The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe's last chance

Baltimore Sun

By Gideon Maltz
Originally published March 13, 2006
It is time to acknowledge that the international community's strategy on
Zimbabwe has failed.
Robert G. Mugabe's regime has survived even as the economy deteriorates
further (unemployment is above 70 percent, and gross domestic product will
decline another 7 percent this year) and personal freedom suffers greater
assaults (the recent "drive out the rubbish" campaign left 700,000 people

Indeed, with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the
verge of collapse - following a bitter fight over whether to boycott the
recent Senate elections and after years of sustained government pressure -
the regime has a stronger grasp on power than ever. Doddering though he may
be, Mr. Mugabe, who recently turned 82, has foiled the pressure of the
United States and Britain and the quiet diplomacy of his neighbors in
southern Africa.

Predictions of imminent change still crop up in Western newspapers on the
occasion of every new crisis in Zimbabwe. But these predictions have not
come to bear, and they likely will not. So long as Mr. Mugabe reigns, his
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) regime will

The international community tried to change things. It embarked on a
strategy of concerted economic and diplomatic pressure to weaken the Mugabe
regime, trying to force it to either back down or submit to the democratic
opposition. It's clear that strategy has failed.

It is, therefore, time to focus international attention on the prospect of
Zimbabwe's only genuine political opening in the years ahead: the exit of
Mr. Mugabe, whether through retirement or death, which will leave the regime
internally and externally vulnerable.

Internally, the ZANU-PF regime without Mr. Mugabe at the helm will be
uniquely susceptible in an election. In sub-Saharan Africa, opposition
candidates have won post-transitional elections only 5 percent of the time
against incumbents but 33 percent of the time against regimes' designated

The most important reason for that is the incumbent's exit removes the
regime's glue. The regime fractures into competing factions and is left with
a substantially reduced capacity to repress the political opposition and rig
an election.

In Kenya, after President Daniel T. arap Moi, and in Ghana, after President
Jerry J. Rawlings, the regimes did not - could not - resort to all the dirty
tactics that they certainly would have used had the incumbents run. In turn,
these political openings have tended to galvanize the fractured opposition
to successfully cooperate.

A ZANU-PF that is deeply unpopular, badly fractured among ethnic groups and
between moderates and hard-liners (the expulsion of the information
minister, Jonathan Moyo, is the beginning) and facing a reinvigorated
opposition will not likely be able to effectively rig elections, let alone
win the popular vote.

It will be critical, then, that presidential elections be held within a year
of Mr. Mugabe's exit, before the regime has too much time to consolidate. If
Mr. Mugabe's exit does not occur within that window before the 2008
elections, then international, and particularly regional, pressure will be
crucial in forcing early elections.

Externally, Mr. Mugabe's exit may prompt genuine regional pressure. Analysts
have long emphasized that international pressure requires the support of
Zimbabwe's neighbors - especially South Africa - that have significant
political and economic leverage. But to the great frustration of Western
governments, southern African countries have thus far refused to publicly
challenge Mr. Mugabe.

Their reluctance has much to do with Mr. Mugabe's status as a hero of
Zimbabwe's anti-colonial struggle and a champion of liberation struggles
elsewhere. Southern African nations will have much greater political room to
apply real pressure on Zimbabwe when its leader lacks such credentials.

Simultaneously, the prospect of an altogether different level of violence
might shake the complacency of southern African nations. Zimbabwe's
implosion has not, thus far, been entirely bad for its neighbors. They have
benefited from the elimination of economic competition and from the influx
of professionals, and they have retained confidence that Mr. Mugabe can keep

But there is a real danger, if a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe is not handled
adroitly, that elements of the opposition, disaffected war veterans and
youth militia and losers in the ZANU-PF factional battle will take up arms
and plunge Zimbabwe into civil war.

This specter should push neighboring countries to step up their efforts,
especially to press the post-Mugabe regime to hold new presidential
elections and encourage moderate elements within ZANU-PF.

Notwithstanding its occasional fulminations against Zimbabwe, the United
States has failed in its efforts to unseat Mr. Mugabe's regime. The United
States should focus now on his eventual exit by helping the MDC to overcome
its bitter infighting and engaging Zimbabwe's neighbors, especially South
Africa, in vigorous diplomacy, pushing them to prepare for the occasion.

The stakes could not be higher, for if the post-Mugabe period is the first
genuine opportunity for political change in Zimbabwe, it may also be the
last for some time.

Gideon Maltz is a fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of
Law at Stanford University. His e-mail is

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cold winter for Zimbabweans

Zim Online

Tue 14 March 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe will this coming winter implement a drastic power
rationing programme which will see whole cities and regions of the country
switched off for periods ranging up to five hours, the state-owned Zimbabwe
Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC) said on Monday.

      Winter officially begins in June and demand for electricity - which
like every other basic survival commodity is already in critical short
supply in Zimbabwe - is high during the cold winter months that end in

      In a circular to captains of industry and commerce, a copy of which
was shown to ZimOnline, the ZEDC warned the business leaders to expect more
severe load-shedding with prolonged blackouts "in the event of severe
(electricity) supply deficiencies".

      "Owing to the precarious nature of electricity supplies in the country
over the winter peak load period, ZEDC may (on an as when required basis)
have to curtail demand in order to maintain supply and demand balance
particularly during peak-loading times which are usually 0600 - 1000 hours
(mornings) and 1700 - 21 00 hours (evenings)," the ZEDC memo reads in part.

      Consumers in Harare and in the dormitory city of Chitungwiza, about
20km south of the capital, will be the first to experience load-shedding on
the first of June with the rest of the country to follow in subsequent

      But the ZEDC emphasised it may disregard the load-shedding programme
and may switch off certain areas in cities for whatever period and without
advance warning in the event of a serious deficit in power supplies.

      The proposed winter supply cuts come at a time when the state power
utility is battling to raise foreign currency to pay for imports from South
Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Mozambique who supply
40 percent of the country's power requirements.

      The three countries especially South Africa experience winter around
the same time as Zimbabwe and therefore will be unable to maintain the same
level of power exports to their crisis-hit neighbour.

      Zimbabweans - grappling their worst ever economic crisis - will most
likely be little perturbed by impending power cuts used as they are to
making do with little or none of most basic goods such as fuel, essential
medical drugs, clean water in cities and food because there is no hard cash
to pay foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sanitary pads stuck in Jo'burg as Harare demands duty

Zim Online

Tue 14 March 2006

      HARARE - A consignment of sanitary towels donated to Zimbabwean women
by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and other groups
remains stuck in Johannesburg because Harare wants duty paid for the goods.

      Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) spokesman Mlamuleli Sibanda
told ZimOnline that the labour union, which received the pads from COSATU,
will have to pay the duty that is still to be calculated in order for the
donated goods to be allowed into the country.

      The government does not normally charge duty on donated goods.

      Sibanda said: "The stuff is still in South Africa but as the ZCTU we
have agreed to pay the customs duty after the government declined to allow
it for free. We have engaged a clearing house to deal with the issue. We
expect the consignment in the next few weeks."

      The ZCTU official said the clearing agent was still verifying figures
to establish how much duty was due to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority

      The several truckloads of sanitary towels were sourced from South
African well-wishers by COSATU and other civic society groups in response to
an appeal for help by the ZCTU Women's Advisory Council.

      The women's council made the appeal after a survey by a British NGO
revealed that many Zimbabwean women were resorting to using newspapers and
rags as substitutes for tampons and pads because these were either in short
supply in the country or too expensive when available.

      A packet containing 10 of the cheapest quality sanitary towels costs
about $500 000 in Zimbabwe.

      Researchers say on average a woman requires three packets per month
bringing total cost to about $1.5 million and this against an average
monthly wage of slightly more than nine million dollars for women in the

      The severe shortage of sanitary towels - just like the shortage of
nearly every basic survival commodity in Zimbabwe - is because of the
country's unprecedented economic meltdown that has forced many manufacturing
companies to either close down or relocate abroad.

      According to the survey by the British group, the lack of sanitary
pads had resulted in an increase in vaginal infections and this at a time
when there is a shortage of medical drugs in Zimbabwe because there is no
hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

      An executive member of the women's council Thabitha Khumalo, who
helped publicise the plight of Zimbabwean women in South Africa, is in
Britain where she is also trying to source more donations of sanitary pads.

      Both Zimbabwe Health Minister David Parirenyatwa and ZIMRA
Commissioner General Gershom Pasi could not be reached for comment on the

      But this is not the first time that the Harare administration has put
obstacles in the way of aid given by South African groups.

      The Zimbabwe government last year blocked for several weeks tonnes of
food that had been donated by South African churches for victims of its
controversial home demolition exercise that according to the United Nations
left at least 700 000 people without shelter or means of livelihood after
police bulldozers razed down shanty towns and informal business kiosks.

      The food was only allowed into Zimbabwe after South Africa's
department of agriculture issued certificates confirming that it was not
genetically modified. - ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe police chase shadows as foreign currency traders change tack

Zim Online

Tue 14 March 2006

      BULAWAYO - Twenty-eight year old Memory Moyo, strides confidently
along the wide streets of Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo.

      Moyo, with a curvaceous body that befits a model, is elegantly dressed
in a cream suit and matching shoes. She is also sporting some fancy dark
glasses to complete the image of a glamourous model.

      But Moyo is no model despite her vivacious looks.

      She is part of a new breed of foreign currency dealers in Bulawayo,
with a dress sense that is miles away from the spartan all-white
"mapositori" garb.

      The mapositori, are members of a fundamentalist Christian sect whose
women were accused by the Zimbabwe government of spearheading the illegal
trade in foreign currency.

      The mapositori women favoured to wear long white dresses, in what they
say is a clear denunciation of worldly materialism.

      But this clear identification tag made it easy for law enforcement
agents to crack down on the mapositori as they did  their business at the
"World Bank," a notorious informal rendezvous for illegal foreign currency
traders in the city.

      In reaction to the police crackdown, foreign currency traders say they
have had to change tack and dress business-like to keep out of harm's way.

      "These days we make it difficult for the police to identify us because
they are always on the lookout for people clad in  the traditional mapostori
outfits. But now they cannot tell whether I am a shopper or a business
woman," says Moyo, her eyes roaming around as she scouts for potential

      Rather than wait for clients, Moyo is on the offensive as she whispers
to passers-by to find out if they want to buy United States dollars, the
South African rand and the Botswana pula, currencies in great demand here.

      President Robert Mugabe's government has had a cat and mouse
relationship with these foreign currency traders whom it blames for fuelling
inflation which currently stands at a staggering 782 percent, one of the
highest in the world.

      Foreign currency is in critical short supply in Zimbabwe after the
International Monetary Fund withdrew balance-of-payments support six years
ago and also after Mugabe disrupted the key agricultural sector, Zimbabwe's
biggest foreign currency earner.

      Since then, Zimbabwe has battled a severe economic crisis described
last year by the World Bank as unprecedented for a country not at war.

      Several of the country's factories have either collapsed or relocated
abroad because they were no longer viable due to  shortages of hard cash to
import raw materials, machinery and spares.

      And of the companies still operational in Zimbabwe, many have been
able to keep their doors open only because Bulawayo's "World Bank" and other
centres for the illegal foreign currency black market has been able to keep
them  supplied with the badly needed hard cash.

      Attempts by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono to nip the
illegal foreign currency trade have virtually failed because of the
lucrative rates on the parallel market.

      The US dollar currently trades at Z$99 000 on the official market but
trades at around Z$160 000 on the parallel  market.

      Despite police raids, foreign currency dealers have vowed not to shift
an inch.

      "Things are tough and we will not let the police take us out of
business. We also need to feed our families and survive.

      "We are not stealing from anybody but we are providing a service that
the government is failing to provide," said another foreign currency dealer
who only gave her name is Sithabile.

      Mobile cell phones have also proved quite handy for these daring
traders in their bid to evade the police and conduct their business

      "Sometimes there is no need for me to be on the streets as long as my
cell phone has network, clients phone me and I visit them in their offices
and we complete transactions there," said Nomalanga, another foreign
currency dealer.

      Apart from doing business in offices, they have also resorted to doing
business in their cars.

      "Sometimes it is best to do business in cars because you just wait for
the customers to come and you drive away and do the transaction away from
the public eye.

      "Besides, it is much more safer to keep large sums of cash in the boot
of your car than carry it on your person," says Sithabile.

      "On a very good month, I make more than $2 billion from trading in
foreign currency and if I am arrested I only pay an admission of guilt fine
of $250 000 and I am back in business," says Sithabile with a chuckle. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Forensic scrutiny of Arthur Mutambara's CV

Zim Online

Tue 14 March 2006

      By Chokwadi Veduwee

      HARARE - Arthur Mutambara's curriculum vitae is slick and impressive
and as some have said, "it sounds too good to be true".

      For a man who would want to lead and shape our nation, it is
imperative to determine its veracity, that is if, as implied by its
publication in the media, he wants the populace to accept his leadership of
him on the basis of the claims made  there within.

      This is an attempt at a forensic scrutiny of Mutambara's CV. Let us
look at Mutambara's academic teaching career. But first of all, some
background information.

      The title of professor is reserved for those who have attained the
highest rank in an academic or research institution. Few academics ever
achieve this rank, and it is extremely rare before the age of 40.

      In the United States, people with PhD's can usually enter the academic
staff at the level of Assistant Professor, progressing on merit to Associate
Professor and finally Professor.

      In most Commonwealth countries, the US Assistant Professor is roughly
equivalent to a Senior Lecturer. (See page 8 of Association of Commonwealth
Universities 2004-05 Academics Staff Salary Survey

      "Professor" may also be used (primarily by American students) as a
polite term of address for any PhD-holding college or university lecturer,
regardless of actual rank in the university.

      From 1995 to 1997, Mutambara was an Assistant Professor at FSU - an
entry level teaching post in the USA equivalent  to a Lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe and most universities in the Commonwealth.

      From 1999-2000, Mutambara claims he was an Associate Professor at MIT,
one step above the post of Assistant  Professor, but still short of full
Professorship. However my research shows that he was a Martin Luther King Jr
Visiting  Assistant Professor, a 2 year position without tenure (see MIT
Reports to the President 1999-2000:

      If he was promoted in 2000, I would have expected this to be reflected
in the MIT Report to the President 2000-2001, which it is not. Thus we
should conclude Mutambara was again an entry level university teacher.

      Well, it seems that Mutambara has never been a full Professor in his
real field of expertise (i.e. one in which he has the most academic and
professional experience). With only a 3-week "mini-MBA" from McKinsey & Co,
it begs the question whether he could have been Professor of Business
Strategy at Kellogg Business School, one of the top such schools  in the

      By the way, the only reference to his "Professorship" at Kellog is a
placement during his one year stint at McKinsey. I could not find any
reference to him on Kellog's website.

      You may wish to note that in his sojourns at NASA and other research
institutes, he was a Research Scientist, again an entry level position in
these organisations which would not confer on him the title of Professor.

      Let us now turn to his business experience. Mutambara says that he was
a management consultant at McKinsey & Co on 2001. Well, "management
consultant" is quite a general term.

      With his qualifications (advanced degrees and academic experience) his
entry points and career paths would have  been either of two, namely: (a)
Associate, Associate Principal, Principal, Director, or (b) Specialist,
Expert, Associate  Principal, Principal.

      We cannot really judge his level of seniority, responsibility or
achievement from his CV. The alleged accomplishments are not credible for
someone who had never worked in consulting before.

      In my opinion, it is more likely that he was in a training
secondment/placement to a team with more senior and seasoned members, which
if honestly mentioned does not detract from his experience.

      McKinsey has an "up-or-out" performance review policy. Could be this
why he stayed there only one year? For 18 months starting January 2002, he
claims to have been a Director, Stanbic Bank (Payments).

      Given Mutambara's apparent propensity for playing with titles, we have
to ask whether he was a Board Level Director as is usually and commonly
understood by the term, or some other management level which just happens to
include  Director in its title.

      As for Africa Technology & Business Institute  (ATBI), Mutambara can
write whatever he wishes, it is his company - and we can only judge his
performance by its success.

      On the evidence, Mutambara's claim to and use of the title of
Professor is at best exaggerated and at worst outright dishonest. If we are
to call him Professor, we may just as well call most of our lecturers at the
University of Zimbabwe  Professors too.

      His frequent job changes are rather worrying, potentially suggesting a
number of negative conclusions on his performance, team skills, commitment
and thus leadership potential.

      Maybe the pro-senate "Professor" who leads the anti-senate faction
(and is untainted by factionalism) would care to elaborate and clarify his
extraordinary claims, which, he must surely know, require extraordinary

      If you ask me, me thinks the "Prof" blows his trumpet too much, and
much harder than can be justified by its size.

      Chokwadi Veduwee


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

What I know for sure

Sent: Monday, March 13, 2006 9:26 PM
Subject: What I know for sure by Stella Allberry, MDC Byo South



Oprah Winfrey in her own life and often when interviewing people likes to discuss what she and they “ know for sure  “ Of course their answers are extensive and  varied according to “ gut felt “ principals  and beliefs that govern their lives. Today after such a long silence from me I wish to share some “ What I know for sure “ thoughts and feelings, exasperations and hopes I have for our battered but definitely not broken fight for democracy in Zimbabwe.


Firstly, what I know for sure is that the MDC was founded by and soon belonged to an enormous variety of Zimbabweans from every walk of life. Differing in ethnicity, tribe, education, social stature and persuasion, cultural values, philosophy even global situation! The list of differences is endless, but what became the most astonishing phenomenon and remains to this day is the common ground shared. So powerful and so enormous was this common drive   that it totally swamped any differences between us all until there grew and grew a unity of Zimbabweans like a family. A family of Zimbabweans blind to all but their hunger for the freedom awaiting us, their pride in the hand promising transparency, their belief in the hope for the future and their love for the “ ordinariness “ and goodness that oozed from all that the MDC was, stood for and still is! Blind to all but our joint fight against evil and oppression, blind to all but the fight for democracy and to the one day when we will live these “ Human Rights “ that we have heard about but never experienced! What I know for sure is that that family of Zimbabweans is still alive and well! We may be battered and bruised, disillusioned and confused by our confused leaders but our desires have not changed and we are driven just the same!!!


Secondly, what I know for sure concerns our leadership and it is this; you are beloved by this huge family of Zimbabweans, but you are answerable to them. You were chosen to serve this nation to reach it’s simple but life changing goals! You were chosen for your drive not your tribe, for your courage and commitment not your intellect or language skills. We trusted your honesty and integrity and were not concerned with your age or experience. These are the qualities we want to remind you of again, qualities of “ all inclusiveness “ and tolerance, which then, naturally bring about forgiveness. Why should there be talk of divorce? How can this gigantic Zimbabwe be cut in half? How can we Zimbabweans be likened to children who get hurt in a divorce and told to choose a parent! How can that be? What I know for sure is the democracy I strive for does not make me a child and quite frankly I believe all Zimbabweans are tired of being children of our leaders, chosen or not chosen! Tired of being little people lost in the battle, fallen at the wayside, we are a people desiring democracy, equality and a leadership of tolerance and consideration!


Let me be specific, Zimbabweans are hungry I believe for one powerful democratic force to end this murderous tyranny of terror. The hand belongs to us all Tshisa Mpama is our shout of jubilation and hope, neither faction should need to sacrifice the MDC; the majority of both sides, our party in other words do not want to focus on the differences and personality faults but wish to remove the Mugabe regime and have a new beginning and a new life!! They do not want two sides at all!! If we would all put aside egos and hunger for position, even take the risk of expelling those whom we know to be harming all we believe in, how strong we would be!!


Finally what I do know for sure, which would take tremendous courage, effort and risk would be if our top leadership shook the hands of our fellow brothers and sisters in this struggle and then did not let their hands go…. But instead, all of us, together, could move towards that magnificent light of the new Dawn… well I believe we could rule the world!

Imagine the headlines the powerful statement it would make.

  “MDC leaders put down their swords and embrace each other. “



Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF thugs ambush MDC supporters

MDC Press

13 March 2006

Zanu PF thugs are back to their usual habit. On Sunday, they beat up
innocent MDC supporters coming from a rally in Mbare, Harare.

Contrary to their oft-repeated pledge to non-violence, the rowdy Zanu PF
hooligans seemed irked by the successful rally attended by 15 000 people at
the Stodart grounds, which was addressed by President Morgan Tsvangirai. The
crime by MDC supporters was that they wanted to board commuter buses while
wearing MDC T-shirts. Four party members are detained at Avenues Clinic
where one of them is critical after sustaining injuries during the assault,
which was masterminded by one Oripa, a member of the police special
constabulary who resides at number 18, block 14 Matapi Hostels in Mbare. A
report was made at Mbare police station but the suspects were not arrested.

The MDC is a registered political party whose members are allowed by law to
engage in party activities without fear of assault by rowdy Zanu PF
vigilantes. These assaults will not dampen the people's desire for change.

Hundreds of MDC supporters have died in the hands of marauding Zanu PF
youths. We bear visible scars from the tyranny of this regime. We are aware
they are capable to maim and kill. But we will continue to work towards
creating a new society in which people are free to engage in their private
business without fear of the unknown.

The people's message to Zanu PF is clear. The Zanu PF vigilantes will not
save this dictatorship from imminent demise.  If anything, the assault of
our members will embolden them in their fight against this tyranny. Zanu PF
hooligans will dismally fail in their project to derail the people's vision
for a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.

The MDC deplores the institutionalization of political violence as a culture
in Zimbabwe. We believe in the battle of minds and ideas and not
unadulterated violence as a communication tool. We condemn the abuse of
Zimbabwe's youths by a regime fighting desperately for political survival.
We believe citizens reserve their rights to freedom of movement, freedom of
association and freedom of speech. We believe in a new dispensation and a
new Zimbabwe in which we celebrate ideas and diversity of opinion.

Willas Madzimure, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity
Harare Province

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police may arrest more 'coup plotters'

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 13 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe police have rejected claims of
torture made by suspects arrested in connection with an alleged coup plot,
and say they are confident of making more arrests soon.

Police have also called on former opposition MP Roy Bennett to hand himself
over for questioning in relation to their ongoing investigations into an
arms cache, discovered a week ago in Mutare, 260 km east of the capital,
Harare, which they claim is linked a plot to overthrow the government.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have rejected
accusations by police that they were part of a plan to topple the government
by violent means. Analyst Chris Maroleng, of the South African-based
Institute for Security Studies, said the arrests might be an attempt to
destabilise the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, ahead of its congress
next weekend.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Ronald Muderedzwa told IRIN on Monday that the
police were hoping to conclude their investigations by the end of this week.

He commented that "so far, 11 people have been arrested, but if the
investigations lead us into new avenues we will arrest more" individuals.
Bennett has allegedly been implicated by those currently under arrest.

"We would like to find Bennett - we have a few questions we would like to
put to him," said Muderedzwa, adding that Bennett's whereabouts were
unknown, and "we don't know whether he is still in the country or not, but
we're appealing for him to come forward".

Regarding the claims that former Rhodesian army soldier Mike Peter
Hitschmann and his co-accused, including a number of top MDC officials and
former policemen, had been tortured while in police custody, Muderedzwa
said, "Those allegations are not true - of course, when someone is arrested
allegations [of torture] are put across, but that is not true."

Zimbabwean newspapers reported that Hitschmann was a
licensed arms dealer and a hunter, and therefore entitled to have the
weapons discovered by the police, but Muderedzwa said he could not comment
on the claim.

The accused appeared in court on Saturday and have been remanded in custody.
According to Muderedzwa, they are to reappear on Wednesday either for a bail
hearing or for a further remand while investigations continue.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ex-MP sought over Zimbabwe 'plot'


      Zimbabwe ex-MP Roy Bennett is in hiding after reports that police are
looking for him in connection with an alleged plot to kill President Robert
      Eight other people, including an opposition MP, have been charged
after an arms cache was allegedly discovered at the home of one of them.

      Four of those charged are reportedly police officers.

      Zimbabwe authorities say the group planned to ambush Mr Mugabe after
his 82nd birthday party last month.

      Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, confirmed that police were looking for Mr Bennett.

      "They want to arrest him - they are trying to cause alarm around Roy
Bennett's whereabouts as a way of getting him to come to the police," he
told the BBC News website.

      Asked whether Mr Bennett was in hiding, Mr Chamisa said: "Of course -
he is safe somewhere."

      Mr Chamisa said he was not sure what charges were being investigated
against Mr Bennett.

      Mr Bennett was in prison from October 2004 to June 2005: a sentence
imposed by other MPs after he pushed a government minister during an
argument in parliament.

      Last week, state media reported incorrectly that Mr Bennett had
already been arrested in connection with the alleged plot.


      The eight men arrested have been charged under security laws of
possession of weapons to carry out an insurgency, sabotage or terrorism,
lawyer Trust Manda told the AFP news agency.

      Mr Manda quoted documents presented to the magistrate's court in
Mutare on Saturday, which said the eight men had plotted to kill Mugabe when
he travelled to the city on 25 February for a party to celebrate his 82nd

      "To achieve this, the group agreed to spill oil on (...a) highway when
the motorcade would be approaching so that the motorcade would slip and get
involved in an accident," the document said.

      The eight include MDC MP Giles Mutsekwa, and Peter Hitschmann, who is
reported to be a former member of the Rhodesian security forces.

      It is at his home, in Mutare, that a weapons cache including automatic
rifles, ammunition and tear gas canisters was allegedly found.

      The Zimbabwe authorities claim that Mr Hitschmann is linked to an
organisation called the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement, and that this group is
seeking to overthrow Mr Mugabe's government.

      MDC denial

      Zimbabwean TV has reported that the men had brought drums of oil with
the intention of pouring it on a road just before the presidential motorcade

      The group were remanded in custody until Wednesday.

      Security Minister Didymus Mutasa warned anyone planning violence: "If
it came to a position where we have to eliminate them physically because of
what they are doing, then it is their fault, that is what they are looking
for, and we will not hesitate to do that."

      The opposition MDC has denied all knowledge of the alleged plot, and
says it is an attempt by the state to derail the party's congress next

      "We wish to place it on record that the MDC does not have any links
with Mr Hitschmann, the so-called Zimbabwe Freedom Movement or any other
person or group that seeks to effect a regime change through the barrel of
the gun, an armed struggle, violence or unconstitutional means," said an MDC

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara: defeating Zanu PF is the prize

New Zimbabwe

Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change will address his first public rally in Bulawayo on March 19. At the weekend, he gave an interview to the South African Mail & Guardian's Percy Zimunya. Here is an excerpt:

Last updated: 03/14/2006 06:42:21 Last updated: 03/14/2006 04:34:20
Why did you go back to Zimbabwe?

I was disappointed when the major opposition party got into a crisis. I decided it’s my civic duty to parti-cipate in the creation of political and economic solutions in my country.

I came to Zimbabwe to become a unifier, to provide a framework of reunification of all democratic forces fighting for change in the country. I felt that there was confusion and a lack of direction in the political party. My core business was to be part of the initiative of building a strong, democratic, electable political opposition party … that can get into government and create solutions for our economic problems.

Why now?

Because of the gravity of the economic crisis. History will never absolve us as Zimbabweans if we don’t step up to make a difference. I was a good follower for six years. Now I am saying that I can be part of the process of reunification.

How do you propose to unify Zimbabwe’s democratic forces?

We must recognise and respect each other. We must understand what unites us: the need to fight and defeat the Zanu-PF regime, the Zanu-PF culture. I do not have time to condemn and fight other soldiers. We will focus our eyes on the prize that is defeating the Zanu-PF culture, not [Robert] Mugabe. If Mugabe drops dead tomorrow there still will be a Zanu-PF culture. The Zanu-PF culture is pervasive in our society. The use of violence against opponents, violation of party constitutions, the failure to respect collective decision-making processes. You can’t afford to be undemocratic yourself if you are fighting an undemocratic regime.

Have you spoken to Morgan Tsvangirai about your vision?

I am a strong believer in giving unity a chance. Any discussions around unity should be protected so that they succeed. Let’s give it a chance.

What strategies do you have to take on the Zanu-PF government?

Let’s accept that there are elements of Zanu-PF in our organisations. The next step is how do we go about building a new culture and a new value system. We need a new people-driven democratic constitution. All the efforts will amount to nothing without a new constitution. We reserve the right to use any democratic and constitutional means to bring about change in Zimbabwe. Demonstrations, stayaways and boycotts, anything that is democratic.

The opposition has traditionally done well in the urban centres but has been unable to penetrate Zanu-PF’s rural strongholds. How will you bridge this?

We need to make sure that we are an African patriotic political party. We come to Zimbabwe in the tradition of the liberation war. We cherish and celebrate the Zipra, the Zanla, the Apla, MK fighters. We believe in the land revolution, land was the basis of our revolution. Our party should be credible to the villager. We are a party for the land. We are delinking ourselves from a legacy of puppetry.

You have been criticised as being out of touch with the experience of ordinary Zimbabweans. What is your comment?

The issues I am articulating right now: Are they out of touch? I went to Oxford and then to the United States to publish and research. My hope is that my exposure and my experience will make my contribution to Zimbabwe better.

What, in the short term, should be done to address food and fuel shortages and rampant unemployment?

We must own our own problems, not blame everyone except ourselves. Our problems are so huge we can’t go it alone. We need a holistic economic recovery programme that involves all stakeholders. You can’t say enemy number one is inflation and do a policy around inflation … that is a sign of myopic mindedness. Look at all the variables, interest rates, inflation, unemployment, exchange rate, agriculture, and build a multi-variable mathematical model that addresses and comes up with solutions. We need to have the unity debate finished … within the next few months and engage the NCA [National Constitutional Assembly] to push for a new constitution. The economic blueprint framework will be out in two weeks and the details of the blueprint must be done in six months.

Have you been in touch with any heads of state or political parties?

For now we don’t want to undermine our efforts. All these remain confidential.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Schools Hit by Teacher Exodus

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Woefully underpaid and threatened with violence, teachers are leaving their
jobs in droves.

By Maxmillion Mhanyi in Gweru (AR No.56, 13-Mar-06)

Schoolteachers in Zimbabwe, adversely affected by the country's deepening
political, economic and social problems, are quitting the profession en

The main teaching union, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, PTUZ,
reported that 5,000 teachers left their jobs in 2005 and that resignations
have accelerated in the first months of 2006.

The major push factors have been poor pay and political violence.

In the current hyperinflationary environment, with the International
Monetary Fund describing the inflation rate as 900 per cent, the highest in
the world, teachers' salaries have become so meaningless that the deputy
finance minister recently said that a junior teacher's monthly income can
hardly buy four bottles of cooking oil.

In an unprecedented show of independence, delegates at last December's
annual congress of the ruling ZANU PF party openly called for teachers'
salaries to be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

The salary review published in February was seen by most teachers as an
insult. A senior teacher with a degree now earns 13 million Zimbabwean
dollars (71 US dollars) a month, less than half of the official government
poverty survival level.

Teachers have resorted to other means of surviving. Classroom tuckshops -
where teachers sell confectionery and other goods to students - have sprung
up. Others have resorted to more enterprising methods, such as cross border
trading, which, provided differential exchange rates are skillfully
manipulated, can be very profitable. The Manica Post, a weekly newspaper in
the east of Zimbabwe, carried the headline, "Parents cry foul as teachers
turn to cross border trading."

But others are either quitting or seeking ways of earning a better living.

Fanwell Dube, a teacher who has resigned his post to join thousands of
others who have sought employment overseas, said, "People like teachers and
nurses have resorted to such coping mechanisms as substituting meat with
mbeva [field mice] and cabbage with nyevhe [a wild vegetable]."

With grim irony, the mass education programme embarked upon in the early
years after independence in 1980 means that success in getting young people
into schools has greatly worsened the teacher-pupil ratio. This has put huge
strain on teachers and effectively means that in 2006 they do more work for
less pay than in the 1980s.

The teachers' plight has been made worse by the fact that their genuine
demands over conditions of employment have become entirely politicised.
Their two representative organisations, the PTUZ and the Zimbabwe Teachers'
Association, Zimta, are divided on quasi-political lines.

Zimta, the smaller organisation, is sympathetic to the government, with some
of the top officials holding district, provincial or national posts in ZANU
PF. Leaders of the PTUZ have been sympathetic to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, MDC. Consequently, the two organisations send conflicting
signals to hapless teachers.

The government treats the PTUZ with hostility and suspicion. When the PTUZ
organised a marathon race to promote the national HIV/AIDS awareness
campaign, it was banned by a police force that has become merely an
extension of the ruling party because the race was perceived to be a gimmick
to promote opposition interests.

Zimbabwe's teachers have also been targets of ruling party political
violence. The violence intensified after ZANU PF was defeated in a
referendum in February 2000 that was designed to increase the powers of
President Robert Mugabe. During the campaign, Mugabe accused teachers of
trying to brainwash rural children.

Teachers, especially in rural areas, were targeted because traditionally
they exercised huge influence as an "educated elite", a vital source of
guidance to illiterate villagers, and because they were perceived to be
agents of the MDC.

Teachers were displaced, killed, maimed and raped. The assailants committed
brutal acts with impunity because they were protected by the ruling party.
Political violence against teachers was systematically institutionalised by
ZANU PF, underpinned by public statements from senior party officials.

Ahead of a presidential election in 2002, hundreds of teachers fled from
rampaging ZANU PF militants who attacked them and burned down their
properties for supporting the MDC. Teachers in rural areas are never safe.
Their fate is now determined by simple, uneducated peasants under the
control of ruling party officials.

Apart from political and economic factors, the image of the teaching
profession has been damaged beyond repair in other ways. The dominant state
media continually publishes negative images about the profession. And,
unlike their counterparts in the nursing profession, whose minister is
sensitive to the health sector's needs, teachers have to tolerate the wrath
of their minister, Aneas Chigwedere, who attacks them in public, increasing
teachers' bitterness. Chigwedere, commenting on reports that teachers
suspected of supporting the MDC would be fired, once said, "Any teacher
caught in the political web will pay for it."

When Raymond Majongwe, the leader of PTUZ, called a strike for higher pay in
2002, Chigwedere had him arrested. Majongwe was allegedly assaulted and
tortured in prison before being released without charge. Majongwe claimed
that secret policemen from Zimbabwe's much-feared Central Intelligence
Organisation had been deployed as teachers in most high schools. "You have
to be careful what you say in the staffroom," he said.

Compared with professions in the private sector, teaching in Zimbabwe does
not offer career growth. Young, educated, ambitious teachers want to move up
the professional ladder, but teaching no longer offers social status or
meaningful benefits. Consequently,
the teacher exodus can only worsen. Moreover, a recently drafted labour law
works against them. It bars civil servants - teachers included - from
forming or joining unions, meaning they will no longer be able to attempt
collective bargaining.

A further problem arises from negative industrial growth and the closure of
factories which has led to an unemployment rate of some 80 per cent. It
means many young men and women are joining the teaching profession as a last
resort, contributing to a lowering of standards as fewer and fewer teachers
are truly dedicated to their profession.

The majority of Zimbabwe's schools have no textbooks, stationery or chalk,
never mind computers. The parlous state of these schools has developed in a
country that at independence boasted the best education system in Africa. As
recently as 2000 primary school enrolment was 93 per cent, but the figure
had since dropped to well below 50 per cent. Magdelene Ngwenyama, a teacher
in the Bulawayo working class suburb of Luveve, whose classes have to share
two textbooks for each subject, said, "Our job as teachers is like
bricklayers expected to construct a house without being given the bricks."

Maxmillion Mhanyi is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Scourge of Child Rape in Rural Zimbabwe

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Thousands of girls are sexually abused every year, with the state doing
little to protect them.

By Dzikamai Chidyausiku in Harare (AR No.56, 13-Mar-06)

At sixteen, Monica Chihwai has already survived rape and physical abuse.

She told IWPR horror stories that typify the life of most girls in modern
Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas where society discriminates heavily
against females.

Now living under the Girl Child Network, GCN, a non-governmental
organisation for homeless and abused girls, Monica said her problems started
when she was ten years old, after her mother pulled her out of school to
work on the land. "She told me I should help in the fields before I find
someone to marry me," she said.

After four years at home and without schooling, Monica said her mother began
pressuring her to marry a local businessman.

"After some days Marovangepo (the businessman) came with groceries which
included sugar, salt, rice, milk, bread, cooking oil, tea and flour,"
recalled Monica, who said he also gave her mother some money. A few weeks
later Marovangepo raped her while her mother was away at an evening prayer

"He shut my mouth with his hands and tied my hands with a rope," she said.
"He pushed me and I fell down. He then raped me. When my mother came I told
her what had happened, but she told me not to tell anyone because it was a
family secret."

That night she did not sleep. She ran away from home the following morning
and walked for five days until she reached Rusape, in eastern Zimbabwe,
about 60 kilometres from her home.

She worked as a housemaid briefly in Rusape until the GCN took her in after
her story was published in national newspapers. She now lives with other
rape victims at a shelter in Chitungwiza, a dormitory town near Harare, the

Thembelihle House, a poorly-funded HIV/AIDS charity in Bulawayo, the
country's second city, can accommodate 70 patients, most of them terminally
ill. Nurse Priscilla Mac-Isaacs said, "It's extremely difficult working
here. Each patient has a unique story which is quite heartbreaking. [In
Zimbabwe's current circumstances] people cannot afford nutrition for their
own children."

Tsepi Ndlodu is one of Mac-Isaac's patients. She became infected with HIV at
the age of fifteen and now she lies, thin and weak, in the terminal stages
of a disease that kills more than 3,500 Zimbabweans each week, according to

Tsepi reported the crime to no one immediately after she was raped. She was
too terrified by the shame and the taunts that might follow. Her mother died
in 1999 and she has no father. When the HIV infection progressed until by
last year it was a clear AIDS illness she sought treatment at Bulawayo
hospitals, where there is a six-month waiting list for AIDS consultation. No
one told her about antiretroviral drugs and the way they can delay
dramatically the onset of full-blown AIDS, but anyway she did not have the
money to buy the medication.

Monica and Tsepi are only two of the countless thousands of girls who are
sexually abused every year in a country sapped by every conceivable kind of
crisis. The problems facing young girls emanate from a mix of traditional
beliefs and lack of proper institutions to protect them from the hazards of
life in a collapsing state.

More than 40,000 cases of rape are reported countrywide every year but care
groups say the real incidence is many times higher because most go
unreported. Some eighty per cent of cases that are referred to the police
are of girls below the age of 16.

GCN executive director Betty Makoni said one reason rape has increased is
because of a common belief, promoted by many traditional healers, among
HIV-positive men that sexual intercourse with virgins is a cure for AIDS.
"We believe this dangerous belief is fueling rape cases," said Makoni.

The fact that the majority of girls raped fall in the nine to sixteen age
range seems to support this belief. The youngest rape victim reported last
year was three days old.

GCN has an average of six rapes reported to it each day, but it can only
accommodate two victims because of financial constraints. GCN told IWPR that
in 32 of Zimbabwe's 58 districts in which it works, it records an average of
700 cases of rape of girls under sixteen each month. HIV infection among
raped girls is widespread.

Doctors who spoke to IWPR said the real impact of rape, HIV/AIDS, the
limited availability of antiretroviral drugs and deep poverty would only be
felt a few years down the line. "We have a generation that is being
condemned to die of AIDS because they are being raped and infected daily,"
said one doctor.

For rape victims recourse to the courts is of limited use because of a
heavily corrupted police force and judiciary. Makoni recalled how a man
convicted of raping a 10-year-old girl was ordered to either serve a
five-day prison term or pay a token fine. He chose the latter.

"Such cases are rampant, and many never even get to court because of the
unchecked graft, " said Makoni. "Organisations like ours dealing with rape
face threats and victimisation if we try to report cases involving
government and party officials. The intimidation is really strong when the
cases involve big guys."

Makoni said she receives many calls from mysterious people who want to
silence her. She said she had been accused by top government officials of
co-authoring a United Nations report with Anna Tibaijuka, UN
secretary-general Kofi Annan's special envoy, on last year's Operation
Marumbatsvina (Operation Drive Out the Rubbish), which led to thousands of
homes of poor people being bulldozed and torched by the government in the
name of urban renewal. The report said the operation was "inhuman" and that
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe had shown "indifference to human
suffering." Annan described the situation as "profoundly distressing".

In a population of 11.5 million people, the UN estimates there are now more
than 1.3 million AIDS orphans, that is children who have lost one or both
parents to the epidemic. These orphans are particular targets for abusers.
Many end up as street children in the cities and towns where they are easy
prey for rapacious men and prostitution syndicates. Care organisations
believe the catastrophe can only get worse because a lack of any government
initiative to deal with it.

A recent report by the UN children's fund, UNICEF, said there are more than
5000 children on the streets of Harare and the number is growing.

Chris Makufa, director of Streets Ahead, a care group working with street
children, said the numbers grow daily because of increasing poverty and
abuse. "Rape, abuse and violence drive the kids on to the streets in the
first place," he said. "But it becomes a vicious circle because on the
streets the boys are sodomised and girls are raped again."

UNICEF's spokesman in Harare, James Elder, said the organisation is
"horrified" by the high incidence of sexual abuse of Zimbabwean children. He
said his agency is attempting to step up its work with grassroots
communities, trying to help them spot signs of child abuse and protect their
children. "With so many economic challenges, coupled with the very high
number of orphaned children, there is an incredible level of vulneralility
here," said Elder.

Dzikamai Chidyausiku is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fuel Crisis Deepens Zimbabwean Troubles

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Industrialists say chronic fuel shortages are having a devastating impact on

By Joseph Chigugu in Harare (AR No.56, 13-Mar-06)

The never-ending fuel crisis has become the single biggest threat to efforts
by the Zimbabwean government to save the economy from its parlous state.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortages since 2000, due to a
combination of foreign currency shortages, corruption at the state-owned
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, NOCZIM, ruinous economic policies and
deteriorating diplomatic relations with key countries and international

In addition, the spectre of increased company closures, unemployment,
soaring inflation and low production in remaining manufacturing sectors,
where many companies are operating at less than twenty per cent capacity,
has put great pressure on the ZANU PF government as it promises to implement
a turnaround programme.

According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry, some 620 companies have
closed shop since July 2000. The unemployment rate is at 80 per cent and the
official inflation rate has officially topped 782 per cent, by far the
highest in the world, while the International Monetary Fund puts the real
rate at more than 900 per cent.

Industrialists say the fuel crisis is having a devastating impact on
productivity. Key workers are forced to spend hours on end in fuel queues
for up to 48 hours at a time to fill the petrol tanks of private and
business vehicles - leading to lost man hours that cannot be recovered and
which hammer profit and turnover targets.

Fuel queue absenteeism rises daily. Workers either come to work late or
leave for home early because public transport has also been paralysed by the
shortages. More than 100,000 bus drivers and crews have been laid off
because there is inadequate diesel for their vehicles. Education is
collapsing for many reasons, but one is the fact that teachers either cannot
get to school because there is no public transport or they themselves are
spending chunks of working time in fuel queues.

The tourist industry, touted by the government as a key element in its
putative turnaround strategy, cannot meet targets because domestic tourism
has ground to a halt. People cannot travel to resort areas because of the
shortages, brought on by the fact that NOCZIM owes vast sums to overseas oil
companies and the government has run out of foreign exchange to service the

Western countries cut ties with Zimbabwe when the government abandoned the
rule of law after launching its chaotic and violent land redistribution
programme in February 2000. This resulted in Zimbabwe's foreign currency
reserves drying up.

The fuel crisis was made worse by a scam involving the diversion of
subsidised fuel from NOCZIM for resale by privately-owned underground
companies linked to senior government officials at ten times the officially
regulated price.

Staff at NOCZIM generated fake invoices which enabled fuel that should have
been routed to the public, essential services and government departments, to
be diverted to the flourishing black market, where consumers have to buy at
prices 1000 per cent in excess of the official pump price.

Top oil industry officials estimate that more than 250 million litres of
fuel, mostly diesel, have been diverted by the racketeers to illegal selling
points in the past five years. The fuel sold at inflated prices goes mostly
to transport operators, including owners of commuter buses, in 200 litre

President Robert Mugabe's response to the deepening crisis has been to print
more money, in defiance of all conventional economic thinking, and thus
boost inflation. A frankfurter in Harare now costs more than a three-bedroom
house cost 25 years ago. Fuel has increased in price at the petrol pump by
more than 60,000 per cent in the past 24 months.

Zimbabweans lucky enough to be still in employment carry their cash in huge
bricks of notes in satchels, carrier bags and even suitcases.

The IMF recently urged the Zimbabwe government to implement its turnaround
policy instead of just talking and issuing policy statements about it. The
fund said the policy should include strong fiscal adjustment; cutting state
expenditure; full liberalisation of the exchange rate regime; adoption of a
strong monetary anchor by reducing money supply; fundamental structural
reform, including price deregulation and public enterprise reform;
strengthening of property rights and halting invasions of commercial
farmland; and improvements in governance.

Noting that the signs of economic collapse were unmistakable, the IMF said,
"In the absence of such a comprehensive and immediate policy package,
Zimbabwe's economic prospects would be bleak."

In a lengthy interview on state television, President Mugabe dismissed the
IMF's orthodoxy as "bookish economics", a "monster" designed to achieve
regime change in Zimbabwe. Dumisani Muleya, news editor of the weekly
Zimbabwean Independent, commented in his regular trenchant column that
Mugabe instead "vowed to pursue doggedly his own voodoo prescriptions. He
said he would continue to print money on a massive scale to alleviate
socioeconomic hardships.

"It provided the clearest sign yet that he is rapidly losing his grip on
reality. The interview exposed Mugabe's threadbare grasp of modern economics
and his struggle to get to grips with global dynamics. It helped to confirm
his wholesale abdication of reason and a complete breakdown of commonsense
in government."

Vincent Kahiya, editor of The Independent, has christened Mugabe's love of
printing money "Mugabeconomics". Kahiya warned that soon manufacturers would
need to design wheelbarrows and special vehicle trailers to carry Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe narrowly averted expulsion from the IMF in February by printing 21
trillion Zimbabwe dollars to buy nine million US dollars for a minimum
interest instalment repayment to avoid expulsion from the world's most
important lending institution.

In a devastating analysis of the Zimbabwe economy, which drew the wrath of
Mugabe and his government, US Ambassador Christopher Dell gave a public
lecture in eastern Zimbabwe in which he said, "I know of no other example in
the world of an economy that, in times of peace, has contracted so
precipitously in the course of six years. Foreign direct investment [into
Zimbabwe] has evaporated from 444 million US dollars in 1998 to 9 million US
dollars in 2004.

"The human cost of Zimbabwe's economic crisis has been extraordinarily high.
The estimated proportion of the population living below the official poverty
line has more than doubled since the mid-1990s. It is now about half the
population. At least half the country faces food shortages. Well over a
quarter of the population has fled the country.

"It is estimated that the economic crisis has set the country back by more
than half a century. The purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean has
fallen back to the same level as in 1953.

"What has been the cause of Zimbabwe's unprecedented economic descent? The
answer is really quite simple, as well as quite shocking. Neither drought
nor sanctions [as argued by Mugabe] are at the root of Zimbabwe's decline.
The Zimbabwe government's own gross mismanagement of the economy and its
corrupt rule has brought on the crisis."

Joseph Chigugu is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bus accident injures 33 in Zimbabwe


          March 13 2006 at 01:17PM

      Harare - Thirty-three people were injured in Zimbabwe when a bus they
were travelling in ran out of fuel and rolled down a hill, press reports
said on Monday.

      The accident happened on Saturday afternoon near the central mining
town of Shurugwi, said the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

      "The bus ran out of fuel on the (Wolfshire) Pass and it started
rolling backwards. The conductor jumped out of the bus and tried to stop it
by putting stones on the wheels to no avail," police spokesperson Patrick
Chademana told the newspaper.

      The bus fell on its side and 33 out of the 75 passengers were injured.

       Fuel shortages are causing serious problems in Zimbabwe, where
critical services such as ambulances and fire engines are often grounded. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Annan snubs Mugabe on Africa tour

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/14/2006 04:34:14
UNITED Nations (UN) secretary general Koffi Annan has snubbed President
Robert Mugabe by passing Harare on his ongoing four-nation visit to Southern

At the beginning of the year, foreign affairs spokesperson John Mayowe said
Annan would be visiting Zimbabwe to assess Operation Murambatsvina this
month following Mugabe's attack of the UN chief's two envoys who condemned
the demolition exercise.

At the time, Mayowe said the UN undersecretary general for political affairs
Ibrahim Gambari delivered the message about the much awaited visit to Mugabe
on December 4 2005 in Mali on the sidelines of the 23rd France- Africa

Mugabe extended an invitation to Annan last year "to visit Zimbabwe and see
for himself the situation on the ground", in the aftermath of a damning
report prepared by Anna Tibajulka.

The UN cancelled another intended visit last year.

When Annan's second envoy Jan Egelend endorsed Tibaijuka's report, a furious
Mugabe blasted him, labeling him a liar. The Zimbabwean dictator said he
would accept no more UN envoys, but Annan himself.

In an update this week, the UN said Annan would visit South Africa,
Madagasca, the republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. He would meet Mugabe's counterparts in the four countries.

Currently in South Africa, Annan is expected to address a joint session of
the country's Parliament in Cape Town. He will also meet Nelson Mandela.

After the South Africa visit, Annan heads for Madagascar, where he plans to
hold meetings with President Marc Ravalomanana and other officials and
receive an honorary doctorate from the National Academy of Arts, Letters and

He will wrap up his itinerary with a stop in the DRC where, besides meeting
President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, he will address the Congolese people.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim miners to meet with govt


      13/03/2006 20:03 PM
      By: Justin Brown
      Johannesburg - The Zimbabwe mining industry was set to meet with the
Zimbabwe Minister of Mines Amos Midzi on Thursday to respond to the proposal
to amend the country's law to give 51% state ownership of the sector,
Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe chief executive officer David Murangari told
I-Net Bridge on Monday.
      In early March, Midzi proposed that the country's Mines and Minerals
Act be amended to provide for the Zimbabwean government to hold 51% of all
platinum operations in that country.

      The proposed 51% stake that the Zimbabwe government would take in the
country's platinum mines would be made up by a non-contributory 25% stake
and the balance by way of contribution over a period of time.

      Murangari said that the proposed amendment applied to the whole
Zimbabwe mining industry and not just platinum miners.

      In Zimbabwe, Impala Platinum has an 86.7% stake in Zimplats and a 50%
interest in the Mimosa mine, with Aquarius Platinum holding the other 50%
stake in Mimosa.

      Anglo Platinum's only mining interest in Zimbabwe is the Unki platinum
project near Gweru.

      The Great Dyke in Zimbabwe hosts one of the world's largest reserves
of platinum group metals, one of the key sites for PGM deposits along with
South Africa's Bushveld Complex.

      The feature runs diagonally from the southwest to the northeast across
Zimbabwe for 520km.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Disbelief at Zim platinum blunder

David McKay
Posted: Mon, 13 Mar 2006
[] -- THE World Bank doesn't generally approve of so-called
"free carries" - a mechanism frequently used in the context of mining when
governments that own mineral rights can't afford to contribute their share
of the capital cost to develop them.

It happens all the time in Africa - but nothing on the scale envisaged by
the Zimbabwean government that last week submitted draft proposals demanding
51% empowerment for mining projects and mines within its borders. That
includes an estimated 141 million resource ounces of platinum owned by South
Africa's Impala Platinum, as well as investments of Aquarius Platinum and
the unlisted Metallon Corporation.

The proposals show that Zimbabwe's government would take a
 "non-contributory" 25% stake, as well as a further 26% - presumably sold to
a local firm. Analysts calculate that 75% of the cash flow from the new
mines would pay for all the capital, making them uneconomic.

That level of empowerment - which the Zimbabwean government has dubbed
"indigenisation" - had been suggested before but quietly dropped following
an outcry. There was a similar chain of events in here in 2003, when draft
proposals for South Africa's first empowerment charter, which was in mining,
were leaked. South Africa's much-reduced 26% empowerment equity transfer
target was quickly negotiated and legislated about a year later.

So it's something of a mystery why Zimbabwe Mines Minister Amos Midzi has
resuscitated such a prohibitively high level of empowerment. Analysts reckon
the minister is desperate to raise his credibility among cabinet hardliners
after suffering public admonishment from none other than Mugabe himself.

However, outwardly Midzi is saying the Zimbabwean government wants to
accelerate project development, possibly in response to the wait-and-see
approach Impala adopted towards its Zimbabwean investments in September last

But analysts believe it's clear that the only acceleration Zimbabwe will
experience is into an economic vortex. Zimbabwe is at risk of killing
another industry, further deepening its current financial problems.

In any event, it's unlikely claims for back-door nationalisation - as the
proposals are being called - will endear Zimbabwe's reserve bank governor
Gideon Gono to the International Monetary Fund, where representations for
more funds were made recently.

Zimbabwe recently repaid outstanding IMF loans after printing more money,
thus narrowly avoiding expulsion. It now needs more cash. But the IMF, like
the World Bank, frowns on such mechanisms as free carries.

One question is how more uncertainty in Zimbabwe, which represents so much
of its future, will affect Impala's value. "I find it shocking," said Mike
Schroder, head of equity research at Old Mutual Asset Management, of the
draft proposals. "Zimbabwe represents about 10% of Implats' share price.
They really are between a rock and a hard place."

The problem is that it's not a proposition from which Impala can retreat,
notwithstanding chief financial officer David Brown's contention that Impala
would reassess its commitment to Zimbabwe were the latest empowerment
proposals to stick.

As Steve Shepherd, a JP Morgan analyst, said recently: "Other companies
would queue up for a piece of Zimbabwe's platinum group metals."

In barely concealed frustration, Brown said that Impala had submitted
"investment proposals" over the last year to facilitate empowerment,
forwarding Zimbabwean partners it had identified as the government had asked
it do.

Said Brown: "We've never had a reply. There's been a complete lack of
positive response." Ominously, Zimbabwe's government said in its draft
proposal, delivered to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, that it had
identified its own partners. One can only imagine what that implies.

And how very strange the comments made in February by Impala CEO Keith
Rumble. He said a bilateral agreement between South Africa and Zimbabwe,
expected more than a year ago, was not a prerequisite for more investment in
that country.

Against a background of shifting empowerment targets, as demonstrated last
week, a bilateral trade agreement between South Africa and Zimbabwe must now
be even more pressing.

"We contemplate whether South Africa's Government will stand up for
 Implats," wrote Shepherd in a recent research note. "While it doesn't
appear to have become obviously involved until now, we're well aware that it
provides substantial support to Zimbabwe in the form of power, oil and food,
to mention but three."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe in catch-22 situation over ZIPPEDRA fund

      March 13, 2006,

      By George Nyathi

      BULAWAYO (AND)- After having been siphoned of billions of dollars by
fake war veterans, the Zimbabwean government has once again found itself in
another Catch-22 situation following revelations that several billions of
dollars were paid out to fake members of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political
Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees.

      This was diclosed by a high profile member of ZIPPEDRA when he
addressed members of the association at a meeting that was held at the
Bulawayo ZANU PF headquarters yesterday.

       ZIPEDRA secretary-general, identified as Billy Tshuma told members
that there was need to safeguard the association as it had been infiltrated
by some bogus members who were out to get payouts while they had not taken
part in the war of Zimbabwe's liberation. "I would like to warn those that
are planning to engage in acts of sabotage that the long arm of the law will
catch up with them.

      Let me warn again that many people, if they are unaware, will be
arrested for defrauding the government of money arising from fake claims
from ZIPPEDRA funds.," said Tshuma. He added that as part of efforts to
sanitize the association and weed out bogus elements, there were plans to
set up a board that would vet members who would eventually benefit from the
ZIPPEDRA fund. Also raised by Tshuma was the need to take care of widows of
some of the association's members as these had families thay were looking

      Tshuma said there was need to speed up the disbursement of money to
the widows as the money would go a long way in assisting the families and
children who were left behind by the ex-political detainees. About 200 000
people who took part in the liberation struggle by providing food, clothes
and blankets to Zimbabwe's freedom fighters still await their gratuities
under the ZIPPEDRA fund following government announcement that it would vet
these members to enable them to benefit from the fund.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Minister faces stocktheft charge

      March 13, 2006,

      By George Nyathi

      BULAWAYO (AND)- SMALL to Medium Scale Enterprises Minister, Sithembiso
Nyoni could soon be arrested for alleged cattle rustling after three of her
employees were picked up by police for the alleged stocktheft.

      Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Johnson
Nyoni told a Bulawayo-based weekly paper that the stolen beasts had been
found on the minister's farm, raising suspicion that the minister was also
involved in the cattle rustling scam.

      Members of the crack anti-stocktheft squad pounced on the three of the
minister's employees at their workplace, the minister's farm, and discovered
14 beasts that had been reported stolen in the province. Inspector Nyoni
added that the police discovered that some identity brands on the stolen
cattle had been replaced with a new brand depicting that of minister Nyoni.

       According to the local weekly, the cattle belong to a white
commercial farmer, Robert Bruce Moffat, whose farm is just a stone's
throwaway from Minister Nyoni's farm. The cattle are held in a secret
location as an exhibit with the three men expected to appear in court
tomorrow following the conclusion of investigations by the police. "So far
14 cattle have been discovered at Fountain Farm and two or three farm
workers who were arrested in connection with the case may appear in court
either in Bulawayo or in Esigodini once the investigations are done,"
Inspector Nyoni told the local weekly.

      Minister Nyoni has however denied involvement in the case and blamed
the discovery on a plot by her political detractors. Recently, government
increased the minimum jail term for cattle rustlers to nine years following
President Robert Mugabe's declaration at the ZANU PF national people's
conference that was held in Esigodini, Matabeleland South province in
December 2005.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara calls for MDC re-unification

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-14

ARTHUR Mutambara, the leader of the pro-senate MDC camp, on Sunday called
for the re-unification of the opposition, saying Morgan Tsvangirai and his
group must repent, accept punishment and rejoin the party as "followers and
not as leaders".
A tough talking Mutambara made the remarks while addressing the party's
provincial structures in Chitungwiza.
"We are not pro-Senate, but pro-Zimbabwe. The dispute we have with
Tsvangirai is because we do not want those who use political violence on
opponents. They are our friends, but we do not want those that breach the
party's constitution with impunity.
"They must repent, be punished and join the party as followers. We do not
want dictators. We want democracy, democracy and democracy," said the former
University of Zimbabwe student activist.
Mutambara claimed his party had come up with a new agenda, values and vision
contrary to the MDC of the past and urged the structures not to lose focus
by pursuing internal conflicts.
"We should not lose our agenda, our duty is to remove the government and
rule Zimbabwe. We should not lose route by doing sideshows," he said.
Mutambara fired a broadside at Tsvangirai.
"If Tsvangirai wants to be president of Zimbabwe he should come through
Mutambara, after competing with me. I have confidence I can destroy him.
When I said he was my hero I didn't mean that I was scared of him.We do not
want to be responsible for the demise of opposition politics in Zimbabwe."
Since both factions of the MDC claim to be the real opposition party,
Mutambara suggested an amicable divorce between the camps if re-unification
"Since there are others that also claim to be the MDC, we respect the
disagreements, but they must repent and become followers.
The issue of the party's name and properties will end with re-unification of
the MDC based on values. If that fails, then the courts will decide.
If Tsvangirai refuses we can go it alone. I am not afraid of Tsvangirai, he
thinks when I said he is my hero I am afraid of him," charged Mutambara.
He urged party structures to safeguard the gains of the liberation war such
as land.
"We also want land (President) Mugabe says we do not want it because we are
sell outs and puppets. Land must go to the people, the poor, and the
"We are also coming in with the tradition of the liberation war recognising
the role played by people like (Hebert) Chitepo, (Josaya) Tongogara, Nikita
Mangena and John Nkomo.
No one owns the history of the liberation struggle. We are coming in the
tradition of the ZANLA and ZIPRA fighters." he said.
"We are also anti-imperialist and against the colonisation of Africa. We are
an African patriotic opposition party, a people that know their history."
On the economy, Mutambara said his party would work with strategic partners
all over the globe.
"The Zimbabwe issue is too big for Zimbabweans to solve alone-what are our
friends doing to help us. South Africa, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and the World Bank, we also need help from other players?" he added.
He mourned the brain drain currently affecting the country and condemned the
environment saying it was not conducive for people to apply ideas hence the
outward movement of Zimbabweans into the Diaspora.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Chinese Are in Africa - This Time to Stay!

New Era (Windhoek)

March 13, 2006
Posted to the web March 13, 2006

Udo W. Froese
Johannesburg, South Africa

Initially, at the end of the cold war in 1989, China found itself without
the capacity to compete with the international Western aid and donor

However, China is back as a major economic player in the twenty-first
century. Today, China is in direct competition with international Western
interests on the west coast of Africa, in Sudan, in southern and eastern
Africa. The war in southern Sudan, for example, had forced Western interest
to be put on hold for a while.

Meanwhile, the Chinese established themselves as the major investor in
Sudan's oil industry and infrastructure restructuring programmes.

Africa's West Coast has been developed into a world-competitor for
oil-production. Within the next 10 years that region would eventually
produce 25 percent of US oil imports. China recently won the rights to
explore an oil bloc in Angola. Beijing had offered Angola a soft loan of
US$2 billion as part of a long-term aid project.

Beijing also became an investor in Africa's other major oil producing
country, Nigeria.

Three major competitors emerged on the African scene since 1989: the new
cowboy-imperialist in the form of the United States of America (US) ably
assisted by Africa's historic colonial occupier Britain (UK); South Africa
(RSA) and Israel as one, rather hostile and greedy economic bloc; the
European Union (EU), particularly with France having entered into a
territorial war against the US, specifically in Central and West Africa as
another; and China (Beijing).

The European Union (EU) shares same alien "neo-liberal democratic" and "free
market economy" principles with the US/UK/SA/Israeli bloc and assists where
common interests are at stake. They are also part of the "World Bank-IMF",
"World Trade Organisation" (WTO) and the "G-8". Their structures have a
common history of inhumane conditions for exploitation of Africa's
resources. In fact, Britain plays a double role. It is a very close ally of
the US, South Africa and Israel. At the same time, London is a leading
member of the EU. The British crown also heads the British Colonial
Commonwealth (BCC). All of those organisations have two things in common -
they are exclusive and certainly have not Africa's interests at heart.

How the international West could lose their greedy struggle for Africa

Britain's Blair initiated the "Commission for Africa". He supports that
vague "New Partnership for Africa's Development" (NEPAD) in its desperate
search for substance. NEPAD was launched in 2001 and has been endorsed by
the G-8. It was taken in by the "G-8 Africa Action Plan". South Africa's
white-owned economy now took up the G-8 battle cry, as the foreign owned,
but "proudly South African" media announces. Over 350 South African
"business leaders" endorsed that programme at the last "World Economic
Forum's" (WEF) summit in Cape Town.

The internationally well-established South African business elite declared
above to be "music in their ears", because "it acknowledges that better
governance is critical to stimulating investment", as their South African
based Financial Mail reports.

SA's monopoly brewery giant, SABMiller's Chief Executive, Graham MacKay, who
also served as conference chairman, insists: "The most important thing that
business needs for it to make a positive contribution is improved

Echoing the international Western principles, MacKay tells conference goers,
"What business looks for most is a safe, secure climate for investment and
that depends largely on government."

Simon Taylor, director of Global Witness comments in his drive for economic
reform in Africa, "(International) Western companies and banks have colluded
in stripping Africa's resources." It has also been forcefully argued that
"(international) Western banks, acting as monopolists, have cornered credit
markets and callously extracted exorbitant interest charges from destitute,
problem-plagued African countries that could ill afford to pay them".

South Africa's bank rates remain the highest in world by far. Their profits
are equally high. Hence, they do not depend on their initial role as
lenders-to-the-public to make exorbitant profits. Thus, SA's banks do not
have to lend monies to those who really need it and the black African
majority has therefore, no access to the so-called "formal" banking sector.

The African Insider quoted former US assistant secretary for African
Affairs, Herman Cohen, who as far back as 1991 explained, "an estimated
US$20 billion more than what Africa receives in foreign aid flees Africa

This is obviously criminal. It is intentionally and clandestinely supported,
if not co-arranged by American and Western governments. And, Africa's
leadership is well aware of it.

The West African "public analyst", Okyere Bonna, observed in his article to
the Accra Mail, "while sub-Saharan Africa is the object of the
(international) West's charitable concern, billions of (US) dollars worth of
natural resources are being removed from it by (international) Western

The new competitor for Africa's resources seems to have a different and
competing foreign policy for Africa. China's deputy minister of foreign
affairs, Zhou Wenzhong, explained: "We separate politics from business. The
(international) West has tried to impose a 'multi-party democracy and a
(free) market economy on countries that are not ready for it. We are against
embargoes, that the (international) West has tried to use against us."

China and India, Malaysia and Korea are fast becoming global economic
players. They have a need for economic resources and the cash to pay for it,
without imposing those aggressively punitive measures, as the international
Western investment programmes mete out to poorer countries. African
economists and historians rightfully interpret such punitive rules and
regulations as keeping poorer countries dependent on the international West.

Those foreign interests have also introduced intentionally and covertly the
immoral practice of "bribery and corruption", then fouled in their media and
their "civil society". This is another form of creating dependency on
international Western rules and regulations.

China protects its clients in Africa and elsewhere from excessive punitive
measures from the international West. Those cruel conditions of "good
governance" and "fiscal controls" from international Western governments and
investors, are also absent. This obviously endears China to its new
partners, particularly in Africa.

In fact, China sticks to its promises. It protects its new clients in the UN
Security Council from punitive international sanctions, as it has done in
the case of Sudan. The Chinese investor arrived in Africa with an attractive
package - easy and well-structured finances, technical expertise and
programmes of international exchanges. Beijing demonstrates throughout
Africa that it is prepared to lose in the short term in order to gain in the
long term. It invests, for example, in long-neglected infrastructure
projects and hardly viable industries.

Chinese investment comes mainly through parastatals, which do not seem to be
hell-bent on soaring profits, as long as they serve Chinese objectives. In
other words, China delivers to those who remain economically disadvantaged.
In return, this gives the under-developed nations the chance to develop and
participate they long desired.

As the old saying goes, "a friend in need, is a friend indeed". China
couldn't care a dime if Zimbabwe is besieged by international Western
sanctions because of Harare's land reform programme. The international
Western manipulative wrath merely means new opportunities for China and
India. As the Western community steps out, China, India, Iran, Korea and
Malaysia jump in.

The international West cannot control "its" continent-of-storage (Africa) as
it does, for much longer. It is also not successful in trying to control the
Chinese expansion into Africa. From the onset, the international West has
had less moral and ethical credibility than African countries had financial
debt in institutions such as the World Bank-IMF.

A new wind is blowing and it is bringing new merchants to Africa. This is
most welcome!

Back to the Top
Back to Index