Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader
of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, has blasted the
electoral commission of the Southern African Development Community for
endorsing fraudulent elections and for supporting autocratic
In his weekly newsletter, Tsvangirai cited Zimbabwe's 2001, and
this year's Malawian presidential elections, saying the SADC observer team's
bias "makes it possible for dictators to bludgeon their way into office using
"They [the SADC electoral team] choose to blame
administrative bottlenecks, which they conveniently assume to be natural,
instead of condemning openly questionable electoral practices in their own
backyards," he said.
††††† 'The same official observers admit their
mistakes' "When confronted privately, the same official observers admit
their mistakes, but raise spurious arguments about stability, solidarity,
the liberation struggle and the fact that it is normal for elections to
present difficult challenges in Africa."
He said this was in contrast
to other observers from Africa, the European Union and the Commonwealth, who
had condemned the elections. Tsvangirai said the same phenomenon repeated
itself in the Malawian presidential elections last month.
Mutharika [the new Malawian president] was declared the winner and sworn in
immediately in the presence of his new SADC colleagues who
included [Zimbabwean President Robert] Mugabe.
"The SADC official
observation team saw nothing improper with the election. The aggrieved
opposition has posted a legal challenge to the result. This could lead to
nothing because Wa Mutharika is recognised by SADC governments.
African Union was not alone in making such an observation. Strident voices of
condemnation emerged from the Commonwealth delegation, headed by Justice
Joseph Warioba, the former prime minister of Tanzania; the European Union;
and several local monitoring groups," he said.
††††† 'Spurious arguments
about stability, solidarity, the liberation struggle' "Our behaviour as
African leaders, our failure to restrain each other or merely to acknowledge
evil intentions against the people, makes it possible for dictators to
burgeon their way into office using sham elections," Tsvangirai
He called for the implementation of SADC electoral norms and
standards adopted in 2001, which were ratified by governments in the region.
He said this should be a precondition for observers monitoring next
year's Zimbabwean elections.
"Those wishing to monitor and observe the
2005 parliamentary election must debate the electoral standards here if their
observations are to assume a measure of relevance to the Zimbabwean people,"
Esther Kanaimba, a spokesperson for the SADC, referred queries
to Lesotho, which is currently chairing the organisation's political
Lesotho's principal secretary for foreign affairs, Motlatsi
Ramafole, was not available for comment.
† a.. This article
was originally published on page 4 of The Sunday Independent on June 06,
Maputo - Optimists about Zimbabwe are living
in a dream world.
This was the reaction from participants in last week's
World Economic Forum's Africa Summit on calls to invest in the country. A
panel of Zimbabwean businesspeople - amongst whom a potential successor for
president Robert Mugabe - encouraged foreigners to buy in now and ride a
Russell Loubser, chief executive of the JSE Securities
Exchange, also confirmed that there are renewed attempts at getting the
Zimbabwean bourse on a common trade system. Loubser said the market is quite
resilient despite major problems.
The Zimbabwean market is a gambling
house, says Prof Anthony Hawking of the University of Zimbabwe and journalist
for the Financial Times in London. The market gains 30% in three days, and
loses it just as fast.
He also does not foresee an economic revival in
Some Zimbabwean businesspeople report their sales to be a
mere 10% of what they were five years ago. Manufacturing production has
halved, and factories battle with production and the import of equipment in
the midst of the currency crisis. Inflation still hovers around
Migration to the United Kingdom and South Africa has decimated the
Simba Makoni, former finance minister and currently risk
advisor for South African companies amongst others, says the dust is busy
settling over the country following an "all-time low" with the
"It's better to invest in the country now than to
try and come in after events have started turning," Makoni
Dismissed in 2002 due to internal strife in cabinet, Makoni
believes tentative steps towards the country's monetary and fiscal policy
have been taken. He also believes next year's parliamentary elections will
run smoothly "provided that political parties behave responsibly".
the country's "neighbours and friends" regard the election as free and fair,
things will start normalising.
Foreign groups, particularly the European
Union, will not be invited to monitor the elections, Makoni
"They will only declare the elections fair if the opposition
party (the Movement for Democratic Change) wins," he says.
admits his clients are still quite skeptical about investing in Zimbabwe.
They continue to ask the same questions.
"There is no economic recovery,"
says Hawking. He doesn't expect Zimbabwe to change unless people do it
themselves - or South Africa becomes involved.
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono has shot down
growing speculation that he could run for President in 2008, when President
Robert Mugabe steps down.
Gono also confirmed for the first time in an
interview with The Standard that he had been President Mugabe's personal
banker, during his tenure at the Jewel Bank (Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe) but
said that this was a "regular" relationship that would not influence him into
"I enjoy what I am doing; for myself and for my country.
I've just been appointed and I accepted the position with honour and
humility," Gono said. "I'm basically a finance person and I intend to remain
Gono argued that the President was only one of a diversity of
clients that he had served during his time as CEO of the Jewel Bank, a bank
in which government holds minority interests.
"It's a privilege to be
a personal banker to the leadership or the clergy, the leadership of the
media and banker to the whole country. If, in that process, you find favour
in serving your Head of State, who should deny you that (right)?" Gono
"Most of the people who harp on this matter, it could be sour
grapes, because there can never be a greater privilege and honour than to
serve, say, the president of the farmers union, the president of the CZI. Why
not the President of the country?" he added.
He asked: "Where would
you like the President to bank? Would you like the President to form his own
bank? If I was Chinotimba's banker, would you want him to form his own
Gono said political leaders everywhere had personal bankers, and
that having been Mugabe's banker was "not something I'm shy about or ashamed
Gono took office as RBZ Governor in December last year, and
immediately embarked on a controversial shake up of the financial sector,
which he said was threatened by graft and unethical practices.
ruling Zanu PF party has latched onto the bank clean up, launching a separate
crusade against white-collar crime, which party officials now claim has been
the root cause of years of economic decline.
The anti-graft campaign has
thrust Gono into the spotlight, raising speculation among critics that the
central bank Governor could use his links to Mugabe to make a move towards
the country's top political office.
Mugabe, in recent interviews with
foreign media, announced that he had no intention of running in the next
presidential election, due in 2008, saying he wanted to retire to a life of
He said, contrary to his earlier promises, he was now personally
head hunting for his successor.
The President's remarks have escalated
a power struggle within the ruling party, played out in recent weeks through
mudslinging in the media. Mugabe, who will be 84 at the next presidential
poll, has however not named any successor, or hinted on a front-runner.
MDC wants Mudede out before poll By Richard
GWERU- THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wants the
removal of Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede before it can participate in next
year's poll, party president Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday.
leaders, who were meeting here, resolved to kick start their campaign for the
2005 Parliamentary elections but announced five conditions - including
Mudede's removal - before the opposition party can participate in the
Tsvangirai addressed the MDC provincial assembly meeting
for the Midlands South constituency at the party's offices in
"We will prepare and we are preparing for the elections next year
but we have set up election standards for the government and these standards
are in accordance with SADC requirements," said Tsvangirai.
the conditions is that Mudede should go just as we want President Robert
Mugabe to go.
"Mugabe has messed up the economy and Mudede has perfected
election theft in favour of his masters, Zanu PF.
"We want votes to be
counted at their respective polling stations," said Tsvangirai.
other conditions were for the restoration of the rule of law, the setting up
of an Independent Electoral Commission, the removal of draconian laws - POSA
and AIPPA - and the non-interference of traditional chiefs, the army, police
and Zanu PF activists in the electoral process.
"Chiefs should keep off
politics and they should also stop from being used by Zanu PF as what
happened during the Smith regime," said Tsvangirai, who punctuated his speech
with continuous denouncement of the violence being waged by Zanu PF, the
police and the army.
Tsvangirai said, Mugabe - who he said was four years
older than his father - should leave power as he was now a spent force and
reacting to situations like a small child.
The MDC leader also
castigated Mugabe for insulting Zimbabweans living abroad during the
presidential elections and now asking for their money through the
government's Home Link programme.
Before the meeting, there was a minute
of silence in honour of those who were tortured, victimised, killed, beaten,
had their homes destroyed or burnt by Zanu PF activists during political
Zim ministers barred from conference in Germany From
Foster Dongozi in Bonn, Germany
AMOS Midzi, the Minister of Energy and
Power Development and Francis Nhema, the Minister of Environment and Tourism
last week failed to attend a crucial International Conference for Renewable
Energies in Germany due to travel sanctions slapped on President Robert
Mugabe and his cronies by the European Union.
The conference, held in
Bonn, drew delegates from all over the world and was led by ministers of
energy and environment.
All participating countries had their names
written on tables but a search for Zimbabwe drew a blank. Zimbabwe's
representative to Germany, Lucia Muvingi, was also nowhere to be
A Zambian official — whose delegation would normally have been
seated next to the Zimbabweans, said: “We haven't seen the Zimbabweans, we
doubt if they are coming.
“As it is, we are at the end of the
alphabetical list yet it is usually our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters who
are listed last at international conferences such as this one.'
conference organiser said Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroder invited
the participating governments.
She added that the absence of the two
cabinet ministers and ruling party stalwarts was a result of the smart
sanctions, which have seen members of the ruling party and government being
restricted to shopping jamborees in South Africa, away from their preferred
choices of London, Paris and New York.
“Delegates to the conference
were invited by Chancellor Schroder who would naturally respect the European
Union position that placed travel restrictions against some Zimbabwean
members of the government and the ruling party,' said the
The doors to Europe and the US, former favourite playgrounds of
the ruling class, were slammed in their faces in 2002 after accusations that
the presidential election was rigged.
Developing countries from Africa
and other parts of the world reportedly clinched deals worth millions of
Euros in funding for renewable energy programmes for wind and solar-driven
power generation while others signed technology transfer agreements during
World Bank managing director, Peter Woicke, who is also
the executive vice president of the International Finance Corporation, said
the bank would commit US$200 million towards the transition to cleaner energy
The conference, which started on Tuesday, was a follow up to the
2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and sought to
assist and encourage countries around the world to turn to the use of
renewable energies like solar and wind energy.
fuels like oil and coal were said to be responsible for environmental
degradation, which were contributing to climate change.
whose effects are already being felt around the world, has resulted in
extreme weather conditions like floods and droughts in some parts of the
world, including Zimbabwe.
Another advantage of solar and wind energy was
that they do not pollute the environment and are found in inexhaustible
The conference was attended by more than 3 000 delegates, the
majority of them representing 154 developing nations.
RBZ rakes billions from exiled bankers By Rangarirai
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has received more than US$11,2 million
(nearly $60 billion) in voluntary repatriation of externalised funds, central
bank officials have said.
The RBZ officials said the figure could be
even higher, as more exiled money has been brought back into the country but
has not been classified as externalised funds.
repatriations that have so far been received amount to US$11,2 million.
However, it must be noted that more funds have been repatriated but have not
been reported as externalised funds," a senior RBZ official said last
The repatriations have been made amid pleas to central bank
Governor Gideon Gono for protection from prosecution, pleas for amnesty that
Gono has turned down.
"This issue can best be dealt with by the
appropriate law enforcement agencies. It is outside our purview to grant
amnesties and I dealt with this item adequately in my recent monetary policy
review," Gono told StandardBusiness in an interview last week.
bankers fret over a new anti-graft law that keeps suspects in jail for months
with no right to bail.
The RBZ has led an anti-corruption drive over the
past month that has uncovered what authorities say has been widespread
externalisation of foreign currency by local businessmen.
Mthuli Ncube, who had two subsidiaries of his Barbican Holdings placed under
curatorship earlier this year, has been reported as one of the leading
banking figures to have voluntarily repatriated funds to Zimbabwe. The
transfers are being made through Syfrets, a division of Finhold.
the reasons that the RBZ cited when it placed Barbican's commercial bank and
asset management firm under curatorship was that it had
detected infringements of the exchange laws during an
Barbican's troubles are part of central bank's tough
financial sector shake up that has forced a number of the country's leading
banking executives to flee the country over the past five
Police are seeking to arrest four founding directors of NMB, who
they want to charge with externalising $30 billion worth of hard
Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri is the highest profile figure
to have been charged with externalisation of foreign currency, so far. The
charges arose from a mansion that Kuruneri is building in Cape
Reports however say construction work at the site ceased after
James Makamba, a businessman who sits in the ruling
Zanu PF's Central Committe - also charged with externalisation of hard
currency and has spent nearly four months in jail - from where he has lodged
12 unsuccessful bail applications.
LOCAL Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister,
Ignatious Chombo, has suspended the MDC Executive Mayor of Chegutu, Francis
Dhlakama, accusing him of failing to solve persistent problems affecting the
Chombo has since appointed acting Chegutu Town Clerk, Marufu
Zvinyowera, as the caretaker mayor.
Chombo, who recently fired
Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri, said problems in Chegutu exist at both
the policy making and executive levels depriving rate payers of the
"It is in this regard that I have recently
appointed an acting town clerk, with the specific mandate of turning around
the municipality and thus contributing to the return of normalcy to the
operations of the local authority," wrote Chombo in a letter addressed to
Dhlakama dated June 2.
He added: "You as mayor are requested to take two
months paid leave with immediate effect."
Chombo also suspended all
council and committee meetings of the municipality until further notice.
Chegutu is a predominantly Zanu PF council.
A team of officials from
Chombo's office was expected to be deployed to Chegutu to conduct "an
in-depth investigation with a view of advising me on issues that need
immediate redress for sanity to prevail".
Dhlakama was overwhelmingly
elected mayor in 2001 after shaking off the challenge of Zanu PF's Stanley
Analysts say it is most likely that Dhlakama who has been
suspended will subsequently be dismissed and replaced by a commission loyal
to Chombo, who has interfered with the functions of virtually every MDC mayor
in the country.
Early this year, he sacked Mudzuri on charges the
opposition party says are flimsy and frivolous, before freezing rates
increases in Mutare where MDC Executive Mayor Misheck Kagurabadza is now
Zanu PF supporters, who are resisting increases in rates,
have also threatened MDC Kariba Mayor John Houghton.
secretary-general Welshman Ncube said the suspension of Dhlakama is
an affront to democracy and an attempt to rid the country of any
l Meanwhile, Angela Makamure reports that MDC
councillors, who survived Chombo's axe last week, have vowed to continue
fighting the Minister "in order to restore order and sanity at Town
The councillors said they would stand by their colleagues who
were suspended, without benefits, early last week for allegedly interfering
with the management of council affairs.
The suspended councillors said
they were confident that the other 17 councillors, who survived the chop,
were going to carry the struggle forward.
Councillor Dunstan Majoni
said the councillors would not recognise Sekesayi Makwavarara as the acting
He said: "We are prepared for anything. We had decided to resign
in solidarity with our suspended fellows, but they discouraged us from
Chombo suspended the councillors after they defied his
directive and held elections for a new deputy mayor. The government had
ordered that no council elections would be held in Harare until
Christopher Mushonga, who was elected the deputy mayor for Harare,
said it was sad that those who are supposed to be the custodians of the
Urban Councils Act were violating it on a daily basis.
Combined Harare Ratepayers' Association (CHRA) this week condemned Chombo's
CHRA said it would not sit down and watch as some people advance
their personal and partisan interests at the expense of rate
"We hope the ministry realises these objectives and provide
necessary support to council and as an organisation we call for an end to
this fiasco at Town House," said CHRA.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC
spokesperson said: "We will stop at nothing to ensure that Chombo's Zanu PF
wishes to frustrate the people are given the boot."
On Thursday, the
councillors finally filed an urgent application at the High Court seeking to
nullify their suspension and bar Chombo from interfering in council
SADC leaders handpick successors By Caiphas
WHETHER by coincidence or as a deliberate ploy to retain some
control of the political power in their countries, there is a definite trend,
analysts say, of some southern African presidents — in the twilight of their
despotic rule — hand picking successors in order to escape possible
retribution after they leave office.
They point to the eloquent
example of Zambia's embattled former President, Frederick Chiluba, who has
been hauled before the courts for, among other offences, embezzling State
funds, by his chosen successor, Levy Mwanawasa. This is seen as a case in
point for the paranoia that has gripped the leaders who now seek to ensure
that only trusted loyalists take over from them.
Mugabe said in a recent interview with a Kenyan newspaper, The East African
Standard that he would hand-pick his successor before leaving office when his
current term expires in 2008.
Analysts are convinced that outgoing
African despots are afraid that a radical leader coming to power in their
countries would “expose the skeletons in their closets'.
either sought to remain in power until death or have created conditions that
make it virtually impossible for independent presidential hopefuls, within
and outside their parties, to win the post without their express
After Chiluba and Mugabe's reported intentions, other examples
of this trend among Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders
said to be keen on imposing chosen successors in their countries are, Sam
Nujoma of Namibia, and Mozambican leader Joaquim Chissano who is pushing for
his long-time colleague, Armando Guebuza to succeed him.
President, Bakili Muluzi successfully hand-picked Bingu wa Mutharika from his
ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) as presidential candidate in recent
general elections. Wa Mutharika won the elections.
University of Zimbabwe
political scientist, Eldred Masunungure, believes the trend of hand picking
successors is being prompted by “fear of the unknown' by outgoing leaders.
Yet, said Masunungure, “the best guarantee against fear and insecurity is to
govern well and not leave any skeletons in the cupboards for anyone to
He said the practice was unhelpful to the democratic process as
it weakens the voices of the people both within and outside party
The director of the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI),
Gordon Chavunduka, was equally unimpressed by the practice of handpicking of
successors describing it as “a very disturbing development in southern
Africa, particularly now when the trend the world over is towards more
democratic systems of governance'.
“They are more concerned about
their future after retirement because most of them fear the unknown,' said
In Malawi, upon assuming office, the new President
immediately promised an economic turnaround through strict budgetary control,
strengthening the country's Anti-Corruption Bureau and trimming the
Observers say these statements had sent shock-waves among some
of the country's political heavyweights who fear that the intended measures
could target some of them. Malawi has several corruption cases pending; some
of them unresolved for more than six years, which involve senior
politicians and other important people.
“The phenomenon of handpicking
of successors is certainly taking root in the region but it is not a
guarantee that one will escape prosecution when one leaves office. The
Zambian case is an eloquent example,' said one
Mwanawasa, a member of Chiluba's Movement for
Multi-party Democracy (MMD), and endorsed by the former President when his
attempts to change the constitution so that he could run a third term failed,
was widely seen as Chiluba's puppet but the 53-year-old lawyer stunned his
benefactor by immediately instituting measures to root out
In Zimbabwe, analysts are convinced events in the country's
northern neighbour may have something to do with the 80-year-old President
Mugabe's procrastination over identifying a successor. Mugabe, many say, has
a lot to fear from his record which includes the Matabeleland massacres of
the early 1980s and well documented cases of murder, torture and other human
rights abuses committed by his ruling Zanu PF party.
“This is Africa
and Zimbabwe is part of it. I can see what happened in Zambia happening here
as well,' said Chavunduka.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders
have vowed at various meetings that if they come to power they will prosecute
Mugabe for human rights abuses.
Mugabe is afraid, the analysts say, of
going the same way as Chiluba and is carefully scouting for a genuine
“friend' who will not turn against him. But Mugabe, according to the
observers, has very few choices.
What worries Mugabe most, some say, is
the fact that he has no direct control of the behind the scenes power
struggles among the stalwarts of his ruling Zanu PF party. Increasingly, he
has shown distrust of some of his former confidantes who publicly deny any
presidential ambitions but are secretly understood to be interested in the
Mugabe's critics say ailing former Zanu PF strong man and one
time Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Eddison Zvobgo,
fell-out with the aging President after he openly expressed his ambition to
challenge Mugabe for the Presidency. Zvobgo was subsequently thrown out of
the party and nearly hauled before a disciplinary committee for
allegedly decampaigning Mugabe during the 2002 Presidential
In the meantime, unconfirmed reports have suggested that
Mugabe was grooming Parliamentary Speaker, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as his
successor. But Munangagwa denies this saying he has no intention for standing
as a Presidential candidate.
Others who have been named as the race to
find Mugabe's successor gathers momentum are Vice-President, Joseph Msika,
former head of Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU military wing and currently Zanu PF
Politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa, defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, and
ruling party chairman, John Nkomo.
In Namibia, 75-year-old Nujoma, eager
to protect himself against possible retribution, recently handpicked the
ruling party Swapo's vice president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, as his successor.
Other serious contenders for the post included Nahas Angula, Namibia's higher
education minister and the former foreign minister, Hidipo Hamutenya, whom
Nujoma recently sacked.
“This is what makes Nujoma's case different from
that of Nelson Mandela, who promoted Thabo Mbeki. Nujoma fired Hamutenya,
signalling that people should not vote for him,' said Masunungure.
his (Nujoma's) candidate was not accepted he was not going to retire unlike
Nujoma, who has ruled Namibia since 1990, is scheduled
to step down following elections in November.
In similar fashion,
Chissano, who assumed power in 1986 has nominated Guebuza, a long time
colleague. Guebuza played a significant role in the political settlement
between Frelimo and Renamo in 1992, which brought to an end nearly two
decades of civil war.
Chavunduka was, however, optimistic that the
undemocratic system of handpicking successors would soon come to an end as
people in the region increasingly demand for a democratic dispensation.
“Democratic winds, though still low, are sweeping across the region,' he
Nyagura scouts for lecturers abroad By our own
UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Professor Levy Nyagura, has
been over the past few weeks making frantic efforts to lure expatriate
lecturers to fill the void created by the departure of
Lecturers at one of the highest institution of learning in the
country are leaving in droves because of poor working conditions and low
Nyagura, who became the vice chancellor of the university
at the beginning of last year, told The Standard that he was working with
local embassies in an effort to source lecturers for the
“Right now we are currently working with deans of faculties
to try and get lecturers from other African countries in order to fill
vacancies. At the moment we are expecting between three and five lecturers
from Egypt soon and negotiations with other embassies are still going on,'
He added that they were also looking for lecturers from
India through the Indian embassy.
Sources at the university said
Nyagura was recently outside the country for recruitment purposes but Nyagura
yesterday flatly denied this saying, instead, he had gone to South Korea.
“That is not true … I had gone to South Korea on other business not for staff
recruitment purposes. The visit was about an information communication
technology that we are doing for the institution,' he said, though admitting
that there was a serious shortage of staff at the University of
But the few remaining lecturers who are still at the
institution have described the move as pointless and unnecessary.
lecturers said it did not make any sense for the institution to get lecturers
from countries with better economies yet they are failing to pay their own
Joseph Mhlaule, the president of the University
Teachers' Association (UTA), said the move was a desperate attempt. “It is
very unfortunate to note that for a country like ours that has invested a lot
of money in education we still have problems of lecturers.
easiest way to solve this problem is by improving the conditions of
the lecturers currently in the country. That way they will manage to
retain their own people,' said Mhlaule.
38 die of malnutrition in Bulawayo By Savious
BULAWAYO AT least 38 people, most of them children under the age
of five, died from malnutrition during the past two months in Zimbabwe's
second largest city, according to Bulawayo City Council records.
revelations fly in the face of President Robert Mugabe's recent remarks that
Zimbabwe no longer needed food aid from donor agencies to feed its starving
population because a bumper harvest is expected after the last cropping
More than five million people have been on food aid for
almost a year because of poor harvests and the disruption of farming
activities on commercial land, according to experts.
A report by the
Bulawayo City Council's health department last week revealed that the number
of people who died due to malnutrition rose from 17 in April to 21 deaths
In an interview with The Standard, Bulawayo's Executive
Mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, said the majority of families in the city were
desperately in need of food aid in order to avert increasing deaths of
“Children under the age of five are still dying in their
numbers as a result of malnutrition,' said Ndabeni-Ncube.
He said the
local authority was still appealing for food relief from various NGOs, the
government and other well-wishers in order to avert a
Over the past five years, the Matabeleland region —
including the city of Bulawayo — has experienced severe food shortages
prompting the United Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme
(WFP), World Vision Zimbabwe and other agencies to provide free food to more
than 500 000 people.
“Despite some claims by the government that
Zimbabweans no longer need food aid from the UNDP, the situation on the
ground supported by last month's deaths which were caused by malnutrition is
a clear testimony that families till need food aid,' said
“We cannot take government statements seriously because
their actions and utterances are usually driven by politics, lies and
dishonesty instead of facing the truth,' said a Bulawayo elder in Makokoba
whose family its still benefiting from food aid from NGOs.
separate interview on Thursday, an official from World Vision said despite
claims that most people realised a bumper harvest, the organisation was still
feeding thousands of families in the drought-stricken regions
of Matabeleland, particularly in central Bulawayo.
“As I speak right
now, World Vision Zimbabwe is making some surveillance to assess the impact
of food shortages,' said the official.
Early this year, 65 people, mainly
children under the age of five, reportedly died of starvation in
Parliament last week adopted a motion resolving that the
portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources
and Resettlement should ascertain the amount of grain that Zimbabwe will
produce this year.
In moving the motion MDC shadow minister of
agriculture, Renson Gasela, said it was impossible to harvest 2,4 million
tonnes of grain given the seed and fertiliser shortages that the country
experienced during the season. Independent estimates put this year's maize
harvest at about 850 000 tonnes.
THE tragic soap operas that are being enacted in Harare and
Chegutu by Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local government, Public works
and National Housing are a cause for grave public concern and distress, to
say the least.
The dismissal of the 13 democratically-elected MDC
councillors on Tuesday is but the latest in a series of bizzare escapades
that the ruling party has indulged in over the past four or so years. In
Chegutu the minister has suspended the executive mayor accusing him of
failing to resolve the town's problems.
This is a cruel irony
because it is no secret that Chombo has spared no effort to make it
impossible for all MDC-headed local authorities to operate. For him to then
turn around and accuse them of failing to deliver is nonsensical.
way Chombo has subverted the wishes of Harare rate payers with impunity and
ridden roughshod over the will of citizens elsewhere is a matter of public
record. He even had the audacity to say the dismissed councillors will not be
returning to Harare City Council and cannot contest council elections in the
next 10 years. Need we remind Chombo that each of the Harare councillors he
purports to have dismissed was elected by the residents of the city, which
cannot be said about the minister who is in cabinet at the behest of
President Robert Mugabe.
What we find extremely disturbing is the
arrogance displayed by the Chombo who seems to believe that he can do what
ever he pleases under the protection of his ministerial powers under the
Urban Councils Act.
It is indeed sad that such power-drunk arrogance can
only happen in Zimbabwe where some Zanu PF ministers have gone on a rampage
with Zimbabweans seemingly powerless and helpless and unable or unwilling to
do anything about it. We have said it before and we say it again: Zanu PF has
rejected democracy at both the national and local levels. Why the ruling
party is unwilling to co-exist with the opposition MDC boggles the
Of course, it is a question of power but power can be managed to
one's advantage and to the advantage of the people that you purport to
govern. This is the simple fact that Zanu PF is failing to grasp. The ruling
party sees itself as all-powerful to the extent of doing as they please and
taking Zimbabweans for granted. Just because they are the party that is in
power, it does not mean that they can play around with people's feelings
The key point that needs to be made here is that there
are decided limits to any political party's power. Zanu PF must not
over-estimate its power and everything else that goes with it. A party that
is in power is by no means all powerful.
Nothing in life is permanent.
When the moment comes for Zanu PF to go, it will go. And make no mistake
about it. The Chombos of this world will have nowhere to hide when that
moment comes. And it surely will come.
Experience has shown through
history that authoritarian and dictatorial regimes can never last forever.
Chombo's wayward behaviour on behalf of the ruling party will come to an end
Perhaps the point with politicians is that they are concerned
about the here and now. Tomorrow will take care of itself they think. But
what kind of tomorrow will it be for them and their children and more
importantly for the country. This is a fundamental question that every
politician must ask himself or herself.
Zanu PF must one day be called
to account for the many events that have shattered the lives of Zimbabweans.
These are not simply painful events, but disasters. In what must rank as
criminal wastage of the worst order, Zanu PF 's predatory behaviour has
shattared the lives of many innocent Zimbabweans and reduced many more to
Everybody can see it with their own eyes that the living
standards of previously comfortable Zimbabweans have dropped drastically.
Poverty and high levels of stress is now stalking this land.
clever and the not so clever ones have left for greener pastures abroad. Even
those who are still here trying to save this country are assailed by the
ruling party left, right and centre.
In asking for divine intervention,
we will continue on our part to challenge Zanu PF 's excesses. We do not
doubt for one moment the regime's determination to sit on the lid for some
time to come just as we did not doubt Ian smith's determination and ability
in his time to keep the situation within tolerable limits - up to a
In other words, we remain convinced and optimistic about the
promise of a better future for Zimbabwe. Yes, it is not easy in the context
of Africa for first Presidents to give up power voluntarily. But the
biological clock if nothing else will take care of that.
Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda once said of the last days of Zimbabwe's
liberation struggle: "The darkest hour is before dawn".
this is certainly our darkest hour and dawn beckons.
Yes there is, no there isn't overthetop By Brian
PROVING that nothing ever changes, confusion reigns in the
troubled central African banana republic where the government claims there
are enough bananas for everyone.
United Nations officials not normally
known to have any opinions at all have denounced government's claims as
"Yes, they have no bananas," said an official from the
Food and Agriculture Organisation. "The harvest will be even lower than last
year and many will starve."
Meanwhile, sources in the Zany Party have
confirmed that the government may have forward sold tobacco it doesn't have
in order to buy maize from a greedy capitalist in the imperialist United
States of America.
This is because the troubled central African banana
republic has no friends from which to buy food.
"A noticeable trend
among lunatic governments associated with the troubled central African
(empty) basket case is that they're all hungry," said a prominent political
scientist who asked not to be named because there is even less food in
Still, a spokesman for the ministry of misinformation said the
problem would soon be solved.
"Though we have banned radio stations
and some newspapers, news of hunger still filters out through e-mail," he
said. "Once we have put a stop to that, all news of hunger will effectively
end and we can get on with the business of completing our glorious
The troubled central African police State has the second
highest number of e-mail users on the continent and the highest number of
starving people - though it may soon be illegal to say so.
a member of the Zany Party's old guard said there would always be food for
his party's supporters.
"Only Zany Party supporters are true, patriotic
troubled central Africans," he said. "If other people go hungry it is not our
responsibility to feed them. They should be fed by their allies and puppet
masters in Britain and America."
A spokesman for the opposition More
Drink Coming Party pointed out that there were perhaps seven Zany Party
supporters in the country - and that they had received at least three years'
worth of food from. Britain and America.
The situation was muddled
further by different Disunited Nations Organisations taking different
approaches to hunger in the troubled central African
Political analysts pointed out that while the international
body's agricultural and food arms had remained strictly impartial,
the Under-Development Programme had joined the Zany Party.
deep in the starving rural areas, people interviewed by Over The Top said,
"Give us food and money or we will report you to the Zany Party and have you
The surprising statement was given in response to the question,
"Are you happy with your part in the troubled central African agrarian
The question received a different response in the extreme
eastern and western provinces of the troubled central African basket case. In
those areas people asked,
"What agrarian revolution, what
And when asked why less food seemed to reach these provinces, a
Zany Party spokesman replied, "Those provinces are mainly populated by people
who are not patriotic troubled central Africans or fervent supporters of the
Zany Party, so we cannot really help them except by burning down their
He said the same was true for urban troubled central Africans
who are facing mass starvation for the first time in the country's history.
Or the first time since last year.
Observers pointed out that the Zany
Party's reluctance to accept food aid was a curious one. "People will be at
their hungriest when they go to the polls next year," said one unnamed
observer. "Then they will be beaten with blunt instruments and forced to vote
for the party that made them hungry."
Zimbabwe's political crisis: whose problem? sundayopinion
By Everjoice Win
"MDC's woes deepen" ran one headline. "Is the MDC
heading for oblivion?" asked another.
Analyst after analyst has looked
at the recent political developments in Zimbabwe and sought to cast this as
the problem facing one opposition political party.
In the part of
town that I inhabit, the refrain I hear is, "saka iyo MDC yacho zvapasina
zvairi kuita? Manje vachaita sei?" I vacillate between shouting at these
people and shrugging my shoulders in exasperation. Where does one
I got my answer recently while talking to a good friend who works
in the private sector. Over the last few years she told me that she
s nothing to do with politics. That she thinks all this stuff is
nonsense and all she wants is to be left in peace. So as long as she did her
work quietly, kept her head down, and could feed her family, then there
was nothing to get worked up about.
On May 5 her two children were
locked out of their private school by the State. She called me in complete
shock and anger; "What is wrong with these people? What do they think they
are doing?" I listened to her hyper-ventilate for over 15
Then she asked, "they cant do this can they?" I smiled into the
phone and said very coldly, "yes sweetie they can and they just have. Deal
So, the MDC has lost a few by-elections. My prediction is they
will lose a few more, if trends are anything to go by. Everything tells me
that in 2005, the Zanu PF think tank whoever is in it, will literally sit
down and decide exactly how many seats to give the MDC in the next
parliament. I predict that if MDC gets 15 seats they will be really really
lucky. There I have said it, so deal with it!
I worry about
Zimbabweans who seem to think that the MDC is some kind of Messiah, or that
Morgan Tsvangirai is a Moses who will take them across the Red Sea in a blaze
of glory while Zanu PF gets buried in the waters. No such miracle has
happened and it's not likely to happen.
I wonder what planet the
political analysts who kept telling us that Lupane and Zengeza were "a litmus
test"? Test of what? If it was a test of who had more brute force than the
other, yes. If it was a test of how many tricks the ruling party still has up
its sleeve and to what lengths they will go to win any election - I again
agree. If we ever needed any proof of any of those issues we now have
The recent by-elections were simply a demonstration of how determined
the ruling party is to stay in power. The by elections were also an indicator
of just how little structural change has happened to our political
and governance system since 1980. These events have demonstrated that
the changes needed in Zimbabwe are much more far reaching and deeper than we
the populace care to understand.
As my friend Tawanda likes to say,
"vanhu havasi kuona kwatiri kuenda ava!" (people don't quite understand the
amount of struggle that is needed). Equally we don't seem to see where we are
We are coming from, and are still, stuck in decades of
oppression and fear. We are a people cowed into silence and docility by the
brutal force that we have seen used time and time again.
Some among us
have first hand experience, while others are scared by the stories of others
- real and imagined. Whatever the case is, we are desperate for something to
happen. Like any other desperate human beings we seek this change instantly
and with the force of a whirlwind. We are now seeking a miracle because the
object of our anger looks like it won't even move!
Like a woman in a
violent relationship who goes to an advisor and says, "dai mangowonawo
zvamungaita". (I hope you can do something). She puts her faith and hope in
this external force.
But just like this desperate woman, we must realise
sooner rather than later, that nobody else is going to save us. There is no
"they must do something". We are the they. In the last year we were hung onto
every word Mbeki, Obasanjo, and Muluzi said. Desperate for some hope. It
never came. Muluzi is out of power. Obasanjo has too many crises in his own
backyard to deal with, besides welcoming new ex-Zimbabwean farmers to Kwara
State. As for Mbeki, well, lets just forget that one.
I get really
concerned by those of us who think the opposition will miraculously deliver
us from our present woes. Interestingly enough these are the very same people
who don't even have the courage to go on a stay away. Even a peaceful stay
away, in the comfort of one's home. They still go to work and then mutter,
"inga hapana amboenda pa stay away yacho?" (Nobody heeded the call for a stay
So who did they expect to go on this stay away? Does the ZCTU
manufacture people, or is it you who was going to be counted as having stayed
away? Others can't even be bothered to write a letter of protest to the
local newspaper. Instead they sigh into their wine or cappuccinos with
despair, criticising those who have the courage to do something, no matter
how small it seems.
There is yet another lot, the type that spends all
their time waiting to go to heaven, pretending that they are not living on
this planet. I am not saying people must not pray, but if we Zimbabweans
spent as much energy participating in matters of national governance as they
spent under trees and in all night prayers, we would surely be somewhere by
Many still haven't even got the guts to use these spaces they
congregate in to speak out. They will preach some very vague messages about
people in the Old Testament, or say something quite opaque about "being God's
How about some relevance for a change? The congregants come
out and ask each other, "saka anga achida kuti kudii ko?" (What exactly was
s/he trying to say?). No sooner do we come out of these holy spaces than we
realise Zimbabwe and its problems still wait for us.
The rulers will
continue to mess around with the schools, there will still be no medicine in
the hospitals, prices keep going up, and our human rights are violated with
impunity. Can't you just go to one public meeting? Join at least one civil
society group? Or write an anonymous letter to the Editor to show you are
May our knights in shining armour please deliver us from evil
soon. Meanwhile, its back to watching Studio 263. Welshman, please let us
know when it's all over!
The 'tragi-circus' that Zimbabwe has become Sundaytalk
with Pius Wakatama
WHEN I was young we used to wait with expectation for
the coming of the circus to Harare, then Salisbury. When it came, usually
around Christmas time, we all went to the showgrounds and paid the equivalent
of twenty five cents to enter the big tent. We enjoyed watching the
performing animals and acrobats. My favourite character was Tickey the clown.
He made us forget the drudgery of life with his funny antics.
we don't have to wait for the circus to come to town. The whole country has
become one big circus. Unfortunately, this circus is not very funny, not in
the conventional sense. It is a 'tragi-circus.'
It is true accidents
do occur at circuses. Sometimes the animal trainers are bitten by their
animals. I remember one time a circus actor had to be rushed to hospital
after a lion almost bit his head off.
Sometimes, acrobats fall to their
deaths from the trapeze or clowns set fire to the tent by their funny
Our circus is tragic in that it is not an entertaining show put
on by professional performers but real life events involving supposedly
serious and level headed people. In our case, the foolish antics of the
"clowns" the daring of the "acrobats" and animal trainers are dangerous
because these are not professional artists but ordinary people who have
managed to transform the whole country into one big amateur circus.
our circus the government announces there there will be a bumper
harvest, each time a general election is around the corner. This happened
first just before the 2002 elections.
On April 6, 2002, I wrote in The
Daily News, "During his campaign, our ever confident President promised us
that not one person was going to starve in Zimbabwe. He was going to feed us
all. Despite that promise, the situation on the ground is bleak indeed.
Victor Angelo, the United Nations Development Programme's resident
coordinator in Harare, is reported to have said we are in a desperate and
most urgent humanitarian situation with 600 000 people starving or on the
verge of starvation.
Ignoring the President's reassurance, the World Food
Programme and the international donor agencies like World Vision moved in and
catastrophe was averted and those in need were fed.
This did not go
down well because these agencies did not give any credit to the government.
In fact, they refused to allow party structures to distribute the food and
made it clear that the food they distributed was not for any political
With general elections set for early next year, the circus is
again back in town.
Unashamed of his previous blunder, agriculture
minister, Joseph Made has again announced that Zimbabwe would have a bumper
harvest this season and would not need any international food aid. Government
then dissuaded all international donor agencies from carrying out research on
food security in the country.
The optimistic predictions of government
were contradicted by both local and international crop forecasters and aid
agencies. Gift Phiri, writing in the Zimbabwe Independent of May 21, said
Made was playing a dangerous game over food security and went on to explain
the untruthfulness and hypocrisy of the government's predictions.
will not try and discuss the obvious motives behind our government's lies and
hypocrisy. This has been adequately dealt with in many articles in
the independent Press. All I am doing is to point out and lament the fact
that our beloved country has been turned into a tragic circus.
aspect of the Zimbabwean circus is the Harare City Council saga. In 2002, in
an election the ruling party deemed to be "free and fair," the people of
Harare elected councillors they believed would run the affairs of their
Sunshine City to their satisfaction. This did not go down well with our
circus performers. It was not funny enough for them because they were not the
ones in the ring. From that day, the MDC elected councillors have not known
peace. The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
Ignatious Chombo went on the war-path against them.
His name, Chombo,
means weapon. The ruling party is using him, like the weapon that he is, to
redress the situation. He relentlessly hounded the mayor, Engineer Elias
Mudzuri, out of office. When council legally elected a new acting mayor,
Chombo, the weapon, saw red. He sent armed police who manhandled the new
acting mayor, Christopher Mushonga, out of Town House. It seems as though
Chombo is now bent on sacking the whole council for the circus to really take
The biggest act in the circus is in the economic and financial
sector. For years, experts have said that for our economy to turn around we
would need to devalue our dollar to realistic levels. This would stamp out
the black market and see foreign currency flow into the coffers of the
productive sector and improve exports. These suggestions were strongly
rejected by the government. Minister of Finance, Simba Makoni was sacked for
suggesting the same.
Now comes the big circus actor Gideon Gono as
Governor and de-facto minister of finance. He waves his magic wand and
devalues the dollar through the back door called "the auction system" and
causes a few political lightweights to be locked up for flouting foreign
currency regulations. This is despite the fact that the whole country was
doing the same including the directors of the "Circus of Zimbabwe". The
economy takes a few lively steps and everybody shouts. "Hurray. Gono is a
real magician! " Quite a circus, isn't it?
You want to see the real
tragi-comedy of this circus?
Just come to Zimbabwe. The people are like
frightened passengers in a bus being driven by a reckless and power drunk
octogenarian who just cannot believe that the bus is actually under his
control. He has enjoyed everything that life has to offer and has secured the
material future of his children and grand children. He has lived his life to
the full and now has a death wish. His main wish is to go with all those
fools howling with fear in the bus. He will not go alone.
The bus is
hurtling towards a precipice and the sober passengers are shouting warnings.
Others are wailing at their impending destruction but the driver continues to
dare anybody to challenge him. He is bent on proving that he is not Afraid of
anything, be it people, the elements, death or even God himself.
The glitter of Harare's new China Town dazzles city
shoppers By Langton Nyakwenda
THE scene perfectly resembles that of
Hollywood action hero, Jackie Chan's movies shot at some of the sprawling and
overcrowded flea markets in China. Fancy cars drive in and out of the
The place can easily be mistaken for the famous squalid flea
markets in Shanghai or Beijing.
But it is not China or any of
those famous market places in the Far East but in Harare's downtown
The place that was once known as Gulf, has now been christened
"China Town" due to the proliferation of Chinese products sold at the
Commuters from Harare suburbs of Mufakose, Kambuzuma,
Southerton, Rugare and Highfield, who use Chinhoyi Street into the city
centre, call the place "PamaTuckshop" because of the shanty and congested
nature of the shops.
Shop names that are synonymous with those found in
Chinese Communism history have become popular in Harare as products from
China have suddenly flooded the local market.
Stung with growing
animosity from Europe and the West the troubled Zanu PF government has
shifted its focus to the Far East, resulting in mass produced and often cheap
products from China flooding the Zimbabwean market.
Plastic coated shoes
without laces, "Bomber" Jackets and sandals have become the in thing in most
While quality shoes now cost close to $500 000 in
Harare's upmarket shops, the story is totally different at the China Town
complex where one can buy himself shoes for a price less than that of a crate
of lager beer.
Zimbabweans, feeling the pinch of the economic decline,
flock to these shops in anticipation of saving their increasingly inadequate
From the East hails the sun and with it comes the shine and
warmth but shoppers have found no joy in the Chinese products.
Mhondi of Mabvuku says he has learnt that excessively cheap products "are
ultimately expensive" after be bought a jean trousers.
"I bought what
looked like a fashionable and trendy pair of jean trousers last week but
after I washed it over the weekend it looks as if I bought it two years
He continued: "I thought of returning the jean to the shop but I
later realised that there was a notice at the door stating that demands
for refunds are not entertained. I felt I had been duped."
Munongedzo of Mufakose said the government's Far East programme had turned
Harare into " a plastic city".
"These are the people who the government
is always singing praises to yet they are actually turning back the clock by
bringing sub-standard products in the guise of resuscitating our sinking
economy," said Munongedzo.
Amid the outcry, some Zimbabwean businessmen
have cashed in on the influx of Chinese goods. These hoard the products in
large quantities only to resell them at inflated prices in the upmarket
"It has opened up business avenues for us. What we simply do is
buy pairs of shoes from the Chinese shops at low prices and sell them at
higher prices in upmarket shops and make huge profits," said one
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) director, Rosemary
Mpofu has, on several occasions, warned consumers to be wary of "fake"
it happens we will be there," goes the Dead BC slogan broadcast ad infinitum.
But this time it's me who was there and not the Dead BC; perhaps they decided
not to be there.
After the so-called peaceful demonstration against MDC
legislator, Roy Bennett, complete with police escort under POSA, the youthful
Zanu PF thugs being referred to as many Zimbabweans proceeded to MDC offices
housed in Harvest House (afternoon of Thursday, May 20).
its non other than Christopher Chigumba being referred to as Zengeza Member
of Parliament who bused these thugs into town so that they would be referred
to as "many Zimbabweans" against Roy Bennett. We should never forget that
Bennett's action, although blameworthy, was a personal act and not a partisan
one. He exactly said "unoda kundijairira" which clearly shows that he was
referring to himself and not the MDC.
The "peaceful" Zanu PF
demonstrators went to Harvest House from the Parliament building only to
destroy the glass front of the building and the security screen. Not only did
they vandalise the MDC property, they also attacked the security personnel at
the building, all this before the eyes of the police officers escorting the
so-called peaceful demonstration. I suspect they will even get away with
The Zanu thugs then tried to enter into Harvest House. Hats off to
the security personnel at Harvest House because they don't entertain
Upon their entry they were kicked like no man's business and
ran away back to the street. A stout female Zanu PF thug was trapped in the
building and was beaten thoroughly and left almost blind.
minutes later after regaining their consciences the Zanu PF thugs started
singing revolutionary songs while blocking traffic along Nelson Mandela
When the rowdy Zanu PF mob was randomly attacking people, the
riot police officers just stood by and only tried to intervene when they saw
that it was now the Zanu PF intruders at the receiving end. They did not
disperse the thugs but instead threatened to attack security personnel at
In next to no time another police truck arrived with about
six officers and two police dogs.
A cigarette vendor who was standing
by my side said "vave kuzodzingwa manje' (they will now be chased away)
referring to the Zanu PF thugs numbering between 200 and 250. I conclude that
this cigarette vendor was ignorant of a POSA section which says "if you're
robbed the police will come and arrest you".
The riot police officers
who arrived with the police dogs entered Harvest House only to arrest about
eight security officers who had left their positions to hide somewhere
Up to now I am not so sure why the police truck was parked so
close to the building entrance to pick up the security officers.
reason might be one of the two and not both: 1) Riot police officers were
afraid that the security personnel might be attacked by the Zanu PF thugs who
were dancing kongonya in the middle of Nelson Mandela Avenue, or 2) riot
police officers were afraid that the security personnel might attack the Zanu
PF thugs the way they had done some 25 minutes earlier.
Just after the
security personnel were taken to some unknown destination, the Zanu PF
demonstrators left heading towards the 4th Street Bus Terminus. The reason
why I was convinced that these Zanu PF thugs came from Chitungwiza is because
half of them were waving placards with the picture of the Zangeza MP and some
were putting on the T-shirts with Chigumba's picture on them.
look of things almost all of them did not have bus fares back
To be honest with you the "peaceful demonstration of
many Zimbabweans against Bennett" was null and void, unethical and
Mugabe's shadow hounds efforts to entice exiles' cash By
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's shadow is trailing a Reserve
Bank delegation that is currently in the US trying to entice Zimbabweans to
remit their hard-earned savings through the newly-launched Homelink money
transfer system, Standard Business has established.
A group of
Zimbabweans in the US last week petitioned the US State Department to revoke
the visas of the central bank team that is on a mission to key countries to
publicise the new money transfer system that is core to the hard-currency
starved southern African country's survival.
Zimbabwe is in the grip
of a vicious foreign currency squeeze that was caused by dwindling exports,
withdrawal of critical balance of payments support by the World Bank and
unofficial international sanctions against the Mugabe government.
country's traditional large foreign currency earner — agriculture —
has collapsed due to State sanctioned invasions of commercial farms
and haphazard land reforms.
The Association of Zimbabweans Based
Abroad (AZBA) last week accused the RBZ team — led by the chairman of the
sub-committee on publicity and public relations of the Foreign Currency
Auctions' Advisory Board Herbert Nkala, of exploiting the “courteousness' of
the American people.
It accused the RBZ mission to the US, UK and other
Western countries as “bidding to undermine international targeted
AZBA president Dumaphi Mema said although his association
applauded the setting up of the Homelink facility, on its own the system
wouldn't solve the problems facing the country.
government is willing to spend thousands of dollars sending teams from the
Reserve Bank to market such a product and yet they cannot spend anything on
sending teams abroad just for the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to participate
in national elections,' said Mema.
“The problem facing the country is not
economic but political. The government simply wants those in the Diaspora to
participate in the affairs of the nation by sending foreign currency, but
denies them of their right to participate in the political arena.
democratic space must be opened up to people of different
political persuasions and we learn to co-exist together even if we
disagree politically,' added Mema.
Nkala's team, which included
central bank member Lovemore Chihota and former ZBC news anchor Supa
Mandiwanzira — among others — arrived in the US two weeks ago on the first
leg of a mission to make Zimbabweans living abroad aware of
The facility was unveiled by central bank chief Gideon Gono in
April and allows Zimbabweans in the Diaspora — reputed to be more than four
million — to repatriate some of their savings home as part of their support
for families still in Zimbabwe.
In Dallas, Texas, which was the team's
first port of call, the delegation was greeted by a hostile reception on May
26 at a cocktail party held at a hotel to launch the Homelink facility,
according to sources.
A group of Zimbabwean nationals disrupted the
meeting through continued protest.
The group wielded placards that
denounced and condemned the action by the RBZ as meant to aid the policies of
a “murderous regime.'
Some of the placards read “Gono seeking foreign
currency to fund the Youth Militia' and “Gono, banker turned
This has however not deterred Gono who is expected to lead a
larger delegation that would include some of his staff to join the Nkala team
in the next few days.
Gono, the sources said, would first attend
meetings in Washington with the Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF and the
Besides targeting the US, the team is also scheduled to tour
the UK and South Africa.
Zimsun chief Shingi Munyeza, who also sits on
the Foreign Currency Auctions Advisory Board, is expected to link up with the
rest of team in the US.
In an interview with Standard Business Gono said
opposition to his plans will not deter him.
“I have an obligation as
captain of the financial sector — which is similar to any other governor the
world over — to ensure the supervision of the financial system,' said Gono at
his plush Harare offices.
“Apart from tapping into funds, I have a duty
to educate Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to account for their affairs in an
accountable manner to avoid the use of their money in untoward uses either
against ourselves or our neighbours.'
The RBZ has so far licensed
numerous Money Transfer Agencies to facilitate and process the transfer of
hard currency from Zimbabweans living abroad.
President Robert Mugabe,
who in the past used to castigate Zimbabwean exiles, seems to have made a
U-turn and now believes the remittances could be the panacea to Harare's
foreign currency woes.