Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2004 4:56 PM Subject: It's all about
Dear Family and Friends,
As I sat at my desk on
Saturday morning I thought it might be of interest to type, for the record,
the headline report on ZBC's 8 am radio news because the war of numbers about
Zimbabwe's harvest continues. The headline story was as follows:
government says internal food assessments indicate that the country will
harvest an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of maize. This exceeds the annual
national food requirement by six hundred thousand tonnes."
James Morris, the UN envoy for humanitarian needs in the region, said that if
our government's harvest figures were accurate it would be "one of the most
remarkable turnarounds in history." For those of us with eyes to see, these
are just numbers and as we struggle with day to day and find ways to bulk out
our meals, we worry more about other numbers.
My friend Ernie worries
about the number 17 because this is the number of people he is supporting on
his wage which is just below the almost one million dollar monthly poverty
datum line. Ernie supports himself, his wife and their two children; his
widowed sister in law and her three children; his two unemployed brothers;
his mother and six other members of his extended family. For the last three
years some of the 17 people that Ernie supports have also received help in
the form of international food aid. But now our government says it doesn't
need that food aid anymore, it says it doesn't want to "choke" on donor food
and Ernie looks at the number 17, puts his hands over his face and tries to
come up with another way of supplementing his income. He's tried everything
from mowing lawns at the weekends to buying and selling second hand clothes,
but in the end there are just too many mouths to feed and too few hours in
I worry about the number 5 because that is how many years Ernie
has left before he reaches Zimbabwe's life expectancy which is now just 33
years. I also worry about the number 34 because that is the percentage of
our population infected with HIV and Aids.
So many people have asked
me why we Zimbabweans don't do something to change our situation here.
Listening to human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa talking on Short Wave Radio
Africa last week I found myself agreeing out loud with her answer to this
question. Beatrice said that the problem is that we are all so caught up with
day to day issues like paying bills and affording food and clothes that we
just do not have the time or energy to worry about the bigger issues of
governance, democracy and human rights. How right she is because when it
comes down to it, if you are supporting 17 people, you cannot afford to do or
say anything that may jeopardize their lives. Everything in Zimbabwe is about
numbers these days, and all the numbers are about politics. Until next time,
with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle. 26 June 2004†††††† http://africantears.netfirms.com My
books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears"
are available outside Africa† from: email@example.com
; www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ;† in Australia and New
;† Africa: www.kalahari.net www.exclusivebooks.com
Andrew Meldrum finds hope
amongst the brutality, chaos and corruption of Zimbabwe in his memoir, Where
We Have Hope, says Kate Kellaway
Sunday June 27, 2004 The
††††† Buy Where We Have Hope at Amazon.co.uk
Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe by Andrew Meldrum John Murray £17.99,
pp272 Andrew Meldrum is positive about Zimbabwe: his title is, in a sense,
his slogan and the image on the cover, of a Zimbabwean girl with worn
trainers, a pretty smile and a skipping rope, makes the heart skip too. In
choosing this optimistic stance, for which I was grateful, he emulates the
spirit I remember from teaching there from 1982-5, which I had supposed to
have been all but extinguished by Mugabe's disastrous, seemingly unending
Meldrum was a journalist in Zimbabwe for 23 years and made
headlines as the last foreign correspondent in Harare, where he wrote for The
Observer and the Guardian, before being illegally ejected in May 2003. He
describes his trial in June 2002 (he was acquitted) and his ejection, but on
the whole it is Zimbabwe, not Meldrum, which is centre stage.
writing is driven by a passion for the country and its people. He was never
an opportunistic, visiting reporter. And when forcibly escorted onto a plane
at Harare airport, he was leaving home.
It is no mean achievement to
remain hopeful when writing about brutality, chaos and corruption, and
Meldrum does not flinch from the most harrowing stories. I did not know the
extent of the Matabeleland massacres of the Eighties at the time because,
like many expatriates, I had been quick to swallow Zanu PF's party line. But
it is now calculated that between 10,000 and 20,000 people were killed in
Meldrum describes calmly, in equally shocking detail, the
more recent torture of supporters of the opposition, the Movement for
He is quick to doubt - and to entertain. I had
wondered whether Mugabe was gradually deranged by his own power. It is
fascinating to learn that as early as 1981, Meldrum had observed a
slipperiness about the man. He was 'stiff, starchy and distant at all
Meldrum wanted to feel elation during his first interview with
the country's leader but was left ambivalent. Soon afterwards, he found
reasons to conclude that Mugabe was a 'cold, calculating manipulator who did
not care how many lives would be lost so long as he consolidated his
The book begins with Meldrum's deportation, then reverts to his
arrival just after independence in 1980. He moves pacily, slowing for more
recent history: Mugabe's bigotry, rigged elections, stage-managed 'land
reform', the murder of white farmers and food shortages. And he makes the
canny point that Mugabe and Ian Smith are 'two sides of the same
His lively account of the MDC brings hope to the story, as do the
inspiring Zimbabweans he met. He champions heroic women: Beatrice Mtetwa, his
fearless lawyer; Margaret Dongo, the politician who dared to challenge Zanu
PF, and his 'best friend', Mavis Ngazana, an Aids counsellor in a country
that denies its epidemic.
Where We Have Hope is essential reading for
anyone who cares about Zimbabwe and its future. Let us - with Meldrum - hope
it will soon be out of date.
By Staff Reporter Last
updated: 06/27/2004 14:13:12 MAKONDE Member of Parliament, Kindness Paradza
has been kicked out of the ruling Zanu PF party, reports said.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West Provincial Co-ordinating Committee (PCC),
the highest decision-making body in the province, was unanimous in
finding against Paradza, the official weekly Sunday Mail newspaper
Paradza faced a total of five counts of misconduct including
giving interviews to hostile media and also seeking funds from the
British government for his weekly Tribune newspaper which has since been
banned. Paradza was also found not to have a Zanu PF membership
Paradza's expulsion is with immediate effect. Phillip Chiyangwa who
chaired the five-hour meeting said: "It was unanimously agreed that Paradza
be expelled and the decision of the province is final. I will formally write
to the party's Politburo and Central Committee informing them of our
"We have started the process of looking for candidates to
represent Zanu-PF in Makonde should there be any by-election," Chiyangwa told
the Sunday Mail.
Paradza, a former journalist who worked at the Financial
Gazette becomes the second ruling party official whose loyalty has been
questioned after Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri was found to possess a
ZIMBABWE'S Information Minister Jonathan Moyo is now
literally singing for his supper - he is to launch a propaganda album next
The 26-song, double-CD collection titled Back2Black and an
accompanying video will be launched in Zimbabwe's leading holiday resort
town, Victoria Falls, on July 10.
Moyo's department is picking up
the tab, which is believed to run into millions.
A group called
PaxAfro is understood to have recorded the album although some of the songs
were compiled and produced by Moyo, according to a musician associated with
Moyo, who studied music in the US, has in recent years
roped in musicians, Zimbabwe's national soccer team and even beauty queens in
bids to shore up the battered image of President Robert Mugabe's regime,
which is battling with a deep political and economic
According to the invitation to the launch of Moyo's album,
the country' s information department will pay some of the expenses of the
The department has made a block booking at the five-star
Elephant Hills Hotel where lunch and dinner will be provided to guests for
free. The launch itself will take place on a boat.
defended Mugabe's beleaguered regime tirelessly, using whatever platform
However, he has of late found himself clashing with
colleagues - including Mugabe's London-based international publicist David
Nyekorach Matsanga - in a vicious power struggle for Mugabe's job. Mugabe is
set to retire in four years' time.
Matsanga, a Ugandan, recently
accused "thugs" associated with Moyo of assaulting him at the Harare airport
and robbing him.
And this week, he called Moyo an "indefatigable gay
pig and shallow-minded gay rant".
Matsanga said he had written to
Mugabe, asking the president to control his "minister of disinformation and
regime change from within".
"The agony of defending Zimbabwe abroad
has brought self-inflicting damage and misery to my international image. I
faced the Zimbabwe situation without fear but with devotion and passion,"
"[But] the last few months have seen an upsurge in
dirty gay toxins printed against me in the government-owned newspaper, The
Herald." Matsanga accused Moyo of engineering "rabid gay attacks" against
The Herald has slammed Matsanga, taking him to task over his
former role as spokesman for Ugandan rebel movement the Lord's Resistance
Army, which has been accused of killing, raping and torturing people.
Reporter Last updated: 06/27/2004 10:54:19 THE Sunday Times is fighting an
attempt by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Namibia's President Sam
Nujoma to hijack its name for propaganda purposes.
The newspaper has
taken legal steps to fight plans by Mugabe and Nujoma to launch a regional
newspaper called the New Sunday Times, widely believed to be a direct
challenge to the Sunday Times - which has exposed greed and corruption in
Zimbabwe and Namibia, as well as the economic and political crisis in
Zimbabwe this week stepped up its efforts to launch the new
newspaper. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who is leading the media
crackdown in the country, is spearheading the project.
who is to edit the New Sunday Times, has been dispatched from the state-owned
Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) to Namibia to prepare for the
Sources said Magadza, the assistant editor of the state-run daily
The Herald, is in Windhoek to finalise issues on staff, offices, computers,
and logistics. So far the paper has only two cars, one for the editor and
one for the newsroom.
Dummy editions have already been produced and
the paper's masthead is said to be similar to that of the Sunday
But attorneys acting for the Sunday Times have written to the
publishers of the new paper in both Namibia and Zimbabwe, warning them that
any use of the name New Sunday Times would constitute an infringement of the
Sunday Times's rights to the well-known trademark.
The letter was sent
to Namibia's New Era Publishing Corporation, which is wholly owned by
Nujoma's government, and to Zimpapers. New Era acknowledged receipt of the
letter, but there has been no response from Zimbabwe. The Sunday Times is
distributed in both countries.
"The Sunday Times is a credible and
trustworthy newspaper, and we will not allow Mugabe and Nujoma to hijack its
good name without putting up a fight," said Sunday Times editor Mondli
"We will continue to investigate and publish stories of
interest to the people of Southern Africa, regardless of the discomfort this
may bring to those in power."
It is understood the new paper will be
funded by the Zimbabwean and Namibian governments as well as by Zimpapers and
Moyo has visited Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique to make contact
with state-media organisations to counter the "hostile press" -
Zimbabwe's independent press; South African papers, in particular the Sunday
Times and the Mail & Guardian; and foreign media.
government-controlled Sunday Mail this week warned that authorities want to
gag the Mail & Guardian for using "unaccredited" journalists and for
printing and distributing its editions "clandestinely" in the
The government-appointed Media and Information Commission is to
probe the Mail & Guardian. Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso and Moyo
have presided over the closures of the Daily News, Daily News on Sunday and
the Tribune. - Sunday Times Reporter
Mohadi sues Made By Nyasha Bosha and Savious
. Minister wants war veterans evicted from farm AS the
government's chaotic land reforms continue paralysing further the country's
agriculture industry, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi is suing his Cabinet
colleague, Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, in
a bid to stop the illegal resettlement of war veterans at his farm in
Beitbridge, The Standard can reveal.
Mohadi who owns Lot 1 of Lot 10
in Jopembe Block in Beitbridge says he has incurred costs close to $300
million after some war veterans illegally settled on his farm with the
blessing of Made.
These invaders were interfering with workers,
pegging new plots as well as cutting firewood on the farm, he says in court
papers filed with the High Court in Bulawayo.
The Home Affairs
Minister says some of the settlers have even cut the security fence erected
at the farm letting loose 75 steers worth $32,5 million.
by Mtombeni, Mukwesha and Associates, Mohadi has been granted interim relief
by the High Court which barred Made and the other respondents from disrupting
farming activities on his plot.
Notable among the other respondents were
Edson Mbedzi, the Beitbridge district administrator and the chairman of the
war veterans in the area, an AP Mbedzi.
Justice Maphios Cheda -
sitting in Bulawayo last month - ordered that the war veterans and settlers
immediately vacate the Minister's farm or risk being evicted by the Deputy
Sheriff, assisted by police.
Justice Cheda also ordered all the 26
applicants to stop pegging new plots on Mohadi's land and to stop interfering
with his workers as well as to stop cutting firewood on the
In affidavits that formed the basis of his application, Mohadi
said as a result of the interference by the invaders, he had not been able to
utilise his farm.
He also revealed that he failed to service a loan of
$107 million obtained from ARDA to install irrigation systems on the farm
because work on the property was "constantly and persistently" being
disrupted by the illegal settlers.
"I have suffered prejudice of high
proportions from the continued activities of Made, AP Mbedzi, G Ndlovu and
Ernest Nguluvhe, their members and I have failed to properly and fully
utilise my farm.
"I have incurred huge expenses in order to fully embark
on commercial agriculture. I have been unable to put resources to fruition
and good use as a result of aforementioned and illegal activities," said
Contacted for comment, Mohadi referred The Standard to his
lawyer, Advocate Moses Mtombeni.
Said Mtombeni: "The matter is already
in the courts; the issue really is about boundaries and what my client wants
is for those people (invaders) not to interfere with his agricultural
activities. The Minister acquired land just like everyone and he needs to
continue peacefully with his activities.
"We are already working with the
Deputy Sheriff because we have also obtained an eviction order," said
Yesterday Made said he was not cited as a respondent in the
"I am not aware of that," said Made, before terminating the
Zanu PF bows down to pressure on poll reforms By Caiphas
THE "sweeping" electoral reforms instituted by the increasingly
paranoid President Robert Mugabe's government recently were a result of
excessive pressure from regional leaders as well as from some "moderates"
within the ruling party's Politburo, it emerged yesterday.
said regional leaders - including South African President Thabo Mbeki, who
has been advocating dialogue between Zanu PF and the MDC - had threatened not
to recognise next year's poll, slated for March, if the electoral laws in
Zimbabwe were not in tandem with the SADC "norms and standards" on
In the past two years, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has taken its electoral reforms campaign to regional
leaders and the international community.
Apart from that, another
source said Mugabe was under immense pressure to institute reforms from his
lieutenants within the Politburo, who believe that there should be life for
the party after the 80-year-old leader retires or leaves office.
have been several caucus meetings in the past few weeks by some members of
the Politburo, Zanu PF's supreme decision making body, and the party's
"It was a Politburo initiative," said an official
source in the governing party.
The sweeping electoral reforms include
all the demands that had been put forward by the opposition MDC as conditions
for participating in next year's general elections.
reports yesterday suggested that there would be an independent, publicly
funded Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that would be accountable to
However, the chief electoral officer would still be appointed
by Mugabe, casting doubt on the independence of the body.
President will appoint five members of the commission and its chairman, in
consultation with the Judicial Services Commission and four other
members from a list of seven names submitted by Parliament.
new reforms, voting will be reduced from two days to one day while an ad hoc
court will be established to immediately deal with disputes arising from the
poll within six months.
The Registrar General's Office will partly cease
involving itself in election matters although it will continue to register
MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube, said he was happy that
Zanu PF had finally realised the importance of the electoral
"It is heartening to note that Zanu PF has accepted the MDC
leadership. This is what we have been saying that we wanted Mudede to go and
that voting should be conducted in one day . these are MDC's five demands for
the restoration of legitimacy in the country," he said.
Ncube said the
long-awaited reforms came after the party's vigorous campaign locally,
regionally and internationally to bring pressure to bear on Mugabe' s
"We took our campaign to the people in Zanu PF, the general
public, regional leaders and the international community and these are the
results," said Ncube.
"We look forward to the implementation of these
Ncube was hopeful that Zanu PF would soon recognise
the MDC's "Restart Programme" for the stabilisation and reconstruction of the
economy to ensure the delivery of jobs, houses, health and educational
services in the country.
Ncube said the MDC was, however, opposed to
the appointment of the ZEC chairman by Mugabe because the commission could be
"completely subservient to Zanu PF like the Media and Information Commission
led by Tafataona †Mahoso".
The Media and Information Commission (MIC),
whose chairperson was appointed by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, has
been accused of being pro-government and against independent media
"We do not accept the idea that the appointment of the chief
electoral officer be done by Robert Mugabe.
"We believe that the
method of appointment of all members of the commission cannot be unilaterally
declared by Zanu PF without consulting other stakeholders in particular the
MDC as this is a constitutional matter," said Ncube.
The acceptance of
the electoral reforms before the 2005 general elections is a slap in the face
of Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, who recently declared that there would be no reforms prior to next
The electoral changes also come barely a month before
Zimbabwe hosts a SADC Parliamentary Forum to discuss electoral reforms in the
ZFU vice-president quizzed over farm murder By Valentine
ZIMBABWE Farmers' Union (ZFU) Vice President Wilfanos
Mashingaidze (61) was arrested in Mvurwi last week after a man was found dead
at his Centenary farm, police have confirmed.
with an unnamed cousin, was arrested on 18 June and charged with the murder.
The deceased was identified as Gift Landmond, a security guard at
Mashingaidze's Glasala Farm.
Investigations by the police established
that the shovel suspected to have been used as the murder weapon belonged to
Mashingaidze, leading to his arrest.
"After it was discovered that the
shovel belonged to the farm, the owners of the farm were asked to explain but
failed to give satisfactory responses," said a police
Mashingaidze was interrogated by the Criminal Investigation
Department officials in Bindura, before being taken to court on June 23 for
Police spokesperson, Inspector Andrew Phiri, confirmed
the arrests and added that investigations were still in progress.
he was arrested last week after a man was found dead on his farm. He appeared
in court yesterday (Friday) and prosecution was declined on the basis that
there was no clear evidence linking him to the murder. So it means he is now
out of custody," said Phiri.
"The police are still investigating the
matter and they have to gather as much evidence as possible before can he be
taken in again," he said.
Corpses tumble downstairs as Harare Hospital crumbles By
STAFF at Harare Central Hospital - one of the country's
largest referral hospitals - are being forced to roll bodies down the stairs
from wards on the upper floor to the mortuary which is on the ground floor
because some of the elevators are no longer operational.
news team that visited the hospital recently was told of deteriorating
standards, with some disgruntled morticians taking their time to remove
bodies from wards - forcing the nurses to wrap them in mattresses and roll
them down stairs because the hospital's dilapidated elevators have not been
repaired for a long time.
This show of disrespect for the dead,
workers at the institution said, was just a tip of the iceberg of how things
have deteriorated at the hospital, once one of Zimbabwe's best performing
Last week, Standard reporters were shown intensive care
patients in the B7 and B8 male wards on the Third Floor being lifted up and
down the stairs whenever they needed to visit other wards for specialist
treatment or any other reason.
Workers said the nurses had complained
to the authorities about their poor working conditions but nothing has been
done for months.
"We are forced to lift bodies down the stairs, which is
very difficult for us to cope with. One risks suffering back-ache from
lifting heavy loads up and down the stairs," said one nurse who refused to be
The Standard found that the elevators that are still operational
only go as far the Second floor so that movements to the upper floor can only
be undertaken manually.
Some of the lifts -from Otis Elevator Company
- were condemned as being beyond their service span and cannot be repaired.
Standard investigations showed that the rot is not confined to elevators
Harare Hospital - like most other health institutions in Zimbabwe -
is in dire need of medicines, equipment and medical supplies. There is also
a serious shortage of professional staff as hundreds of nurses, doctors
and pharmacists have left the country for greener pastures.
show that almost half of the nurses trained in Zimbabwe are lost annually to
better paying jobs in South Africa, Britain, Australia and the United
Sources said morticians, who are supposed to remove the dead from
the wards to the mortuary, have "their own timetable" and often left this
task to the nurses on duty.
"When a person dies in this ward we just
have to roll him in a mattress and pull it down the stairs," said another
nurse, who added that even that was too strenuous for the overworked nurses
and their student helpers.
Edwin Muguti, the acting medical
superintendent at the hospital, said he could not comment on the
"I am not in a position to comment since I am just acting. You
can call next week and talk to Dr Tapfumaneyi when he is back from leave,"
said Muguti. Chris Tapfumaneyi is the medical superintendent.
Mau Mau faces UK deportation From Foster Dongozi in
LONDON - Zanu PF stalwart and former boxing promoter, Stalin Mau
Mau, faces deportation from the United Kingdom where he sought sanctuary two
years ago. The Home Office has launched an investigation into his businesses
and how he acquired papers to stay in the UK, The Standard can
The Daily Telegraph - a UK newspaper - on Monday last week
reported that Mau Mau's businesses under investigation included a supermarket
in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Mau Mau, who contested the 2000
parliamentary elections on a Zanu PF ticket, was trounced by the Movement for
Democratic Change's Tendai Biti before retreating to lick his wounds in the
safe bosom of the former colonial master in 2002.
The story in The
Daily Telegraph was co-authored by David Blair, a journalist who was deported
from Zimbabwe a few years ago at the onset of the government's crackdown on
The story was broken after police and immigration officers
started investigating an organisation called Zimbabwe Community in the UK
after its founders - Albert and his wife, Grace Matapo -were accused of
forging documents and providing false life histories for more than 1000
Zimbabwean asylum seekers.
Albert Matapo was exposed in a sting
operation conducted by the BBC's Radio Five Live in which he allegedly
boasted that for 1 000 pounds, a Zimbabwean asylum seeker could get a false
passport and be coached into duping immigration officers "through lying to
the white man" by claiming to be persecuted for being members of the MDC. In
the sting operation, Matapo also admitted helping four close relatives of
Cabinet Ministers, who are themselves not allowed to set foot in Europe or
the US after Zimbabwe was declared a rogue state amid accusations that the
2002 presidential elections were rigged.
Matapo was granted asylum in
2002 after claiming he could not return to Zimbabwe as his membership of the
MDC could endanger his life.
In fact, according to The Daily Telegraph,
Matapo actually fled to the UK to escape an angry mob he had allegedly conned
of their money after promising them entry into the UK.
Mau Mau said he
entered the UK legally while Matapo could only meekly utter: "If I am guilty,
I must go to jail." He did not offer to return home to Zimbabwe.
participation of David Blair in the investigations could dash the hopes of
many ruling party lackeys who want to continue staying in the UK as he could
easily flush them out after having met them in Zimbabwe.
THE construction of major dams in Zimbabwe, billed as the only
solution to turn drought-prone areas into productive farmland, have virtually
stalled due to under-funding and failure by government to pay foreign
contractors engaged to do the work, a recent Parliamentary report has
The second report of the Portfolio Committee on Lands,
Agriculture Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement on Major Dam
Projects said the delays have deprived would-be beneficiaries a source of
livelihood as well as general national development.
feel deprived are poverty-stricken rural people who were displaced by the dam
projects and have not been compensated.
"Scattering projects around the
country without completing them creates animosity between community and their
local leadership," noted the committee, which was headed by Zanu PF MP for
Zhombe, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube.
The committee said it was worrying
that budgetary allocations for major dams were grossly inadequate while the
release of available funds by the Ministry of Finance was "too
Some projects ran for only three months at most, before work
came to a standstill, it noted. Apart from that, the government failed to pay
the foreign contractors - mostly from China and Malaysia - prompting them
to stop construction.
As a result of the delays, the cost of
construction has also ballooned, reaching frightening figures, due to the
current hyper-inflationary environment.
Major dam projects that are
facing such problems include Tokwe-Mukosi, Gwayi-Shangani, Dande,
Marovanyati, Kunzwi, Matezwa, Mutange, Wenimbi
Construction work at Tokwe-Mukosi dam in Masvingo -
which was started in 1998 and was supposed to be completed in 2002 - has
encountered several hiccups.
It is now estimated that the grand
project, which is set to benefit communal and commercial farmers in the
drought-ridden province of Masvingo, can only be completed in
Initially, the project, won by Salini-Impregilo, a joint venture
between two Italian firms, was supposed to cost $389 884 324 in 1998 but it
has since jumped to $70 billion.
The report said: "The subcontractors
require about US$200 000 per month to service their
"However, they have not been able to access this foreign
currency from the Foreign Currency Auction Market. As a result, unnecessary
work stoppages occur every now and then thereby hampering
When complete, the dam will be the largest inland lake in the
country with an annual yield of 340 million cubic metres of water with the
potential to irrigate 25 000 hectares.
Another dam project that has
been on the cards for a long time is the Gwayi-Shangani, which is part of the
long awaited massive Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP).
project, which has been riddled by political posturing and lack of funding,
is meant to augment water supplies to Bulawayo and Matabeleland, which has
always experienced perennial water problems.
The water problem has caused
"flight of investment" from the city to other areas in the country with
reliable water supplies.
"Surrounding communities will also benefit from
the project as some water will be released along the way and used for
irrigation purposes thereby creating a green belt along the pipeline," said
The project contract was supposed to be financed through
a build-operate-transfer scheme by a Malaysian firm, ZIMAL, in
partnership with the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT). However, the
funding from Malaysia never materialised, forcing the government to consider
going it alone on the project.
Other than bearing huge charges for the
termination of the contract, the government does not have the capacity to
individually develop the project.
"Besides, the committee does not
believe the government has the capacity to undertake a project of such
magnitude using its own resources, taking into consideration funding problems
faced by other major dam projects currently in progress," noted the
Presently, work at the Dande Dam project, which is supposed to
provide irrigation water to 4 000 families in Chitsungo and Mashumbe in
Guruve North, has stopped and the tunnel contract, China National Water
and Hydropower Engineering Corporation has already returned to
"Regarding the dam contractor, staff is still on site with their
equipment, which is lying idle and yet accumulating standing charges," the
Progress was delayed by financing constraints,
particularly the foreign currency component, which was severely affected by
the pull-out of the Africa Development Bank (ADB)) in 2000 due to non-payment
of arrears by government.
When the contract was signed in 2000, the
project was to cost $284 million but it is now estimated to be well above
War veterans squabble over farm equipment By Valentine
A ROW has erupted among new farmers resettled in Mashonaland East
after some farming equipment, which they say was designated for their use,
was found stashed at a farm belonging to provincial Governor, David
Karimanzira, however, told The Standard recently that the
farm equipment was brought to the farm without his knowledge.
Karimanzira: "A lot of people leave their property at the farm . and that
does not mean its mine. Some have left their scotch carts there. We also have
our own irrigation pipes at the farm."
The new farmers settled at the AI
Saratoga Farm along Shamva Road say some Zanu PF politicians were conniving
with senior government officials to deny them farming equipment seized from
white former commercial farmers.
Advance Gwangwava - a war veteran also
known as "Comrade Stix" - said irrigation pipes from Saratoga were removed on
the orders of one Jani from the President's Office and found dumped at Colga
Farm along Mtoko Road. Colga belongs to Karimanzira.
"Last year, water
pipes were removed and Jani said he had bought them and in order to carry out
their removal without interference, he brought with him some police officers
from Juru growth point," alleged Gwangwava.
The Standard recently visited
Karimanzira's Colga Farm and found huge stacks of irrigation pipes on the
A guard at the farm confirmed that a lot of irrigation
equipment, including pipes, had been left at the farm but he was not sure who
owned them. Most of the pipes were dumped near three giant sheds at the farm
when The Standard visited.
"As you can see there are a lot of things
that have been brought here and we are not sure which property came from
Saratoga and other farms? Unongoonawo nekuwanda kwazvakaita haungazivi kuti
zvakabva kupi uye ndezvani, (You can see for yourself; with all this
equipment from different places, it is difficult to tell what belongs to
who)," said the guard.
Sources at the Governor's office in Marondera said
most of the pipes being kept at Colga belonged to Jani, whom they said was a
senior official in the President's Office.
According to the sources,
Jani was allocated land at a farm in Marondera but could not move onto the
property which turned turned out to be council land. Efforts to trace Jani
The new farmers said two well-known people in the area -
Martin Kurimba and Steven Nyamukacha - last month even tried to move a giant
cold room at Saratoga that was being used to store fresh farm produce on
instructions from Jani.
"Jani threatened us by showing us his picture
standing next to the President," said one of the new farmers,
He said only the intervention of the District Administrator
for Goromonzi, Erick Samunda, prevented the cold room from being forcibly
taken away from Saratoga.
The government recently gazetted a law that
bars anyone from removing farm equipment from farms that were listed for
resettlement amid widespread reports of looting of such equipment.
... But much more needs to be done for all our efforts to
succeed WE have always held the view that governments everywhere respond to
That, fortunately, includes the intransigent and stubborn
variety like the one we have in Zimbabwe at the moment.
electoral reforms published yesterday by the Government Gazette
which masquerades as The Herald are not sweeping by any stretch of
imagination. But they are a step in the right direction. Pressure must
therefore be intensified to push President Mugabe to go the whole way and not
to continue to protect his turf by hook or crook.
We obviously welcome
the fact that the partisan Registrar General's Office will no longer be
involved in the organisation and running of elections. And we further welcome
the shift from having two days of voting to one day. However, we aver that
the independent body to be called the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
tasked to run the electoral process will not be sufficiently independent if
its members are to be appointed by the President.
What will the
difference be between the current Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) and
the proposed Zimbabwe Eelectoral Commission? Is this not like giving with one
hand and taking it away with another?
The President, as the leader of a
political party contesting elections, should have no part to play in the
appointment or setting up of an Independent electoral commission.
current situation which has seen elections being managed by the Registrar
General's Office, the Election Directorate, the Electoral Supervisory
Commission, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the
Delimitation Commission had resulted in a lot of confusion in the whole
Zimbabwe needs a genuine and truly independent
electoral commission to manage and supervise all necessary processes for
holding of elections - independent in the truest sense of the word. The
proposed electoral reforms must conform with the Sadc electoral standards and
These standards and norms are very clear on how the political
playing field can be leveled for all political parties to feel confident
about the electoral process.
So it is most important that Sadc leaders
continue to make concerted efforts in this regard. For there is no doubt that
it has been as a result of the perseverance of courageous Zimbabweans and the
pressure from the Sadc leaders in particular and the international community
in general that Zanu PF has been dragged, albeit kicking and screaming, to
make the concessions that it has made though not far reaching
What is now needed is for the regional leaders and the
international community to do much more to convince President Mugabe not only
to complete the reforms to the country's electoral system but also to repeal
the repressive laws and respect the rule of law.
Zanu PF must also be
persuaded to enter into meaningful dialogue with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. There is no way the playing field can be leveled without
the repeal of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).
Zanu PF's stranglehold
on the content of broadcasting and the so-called public print media must be
brought to an end. The importance of all political parties having equal
access to the media in any electoral process cannot be
The opposition MDC, civil society and the independent
media have taken up the cudgels to keep up pressure on the ruling party and
we have got this far because of this as well as the support from our
neighbours and the international community as a whole.
strongly believe that there are many men and women of goodwill within the
ruling Zanu PF party who want to come together with fellow Zimbabweans in
order to work out the rules of the political game. They know that the current
Zanu PF machine has become an obstacle to their long-term interests and want
normality to return to the country.
We can point to South Africa where
men and women across the great divide have succeeded in breaking barriers in
the interest of the continued development of the country. If it happened in
South Africa, it can also happen here. After all, we live in the same country
and we have to go on sharing it.
Change is always difficult. It
implies pain and inconvenience on the part of Zanu PF. But members of the
ruling must know that they can never be secure politically unless the
electoral playing field is leveled.
By these electoral reforms, albeit
half-hearted, the ruling Zanu PF has signaled a new mood; a new engagement on
issues with the opposition and the rest of civil society. Prevention or cure,
only we Zimbabweans can find solutions to our problems.
published electoral reforms represent good small strokes pointing out more of
the failing, to say "half-empty rather than half-full".
expect a more full glass from President Mugabe in the not too distant
Dreams in fantasy
land YOU can, of course, believe anything you like. You can believe that
everyone in the troubled central African nation will have full bellies this
year. You can believe that patriotic and revolutionary new farmers will have
grown the food that fills those bellies.
It's entirely up to you whether
you believe these things or not.
You can even believe the troubled
courts in the troubled central African police State will resolve disputed
election results from four years ago - and that they'll do so before the next
And if you're being really optimistic, you can persuade
yourself that the courts care about these things. You can even believe
they're brave enough to show us they're independent.
You can believe
that the most equal of all comrades will hand over the reins of power to a
democratically accepted successor. You might even believe that the Zany Party
will reach consensus without infighting and turmoil.
Of course, you might
believe that all the banned newspapers will win their court challenges so
that troubled central Africans can read the news they want to read without
risking a long weekend in police cells.
And you may even believe the
troubled central bank will regain control of the economy and bring inflation
to below, say, 500 per cent within a year.
If you're really chancing your
arm, you might want to think that, yes, troubled central Africans in the
Diaspora will send real money home to save us all from perdition and
Or you might prefer to dream of the day when you can walk into
the supermarket and fill your trolley with everything you want, pay for it
and put behind you the planning for shortages brought about by what the
Zany Party refers to rather dubiously as economic saboteurs.
even put on your double strength rose tinted spectacles and tell everyone
that the More Drink Coming Party will win more seats in the
next parliamentary elections.
Perhaps you believe the More Drink
Coming Party has a plan that extends beyond sitting on its collective bottom
and waiting for the Zany Party to devour itself.
Or that the troubled
central African basket case will suddenly find itself back among the
community of nations with a sack full of proper money.
You may even have
faith in the community of nations and believe, even now, there are those
planning to save the troubled central African banana republic from
You may not think our southern neighbour will lift a finger,
but you hope others will. (Though why Terrible Thabo should be singled out
more than anyone else is a mystery. He's done no more nor no less than anyone
else. You don't see Tony "Emily" Blair doing anything more useful than
practicing expressions of gratuitous concern either, do you?) Still, if you
believe any of this, you probably also believe in fairies - and no, I'm not
talking about Emily.
On the other hand, like 99 per cent of troubled
central Africans, you know that none of it's true, but that the truth is out
there. Just like in the X Files, except this time the aliens seem to have
taken over and could possibly be living in the misinformation minister's
Still, never mind. Over The Top will reveal the truth for you. No,
there is no food. The succession debate will get ugly and the successor will
have no democratic mandate. The last elections will not be resolved before
the next elections begin - and the next elections will be bloodier still. The
courts will subscribe to Zany Party philosophy and the More Drink Coming
Party is at least right when it says the rival Zany Party will devour itself.
The end . so hurry up and drink your coffee because it's cold.
The big lie WAS it Abraham Lincoln who said you can fool some
people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time, or
words to that effect?
A recent survey by the United Nations, contrary
to Uncle Bob's widely reported claims, says more than two million people in
rural Zimbabwe will need food aid in the next year.
The report by
the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee - on which the government has
a representative - says a survey carried out in April shows that about 2,3
million people in the rural areas will need food aid before the next
That alone relegates to the dustbin ridiculous claims by Uncle
Bob - and promoted heavily by the Nutty Professor and the lapdogs at
Zimpapers - that we have had a bumper harvest and won't need food
The report is even more shocking: it says an earlier
assessment had revealed that the situation could be dire in the urban centres
and concludes that before next year, about five million Zimbabweans might
need food aid.
The ZimVac survey, carried out in April, contradicts Uncle
Bob's claims that the country will be able to feed itself.
the government went ballistic when the UN called for an independent
assessment on this year's harvest after the wild claims by the Great Leader
in his interview with Sky News.
I MUST confess
I gave up on the lying Chronicle long back and no longer read it . unless
it's at gunpoint.
I am of the opinion that no-one in their right mind
should spend their hard-earned Zimkwacha to have their intelligence insulted
by the trash the bearded one peddles as news on a daily basis.
of the blatant lies in The Chronicle (such as reports that the MDC plotted to
bomb high-rise buildings in the sleepy second capital), I have since been
convinced that there are better uses for one's increasingly useless Zimkwacha
than to contribute to Bin Laden Ndlovu's salary.
Baring the fact that
some say, rightly or wrongly, that the bearded one does have weird ways of
distributing his salary - like entertaining women of dubious repute at
midnight in his office, or consulting n'angas to remain in frisky Nutty
Nathaniel's good books - I believe The Chronicle is really
It is a publication only fit for other hygienic purposes
should one find themselves in a spot of bother without the necessary ablution
The other day, however, my interest was aroused when
a colleague pointed out that while we are appalled by Puffy's antics to lie
and cover up for Jonathan Nathaniel Manheru Moyo everyday, worse things are
happening in Bulawayo.
A casual flip through Tuesday's Chronicle bears
testimony of how the bearded one has become the campaign manager for Nutty
As probably the whole of Zimbabwe knows, the junior Minister
of Information - who has never been elected to any position of note in
Zanu PF - wants Tsholotsho next year, badly.
He tried to ramrod his
way through - in his usual crude fashion - by announcing that he had been
nominated "unopposed" to be the governing party' s candidate for the rural
outpost, but for once Uncle Bob put down the brakes.
The Great Leader,
realising that he would allow a free-for-all (even for his own position),
announced that anyone wishing to stand as a Zanu PF candidate had to undergo
a primary selection process.
That is why the Nutty Professor has a bee on
his bonnet and has enlisted the services of the State media to snatch
On the front page of Tuesday's Chronicle is a full frontal
picture of Jona and a story saying he was "in a state of unbelievable shock"
at the death of Chief Mbulawa of Tsholotsho.
Before announcing to the
whole world - and of course the prospective voters in Tsholotsho - that he
was making a personal donation of $4 million to the funeral of the late
chief, our Jona mourns: "We are left searching our souls helplessly asking
God and our ancestors why us in Tsholotsho?".
colleague at the paper that was once pink, Basildon Peta - the
Johannesburg-based Africa Correspondent of the Independent News and Media
Group (UK) - has dismissed as "superior madness" claims by Uncle Bob's envoy
in Pretoria that he fabricated a story about RBZ chief Gideon Gono's torrid
reception in South Africa last week.
In the report, which drew Simon
Khaya Moyo's ire, Peta said angry Zimbabweans pelted Moyo and refused to be
addressed by Gono at the Gallagher Estates in Midrand.
Peta said he
found it strange that Moyo was now denying a "straight forward fact that
happened in the full view of the world and was reported by international
Said Peta: "Perhaps the only good thing about Moyo's insane
rantings is that they make the job of telling the world that Zimbabwe is in a
mess today, because it has many idiots in its ranks, much
Woodpecker could not get Khaya Moyo's response - which is likely
to be just as colourful - at the time of going to Press.
STILL on matters journalistic, Woodpecker would like to mourn
his former collegue and dear friend, the late Wilson Dakwa.
known to close friends at Herald House in the mid-1980s as "Baby †Doc" - was
the other half of the famous Dakwa brothers who excelled in journalism in
Zimbabwe just after independence in 1980.
Dakwa, nicknamed "Baby Doc"
(while his brother Painos became "Papa Doc"), was an easily noticeable figure
in the newsroom with his Afro hairstyle and dark CIO-like
When he joined The Herald, he immediately made a name for
himself through investigative township reports. One of his most famous
stories was an exposť of a family working for a white commercial farmer who
were so poor that they fed on white maggots that are found in pigs'
Baby Doc was a principled journalist who crafted his reports
without fear or favour and when it became fashionable to bootlick Zanu PF at
The Herald, he like many others resigned.
Even when he took early
retirement from the ZBC - to escape the circus brought about by Nutty
Nathaniel - he continued to write great human-interest stories. One of his
last reports, which was in last week's Standard, was about the outcry in
Bulawayo over escalating rentals of city flats.
To his last breath,
Baby Doc remained a real man of the people. Farewell Baby Doc.
A lot has
been said by senior government officials and those with similar views to the
government, proclaiming the success of the land reform exercise.
confess to being only a casual observer of the events as they
unfold, concerning the above, but I find it strange that in the last few days
alone, the same people have said or reported the following:
there is now going to be a "total re-organisation of the land ownership
system in the country".
†That new farmer tobacco growers have decimated
indigenous forests causing the international market to consider boycotting
Zimbabwe tobacco until the situation is rectified.
†The farmers need
25 000 tractors country-wide, but less than 1000 have still to land or be
assembled in the country this year.
†That poachers who decimated game
populations on conservancies thought that the land was for arable use only
but now know that benefits can be obtained by reviving the wildlife
CHAKAODZA, Editor of The Standard was recently part of a delegation of
Zimbabwean journalists who undertook a study tour of Sweden under
the auspices of the country's Embassy in Harare and the Swedish Institute
The purpose of the visit was to provide the journalists
with a glimpse of Swedish society and culture, specifically Swedish laws on
freedom of expression and access to information. The following is first of a
two part series on his impressions of the visit.
OVER and over
again, Jonathan Moyo and Tafataona Mahoso repeatedly said it. But that does
not make it true. Shameless and constant repetition can make even the ugliest
of media fantasies seem true if they are not exposed for what they
Here, I refer to the patently absurd claim that the satanic Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) is modeled along the
lines of the media legislation in that land of Nobel prizes - Sweden.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Through the Swedish Embassy
in Harare and the Swedish Institute in Stockholm, a number of Zimbabwean
journalists had the good fortune to visit this beautiful country to study how
the media laws are actually applied in practice and to see what exactly
happens on the ground.
Let me get straight to the point. One of the most
liberal and progressive freedom of the media laws that I had the privilege to
come across is the Freedom of the Press Act of Sweden.
is the rule and secrecy the exception. Every citizen has the right to have
access to official documents and this right is guaranteed in the Swedish
Constitution. The principle of public access means that all documents and
information in the keeping of a public authority either central government or
local government are accessible to the general public. Both in theory and
practice, this means a Swedish citizen can ask to read the Prime Minister's
There are, of course, exceptions to the principle of public access.
For example, specific clauses relating to matters of national security or
to protect the integrity or privacy of ordinary citizens e.g. medical
records of patients. But the more important thing here is that legal
justification is always required before a public authority can refuse access
to documents or information.
A government can cite specific clauses in
refusing access but it is the court of law which has the last word whether or
not a particular document can be withheld from citizens.
conditions under which Swedish journalists work are rather special compared
with the conditions in most other countries including much of Europe. In the
European Union, including Britain for example, all public documents are
secret and it is the governments of these countries which decide whether or
not to allow access to public documents.
Unlike in Zimbabwe, registration
of a media organisation in Sweden is a mere formality akin to registering any
company under the Company Act. It is a totally administrative affair.
Journalists are neither registered nor accredited. Anyone has a right to
become a journalist.
Press cards for identification purposes are issued
by the Swedish Union of Journalists. It is not permission to work as a
journalist. It is not a legal requirement and a number of Swedish journalists
do not hold press cards and they go about their business without anybody
It is unheard of in Sweden for a media house to ask for
permission to publish. And once registered like any ordinary company, such
registration cannot be withdrawn. It is actually written in the Swedish
Constitution that anyone has the right to publish as long as they have the
money and an Editor who is legally responsible for anything that is printed
or published in the newspaper.
The right to publish can never be
withdrawn because the Swedish society has long been united in the belief that
journalism and journalists have an important role to play in the democratic
process. Sweden does not close newpapers.
For a very small country
with a population of about 9 million, Sweden can justifiably be proud of many
things: the then pop group Abba, Tennis players, Siemens, Volvo and on top of
all these things, freedom of speech.
I am not trying to celebrate other
people's mythologies here but the free media landscape in Sweden strikes me
as something to be emulated by people who cherish free speech in this world.
Unlike in Zimbabwe, where the government is endangering the health of not
only journalists but Zimbabweans of all colours and creeds, there are no
government tentacles controlling anything in Sweden.
One of the things
that made Sweden such a fascinating place to visit was the institution of
Press Ombudsman set up by Press organisations to regulate themselves. The
State has nothing to do with it. In fact, the whole system has the desired
effect of shutting out the government from the media arena.
organisations namely the Association of Newspaper Publishers, the Association
of Magazine Publishers, the Swedish Union of Journalists and the National
Press Club own the system of Press Ombudsman.
Unlike in Zimbabwe, the
self disciplinary system of the Swedish Press is not based on legislation. It
is entirely voluntary and wholly financed by the four press organisations.
And these organisations are responsible for drawing up Sweden's Code of
Ethics for the press, television and radio.
In Sweden, Freedom of the
Press Act is written in such a way that it is very difficult to win a libel
case. The act is tilted very much in favour of free speech. It is very strong
on Press freedom and very weak on the need to protect the integrity of the
There is nothing remotely resembling our own Aippa, ZBC or
the Media and Information Commission in Sweden.
We know that God
watches all of us. But I doubt whether he watches
The role of the Press Ombudsman in Sweden is to
receive and take decisions on complaints from members of the public who have
been hurt or ill-affected by what has been published about them. The system
has all to do with maintaining ethical standards and professionalism on the
part of the media. The general public has someone to turn to for redress in
the event of being offended or hurt by the media.
If a newspaper is
formally cited by the Press Ombudsman and subsequently by the Press Council
that it has hurt the feelings of a member of the public, the newspaper must
publish the decision or criticism of the Press Council in a very visible way
and not hide it somewhere in the newspaper.
The newspaper also pays a fee
as a way of contributing financially to the running of the Ombudsman office
and the whole system of self regulation. The Press Ombudsman is really the
spokesperson for ethical values in journalism not the government. He is part
of the civil society appointed by the four media organisations referred to
and not the government appointed Mahosos of this world as we have in
In this country we are labouring under the heavy hammer of the
wrongly named Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. That is
why the New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists recently
placed Zimbabwe on its list of the "World's worst places to be a Journalist".
How such a country can be remotely equated with Sweden defies all logic.
In Sweden, journalism is a separate entity and not a wing of a ruling party
as is the case with ZBC and Zimpapers here in Zimbabwe.
in Sweden gave me a different perspective on how the Swedish media operates
Of course the attitudes and practices enshrined in Swedish
legislation with regard to rights of public access and openness and the
professional code of ethics of the Swedish Media industry are things which
have been shaped by their own culture, political traditions and economic
But coming from a repressive environment like our own here in
Zimbabwe, I came away very confident of its merits. And when democracy and
press freedom returns to Zimbabwe as it surely will in the not too distant
future, a leaf can be drawn from the book of Sweden.
neutral and avoiders of conflict, Sweden has something to offer. There are
some negatives of course like the perception widely held that it is one of
the most sexually permissive societies on earth and morals being on the
looser side. Everything is Sweden is very expensive as I observed.
positives include their past unflinching support for liberation movements,
their welcoming of political refugees and the on-going great contributions to
international aid - and of course their openness and public access to
official documents which is unparalled worldwide.