BY A CORRESPONDENT
HARARE - The senior Anglican prelate in Central Africa has dropped all
charges against Harare's controversial Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, an ardent
supporter of the Mugabe regime, causing outrage in the church and demands
for the trial to resume.
Diocese of Harare Chancellor Bob Stumbles, a leading lawyer, learned only
through press reports in Russia's Pravda and Zimbabwe's state-run Herald
that Archbishop Bernard Malango of Malawi, the head of the Church of the
Province of Central Africa, had ordered that the charges be dropped. The
string of charges, brought by mostly black parishioners and priests, ranged
from incitement to commit murder to bringing the church into disrepute.
"The time has come to speak out against what is turning out to be a travesty
of justice," Stumbles declared in a statement last week. He said the
archbishop had no right under church laws to make this ruling and that
Kunonga's trial must resume.
Stumbles, a well-known lawyer who is also the Deputy Chancellor of the
Anglican Central Africa province covering Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and
Zimbabwe, said the archbishop's unilateral ruling violated "the laws of
evidence, the laws of the church and natural justice." "It is submitted that
his ruling is null and void and that the archbishop has not fulfilled his
lawful obligation as holder of that office," added Stumbles.
Originally, the ecclesiastical trial of Kunonga was ordered by the
archbishop. The hearing convened in Harare last August and quickly turned
into a farce, getting bogged down in technicalities raised by Kunonga's
lawyers before the judge, James Kalaile of Malawi's Supreme Court, announced
he was standing down and would ask the archbishop to appoint another judge.
For six months, the archbishop dodged demands for the trial to resume under
another judge. Then came the report by Pravda. The agency quoted
unidentified officials at the Harare diocese as saying that the archbishop
in a letter dated December 19 last year had informed the region's 12 bishops
that the case against Kunonga had been dropped, adding: "The matter is
closed and cannot be revived."
Kunonga, 55, has long been a controversial figure. His activities range from
preaching sermons in support of Mugabe and the ruling Zanu (PF) party;
receiving at least two seized white-owned farms; trying to ban the duly
elected church council of Harare's Cathedral of St. Mary's and All Saints;
to allegedly seeking help from state security agents and militant war
veterans to have 10 parishioners and priests killed because they opposed his
When the ecclesiastical trial opened briefly in Harare it was filled with
black Anglicans ready to give evidence against the bishop. One priest, the
Rev. James Mukunga, who fled Zimbabwe in 2004, submitted an affidavit that
the bishop had sought to murder critics.
The hearing ended before Kunonga was asked to plead. But he appeared
delighted at the outcome, emerging from the court-room wearing a cerise
cassock and claiming victory.
There was no immediate explanation of why Archbishop Malango has apparently
decided to try to suppress the matter and clear Harare's embarrassing
bishop, who is among the supporters of the regime named in a U.S. travel
ban. Malango said in his letter to the bishops that anyone seeking to bring
charges against a bishop must not raise "purely administrative issues masked
as canonical offences."
'This veiled threat against the persons whose very complaints the archbishop
once recognised as triable is ill-founded and misleading," said Stumbles,
adding that the laws of the church province make no distinction between
"canonical" and "purely administrative" offences.
Stumbles said Archbishop Malango has "no jurisdiction to interrupt or close
the trial, which he himself ordered to take place, nor does he have the
right to usurp the authority of the court. He does, however have the right
and duty to make sure the case is resumed."
"The archbishop needs to be called upon to comply with the laws of the
province, appoint another judge immediately and reconvene the court
forthwith," he added.
BY SKID MASUKU
With the emergence of militarist groups in the struggle to overcome Robert
Mugabe's repressive rule in Zimbabwe, the country's crisis may be heading
for a new dimension that could lead to convoluted circumstances for the
The militants declare that peaceful means to effect democratic rule have
failed, largely frustrated by Mugabe's government, and so the sole option to
gain freedom is through the barrel of a gun.
At this moment, such groups may not be taken very seriously by some
observers, ostensibly because their operations are carried out in a
clandestine manner. It would however be naïve for serious thinkers to
dismiss such groups as non-existent impostors who want to reap financial
gain from supporters.
A high degree of secrecy is normally observed in militant movements, as it
is paramount for the survival of members. Considering the omnipresence of
the CIO in and outside the country, if the militants operate openly they
wouldn't last long enough to effect any change in Zimbabwe.
To date, such groups include the controversy-ridden Zimbabwe Action Support
Group (ZASG), the even more covert Zimbabwe Patriotic Resistance Forum
(ZPRF) and the newly announced Patriotic Military Front (PMF), all of which
call for a violent confrontation with the Zanu (PF) government.
Viewed from a certain angle, allegations that the ZASG faked having
addressed 'star rallies' in Maputo may be immaterial; though they have cast
a great deal of doubt on its credibility. Nonetheless, the group still
deserves the benefit of the doubt, in that as a purported militant
organization, as distinguished from a strictly political one, it has to
MDC chairperson Isaac Matongo recently berated the ZASG, which he said was
formed by his opponent in the 'other MDC' Welshman Ncube. He accused it of
misleading the nation and SADC region, and threatened to close it down. He
also distanced his party from the group, which was a wise thing to do to
protect his faction from being branded as being aligned to a dubious and
The emergence of the Zimbabwe Patriotic Resistance Forum (ZPRF) is another
indication of possibly scary times to come. Its spokesperson, Gen Ibva
Chembere, announced in a recent press statement that the group is planning
armed resistance to topple Mugabe's despotic regime, as is the Patriotic
Military Front (PMF).
Anyone who calls for armed insurrection against any government in the world
must know that he is drawing armed attention to himself. For journalists to
pose questions to the ZASG's Rodgers Mudarikwa or the ZPRF's Gen Chembere
about their clandestine activities, just as they would with ordinary
opposition politicians, may not draw the desired results.
Mudarikwa's seemingly confused response about the 'faked' rallies may carry
conflicting perceptions, since a rally may be one thing to an ordinary
politician or journalist, and something different to a militant fighter. A
group of 10 armed resistance fighters may meet at a secret venue and hammer
out strategies to overthrow the Zanu (PF) government, and to them that might
be considered a 'star' rally.
In the past, similarly clandestine militant groups have emerged in Africa
and succeeded in overthrowing repressive regimes, albeit sometimes replacing
them with similar ones. All those initially mobilized secretly, till they
gathered enough momentum to conduct bold operations and publicise their
The weapons and personnel can easily come from the Zimbabwe National Army
(ZNA) itself, since it contains thousands of disgruntled soldiers who only
need direction and encouragement to overthrow the despot.
Such a development certainly keeps the CIO on its toes, and probably eases
its focus on ordinary opposition politicians and harmless citizens. Given
its ineptitude, displayed ever since it was formed by the Rhodesian security
services decades ago, the CIO is very likely to suspect the wrong people,
arrest, torture and even murder them.
As a political organization, the MDC does well to distance itself from the
ZASG, not only because it may have been formed by a rival faction leader.
Plunging the country into civil chaos in order to save it is certainly not a
pleasant option, and would lead to untold suffering. However, at this stage
the indication is that it may be the alternative that provides hope for the
suffering people of Zimbabwe, since their preferred MDC political leaders
were rigged out of power and now seem to have run out of ideas. Those who
protest continue to be routinely detained without trial, assaulted and
humiliated in police custody.
This is probably prime time for South African President Thabo Mbeki to
increase the volume on his diplomacy over the Zimbabwean crisis, if the
'quiet' one still exists at all. The same applies to other regional and
African Union leaders, all of whom have so far appeared terrified of the
Leaders of the global onslaught against terrorism also have to remember that
civil strife is a fertile recruitment ground for international terrorists,
and should at least get interested in the events unraveling in Zimbabwe.
They have seen the terrorism in East Africa, following the Somalian collapse
of government and ensuing civil chaos. Resulting from a meltdown in
Zimbabwe, the terror venues may shift from Nairobi to Harare, Johannesburg,
Maputo, Lusaka and Gaborone; so George Bush be warned.
BY RITA PERRY
HARARE - A few nights back I was invited to a farewell dinner given by a
small local company. I sat next to a young man who told me that he grew up
in what used to be a thriving commercial farming area.
Usually when people from that area tell me that they come from there I
assume that they are referring to the nearest rural area. But he shook his
head and said he'd grown up on a commercial farm, the son of a tractor
I lived in that area for a year or so in the 1960's. As a farm assistant's
wife I would have held a marginally higher status than a tractor driver's
son! It certainly wasn't all roses and I remarked that it must have been
"It was wonderful!" he replied, to my surprise.
"I was very fortunate. I had a great childhood and it's often only when
you've lost something that you really understand how valuable it was.
"It was so beautiful then. If the council didn't mow the verges then the
farmers did and it all looked so good. Not like it looks now! It's a real
mess. I went out there a couple of weeks ago to visit my father. I thought
about how sometimes at the weekend we went on the trailer to play football
on other farms. It was a good life."
It was so refreshing that he remembered so many good things.
"The farmer's wife was so kind to people, she'd take them to the hospital or
wherever they needed to go. Sometimes the farmers or their wives would give
us a lift to or from school in the back of the truck. But often we had to
walk the five kilometres there and back. We never missed a day of school."
He spoke highly of the younger generation of one of the well-known farming
families. They're now in Australia but they were instrumental in helping
him on his way. And he was employed by the son of another one of those
families who promoted him to the office after less than a month of working
in the lands.
There wasn't a name, of a person or a farm, which I could think of that he
didn't know. And I was intrigued by the minute detail that he knew about
the lives of so many of the farmers. He's a diplomatic man though and when
I asked him about people who I remember as being perfect shits, he would
merely mention the name of the farm and say he knew of them!
"What was the name of the people who would have been on your farm in the
late 1960's?" I asked.
"It is difficult to know because we often called the farmers by nicknames.
The names usually referred to mannerisms or quirks of behaviour and I only
know the name Khami."
I asked if Khami had a meaning and he said not as far as he knew. Then he
called his older brother on his cell phone and when he'd finished talking he
mentioned the name of a man who had become a legend in that area. I never
met him but I knew who Khami was.
He was a boy of seven when Khami and his family left the farm. He remembers
how they ran along side their car all the way to the main road and that the
adults were crying as they watched them leave.
His father still lives on the plot of land he was given all those years ago.
And it's to protect him that his son asked me not to name the area. He's
in his 90's now and came originally from Malawi.
His father never went to school. And there was something about the way he
spoke about him that was so loving and so proud. He said that his father has
an uncanny ability to remember not just dates but also the day of the week.
When telling a story in the great African oral tradition he'll always add
that it was a Wednesday for example. His son checked him out on the
Internet on a day in 1953 and found that he was right!
That his father never went to school couldn't change the intelligence that
was passed on to his children who had that benefit.
Africa is full of highly intelligent people who are uneducated. And
unfortunately the reverse is also true and we have far too many educated
"We were never hungry you know," he continued, "People were not hungry then.
If a man had many children he was given more maize meal and beans. We had
vegetables, milk and sometimes meat when an ox was killed."
What came through with such stunning clarity was that this man had grown up
as part of a thriving and flourishing community. Hilary Clinton makes the
point that a child needs a village. The child that this man once was had
the good fortune to have that sense of belonging. He also has the
intelligence to appreciate it.
I came home in a pensive mood and thought about how uplifted I felt by his
story. In the midst of this senseless destruction and suffering it felt
like the flicker of a candle flame, one that has never quite gone out.
BULAWAYO - A cabinet minister considered by many to be one of Robert Mugabe's
favourites could be facing as many as 50 years in jail for stealing cattle
if the normally selective arm of the law catches up with her.
Mugabe went to extraordinary lengths to secure Sithembiso Nyoni's
ministerial status after her loss in parliamentary elections made her
ineligible for cabinet under the country's constitution. The small to medium
scale enterprises minister survived after Mugabe appointed her to the newly
Three of her workers have been arrested for stock theft after 14 cattle were
found on her farm in Matabeleland South.
According to the state-owned Sunday News the cattle, which belong to Nyoni's
neighbour, a white commercial farmer Robert Bruce Moffat, are being held at
a secret location for use as exhibits for any future trial. Moffat has so
far lost over 50 cattle to rustlers. Under old colonial laws inherited from
the Rhodesian government the country has stiff jail sentences for cattle
Several ordinary Zimbabweans have been slapped with jail sentences ranging
from 30 to 60 years in prison. It remains to be seen if Nyoni will face the
same type of justice. Given the political favours Mugabe has granted her
however, few expect the matter to go anywhere further than a 'closed door'
rebuke. - Lance Guma, SW Radio Africa
Mealie Meal - 5 kg
Yoghurt - 150 ml
Bovrite - Zimbabwean equivalent of Bovril
Sugar - 2 kg
Apples - 1 kg
Lettuce - One
Rape - 4 leaves
Onions - Only Imported available - 1 kg
Margarine - Buttercup 2 kg
Eggs - 1 dozen
Cooking Oil - 750 ml
Milk - 500 ml
Baked Beans - 425 grams
Stay Soft - 750 ml
Shampoo - Local - 750 ml
Deodarant - 45ml
Sanitary pads - 10
Schweppes Lemon 300 ml- with deposit
Two Torch Batteries
Dettol - 50 ml
Johnsons Baby Oil - 200 ml
Johnsons Baby Acqueous Cream - 100 ml
Sanpic - 750 ml
Kitchen Scourers - 3
Small Marshmallow Easter Egg
'Ncube's whole life is an act of selfless love'
Pope Benedict has chosen to write his first universal letter on love. It has
met with a refreshing reception even among those who have nothing to do with
the Catholic Church. There, sitting uncomfortably on the pages of the
world's papers, which deal so much with violence, hatred, fraud and revenge,
is an article about a world leader who writes on love.
No one can object to his choice because everyone knows that the most
fundamental thing about our existence is our desire to love and be loved.
The pope is quite daring, at least in Catholic eyes used to traditional
reticence on the subject, in speaking about eros as the first wellspring of
love. This Greek word, source of our common word erotic, only appears twice
in the scriptures, he tells us, and both times in the Old Testament.
But Benedict is determined to trace love from its origins to its goal. Eros,
he says, represents an indeterminate "searching" love, whilst agape -
another Greek word - is the typical expression of the biblical notion of
love 'which involves a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the
selfish character that prevailed earlier' (with eros). So love, that most
powerful force that 'makes the world go round,' has to move from eros to
agape, from self-centredness to concern for another person or for other
people. It is purified through life's difficulties and often considerable
Pope Benedict moves on to the implications of love for our human society.
Love is meaningless unless it is expressed in action for justice. The
traditional Marxist analysis used to see charity as a pernicious way of
delaying revolutionary change. It salved the conscience of the rich to give
something from their excessive wealth to the poor. In so doing the rich
blunted the anger of the poor and oppressed.
There is some truth in this. But what kind of love would it be to let the
hungry starve so that the revolution comes sooner? We have to respond to
suffering now but we also have to work for justice now. Truly, says
Benedict, creating a just society is the work of politics and the church
cannot do it. But the Church has to proclaim the demand for justice. He
quotes Augustine of Hippo (North Africa) who wrote in the fifth century,
remota itaque iustitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia, a government
that does not function according to justice is just a bunch of thieves.
Benedict goes on: The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the
political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot
and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not
remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part
through rational argument and she has to awaken the spiritual energy without
which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A
just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the
promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and
will to the demands of the common good is something that concerns the Church
deeply. (No. 28)
There was a recent article in the Herald trying to isolate Archbishop Pius
Ncube from his fellow bishops. What the writer fails to understand is that
the archbishop is expressing the mind of the Church and his whole life is an
act of selfless love.
For those of you who have not lived in Africa, an African storm is a
fearsome thing. The day will be hot and breathless and about mid afternoon
you will hear a low rumble in the distance. In a short while the wind comes
up and the black clouds tower majestically into the skies above.
Suddenly lighting splits the sky and the clouds seem to be cut in half as
the air rushes into the space created by the heat of 'God's fire'. Then
comes the rain falling in vast wet sheets across the open veld. In seconds
the gullies are full and in minutes the streams are rising out of their
banks. When the storm passes we are left with the roar of nearby rivers as
they rush down to the lowlands.
Each of the seasons of Africa has their own special character. Of them all I
appreciate the late summer and early winter - it is still green and lush,
the rivers are running and yet it is cool and dry, often with zero humidity.
The early mornings are just superb, the early light from the rising sun,
cool and crisp atmosphere and the joy of the birdsong. The late evenings,
iridescent greens and fantastic skies with the glow of the setting sun. The
early night sky, clear as crystal with millions of stars and a translucent
moon, the night sounds, a roar of crickets, the rasping grunts of frogs, the
soft cry of a nightjar.
As I write this, a storm approaches - I am nervous for the computer and my
modem, but the news of the day compels me to write again of the storm over
At a cost of Z$10 thousand million dollars, our president recently held his
birthday party in Mutare - a City close to the epicenter of the earthquake
that hit this region a day later. He arrived, I am told, in a 150-vehicle
convoy with his own ambulance, a contingent of the Presidential guard and
dozens of Ministers (we have 58 at last count) all of whom would have been
accommodated in local hotels and lodges at even more expense.
At the rally held by local Zanu (PF) "chefs" thousands gathered - many were
simply told to attend (school children) others were forced to attend by
roaming Police and Army patrols. They arrived at 09.00 hrs and sat in the
sun until 12.00 when the "great man" arrived to speak. He spoke for an hour
and then, without even a free cool drink, they were told to go home while
the elite went off to a fabulous spread.
Then the shocking news from an IMF press conference in Washington that our
estimated budget deficit in 2005 was 60 per cent (yes, I said SIXTY per
cent) of our GDP. In 2004 it was a "moderate 24 per cent). No wonder our
currency is spiralling out of control and prices are rising so fast we
cannot keep track any more.
Far from facing up to the crisis in the country, Parliament met for two days
and then adjourned until mid April - not a mention of the crisis and no
discussion of any solutions. In fact I think they have given up on finding a
solution while Mugabe is in power and his henchmen rule the roost. It's not
that they do not know what to do - they do. It's just that to take those
steps would run the risk, which they dare not take, of letting the tiger
So Zanu (PF) finds itself locked into a crisis situation of it's own making
and to which they have no solutions, no exit. I found it interesting that
they did not bring forward expected constitutional changes designed to
extend the term of office of the President to 2010 and to allow Zanu (PF) to
appoint Mugabe's successor. This legislation was expected and has been
drafted. I think it points to the fact that Mugabe does not want to step
down at all - he wants to finish his term and he wants it to run to 2010. He
wants four more years!
There is simply no way that that is going to happen. So I predict a storm is
coming - a real African storm, violent, spectacular and short and that this
storm will wash away the debris we have accumulated in the past 25 years and
signal a new beginning for Zimbabwe. If you do not like or fear storms like
this then it is time to get your closet ready. You might need it for a
while, but when you come out hopefully you will find the country washed
clean and the dry veld coming alive again.
HARARE - The frustration and fear experienced by the ordinary person living
in the hell of Zimboland, is what lead to the creation of "The Dictator"- a
board game along the lines of Monopoly that was launched last week.
"Normal channels of debate do not exist and ordinary daily activities oblige
people to become criminals in order to feed their families. This game is an
attempt to show the bizarre life that is forced on the average person living
there," said the creator of Dictator in an exclusive interview with The
He hopes the game will provide Zimbabweans with an avenue through which to
express their frustration and give some level of satisfaction. "Normal
channels of debate have long since died in that dear land, and the truth
lies buried very deeply. The real magic is that humour (a most endearing
quality of the people) helps tremendously in seeing people through these
difficult times, and this game is hilarious!" he said.
A Dictator is appointed by general consensus, and the "people/players" then
throw dice to advance around the board, and are obliged to follow
instructions that apply to the various blocks they land on. These
instructions lead to a great deal of fun and laughter, and the object of the
game is to outwit and dethrone The Dictator. This is the struggle of the
Oppressed against the Oppressor, and if you feel the game is sometimes not
fair, you are right!
"We are continuously appointing agents in all areas to assist in the
distribution process. We ask all freedom loving people to distribute our
story and STRIKE A BLOW FOR FREEDOM!" says Dictator's creator. The game can
be ordered by going to the website and paying by card or emailing
HARARE - State Security minister, Didymus Mutasa, has shocked Zimbabweans by
issuing threats, on state television, of physical elimination against MDC
President Morgan Tsvangirai and others in the party's top leadership.
"That a top government minister could appear on national television making
such chilling statements confirms that the regime is panicking. The
dictatorship is suffering from a serious guilty conscience over its
authorship of the Zimbabwean crisis and is now engaged in shameful acts of
shadowboxing," said party spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
"We would like to sternly warn the MDC to desist from attempting to unseat
the government. We will eliminate them physically. We will not hesitate to
do that because they are inviting physical elimination. This is a disastrous
way that Tsvangirai has chosen for himself. We will not fold our hands,"
Two months ago, President Tsvangirai told diplomats in Harare that the
regime was intent on physically eliminating him, that there was a plot to
destabilize the opposition and to physically eliminate its leadership. Those
ignorant of the ways of this regime doubted the sincerity of his statement.
But Mutasa has now let the cat out of the bag.
"Lawlessness is a hallmark of the Mugabe regime. Mutasa has provided the
world with the proof that he is prepared to engage in Zanu (PF)-inspired
thuggery and revert to state-sponsored banditry to quell any attempt to
remove the government. Mutasa is threatening not the law, but death to
President Tsvangirai and all perceived enemies of this regime. There is no
better illustration of the absence of the rule of law in this country than
this chilling threat of state-sponsored banditry," said Chamisa.
He said Mutasa's aim was to intimidate citizens from demanding a resolution
to the national crisis.
"In light of these threats, we wish the world to know that we believe in
peaceful and democratic co-existence with all democratic political
institutions in the country. But we unreservedly assert our right to express
ourselves in a democratic and peaceful manner. The right for Zimbabweans to
express themselves is inalienable. We will defend it with our lives. We will
not yield to threats or any undue pressure," asserted Chamisa.
MDC congress 2006 : "Rallying People for a new Zimbabwe"
Our Congress celebrates six years of the people's sacrifice and commitment
to our common vision of a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning. It will also
look at how we can retain the confidence of millions of Zimbabweans who see
us as their only source of hope.
Six years ago, the people laid the foundation for the struggle against
tyranny; the struggle for good governance; the struggle for a better life
for all Zimbabweans.
This week, we take stock of how far we have traveled towards fulfilling that
vision. We take stock of the challenges and lessons drawn from our
experiences in the past six years. And the lessons we have derived will help
shape and determine our programmes in fighting this dictatorship.
We all bear witness to the visible signs of collapse and ruin around us. The
Congress will look at how as a party we respond to all those issues.
Going back to the people is not a charade. It is a culture that we have
entrenched so that we continually subject ourselves to the people to
determine whether we still remain the embodiments of their dreams and their
vision. Once again, as leaders, we go back to the people who gave us the
mandate; the people who bestowed upon us the responsibility of saving our
nation from a corrupt and inept government. Once again, we present ourselves
to the people's court where the party leadership, the party programmes and
party policies come up for scrutiny by the real owners of the party.
The Congress will culminate in elections where delegates are expected to
give a fresh mandate to a new leadership that will have the onus of making
sure we achieve our vision of a new Zimbabwe. The second national Congress
therefore provides a window for leadership renewal and rebirth; a new and
committed leadership that realizes and cherishes the importance of carrying
the nation's hope on its shoulders.
The delegates will also discuss amendments to the party's constitution as
well as proposals for institutional reform. The party needs to be rebuilt
and reorganized to reflect our experiences and the new thinking that we must
have as a political formation that is at a crucial stage in the struggle.
New policy proposals will also be debated and refined so that we march
bravely into the future with programmes that reflect a new thinking derived
from our experiences since 2000.
We will also take a crucial decision on whether it makes sense to continue
participating in elections whose results are pre-determined. The Congress
will take a position on whether the electoral route under the current
electoral management system remains viable. Or whether we should widen our
options to include using people power to put pressure on this regime that
has reduced us to paupers and beggars in our own motherland. We realize
there is strength in unity. Together, we shall win.
BY GORA (THE VULTURE)
HARARE - The fate of Zimbabwe will be riding on the congress this weekend.
If those attending vote in a leadership of cronies of "kitchen cabinet"
descent, the party will be condemned to the role of opposition party for the
next decade, at least. By contrast, should they elect a dynamic team of
creative, courageous and people-minded leaders then the MDC could become the
change agent so desperately needed in Zimbabwe.
Over the last two years the party has become moribund by stale ideas and
leaders with diverging strategies. Now that the "dove" faction, led by
Welshman Ncube, has made a break from the main support base of the party
this frees up the hawk-like Morgan Tsvangirai to confront Mugabe.
However, Tsvangirai needs a team with activist credentials, which will
impress regional governments with their potential to govern a country. Such
a team might look like this:
Morgan Tsvangirai (President) Thoko Khupe (Vice-president), an Ndebele who
has the charisma to attract the women, and the leadership qualities to get
them onto the streets. Elton Mangoma (Secretary General), a successful
businessman with a Master's Degree in Business Leadership from UNISA. He
contested a parliamentary seat against the brutal Didymus Mutasa in the last
Elias Mudzuri (Deputy Secretary General or Organising Secretary), the
elected mayor of Harare currently completing a Masters Degree at the Kennedy
School of Government. Mudzuri has the political cunning of a hyena and is
covered by the skin of a black rhino.
Nelson Chamisa (Youth Secretary) has grown in popularity amongst the youth.
With the freedom now available to him as Ncube has left his "command and
control" post as Secretary General, Chamisa must be compelled to harness the
pent up frustration of the youth.
Roy Bennett (Treasurer) is an icon of resistance for most Zimbabweans
regardless of their political persuasion, recently elected as Chairman of
Manicaland province. His impeccable track record will give donors
Isaac Matongo (Chairman) is likely to get re-elected as a founder and given
his ability to rouse a crowd. He is an effective speaker at rallies but is
not politically astute and has shown selfish tendencies.
Tendai Biti has the legal, political and activist credentials to warrant a
post in the top ten of the party. A team such as this would provide the
much-needed blend of strategic thinking, courage to resist and charismatic
The MDC needs to take on a more revolutionary style of politics. Tsvangirai
promises, "disobedience within the law" after congress. Six of the above
have been incarcerated, which gives them "resistance credentials".
The MDC lost two golden opportunities in the last 12 months to rally the
people against the regime - the stolen general election in March 2005 and
the horrific Murambatsvina operation. Congress needs to elect a leadership
that will never pass by such opportunities again. The new team will need to
have the ability to create sustainable and rolling disobedience out of bread
and butter issues.
Tsvangirai has said, "NO" to participating in elections until there is a new
constitution and the conditions for free and fair elections are in place. He
knows this will not come about without pressure from the people. We all know
that Mbeki has abandoned the people of Zimbabwe in favour of retaining a
reformed Zanu (PF) government. As a consequence change must come from within
Organisations such as Zvakwana, WOZA and Sokwanele have shown how effective
"many-small-actions of resistance" can be in destabilising an already
splintered and fractious regime. If a revamped MDC exploited its large
membership base, especially the youth and women, along the lines of the
above-mentioned pioneers in Zimbabwe resistance movements, change could
become a reality
NEW YORK - The North American District of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC-NAD) has condemned the arrest of some MDC officials back home on
trumped up charges of weapons possession.
"This is a naked and shameless attempt at seeking excuses to suppress the
leaders of Zimbabwe's freedom movement. The Mugabe regime has a history of
making up such charges when it is threatened by its political opponents.
This time around, the world is not fooled by it. We know that Mugabe is
preparing to eliminate his regime's opponents as his Security Minister
openly stated on March 8," says a statement from the group.
"We appeal to the world community to denounce this cheap trick and to loudly
condemn the Mugabe regime for destroying freedom in our country. The MDC
has chosen the democratic and peaceful path to restore the country's
freedoms and prosperity. The only violence in Zimbabwe has come from Mugabe
and his murderous regime." - Own correspondent
Paul Themba Nyathi has taken issue with our editorial about the confusion
that reigns in the pro-Senate MDC faction. Nyathi reiterates that his group
is not pro-Senate (see Letters P 11). Why then are their members still
sitting in that chamber for Mugabe's geriatric has-beens?
The pro- and anti-Senate labels came about as those of us on the outside
tried to comprehend what was happening within the nation's major opposition
party, which embodied the hopes and aspirations of so many Zimbabweans.
There may have been other differences, which are not in the public domain,
but the one issue on which there was considerable acrimonious disagreement
and publicity was the question of participation in the Senate. We stand by
our position that for ease of identification one faction is pro and the
other is anti as this was the catalyst that caused the split in the MDC.
As we understand it, the rupture was not over the issue of elections per se,
but concerned the Senate specifically as a new institution. MDC MPs,
including Welshman Ncube, vehemently criticised the establishment of the
Senate in parliament, and voted against it.
One would have thought that they would have been consistent enough to
boycott something whose creation they had opposed.
Arthur Mutambara in his acceptance speech said if he had been in that
fateful October meeting (at which the split occurred) he would have
campaigned for a no-participation vote. That puts him squarely in the
anti-Senate camp. Or are we missing something here?
The question of participation in municipal elections, we would like to
suggest, is a separate issue. As far as we know, neither faction has taken a
position to begin boycotting such elections - although of course we all know
that participation in elections under the current skewed electoral laws and
practises of the Zanu (PF) regime is a futile exercise.
Nyathi also accuses us of supporting Tsvangirai. Our position is that our
view and those of the Tsvangirai MDC, together with that of most
Zimbabweans, converge when it comes to the question of participation in the
Senate - we are anti-Senate!
Let us make it quite clear that we do not condone violence from any quarter.
Both factions appear to have been guilty of violence in one form or another
and we unconditionally condemn it. There is no room for political thuggery
in any democratic society.
We entirely agree with Nyathi when he identifies Zanu (PF) as the one true
enemy. Why don't we all focus and concentrate our energies on fighting that
BY A CORRESPONDENT
HARARE - Head of the National Bakers' Association, Burombo Mudumo, became
the latest victim of the state media's increasingly ludicrous attempts to
avoid blaming the authorities for the desperate economic situation.
The state-run radio, TV and newspapers suppressed or ignored Mudumo's lucid
explanation of soaring bread prices, a particularly sensitive issue. Thus
while Mudumo explained in the private media that the hike - from $45 000 to
$60 000-$75 000 a loaf - was due to hyper-inflation, which includes huge
rises in flour prices, the state-run media persisted with incredible claims
that this and the rest of the mess was the fault of commercial
In its report covering Feb. 27-March 5, the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe (MMPZ), however, attacked both the private and the state-run media
for inadequate coverage of the local government polls. The media watchdog
complained, for example, that there was no examination of the state of the
voters' rolls or location of polling booths.
ZBH ignored the campaign activities of the fractured opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, while the state papers mainly regurgitated handouts by
the Zimbabwe Election Commission, Zanu (PF)'s campaign rallies and results.
For the most part, the private media didn't bother to cover the elections -
apart from The Standard which investigated clashes in Chegutu, where MDC
supporters confronted Zanu (PF) agents taking down names of voters at
polling stations, and where ruling party agents were also reportedly
promising maize meal in return for votes.
". The rest of the private media totally ignored reporting on the
elections," said the MMPZ. "It is such a dereliction of duty that gives the
authorities leeway to manipulate the electoral process thereby denying the
citizenry their right to choose leaders of their choice."
But although the MMPZ criticised coverage of the local elections, perhaps
the private media's lack of interest reflected the general apathy among
Zimbabweans about voting - because Zanu (PF) always ensures it will win
while the standard of living for most of those outside the ruling party
elite always gets ever more miserable.
For the state-run media, like the administration itself, elections Robert
Mugabe-style are a push-over. Far more difficult is the propagandists'
self-appointed task of blaming anyone but the regime and its
break-all-the-rules policies for the economic crisis. As the MMPZ put it:
"The government media's stories were typically pro-government, piecemeal and
avoided holistically interpreting the issues as indicative of the
authorities' mismanagement of the economy."
Thus the bakers' leader was censored. Thus massive price hikes in
electricity tariffs by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
received bland coverage; thus 1 000 percent hikes in police charges for
fingerprints, firearms and clearance certificates were reported without
comment. Thus, on Spot FM, Mugabe says he is setting up a "committee" to
look into problems at David Whitehead Textiles, now operating at 7% of
capacity - but naturally the station carried no discussion of why this
MMPZ said that, apart from the Mirror stable, the private media "generally
linked the symptoms of economic decay such as the galloping cost of living,
commodity shortages and the widening budget deficit, to the way the
authorities are running the economy."
In addition, The Financial Gazette quoted International Monetary Fund
external affairs director, Thomas Dawson, as blaming skewed policies,
including by the Reserve Bank, for fuelling inflation and saying that
Zimbabwe had repeatedly refused to adopt IMF recommended reforms. Studio 7
quoted economist John Robertson as predicting - correctly - that attempts
by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono to get IMF help would be rebuffed
because "Zimbabwe is breaking all the (economic) rules."
'We will take Mugabe alive'
This article appeared in November 2003 when the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement
made its first appearance. A small sample of the London press corps was
yesterday treated to a production of downmarket melodrama, as the Zimbabwe
Freedom Movement launched its inaugural video onto a hitherto unsuspecting
world. The MTV awards this wasn't. A camera, which didn't move from its
tripod, an off-screen interviewer, and two actors so wooden they had more
grain than the pictures, this low-budget presentation was reminiscent of
1970's footage from the steamier sort of Latin American banana republic.
Several of the assembled hacks were heard stifling giggles as ZFM's National
Commander, Charles Black Mamba and Ntuthuko Fezela, the group's Deputy
National Commander, outlined their strategy in electronically distorted
voices. ZFM - the name suggests a radio station rather than a liberation
movement - would attempt to "take Mugabe alive."
The scene was dripping with tacky symbolism. The two commanders, in military
fatigues and ski-mask balaclavas, with Mr Mamba sporting a rather fetching
beret, sat side-by-side on benches which appeared to have been ripped from
one of Harare's commuter taxis. The flag behind the two goggled-eyed
characters had been doctored. The Zimbabwe bird floated alone in the white
triangle, searching forlornly for the red star which seemed to have slipped
off the standard.
Other pictures show ZFM's "arms dump", which consists mostly of stacked
ammunition boxes and half-a-dozen superannuated rifles. They really should
find a new PR consultant. Speaking of which, the show was compered by Peter
Tatchell - world-renowned self-publicist, gay rights activist, and now rebel
group impresario - who stressed that he was not involved with the
organisation "in any way", but was solely a facilitator, bringing it's
message to the world. He did manage to find a half-decent venue - the
Institute of Contemporary Arts on The Mall between Admiralty Arch and
Buckingham Palace. Never has an African coup been launched from so
salubrious a postcode.
ZFM have a website. The address - www.zfm.cc - indicates that it is
registered in the Cocos Islands (population 630). Is this an unintended
consequence of global warming? Are a group of Indian Ocean islanders
plotting to take over Zimbabwe before their home disappears below the waves?
The Cocos Islands are an Australian territory. Is the combination of rising
damp and direct rule from Canberra proving too much?
Do they see their future with well-known anti-Australians in southern
Africa? The islanders have 287 working telephones, one radio station, no TV
station, and no railway. They would feel at home in Zimbabwe. Or could it be
that ZFM's website was registered as .cc because .com, .org and .net were
already taken. Whatever; they appear to have had some small help with their
site, which so far features "Communiqué 1" and a couple of photos, from a
web design company in less-than-exotic North London.
If ZFM are who they say they are, why have they talked the talk before
walking the walk? Most "rebel" groups at least have the tactical foresight
to take a couple of hostages, or blow up a few telephone poles, before
presenting themselves to the world. So far, so ludicrous. But in Zimbabwe
this may play, not as farce, but as tragedy. For this drivel is the answer
to J Moyo's dreams. Here, on one video cassette, are all the visions of his
paranoid mind. A "gay gangster" - once memorably described by Mugabe as
British minister Peter Hain's "husband" - is seen associating himself with
promises of violent revolution, in the centre of British imperialism.
Moyo has been spouting this kind of rubbish week after month after year, and
suddenly the strands of "evidence", like London buses, all conveniently
arrive together. Perhaps this is not so much the answer to Jonathan's
dreams, as the product of them. This will go down like iced-beer with Moyo's
friends in Africa and beyond who, of course, suspected it all along. And
don't bet against more ransacking of offices, more mass arrests, more
treason charges, more draconian laws - on the pretext of this ridiculous
film. - From ZWNEWS. Don't bother trying to visit the ZFM website at
www.zfm.cc . It is now registered to a German organisation selling
March 16, 2006.
By Andnetwork .com
FORMER Matabeleland North governor, Mr Welshman Mabhena, who last week
distanced himself from the MDC faction led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, has
reportedly been nominated for the post of vice-president of the group, which
Makokoba legislator, Ms Thokozani Khuphe, hoped to win, it emerged
The faction's spokesman, Mr Nelson Chamisa, who is tipped to land the
post of secretary for information and publicity, confirmed that nominations
from the provinces had started rolling in ahead of the group's congress to
be held in Harare this weekend with 13 000 delegates expected to attend.
He would not be drawn into releasing names of the members of the group
that have been nominated to assume the top leadership of the faction.
"What I can tell you is that the speculation on the nomination process
and the names that are being thrown around are pretty within the realm of
speculative reality. We have agreed that we will not release the names for
fear of prejudicing the independence of the electoral process and, by the
way, even on the day of the elections people can be nominated from the floor
to contest certain positions, '' he said.
However, reports on a website and sources yesterday said Mr Mabhena, a
former Zanu(PF) politburo member dropped from the Government in 2000, was
nominated by Manicaland province ahead of elections at the faction's
congress this weekend. As part of the faction's ethnic powersharing act, the
vice-presidency has been reserved for someone from the Matabeleland region.
Ms Khuphe is reported to command support from all provinces except
Manicaland which threw its weight behind Mr Mabhena and Midlands North which
is reported to be backing Ms Gertrude Mthombeni, who is Ms Khuphe's former
ally in the women's section of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
This leaves the Matobo legislator, Mr Lovemore Moyo, who had also been
linked to the position, in the cold. Although there were earlier reports
suggesting that Mr Mabhena was being "courted'' by the leadership of the
faction to be vicepresident as part of the group's quest to infuse "credible
leadership from Matabeleland'' into its structures and gain lost ground in
the region, sources said he was likely to lose as the faction was
hardpressed at the same time to have some "gender balance''.
The appointment of Cde Mujuru as one of the two VicePresidents of the
country and Second secretaries of Zanu(PF) seems to have prompted an outcry
from the women's league of the MDC faction, for the need to emulate the
ruling party on the gender composition of the leadership of the group.
Last week, Mr Mabhena said he had not been approached to stand in the
elections and said he was not a member of MDC, which he described as lacking
an ideology that people could identify with.
"We were sympathisers not members. We liked what they were doing not
what is happening now,'' he told Chronicle last week. Efforts to get a
comment Mr Mabhena yesterday were fruitless as he was reported to be "away".
Sources said former legislator for Chimanimani, Roy Bennett, who has
been linked to last week's arms cache in Mutare and served a year jail term
for contempt of Parliament after assaulting the Minister of Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, in the august house, was
also likely to land the post of treasurergeneral.
Lawyer and member of the House of Assembly, Mr Tendai Biti, who at one
time was reportedly contemplating crossing the floor to join the proSenate
group is being tipped to shrug off a challenge from Mr Tapiwa Mashakada to
claim the secretarygeneral position.
The leader of the faction, Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Isaac Matongo are
likely to sail through unopposed as president and national chairman
respectively. Bulawayo South legislator and former MDC secretary for legal
affairs, Mr David Coltart, who turned down an offer to be committee member
in the proSenate group led by Professor Arthur Mutambara, after being
elected in absentia, is not likely to be part of the weekend's proceedings
in the Tsvangirai camp.
Source : Chronicle
By Taffy Nyawanza
Last updated: 03/16/2006 11:02:29
The Home Office has dropped a bombshell.
It has announced that it will increase the qualifying period for Indefinite
Leave to Remain (settlement) from 4 to 5 years with effect from the 3rd
April 2005. This change will be reflected in the Immigration Rules.
In a press release dated the 13th March 2006, the Home Office advises that
for all employment-related categories and the Ancestry category the initial
grant of leave to remain will now be 2 years, followed by a subsequent
period of up to 3 years. It is after the combined 5 year residence period
that one would then be entitled to ILR.
Excepted are Retired Persons of Independent Means who will still be eligible
for one single period of leave all the way up to the settlement qualifying
period as before. Work Permit holders on the other hand will be eligible for
an initial grant of leave up to the currency of their work permit. The rules
previously allowed for an initial period of up to 12 months leave to be
granted, followed by a subsequent period of up to 3 years.
Highly Skilled Migrants will now be able to amalgamate continuous time spent
in the UK as a work permit holder, Highly Skilled Migrant and/or an
Innovator when applying for indefinite leave to remain as a Highly Skilled
In the 'Question and Answer' portion of the Press Release, a slightly more
detailed explanation of the purpose of these changes is given. Essentially,
the UK government's view is that permanent migration must also be a journey
towards being as socially integrated as possible. How social integration can
be magically achieved in 5 years instead of the current 4 is not altogether
Perhaps, more intriguing is the argument that these changes are meant to
bring the UK government in line with European norms. Intriguing because the
UK government has previously argued that its migration policy will continue
to be determined independently of Brussels.
For now, however, it looks like people that are already in categories
leading to settlement (CLS) will have to adjust their plans. There is some
relief for those that have already made an application for settlement before
3 April 2006. Transitional arrangements will be put in place to ensure that
they will have their applications handled under the old rules, even if the
decision is made after 3 April. The date of application will be the date of
Additional transitional arrangements will also be put in place for those who
apply for settlement immediately after 3 April having only completed 4 years
in the UK. Those applicants will have the opportunity to vary their
application from a settlement application to a one-year leave to remain
application without losing their original application fee.
Applicants under these schemes will still have to meet the other
requirements, for instance, those in employment will still have to show that
there is a need for their skills and that their employer is going to use
them for the foreseeable future. They will have to show that they are able
to support themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds.
Those not in salaried employment, e.g. investing, continuing in business or
self-employment, etc., still have to show that they are maintaining the
purpose for which they came, and that they can support themselves and any
dependants without recourse to public funds.
But what exactly is the fuss about ILR?
As previously discussed on this column, the ILR visa is so coveted primarily
because it has no immigration related restrictions on the type of work or
business a person on this visa class may undertake (a work permit in
contrast may prove to be a 5 year trap because of the limited options to
negotiate out of what my turn out to be a bad deal). The ILR also clears the
way to a host of tax relief schemes and other welfare benefits. It means
cheaper home rate higher education fees if coupled with 3 years residence in
a capacity other than that of a student. Mortgages and loans in general are
easier to obtain once one is on ILR. Children born to a parent with ILR are
automatically entitled to British citizenship. ILR is of course in itself
the first major step towards British nationality for the holder. Perhaps
more importantly, once ILR is obtained, it may be lost or revoked by the
Secretary of State only in very limited circumstances, for example after 2
years absence from the UK.
Many of the people affected by these changes will feel therefore that the
dream is slipping away and that this important change has come at too much
short notice, as well as being arbitrary. They will also feel that this is
the latest in a series of increasingly restrictive legislative responses by
the Labour government and a demonstration of just how immigration is
increasingly becoming an important, if not emotive issue. But perhaps more
importantly, they will feel that the government is on to another money
spinner and will treat this with the same cynicism reserved for speed
cameras. Consider this; the initial application for a Work Permit costs
£335. The HSMP costs £315.
After 2 years, a further payment of £335 will be needed to extend the visa
by another 3 years. After the 3 years, the ILR application itself will cost
another £335. If one is so inclined, a naturalisation application will cost
a further £268 (£336 for a couple + £200 for one or more children). A
premium service (which is done in person and considered the same day) is
available in all the above applications, save naturalisation, and costs
£500. You do the maths, I will do the law.
This besides, I personally think that the hallmarks of a good immigration
system anywhere in the world is predictability. People will generally invest
emotionally and otherwise in a place where they feel a sense of permanency.
Is there a solution? Perhaps the legal status of the Immigration Rules could
provide a way of tackling this one. Immigration Rules are made by the
Secretary of State and generally do not have the power of law in the same
way as legislation or secondary legislation such as statutory instruments.
They do bind the lower courts (the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal
included), but not the higher ones which have previously declared them to be
ultra vires, or outside the enabling laws. The difficulty will of course be
in persuading a court that an extension of 1 year towards qualification for
ILR will have worked great hardship.
Another angle would be that the Immigration Rules themselves are by nature
subject to frequent amendments. They are contained in a House of Commons
Paper which is drafted and then laid before Parliament for scrutiny under
what is called a 'negative resolution' procedure. If no objections are made
to the rules within 40 days they are considered to have been passed by
Parliament. The relevant Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules for this
particular amendment was laid before Parliament on 10 March 2006. Whilst
this is clearly the lowest level of scrutiny available in Parliament as the
changes are not debated, it will provide a window of opportunity for those
affected to contact their local MPs to lobby and make noises in Parliament
on their behalf.
This drastic proposal may yet be halted.
Taffy Nyawanza is accredited by the OISC and writes in his personal
capacity. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on
immigration law. It is not intended to replace the advice or services of a
solicitor. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome
different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any
liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this
Thursday, March 16 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday hiked the overnight
accommodation rate by 50 percentage points to 700 percent, as the February
inflation data released last week showed an all-time high of 782 percent.
Last month, the central bank hiked the key policy rate twice inside a week,
in response to weak inflation data. Central bank governor Gideon Gono has
warned that the Bank would continue using overnight rates as a 'pre-emptive
tool' in its bid to rein in rampant inflation.
However, the efficacy of this policy, meant to tighten credit
conditions, has been undermined by the central bank's own quasi-fiscal
activities, through which it has doled out trillions of dollars to support
agriculture, parastatals and municipalities. It remains to be seen how far
the Bank will conform to International Monetary Fund advice to discontinue
these operations, which saw it pour no less than $10 trillion into the
market last year. Gono has himself admitted that the effectiveness of his
liquidity management policy had been undermined by these operations.
"The increase in the overnight rate is ordinarily intended to
tighten credit conditions so as to fight inflation. In our situation,
however, the existence of concessional facilities significantly weakens the
effectiveness of the overnight adjustment. "Consequently, the overnight rate
has not been effective in influencing other interest rates," Gono said.
Indeed, retail lenders have long stopped adjusting their lending rates in
line with the overnight rate, while other investment rates tend to trend the
benchmark 91-day Treasury Bill rate, whose average yield has recently risen
to 500 percent from 340 percent at the beginning of the year. The overnight
rate rose from 95 percent in February 2005 to close the year at 540 percent.
Thursday, March 16 2006 @ 12:02 AM GMT
Contributed by: MDC New Zealand
As you gather to begin a process that we hope will speed up the
change process in Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans all over the world are keeping a
close eye on this historical event in the struggle for democracy. We expect
you to pass resolutions that will usher in a new era of democratic
resistance, which will be the last stage of our journey towards real freedom
Zimbabwe has lingered on the precipice of doom for so long and
as such the situation can no longer be allowed to continue. We in New
Zealand wait with bated breath, unshaken faith and a strong sense of
solidarity with you as you embark on the last leg of our journey towards a
truly liberated Zimbabwe.
We have a message for you. "We shall not you leave you to walk
this journey alone". It is our Zimbabwe and with an unbridled resolve we
shall mobilize and support the struggle at home by any means possible. We
are anguished in our spirits as we witness from a distance the
impoverishment and pauperization of our people by one Robert Mugabe, the son
of Bona. Posters plastered here by world vision of black people suffering in
other parts of the world haunt us as they send constant reminders that the
same situation obtains in Zimbabwe. We talk about you whenever we meet and
we have never doubted your capacity and indeed ours, to one day rise and say
to Robert your time is up, you can not continue your political clowning
whilst we all suffer.
Once again we reiterate our support for the true President of
Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai. We salute and honor those who have done immense
consultative and preparatory work towards this, our second oppressed peoples
congress. May the God of our ancestors guide all those who will travel to
Harare. May the spirit of our past struggles against colonialism and all
forms of oppression pervade congress and inspire every one of us.
Yours in the struggle
Charles Matope Interim Chairperson
New Zealand M.D.C District
By Chenjerai Hove
Last updated: 03/16/2006 09:58:02
I HAVE watched with detached interest the arrival of Arthur Mutambara into
the political realm of Zimbabwe. I just sit and wonder, bordering on a
cynical observer's perspective, what all the furore is all about. This is
not the first time saviours have arrived in our political playing field.
But somehow, we never seem to learn to calm down and take our time. We
behave as if a new political arrival is an ice-cream man who appears, sells
his wares, and goes away. Politics, Zimbabwean or otherwise, is not like
It is a long time affair. We must learn
to see, calculate, think, meditate, and decide.
For, there was a time when Zimbabweans, due to lack of experience, neither
had the patience nor experience to wait a little bit and calculate. Such a
time was independence in 1980.
Zimbabweans did not have the patience to reflect a little bit about people
who came as fist-waving
They were thirsty for independence, at whatever price. So, they got Mr
Robert Mugabe and he has turned out to be our worst nightmare.
Other saviours surfaced, but the urgency was not the same. The 1980 urgency
was to wave our own flag, to hear the new Prime Minister speak better
English than the Queen of England, to see how many academic degrees he had
been able to amass while in prison. And when the cabinet was announced, many
remarked correctly that it was 'the most degreed cabinet in the world.' And
there was celebration. The people danced, not because they enjoyed the
vision of the leader, but because they had only been crying for too long.
They needed something to celebrate, at whatever cost.
From that experience, we should have learned many things. The noises being
made by Zimbabweans about poor Arthur Mutambara are reminiscent of those
days: a people in urgent need of survival will clutch at anything that comes
and floats near their dreams of survival.
This is not to demean the good professor. It is only to highlight a few
issues which Zimbabweans are entitled to demand from their leaders so that
the same blunders of the past shall not be repeated.
Zimbabwean politics has been, for a long time, a game of who insults the
other in more vulgar language than everyone else.
The ruling party, which is ruining most of the time, has always insisted on
no particular political, economic and socio-cultural programme. It was like:
vote for me or I will make your life miserable.
The politics of threat and victimization, the politics of insults. Someone
should compile a book of the insults Mugabe has used against his perceived
enemies. Makes interesting reading, I think.
But the psychology of insults says that a lot can be revealed from the type
of vulgar and insulting language which the speaker uses.
The new politics demands people, men and women, of vision, dreamers who
think, not in terms of how evil Mugabe is or how dictatorial Tsvangirai is,
but in terms of what do I want to give to the country, to the people. And
what do I want to receive from the people. A national vision is not measured
in five-year or ten-year development programmes. It is measured in how far a
leader can see in the next twenty years, fifty years, one hundred years. A
national vision does not depend on the lifespan of the leader. It goes
beyond the physically visible.
Mutambara is soon going to be dragged into the politics of hurling insults
at others. He has already started by attacking another opposition figure,
Tsvangirai. The fact of the matter is that we are not interested in the
amount of verbage he can master in insulting Mugabe or Tsvangirai or anybody
else. We are interested in a creative vision of how he wants to save the
country, practically, not in terms of robotics. This is a new world of human
activity which all manner of scientists have never managed to master. Human
endeavour, aspirations and dreams are more complex than the ordered world of
scientific proof and mathematical equations.
As far as I can see, Zimbabwean politicians tend to have extremely limited
creativity in approaching national political work. For example, every
Zimbabwean politician wants a rally yesterday, a big one, a game of public
numbers. They usually call the people 'the masses', an insult to which they
are prepared to cling until death. A political rally is a gathering where
the leader arrives, usually late, to 'tell' the people. No Zimbabwean
politician has ever sat with villagers under a tree and say: I am here to
listen, and not to address you. Tell me what you think I can do for you.'
Zimbabwean politics has always a monologue, never a dialogue. People need
political dialogue in its multifacetted nature, not an 'I-know-it-all' way
of thinking which has destroyed the country in so many complex ways.
National dialogue and vision transcends the limits of political party
programmes or factions. It invariably involves all, the weak, the organised,
the disorganised, the poor and dispossessed, the rich, the educated and the
confused. No monopoly of wisdom can ever save a country, especially Zimbabwe
which has been ruined by a determined incapacity to listen to other voices.
Zimbabwean politicians tend to think they know it all. The people, povo
('people of varied opinions', as the politicians say when disrespecting the
people) are ignorant and so, do not deserve to be listened to. That is a
fatal mistake. It has cost many a Zimbabwean politician the hearts and minds
of the people. If the people were so ignorant that they do not deserve to be
listened to, how have they survived for so long under such harsh conditions?
I would like to hear a Zimbabwean politician who says his mission is to go
out in the country, in the villages, the streets, the factories, the
universities, and just listen to how the people see their country and how
they think the problems can be solved. There are so many answers and
questions out there that if someone dared to listen, they would never go
around the country telling the people that 'I am going to, I am going to.'
The use of the 'I' is symptomatic of sick politics. And the use of the
honorific 'we' as also so presumptious that the politician thinks he is some
kind of god, a saviour. It is better to say 'you' to the people, like 'you
tell me what to do to save our country, and you tell me how to do it. You
and I can try the solutions together.' What we are faced with a worthless
monologues which plunge us deeper into the abyss.
Mutambara seems to have arrived with a big 'I', and that is dangerous for
our country. That fits exactly into the politics of Robert Mugabe and
others. As it is now, the ruling party does not seem to imagine themselves
without the 'I' of its president. The party is the president, and the nation
is the president, all in one 'I.'
Zimbabweans have to move beyond the politics of a hero, a saviour, a small
god who wants to be worshipped for whatever reason. When are we going to
have a humble leader whose sole vision will be the humility to talk to the
smallest person, the weakest?
In the process of trading insults, the politics of Zimbabwe has been
premised on the basis that in order for one to achieve certain political
ends, they have to destroy someone, or another party, another leader. That
is the politics of evil, and Mutambara does not seem to have escaped that.
So soon, and so fast! Why not concentrate on his own programme and vision,
what is to be done, how to do it, and how to get people to see what he wants
That is hard enough without having to insult others or, as Mr Mugabe usually
puts it in his elections speeches, 'crushing' anyone.
There is a lot of historical evidence to suggest that politicians who enter
the game through the wrong door usually do not make it to the final lap. Our
good associate professor Jonathan Moyo went into it through the wrong Zanu
PF door and suffered the consequences. Our new professor Arthur Mutambara
seems to have done that again, and we have to wait and see how many laps he
is going to cover. It must be quite ego-boosting to just be invited to be
leader of a party without even having a local structure one belongs to. I
hear Professor Moyo did not even have a Zanu PF card when he rose so fast to
become one of the most feared politicians in the ruling party which he had
spent so many years criticising. The late Kamuzu Banda, too, was invited in
the same manner, a kind of saviour. And you can see what happened!
We have now learnt that these professors do not seem to be effective
politicians. They might be good analysts, but on the ground they have not
impressed very much. Historically, the game of politics has never been the
same as the game of academia.
Honestly, I do not see the fuss in the arrival of Mutambara in Zimbabwean
politics. He still has a lot of work to do, and he has to realise that
African politics, especially, is an extremely dirty game, very far from
robotics and things like that. It has to do with the art of understanding
the queer mixture madness, greed for power/wealth and cruel survival. We
still loook forward to a new type of poiltics: the politics of dedicated
service and commitment to the basic ideals of justice and human dignity for
all citizens in society.
Without a clear-sighted leadership for our country we risk a situation where
the young are going to be so fed up that they will destroy all that has been
put in place by their wounded history. Remember the food riots where the
youths, having lost faith in the visonless leadership, decided to destroy
all in their way, like a storm?
Chenjerai Hove is a Zimbabwean novelist and poet
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Nkululeko Sibanda in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Mar-16
A GOVERNMENT minister yesterday ordered the Bulawayo City Council to
repossess all houses and stands allocated clandestinely under Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle - a national programme meant to benefit the poor.
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche,
who also heads the inter-ministerial committee overseeing the allocation of
houses under the programme, declared that council should repossess all the
stands and houses allocated to undeserving people and give them to intended
Goche made the remarks soon after touring the programme's housing units in
Bulawayo's Cowdray Park and city centre vending malls also built under the
He said council would liaise with his inter-ministerial team to ensure the
said properties were repossessed, and challenged the municipality to quickly
come up with the list of deserving beneficiaries.
"We held a meeting this morning with council officials where that issue was
discussed. It emerged that although council had raised a pertinent issue, it
(the irregularities in the allocation of houses) had not been pointed out to
the inter-ministerial committee," the minister said. "What we have done now
is that the council should come up with a list of deserving people. Council
will then sit down with the committee so that those that irregularly
benefited from the exercise are removed from the list and the houses
reallocated to deserving cases."
He said the repossession crusade would also affect people allocated houses
after having been on the city's housing waiting list.
The minister also revealed that the government and local authority had
reached an agreement that would see council reserving a percentage of stands
for civil servants transferred to Bulawayo.
"As you are aware, there is what is called the institutional housing
programme. It is this programme that we envisage would accommodate
government employees who would have been transferred to Bulawayo," Goche
said. "This province is a new establishment and we are bound to see more and
more employees coming into the city and that is why we have agreed with
council that a certain percentage of stands be reserved for such instances."
Goche's move follows a proclamation by Local Government, Public Works and
Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo that houses under Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle were not for civil servants and politicians, but for
The decision also comes amid growing discontent over the manner in which the
houses were allocated in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South.
Under the Bulawayo programme, 450 houses have been completed with a further
61 units nearing completion while 159 units are reportedly at various stages
Goche lauded residents that managed to finish putting up their houses in the
face of a serious shortages and high costs of building materials saying
their example was worth emulating.
Impeccable sources within the scheme said several housing co-operatives had
failed to take up stands allocated them to construct low-income houses.
Only a few co-operatives - Reverend Obadiah Musindo's Destiny of Africa
Network included - had owned up and started constructing houses.
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle was launched by the government last year as
a successor to Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order to provide decent
accommodation to people affected by the latter scheme.
Operation Restore Order was meant to rid cities and towns of illegal
structures and vice.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Mar-16
WHEAT farmers countrywide are wary of growing the crop accusing government
and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) of failing to deliver inputs as well as
paying farmers for the crop delivered in time last season.
This surfaced at a meeting the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) held in Chinhoyi
on Tuesday meant to mobilise its members to start land preparations to grow
The meeting heard that government had set a target in which wheat should be
put under not less than 100 000 hectares as the country wishes to realise at
least 400 000 tonnes during the forthcoming winter season.
ZFU's Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Tommy Charewa told
stakeholders at the meeting that various institutions were failing farmers.
"As farmers we are keen to do our level best in producing both food and cash
crops to support the government in its efforts to turn around the economy of
the country," Charewa said.
"However, our problem is that stakeholders seem not to be showing
commitment on their part to ensure that the crop's targeted output is
The farmers have already made complaints through their respective unions
that have been submitted to government for consideration before they go back
to the land.
Despite having received complaints from farmers, government and institutions
that include GMB and Agribank are insisting that the issues would be
Agribank has been accused of disbursing required funds late forcing farmers
to abandon some farming programmes. GMB paid farmers as late as last month
for a wheat crop that was delivered in November last year.
Each wheat-growing region is expected to put the crop under a given
Mashonaland West is expected to put the crop under 36 000 hectares - or a
third of what government wants the crop to be put under nationwide.
Said Charewa: "As farmers we would want to know the position as regards to
other players concerning roles they will playing in the production of
"We are willing to grow the crop. However, other stakeholders should also
show their commitment now to make the wheat production programme a success."
He said although the union would be embark on mobilising farmers to grow the
crop as from yesterday, there was a need for dialogue at various stages of
the crop's production in order to review progress made and the prevailing
situation on the ground.
The meeting noted that although government was keen to see farmers going
back to the land, there were several hurdles that farmers faced.
The farmers called for an improvement in the delivery of inputs such as
fuel, fertilisers, chemicals and tillage services.
They also called on government to urgently improve bad roads that lead to
and from farms and to provide adequate machinery both for tillage and
Other problems they faced were labour shortages as well as farmers'
inability to sustain labour costs due to untimely or late disbursement of
funds for supporting wheat production and the lack of adequate and accurate
information on the modus operandi of disbursement of funds.
The meeting also urged government to come up with, and announce a wheat
producer price in time to help them plan their budgets.
Mashonaland West Provincial Governor and Resident Minister, Nelson Samkange
who graced the meeting echoed the need for commitment especially on the part
of stakeholders. "It is a pity that stakeholders have a record of delivering
inputs late," Samkange said.
"For example, our farmers are still receiving inputs like fertilisers that
is supposed to be used in planting tobacco at this time of the year when
they were supposed to have received it in October. The delivery system of
our inputs to farmers should be improved."
Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru has said her country can
reclaim the status of bread basket in the southern African region again if
the nation uses innovative methods of farming.
Mujuru made the statement at the launch of two maize hybrid seeds
developed by Pioneer Seed Company in Mazowe in Mashonaland Central Province.
The new maize varieties, PHB 30V53 and PHB30G19, can yield up to 12
tons per hectare and are resistant to different maize diseases.
"For us to reclaim our Southern African Development Community ( SADC)
bread basket status, this could be achieved by using such hybrid seeds and
other innovative methods of farming," said Mujuru.
She said in Zimbabwe every family had a piece of land for farming and
everybody should work hard to produce enough food.
"If we are Zimbabweans who want to preserve their dignity, then we
should remain serious in farming," Mujuru said.
The vice president said Pioneer Seed Company's innovative hybrid seed
would go a long way in securing food in many households because it was
proved to be ideal for the weather conditions in the country.
Mujuru said the Ministry of Agriculture should educate women in rural
areas to concentrate on small pieces of land and make maximum production
rather than keeping vast tracts of land producing little yields.
She said Zimbabwe was rich in natural resources and must improve
A senior Zimbabwean official has said the government will soon
finalize 99-year leases that will be issued to new farmers as security of
Minister of National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement
Didymus Mutasa said on Wednesday that after the cabinet approval, the leases
would first be issued to new farmers but there was need for the farms to be
The minister was quoted as saying on Thursday that it was critical for
the farms to be surveyed in order to come up with the actual hectarage on
the lease agreement.
New farmers have been eagerly waiting for the leases as financial
institutions were reluctant to give them loans due to lack of collateral
Apart from improving farmers' chances of accessing loans from banks,
leases provide a practical land tenure system that can enhance agricultural
The lease system is common throughout Africa with only a few countries
not practicing it, amongst them Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Turning to the issue of the land audit, Mutasa said the exercise had
been completed in Manicaland Province and the report was ready for
submission to the presidium.
He said the audit team would soon be moving to Mashonaland Central
Province before going to other provinces.
A preliminary audit carried out last year indicated that 70 percent of
land allocated to newly resettled farmers was being used productively while
the rest was lying idle.