Wed 22 March 2006
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe police and soldiers have been banned from
resigning from their jobs until they have served for at least10 years, as
top commanders battle to stem a tide of young officers leaving because of
poor pay and working conditions, ZimOnline has learnt.
Disgruntled younger officers, who have served for lesser years and
earn a lot less than veteran soldiers or police officers, have been leaving
the police and army in droves, searching for better paying jobs in other
sectors of the economy or abroad.
Sources at the discharge sections of the army and police headquarters
in Harare said a combined total of 3 000 troops and police officers had left
the security forces since January.
At least 500 police officers had tendered their letters of resignation
in the month of February alone before the Joint Operations Command (JOC)
decided in the first week of this month to ban further resignations by
officers who have not done 10 years on the job, the sources said.
The JOC comprises the commanders of army, air force, police and prison
service. It is chaired by Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General
In a memo to police provincial commanders dated March 6, 2006 and
written after the JOC meeting, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
instructed that "only those members (of the police force) who have served
for 10 years and above should be allowed to leave."
Chihuri also ordered his provincial commanders to thoroughly check and
verify the stated reasons for resignation and said junior officers wishing
to go and further studies either in Zimbabwe or abroad should provide proof
including acceptance letters from the intended places of study before their
requests to be allowed to leave can be processed.
Several police officers and soldiers have in the past duped their
commanders to grant them temporary leave of absence to study abroad but once
outside the country have refused to return after finding menial but better
paying jobs in countries such as Britain and the United States.
A sergeant based at the Zimbabwe National Army's Imbizo barracks just
outside Bulawayo city told ZimOnline that commanders there met with soldiers
on the 7th of this month and told them that all members of the army who had
served for 10 years would no longer be allowed to leave the force.
The sergeant, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to
disclose information about the army to the Press, said: "All the junior
members who had tendered their letters of resignation towards the end of
last year have left and more wanted to leave because their salaries have
become useless when compared with the cost of living.
"The top commanders have however stopped more people from leaving
because the security forces are faced with severe manpower shortages."
An official at the army's public and press relations office refused to
discuss the ban on resignations saying the amry never discloses to the Press
the number of people joining or leaving because this was a security matter.
"I cannot talk about that .. it is a security matter," the official said.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena would not take questions on
Chihuri's memo to provincial police commanders but still insisted officers
were free to leave the police force whenever they felt they could no longer
work for the organisation.
He said: "People are free to leave the ZRP if they cannot continue
working for it. We need patriotic cadres who can work even when there is
poor remuneration as they will be having the nation's interest at heart."
Poor salaries and working conditions have eroded morale among junior
police officers and soldiers, who analysts ironically say are the bedrock of
President Robert Mugabe's government which they have ruthlessly defended
against the opposition.
For example, a soldier or policeman who has just finished training
takes home about Z$9 million which is many times less than the $28 million
the government's Central Statistical Office says an average family of six
people requires for basic goods and services per month.
Chihuri last year told a special committee of Parliament that
dissatisfaction was rising among his officers because of poor pay and warned
the legislators that the country was running a huge security risk by
underpaying its police. - ZimOnline
Wed 22 March 2006
MUTARE - Zimbabwe's High Court will today hear the bail application
for Peter Michael Hitschmann who is accused of plotting to assassinate
President Robert Mugabe and commit acts of sabotage across the country.
Hitschmann's lawyer, Peter Makombe confirmed to ZimOnline on Tuesday
that the bail application, which failed to take place last Friday in the
eastern border city of Mutare, will be heard at the High Court in Harare
"The bail application hearing has been set for Wednesday. But I am not
yet sure which judge is going to handle our case," said Makombe.
Hitschmann, together with several opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) activists, including Mutare North legislator Giles Mutsekwa,
were arrested two weeks ago after the discovery of an arms cache in Mutare.
But Mutsekwa and the other MDC activists have since been released from
custody after the Attorney General refused to handle the case citing serious
flaws in the state case.
Hitschmann, who had applied for bail at the High Court, was however
remanded in custody pending the outcome of his application.
Last week, a prosecutor in Mutare declined to handle the case after
threats from state secret agents forcing the case to be transferred to
Harare. - ZimOnline
Wed 22 March 2006
JOHANNESBURG - At least 300 Zimbabwean refugees who were staying at
the Methodist Central Church in Johannesburg were last night ordered to
vacate the building after they fought among themselves last week resulting
in the death of two people.
Bishop Paul Verryn last night told ZimOnline that board members of the
church had agreed to evict the Zimbabweans after violent tribal clashes
between Shonas and Ndebeles who were housed at the church.
"The church is not happy with the murder issue and now we have been
forced to evict the refugees. But we are talking to the mayor of
Johannesburg and the minister of health to give us a better place to
accommodate all the foreigners," he said last night.
Yesterday, a group of South African women also demonstrated at the
church demanding the removal of the Zimbabwean refugees following the murder
The Zimbabwean refugees last week clashed over some donated clothes at
the church. But the clashes soon degenerated into tribal clashes over the
atrocities committed by President Robert Mugabe's government in
At least 20 000 Ndebeles died in Matabeleland in the 1980s after
Mugabe sent in the army to crush a rebellion by former Zipra combatants. -
Wed 22 March 2006
By Grace Kwinjeh
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change's male leadership emerged
even much more stronger and powerful after the just ended congress, held
over the weekend in Harare.
Patriarchy has once again firmly entrenched itself in the top party
In 2000, only two women dared to stand for office at the congress,
Sekai Holland and Trudy Stevenson, who ran for the posts of national
chairperson and treasurer respectively. This was a non-event as six men
grabbed all the contested seats.
Last weekend, five women stood for election with only one winning.
Again another non-event.
For some of us, the result of the just ended congress is not
surprising, given the fact that the past five years of our participation in
the party has seen no credible attempts or efforts at investing in an
empowered women's leadership, especially one that is able to meaningfully
demand its stake in positions of power without being belittled at election
The Women's Assembly has remained just that - an assembly of women
whose most important role is the traditional one of mobilising other women
when called upon to do so.
The Assembly, under the leadership of Lucia Matibenga was a main
pillar in keeping the party together after the desertion by four male
members of the 'top six'.
The collapse of the 'top six' saw the Assembly take the traditional
role of being custodian of the party principles and values, playing an
important and commendable role in the anti Senate campaign and keeping the
The 'powerful' Women's Assembly which rose to prominence during the
anti-Senate campaign was sadly hindered from using its strong base of women
to influence the leadership line up during last weekend's congress.
Confronted by the sad reality of a congress that was set to reproduce
the same old male structure we have been up in arms against over the past
five years, we met before the congress, as the Women's Assembly caucus to
strategise on how to make best of the situation at hand.
At that time only three of our comrades had put their names forward to
be nominated to stand for different seats at the congress. Member of
Parliament Thokozani Khupe and Gertrude Mtombeni put their names forward for
the post of vice-president, while MP Pauline Gwanyanya put herself forward
for the post of deputy secretary general.
None of the women had challenged the principal posts to be contested
meaning that these would automatically go to men.
The Assembly came out with a declaration demanding at least 50 percent
of the seats available as required by various international protocols to
which Zimbabwe is signatory.
At SADC level for instance, the leadership has since moved from a
quota of one third to 50 percent. Africa is at the moment celebrating the
election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the first woman to be elected Head of
State on the continent.
Tanzania's last general election has seen new President Jakaya Kikwete
appoint women to almost 50 percent of his cabinet posts with women being
given key principal portfolios such as Finance and Foreign Affairs.
Africa and the world are moving on and as MDC women, we yearned to
move on with the rest. And so we took the decision to stand for these
posts because we are qualified women with a credible track record of
leadership and activism in the party and in |Zimbabwe.
This is where I come in.
Having arrived in Zimbabwe there was an interesting debate on whether
to amend the constitution to make the post of secretary for information and
publicity, an elected one at congress or to continue with the current
constitutional set up which requires it to be appointed by the party
What irked me first was the attitude of the men towards this
particular amendment, as it seemed a foregone conclusion that the incumbent
secretary for information, Nelson Chamisa would automatically take over
under the new arrangement, though no consultations had taken place.
What was even more baffling was the response I received from Harare
provincial structures that this post was one of the unopposed ones,
including the [residency, treasurer and chairpersonship.
During the meeting to nominate various candidates I attended to stand
for nomination too. To my surprise, all the other candidates were introduced
to the more than 400 members from the party structures, then when it came to
the post of information and publicity the chairman, Morgan Femayi announced
that Chamisa was duly nominated.
I pulled his sleeve as I was standing behind him and said can you not
see me? He gave Chamisa a chance to speak, and the young man announced to
the rowdy crowd that when you are a brides maid at a wedding, do not expect
to get a gift as these are reserved for the bride and groom. 'Kana
uchiperekedza muchato hapana chipo chaunowana'.
That is when I got up and told the gathering that first, I did not
think I was taking part in a wedding, secondly they had to come to terms
with the fact that I was challenging Chamisa, whether I won or not it was my
right. I am qualified and that the party had to do away with the Political
God Father Syndrome.
That is when I took a plunge into the deepest waters, by taking on the
insurmountable task of standing for the post of secretary for information
and publicity. I knew there was no way I would win given all the odds
against me which included my being away for more than five years.
Chamisa the acting office bearer was doubling up as the secretary for
information as well as being the youth chairman, giving him an added
A point had to be made. We had to prove as women our willingness to
stand for higher office but at the same time expose the inhibiting
environment under which we operate.
It was tough.
Patriarchy is so deeply entrenched in the system as I found myself now
and again almost apologising to some for taking this decision to stand, a
tough one as the campaign required one to be well resourced financially.
Having been unemployed for as long as I can remember, there was no way
I could fund my own campaign, as fellow male comrades were able to do. The
campaign even got abusive at times as I was called all things from
'opportunist' to 'whore'.
The past years have seen me go through a process of spiritual growth.
A phase that has seen me develop the ability to make a distinction between
the different life battles I have to fight or endure mostly because of who I
am, learning to make the best of any situation as I continue my search for
further spiritual fulfillment and growth.
I have a new personal vision of who I am what I want or need, be it in
a sexual relationship, in politics or even in family life. I no longer seek
authenticity from any process or situation, person or organisation as I know
I am a complete human being. I am no longer game to the patriarchal agenda
which ever form it presents itself in my life.
Thus each night during each session of meditation I was able to get
the negative energy out of my system, developing fresh energy that saw me
wake up each morning ready to take on the challenges ahead and fight.
Each morning with a bright face I went about my business of
campaigning, talking to as many people as I could, mobilising those who
would listen and so on.
I had my affirming moments though. Those people who remembered me from
the past, or those who had kept in touch and others who just reached out to
me, with assurances that they were with me. They knew and understood what I
and other female comrades were up against.
There were exciting moments of reconnecting with party structures, a
different dynamic from the above altogether. The men and women at
grass-roots level had their own understanding of our campaign. Many urged me
and fellow comrades on. 'We want gender' they would say meaning more women.
The mood and attitude towards our campaign was completely different.
What was missing was a concerted effort at top party leadership to translate
this willingness and understanding on the need to elect more women into
those positions of power.
Most uplifting was my linking up with the younger generation of female
activists who joined the party after I left. One of them Glady's Hlatywayo a
recent University of Zimbabwe graduate was also contesting for the post of
Youth Secretary General in the youth structure.
Gladys and I connected instantly as we had many notes to share. The
young woman often cut a lonely figure in the male dominated youth structure.
I admired her strength and resilience as she had the big challenge of
standing against male hooliganism in its raw form in our youth structures.
And so I was able to take my campaign forward. A lot of positives came
out of our decision to stand.
First, the patriarchal media covered us in its diversity. Even if it
failed to go deeper into the gender dynamics at play by interrogating the
inequalities that existed between us and the men we were standing against.
The world knows five MDC women, all party founder members, stood for
office and only one of them won.
We might have failed to get a constitutional amendment guaranteeing at
least 50 percent of all elected seats to be reserved for women. We might
have failed to even achieve the one third stipulated in the current
constitution; and we might have ended up with one lonely vice-president in
the midst of men. Our point has been made.
For me, my moment came after the announcement of candidates as I stood
there on the podium. It was my spiritual moment as I relaxed in the comfort
of knowing I had made my point. I then withdrew from the race.
We are now prepared as the women's leadership to start preparing for
the next congress in earnest. Our work will include building a strong
Women's Assembly that will by the next congress be able to push a more
realistic women's agenda which will see us in the years to come
progressively integrate ourselves into the main party structure.
This is where the challenge is if we are to demolish the patriarchal
nature of our party. Aluta- Continua.
* Grace Kwinje is a journalist and a former representative of the MDC
at the European Union
WASHINGTON, Mar 8 (IPS) - Releasing the latest edition of its annual human
rights "Country Reports", the U.S. State Department Wednesday named Iran and
China as among the world's "most systematic human rights violators" in 2005,
along with North Korea, Burma, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Belarus.
In a 16-page introduction, the report also singled out the human rights
performances of Syria, Sudan, Nepal, Russia and Venezuela as particularly
problematic through the year, even as it praised what it called "major
progress" in Iraq, as well as advances in Afghanistan, Colombia, Ukraine,
Lebanon, Burundi and Liberia.
"In Iraq 2005 was a year of major progress for democracy, democratic rights
and freedom," according to the introduction, citing the "steady growth of
NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and other civil society associations
that promote human rights", as well as the holding of two elections and one
At the same time, however, it conceded that the country's new institutions
"remained under intense strain from the widespread violence" committed by
insurgents and "terrorist elements", as well as "sectarian militias and
security forces" acting "independently of government authority".
The latest edition of the Country Reports, which were first mandated by
Congress in 1976, covers the human rights situations of nearly 200 countries
in 2005 and stretches more than 3,000 pages in length.
The publication, which is based on reporting by other governments,
international and local NGOs, journalists, academics and U.S. diplomats, is
widely considered the world's single most comprehensive accounting of rights
conditions in specific countries.
At the same time, the report is focused almost exclusively on political and
civil rights and rights to personal integrity. It generally ignores those
rights contained in the U.N. Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, which has never been ratified by the United States.
As in the past, this year's edition does not address rights conditions in
the United States or in U.S.-controlled facilities overseas, such as
detention centres at the Guantanamo Bay naval base and in Afghanistan where
Washington has been holding suspects in its "war on terror" in conditions
that some human-rights monitors, including several U.N. Special Rapporteurs,
have said amount to "torture".
That omission has been cited by critics as evidence of hypocrisy and double
standards. "This report by the U.S. government provides a thorough review of
today's human rights practices around the globe, except for one glaring
omission -- its own record," said William Schulz, director of the U.S.
section of Amnesty International.
"The United States government considers itself a moral leader on human
rights issues, but its record of indefinite and arbitrary detentions, secret
'black sites' and outsourced torture in the 'war on terror' turns it from
leader to human rights violator," said Schulz.
Amnesty cited cases where suspected terrorists held by the U.S. were
transferred, or "rendered", to authorities in countries, including Egypt and
Jordan, that are accused in the report of routinely using torture against
prisoners held for security-related offences.
"This is a serious gap," said Elisa Massimino, Washington director of Human
Rights First. Several years ago, she noted, the State Department instructed
drafters of the Country Reports not to include actions taken by other
governments at Washington's request.
"That instruction was later withdrawn, but the absence of reporting this
year on abuses in which the U.S. is implicated raises questions about
whether it continues to skew reporting," she told IPS.
She added that the report's failure to name a U.S.-created anti-terrorism
unit, Detachment 88, in Indonesia in an otherwise extensive section on
police abuses there raised similar questions about reporting on foreign
forces closely tied to the U.S.
While the Country Reports avoid comparing the rights practices of different
states, the introduction often singles out specific countries, normally
those with which the U.S. has hostile or ambivalent relations, for special
In last year's report, for example, the introduction focused on six
nations -- North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Belarus, Zimbabwe and Burma -- which
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had labeled "outposts of tyranny". It
also sharply criticised two key allies in the "war on terror" -- Saudi
Arabia, which escaped any mention in this year's introduction, and
Uzbekistan, with which relations have been severely strained over past year
due to a massacre by government forces of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators
This year's introduction noted that Tashkent's human rights record, "already
poor, worsened considerably in 2005".
But Uzbekistan was not included in the worst or six categories of
rights-abusing nations -- those "in which power is concentrated in the hands
of unaccountable rulers (that) tend to be the world's most systematic human
Leading that group, according to the introduction, were North Korea, "which
remained one of the world's most isolated countries"; Burma, "where a junta
rules by diktat"; and Iran, whose "government's already poor record on human
rights and democracy worsened (in 2005)" in part due to the election of a
"hard-line president (who) denied the Holocaust occurred and called for the
elimination of Israel".
Also included in the "most systematic" list were Zimbabwe, whose "government
maintained a steady assault on human dignity and basic freedoms"; Cuba,
where "the regime continued to control all aspects of life"; China, where
dissidents "faced harassment, detention, and imprisonment by government and
security authorities"; and Belarus, whose president "continued to arrogate
all power to himself and his dictatorial regime".
A second category of countries -- those whose systematic abuses "of their
own people are likely to pose threats to neighbouring countries and the
international community" -- included Burma, North Korea, Iran and Syria,
according to the report. It argued that the alleged interference of the
latter two in the affairs of their neighbours, including support for groups
that Washington deems "terrorist", were related to their purported denial of
fundamental rights to their own citizens.
A third group of countries -- those that commit the most serious abuses
within the context of armed conflict -- included Sudan, which Washington has
charged with committing genocide in Darfur; Nepal, whose "poor human rights
record worsened (in 2005) as a result of violence by both the government and
Maoist insurgents"; Cote D'Ivoire; and in Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia's
northern Caucasus region.
A fourth group -- those "where civil society and independent media are under
siege" -- included Cambodia, China, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Belarus and Russia,
according to the report.
The introduction also cited countries, besides Iraq and Afghanistan, for
positive developments in the course of the year.
While civil war-related abuses and official impunity persisted in Colombia,
the report noted that the government's counter-insurgency operations and
ongoing demobilisation of paramilitary groups had led to a reduction in
killings and kidnapping.
It also said the rights situation in the Great Lakes region of Central
Africa had "improved markedly" in 2005, permitting the return of tens of
thousands of displaced people, particularly Burundians, to their homes.
In the same vein, it welcomed advances in Ukraine after last year's "Orange
Revolution"; Indonesia, where the peace accord between the government and
the Free Aceh Movement ended decades of armed conflict; Lebanon, where
Syrian forces were withdrawn in the face of domestic and international
pressure; and Liberia, where Africa's first elected female head of state,
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, marked "a milestone in the country's
transition from civil war to democracy.
March 21 2006 at 11:27AM
Harare - Zimbabwe will not back away from controversial proposals to
take majority stakes in foreign-owned mining companies although it is
consulting the industry over the proposals, the official Herald newspaper
said on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, mines minister Amos Midzi shook the mining sector
when he said President Robert Mugabe's cabinet had approved changes to mine
laws "to indigenise 51 percent in some instances of all foreign owned
Among foreign mining firms active in Zimbabwe are the world's two
biggest platinum miners Anglo Platinum and Implats. Mining giant Rio Tinto
also have interests in the country.
The government proposals must first be tabled in parliament, where
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party enjoys a comfortable majority, for approval
before coming into law.
The Herald quoted Midzi as saying foreign-owned mining firms had
acknowledged the need for the empowerment of locals in the sector.
"There is growth (in the mining sector) and we cannot ignore the
objectives and need for Zimbabweans to take their rightful place in
ownership," said Midzi, after a tour of Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats).
"We shall not be deviated from that policy, but, of course, we are
taking into account representations made by the industry," he added.
Last Friday Implats, which owns a majority stake in Zimplats, said its
officials had conducted "frank" discussions with Mugabe over the proposals
which would see the government take a 51 percent stake in mines, half of it
Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines said after a meeting with Midzi last week
the proposed legislative amendments would have a negative impact on the
industry which relies heavily on foreign investment for growth.
Central bank Governor Gideon Gono has also said the new laws could
further hurt the southern African nation's economy, already saddled with
chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, the world's highest
inflation rate and soaring unemployment.
The mining sector remains one of few in Zimbabwe with a significant
level of foreign involvement after Mugabe's controversial seizure of
white-owned commercial farms for blacks drove many international investors
A fake Zimbabwean traditional healer has been found guilty of conning
a businesswoman out of $30,000 to pay for mermaids to recover her stolen
The money was to have been used to import the mermaids from the UK and
accommodate them in a local hotel.
Some of the money was to have been used to pay for a bull, whose
genitals would supposedly help find the thief of her luxury vehicle.
Belief in animism is widespread in Zimbabwe, and across Africa.
There is a national association of traditional healers but the court
found that Edina Chizema was not registered.
She had denied the charges of theft by false pretences but magistrate
Sandra Nhau said she was not a credible witness.
Chizema had also asked for money to buy mobile phones to contact the
mermaids and said she could solve the businesswoman's undisclosed "personal
She is to be sentenced at a later date.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
20 March 2006
Some families in Harare have reported that they are being forced to
hire vehicles belonging to government officials and ruling party chefs to
transport their deceased relatives to the mortuary. Although it is not law,
the families allege that policemen who respond when a death is reported are
the connection to this entire scam. A Mabvuku resident who reports to us
regularly said the police have a list of people you can call in any area
that are allowed to bring bodies to the mortuary. She said privately owned
vehicles are almost always sent back home. According to her the catch is
that it can cost as much as Z$7 million for a distance of 20 kilometres.
Petrol is currently selling at about Z$200,000 at service stations that have
it. It is reported to be even more on the black market.
Our contact also told us about a man who died in her area 3 months ago
but was just released from a mortuary last week. She said his family had
refused to go along with the forced hire of vehicles and refused to pay the
exorbitant daily fees now being charged at mortuaries. She told us the
average at the moment is about Z$500,000 per day.
Those with access to resources of any kind are making a lot of money
as Zimbabwe's economy deteriorates, and with at least 2 500 people dying of
HIV and AIDs alone every week, death has become a very profitable business
in the country. Our contact said using a private car to transport a deceased
relative is being treated as a crime by the police. She said several people
in the Mabvuku area were jailed for a few days and beaten under their feet
to hide the scars. It is believed police are paid a percentage of the money
they bring in by referring families that need funeral services.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
21 March 2006
Three university of Zimbabwe student leaders who were expelled for
organising demonstrations against tuition fee increases have continued
attending lectures in defiance of the expulsions. Mfundo Mlilo, Wellington
Mahohoma and Collen Chibango say they are tired of university authorities
setting the agenda for them. Instead of them fighting the fee increases
authorities were eager to divert their attention by forcing them into legal
battles and in most cases forcing them into trying to secure scholarships
for study abroad. This the trio say will not happen to them.
As far as they are concerned the expulsions are illegal and although
their lawyers are working on the issue, they will continue to go on campus
as usual. University security guards looked on helplessly as the student
leaders walked through the gates on Tuesday. The sudden show of defiance
took them by surprise and it was not immediately clear whether they will
continue to let them through the security gates. Authorities at the campus
have also refused to review the de registration of Students Executive
Council (SEC) president Hentchel Mavuma on allegations he applied to re-sit
for his exams way after the deadline.
The student's executive met Monday evening and resolved not to accept
the expulsions and Mavuma's de registration since they were politically
motivated. The affected executive members will continue to run their
departments as usual. Mfundo Mlilo who is the Secretary General of the SEC
says they are already meeting officials from the MDC, Crisis in Zimbabwe and
the National Constitutional Assembly about coordinating protests against the
The university has been rocked by several student demonstrations since
it opened on the 27th of February. Most departments have gone for almost 4
weeks without any lessons. Students say they cannot afford the tenfold hike
in tuition fees. Under gazetted fees they have to fork out between Z$35 and
Z$90 million a year up from Z$3,5 million, depending on their faculty. To
make matters worse support grants of Z$11,5 million a year remain far below
the new requirements.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 March 2006
South Africa is reported to have started tightening security along its
border with Zimbabwe. The crackdown on illegal immigrants, particularly
Zimbabweans, has intensified in the past 3 months. But despite all the
effort at the entry points and inside the country, Zimbabweans are still
lining up in large numbers at the Home Affairs processing centre.
Zimbabwean journalist Steve Paradza, who is based in South Africa,
said it takes about 3 to 4 weeks for a response from Home Affairs setting up
an interview, and anyone caught in the meantime is returned to Zimbabwe. No
papers are given showing that an application has been submitted. Officials
from the Limpopo police recently announced on television that they were
returning an average of 200 Zimbabweans each day. Paradza estimates that at
least 6 roadblocks now exist on the N1 highway, which is a 200 mile long
stretch from the Limpopo to Cape Town. It has become much more difficult to
get legal status in South Africa.
According to Paradza, the tight security is visible in other ways. He
said minibuses going back to Zimbabwe are carrying fewer numbers because
people are afraid they will not be able to get back into South Africa.
Paradza said the taxi and minibus drivers are now known as the "Homelink"
guys, after the government's failed efforts to collect foreign currency from
Zimbabweans in the diaspora. They are used by Zimbabweans to send food,
clothing and other scarce items to relatives back home. Paradza said the
drivers sometimes wait a couple of days to fill up their seats before making
the trip across to Zimbabwe due to the tight security.
The route through Botswana has become more difficult as well due to
the large numbers of immigrants now using it as an alternative. Botswana
officials have been just as diligent in their search and as we reported
earlier this month, the government has even gone further and taken away
legal status from thousands of Zimbabweans.
The intense security patrols began just after the Christmas holidays
and were aimed at catching the thousands of Zimbabweans who had gone home
with the fruits of their labour in South Africa. Those who had already paid
bribes to border officials were surprised to find that the deals were not
being honoured. Security details were being monitored as cases of corruption
had been exposed nationally. Paradza said the search for illegal Zimbabweans
has continued to intensify since then and there are patrols on all roads
leading from popular entry points.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
March 21, 2006.
By ANDnetwork .com
Zimbabwe's tobacco farmers are this year expected to produce just 55
million kilogrammes of tobacco, the lowest output for years, state radio
"Tobacco output for this year is expected to be lower than last
year's, with an average output of between 50 and 55 million kilogrammes for
the crop," the radio reported Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB)
technical services executive Andrew Matibiri as saying.
The TIMB had earlier this year predicted a harvest of 70 million
kilogrammes of the leaf, once the country's biggest earner of hard currency.
Tobacco production has been in steep decline here since President
Robert Mugabe's government launched a controversial programme of seizing
white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to new black farmers.
In 1999, a year before the land seizures, Zimbabwe produced 250
million kilogrammes of tobacco. Last year, production figures stood at only
74 million. The leaf crop, produced mainly for export, used to provide 40
percent of the country's foreign currency receipts.
The radio attributed the expected low yield this year to "challenges
that were faced by farmers during this season such as shortages of coal and
Tobacco sales for this year's crop will begin in Harare on April 25,
the radio said.
Source : Sapa-dpa /th/clh
By a Correspondent
THE trial of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board chairman Peter Chingoka, in
which he is being charged under the Exchange Control Act involving £12 000,
failed to kick off yesterday because he had not been personally served with
summons.The State is said to have served his lawyer, Wilson Manase of Manase
and Manase legal practitioners instead. The prosecution say the case will be
in court as soon as the State summons him to court. Prosecutor Obi Mabahwana
will allege in court that Chingoka committed an offence in August last year
by dealing in foreign currency, which is against the law. Being the sole
designated signatory to the organisation's offshore account with Barclays
Bank of London, Chingoka was responsible for the purchase of all sporting
equipment abroad. It is the State's case that the account, which was opened
in 1982, did not have the approval of the Exchange Control Authority. On
July 14 last year, the ZC received an e-mail which was directed to the
general manager, Ms Raquel Lindsay, from one of their major suppliers of
sporting equipment, Ishan Sports of Pakistan, to the effect that US$95 301
which was due was needed urgently. On August 22, Chingoka, being the
designated signatory to the offshore account, issued out a cheque for 12 000
British pounds to Ishan Sports which was drawn from ZC's London account. The
State alleges that when Chingoka issued out the cheque as payment, he did
not seek Exchange Control Authority approval. The alleged offence came to
light when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Financial Intelligence
Inspectorate and Evaluation Security Division analysed the ZC's financial
documents. As a result of Chingoka's alleged act, Zimbabwe says it was
prejudiced of 12 000 British pounds which was never recovered. Zimbabwe has
been experiencing a serious shortage of foreign currency resulting in a
number of business people being arraigned in the courts over the past few
years. Others have fled the country altogether for fear of victimisation and
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/22/2006 00:23:09
THE head of Zimbabwe's media regulatory body wants to tighten press laws to
control the distribution of "subversive material of foreign origin," reports
Zimbabwe's Media and Information Commission (MIC) has control over which
newspapers are published in the country.
But a few foreign publications that are often critical of President Robert
Mugabe's government are distributed in Zimbabwe, to the apparent annoyance
of the authorities.
The papers include weeklies such as The Zimbabwean, which is published in
Britain; South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper and the Sunday Times of
"It is essential that we should regulate both the publishers and the
distributors," MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso was quoted as saying.
He did not name the offending publications.
"Those distributors who import foreign periodicals should indicate where
they are procuring such periodicals," Mahoso said.
He was speaking to a parliamentary committee on transport and
Mugabe signed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) into law shortly after winning presidential elections in 2002. Since
then at least four local papers have been closed down and dozens of
journalists - both local and foreign - arrested.
Meanwhile, the state-run news agency is "on the brink of collapse," it was
Some members of staff from the agency, known as New Ziana, are "failing to
come to work because of poor salaries which were sometimes paid too late,"
the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on transport and
communications, Leo Mugabe - a nephew of President Robert Mugabe - was
quoted as saying. - Sapa-dpa
March 21, 2006.
By albert mazhale
Gwanda(AND)-Police in Gwanda have since Monday been ambushing and
arresting street vendors,seizing goods worth over three hundred million
dollars.The move by the law officers has stimulated memories of last years'
infamous "Operation Restore Order" which saw vendors being displaced from
their selling points.
Those who were arrested were made to pay an admission of guilt fine of
Z$250 000 for operating at an undesignated area. Wares that were
confisticated include those that are in short supply in the countrys'
supermarkets such as cooking oil and washing soap. Vegetables were also
seized during the raids.
Vendors who spoke to AND condemned the move taken by the Police saying
they had been robbed of their source of livelihood.
Miss Thabiso Nkomo a widow, said she was using the profits to take
care of her two children who attend primary school. Efforts to contact
Matabeleland South Police spokesman Inspector Johnson Nyoni were fruitless
as he was said to be out of office when AND sought his comment. However an
officer who received the call said the exercise had nothing to do with
"Operation Restore Order".
He said some vendors were now engaging in illegal foreign currency
deals while others were selling their wares in rands to travellers
in-transit from South Africa hence the exercise. Government is yet to
complete market stalls meant to accomodate vendors.However indications are
that the vendors will have to wait a little longer before they are allocated
stands to sell thier wares as the Ministry of Public works and national
housing has abandoned the project due to financial constraints. Matebeleland
South Governor,Angeline Masuku could not be reached for a comment as she was
said to be involved in marathon meetings.
March 21, 2006
By Tagu Mkwenyani
A Zimbabwe school records a zero percent pass rate because of a lack
of textbooks and road access.
A school in one of Mashonaland provinces has recorded a zero percent
pass rate in the Ordinary Level Examinations, according to a Zimbabwean
paper, the Daily Mirror.
Another one has scored a mere two percent, the paper added.
Mashonaland East schools Mushipe and Bimha secondary schools are ironically
situated in the constituency of the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture
Dr Anaeas Chigwedere. The paper said Mashonaland East Governor and Resident
Minister Ray Kaukonde confirmed the shocking results. He was quoted as
saying: "I am going to visit Mushipe school this Friday with Chigwedere to
try and get on top of the issue.
There are a number of factors that contributed to the dismal failure
by the students at the school," said the Governor. He added that the school
had no textbooks and because of bad roads in the area, ministry of education
were no longer visiting the school to assess the learning environment. The
paper quoted Kaukonde as saying school leavers in the areas were threatening
to beat up teachers. "I have since instructed the police to intervene."
March 21, 2006
By Tagu Mkwenyani
Mutare (AND) Soldiers beat up hotel workers accusing workers of
hoarding scarce commodities in Zimbabwe.
A popular hotel near the Mozambique border was raided by Zimbabwe
police who beat up workers last week, according witnesses.
Valley Lodge, located about five kilometres from the eastern border
city of Mutare, was besieged by armed soldiers, accompanied by officers from
the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZRA) on Tuesday. The officers were
apparently looking for smuggled goods. "They beat up workers accusing them
of hoarding basic commodities such as sugar. But how can one hoard sugar in
a hotel. It was such an unpleasant experience," said a witness who wanted to
check in the hotel.
Management at the hotel were not available to speak about the raid.
The raid was part of a campaign by police and Zimra who have intensified
patrols near the border, said a police source. The Zimbabwe government
charges that people who hoard commodities artificially cause shortages in
March 21, 2006
By Tagu Mkwenyani
Harare (AND) Zimbabwean police have launched a crackdown against
notorious carjackers who target top of the range vehicles on Harare's
ZIMBABWE police have launched a crackdown on carjackers who have
terrorised Harare in the past few weeks, stealing top of the range vehicle,
which end up in neighbouring South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the
While Harare had been relatively peaceful a few years ago, the city
has become dangerous as the economic hardships worsen. With inflation
threatening to cross the 100 percent mark, more and more people are turning
to crime in broad daylight as they battle to survive. But the serious threat
appears to be caused by well-organised gangs that target top of the range
cars such as Toyota Prados and latest Mercedes Benz vehicles. A new breed of
Zimbabwe's super rich who keep on amassing wealth own most of these
vehicles, taking advantage of the economic climate characterised by
shortages. In the past few weeks, the daring gangs who have connections in
South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo stole a number of posh
vehicles. Police sources said a stolen vehicle could be smuggled into South
Africa overnight using a sophisticated network. One of the vehicles, which
were destined for South Africa, was abandoned last week after four men
suspected of having stolen the vehicle were involved in a shootout with the
police. The vehicle was dumped near Mvuma in a bushy area.
On Saturday an official Mercedes Benz for Deputy Speaker of Zimbabwe's
House of Assembly Kumbirai Kangai was carjacked at gunpoint by four robbers
who had been given a lift by the driver. Acting Mashonaland East police
provincial Spokesperson Assistant Inspector Aspias Shumba said
investigations were in progress. ""We can confirm that such an incident
occurred and investigations are underway. We have also launched a manhunt
for the suspects who are still at large.
Vice Organising Secretary
Sibusisiwe Masara Bhuda
Information and Publicity
The main congress went on well but as women we fared badly because, of the contested posts, we only got one, ie Vice President. We fielded five candidates as follows:
Vice National Chairperson
Deputy Secretary General
Information and Publicity
Regrettably the Party still remains gender blind as there are no policy pronouncements to ensure the meaningful participation of women. There is a lot of work ahead for the Assembly in this regard. I urge all the female comrades in the Party to brace up for a tough time ahead – it will be a struggle within the struggle.
The long time burning issue of structures in the diaspora has been resolved by the inclusion of same in the New Constitution. I shall pass on details when the draft is available.
This MDC Congress women's result has once and for all destroyed the long held popular myth that women in political parties do not win decision making positions at election because the women who stand for elected posts in parties do not have the necessary qualifications and qualities required to stand and win political positions. The women who stood in these MDC main wing posts were in their own individual capacities high achievers and of high calibre at home and internationally.
Even though they lost the election, the vote gannered by Getrude Mtombeni and Sekai Holland was around 1 900 and 1 800 respectively while Pauline Gwanyanya secured over 500 Votes. Women therefore fared well in the numbers of votes they got for the positions that they stood for.
Fidelis Mhashu for example stood for the Vice National Chairperson post which Mrs Holland also stood for and got over 300 votes. A proper analysis of all the actual results is being completed to become part of the data that will assist the Women's Assembly in mapping its way forward for women in the MDC.
The constraints faced by most women was that in this particular election candidates needed a lot of resourses to carry out their campaigns around the country. The few women who had access to them won good positions at different levels of our structures in elections leading to this Congress. The Women's Assembly has already begun preparations for a 'Women's Empowerment' project to equip women to effectively participate in politics.
I will keep you informed.
MDC Chairperson of the Women's Assembly
The government of Zimbabwe said on Monday only farmers with a minimum
of three years' production on newly acquired large-scale farms are eligible
to apply for 99-year lease agreements.
The leases are expected to serve as sufficient collateral security for
farmers who have been finding it difficult to access loans.
The government of Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform program in 2000
to settle landless people.
As of January last year, 155,000 families were settled under the
commercial farming and villagization models.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
March 20, 2006
Posted to the web March 20, 2006
The Zimbabwean government has drafted a bill that would permit the
surveillance of telephone and e-mail communications while making it
compulsory for service providers to install the enabling equipment on behalf
of the state.
The proposed law, the Interception of Communications Bill 2006, seeks to
empower the chief of defence intelligence, the director-general of the
Central Intelligence Organisation, the Commissioner of Police and the
Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to intercept
telephonic, e-mail and cellphone messages.
The bill would also empower state agencies to open mail being conveyed
through the post and through licensed courier service providers.
This bill has been drafted despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2004 which
declared unconstitutional Sections 98 and 103 of the Posts and
Telecommunications (PTC) Act because they violated Section 20 of the
Constitution. Section 20 guarantees freedom of expression and freedom to
receive and impart ideas without interference.
The bill stipulates that operators of telecommunications services will be
compelled to install software and hardware to enable the interception and
storage of information, as directed by the state.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/21/2006 12:50:08
A FACTION of Zimbabwe's main opposition party led by Morgan Tsvangirai has
signaled the thawing of relations with a rival group after avoiding
confrontation at a weekend convention.
Tsvangirai's faction, which re-elected him for a second term Sunday,
withdrew a resolution expelling five top members of the rival group at the
The initial draft resolution, seen by New Zimbabwe.com, would also have
demanded that 13 other MPs show cause why they have ceased recognising
The resolution would have "expelled" Tsvangirai's former deputy, Gibson
Sibanda, secretary general Welshman Ncube, treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube,
Gift Chimanikire and Trudy Stevenson.
Some of the MPs who were to show cause why they were aligning themselves
with the Arthur Mutambara-led faction are Job Sikhala, Blessing Chebundo and
Asked why they had backtracked on the issue, the faction's spokesman, Nelson
Chamisa said: "The president (Tsvangirai) will be addressing a press
conference this week. He will answer those questions."
The MDC split into two camps last November, and both factions insist that
they are the "real MDC". Mutambara's group held their own congress in
Bulawayo in February to elect new leaders.
After dropping the confrontational resolutions, the weekend convention
adopted nine other resolutions, among them the need to work towards unity
among Zimbabwe's opposition forces.
"Acknowledging the depth of the national crisis, and the need for a united
front, Congress resolves that the party will work with like minded civic and
political organizations in pursuit of the agenda of change," the faction
It added: "Acknowledging the fragmented nature of the broad democratic
movement, civic society, the churches and the opposition, congress resolves
to work for the unity of all genuine cadres to the struggle."
Mutambara has previously called for unity among opposition forces, but
analysts say it could be too late in the afternoon to get the two factions
reunited to form a common front against President Robert Mugabe's regime.
Tuesday, March 21 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
SOUTH Africa's Impala Platinum Mines (Implats), 86 percent
owners of Zimbabwe's largest platinum miner, has met President Robert Mugabe
over the controversial proposals his government has made over foreign mine
ownership as it emerged that cabinet was sharply divided over the proposal.
Implats CEO Keith Rumble met Mugabe and some senior government officials, as
it emerged that government was having a rethink on the radical empowerment
draft Mines Minister Amos Midzi had released a fortnight earlier.
"Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) confirms that CEO,
Keith Rumble held a meeting with his Excellency Cde Robert Mugabe and senior
members of the Zimbabwean government on Wednesday, 15 March 2006. "These
discussions centered on the recently announced cabinet approved draft
proposal relating to ownership of the Zimbabwean platinum industry. These
discussions were open and frank and it was confirmed that the draft proposal
is still work in progress," Implats said in a statement.
The development, which confirmed lack of consensus on the
critical issue within cabinet, despite Midzi's statement that cabinet had
approved the draft as he presented it, was followed by his admission, in a
meeting with industry officials last Friday, that the proposals were not
final Midzi last week conceded to the Chamber of Mines' concerns over the
draft empowerment proposals for the industry. Midzi, who met Chamber
officials on Friday, is said to have noted that the industry's input was
critical in the putting together of the final draft for consideration by
This is in sharp contrast to his statement to the Chamber a
fortnight ago, when he said the draft had been ratified by both the cabinet
committee on legislation and the full cabinet. At the time, Midzi said he
expected 'some to pack up and go, but we have alternative investors queuing
up to take over.' Chamber President Jack Murewa has revealed that Midzi met
industry officials last Friday and noted their concerns. "The Minister again
emphasised the point that our response to his brief was part of the process
in the preparation of the amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act," Murewa
Government sources have told of serious divisions within cabinet
over the proposals, which would see government taking up 51 percent control
of existing mines, with 25 percent of that being free carry. The proposals
have sent tremors throughout the industry and the broader economy, amid
fears government could replicate its chaotic land redistribution programme
that plunged Zimbabwe into a 6-year recession. Murewa also revealed that the
proposals might not have been cast in stone as Midzi tried to pass off in
his earlier statement. "More consultations and discussions will be entered
into as parties try to prepare a position that we will own together.
"The Chamber will be guided by the Minister on the next step
from this stage. Our response highlighted our support to most of the
proposed amendments and difficulties that the mining industry is likely to
experience if some of the proposals were adopted in their current format."
By Violet Gonda
LAST week the Zimbabwe government capitulated and dropped charges
against opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and
members for lack of evidence but the chase for the said arms of war
The operation has now moved to the MDC faction led by Arthur
Mutambara. Armed riot police allegedly broke into their MDC office in
Bulawayo in search of the arms of war and subversive materials.
Maxwell Zimuto, the group's head of communications said armed police
descended on the MDC offices Sunday evening and spent the whole night
scouring through documents at the offices. Zimuto said searches were went as
far as all party vehicles, offices and even bins but nothing was found.
Staff members were not allowed into the offices until 10am on Monday.
"The basis of the search was that they were looking for arms of war.
Obviously I don't know how they look for arms of war in offices. We don't
keep them in offices... We have never kept them and we don't intend to keep
arms of war," Zimuto said.
The opposition party believes this is continued harassment and a
deliberate intimidatory tactic by the regime. Added Zimuto: "Our experiences
have clearly demonstrated that each time they realise the opposition is
getting stronger they devise ways and means of trying to weaken the
Earlier this month nine people, including Giles Mutsekwa, the MP for
Mutare North and four police officers, were charged for allegedly plotting
to assassinate Robert Mugabe when he went to the mountainous city of Mutare
for his birthday bash celebrations. The charges were later dropped against
eight of them because of lack of evidence. The Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) is said to have tried to pressure the Attorney General
not to drop charges against Mutsekwa and the others. High Court Judge,
Justice Hungwe, described as "shocking" attempts by the state security
agency to influence the outcome of the arms cache saga, which resulted in
two representatives from the AG's office retreating to Harare after threats
by CIO agents.
Meanwhile Mike Peter Hitschmann, at whose property the alleged arms
cache was found, is the only person still in custody in Mutare.
His bail application will be made in absentia as the matter could not
be heard in Mutare after another representative from the AG's office excused
himself citing personal reasons.
Hitschmann's lawyer, Blessing Nyamaropa, confirmed that the bail
application will now be heard in Harare after the AG's representative in
Mutare said he preferred the matter to be heard in Harare by his superiors.
It's reported that the state prosecutor refused to handle this treason
case after threats from security agents.
The State was charging the men with conspiracy to possess weaponry for
insurgency, banditry, sabotage and terrorism under the draconian Public
Order and Security Act (POSA).
Says Nyamaropa: "This is the pillar of our case. Our argument is that
charges have been dropped against the other co-accused, so Mr Hitschmann
cannot conspire to commit crime on his own."
Mail and Guardian
20 March 2006 11:59
Grace Chidanyika (39) is a mother of three girls, two of whom
are in school and very bright. One's dream is to become a lawyer, while the
other hopes to be a banker. As the children talk about their dreams, their
mother's eyes cloud with tears as she wonders how she is going to raise the
money for their tuition fees.
Her youngest child is six years old and supposed to be at least
in pre-school, which is too expensive -- the cheapest ones cost Z$2-million
(about R122) a month -- so she will just go straight to grade one next year.
Her eldest has just finished her O-levels (schooling up to the
age of about 16). She passed with flying colours and has to go for A-level
in a few weeks' time. For her O-levels her mother paid Z$2,2-million (about
R134). Now she has to buy new uniforms and pay double last year's fees. An
alternative is for the girl to go to any of the teacher's colleges or
polytechnics that are abundant around the country, but the fees are not less
than Z$12-million (R736) per term.
Her husband is a schoolteacher at a school in Harare. He earns
about Z$8-million (R490) per month, and from this salary the family has to
buy groceries and pay bus fare, at Z$100 000 (R6) a day for him. The family
rents two rooms in the city's high-density Mufakose suburb for Z$4-million,
which might increase at any time.
Chidanyika says she feels bad about not being able to provide
adequately for her children's food and education needs. "I try to supplement
the family budget by selling foodstuff on the black market. However, my
earnings are not much as we are continuously raided by the police who take
our stuff if we don't bribe them."
She says it is a miracle that they have survived this long with
such meagre funds. "Every day I pray to the good Lord to help us face this
life with hope," she says resignedly.
Her family is just one example of the life of most Zimbabweans.
Prices of groceries, education, rentals, transport and other
basic needs have been increasing weekly, if not daily. Salaries for most
company employees and civil servants are only hiked up once a year, and
whenever it does happen, inflation eats up all of it, leaving workers with
The government's Central Statistics Office (CSO) recently
announced that inflation hit a record high of 782% in February, with
economic analysts saying it will most likely reach 1 000% in March. Those
who thought 2006 might be a better year will have to start devising new
tactics of survival.
Most families stopped buying meat, milk, bread and other basics
a long time ago and now consider these luxuries. It seems these families now
have no choice but to cut down again -- and most likely they will be left
According to the CSO, the consumer price index increased by
27,5% in February, compared with 18,6% the previous month. The CSO
attributes this to further hikes in transport, education and housing costs.
Moffat Nyoni, acting director of the CSO, said: "This means on
average, a bundle of goods and services by households for final use in
Zimbabwe was about eight times as expensive in February as it had been 12
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) pegged the consumer
basket for a low-income family of six at Z$28-million in February, an
increase from Z$21,8-million in January.
Surveys for the CCZ consumer basket are conducted twice a month.
The basket is calculated by averaging the prices of goods from retail
outlets throughout the country.
The CCZ says its consumer basket accurately depicts the cost of
living in Zimbabwe. Were it to be adopted as the official poverty line, the
majority of Zimbabwe's people would be considered to be living in total
This economic burden borne by ordinary people is the worst of
its kind in Zimbabwe's history, with a new slogan among locals having been
adapted: "If you can survive Zimbabwe, you can survive anything in the
Economic analysts say the inflation crisis can be attributed to
the money growth supply, which has remained too high. The country has seen
macro-economic contraction of 30% since 1999.
Meanwhile, most companies are saying it would be unfair for the
government to control prices, as the government's recommended prices are not
realistic considering the cost of production.
A few weeks ago, the National Bakers' Association (NBA) was
pushing the government for another increase in the bread price to Z$90 000
(about R5,50) -- barely a week after an increase to Z$65 000 from Z$45 000.
The association's chairperson, Burombo Mudumo, said that the
increase was to keep abreast with inflation and enable companies to break
even without making a profit. He said the association wished to avoid
shutting down some bakeries, thereby adding to unemployment.
He went on to say that bread was the only product whose price
had not been adjusted for the previous three months, and that bread
consumption had gone down drastically, by 50%, due to its cost.
Despite last year's Reserve Bank plans to reduce inflation to a
manageable level, it seem the reverse is happening.
According to analysts, fuel and food shortages have left
two-thirds of the country's population unemployed and impoverished, with no
hope for a better and brighter future.
This scenario comes at a time when the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) has denied Zimbabwe voting and associated rights, as well as
access to any more funds.
An IMF statement said: "We noted that Zimbabwe's crisis called
for a comprehensive policy package, comprising several mutually reinforcing
actions in the area of macro-economic stabilisation and structural reforms."
The government is now challenged to take steps to liberalise the
exchange rate and deregulate prices in order to save the nation from
The Zimbabwean dollar has been free-falling since 2000, when it
was trading at 1:24 to the United States dollar. It is now trading at 1:99
000 on the official market against the dollar.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Mar-21
THE Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) has filed a $500 million lawsuit
against former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo over an unpaid loan and
CBZ, trading as the Jewel Bank, and is represented by Magwaliba, Matutu and
Kwirira Legal Practitioners, filed the suit last Friday at the High Court.
Moyo is yet to file his notice of opposition.
In its suit, the bank claims payment of $264 628 048 and interest at an
annual rate of 134 percent accumulated before the date the summons were
issued. The bank further claims $692 653.68 bank charges, which the former
minister failed to pay.
The summons further indicate that the CBZ is demanding a 560 percent annual
interest, the current prime bank lending rate, from the date the summons
were issued to the date of full payment, and a debt collection commission.
In its declaration, the CBZ indicated that Moyo was granted a loan of $233
million on October 14,
2003, and a $99 million overdraft facility.
The terms of the agreement were that the amount outstanding to the
withdrawal of Moyo's account number 20702070015 would not exceed $332
million. Moyo was also expected to pay on demand the amounts advanced in
terms of the agreement while interest would be charged on the outstanding
balance at the Jewel Bank's prime lending rate.
According to the bank's declaration, Moyo, at the time the summons were
issued, had a balance of $264 628 048 30, interest of the same amount and
outstanding bank charges of $692 653 68, with all totaling $529 948 750 28.
"Despite demand, the defendant (Moyo) refuses or neglects to pay the amount
specified," reads part of the bank's declaration.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Mar-21
THREE top officials from the Registrar General's (RG) Office have been
accused of masterminding illegal passport dealings that the government and
the Zimbabwe Republic Police are battling to contain.
The Daily Mirror understands that the three, whose names this paper is
withholding, were at the centre of the notorious network linking the RG's
office, Zimbabweans and other nationals living in the diaspora, for the
corrupt fast tracking of passports from Harare.
Zimbabweans living in other countries are desperate to avoid deportation
once their work permits expire, but cannot travel to Harare due to various
reasons, among them the long time it takes for one to get a passport.
The cash-rich diasporans have also turned into an easy source of income for
most officers at the RG because they can pay in foreign currency.
Sources linked the high ranking officers to their relatives in London who
are allegedly playing a pivotal role in facilitating the renewal of expired
passports and the acquisition of new ones.
"The process of acquiring a passport is in three stages. These are Entry,
Authorisation and Printing. On average one can have a passport in four
weeks, but we have had documents that are facilitated by these three
officials' relatives from London which we are forced to fast track in as
little as 20 minutes after they give the thumbs up.
"We have had incidences where application forms are pushed through and cars
immediately dispatched to KG6 to get the passport printed and issued.
"They pay through the nose at the higher offices, much more than the junior
officers' demand. It is no longer a secret but a culture that illegal
dealings are rampant at the RG's office.
High-ranking officers are also in the game and those clerks who were
arrested were only sacrificial lamps, the real culprits are free," an
insiders said last week.
Last month, seven clerks form the RG's office were arrested for corruptly
issuing passports that were processed in three hours.
The sources said alarm was raised by Chinhoyi officers who, after putting a
person's application on a "stop list", later found out that the person,
whose name has also been supplied, later got the passport in Harare.
"If one feels he needs to clarify information on an application before
issuing, the application is placed on a 'stop list'.
"In that case officers in Chinhoyi discovered suspicious information on the
applicant and stopped processing, but were shocked to realise that the man
got the passport in Harare. That is when they started tracking its origin."
The sources said there was a skewed operating system at the RG's office
where officers can access other clerks' computer passwords and use them for
When the problems are detected, in most cases innocent workers have been
implicated, they said.
They also said under the law, mothers are not allowed to apply for
passports on behalf of children born out of wedlock without the knowledge
and approval of the children's fathers.
However, there have been occasions when top government officials have
influenced the issuance of such passports, it has been alleged.
Many children have been taken out of the country without their fathers'
In 2004, a medical doctor, Moses Gondo, won a case against Registrar-General
Tobaiwa Mudede in which he sought the courts' intervention to invalidate a
birth certificate and a passport fraudulently issued to his five-year-old
Insiders added that officers who have raised concern over the manner in
which business has been carried out at the RG's office have been transferred
to remote parts of the country, but RG Tobaiwa Mudede is not fully appraised
of the reasons for the transfers.
Mudede yesterday said while no new cases of fraud were discovered since the
arrest of the seven last month, he would appreciate any leads that could
facilitate the arrest of criminals.
"If we get such information, we will investigate and get to the bottom of
the matter; that is vital information. That is what patriotic people do and
we will not reveal the names of those who help us.
"As for those who have been arrested, that is up to the police to carry out
further investigations," he said.
Mudede however urged The Daily Mirror not to quote him.
Last month, The Daily Mirror broke a story in which a hard-to-crack
international crime web operating as consultants is helping in the mass
production of counterfeit passports and national identification cards (IDs),
which are illegally distributed to hundreds of locals and diasporans in
desperate need of the documents.
The so-called consultants identify the names of dead people, or those living
in remote parts of the country that they establish might never require
They then extract their particulars from the birth entry record at hospitals
where the people were born (if required), arrange new birth certificates,
IDs and new passports, which are then accompanied with their customers'
Due to the high costs of flying between the West and Zimbabwe, the
tricksters capitalise on the Diaspora to charge between $65 million and $100
million for passports and other documents, depending on the urgency of the
With the high demand for passports from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora whose
passports either expire or may need documents for their newly-born babies,
some of these illegal consultants are clocking up to $1 billion per month,
which is more than what some formally registered companies are netting in
The system also works handy for wanted criminals and other locals requiring
They fork out amounts ranging between $15 million and $20 million.
The RG's office previously faced a critical shortage of application forms
due to the high demand of the highly sought-after papers by Zimbabweans
seeking greener pastures abroad.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-21
ZIMBABWE has been hit by a massive teacher exodus, which threatens to
cripple the education sector, as some of them exit the country in search of
In some cases, teachers reportedly elect to miss lessons to work as cross
border traders in order to subsidise their salaries.
Parents have expressed fears that gains made in the education sector since
independence could be eroded if the situation worsened.
The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) confirmed the mass exodus
in the education sector.
PTUZ secretary general, Raymond Majongwe, said the country was losing
between 4 000 and 5 000 teachers a year due to a number of different
factors, chief among them economic.
"The education sector has been losing between 4 000 and 5 000 teachers
yearly when its 14 colleges can train 5 500, and that is very disturbing.
Most of the teachers are leaving for countries like Lesotho, Swaziland,
Angola, Malawi and Mozambique and the situation this year worsened between
mid-January and now.
"Our research has shown that on a yearly basis we lose between 500 and 800
teachers through illness, the same number through transfers within the
public sector and to the insurance sector. Close to 1 000 teachers also
leave to work in the informal sector, sometimes as cross-border traders,
farmers or they just open their own small companies," Majongwe said. He
added that the country also lost between 1 000 and 1 500 teachers who
migrated to other countries in search for better-paying jobs, even if they
were not related to their qualifications.
Besides migrating within the region, Zimbabwean teachers have also left the
country for the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) and
other European countries where they have taken up menial jobs. Majongwe
hailed some teachers whom he said had not deserted the profession despite
the economic hardships obtaining in the country. He said teachers, however,
would only celebrate when their quest for salaries in line with the poverty
datum line (PDL) was met.
The PDL for the month of February, according to the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe (CCZ) is currently pegged at $28 million.
The Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) chief executive officer (CEO)
Peter Mabhande could not comment on the issue of the teacher exodus,
instead, referring The Daily Mirror to the education ministry. "That is the
prerogative of the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture who are the employers and the Ministry of
Higher and Tertiary Education, which trains the teachers," Mabhande said.
Efforts to get in touch with education minister Aenias Chigwedere were,
however, fruitless yesterday.
Many rural schools are reportedly operating understaffed, while some
teachers have delivered their services with little commitment citing poor
salaries as their bone of contention.
After a 230 percent increment awarded by government to all civil servants in
January, a graduate teacher now earns a gross salary of about $12 million.
President Robert Mugabe has, however, pledged that the government would soon
improve teachers' salaries.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Our Correspondent in Chinhoyi
issue date :2006-Mar-21
BUILDING of Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle houses should be a continuous
process and must not be done on an ad hoc basis, says defence minister
The minister said this yesterday while touring the province together with
Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, to
assess progress made on Operation Garikai in Mashonaland West.
Sekeremayi said: "The Operation should be a continuous process and should
not be done on an ad hoc basis."
The defence minister noted that it was not encouraging that no houses built
under the national programme have been allocated to intended beneficiaries
to date in the province.
The houses have not yet been allocated as they are still to be connected to
the main sewerage and water reticulation network in provincial towns.
The connections are estimated to cost several billions of dollars.
In Chinhoyi, 103 houses have been completed while 47 are at different
levels of completion and $12 billion is required to connect them to the
Because of lack of funds to complete the project, critics say, the houses
could soon become white elephants.
Ripisa Kapesa, the executive mayor of Chinhoyi said: "People can not move in
because there are no water and sewerage systems in place. We need $12
billion to get the houses connected. The council will soon receive some
money under the PSIP fund and we hope to get the project completed."
Sekeremayi acknowledged the shortage of funds and promised to take the issue
up with Cabinet so that the houses were completed urgently and occupied by
"It was never the intention of the government that they would be a long
delay before people moved into the houses after completion," he said. "I
will present the issue of inadequate financial resources to Cabinet so that
more funds would be injected into the programme."
Chinamasa queried the criterion used in allocating the houses, saying he was
not in the clear on how some civil servants had benefited from the scheme as
Provincial Governor and Resident Minister Nelson Samkange said: "Most of the
houses will be allocated to those affected by Operation Murambatsvina while
a small percentage would be given to civil servants."
The ministers' visit was a follow up trip to another one made late last
The top government officials were disappointed that very little progress had
been registered since construction work took a break last December.