New York Times New Wave of Repression Seen in Zimbabwe By-Election By
Published: June 7, 2004
LUPANE, Zimbabwe, June 3
- Like scores of opposition politicians in Zimbabwe, David Mpala knew
violence firsthand. As he campaigned for this region's seat in Parliament in
2000, 40 government supporters clubbed him so soundly that he was permanently
scarred. In 2002, 18 thugs dragged him into the bush, beat him and stabbed
him in the back.
Mr. Mpala, 48, died in February, and the government held
an election last month to fill his seat. This time, government critics say,
it was democracy that got mugged.
In what many here see as a dry run
for Zimbabwe's national elections next March, President Robert G. Mugabe's
party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Popular Front, known as ZANU-PF,
went to extraordinary lengths three weeks ago to guarantee a win in
Independent election observers, journalists and opposition
politicians reported a government campaign of beatings, arrests, bribery,
fraud and intimidation in April and May, intended, they say, to keep
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change away from the
polls and to press citizens to vote for Mr. Mugabe's party.
district has long reviled Mr. Mugabe's government, in part because his troops
killed thousands of the local Ndebele people 25 years ago as his party
consolidated its grip on Zimbabwe. But when vote-tallying ended on May 17,
the governing party's candidate had collected 10,069 votes; the Movement for
Democratic Change candidate, 9,186.
"What I'm experiencing now is
hopelessness," Morgan Komichi, 40, chief of the Movement's operations in
Matebeleland North Province, which includes Lupane, said in an interview.
"ZANU-PF has been building a dictatorship for a long time."
Komichi speaks from experience. He has been arrested six times, most recently
on May 11 while he was coordinating the opposition's parliamentary campaign
in Lupane. He said he spent two days in a jail cell with 23 other opposition
figures before being released without explanation.
government is not known for indulging its critics. But with parliamentary
elections on the horizon - crucial because they are almost certainly the last
of his 24 years as Zimbabwe's autocrat - a new campaign of repression appears
to be gaining momentum.
Its goal is to neutralize any outside force that
might sway the choice of his successor, in part by casting black Zimbabwe as
the target of forces bent on its destruction.
ZANU-PF won a majority
of seats in Parliament in the last national election, in 2002. But most
independent observers said that the balloting was rigged and that the
Movement for Democratic Change, the only opposition party, would have won a
In recent weeks, the government has closed one of the
nation's few remaining independent newspapers and has labeled foreign
journalists as terrorists. It has stepped up harassment of opposition
politicians and civil-society leaders. Last month, the human-rights group
Amnesty International cited four separate instances of beatings and
detentions of activists in one week in late April.
Last month, the
government expelled United Nations experts who were assessing the national
corn harvest, widely judged to have been a failure for the third straight
year. It proposed to censor all e-mail for anti-state provocations, and shut
down private schools it has called racist white preserves.
Wetherell, the white editor of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent, said he and
his newspaper had received vague threats of government retaliation in recent
weeks for their criticism of official policy.
"There's no doubt in my
mind that Mugabe is preparing his party, leading his party into a quite
serious offensive against the opposition and civil society which is designed
to bring about total victory in 2005," he said by telephone from Harare, the
"If you look at the pattern of things since the 2000
referendum," he said, "you will see that this country is constantly being
taken to the brink of anarchy as a political strategy to motivate the ruling
party's supporters, to suggest a serious threat to the country; that the
opposition is in league with external forces to bring down the
Lovemore Madhuku, a lawyer who heads the National
Constitutional Assembly, was among 80 people arrested on May 15 in Gweru, in
central Zimbabwe, as the organization - an amalgam of human rights,
political, religious and student groups - sought to hold a meeting on
constitutional reform. Police officers fired tear gas and beat conferees with
nightsticks to break up the meeting, which they said was illegal. "In the
last one or two months, we've seen continuing evidence of the grip of this
regime on power," Mr. Madhuku said in a telephone interview from Harare. "The
regime here is closing, completely closing, all avenues of people expressing
themselves." In recent months, Mr. Mugabe has increasingly lashed out at real
and potential critics. The United States and Britain, which have imposed
sanctions on Zimbabwe in reaction to its human-rights record, have been
frequent targets, as have global institutions. Last month, Mr. Mugabe
denounced the International Monetary Fund, to which Zimbabwe is in arrears on
$290 million in loans, as "awful" and untrustworthy.
United Nations estimated this year that two-thirds of Zimbabweans had no
ready access to food - the worst record in Africa - Mr. Mugabe has proclaimed
the nation self-sufficient. Analysts have estimated that this year's corn
harvest would total from 700,000 to one million tons - half the nation's
needs. But Zimbabwe officials insist that the corn harvest will total 2.4
million tons, the largest in decades. "We are not hungry," Mr. Mugabe said in
an interview with Sky Television, the British network, last month. "Why foist
this food upon us? We don't want to be choked. We have enough." Some human
rights monitors, like Amnesty International, have said they believe that
Zimbabwe's refusal of further international aid is a prelude to the use of
food as a bargaining tool to win support for the governing party in the
elections next year. Last month's events in Lupane district hardly dispel
that notion. Mr. Komichi said that as voters lined up on May 15 at the Lupane
Business Center, the ramshackle commercial hub in Lupane village, they were
greeted by stacked sacks of corn and government supporters handing out
coupons to potential supporters. He and others say the Lupane election was
marred by official fraud and manipulation. Starting in late March, the
government bused in members of its feared Green Bombers youth militia to
register as voters. The militia members were then dispersed throughout the
province to wage a strong-arm campaign to get out the vote for the government
As part of a nationwide campaign to build local support,
the government has awarded the nation's influential traditional elders
monthly salaries of 1.5 million Zimbabwean dollars - about $450 at current
rates - and Mazda pickup trucks. The independent Zimbabwe Election Support
Network reported that the elders and their subordinates, who control
patronage and property in most villages, stood vigil at Lupane polling places
last month, ostentatiously ticking off the names of villagers who arrived to
vote. "They're threatened by a simple thing: 'If you don't vote Zanu PF, we
will know it,' " Mr. Komichi said. "And you will be chased away from your
village, your home." On May 11, four days before the election, Mr. Komichi
and other opposition workers were jailed after government supporters attacked
young men putting up posters about a speech by the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai. Many were not freed until May 13, after
the speech, which, like most opposition rallies, was ringed by Zanu PF
trucks and activists wearing party T-shirts. Mr. Komichi, a member of
the opposition party since it was formed in 1999, said he was running some
risk by complaining to a foreigner about the election irregularities. He
added that after a half-dozen arrests and a beating, he did not mind. "I
am committed,'' he said. "I am a politician. I have to be known. I am
not violating any law by speaking. I am actually following the Constitution
of my nation."
Nazi atrocities have parallels in modern
Zimbabwe June 7, 2004
Barney Mthombothi in his piece on
Auschwitz (The Mercury, May 26) posed the questions: How could something like
that happen? And why did nobody intervene?
It's difficult to
answer those questions, but by having a look at the situation in Zimbabwe I
can make an attempt.
Zimbabwe, like Germany between the two world
wars, is experiencing a period of severe economic depression. The Jews were
assumed to be thriving at the expense of Germans.
the whites seem to be getting richer and richer as the blacks become poorer.
In Germany, Hitler blamed the Jews for all Germany's problems. Mugabe is
blaming the whites and Britain.
Mugabe, like Hitler, has taken over
the media and no longer tolerates the independent press.
Zimbabweans are now being bombarded with a message: The whites are evil. They
stole our land and grow rich as we starve. They have set up the opposition in
order to take over again.
And so if something untoward happens
to a white man or to an opposition supporter, who will raise his voice to
complain? No one.
Mugabe has now set up his version of Hitler
Youth. He is indoctrinating them in secret camps and then releasing them to
In another 60 years we will be sending journalists
like Mthombothi into Zimbabwe to report on all the atrocities. We will shake
our heads and say: "How could something like that ever happen?" The truth is
it's all too easy to sit back and let it happen.
Scheme to channel expatriate cash
through state bank
Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria Monday June 7,
2004 The Guardian
The head of the Zimbabwean central bank is due in
Britain later this week to raise funds for the state's depleted coffers,
despite a travel ban which prevents Robert Mugabe and other leading
politicians entering the country, the Guardian has learned. Gideon Gono,
previously Robert Mugabe's personal banker, is due to address a group of
Zimbabweans in Birmingham on Thursday to encourage them to send money home to
their families through government channels, according to Zimbabweans invited
to the meeting.
He plans other meetings in Luton, London and
EU sanctions prevent President Robert Mugabe and 98 named
officials travelling to or holding financial assets in any EU country, but Mr
Gono is not among those barred.
Since taking over the reserve bank in
January he has introduced several schemes that credited with slowing down the
collapse of Zimbabwe's economy.
But he is not free of scandal. The South
African Sunday Times claimed yesterday that he had carried out hundreds of
illegal currency deals, including several which had paid for lavish shopping
sprees by Mrs Grace Mugabe.
He admitted that before going to the
reserve bank he had acted as Mr Mugabe's personal banker.
he will try to persuade the estimated 400,000 Zimbabweans to send money home
through official channels rather than the private channels they prefer
because the official exchange rate has been unrealistically low.
has introduced a system which offers a competitive exchange rate. If he
succeeds in tapping into the remittances it will bring a hefty amount
of urgently needed foreign currency to the state reserves. He has already
urged Zimbabweans in the US to do the same, in a speech in
Lady Amos, leader of the House of Lords, said recently that Mr
Gono was free to travel to Britain because he was not regarded as a key
member of Mr Mugabe's government.
"As I understand it, the governor of
the reserve bank is not on the exclusion list because he is not playing a
leading role in the Zanu-PF politburo or in the government," she told the
House of Lords on May 25.
She confirmed that she was "aware that the
government of Zimbabwe are seeking to reach out to the diaspora and seeking
to get them to send remittances back to the country through formal channels",
adding: "I cannot comment on the use that they will make of
Analysts in Zimbabwe said that Lady Amos was mistaken in
suggesting that Mr Gono was not a key policy maker for the
"Gideon Gono is the most significant maker of financial policies
in Zimbabwe today," said a Harare economist who would not be
"His decisions have become more influential than the minister of
"It is outrageous that Gono is being allowed into Britain on
what is essentially a fund-raising trip for the Mugabe regime. We thought
that was what the EU sanctions were supposed to prevent."
opposition Movement for Democratic Change said it was dismayed by
"These are the same Zimbabweans who have been
disenfranchised by the Mugabe government, which has prevented them from
voting. "We fear the government will use the funds gathered through this
campaign to fund Zanu-PF's election campaign in March next year."
Any hopes by
Zimbabwe's embattled white farmers of using the courts to get their seized
land back have been dealt what seems like a final blow after the Supreme
Court upheld controversial laws depriving farmers of any rights of ownership
after their land is advertised for seizure.
After his appointment in
2001, Zimbabwe's Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, openly pledged his
support for Mugabe's land seizures.
In its latest judgment, the Supreme
Court also ruled that any order to acquire land for resettlement cannot be
withdrawn six months after it has been issued.
This means that
farmers, who have to contend with Zimbabwe's red tape as they try to fulfil
initial stages of getting their farms de-listed, will no longer have a right
to win back their land despite that any six-month delays in bringing their
cases for de-listing might not be of their own making.
Court will no longer have any power to revoke any land seizure orders that
are brought to its attention six months after they have been issued. It
simply has to confirm such orders.
The judgment also means it would be
illegal for farmers to cultivate crops or do any work on their properties
once they have been published for seizure in the government gazette. The
government recently amended land seizure laws to equate publishing of a
notice of seizure in the government gazette to actual servicing of a notice
of seizure on the affected farmer.
Supreme Court Justice Luke Malaba, who
wrote the main judgment, said that upon service of the acquisition order on
the owner or occupier of the land, the rights of ownership are immediately
taken and vested with the acquiring authority (the government).
said the farmer no longer had any rights over the land once this has
been done and any intention on his or her part to challenge the seizure of
their property after service of notice did not deprive the government
from exercising ownership rights over the seized land.
Critics say the
decision is flawed in that it does not take into account the possibility of a
farmer winning the right to get his land back.
If the government rushes
to use the seized land and resettle people, since it has immediate rights to
exercise ownership, it means any litigation by a farmer would be futile as
they are unlikely to get their land back which would already have been used
by the state.
Malaba, with the concurrence of Chidyausiku, ruled that any
farming operations after notice of seizure are illegal.
was made in the case of a Chegutu farmer who remained on his farm after
notice of acquisition had been served on him and was fighting to spare it
Zimbabwe's state media celebrated the judgment saying it
would bring relief to black farmers, who were being "betrayed" by some
government officials allegedly bought out to evict them from their allocated
land and to give it back to white farmers.
Zimbabwe's state media has
been accusing some government officials in the provinces of frustrating the
land reform exercise by being lenient on farmers served with acquisition
.. This article was originally published on page 4 of
The Cape Argus on June 07, 2004
Train cuts through presidents' convoy By Grace
Matsiko June 8, 2004
KAMPALA- Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Robert
Mugabe of Zimbabwe and their Kenyan counterpart Mwai Kibaki yesterday
survived being hit by a fast moving train on the Port Bell Road in
The train, belonging to the state-run Uganda Railways
Corporation (URC) split the motorcade of the three presidents as they crossed
the railway line at around 2.00p.m, eyewitnesses said.
eyewitness said that Kibaki's limousine, which formed part of the motorcade,
had just crossed the railway line when the URC points men closed off the road
on realising that the train was just a few seconds to the crossing
The three presidents were returning from Tri-star Apparel
Factory at Bugolobi when the incident occurred. "It took about five seconds
and the train crossed.
The car in which Museveni and Mugabe were
was about to reach the crossing point. At that point a terrible accident was
unavoidable," the eyewitness said.
"If the man did not put the
road barrier, the train would have definitely ran over the two Presidents" he
added. Mr Museveni's acting Press Secretary; Onapito Ekomoloit confirmed the
incident but dismissed it as minor.
"Yes, the train split the
convoy but it was not alarming," Onapito said. The source said, the
Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB) quizzed the two URC staff but did not arrest
A PGB source said that the Brigade Commandant, Lt. Col. Leo
Kyanda yesterday rang Kampala Regional Traffic Police Chief, Gabriel
Tibayungwa demanding to know why Police had not alerted them about the
impending train crossing.
"I am yet to talk to Tibayungwa
himself but what I was told is that he said that normally railway people do
not inform the Police when the train is crossing," the State House source
Other witnesses however blamed the rear guards of the
Presidential convoy for allegedly ignoring the signals from the fast running
locomotive. The train was leaving the good shed at the URC headquarters for
East of Kampala.
Train accidents have in the past claimed lives
Working visa restrictions labelled racist By
Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent 07 June 2004
anti-racist groups have reacted furiously to the revelation that thousands of
people from Africa and Asian countries are to be barred from entering
Quotas are to be introduced on the numbers of visitors under the
working holiday scheme from countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh
and Kenya after Home Office officials detected abuse of the system, which
was set up to allow young people from Commonwealth countries to taste life
in Britain. The Home Office said it was being used as a back-door route
to permanent settlement.
Popular with Australian, South African and
Canadian backpackers, the system allows people aged under 30 from
Commonwealth countries to spend up to two years in Britain, subsidising their
holiday with casual work. It was extended two years ago to include more
countries, predominantly in Africa and Asia.
Black groups in the UK
accused the Government of racism in its plans to restrict the scheme and
questioned why predominantly white countries would not face similar controls.
Simon Woolley, of Operation Black Vote, said the policy would play into the
hands of far-right groups such as the British National Party. "It is hard not
to reach the conclusion that this is aimed at black people," he said. "This
demonises black people and fuels right-wing bigotry."
of the 1990 Trust, a UK race relations charity, said the policy was "blatant
racism". She said: "It is a continuation of the downright rudeness shown to
black comm- unities who have made a huge contribution to Britain. The
Government has a 'managed migration' policy. This suggests they are managing
according to the colour of a person's skin."
An internal Downing Street
memo warned that the policy might be controversial and could lead to
accusations of racism. Minutes of a meeting held in Downing Street on 12 May
said the policy could be "presentationally difficult". The memo said: "Quotas
would require careful handling to avoid discrimination, while closing down
the scope of abuse."
It confirms plans to introduce restrictions on
African and Asian migrants applying for the working holiday visas. Home
Office officials plan to tighten the system to ensure that visitors have
enough money to support themselves and return home.
A spokesman for
the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said although the abuse was not
widespread, quotas would be announced for certain countries. He said: "There
are people who see the scheme as a way of staying here for longer."
Maputo - President Mbeki and
other Southern African leaders are working hard behind the scenes to resolve
the Zimbabwe crisis, Norwegian development minister Hilde Fraford Johnson
said here after a long meeting with Mbeki.
Johnson would not say
what exactly Mbeki had told her but hinted at new efforts to resolve the
crisis. In public Mbeki side stepped the Zimbabwe issue at the World Economic
Forum's Africa Economic Summit here last week.
Johnson said in an
interview at the summit that there was little the wider international
community could do about Zimbabwe. It was up to the region.
accept the view that Western countries need to look at their own operations
and see how they can play into the local context. There is a lot of criticism
about certain ex-colonial powers," she said, in an apparent reference to
"My reading is that the region is strongly engaged because
it affects neighbouring countries. There is a sincere interest in trying to
resolve the Zimbabwe problem. It's in the interests of all of Southern Africa
and even Central Africa.
"But President Mbeki and the region are
working behind the scenes - and so they are taking a bashing for
At the close of the forum's last summit in Durban a year ago,
Mbeki had confidently predicted that the Zimbabwe crisis and several others
would be resolved within a year.
In Zimbabwe the ruling Zanu-PF
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would be negotiating
a way out of the crisis within the year, he had said in Durban. But when he
was asked at the start of the Maputo summit last week to give a progress
report on these predictions, he mentioned some other crises but not that in
Before the summit, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
had told Sky TV in an interview that he did not see the need for negotiations
with the MDC as it could discuss whatever it wanted to in
Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo and Deputy Foreign
Minister Aziz Pahad both said afterwards it looked like Mbeki's June deadline
for a resolution of the crisis would not be met.
Mbeki did not
attend a special session on Zimbabwe at the Maputo summit where Anglican
Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane and others urged him and the rest of the
international community to intensify their efforts to resolve the
Nigel Chanakira, executive deputy chairman of Kingdom
Financial Holdings in Zimbabwe, said time was running out to address the
crisis as there were only eight months to the parliamentary elections due in
March next year.
Johnson said the jury was still out on the
Nepad African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The APRM has been created by
African leaders to monitor each other's governance. "We have been concerned
about the lack of speed in implementing peer review and we are following
closely the modalities (criteria) they choose. At the same we recognise that
there is a lot of sensitivity about criticising each other."
Johnson said if the peer reviews did not deliver honest assessments
of governments, there were likely to be protests in the countries
reviewed which would force a public debate about government performance. -
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Business,
government touch base on Nepad projects but forum was always going to be a
talkshop Chief Reporter
LIKE the drunken uncle who did not arrive for
Christmas dinner, Zimbabwe's economic turmoil merited hardly a formal word at
the World Economic Forum last week in Mozambique but the issue lingered
intangibly during almost all the discussions in Maputo.
forum ended on Friday, with few concrete outcomes amid the workshops and
plenary sessions that at least succeeded in focusing discussions around the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
On the last day, Absa
Bank's CEO-designate Steve Booysen spoke of the importance of building the
reputation of Africa as an investment destination.
But if Zimbabwe's
economic crisis represents a threat to that reputation and the stability of
the region in the eyes of certain foreign investors, then the Maputo event
was notable for its reluctance to get to grips with
Admittedly, there was a workshop event entitled Zimbabwe:
Meltdown or Revival, which provided Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane with a
forum to call for President Thabo Mbeki to take a more formal role in the
talks between the Movement for Democratic Change and Zanu (PF) before
Zimbabwe's election next year.
Also, Mbeki was asked about his
statement at last year's Durban World Economic Forum in which he said there
would a solution to Zimbabwe within a year but he sidestepped the issue at
the Maputo event, saying that earlier statement was more like a commitment on
his part to do whatever he could.
"Mugabe wasn't invited, we did not
think he could add anything to the event," says Haiko Alfeld, the forum's
director for Africa.
But in the discussions on luring foreign direct
investment to Africa and the talks on Nepad's African Peer Review Mechanism,
the absence of any discussion of Zimbabwe served only to suggest that the
country was the key barrier to achieving regional economic stability and to
improving perceptions of the continent.
"This was not the forum to
address the Zimbabwe issue," says one onlooker. "This was a discussion about
how business could work with governments to improve the overall economic
"Zimbabwe is a problem for the political leaders to work out at
But those hoping the forum would deliver tangible
agreements would have been disappointed.
Rather, it was mostly a
series of discussions, plenary sessions and concrete examples of where
business and government were working well together. "It represented a
scorecard of progress," says Alfeld.
He says it is able to illustrate how
far along Nepad has progressed, the improvements in Africa's macroeconomic
situation as well as the obstacles to achieving the development of the
Whether through lack of money, the fact that its debates were
held entirely in English, or a sense that it would be nothing more than a
talkshop, the Maputo forum also failed to get any meaningful representation
from any country other than SA, with the odd contribution coming from
Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
As it was, Nepad was perhaps
the main beneficiary of the forum.
Until now, the private sector has not
invested in any of Nepad's top 20 flagship infrastructure projects but this
was partly because many private sector players did not even know that these
projects existed, or how they could access them.
Speaking on the last
day, Eskom CEO Thulani Gcabashe blamed this on the lack of information about
what Nepad was doing suggesting the Nepad secretariat had not done enough to
draw the private sector into its investment projects.
But Gcabashe says
the forum performed a "useful purpose" as it will ensure the better flow of
information between the Nepad secretariat and the private sector.
forum also saw the launch of a small number of practical
These included the Africa Water Exchange a
matchmaking service to lure business into private-public partnerships for
various water projects throughout the continent. The Exchange already has a
number of water projects in Mozambique, Nigeria, SA, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya
This is a vital step, given that in order to meet the
Millennium Development Goal of providing clean water and sanitation to 70% of
Africa by 2015, 700 000 new water connections must take effect
The forum also showcased Mozambique for the first
SA's eastern neighbour is a poster-child for how investment can
boost a country given that the Mozal aluminium smelter and Sasol's natural
gas pipeline have added between 2%-4% to Mozambique's annual gross
domestic product growth.
Ultimately, however, things do not get
decided at World Economic Forum events they merely get announced there after
the real work has already happened.
The legacy of this summit appears
to be that while it failed to deal with Zimbabwe, it drew business and
government closer together to push Nepad's goal of improving infrastructure
on the continent.
Ngomahuru Psychiatric Hospital in Masvingo is facing a
serious food shortage to the extent that patients sometimes have to skip
meals because of the scarcity of mealie-meal, a parliamentary portfolio
committee has said.
Chairman of the portfolio committee on Health and
Child Welfare Mr Blessing Chebundo told Parliament last week that the
institution was facing serious shortage of mealie-meal and meat.
Chebundo, who is also Kwekwe MP (MDC), said this while presenting
the committee's report on the problems facing the hospital and the way
The hospital, Mr Chebundo said, had not been supplied with meat
since November last year and in February this year patients had to skip
meals because of the under-supply of the staple mealie-meal.
institution's main diet was now comprised of kapenta fish, sour milk (sold as
"Lacto", its packaged trade name) and beans.
"Your committee also noted
that sometimes patients have porridge without sugar and also took tea without
sugar and milk," he said.
"Your committee was informed about the dangers
associated with skipping food by psychiatric patients since psychotropic
drugs require that patients eat a lot of food and the fact that patients skip
some meals means that they also skip taking drugs," Mr Chebundo
The legislator said the situation was worsened by the fact that
procurement of essential items, such as drugs, food, linen and fuel, had
been centralised and there was need to decentralise the purchase in line
with health sector reforms.
The provincial medical director's office
was responsible for the procurement and sometimes there were delays in buying
Seconding the motion, Makoni West MP Cde Gibson Munyoro
(Zanu-PF) said the committee observed that the security fence at the hospital
was too low.
He said two patients drowned in Tokwe River last year after
escaping from the hospital.
The committee recommended that the
Minister of Health and Child Welfare and other senior officials from the
ministry should visit the hospital to have a feel of what was happening at
Procurement of essential services, the committee said,
should be maintained all the time.
The hospital's board members were
urged to be proactive in mobilising funding for the institution by involving
the donor community and the private sector.
SOUTHERN Africa's media bosses have suspended
Zimbabwe from an organisation that is yet to be officially established by the
The council of the Southern African Editors' Forum
(SAEF), which met in Windhoek at the weekend to adopt a constitution, kicked
the Zimbabwean wing out after the editors of the private media there
boycotted the national forum over their government's clampdown down on press
Eberhard Hofmann, a member of the council, said the SAEF would
now send a team to Zimbabwe to investigate what he described as "tension"
between State-owned and private media.
"They are split," said Hofmann,
who added that only one person from Zimbabwe's State-media attended the
meeting in Windhoek.
"The council meeting decided they could not accept
the one-man delegation. The council felt this was not representative [of the
Zimbabwean media]," he said.
Media from other countries were
represented on the council by a mix of State-owned and privately run
Hofmann said the visit to Zimbabwe would be aimed at
ensuring that the Zimbabwean editors' forum is restored to SAEF
The SAEF council adopted the constitution so that the
organisation can be officially launched by the end of the year, after an
executive committee meeting polishes up the rest the formalities in
The SEAF's council held a two-day meeting at the
Editors of various media discussed media freedom or the abuse of
it, the training of journalists, media ethics and HIV-AIDS.
featured strongly in the media freedom discussion because of what is widely
believed to be a clampdown on the independent media by President Robert
Of the countries expected to be members of the SEAF, only Angola
Zim urged to repeal media laws 07/06/2004 20:57 -
Windhoek - Newspaper editors from southern Africa are urging
governments in the region to pressure Zimbabwe to restore press freedom and
stop threatening journalists.
The Council of the Southern African
Editors' Forum (SAEF) held a weekend meeting in the Namibian capital,
Windhoek, and 24 editors from eight countries backed the resolution mooted by
chairman Henry Jeffreys from South Africa's influential Beeld
"The SAEF calls on the Zimbabwe government to reinstate the rule
of law and allow for freedom of expression and freedom of the media," said
"We also call on other... countries to bring pressure...
on the Zimbabwe government to reopen the offices of the newspapers that have
been forced to close, to remove the threats against other media, to allow
journalists to practise their craft without fear and to allow state-owned
media to serve the Zimbabwean people as a whole and not favoured parties",
said the statement.
Zimbabwe's private, independent Daily News, which
was highly critical of President Robert Mugabe's government, was forcibly
closed on September 12 last year on charges that it was being published
The Daily News is the only independent alternative to
Zimbabwe's two state-run dailies, The Herald and The Chronicle, and has about
a million readers.
The Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Cde
Aeneas Chigwedere, has assured the nation that this year's Ordinary and
Advanced level examinations will go on as scheduled.
In an interview,
Cde Chigwedere said there was no reason for parents to panic over the delay
in the registration process.
"We are now conducting these examinations
locally and, as such, are guided in all procedures by the situation that will
be prevailing in the country at that juncture.
"Yes, traditionally the
deadline for the November examinations was April, but that was for Cambridge
(University of the United Kingdom syndicated examinations which have since
been discarded by the Government). This is now our own show and we run it our
way," he said.
Parents and prospective candidates for the November
examinations have expressed anxieties about this year's examinations, the
first since Independence to take so long to register students.
have heaped all the blame on the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations
Council, saying it has been bungling ever since it replaced
Cde Chigwedere was quick to come to Zimsec's defence, saying
the council was not liable for the latest problems.
Zimsec is reported
to be broke and frantically running around trying to source funds to import
scanner sheets used for registering O and A-level examination
While confirming this, Cde Chigwedere said Government had
raised most of the foreign currency required by the examinations
"We have acquired most of the forex for them to use. The
material used for printing scanner sheets has to come from Britain," he
Asked why Zimbabwe could not just manufacture its own material for
use in the examinations considering that they were now locally run, he said
plans were underway to start doing that.
"We are in the process of
purchasing the equipment. As soon as we have all of it, we will be making our
own material," he said.
Earlier this year, Zimsec proposed to the
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture to have O-level examination fees
increased from $100 to $20 000 a subject and those for A-level to go up from
$1 000 to $100 000.
However, Cde Chigwedere said the fees would not be
changed as the Government was waiting for the completion of the harvest of
the summer crops so as to assess the capability of parents to pay higher
However, in his latest interview with The Herald, he said the
Government was still to decide on the fee levels. "The issue was actually
debated this week and a decision might be reached next week," he said.
Zimbabwe Cricket Union chairman Peter Chingoka will
lead a three-member delegation to Dubai tomorrow for a two-day liaison
meeting with the International Cricket Council and some of the Test-playing
A series of meetings will be held to discuss the ZCU 'road map',
which is aimed at giving exposure and experience to the new-look Zimbabwean
side led by 21-year-old Tatenda Taibu.
Chingoka will travel with the
ZCU board member responsible for junior cricket Clive Barnes, one of the
longest-serving ZCU board members, and Macsood Ebrahim, who is the board
member responsible for human resources and also a national
Chingoka, while confident that Zimbabwe's Test status will
remain intact, said today that they were looking at arranging more
first-class matches for the youthful side against established Test-playing
"We are meeting with the ICC and some of the Test nations to
deliberate on our road map aimed at giving as much exposure and experience to
our youthful squad as a way of expediting their competitiveness," he
"This might involve having more four-day matches for the team
against various countries. The situation will be clearer after the meetings
on Wednesday and Thursday."
On the issue of the rebel players,
Chingoka said the ZCU has not received any communication from
"These players no longer have contracts with us and we have not
been in touch with them.
"We will only know about their status in
August or September when we negotiate for the 2004-2005 contracts as those
not coming to negotiate will thus be unavailable."
Limpopo Park Faces Problems in Collecting Firearms
Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
June 7, 2004 Posted to the web June
So far about 10 businesses, Mozambican and
foreign, have expressed an interest in investing in the Limpopo National
Park, according to the park's administrator, Gilberto Vicente - but the park
is endangered by police and local officials who collaborate with
This park, covering much of the districts of Chicualacuala,
Massingir and Mabalane in the southern province of Gaza, is the Mozambican
contribution to the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a wildlife and
tourism venture between Mozambique, South Africa and
Vicente, who spoke to AIM in Massingir, said that the tender
for building the main tourist camp would be launched in the next few months.
Park technical staff were working on the map indicating where the
main infrastructures, including lodges, hotels, restaurants and access
roads, will be built. Their final document will be presented to the
Tourism Ministry for approval later this year.
There is already plenty
of infrastructure in the South African contribution to the project, which is
the world famous Kruger National Park. Vicente said the Mozambican government
should mobilise investors rapidly so as to guarantee accommodation for
tourists, and the integration of the Mozambican park into the Transfrontier
Negotiations are under way with telecommunications operators, he
added, to ensure communications systems that will facilitate the
But one headache is the large number of firearms believed to be
in the hands of the people living in and around the park.
feared that this security issue might hold back investors. "Tourism will be
damaged unless the local authorities help us collect these guns",
He said that 33 illegal firearms had already been seized, but
added that the Massingir district authorities showed little interest in the
"We are running into some difficulties in collecting the guns,
because neither the police nor the administrative authorities want to
collaborate with us", he accused.
Indeed some of the police seem to be
cooperating with poachers rather than with the park. Last year, the police
even arrested game wardens who had caught a poacher red-handed with dead
animals and an illegal gun.
"I suspect there are some people in the
district who are not in favour of the project", said Vicente. "We have to
ensure that the investors and the tourists who will visit the park do not run
the risk of being attacked because of the proliferation of
About two million tourists visit the Kruger National Park
every year, and Vicente believed that perhaps 10 per cent of them would also
be interested in visiting the Mozambican and Zimbabwean parts of the
Transfrontier Park. Looking after hundreds of thousands of tourists would
require stringent measures of security, he added.
To overcome the
resistance of local peasants to handing over guns they use for hunting, the
park administration is negotiating with the Christian Council of Mozambique
to expend its "Transform Guns into Hoes" (TAE) project to Massingir, Mabalane
Under this project, people are encouraged to hand over
illicit weapons, on a no questions asked basis, and in return they are given
agricultural implements or other means of production.
administration was unwilling to speak to AIM about Vicente's accusations,
allegedly because the administrator himself was absent.
There are still
2,000 people living inside the Limpopo National Park, and the park
administration wants to resettle them in other areas, outside the park, where
there are good conditions for agriculture.
"The idea is not to expel
people but to resettle them", he stressed. Fences would be erected to
separate people from wild animals "so that they can carry out their
activities without problems".
Thanks to importing animals from South
Africa, Massingir now contains elephants, who could make short work of any
peasant maize crops.
The administration wants the transfer to be
voluntary, and so is working with local communities and government
authorities to create social infrastructures outside the park area, in the
hope that this will persuade people to move.
Meetings had been held
with the communities inside the park, so that they could explain the
conditions they required before they would agree to resettlement. Vicente
said they had demanded from the government better housing, schools and health
But since the soils in the park are poor, many of the local
peasants depend, not on agriculture, but on hunting. With the creation of the
national park, hunting is now regarded as poaching, and there are few
opportunities for hunting outside of the park.
One community leader,
Jorge Magaia, told AIM there were indeed people who were creating
difficulties, but he was sure that eventually they would understand that it
will be better for their communities and for themselves if they
"Those people who live off hunting, and don't want to see anything
improved in their lives or those of future generations are causing problems",
Magaia admitted. "But it's always like this. When people are faced with
something new, they don't accept it immediately".
Reporter WILDLIFE will now be promoted as a legitimate option for using
land redistributed under land reform following a new Government policy,
the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Cde Francis Nhema, has
Poachers had mistakenly assumed that acquired land would not be
used for wildlife and had slaughtered game recklessly during the first 18
months of the fast-track land reform.
"The major objective of the
policy is to address the need for more equitable access by the majority of
Zimbabweans to land and wildlife resources and to business opportunities that
stem from these resources," said the minister.
Cde Nhema was speaking on
Thursday in Parliament in response to concerns raised by the portfolio
committee on Mines, Energy, Environment and Tourism on the impact of land
reform on wildlife production.
"While cases of poaching continue at a low
level, there is evidence of stability returning on game ranches with new
settlers successfully reconstituting conservancies, as in the case with Gwayi
River Conservancy," he said.
Cde Nhema attributed the reduction in
poaching to the combination of a vigorous extension campaign, enhanced
anti-poaching efforts and empowerment of new farmers through the provision of
Wildlife-based land reform will contribute to the equity of a
range of stakeholders, including neighbouring communities, while ensuring
that the stakeholders share costs and benefits from wildlife
The most profitable and ecologically sustainable land use
option will be allowed to evolve in response to changing economic
influences, notwithstanding the need to ensure food security.
policy encourages working together rather than competition between different
sectors of the wildlife industry and various forms of land use. Wildlife
confers on Zimbabwe a unique comparative economic advantage, with the
potential to sustain viable domestic and foreign tourism markets.
Only half of the health clinics in three
Zimbabwean provinces have access to safe water and the majority of districts
face shortages of essential drugs, according to an NGO monitoring group, the
Food Security Network (FOSENET).
Based on information drawn from 52
districts, FOSENET noted that clinics spread across central Zimbabwe - in
Mashonaland West, the Midlands and Masvingo - had the poorest access to safe
water out of the country's eight provinces.
FOSENET found that the
availability of antibiotics had also dropped with curently 58 percent of
districts having access, compared to two-thirds that had access in
Provinces like Matabeleland North did not have adequate medical
staff - only half of its clincis had a nurse.
A quarterly monitoring
report on health and education released by FOSENET also highlighted the
barriers that poorer communities face in trying to access health care
services. It noted that only 58 percent of the selected monitoring sites in
53 districts spread across the country had access to health facilities within
five kilometres of their homesteads.
The province of Mashonaland Central
and the major cities had the best health coverage, while those worst served
in terms of distance to facilities were Mashonaland East, Midlands and
Matebeleland North and South. Provinces such as Mashonaland West and East as
well as Midlands and Matebeleland North had a high prevalence of diseases
such as cholera and malaria and yet had the highest percentage of people who
walked long distances to the nearest health centre.
The high cost of
drugs was identified as another barrier to health services. FOSENET's current
report noted that the fee levels in clinics varied widely from Zim $ 120 (US
0.02 cents) to Zim $ 45,000 (US $ 8.43).
Primary clinics and district
hospitals do not provide medicine for AIDS related illnesses and patients
have to travel to larger towns to access such treatment, noted the