Mugabe MP's in revolt
By Basildon Peta
Johannesburg: In an
unprecedented move, dozens of ruling Zanu-PF
Members of Parliament (MPs)
walked out of parliament in protest against a
bill that empowers police to
detain corruption suspects for up to a month
an unusual departure from tradition, opposition Movement for
Change (MDC) MPs remained in their seats as Zanu-PF legislator
led the walkout late on Tuesday evening.
parliamentarians also stayed away on Wednesday. This
plans to bulldoze the Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Zanu-PF MPs normally rubber stamp
President Robert Mugabe's proposed
legislation. But the proposed law has been
referred back to the ministry of
justice, legal and parliamentary affairs
after it could not pass the first
The provisions of the
proposed law were brought into effect in
February through Mugabe's
extraordinary powers, which allow him to bypass
parliament and decree laws
However, they have to be ratified or approved
by parliament within six
Zanu-PF businessman James
Makamba and Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri
have been the most high-profile
victims of the regulations.
Zanu-PF MPs fear that, if they allow
the regulations to become
permanent law, many would be targeted as Mugabe
seeks to win the hearts and
minds of the urban electorate through his
The regulations allow the
police to detain a suspect charged with
economic crimes for seven days for
investigation. They can also disqualify
the courts from granting bail if they
invoke the regulations at the first
court appearance. This allows the police
to detain suspects for another 21
days. An accused person can thus be
detained for up to 28 days.
The provisions currently in use
through the presidential powers are
due to lapse in August. The police would
then have to resort to the old
rules under which they can only detain
suspects for two days.
MDC MP Job Sikhala, who witnessed both the
walkout and the stayaway by
the Zanu-PF MPs, said: "They have shot down their
own bill. We did not even
debate it because they did not allow it to reach
the debating stage. This is
the most bizarre incident since I came to
parliament in 2000."
Sikhala added: "Most of (them) are the key
culprits in these economic
crimes. They know that if the police enforce the
law, they will be the main
victims because they have externalised lots of
"It's not like they are motivated by any desire for Zimbabwe
Sikhala said the decision by MDC MPs to
remain seated did not mean
they supported the bill. Welshman Ncube, the MDC
MP who chairs the
parliamentary legal committee, has already declared the
bill illegal and
"It was a Zanu-PF circus ...
We only watched as the Zanu-PF circus
unfolded. They started squabbling on
their own after (justice minister)
Patrick Chinamasa had presented it before
they walked out," said Sikhala.
Two Zanu-PF legislators who refused
to be named said the bill was "a
witch hunt against those who are not wanted
... particularly in relation to
the succession struggles".
proposed law could be easily used to settle political scores as
the party is
enmeshed in serious in-fighting over Mugabe's successor,
The Zanu-PF MPs planned their protest against the
bill at a special
caucus before they walked out of parliament.
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
June 14th – Sunday June 20th
Weekly Update 2004-24
ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF INFORMATION THREATENED
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
government media provided more evidence of its compulsive disinformation
campaign to discredit government’s perceived enemies when the Chronicle refused to correct what were
reported to be severe distortions in its coverage of some of the deliberations
at the recently held Southern African Editors Forum (SAEF) meeting. In its
initial report (10/6), the paper’s editor, Stephen Ndlovu, claimed that one of
the guest speakers at the meeting, Gugulethu Moyo, had proposed war as a
solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. However, Moyo denied ever making such
statements and described the story as “either fictitious or
denial was reinforced during the week by an SAEF statement published in the
Zimbabwe Independent (18/6) and
The Standard (20/6). It
castigated Ndlovu for distorting the truth and conducting himself in a manner
“unworthy of a
journalist and editor”.
the regional editors’ body: “The articles appearing in the
Chronicle… are part of a blatant disinformation campaign which runs counter to
any hint at truth or professionalism”.
despite this, the Chronicle
(17/6) insisted that its report was factual.
its lead article ironically headlined, Press
freedom under threat, the paper alleged that the sponsor for the
editors’ meeting, the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (IDASA), had
pressure” on SAEF “to discredit an article exposing
the double standards and insincerity of…Moyo”, adding that
“like a dog pandering
to its master at the expense of media freedom, … SAEF communications
co-ordinator…immediately sent e-mails rebutting Chronicle
revelations.” The paper then repeated its allegations against
Moyo adding that, “the
Chronicle sticks to its story”.
in previous cases where the government media has been accused of grossly
unprofessional conduct, the Media and Information Commission was conspicuous by
its silence, once again suggesting that the harsh criminal penalties contained
in the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
are only intended for the privately owned media.
worrying however is news of the government’s intention to extend these
unacceptably harsh penalties for what amounts to trivial administrative
regulatory offences. According to The Herald, (19/6) government intends to amend
section 83 of the Act – which prohibits unaccredited journalists from practising
– so as to provide a penalty provision, which is currently absent. Said the
paper: “Persons who
contravene this section will be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or
imprisonment not exceeding two years or
condemns this offensive provision that clearly gives the MIC the
unconstitutional authority to deny a journalist his right to work, and this
fresh attempt to criminalize and incarcerate “unlicensed”
government was also reported to be planning to amend section 40 of the Act,
which stipulates that some members of the MIC should be nominated by both
associations of journalists and media houses. But since an association of
“media houses does not
yet exist”, reported the paper, “the Bill proposes that
nominations should be received from either or both of such types of
associations”. The paper did not question the underlying
implications of such changes, news of which were buried on page
Alternative sources of information threatened
government’s intolerance of critical viewpoints and its efforts to stifle the
few remaining alternative sources of information accessible to Zimbabweans
assumed greater momentum during the week. Having succeeded in closing down yet
another locally based privately owned newspaper, The Tribune, under controversial
circumstances, the government appeared to have turned its sights on the South
African-based weekly, The Mail and
Guardian and the privately owned radio station, Studio 7, which it
accuses of disseminating anti-Zimbabwe propaganda from Botswana.
Voice of America (VoA) runs Studio 7 under its Africa service programme while
Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube owns The
Mail and Guardian.
(14/6, main news bulletins), The
Herald and Chronicle
(15/6) reported Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as having officially objected
to his Botswana counterpart, Boyce Sebetela, to the hosting of the radio station
through that country’s medium wave frequency (909.000kHz). The two government
dailies quoted Moyo as saying government would not have been bothered had the
station been broadcasting from “the moon or United States”
VoA is an extension of US propaganda. Said Moyo: “What is an issue is that there is
a specific broadcasting material content branded as Studio 7 which can be
received on short-wave and that material is found on a frequency allocated to
was not asked whether VoA’s use of a Botswana frequency constituted a
Studio 7 (15/6) did shed some light on the legal status of the station. It
International Broadcasting Bureau has a longstanding agreement for a
transmission site in Botswana which allows VoA to broadcast on short-wave and
medium wave to all of Southern Africa. People around the world including
Southern Africa have long relied on VoA as a trusted source of
another related matter, The Sunday
Mail (20/6) used unnamed sources to build a case against The Mail and Guardian, which it warned,
could soon “find
itself in trouble with Zimbabwe authorities” for allegedly using
“unregistered” local journalists as correspondents and planning to publish the
paper clandestinely in the country without registration as stipulated under
Zimbabwe’s repressive media laws. No evidence was provided to substantiate the
claims. Rather, the paper tried to dignify its specious claims by roping in the
Media and Information Commission (MIC) head, Tafataona Mahoso, who said that if
the allegations against the paper were true his commission would seek answers on
the matter from the relevant authorities and even from “those who regulate the media in
on the home front, the government media continued with its one-sided coverage of
the closure of The Tribune,
designed to perpetuate MIC’s justification of the shutdown. For example,
The Herald and the Chronicle (18/6) based their coverage of
the alleged “mystery”
surrounding the ownership structure of the weekly paper almost exclusively on
the MIC’s interpretation of the matter and drowned the explanation from the
paper’s owner, Kindness Paradza.
fact, while the two papers quoted the MIC querying the “real owners” of
The Tribune because its five directors
“hold only 100 shares
of the 20 000 authorised shares” they did nothing to verify
Paradza’s claims that only 100 of the 20,000 shares had been issued while the
rest remained unissued so as to accommodate future shareholders as per corporate
the private media did not clarify the matter either, forcing The Tribune directors to do this via an
advertisement they inserted in The
add to Zimbabweans’ information woes, Studio 7 (18/6) Radio Zimbabwe and ZTV
(18/6, 8pm) reported that the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and
Communications had accused Moyo of meddling in the affairs of ZBC, thereby
eroding its independence and threatening its viability. In fact, this further
confirmed the long held suspicion that Moyo was behind the broadcaster’s
partisan editorial content. However, the government media downplayed this
revelation by suffocating it with Moyo’s denial.
mystery continued to shroud the exact role of Transmedia Corporation Private
Limited, which the Business section of The
Herald (17/6) reported as having been licensed by the Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) “in terms of the Broadcasting
Services Act no CAP.2:06 …to exclusively utilize the Ultra High Frequency (UHF)
for the provision of data casting and web casting.” The report
said Transmedia, whose core business was signal transmission, could use the UHF
platform “to provide
Internet and email access to corporate bodies, cyber cafes, small offices, home
offices and residential users”.
besides drowning its readers in technical jargon over the use of the UHF
platform, the paper did not give any background to the communications company or
spell out exactly how it was going to use the UHF frequency.
(15/6, 8pm) and Power FM (16/6, 6am) reports on this development were equally
hazy thereby leaving their audiences no wiser on the exact role of Transmedia.
Interestingly, The Herald (15/6)
fleetingly revealed that it was through investigations by Transmedia that had
established that “the
Voice of America propaganda station was being transmitted” from
Agriculture and food security
government media continued to parrot the authorities’ claims that Zimbabwe would
this year have a bumper harvest due to the success of the government’s agrarian
reforms, which the official media have repeatedly presented as receiving
adequate financial and technical support. But such a glowing picture of the
agricultural sector was dampened by private media reports on the new farmers’
concerns over government’s failure to meet their input demands, poor harvest
projections for the current winter wheat crop and the confusion over
government’s exact policy on nationalisation of land.
government media glossed over such problems besetting the agricultural sector in
an effort to portray government’s fast-track land reforms as the panacea to the
country’s grain deficit. Their stories were thus premised on abstract
projections calculated to inspire confidence amongst their audiences. For
example, the Chronicle (14/6)
reported approvingly of the disbursement of “more than $25
billion” to cereal growers by Agribank “in the past two
weeks” to boost winter wheat cropping but did not question the
wisdom of distributing the money about a month late considering that “cereal production starts in late
did it give a breakdown of how the funds were distributed among the farmers or
how many of them had benefited from the bank, which the paper reported, had been
given the mandate by government “to act as key financier to
farming activities under the land reforms”.
the paper unquestioningly reported that the parastatal Agriculture and Rural
Development Authority (ARDA) was poised to produce “a total of 3 345 tonnes of seed
maize” from 5,810 hectares. There was no elaboration on how many
tonnes of grain the country would realise from the seed.
(15/6, 6pm, 8pm) and Power FM (14/6, 1pm) also carried similar “feel-good” news
pieces. For example, they quoted the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) acting chief
executive officer, Samuel Muvhuti, as saying that as a result of the country’s
projected bumper harvest, his board would now allow individuals to transport
five bags of maize from one place to another compared to last year’s two bags.
However, Muvhuti was not challenged to explain why such restrictions should
still exist if the country has produced enough grain this season.
Radio Zimbabwe (16/6, 1pm, 8pm) allowed him to cobble up a conspiracy theory
saying the law was meant to prevent “those
who want to export our grain”
doing so and
“some sectors like NGOs who want to stock grain in secluded places without
distributing it to the people”.
reinforce its positive picture of the country’s agricultural sector, ZTV (16/6,
6pm and 17/6, 8pm) announced the arrival of “40 percent” of the
heavy-duty agricultural equipment from Malaysia without explaining what the
percentage figure represented in real terms.
to be outdone, The Herald (15/6)
relied entirely on Agriculture Minister Joseph Made’s hopefulness that nearly
20,000 hectares of land would be cleared this year at the Nuanetsi Irrigation
Project in Masvingo despite the paper’s own revelations that government had not
yet even procured the machinery to open up the area for
private media did not express such optimism.
Financial Gazette (20/6)
argued in its comment that the fact that government was still talking about
inputs for winter crops at “this late hour should be cause
for concern” and “should be blamed squarely on the
government mistakes …mismanagement and lack of forward planning”.
The paper also noted that the “teething problems”
plaguing land reform were neither improving the economic welfare of most of the
‘beneficiaries’ nor adding value to the national economy and therefore were
likely to “spawn worse
socio-economic difficulties than those experienced in the past”.
The paper contended that “given the government’s
upside-down priorities where resources are not being channelled where they are
needed most” then “detractors could just be
vindicated if Zimbabwe once again fails to feed itself” despite
the good rains it has received.
(20/6) quoted resettled farmers and the leadership of the Zimbabwe Commercial
Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) expressing their concerns over government’s “moves in buying tractors and
other farming equipment, particularly for ARDA, when (newly resettled)
commercial farmers do not have the facilities”. ZCFU president
Davison Mugabe told the paper that although ARDA hired its equipment to farmers,
it worked on its own farms first before hiring out the equipment and therefore
had always tilled the farmers’ lands late. Said Mugabe: “This prejudices the farmer as
(s)/ he does not achieve intended crop targets and usually loses out
such revelations, which have negative underlying implications on the country’s
food security, the authorities seemed unwilling to engage food aid agencies to
stave off possible starvation. Studio 7 (15/6), SW Radio Africa (16/6) and
The Daily Mirror (16/6), for
example, reported that a meeting between government and UN humanitarian affairs
envoy and World Food Programme chief James Morris had been called off after
being told that no government official would be available to meet him.
was reportedly expected in the country for discussions with government about the
country’s food and humanitarian assistance.
quoted permanent secretary in the Information Ministry George Charamba saying,
“there was no
likelihood of another meeting being held soon.” Other unnamed
sources quoted in the story revealed that government had little interest in
meeting Morris as they feel “the issue he intends to bring up
for discussion – food aid – is a dead letter.”
not all ZANU PF members agreed with government’s bumper harvest
(20/6) quoted ZANU PF Central Committee member Titus Mukungulushi Chauke
describing recent claims by President Mugabe and his government that Zimbabwe
would have surplus food as “irresponsible and utter
rubbish”. According to Chauke, hundreds of thousands of people in
areas like Chiredzi, Chivi, Mwenezi and Zaka were still buying food because they
did not grow enough for their needs.
the public remained confused about government’s exact land nationalisation
policy after The Herald (15/6)
and Power FM (15/6, 1pm) reported
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as reversing a recent proclamation by Lands
Minister John Nkomo that government intended nationalising all productive
farmland. Moyo’s announcement alleged that, “there has not been any change of
government policy or law in respect of land tenure and
ownership”, adding that only “…land acquired under the
fast-track and current phase of the land reforms automatically reverts to the
The Financial Gazette viewed
Moyo’s statement as a major retreat by government after a “flurry” of
criticism on the constitutionality of the land nationalization plan.
Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku told the paper that government’s
“latest flip-flop is a
sign of confusion and carelessness”. SW Radio Africa (15/6)
quoted Justice for Agriculture official John Worsely-Worsick offering similar
MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look
at each message. For previous MMPZ
reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at http://www.mmpz.org.zw
12 000 kids living on streets: Unicef
Padera in KARIBA.
A RECENT study by the United Nations Children's Education
estimates that there are 12 000 street kids in Zimbabwe with
over 80 percent
of them in Harare and Bulawayo.
This was revealed by
the director of social services in the Ministry of
Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare Mr Sydney Mhishi yesterday during
the ongoing Urban Councils
Association annual conference being held here.
"Greater Harare, including
Mbare, accounts for 67 percent of the national
total. The proportion of
children becoming street kids has continued to
increase with girls becoming
more visible, thereby posing a big challenge to
urban councils," he
He challenged local authorities to take advantage of facilities put
by Government to alleviate the plight of the children such as the
in Difficult Circumstances (CDC) fund.
Mr Mhishi said the
fund was not being used by the local authorities.
He said the problem of
abandoned children needed urgent attention.
Mr Mhishi said there were a
number of abandoned children in the country's
welfare centres with some
having stayed in such institutions for as long as
local authorities should identify child headed families in their
forward the names to his ministry to facilitate the processing of
"We have a facility that is not being utilised. Once we are
able to locate
some of the houses, we pay. You, as local authorities should
of your houses as orphanages where we can come in and help,"
However, he said, non-Governme-ntal organisations wishing to
authorities should do so with the express authority of the same
"You should sign memorandums of understanding detailing the
parameters under which the NGOs would assist," he said.
related issue, Mr Mhishi said because of high burial costs, a number
people were abandoning the bodies of their relatives leaving
without an option but to offer pauper's burials.
some local authorities for refusing to provide burial space for
some of the
Mr Mhishi said his department was willing to enter into
contracts with local authorities and pay them for the
'Back off Zim polls'
From Innocent Gore in MAPUTO,
ZIMBABWE will only allow developing and friendly countries to
elections and will not permit former colonial masters and
imperialists to do
so, President Mugabe said yesterday.
In a speech
that drew roaring applause from delegates from the 79-member
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries at a summit of heads of state
government here, President Mugabe said Zimbabweans had to fight for
liberty and that he had to spend 11 years in prison fighting for
Britain would not give Zimbabweans freedom willingly and
Zimbabweans had to
wage an armed struggle in order to achieve independence,
freedom, thanks to support from organisations such as the then
States, Organisation of African Unit and other organisations and
which provided political, moral and material support.
President said it would, therefore, be folly for the country to now ask
former colonisers to come and observe its elections.
"And now you hear a
voice in London, you hear a man, narrow-minded little
(British Prime Minister
Tony) Blair, saying there is no freedom in Zimbabwe.
So, when we have this
fight with the British, it's because they were our
oppressors . . . we will
not allow them to judge us. We ask our friends to
judge us. When you hear
that there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe on CNN,
"Our neighbours know us. That is why we say our elections
should be observed
by people of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, the
Third World. We will
not allow the erstwhile imperialists to judge our
elections," he said.
The President's comments come in the wake of an
admission by Mr Blair that
he is working with the opposition MDC and some
people in South Africa and
southern Africa to effect a change of government
Mr Blair told the House of Commons last week that he had
joined forces with
the MDC on measures and sanctions to bring about regime
change in Zimbabwe.
Election observers from the Commonwealth, mostly of
British or Australian
origin and some European countries which are
anti-Zimbabwe and pro-MDC,
criticised the 2002 presidential election, saying
it was not free and fair.
But observers from the Third World, the
Southern African Development
Community and from countries such as Russia and
China declared the polls
free and fair and a true representation of the will
of the Zimbabwean
Cde Mugabe said Mr Blair and United States
President George W. Bush were
like schoolyard bullies. He said the two had
lied to the world "using
language of mass deception" that ousted Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein had
weapons of mass destruction.
what's happening today. This I say: Can't we raise our voice even
United Nations? Must these men be allowed to get away with horrific
Daily, they are bombing women and children. Must we be quiet?" the
told the summit.
Cde Mugabe, who earlier on held talks with Cuban
Vice-President Cde Carlos
Lage Davila, criticised further sanctions being
imposed on the Latin
American country by the US.
He called on ACP
countries to support Cuba, which was doing a lot for other
countries, such as providing them with medical doctors. More
than 20 000
Cuban practitioners are working in most developing countries,
having more than 200.
"Surely we must say something. Sometimes, because
of poverty, we can't say
things we believe in. We are afraid that if we say
this we will be denied
money," he said, adding that founding Ghanaian
President Kwame Nkrumah
repeatedly pointed out that one cannot sacrifice
principle on the altar of
President Mugabe said while
developing nations needed friends, those friends
must recognise them as equal
"This idea of lesser friends or friends of lesser dignity, that
is not what we seek. Our historical relations with the European
be on terms of recognising each other as equal friends and that
way we go a
long way. Let us move along the path we have charted with those
with us, those who are true friends with us. Let us march
shaping our future."
Cde Mugabe said there was need for
increased intra-ACP co-operation among
Third World countries in their fight
against poverty, hunger and disease.
Giving the example of Zambia which
is rich in copper, President Mugabe
expressed concern that some developing
countries were sourcing supplies from
far away yet their neighbours might be
having the same resources.
But the President said co-operation among
developing countries would only
succeed in an environment where there is no
Zimbabwe, he said, had to send troops to Mozambique to help the
of that country create an environment of peace and prosperity in
In 1998, Zimbabwe, together with Angola and Namibia, had to
deploy troops to
the Democratic Republic of Congo to create peace and an
conducive to economic development.
A Kenyan delegate spoke
strongly in support of President Mugabe's views. He
said the ACP grouping's
relations with the EU was colonial and was hindering
as every developing country would be focusing on
trade with the EU instead of
trade among developing countries.
He proposed an intra-ACP summit to
discuss the unipolar world, saying
failure to do so would result in
developing countries debating in a world
defined by Europe.
the legendary Bob Marley and black consciousness movement activist
Garvey, a Jamaican delegate said Third World countries must
themselves from mental slavery.
"None but ourselves can free our minds,"
Mugabe's harvest boasts exposed
By David Blair in
President Robert Mugabe's rosy
forecast of a bumper harvest in Zimbabwe was
contradicted by his own
government yesterday, when an official report said
2.3 million people needed
immediate international food aid.
The seizure of white-owned
farms has combined with drought to cripple
agriculture in Zimbabwe. But Mr
Mugabe's official message is that his land
grab has markedly increased
production and made Zimbabwe self-sufficient.
Last month, he refused help
from the United Nations World Food Programme,
saying: "Why foist this food
upon us? We don't want to be choked."
He brushed aside the fact that
Zimbabwe has lived on food aid since 2001 and
that 6.5 million people, more
than half the population, depended on
international help last year. By
contrast, his office forecast a maize crop
for this year of 2.4 million tons,
more than enough to meet domestic needs.
Yet a report from the Zimbabwe
Vulnerability Assessment Committee provides a
strong antidote to the
president's optimism. It concludes that 2.3 million
people in rural Zimbabwe
"will not be able to meet their minimum cereal
needs during the 2004/05
The report adds that food aid "for the most vulnerable people"
sought immediately. The UN, aid agencies and Zimbabwean
departments compiled the assessment based on a survey completed in
Mugabe's officials appear not to share his optimism.
report did not cover the food needs of Zimbabwe's cities, where
last year were at least as serious as those in the countryside.
December suggested that 2.5 million urban Zimbabweans were going
bringing the total needing food aid to 4.8 million.
But Mr Mugabe's
regime has effectively ended co-operation with the UN. James
Morris, the UN
envoy for humanitarian affairs in southern Africa, is
conducting a tour of
the region. The Zimbabwean government declined to
receive him, saying that
officials in Harare had no time for a meeting.
Zimbabwe will hold
parliamentary elections next March. Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party has been
accused of channelling food to its supporters and denying
help to anyone
suspected of backing the opposition Movement for Democratic
keeping the UN and aid agencies out of Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe can
his regime controls all food aid. Critics suspect that this is
But if Zimbabwe needs international help to avoid widespread
Mugabe's refusal to co-operate with the UN could have
consequences. In Johannesburg, Mr Morris said: "If we were called
upon to be
helpful and respond, this is not something you can do on 24-hour
5 Million Still Need Food Aid in Zimbabwe
25, 2004 3:01 AM
By ANGUS SHAW
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Nearly 5 million people will need food aid
next year despite government claims Zimbabweans won't need such
U.N.-led group said Thursday.
At least 2.3 million rural
people won't have enough food either because they
don't grow enough or
couldn't afford to purchase enough, Zimbabwe
Committee said in a report.
The panel, composed of U.N. agencies and aid
groups, said earlier that about
2.5 million urban people will need food aid
because of deepening poverty.
Officials of aid and humanitarian groups
said the two assessments meant a
total of about 5 million of the 12.5 million
population will have to be
given food help during the next several
The government has forecast record harvests this year of 2.4
million tons of
cereals. But U.N. crop forecasters estimate Zimbabwe will
produce only half
its food needs of about 2 million tons this
Zimbabwe was once a regional breadbasket. The often-violent seizure
thousands of white-owned farms for redistribution to black
combined with erratic rains, have crippled the nation's
economy since 2000.
Opposition leaders accuse the
government of lying about corn production and
secretly importing food to use
as a political weapon in the run-up to key
parliamentary elections next
Daggers drawn over water pricing
From Michael Padera in
Delegates attending the 63rd Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe
conference here have roundly attacked the Zimbabwe National Water
(Zinwa) for not taking into consideration the plight of the people
water pricing system.
However, the Government said local
authorities were the major culprits in
the matter as the surcharges they
levied on water were outrageous.
The Secretary of Water Resources and
Infrastructural Development, Mr Partson
Mbiriri, said some local authorities
draw up their annual budgets with huge
surcharges on water in
"Water has been seen as a golden goose. That cannot continue. Water
basic commodity. There should be a marginal mark-up," he
UCAZ president Mr Fani Phiri said Zinwa increases its tariffs at
or four times a year whereas councils could not effect similar
because of legal constraints.
He said as a result, there was
need to re-examine the Urban Councils Act and
make it responsive to the
changes in the present economic environment.
Bindura mayor Advocate
Martin Dinha said the National Water Act should be
revisited to amend or
delete clauses that permit the commercialisation of
He said instead of serving water consumers' needs, Zinwa had
become a monster".
"We must look at the commercialisation of
water. When Zinwa came into being
we thought it was going to benefit the
"We created an animal that is eating all the children in the
village. Let us
relook at the whole question of the Water Act."
was established by an Act of Parliament in 1998.
Adv Dinha was supported
by other delegates who also attacked Zinwa's way of
Mbiriri lambasted the behaviour of local authorities which default on
of their water bills to Zinwa.
He said Zinwa was owed $1,764 billion by
defaulting local authorities and
this huge debt was crippling
Mr Mbiriri announced that new farmers could now get temporary
for irrigation purposes.
He said the farmers would pay
Zinwa through stop orders once they sell their
denied allegations that Zinwa was abusing the funds it collects
authorities by purchasing luxury vehicles.
"There are no excesses in
Zinwa," he said.
He said the money was legitimately used to maintain the
sources and to explore new projects.
From The Star (SA), 25 June
Equatorial Guinea leader 'linked to R50m
By Joe Sinclair
The Democratic Alliance
has called for a probe into allegedly suspicious
property deals by the family
of the Equatorial Guinea president. President
Teodoro Obiang Nguema's family
are alleged to have purchased properties in
Cape Town for about R50-million.
This comes at a time that a United States
federal grand jury is investigating
a corporate bank account, allegedly
under Nguema's control, into which oil
companies are said to have poured
millions. Critics of the president accuse
him of profiteering from the
country's oil reserves while ignoring human
rights issues. Domestic workers
at a spectacular Bishops Court house said
they had heard that the son of
Equatorial Guinea's president was scheduled to
move in. The house is
reported to have been sold for R26-million. This is the
second house linked
to Nguema. In parliament yesterday, Democratic Alliance
leader Tony Leon
said he had received information from councillors that
Nguema's family was
buying a property in Clifton worth R23,5-million. Finance
Grobler was not prepared to supply information on the
certificate reported to have been lodged with the Cape Town
showed the transfer of the house to Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the
34-year-old son. Grobler said it was the policy of the council to
the identity of the buyer. But councillor Belinda Walker yesterday
that she had told the Democratic Alliance about the sale. Raenette
Democratic Alliance spokesperson on finance, yesterday urged the
Intelligence Centre (FIC) to investigate the sale of the two Cape
properties. Under the FIC Act, all estate agents must report
transactions or when they are about to receive the proceeds of
activities. "The family is believed to have spent close on
property in and around the city while the family's finances
investigated by the US senate and the FBI," Taljaard
US oil companies have invested heavily in the tiny West African
is expected to provide up to 5% of US oil within the next few
However, the bulk of the country's people have seen little benefit,
of the population surviving on less than R6 a day. In Zimbabwe,
closed many embassies around the world citing foreign-currency
agreed to exchange ambassadors with Equatorial Guinea and
diplomatic relations with the West African country. The move
probably aimed at facilitating the extradition of the 70 South
arrested in Zimbabwe on charges of plotting to overthrow
government. Zimbabwe is also trying to get oil from Equatorial
exchange for the alleged mercenaries. The two countries, which did
any diplomatic contacts prior to the arrests of the suspected
have warmed to each other as they seek to make political capital
out of the
detained South Africans. Nguema, supported by Zimbabwean President
Mugabe, has alleged that the coup plot was backed by powerful states
destabilising smaller African nations. Mugabe's government rushed to
regulations allowing the extradition of suspects to Equatorial Guinea
April. If extradited, the men will face summary execution in
Zimbabwean president asked to mediate Eritrea-Ethiopia
HARARE, June 25 (Xinhuanet) --
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
on Friday received Eritrean President
Issaias Afewerki's special envoy, who
delivered a message requesting him to
intervene in resolving a long-standing
border dispute between Eritrea and
Speaking to reporters after delivering the message,
Energy and Mines Minister Tesfai Gebreselassie said that his country
Mugabe to exert his influence on the African Union (AU) to take
against Ethiopia for reneging on the verdict of a United Nations
established to resolve the dispute.
disputes between the two Horn of Africa neighbors led
to a war in 1998. The
Zimbabwean president was part of the high level
delegation mandated by the AU
to see to a peaceful resolution of the dispute
soon after it erupted in
After two years of bitter fighting that left thousands of
from both sides dead, a peace agreement was reached in December
Under the agreement, the parties agreed that a
BoundaryCommission be established with a mandate to delimit and
the boundary that divides the two countries.
former Italian colony, Eritrea was occupied by the British
in1941. In 1952,
the United Nations resolved to establish it as an
autonomous entity federated
with Ethiopia. It split with Ethiopia in 1993.
A United Nations
peacekeeping force patrols a 25 km wide
bufferzone along the unmarked 1,000
km border between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Demarcation of the disputed border
was indefinitely postponed after Ethiopia
refused to back
Eritrea has called for sanctions to force Ethiopia to
ruling, which was supposed to be "final and binding" under
theterms of a
New anti-corruption legislation "unconstitutional"
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Jun 2004 (IRIN) - New anti-corruption legislation,
effective from this week,
which formalises regulations allowing Zimbabwean
police to hold suspects
accused of economic crimes for up to four weeks
without bail is
"unconstitutional", human rights activists alleged on
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill went through parliament
week, despite opposition from some ruling ZANU-PF MPs. President
Mugabe had already used his extraordinary powers to decree the
the bill in February.
The amendment enables the police
to detain people suspected of committing
economic crimes, including
corruption, money laundering and illegal dealing
in foreign exchange and
gold, for up to a week. The police can also hold
suspects for a further 21
days if prima facie evidence of their involvement
is produced, without giving
them the option of applying for bail or paying a
legislation violates the Bill of Rights enshrined in the
constitution. Even the parliamentary legal committee had given an
report on the legislation, despite which it has gone through
said John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the
Zimbabwe and chairman of Transparency International in
The regulations were introduced as part of Mugabe's attempts to
on corruption after a senior ZANU-PF central committee member,
Makamba, was arrested in February. Makamba, the chairman of
Zimbabwe's third largest cellular telephone company, last week
guilty to six counts of illegally dealing in foreign currency in his
at the Harare magistrate's court.
ZANU-PF MP for Chinhoyi,
Phillip Chiyangwa, and Jane Mutasa, another Telecel
director, have also been
arrested on charges of sabotaging the economy.
attorney-general, Bharat Patel, denied that the new legislation
"unconstitutional", and said it was to be used in "specific cases",
merits of which would be assessed by at least two authorities: the court
his office. "The courts have the right to apply their minds" to
whether the police have the grounds to continue the detention of
suspect, as does the attorney-general to ensure that there is no abuse
powers by the police.
"The legislation is still being hotly debated
- and rightly so - for the
inclusion of more safeguards," Patel told
"Corruption cannot be fought in isolation, without the protection
rights of individuals, especially fundamental rights such as the
of innocence, which is the supporting tenet of our criminal
system," said Otto Saki, a projects lawyer with Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human
"You don't have to be a lawyer to ascertain
that the regulations are
patently and overtly unconstitutional. Section
13(1)(e) of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe provides that one may be deprived of
the right to liberty upon
reasonable suspicion of having committed, or being
about to commit, a
criminal offence. However, there must be prima facie
grounds for arresting
that person," he said.
According to Saki, the
legislation legalises the "heretical theory" of
"arrest first and investigate
later", which he alleged had already become
characteristic of the
He argued that the legislation would make room for more
police have effectively been given wide powers to arrest
suspicion and to detain suspects in custody until they
have completed their
investigations," Saki said.
"The police will
effectively be the arresting detail; the prosecution will
useless; the magistrate and the judge will not have a say in the
application; the accused, to buy his freedom, will have to bribe his
Fri June 25 2004
facing threat of terror
A FORMER Zimbabwean MP who fled Robert
Mugabe's regime to live in Wetherby
has voiced his fears for his friends and
family living in South Africa.
Charles Duke, who left Zimbabwe shortly
after being beaten around the head
with lead piping by a gang of men, says he
concerned his brother and children will be in trouble if the regime
through South Africa.
"I asked my brother to leave but he said no.
I think he is being more
hopeful than me," said Mr Duke, who was born in
Southern Rhodesia and came
to Wetherby with his wife Jill five years
He says his family and friends enjoy a comfortable life in South Africa
would find it difficult to move to Britain, especially as some have
When he lived in Zimbabwe, Mr Duke was a
geologist who owned two gold mines and three houses. He
the country with almost nothing.
Mr Duke has written a book about his
experiences in Zimbabwe where he served
as an MP under both former Prime
Minister Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe before
coming to Wetherby.
Mugabe's Zanu PF government in 1987 but he says later on he found
spied on by Mugabe's secret police and the subject of a brutal
he believed was government-backed. He still bears the scars of
the beating -
a two-inch wide dent in his head.
"I can't go back there. Look what happened
to me and I was a minister in the
Zanu PF," he said.
Mr Duke says the
problems in Zimbabwe lie deeper than just Mugabe and the
people who surround
him are just as much to blame. "I don't personally blame
him. I think if you
put anyone else in that regime it would be the same,"
said Mr Duke.
added he and his wife had settled well in Wetherby and were pleased to be
the town. "I think Wetherby is a terrific little town and the people here
super," said Mr Duke.
"I've toured most of England and there's no place I
would rather be," he