the government headed
for oil-rich, Qatar, where a Zimbabwean delegation held numerous meetings
with oil supplying companies. They hoped to broker possible fuel deals but
again, nothing was forthcoming.
Standardbusiness understands the companies are yet to respond.
The delegation, sources said, included the Retired Major General
Mike Nyambuya, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, and other
senior officials from the ministry.
Nyambuya, however, could not finish the trip after the death of
a close relative.
Justin Mupamhanga, the Permanent Secretary for the ministry, who
was also part of the delegation, confirmed they went to Qatar as part of
their efforts to restore the country's fuel supplies.
"Like other many trips to oil-producing countries, the Qatar
trip was and is part of our efforts in trying to secure oil supplies for the
country. We are still waiting for responses from some of the companies we
met during our trip," Mupamhanga said.
He however could not name the companies they approached for
Petroleum is the cornerstone of Qatar's economy and accounts for
more than 60% of total government revenue, more than 30% of gross domestic
product, and roughly 80% of export earnings. Qatar has proven oil reserves
of 3.7 billion barrels.
Massive foreign currency shortages have led to a crippling fuel
shortage in Zimbabwe and a sharp rise in prices over the past few months. A
litre of petrol is selling for between $400 000 and $600 000.
Nyambuya last week also admitted that the lack of foreign
currency had resulted in limited supplies of fuel and lubricants on the
local market. He was speaking at the official launch of the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) lubricants.
As part of the many efforts to secure fuel, the Reserve bank of
Zimbabwe and one of Europe's largest banks, BNP Paribas and Loita Capital
International recently signed a 12-month deal, which will see the country
importing the scarce commodity.
The deal, which is worth US$50 million, will enable NOCZIM to
import fuel on a continuous basis.
The government has also tried unsuccessfully to secure fuel from
Libya, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Iran, Angola and Nigeria.
By Our Staff
A shortage of wheat has hit the country, amid reports that the
Grain Marketing Board and bakeries are importing flour to augment supplies.
Acting CEO for GMB, Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti declined to
speak to Standardbusiness but farmers said the shortage was anticipated
after 65 000 hectares of wheat was planted instead of the targeted 80 000
last season."I will not speak to your paper on any issue, so you can go
ahead and write the lies you want," Muvuti said before switching off his
Chairman of the National Bakers' Association, Burombo Mudumo,
said most bakeries including the GMB itself had resorted to importing flour
and wheat beginning last month, to avert a shortage of bread.
"We just started importing flour and have been doing that from a
month ago. Before we bought 100 % of our supplies from the GMB but they are
importing now also. We are not expecting any shortage of bread because of
this," Mudumo said.
Farmers said earlier this year that targets for production had
been missed and predicted food shortages as a result.
Zimbabwe produced only 2,5 tonnes per hectare of wheat last
season. However, it needed to produce 4 tonnes per hectare to enable it to
meet the demand of 480 000 tonnes of wheat each year.
Bakers, however, said the missed targets were no reason to worry
and anticipate they will be able to meet the demand for one million loaves a
day throughout the country from imported wheat.
They, however, said their only problem was with the price of
bread and had submitted proposals that it be increased to $180 000 a loaf in
tandem with the increasing cost of production.
"This is the worst industry as long as prices are not gazetted
timeously and we are talking to the ministry (of Industry and International
Trade) and the police who have been arresting our members. The ministry is
still pushing for the final price with Cabinet," Mudumo said.
BY OUR STAFF
TWO of the recently acquired and much celebrated Chinese
aircraft have been grounded while a third plane in Air Zimbabwe's fleet,
unable to fly, is now in Germany for maintenance, The Standard can reveal.
The Standard understands that two of the MA60s planes were
grounded more than two weeks ago because their fuel nozzles had expired and
had not been serviced.
Sources at Air Zimbabwe (AZ) said the fuel nozzles expired in
December last year but AZ continued to fly the two aircraft - MA60 -Z - WPK
Nyaminyami and MA60 - Z - WPJ A'sambeni.
"The fuel nozzles had a flying limit of 1 000 hours and it was
discovered they had exceeded that limit by more than 500 hours so they had
to be replaced immediately. The two planes are now grounded," said one
The Technical Operations Divisions has taken the rap for failing
to service the Chinese planes when they were due. The aircraft are currently
parked at Harare International Airport.
The sources also told The Standard: "The airline has a
computerised maintenance Management Information System that alerts you to
any aircraft components about to expire so that they can be serviced before
Zimbabwe bought the two planes and received a third one gratis.
The third aircraft is still flying because it has not exceeded its flying
hours. But AZ took the engine from one of the first two and fitted it onto
the third aircraft, because since it was received from China it had been
dogged by engine problems.
The MA60s ply regional routes that include Malawi and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as the domestic routes to Bulawayo
and Victoria Falls. The regional services were relaunched early this year
after a considerable lapse because AZ did not have aircraft for the routes.
Another plane on AZ's fleet, the Boeing 767 that has been
grounded in London for several weeks because of a technical problem, has
been transferred to Frankfurt, Germany, for service. The London route is the
most lucrative of the national carrier's routes.
Sources said the national airline is struggling to get spares
for the plane as suppliers are demanding cash upfront.
The national airline's public relations manager, David Mwenga,
last week confirmed that the two MA60s were grounded but downplayed the
delays by the engineering department to service the aircraft.
He added that because of the reduced fleet they were combining
some of their local flights, while all regional flights were serviced by the
Boeing 737 that is still operating.
"We had to rearrange our flight schedule," Mwenga said, "so that
we can effectively service our clients."
By Friday all the two MAGO planes were still grounded.
Another of Air Zimbabwe's planes a Boeing 767 developed problems
in the right hand engine on Wednesday on its way from Dubai. The plane,
according to the sources, has however been temporarily repaired and is
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
LACK of infrastructural development is hampering the flow of
tourists in the Gonarezhou National Park prejudicing the country of millions
of dollars in foreign currency, according to a report of the Portfolio
Committee on Mines, Energy and Tourism.
The report said poor roads, lack of communications and bridges
washed away by Cyclone Eline in 2000 which have not been repaired have
"The condition of the roads is very bad, which makes touring for
the visitors very difficult. The Lundi Bridge, which was washed away by
Cyclone Eline in 2000, has not been repaired. This is a strategic bridge
because it connects Zimbabwe and South Africa," the committee pointed out in
The committee suggests that the government gives priority to
funding the development of the park by repairing infrastructure such as
roads, an aerodrome, lodges and bridges as well as electrifying the area.
"There is also need to instal communication services, in the
form of landlines and cellular networks in the park," noted the committee.
Apart from developing transport and communication services, the
committee said there is also need to build a health centre in the park
because the area is malarial.
The committee said with the 2010 World Cup Games in South Africa
drawing closer, development of the park "has been very slow if any at all.
"There is an aerodrome supervised by Civil Aviation of Zimbabwe,
which needs to be refurbished in light of the 2010 World Cup Games."
Sunday Opinion By Webster Zambara
WE are exactly half-way into the year 2006, already. How time
flies! But more importantly, so much was promised in the second half of the
year. Topping the list is inflation which we were told by the wise men in
glass houses that it will start to rescind in the second half of the year.
A fall in the rate of inflation, it was assumed, would have
positive ripple effects on the economic front that would bring back smiles
to the suffering Zimbabweans. Among them and which everyone wishes should
have been rectified as early as yesteryear is stabilisation of prices of
goods and services that worsens our suffering on a daily basis.
It is therefore imperative that we critically and honestly
examine where we are so that we prepare for the second half of the year,
either for the better or for worse. Let us put more emphasis on being
In the most recent months a number of issues factor in if we are
to have a good analysis. The government announced a new economic blue-print,
the National Economic Development Priority Programme, which we are told is
going to deliver us to the land of milk and honey in the shortest possible
The other interesting development that actually dominated all
social discussion was the increase in the salaries of civil servants and our
members of the uniformed forces. While this was very long over-due, it
brought smiles to our long suffering but very hard working colleagues didn't
As if that was not enough, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
introduced a new bearer cheque, the green paper with an exchange value of
one hundred thousand dollars. Remember this has such value only in Zimbabwe.
This piece of "currency", we are told, is for greater convenience as we no
longer will have to carry large quantities of money.
However, the new highest bearer cheque came a little too late,
it seems. It cannot buy a loaf of bread. It cannot buy a pint of milk. It
cannot buy a pint of beer (lucky me, I no longer drink). As I write, one
needs six of them to buy a litre of petrol or diesel. And from many
residential areas, a hundred thousand bearer cheques cannot pay for one-way
transport to town.
Coupled with this is the rise in the cost of living generally.
It costs averagely $5 million to rent a room in the high-density areas.
Virtually everything has gone up in the supermarkets and all other shops. As
of now, the bread basket for a family of six is now pegged at over $52
million a month. How many people earn this amount?
Even the civil servants who had recent salary increments, most
of them are nowhere near there. Security guards in Marondera are on strike
because their bosses are refusing to increase their salaries from $5 million
to $7 million, according to ZBC news of 21 June 2006.
This is why we need to interrogate the question, where are we
going as a nation? In fact, the bigger question is, how are we surviving?
Our inflation rate for May jumped to 1193.5%, the highest in the world.
Remember on the second position is Iraq, at 40%. With the way prices have
sky-rocketed in recent weeks, we will enter the second half of the year with
a higher rate of inflation for the month of June. This is the reality we
have on the ground. That is why we need to be honest with ourselves. By the
look of things, our situation is still deteriorating on the economic front.
The facts above lead me to this conclusion.
As a Zimbabwean I naturally get interested with the very many
good deals and memoranda of understanding that I hear will bring the "sugar
candy mountain" everyday. But I have heard of these a countless times. This
is one area our leaders need to start being honest. They come up with just
too many promises that our situation will get back to normalcy soon. How
soon is soon? We are seven years into economic recession and the situation
is biting for ordinary Zimbabweans.
I laughed my heart out when I heard on the news that beer
drinkers were urging the government to intervene and order Delta Beverages
to reduce the price of beer after the most recent increase. This is one
problem I have with many Zimbabweans. Their living memory is just too short!
Five years ago, a pint of beer was less than $50. Now five years down the
line it costs $150 000.
My argument is, within these five years, this same product was
rising in cost, and the same government was there! This is resonant with
many products, even important basics. We have even seen organised
"demonstrations", mainly for political expediency, but did that stop the
rising of prices?
If I would ask anyone living in Zimbabwe right now, who doubts
that goods and services will be more expensive next month than they are now?
This is no speculation. This has been the trend for the past six years.
We cannot continue normalising the abnormal. We have to be
honest with ourselves. More so that Church and the government leaders have
agreed to put their heads together to save this great country. But my point
still remains, if they are honest, another Zimbabwe is possible. And the
truth shall set us free. May God bless our country.
IT is hard to take the government and its ministers seriously.
Their major problem is inability to follow up on policy pronouncements. They
believe that the mere act of declaring policies automatically equates to
In recent months President Robert Mugabe has declared his desire
to mend the rift between Zimbabwe and its traditional Western but currently
estranged partners. He has gone even further and enlisted the assistance of
business and religious leaders in addition to other lobbyists in an exercise
to lend weight to the bridge-building project.
However, a close examination of the conduct of the government,
its ministers and officials suggests Zimbabwe has a different definition and
understanding of what bridge-building constitutes.
During an interview exactly three months ago, the US Ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, raised a poignant issue in response to a
question from The Standard on bridge-building. Ambassador Dell said: ".the
government here will recognise that it needs to do more than talk about
bridge-building. It actually needs to begin taking concrete steps that will
lead to bridge-building.
"To use the bridge-building metaphor, we certainly have the
cement and the steel stockpiled. We are ready to begin construction but you
know you have to build from both sides at the same time. And 'till we see
the government coming up with its own cement and steel and being prepared to
begin building the bridge from the other bank of the river it's really just
a question of metaphors. There is no reality to that.
"I have essentially been denied any access to government
officials, and for example, can only discuss overtures about so-called
bridge- building in this fashion with you."
That was three months ago. Since then, the South Africans, the
European Union, the Swedes and the British have held their national days and
there has been talk but no demonstration of the political will to move the
expressions of intent on bridge building from mere rhetoric to actuality.
The South Africans have come in for considerable criticism for
their "quiet diplomacy" foreign policy on Zimbabwe in the hope of moving
forward the bridge- building project, but for all their efforts, they have
been rewarded with a humiliating rebuff. Their position has been a study in
The European Commission has gone against its member partners to
receive the Minister of Finance, Herbert Murerwa, among others in the belief
that this would support the bridge-building exercise. They are still to be
rewarded for their trouble.
Last week the British Ambassador hosted the annual function to
mark Queen Elizabeth II's birthday. Zimbabwe was not represented. Yet the UK
through its Department for International Development, has poured billions in
a bid to raise the standards of living of the majority poor in this country.
Just who is placing impediments in the path of the bridge-building project,
is self evident.
The undiplomatic outburst by the Minister of Foreign Affairs
during a meeting with heads of missions accredited to Zimbabwe on Wednesday,
demonstrated that either Zimbabwe attaches a different meaning to bridge
building or that it is long on promises but short on delivery.
Sunday Opinion By Betty Makoni
THE Women's Coalition is deeply concerned by the statement that
"single female MPs should get married", made by the Honourable MP of Mabvuku
Timothy Mubhawu to female members of Parliament as highlighted recently in
At a time when women are working hard and tirelessly to be in
decision-making positions they are being forced back to domestication, which
in the past has achieved very little for them. Analysed from a satirical,
symbolic and ironic point of view this and other statements coming from male
policy makers have serious implications for them in the near future.
At the moment we are grappling with the reality that there is no
gender equality in all socio-economic spheres of life and this one is but
another big hurdle in Zimbabwe.
Women in and outside Parliament are not married for various
reasons chief among them are, loss of husbands through death, domestic
violence, childhood rape, career choices and activism and fear of risk of
contracting HIV and AIDS in marriages. Statistics show that 85% of married
women who get HIV and AIDS are infected by their husbands and 60% of the
adults infected by HIV and AIDS are women.
There are also a number of men in and outside Parliament who are
not married for the same reasons and gender sensitive female MPs have never
interrogated them in public for their marital status because being married
or single is all about choices.
When a legislator directs that single women MPs get married in a
respectable House like Parliament one wonders what he wants to achieve. The
women and men who voted these MPs into power are fully aware that they are
single and in no way desperate for any partnerships but for political
activism and careers.
The male MP may have withdrawn his statement but not his
negative attitude towards women. This he has to do urgently and publicly and
the Women's Coalition is organising so that he meets with women activists to
find out what the motive behind the statement is and was. The physical,
sexual, verbal abuse perpetrated against female MPs or any woman in Zimbabwe
regardless of political affiliation is abuse to all Zimbabwean women.
The Women's Coalition feels strongly that female MPs need
support in and outside Parliament as issues they are bringing to Parliament
on rape, domestic violence and gender-based violence affect the basic unit
of any society which is the family.
Male MP's have families and they stand to directly benefit from
the Domestic Violence Bill, proposed Child Sexual Offences Bill and any
legislation protecting women and girls from gender-based violence. The laws
protecting women and girls in Zimbabwe equally protect their own wives, girl
friends, daughters, aunts and grandmothers.
Zimbabwe like the rest of the world is moving towards the 21st
century and attainment of the Millenium Development Goal number three on
Gender Equality needs commitment from policy makers. The Women's Coalition
hopes male MPs do something about verbal abuse of women in Parliament as
this has serious effects on the women's self esteem.
If male MPs do not openly and publicly condemn the MP's
statement, women in Zimbabwe will assume that they are not gender sensitive
and therefore ensure the next Parliament is exactly the opposite of the
current one in terms of gender composition.
Zimbabwean women have endured gender stereotyping, physical,
sexual and emotional abuse for quite a long time and they will have none of
The Women's Coalition is grateful to the media for covering the
utterances by the MP for Mabvuku and for demonstrating their commitment to
women's empowerment. Such support for the women's cause a lot of times goes
unnoticed. We hope that they continue with their efforts to promote gender
equality and equity. The media has of late named and shamed rapists,
polygamists, wife murderers and all those who abuse women and girls.
This has gone a long way in promoting women's rights and
minimised deaths, suicides, diseases and frustration of women in key
decision-making positions in particular and all women in general. Women's
Coalition hopes that the media will continue its enlightened approach on
gender activism while reporting on women and girl issues in an objective and
gender sensitive manner in order to minimise vulnerability of women and
girls to abuse.
Finally we hope to meet with the male MP so that he further
clarifies to women why marriage on the part of female MPs and not their male
counterparts should be mandatory.
Opposition fails to take advantage of Zanu PF failures
RAYMOND Majongwe the secretary-general of the Progressive
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) comments in the story entitled Zanu PF
interferes in posting of teachers call for some reflection.
Majongwe said there was no point in the government promising to
construct nearly 300 schools when vast districts such as Gokwe North and
South remain neglected. He also bemoaned the lack of development in some of
the most productive areas of the country. Gokwe is famous for producing
cotton and has mineral deposits but has the most appalling infrastructure,
despite the numerous levies extorted from local communities.
Gokwe has been a Zanu PF stronghold but the way the ruling party
has repaid its support in the two districts has been through neglect and it
is a tragedy that this country has an opposition that is not able to
capitalise on such failed election promises.
It is time the people of Gokwe North and South were enlightened
over who is responsible for their underdevelopment. It is nonsensical to try
to suggest that this is the result of sanctions imposed on the regime by the
United States and the European Union.
Part of the resources that are extracted from Gokwe North and
South must be ploughed into the development of these districts. Chiefs and
MPs from these areas should be demanding the development of these districts
on the basis of their contribution to the national economy and if this is
not forthcoming, then hold accountable those responsible for the
Cotton production in the two districts could grow by leaps and
bounds if part of the State's revenue from the crop and the coal in Sengwa
is used to develop the infrastructure in Gokwe. Better infrastructure will
attract other services and more domestic investment.
In fact, not only should the Cotton Training Centre be in
Kadoma, where cotton is also grown. There should be a similar institution
nearer the growers.
But it is not only Gokwe that has remained underdeveloped
despite its contribution to the national economy.
How have areas like Zhombe benefited from tourist attractions
offered by the breathtaking scenery of Mafungabusi Plateau, the Munyati
River whose vast waters, wilderness and wildlife should be opened to
exploitation for the benefit and development of the areas?
The Lower Zambezi area is also rich in cotton production and
there are some estates run by the Agricultural and Rural Development
Authority in addition to the wildlife attractions in this part of the
country. There are also recent reports of Platinum Group Metal deposits in
this part of the country. The area should be developed in order to open up
more opportunities and bring greater benefits to Zimbabweans living in these
One thing that begs urgent attention is the roads across the
escarpment linking lower Zambezi to the rest of the country. No month passes
by without accidents reported as transport tries to negotiate the
treacherous road network.
Are the lives of these people of no significance? Does anyone
study the accident statistics and are they not alarmed? We tend to worry
about the accidents along Beitbridge, Bulawayo, Chirundu, Masvingo, and
Mutare highways but more lives are being lost on roads crossing the
Japan and Sweden have developed technology to make roads in
difficult terrain such as the one found along the escarpment much safer. Why
do we not ask for their assistance?
I like to believe that both Japan and Sweden will read this
letter and discuss the points it raises. So will the government. But the
difference is that the government will decide to do nothing about it.
If it does decide anything, it will be to exploit the
opportunity for electoral promises just as they have done for decades with
the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.
If no one is prepared to act then the estimated 200
non-governmental organisations in the country should mobilise support so
that the voices of the grassroots begin to count.
We too have dreams
Churches should stand for justice
THERE is nothing sinister for religious groups to engage the
government on national matters.
Among many other civic bodies the church is a constituency and
has a right to raise issues of concern. But church leaders whatever their
political allegiance, have no right to send the wrong signals.
The argument that churches must not be involved in politics is
hollow. Politicians use such cheap rhetoric when what they actually mean is
that they should not be criticised.
The recent meeting between President Robert Mugabe and leaders
of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches was in itself a political statement
which unfortunately only served to endorse the government's unpopular
When church leaders met Mugabe they claimed to be representing
churches including the poor ordinary Christians affected by "Operation
Murambatsvina". In the presence of the supreme ruler they must have been
awe-struck by the splendour surrounding him. Like poodles they wagged their
tails as the master stroked their heads.
They lost their original scripts and instead of pronouncing that
the emperor had no clothes they showered him with superlatives. The church
does not have to be an opposition party but should always stand for the
truth. The church has to be for truth and justice.
While church leaders are probably desperate to be seen to be
doing something in this crisis we are in, they should do so with a prophetic
conscience and not flattery and hypocrisy.
Chikakaumbe fails to appreciate NCA, MDC issues
I wish to dismiss a letter written by one B R B J Chikakaumbe of
Gweru, in which he noted that Phillip Pasirayi and I were hypocrites who
used selective criticism against Dr Lovemore Madhuku's amendment of the
National Constitutional Assembly's Constitution and MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai over the split in the opposition party.
It remains my view that the NCA should not have amended its
constitution to allow a third term for Madhuku because I am convinced that
long incumbency is not good for the development of democratic ethos. Beyond
that I have nothing personal against a committed resistance fighter like
Madhuku and I will use all opportunities and avenues that I have to remind
him that Zimbabwe and civil society should not seek to have cult leaders but
strong institutions that live beyond their founders.
In his wisdom or lack of it, Chikakaumbe then accuses me and
Pasirayi of shielding Tsvangirai over what he thinks were violations of the
MDC Constitution by Tsvangirai on 12 October 2005. This, I contend shows a
critical failure to appreciate the MDC crisis on his part and also a
misplaced view that it's up to me and Pasirayi to write criticising people
on every issue, something he should also do if he so wishes.
I wish to rebut the view that Tsvangirai violated the MDC
constitution on 12 October 2005 and in any case, Chikakaumbe did not tell me
which provision was violated by Tsvangirai but simply parroted the usual
propaganda that those opposed to Tsvangirai have been propagating without
substantive and empirical evidence.
His view is similar to those who accuse Professor Welshman Ncube
of working with Zanu PF without providing any evidence to prove their
My understanding of the MDC constitution is that the MDC
National Council does not vote on policy issues such as the one put before
it on 12 October 2005 because that is the role of Congress. Doing so would
be usurping the power of Congress and therefore a violation of the MDC
I therefore could not criticise Tsvangirai for refusing to abide
by an illegal decision by a body with no constitutional powers to do what it
did. In my view, there was no need for the vote in the first place. This is
my premise and why I stand guided that Tsvangirai did not violate the MDC
In any case, those who argued that Tsvangirai violated the
Constitution and sought to depose him as the legitimate leader of the MDC
failed to do so when High Court judge, Justice Yunus Omerjee dismissed
attempts by Gift Chimanikire and others to effect a coup against Tsvangirai.
So there is no hypocrisy to talk about.
Lastly I would want Chika-kaumbe to appreciate that the
hypocrites are those in the MDC who opposed and voted against Constitutional
Amendment Number 17 in Parliament and during public debates but then turned
and campaigned for Senate elections which is a project of that devil. These
are the people who took it to the vote leading to the split of the party.
I am not aware that Tsvangirai is an MP and therefore did not
vote in the House. If one argues that the national council vote should have
been accepted, my next question would be when the MDC MPs were campaigning
against it in Parliament, who had given them that mandate to do that?
Answering this question will tell you the legitimate hypocrites in this
Grateful to the President for scholarship
I am honoured to write this letter to express my gratitude to
His Excellency on the Presidential Scholarship Programme. It takes a worthy
person to devise and implement such national programmes for the less
privileged citizens to benefit from.
Even when the economy faces so many challenges, President Robert
Mugabe has not given up on helping deserving students. There is so much
discrimination at the national universities but the Presidential Scholarship
Fund has helped citizens like me to climb up the academic ladder.
I want to thank the President for caring, especially for the
disadvantaged and the orphans.
I'm too limited in words to show my gratitude and wish I could
have at least 24 hours with His Excellency to be able to express my
I believe as in the past that
our economy will recover and prosper. May the good Lord bless
the President abundantly and grant him more years of his life filled with
peace and care. I urge the President to continue with his good deeds.
You are awesome my beloved President. You will be richly
blessed. Again, may the good Lord bless the President and his family.
Fort Hare University
Juru police guilty of beating up suspect to extract confession
I wish to raise my concern through your widely read newspaper.
What I witnessed on 10/06/06 at Juru Police Station was so painful so much
that it still haunts me.
Police officers were beating up a suspect in order for the
person to admit committing a crime the police themselves were not sure who
had committed. This poor man was picked up from Makanda night club at Juru
Growth Point the previous night on suspicion that the pots he was carrying
He was detained at Juru police station pending interrogation.
What I am not sure of is: Are police officers entitled to beat up suspects
in order for the suspects to accept crimes they stand accused of even though
the suspects might not be the culprits?
I challenge journalists to visit this horrible place and
investigate for themselves this rampant abuse of power and authority. I don't
believe anyone has a right to beat anyone, especially police officers in
cases where they want to extract information from someone especially when
that same individual is co-operating.
What happens if the suspect is found innocent? What I saw on
this day was totally unacceptable, especially in this day and age. The
police officers were even boasting about it in front of other people who had
come to report their cases.
Juru Growth Point
United front vs Zanu PF
I read an article last month about the possibility of an alliance between
Zimbabwe's smaller parties and wish to say that it takes a man to accept his
shortcomings and humble himself.
There has been talk of a possible merger of these parties and the MDC. As
one entity they stand a greater chance of effecting political change in
If these parties truly want to change things in Zimbabwe they should put
aside their differences and unite to form an even stronger and bigger MDC.
Let's work towards a
common goal (to change Zimbabwe's roadmap) not personal gains - word of
thought to all parties and Professor Arthur Mutambara.
THERE can be no better evidence of the utter contempt for public opinion
than that demonstrated by Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development in deciding against all
logic, to reappoint Sekesai Makwavarara and her band of Zanu PF bootlickers
to continue to mismanage the affairs of Harare.
Despite criticism of Makwavarara's disastrous tenure at Town House, it
appears Chombo, just to spite Harare residents for repeatedly rejecting Zanu
PF at the polls, decided to keep her.
When the Zanu PF government finally goes, as it must some day, let's be sure
to sweep away the woman from Mabvuku along with the rest of the rubbish that
is polluting our once great city.
Makoni not the writer
THE letter published in The Standard of 18 June 2006 and headed Beauty
contests only lead to exploitation of poor rural girls was inadvertently
attributed to Betty Makoni of the Girl Child Network.
In fact, the author of the letter was Dr. Elizabeth Muronda - Editor.
Gullies, not potholes on Chitungwiza roads
AS a potential voter in the forthcoming Chitungwiza mayoral
election, I would like to raise one or two issues which I expect the mayoral
candidates to look into, or even use as their campaign points.
The first issue is that in the area where I live, Zengeza 1,
there is a road called Chiwa Road. At one end of Chiwa Road, the strip of
tar that passes by Pfumo Primary School has become so eroded not even 4 x 4
vehicles can safely pass through. This part of the road does not have
potholes, it has gullies.
As a result, vehicles now use the untarred part next to the
road, which happens to pass right by the entrance of Pfumo School. It is
only a matter of time before a child is run over by vehicles avoiding these
gullies. The vehicles don't even slow down when approaching the school
gates. Why are there no humps at the entrance to this school?
Incidentally, Pfumo School is used as a polling station, and I
as a voter will make my views known on polling day when I go to vote at this
The second issue is also about the same area. When "Operation
Murambatsvina" destroyed illegal buildings in our area, a house which had
just been illegally put up was left intact while others surrounding it were
razed to the ground. This house was built right in the middle of Mugoti
Street, near the corner of Tsoka Road.
As a result, vehicles, bicycles, and people can no longer reach
Tsoka road from Mugoti Street as it (Mugoti Street) has been blocked off by
this house. What I would like to know is: who approved the plan for this
house? Who sold the "stand" that this house was built on? Why did the police
leave out this house, since St Mary's Police station is only a stone's throw
I wonder whether the owner induced some police officers to look
the other way. Since "Murambatsvina" left out the owner of this house, does
this mean other residents can also build houses on roads?
I would like to appeal to newspapers and ZBC's Newsnet to take
pictures of this house so that people can appreciate what I am talking
about. They should also find out who the owner is and what gave him the
right to cut off a road just like that.
Open letter to Mudenge
IT is with heavy hearts that we write to you about the ever
skyrocketing fees that have seriously affected students at most of the
universities in the country.
For a long time university education has been accessible to the
majority of successful students regardless of their economic and family
backgrounds. Ministers who attended the oldest institution of higher
learning in the country will agree, but what puzzles us is that today they
would seek to deny us the same privileges that put them in lofty positions
they hold in society.
It was our view that taxpayers' money is used to provide
university education for all. We are students of poor backgrounds. If the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority still rakes in trillions of dollars in taxes,
where is the money going?
Should it not be used to fund our education? President Robert
Mugabe was assisted by Catholics who saw the intelligence and potential in
him and in our case the question begs: are we not capable of getting similar
assistance? Are we not intelligent enough to take up the challenge of
turning Zimbabwe's fortunes on completion of our studies and make a
I believe we have the energy and capacity to make a significant
Minister, as students, we request that you exercise your
authority to ensure that students continue to go to universities to learn,
get their payouts and their needs are catered for. We demand a full review
of the fee structure.
University of Zimbabwe
Mugabe making the same mistake as Smith
THE problem with President Robert Mugabe is that he does not
believe that there is someone who is capable of leading this country except
He needs reminding that Zimbabwe will be there long after he is
gone. Ian Douglas Smith once made the same mistake during the liberation
struggle and today he is a living example.
A lot of countries have gone through this stage of
transformation, where the oppressors, who own the means of production, who
formulate laws, who also control the arms of the State have the capacity to
bribe or buy their stay in power.
Our struggle needs everybody's participation. Unfortunately some
of us are ready to be bribed and used by those who are beneficiaries of the
chaos reigning in Zimbabwe today.
Let our church leaders, chiefs and headmen, business leaders and
all civic leaders be advised that this country needs their participation to
resolve the crisis.
Those who do not condone oppression should stand up and say
enough is enough. Why should men and women of virtue be seen to support the
oppressive system - which we fought against during the liberation struggle.
The future of this country is in our hands and we should all play our part.
M M Vhusani Mlambo