JANE FIELDS IN HARARE
NO-ONE uses wallets in Zimbabwe these days. They're too small.
The country's money is devaluing so fast that you have to lug around plastic
bags full of it if you're doing a small grocery shop. To buy anything
bigger, you'll need to fill a suitcase.
If you want to take friends out for a meal - say to a popular barbecue spot
like Kwa Mereki in Harare's Warren Park suburb - it's best to take a
car-boot full of brown bearer-cheques, wadded together into thick
two-million dollar piles known here as "bricks", "metres" or - if you want
to rub it in - "stationery".
Prices go up nearly every day here as record inflation takes its toll. At
more than 782 per cent, Zimbabwe's inflation rate is the highest in the
world. And that is just the official tally. Like most things in Zimbabwe,
inflation figures are controlled by the authorities, who carefully choose
which goods are to be surveyed. Business people say, privately, that the
real rate is well over 1,000 per cent.
A telephone bill last month - more than 15 million Zimbabwe dollars - would
have bought five houses five years ago. Nice houses, in Harare's rich
This week, $15 million is worth just £41 - enough to buy a tank of
black-market petrol. Next week - who knows?
Millions don't mean much now. Zimbabweans joke that they are "poor
millionaires". Like Gladys, a domestic worker who earns $2.9 million a
month. That's a salary she could only dream of early last year, when maids'
wages were fixed at just over $80,000. These days her millions won't stretch
to a regular piece of meat. So she eats dried grasshoppers.
The real sums these days are done in billions and trillions. The
state-appointed city council in Harare is planning to shell out $1.45
trillion to buy its managers pick-up trucks, the official Herald newspaper
reported this week. The state-run electricity company needs to raise $500
billion to import electricity.
Gideon Gono, the governor of the Central bank, has urged people not to panic
at soaring prices. He has promised that inflation will reach a peak of
around 800 per cent this month and then start falling. Few people believe
By Chris Gande
††††† 29 March 2006
Like the residents of many developed and developing countries in Africa and
around the world, Zimbabweans have embraced the telecommunications
With three competing cellular phone networks - Telecel, Net One and Econet -
and a comprehensive fixed line network operated by state monopoly Telone,
Zimbabwe has more than kept pace with its peers among African countries in
But the country's surging inflation, measured at a 12-month rate of 782% in
February, is threatening to bring the country's progress in
telecommunications to a halt as the cost of even routine cellular calls
As reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reports, even a busy
signal can cost a Zimbabwe mobile user 20,000 Zimbabwe dollars, about 20
U.S. cents at the official exchange rate, or around 10 cents at the parallel
††††††††††† Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 03:20 AM BST
††††††††††† Contributed by: correspondent
†††††††††††† Embattled President Robert Mugabe won a vague pledge from the
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo last night to
supply US$200 million worth of fuel to combat Zimbabwe's worsening
shortages. Mbasogo arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday afternoon on a three-day
state visit for negotiations on the deal that was entered in November 2004
following the capture of 62 mercenaries in Harare, who were on a mission to
topple the government of Mbasogo.
††††††††††† Mugabe is said to have pleaded, hat-in-hand for desperately
needed supplies, that have spawned renewed threats to his 26 year old rule.
The invitation to Mbasogo, official sources say, is a measure of Mugabe's
desperation. Fuel supplies in Harare are in chaos. The international oil
companies that distribute fuel to petrol stations have not received
deliveries for more than a month from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim), the state-owned fuel company with a monopoly on importation.
Noczim is bankrupt after more than two decades of a policy, directed by
Mugabe, of selling fuel for a fraction of its international market price.
††††††††††† Thanks to the black market there is no visible reduction in the
volume of traffic on the capital's streets. The Government tried to shut
down the black market this week by banning motorists from carrying fuel in
containers. Expectations were not high that Mugabe would succeed in sealing
a long time deal, and the statement issued at the end of last night's talk
left the extent of Guinea "co-operation" deliberately vague.
††††††††††† Mike Nyambuya, Energy Minister, recently announced that Noczim
owed foreign oil companies more than US$135 million, and was paying off the
debt at the rate of $5 million a month. Zimdaily heard that Mugabe was
offering to pay Mbasongo with tobacco, cattle and
††††††††††† tea. But with the mass expropriation of white-owned farms, the
Zimbabwe tobacco industry has fallen from being the world's biggest exporter
to producing only a third of its normal output last year. President Mbasogo
was shown Zimbabwe's prime producer of milk and related products, Dairiboard
yesterday, raising speculation about government's intentions.
††††††††††† Mugabe's scourge of commercial agriculture has decimated the
beef industry. Zimdaily heard that Mugabe had offered to pay the fuel partly
with an unspecified shareholding in Zimbabwe's fuel pipeline system, storage
facilities and petrol stations, only some of which are state-owned. Mugabe
has also offered a selection of white-owned farms seized by the government.
Mbasogo is accompanied by his wife Constancia Mangue, Equatorial Guinea's
First Lady. Zimdaily heard Mbasogo was set to address the Zanu PF central
committee on Friday.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-30
SHORTAGES of expertise and porous legislation is affecting the fight against
corruption in the country, the Minister of State for State Enterprises,
Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption, Paul Mangwana, said yesterday.
Mangwana said this while responding to a question by Kambuzuma legislator
Willas Madzimure on the challenges being faced by his ministry and the
Anti-Corruption Commission in the fight against graft.
"Some of the constraints we are facing include weak and fragmented
legislation on corruption, inadequate resources and skills deficiency in
information science, forensic auditing and public fear of reprisals for
reporting those involved in corruption," he said.
Mangwana said other challenges included little regional integration in terms
of extradition treaties, sophistication in white collar crime and the
existence of only two commercial crimes court in the country, both located
The minister added poor remuneration in both the private and public sector
was also driving people to commit white-collar crimes.
He, however, said an inter-ministerial committee had been set up and was
holding discussions with neighbouring countries in the region to fight
corruption and also review current legislation to curb graft.
"There is need for civil service reforms and provision of houses to civil
servants to improve their welfare and the engagement of the private sector
so that the astronomical profits are shared with the workers," Mangwana
The minister also urged the legislators to be involved in the fight against
"As leaders we should shun corruption. It's a matter of concern that only
the presidency has been distinctly calling for zero tolerance against
corruption. There is need for us as intermediate leaders, including church
leaders, business leaders and MPs to be louder in the fight against
corruption," he said.
Mangwana added that the government was working with the United Nations
Development Programme to provide technical assistance in the fight against
graft and that there were efforts to share intelligence with other Sadc
countries to eradicate vice.
Matopo legislator Lovemore Moyo castigated corruption in the allocation of
house under Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle saying 98 percent of people that
had benefited in his constituency were undeserving.
The country launched a crusade against corruption in 2003, which saw the
arrest of ex-finance minister Chris Kuruneri and businessman and politician
James Makamba being arrested for allegedly violating exchange control
Kuruneri is standing trial in the High Court, while Makamba fled the
Apart from the two high-ranking politicians, bankers Mthuli Ncube, Julius
Makoni, James Mushore, Francis Zimuto and Nicholas Vingirai also skipped the
country after police opened investigations into their deals.
Meanwhile, the leader of the House and Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, confirmed that there were problems
in the production of the Hansard whose latest edition was printed last year.
"I am aware of the problem and I am going to refer that the matter be
attended to by Parliament," he said in response to a question on whether he
was aware that the Hansard has become a "scarce commodity."
Proceedings in the House are recorded in the Hansard for distribution to the
The Minister of Science and Technology, Olivia Muchena, yesterday tabled the
Biotechnology Bill to the House and it was read for the first time and
referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Mar-30
THE government exceeded borrowing limits by 44 percent in 2004.
This was in direct contravention to standing regulations that the public
debt limit should be confined to 30 percent of the general revenue of
Zimbabwe, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee said on Tuesday.
In a special report tabled before the House of Assembly, the committee said
the government reached a debt of $224 billion.
This represented 74 percent of revenue.
The report said the transactions were carried out without Parliamentary
approval and this was of great concern to the committee.
"Information received by your committee from the Comptroller and Auditor
General revealed that the borrowing limit of 30 percent of the general
revenues of Zimbabwe as set by section 3 (2) of the State Loans and
Guarantees Act was exceeded by $224 332 128 491† (74 percent) without
"This is obviously a matter of concern to your committee. Loan repayment
arrear claims amounted to $37 billion as at December 31 2004. There were no
proper records for special treasury bills," chairperson of the committee
Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga told the House of Assembly.
She said the Ministry of Finance maintained that the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe is responsible for the accounting of the special Tresury Bills,
therefore the ministry as the manager of public funds is unable to carry out
†independent verification of the bills.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga added that her committee was also concerned that the
ministry was providing different figures on Treasury Bills on the
ledger and the public debt statement.
She said there were irregularities in the procurement system, especially in
the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs where accounts for
goods supplied to Khami Prison were not clear.
There were no internal controls. At the same time there appeared to be
conflicts of interest where officers, friends and workmates supplied goods.
Turning to the Ministry of Mines, the report said auditors had unearthed a
scam in which the institution was procuring sub standard goods from
The legislator said Treasury should swiftly move in and rigorously enforce
the management and control of public money and state property.
"The Ministry of Finance should seriously consider invoking misconduct
regulations on accounting officers who fail to bring up to date arrear
accounts within the stipulated period including those who fail to submit
their returns timeously.
"Loopholes that exist in the public finance management system which result
in unauthorised excess expenditure should be plugged.
"Ministries should cease forthwith using resources from Fund Accounts to
finance their recurrent expenditure as happened in the Ministry of Local
Government over a period of three years," the report said.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-30
THE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe has so far paid $10
billion to the Rural Electrification Agency for the electrification of the
Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GTLP), an official has said.
The authority's public relations manager, Major Edward Mbewe, yesterday said
the GTLP was this year scheduled to have a facelift that included
refurbishments of lodges, chalets, and roads to enhance its appeal to
He said Zimbabwe was losing a lot of tourism business to neighbouring South
Africa's Kruger National Park and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique
whose resources are more attractive to tourists.
Last year the GTLP received a $100 billion from the government under the
Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), Mbewe said, adding the money came
in tranches specifically for the upgrading of the national park.
He said $15 billion of the total $100 billion had so far been received and
$10 billion had been paid to clear outstanding debts with REA, which is
electrifying the area.
Mbewe, however, said the tranch system was a disadvantage as the value of
the money was constantly being eroded by inflation, currently at a peak of
"Inflation is eroding the value of the money and the quotations we made last
year have all expired. We cannot cope as the money is not as useful now as
when we got it," he said
Mbewe said the GTLP was the only entity in which the government had a hand
in the refurbishment process.
Over the years, the country has identified six potential transfrontier
conservation projects, including the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, in
collaboration with South Africa and Mozambique.
Gonarezhou and adjacent communal lands of Sengwe, in Chiredzi District, and
Chipise, in Beitbridge district, were incorporated into the Great Limpopo
The 35 000 square kilometre GLTP incorporates Limpopo National Park, Kruger
National Park and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park, to become the world's
biggest wildlife sanctuary.
The three parks have different life spans with Kruger Park being more than
100 years old, Gonarezhou about 30 years old and Limpopo just less than five
The GLTP stands to boost the region's tourism figures and earn the three
countries huge sums of money in foreign currency.
Other benefits include reinforcement of economic integration of the Sadc
region, restoration of cultural ties and promotion of infrastructure
development in communities that rely on wildlife activities.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-30
BETWEEN 70 and 90 percent of Zimbabwean university graduates are working
outside the country, a government official said yesterday in the capital.
Eunice Chitambira from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community
Development, said this during a conference on labour migration.
"The brain drain is very acute in Zimbabwe to the extent that between 70 and
90 percent of all Zimbabwean university graduates are working outside the
country. The loss of skilled people has serious negative implication on
development," she said.
Chitambira added that research conducted by the Southern Africa Research and
Documentation Centre (SARDC) revealed that an estimated 535 509 Zimbabweans
were living legally abroad, although there was no accurate data on illegal
It is, however, estimated that at least 3 million Zimbabweans, both legal
and illegal emigrants, are living in the Diaspora.
At least 36,8 percent of emigrants go to the United Kingdom, 34,5 percent to
Botswana, 6,9 percent to the USA, 4,6 percent to South Africa, 3,4 percent
to Canada and 13,8 percent to other countries.
"Results from the SARDC survey indicated that a large number of health care
professionals are leaving the country as indicated by the fact that 24,6
percent of Zimbabwean emigrants are trained doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
Teachers constitute 20 percent of the emigrants and this is compromising the
quality of education that is being offered in our educational institutions,"
Chitambira added that the movement of people had destroyed families.
†"The family is under threat because of a number of reasons which include
the brain drain. Husbands and wives are divorcing and remarrying because of
the distance relationships they are not able to maintain," she said adding
abuse of children especially girls had also increased due to the break up of
The economic hardships being faced in the country have resulted in an
upsurge in the number of Zimbabweans going to the Diaspora seeking greener
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-30
SOARING inflation is posing a serious threat to the viability of the
country's insurance industry, the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ), has
ICZ president, Lawrence Nazare, yesterday said that inflation, currently at
782 percent, had seriously affected their underwriting business.
"Inflation is one of the greatest enemies of insurance. Besides compromising
our clients, it also compromises our business as insurers. Our capacity to
keep underwriting is diminished," he said
Nazare said because of the unstable prices of most assets they insured, most
of their clients remained under- insured as they could not keep up with the
significant rise in the value of their assets.
He added that relative profits and balance sheets of most insurance
companies were being reduced because of the high number of industry players
compared to the client base.
This, he said, was aggravated by clients giving less priority to insurance
as the harsh economic environment forced them to focus on basic essentials.
Nazare described 2005 as the most challenging year for the insurance
industry, with insurance companies making technical losses.
He predicted that the shrinking business in the insurance industry would
compel insurance companies to retrench their staff to keep afloat.
"We will probably see voluntary retrenchments. We do not rule out companies
downsizing considerably," he said
Nazare expressed confidence that most insurance companies would comply with
the Ministry of Finance's minimum capital requirement which states that
re-insurers and short term insurance companies should have at least $30
billion and $5 billion respectively by end of August this year.
He however expressed concern that the minimum capital requirement could be
increased substantially by the ministry due to increasing inflation.
Nazare recommended the merging of insurance companies to avoid overtrading.
"Mergers like the one between Zimnat Lion and AIG are what we believe in. It
will reduce the number of players in the business and fewer players will
lead to a less congested market. Bigger and stronger players will ensure
that insurance companies are better managed and more capable to underwrite
business," he said.
He also welcomed as positive the formation of the Insurance and Pensions
Commission to be chaired by Elisha Mushayakarara.
More robust regulation would ensure discipline within the insurance industry
and protect the consumers, he added.
††††† MASOLA WA DABUDABU HOPEWELL
††††† Last updated: 03/30/2006 13:08:24
††††† Silence is golden!
††††† The worldly rumour is that silence is golden. If it is true that
silence is golden, bless all the monks of the order of silence. Perhaps a
great number of Zimbabweans are honorary members of this self-gagging,
self-censoring and self-depriving order. The deafening silence of the people
that accompanies the vile murder of our country and that of its people by
Mugabe bears loud testimony to this.
††††† I shall un-speak in order not to speak! Perhaps the torturer-general
will listen to my silence.
††††† Silence is seemingly the only approach that the people of Zimbabwe can
consider seriously; no talking, no complaints, no speeches at funerals, no
laughter and no sobbing. We have sung songs but with no reprieve in sight.
Our painfully sung tunes have been listened to in vein only by the oppressed
singers themselves. Long and emotional speeches have been read and said but
the rot persists. People have wept, cried, mourned and howled only at the
cost of their dear voices. So far, dead silence remains untested.
††††† I invite you to the newest weapon in the struggle for emancipation. I
invite you to refrain from your God-given talent of speech. I urge you to
subscribe to the golden club of silence. They say at times you are not only
what you eat but what you say as well. Say nothing and no-one would ever
know what you are and who you are. Say nothing and you will remain who you
are. Remain mum and you will never incur any responsibility to the devil. In
maintaining total silence, the chances of being misquoted by the
irresponsible gutter press are removed. The chance of saying the wrong
slogan to the wrong mob is diminished. The sad chance of incurring the devil's
wrath is next to nil.
††††† These hard times are about enduring. I ask you to endure that killing
urge to speak. I ask you to have self-control over your freedom of speech.
You have a right to remain silent. Should you succumb to your will to speak,
remember that anything you say may be used against you. So; countrymen, do
not implicate yourselves by saying anything. Remain silent! Your stoical
stance will bear fruits. Exercise your right to remain silent by forfeiting
the other right to freedom of speech!
††††† Take to quietism with fanatical zeal. It may seem like a demeaning
alternative, but it is definitely the safest one. Passive attitude to life
is much safer than active transportation to doom. Your silence may degrade
your ego though. It may lower your self-esteem and might also humiliate you
in the face. Soldier on with the debasement. At the end, you will be
dignified with nobility. You will be exalted to the highest order of
††††† Let us all be the dastards that the powers want us to be. Let us show
them all the cowardice we have. Let us make them know that we are silently
resolving to remain the silent sneaking cowards they want us to be. Let us
not voice our concerns. What else can we as a people do? We have been
refused to ask for some more into our plates, to ask why this and that may
be happening the way it is and ask the question when will so and so quit.
††††† What else can a people denied other basic rights do? Who can we turn
to besides silence? If the salesman can raise his prices hourly, we can also
raise the silent stake daily. The vow of silence is the cheapest, yet the
most effective. If the salesman bastardizes your silence, you can still
revenge by employing a stronger resolve to remain silent. At the end, the
silence of the people will debunk the evil within the system.
††††† As we remain silent in this dark world, we can silently pray to the
Lord for salvation. We can silently ask the lord to remain in our midst
during our silence. We can silently ask the Lord to shed some light onto
this dark world. We can silently curse all those forces of evil. We can
silently eat humble pie in the fashion desired by our silent appetites. We
can then silently acknowledge the mayhem and the disorder within. We can
silently disassociate ourselves from the evil. As we remain silent, the
forces of darkness will not enjoy our submissiveness.
††††† If the forces of darkness charge us for being silent, we can answer
back by being even more silent. Perhaps we can silently hope that those
forces have brains. We can silently assume that the forces of darkness will
not continue to flog a dead frog, or is it horse? In our silence, we can
only pray and hope that after-all there is some human heart within the burly
bodies of the overly-fed forces of eternal darkness. We can silently hope
that in their stately houses, the forces of darkness do not fry house flies,
but fry fish like us. We can silently picture and hope for the human side of
the evil forces.
††††† If the order of silence fails to settle the score between the good and
the bad, then we can again silently pray to God. We could silently wish that
the biblical Samson will have an urge to marry a money loving woman from the
fearsome tribe of the Philistines. We can silently wish that Samson will be
foolish enough to tell Delilah that his power, charm, wickedness, arrogance,
self-assertiveness, strength and might are located in his hair.
††††† We can remain religiously silent and hope that Samson will be charmed
by the gracefulness of Delilah and expose his wickedness. In our silence, we
can hope to see Samson losing his locks. In our silence, we can see Delilah
inviting the Philistines to feast on the weak Samson. This is only if we
have faith in silence!
††††† Now, fellow countrymen, are you giving yourselves up to the order of
silence? Are you going to accept economic mismanagement silently and
reservedly? Are you going to look at one side when the price-ful blow of
profiteering strikes your meagre earnings? Are you going to offer some tepid
responce to absence of a proper way of life? Are you going to silently eat
nothing and hope your silence will bring something to your starving body?
Are you going to silently allow the prophets of doom mismanage your economy?
Are you going to resign to silence as the forces of earthly men and women
eviscerate your existence? Are you going to silently wait for the violent
visitation of the youthful brigands? Are you silently resigning the fate of
your children to the fate of appeasement?
††††† May be we are monks of the silent order because we fear the rebound.
It is said that if you throw dirt around, some of it sticks. May be we fear
throwing dirt around. May be we do not mind dirt being thrown to us. May be
we are zombies under the spell of the forces of darkness. May be we are part
of the forces of evil. May be we enjoy being short-changed. May be it is
African to be exploited from birth to death, by fellow Blacks, colonising
Whites, enslaving Browns from the Middle East and enterprising Yellows from
the far East.
††††† In our silence, we accept to remain the hewers of stone and drawers of
water. Unfortunately again we shall silently marvel at the efficiency of
those who use us as they use us to build them magnificent castles. We shall
silently die of thirst as we see those who exploit our silence drink with
evil gulps the water we draw. We shall silently choke in hunger, anger,
frustration and misery as we move a gear up in our silent resolve to remain
††††† I may not speak!
††††† Masola wa Dabudabu is a columnist for New Zimbabwe.com and was
previously a regular columnist with the banned Daily News. He writes from
London. CONTACT MASOLA:
For 5 years, Professor Jonathan Moyo was President Robert Mugabe's strident
defender as Information Minister. Today, he is an Independent MP and sitting
on the other side of the fence, tearing into the man he loathed, then liked,
and now loathes again. On Tuesday night, he spoke to SW Radio Africa's top
inquisitor, Violet Gonda, and the following is a transcript of the interview
Last updated: 03/30/2006 13:07:54
Violet: Our guest on the programme this week is Professor Jonathan Moyo the
former Information Minister who is now an independent MP for Tsholotsho.
Violet: Let's start with the general question on the crisis in the country.
You have written an article talking about the devastating economic meltdown
and you said if nothing is done to intervene as a matter of national urgency
more people will perish as some already have. And you also say the economy
is the real opposition to ZANU-PF. First of all can you explain the state of
the economy and how bad things are?
Moyo: Well I thank it is now an undeniable truth that there is no single
living Zimbabwean who can ever recall such a situation happening in the
country, as we have today, in their lifetime. Some people have indicated of
course that the economy has fallen to the standards of 1953 but the truth of
the matter is people are finding it difficult to make ends meet. We have
high unemployment levels, unprecedented at over 85%, we have poverty, people
living below the poverty line - over 90% of our population, and now
inflation is hovering around 1000%.
Basic goods necessary for everyday living are either unavailable or
unaffordable. What is particularly disquieting about this is that those in
authority, the ruling Zanu-PF Government, while it claims to enjoy popular
support, while it claims to be for Zimbabweans, for the sovereignty of the
people, it is now clear to all that they are totally clueless.they don't
know what to do. Over the last 6 months everything has gotten worse and the
hope that the government had was that the IMF was going to come to their
rescue and that is why some 21 trillion dollars were printed to pay back the
arrears and this was done to the detriment of the country.
As we all know the IMF has not restored voting rights, it has not opened new
credit lines. There was also hope that with excellent rains, and indeed
there were very good rains this year, but again to demonstrate that the
government is no longer able to come up with any solution even when it comes
to matters that traditionally we would expect it to be leading, this is
going to be a disastrous season, the harvest will be probably half the
requirements of the country when it comes to maize, but even the other crops
like tobacco, and horticulture, the story on the ground is disastrous. We
were not prepared.
Violet: Now Professor Moyo you say the government is totally clueless on the
way forward. Now what do you think needs to be done?
Moyo: The problem of course is a political matter. Right now there is no
national or local confidence in the economy, no international confidence in
the economy because of the unresolved political situation that obtains in
the country. It really is an obvious thing now that as long as we have
President Mugabe in power and more particularly as long as we have Zanu-PF
in power, we are not going to address the basic fundamental problems that
are affecting our economy. So it is political first and there is no sign
that Zanu-PF sees this within itself; indication of a willingness to reform
within Zanu-PF let alone reform within the country. And so what needs to be
done when the economy begins to affect everyone, businesses consumers,
ordinary people in such ways, it means the time for everyone to work
together has come; it means the time to put aside petty political squabbles,
to forge a united front against Zanu-PF (has come). It's so clear now that
the problem is Zanu-PF. Nobody has confidence in Zanu-PF. And Zanu-PF has
lost confidence in itself that is why it is unable to deal with the
Violet: But Professor Moyo not long ago you were the spokesperson for this
same government. First of all what policy discussions took place while you
were in cabinet and wasn't there a recognition that things were going bad,
that things were deteriorating?
Moyo: Well it's over a year ago when I was in government discussing these
things. You know that since 2000 a fundamental issue in our country has been
how to deal with the land question and this issue which I believe many
Zimbabweans agree that it is fundamental has not been handled properly.
There have been mistakes, very serious mistakes that were made. There were
discussions when I was in government about these mistakes and at some point
we thought that there was a willingness to correct the mistakes. But if you
look at what happened in October last year through constitutional amendment
number 17 it's obvious that there is no willingness in Zanu-PF to deal with
these mistakes. Instead they have wadded more complications to the original
Now as long as this fundamental question of not just land but general
property relations in Zimbabwe as long as this question is not handled
properly then we are furthering economic doom. But it is not just a question
of what Zanu-pf does alone or what discussion may be going on or not going
on in government, it is a question of what Zimbabweans are going to do about
it. Many people have seen Zimbabweans as a docile population; Zimbabweans as
people who are not capable of rising up against a government who are
violating their fundamental rights, not just political rights but also
Violet: Can I just interject there Professor Moyo, you know you sound very
sensible right now and someone would say what great intellect, but some say
coming from someone who's played a part - you were part of the system when
institutions were breaking down - how do you feel they you were part and
parcel of that system that has destroyed the country?
Moyo: Well, I don't agree that I was part of a system that destroyed the
country. I was among those who were trying to reform that system. It is too
simplistic to assume that there are some people who know how we should
resolve the Zimbabwean conflict ant that they are the only ones that have
that answer and that those people are outside Zanu PF. That is a fallacy
which is costing us a lot. There are many people and as someone who was in
government what you hear people say and do in terms of their public
posturing and what they actually work tirelessly to achieve within the
structures of ZANU PF is entirely a different matter. I certainly consider
myself one of those who tried to reform Zanu PF from within and failed and
the failure became quite public in November of 2004. I believe that in a
country such as ours where the ruling party is linked with the liberation of
the country you cannot reform a country like that without reforming the
Violet: but you were the ruthless Information Minister who crafted much of
the legislation that destroyed the independent media in the country or at
least a representative of the government that was doing so. Now you never
spoke out against it during your reign as Information Minister. Do you now
believe that this was wrong and that government should reverse its stance on
Moyo: No, I am quite clear that there's a great deal of misunderstanding
about my role and there's also a great deal of misunderstanding about the
legislation itself. I believed that it was necessary to have legislation and
to have it applied to everyone else But the application of legislation
especially when it comes to the arrest and prosecution of people has nothing
to do with people outside the police and the Attorney General's office;
those are the people who arrest and prosecute and the fact that there is a
selective application of the law in Zimbabwe is well known. I fought with
Nathan Shamuyarira over Sky News and he did not want Sky News subjected
under the laws of the country which applied to the media and my fight with
him is very public because I did not accept that if certain foreign media
come through Zanu PF for guru's like him then they should not be subjected
to the law.
Violet: At the time you never spoke out against these oppressive laws
against the media. You ruled the media with an iron fist, do you not agree
Moyo: No, I don't agree with that but I'm aware that there are many people
who feel so and some of those people because they take on a certain position
and I also know that there are some people who think that if you produce a
robust argument against them you are ruthless. They just want you to fall
down and say roll over me. Yes, we argued bitterly. There are a number of
issues that you can be very specific about where I did not agree with
certain elements of the media - I did not agree with them, I don't agree
with them to day on those matters. It does not matter whether I'm in
government or I'm not in government. As an opposition person today I
represent Tsholotsho as an Independent Member of Parliament and I do not
wish to be assisted by a media that manufactures false stories; claims that
people have been beheaded by others when that is not the case. I do not
consider such a media to be part of a democratic process, in fact I consider
a media like that to be quite retrogressive in terms of the democratic
exercise. Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe, we have some people who think that if
you present an argument against them which they lose and its a robust
argument then they say you are vicious against the media - no I don't agree
with that kind of thing.
Violet: You seem to have an easy answer for everything. I remember calling
you several times while you were minister of information and you used to
refuse to talk to SW Radio Africa. What has changed now? You are talking to
me right now?
Moyo: Yes I'm talking to you I think you have several time s and I'm in
contact with some of my colleagues and I have colleagues talking to you and
I hope you think it would a good think to talk to you. And I hope you don't
think we are proving anything or we have made an achievement. I just think
its a fact that many Zimbabweans have been taking different positions over
the past five years for one reason or another. We've got to respect that.
Either we are going to be setting up kangaroo courts against each other or
we are going to wake up to the realisation that our country is bigger, that
there is a bigger picture there, but, not withstanding the differences which
we have had - genuine or otherwise. History calls on us to now work
Violet: We understand that but you must also understand that there is a lot
of public anger against you because of all the corruption and greed and lack
of viable policies that existed when you were part of that system.
Moyo: I reject that.
Violet: Can I finish the question? Many people would say why did you
continue to defend the government as a spokesperson, why didn't you speak
for the Zimbabwean people as you see to be doing right now. Why didn't you
do that when you were in Zanu PF; in government?
Moyo: You ask the artists in this city. I spoke to them and fought for them
and brought legislation in their favour. They are Zimbabweans. You ask the
people in Tsholotsho, I spoke for them, fought for them as Minister. For 20
years before I came into government there was not even a single High School
in the whole of Tsholotsho district. As a result of my direct intervention
there are now ten High schools - I consider that a contribution to the
people of Zimbabwe and there are many other things that I did. What I would
say to those people raising the issue genuinely as I believe you are is that
you must remember that when you are fighting that system from outside there
are tools and methods are different from when you say, Oh Moyo you are
defending this and that I'm sure as a journalist you also recall rather well
that throughout my tenure in Zanu PF I was constantly at loggerheads with
the so called Zanu PF gurus and so forth. Why was it so? Why is it that they
were having all those endless meetings against Moyo?
And finally remember I decided myself to leave Zanu-PF. You did not -
meaning generally people with the view such as you are expressing, get me to
leave Zanu-PF. They did not even get me to leave themselves. They wanted to
discipline me, they wanted to say no you cannot pursue these things. None in
the media as far as I am aware has ever gone really deep to unravel the so
called Tsholotsho saga. Many of you in the media celebrated because you
believed it led to Moyo's departure from government.
Violet: So tell us what was it, you are here right now.
Moyo: I think it's a very long story and I think it would be quite useful
for you to start digging to understand exactly what happened. Because, look
at how your colleagues in the media including the state media in Zimbabwe
have dug into the divisions that have been witnessed in the opposition MDC
to the extent of calling one faction pro senate and another anti senate. The
same people doing that have not been willing to look at the divisions that
lead to the so called Tsholotsho saga. They have not. And yet those
divisions are there today, and they present also opportunities to the
opposition as written large.
Violet: Maybe this is another topic that we can call you on at a later
Moyo: Sure, some other time.
Violet: There is another issue I would like to ask you about. You seem to
say you used to speak out about several issues that were happening in the
country and you used to voice this while you were Minister of Information.
But there were other things that you did, Professor Moyo that were obvious
to the rest of the world specially people in the country that these things
were not true for example in September 2004 at the height of the food crisis
when people were starving in Bulawayo do you remember saying that there is
no food crisis in Zimbabwe?
Moyo: Yes I remember and that was true. This is the thing about us
Zimbabweans either we get so frivolous to the point of irrelevance. You
can't mix up a situation of malnutrition and the availability of food in a
particular place at a particular time.
Violet: But it was worsened by the fact that there was no food.
Moyo: Give me an opportunity to answer, you asked the question. It is not
right to assume that if there was maize in the silos of Bulawayo in
September 2004 than that maize should be there forever, that it should be
there even in January 2006. It would be complete folly, and I just wonder
where this thinking comes from.
Violet: Do you remember there was partisan distribution of food especially
in Bulawayo at that time also.
Moyo: Listen, I know there was a problem of partisan distribution of food in
the whole of Zimbabwe including my constituency Tsholotsho, and that was a
major feature of my campaign platform, I know about that.
Violet: That other statement that you made in 2001 you said that "It's clear
to anyone who can read the writing is on the wall that Zanu-PF is the
future". Now your recent analysis contradicts this. Do you see any future
for Zanu PF?
Moyo: You know, again, this is an example, listen are you quoting the Bible
or you are quoting Jonathan Moyo in 2001 or you are quoting Jonathan Moyo in
2006. Surely you have got to say things they was they are at the time. And
frankly that was at the height of very serious efforts by myself and others
who are still in Zanu-PF to reform that party and to send a positive message
in that party that if you want to be a party of the future going ahead in
2002 and 2004 for the congress, here is the agenda for that, and we were
seriously involved in reforming that party. Yesterday it was a party of the
future, today it is not. And the reason it is not is because of some old men
believe that the party is theirs and they believe they are the shareholders
of that party, that no one else can contribute to that party, that therefore
it does not belong to all Zimbabweans.
Violet: Surely Professor Moyo how then can people take you seriously when
you have changed sides twice in the last 2 decades? You went from being a
major critic of Zanu-PF, then became its spokesman and defender and now, a
critic again. Can you see why this leads to problems of credibility?
Moyo: The choice is all yours. I did not pick up the phone and call you to
say you take me seriously. The choice is all yours and I would like to
believe that the fact that you called me indicates that you take me
seriously and the fact that I am entertaining you reflects that I am taking
you seriously. And it would be a good thing for Zimbabweans to take each
other seriously regardless of the various positions we have taken. Raila
Odinga over the last 3 years has been in NDP, in LDP, in KANU to the point
of seeking the presidency of KANU, out of KANU into NAK, out of NAK, back
working with KANU in the Orange Democratic Movement. That's why the process
in that country is more dynamic and much more promising.
You Look at people who are in Zanu-PF, do you think they have always been in
Zanu-PF? Why are people taking Nathan Shamuyarira seriously when he was once
Frolizi. Mugabe was NDP he was Zapu he became Zanu, why do people take him
seriously? We have to deal with the situation as it emerges and what I can
tell you is that none of us will ever succeed to transform our country by
avoiding Zanu-PF. We have got to deal with it in one way or the other. Some
might have to join it to try and beat them from within, others might have to
work from outside but at the end of the day the struggle will only succeed
when we have brought on board a significant number of the rank and file of
Zanu-PF because of our history.
Violet: I'm afraid Professor Moyo we have to end here. Thank you very much.
Moyo: You are most welcome.
††††† By Rhoda Mashavave
††††† ZIMBABWE'S political and economic crisis has seen thousands of
professionals leaving the country to live as either political or economic
refugees.† Zimbabwejournalists.com has been tracking down some of Zimbabwe's
prominent sons and daughters who are now scattered far and wide with their
skills now benefiting their new chosen communities at the expense of their
country. This week Rhoda Mashavave spoke with Chenjerai Hove, one of the
most prolific writers from Zimbabwe. The leading author has published
several books. His steady output includes both fiction and non-fiction.
Celebrated for his novel, Bones, which won the Noma Award in 1989, Hove is
well known for writing poetry. His major thematic preoccupation is humanity.
The creative canvas that engages his poetic imagination is colonialism,
ideologies of African patriarchy and, more seriously, the impact of the
policies of domestic tyrants on the lives of ordinary people. Since leaving
Zimbabwe Hove has lived in France and is now based in Norway. He talks about
his anxieties and hopes for a new Zimbabwe.
††††† RM: What were the circumstances that led you to make this painful
decision to live in exile?
††††† CH: I feared for my personal security after many anonymous telephone
threats to me and my family. At some point, my personal electronic goods
were stolen by burglars. The police officers who came to investigate
informed me they could not help much since it looked like a "political act".
That was after they asked me to
††††† identify myself and they discovered that I was "the writer". Many
telephone threats continued to pour in, directed at me and my family. Some
even went so far as to tell me that I would disappear any time.
††††† It was at that time that I also got reliable secret information
suggesting that the 2002 election period was too dangerous for me. So I
decided to leave, hoping that I would return when things calmed down. But
things did not calm down. It is probably worse
††††† than when I left.
††††† RM: Has living in exile been good for your writing?
††††† CH: Living in exile is never good for anything. I miss the real voices
of people, the sounds and rhythms of home, the background to my poetic
language, the scents, the birds, the colours of my landscape. Although I
carry my piece of country with me, it is not the same. I write out of the
longing and desire for the motherland. It is always a part of me. But I have
to write and reflect more since exile is also a time to look at one's
country from a distance.
††††† Sometimes distance, another space, creates the desired tensions which
make the creator of literature more sensitive to words and imagery which
sometimes is murky when one is inside the issues.
††††† RM: What do you find as being very difficult living in exile?
††††† CH: Exile forces me to create new imagery and even search for new
words. It is like being a child, asking people the simple things like names
of local birds, learning new languages and learning to make friends as a
matter of necessity.
††††† Europe is an individualistic continent. Sometimes I cannot avoid
feeling really lonely, isolated. People do not talk much to strangers, or
even to each other. In Africa there is always someone near you, talking to
you or even harassing you with all sorts of conversations. It is good to
have that human link, the rhythm of life.
††††† I found it difficult to deal with the fact that European writers do
not seem to want to be involved with social and political issues which
affect them every day. They are resigned to being on the periphery. Writers
in the developing world are active in all sorts of projects, literary and
social. That is the way it should be.
††††† So, when I tell writers gatherings that I am a political writer, they
get surprised. For me everything is political. That means everything has to
do with distribution of power, use and abuse of power. Humans are either
victims or victimizers in a dynamic shift of power relations, which we live
through every day of our life. Everything is political, including food,
money, education, media, love. All these have to do with power relations
between people and institutions. Most European writers do not dare take the
cultural dialogue this far.
††††† RM: Do you regret being a writer, especially with the persecution that
you face in your own country?
††††† CH:I can't imagine being something else. Imagine if I had been some
kind of businessman or bureaucrat. I would be so miserable. Literature gives
me hope and vision. Literature is life. Through writing I dream my dreams
for myself and for society. I hope readers share some of my visions in order
for them to gain strength to continue with life.
††††† The persecution that I have suffered is part of the risk of being a
creator of new dreams. As a writer I put the mirror of our society in front
of our faces so that we can see how beautiful or ugly we are. Some people
want to refuse to see the mirror. They try to break it because it shows them
their ugliness. Literature has the task of shocking society into
re-examining itself. Social contradictions come to the surface through art
and artistic works.
††††† If some people are afraid of idea, they persecute the bearer of
messages. It has always happened in societies going through drastic changes.
††††† Our country is now a big wound. As a writer I have to say it, to
create suitable imagery to cope with it all. Through words, I have to paint
the ugliness that has descended on the land. It is painful for some people,
especially those in power. So, they choose to make me a victim.
††††† I will continue to write and dream a better life for our country, to
give hope to the smallest and weakest person in our country so that one day
we will not be blamed by future generations for sitting by while the country
††††† RM: Have artists been vocal enough about the social, political and
economic decay in Zimbabwe?
††††† CH: There are different categories of writers. There those who stand
up and refuse to allow the country to continue to decay. There also those
who think it is fine to join the bandwagon and get a few crumbs from the
decaying system. The third group pretends not to be involved.
††††† Generally artists in Zimbabwe have been too silent about the social,
political and economic decay of the land. As individuals, most depict the
problems. But as a collective, they do not stand up in their numbers and
refuse to accept certain social and political abuses happening in the
††††† Artists are the conscience-keepers of society. Imagine how effective
it would be if artists from all corners of the country signed and presented
a petition to the political leaders on the state of our national decay. That
would make a huge difference.
††††† Look at what artists have done in Latin America, they stand up and
organise demonstrations against social and political abuse in their
countries. They demand change. This is what Zimbabwean artists should do as
††††† A Nigerian writer calls writers 'the sensitive point of the
community,' which means they have a certain responsibility by virtue of
being public figures who occupy public and private spaces, the space of the
imagination as well as the public space of being read by the public. Issues
are too urgent for writers and other artists to sit at home and pretend that
it is not their job to criticise the political leaders for the suffering
they have burdened the country with.
††††† RM: What can Zimbabweans in exile do to help opposition politics in
††††† CH: Zimbabweans in exile should be well-orgnised. They can become
††††† their organisations can shape local politics back home. After all,
they are a massive economic bloc in terms of their financial contribution to
the Zimbabwean economy. They can become an effective pressure group in
demanding political common sense
††††† and dialogue in the country.
††††† RM: If you were allowed to turn the hands of time what would you
††††† CH:I would suspend all the draconian laws which have been enacted in
Zimbabwe. I would ensure that citizens are able to live their lives without
fear of government security agencies. All institutions of government should
cease being party machinery to oppress the people. Police, army,
intelligence agencies, they should stop being enemies of the people.
††††† I would also ensure that the leaders go back to the people to seek
answers on national and even community issues. For too long there has been
created a tradition of not listening to the people. Politicians should be
the servants not masters of the people. That means one has to remove the
'chef' mentality and replace it with another type of
††††† power with vision and humility.
††††† There is need to remove fear in the hearts and minds of the citizens.
At the moment, everyone is so afraid of those in power. And those in power
are afraid of the people. Why, for example, would the president be hidden
and guarded in such an impenetrable motorcade when he is supposed to be a
man of the people, elected by the people, at the service of the people.
There is so much money which is wasted on such worthless projects.
††††† Everyone knows that the current constitution is bad for the country.
It should be thrown away and a new one created in its place, a constitution
written by a properly constituted body emanating from the wishes of the
people. Bad constitutions breed dictators. That is where we are now:
††††† A new constitution should also limit the presidential terms to a
maximum of two four-year terms. And since there is a minimum age for the
president, there should also be a maximum age. The president should retire
at the age of 65 since most workers also retire at that age in order for
them to go home and rest. The idea of a life-president should be erased from
our minds and national documents.
††††† RM: A lot should have happened since you left Zimbabwe six years ago -
what have you achieved in the literary world so far?
††††† CH:I left the country four years ago, not six. I am writing most of
the time. In that time I have written and published three books. And there
is more to come. Writing is not like baking bread where you have to produce
a loaf every morning. It is not like that. Sometimes I take time to reflect
on issues before sitting down to write them. It is different from
journalistic work. A book is a whole world, and it takes time to create it.
It is a vast task which needs profound reflection.
††††† At the same time, I have to work. Not many writers in the world are
able to live from their literary work. As a teacher, I have to travel all
over the world, teaching creative writing, literature, and other social
issues that I concern myself with.
††††† RM: What do you hope to achieve in the next 10 years?
††††† CH: In the next ten years I hope to publish more and more books. I
hope in that time I will manage to achieve my goal of 40 books under my
name. That is my target. In the near future, when Zimbabwe becomes free
again, I hope to go back home and work with youngsters to help them create
literature instead of creating death and suffering as is happening now when
they trained to be blood-thirsty young militias. I want to participate in
restoring our memory, our vision, in projects of healing a society torn
apart by violence and hatred.
††††† RM: When do you expect to return to Zimbabwe?
††††† CH: My heart is already back home. I am returning slowly. When the
atmosphere is better, when there is no political violence, I will be back
then. Maybe one of these days I will pay a visit to see the wounds inflicted
on our land by the current political madness.
††††† RM: Have you made new friends, and are you in touch with those you
left in Zimbabwe?
††††† CH:I am always in touch with friends back home. They keep me informed.
And through them I receive descriptions of the wounds on their bodies and on
the land. I have many new friends, but not as many as in Zimbabwe. I miss
those street walks which I never could do without someone greeting me or
challenging me about my last article. It is not the same here.
††††† RM: What are your parting words to Zimbabweans living in exile?
††††† CH: Exiles should keep their vision burning. They should participate
in life wherever they are. They should not degenerate into the abyss of
despair and hopelessness. Always dream of a better country tomorrow. Always
keep the smile even when you cry and miss home. After all, you carry a big
piece of home within you. Prepare yourself with skills to go and rebuild the
country one day. Every sunrise must give you hope and a new confidence that
a step ahead has happened.
African case of brain-injured young man mirrors Terri's plight
Posted: March 30, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Editor's note: The following article is by Diana Lynne, author of a
powerful, comprehensive book on Terri Schiavo's life and death, entitled
"Terri's Story: The Court-Ordered Death of an American Woman."
By Diana Lynne
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
She was kept from the hospice bedside of her 42-year-old child at the hour
of death. Several weeks have since passed and she remains in the dark as to
where her child's spouse buried the cremated remains. In the place of
consolation, the spouse offers the grieving mother derision and spite. The
mother's crime? Opposing the spouse's dogged pursuit of her child's death
over the past seven years.
The mother's name is Susan Colquhoun. She lives in Harare, Zimbabwe. Her
nightmare mirrors that of Mary Schindler, mother of Terri Schiavo, the
41-year-old brain-injured woman who died one year ago tomorrow following the
court-ordered removal of her feeding tube.
'Angel of death'
Colquhoun's son, Stephen, sustained a brain injury eight years ago, after
being struck by lightning on the Tengwe farm where he was employed.
Witnesses of the incident reported to the mother the extraordinary details.
One standing nearby claimed Stephen was laughing at the sight of an ostrich
in the distance, dancing and twisting itself into a fantastic feathery
pretzel. Stephen had put his head back as he laughed, closed his eyes and
exclaimed, "God! What a beautiful country this is!" At that moment, the
lightning bolt struck him on the right temple, burning an inch-wide hole in
the side of his head above his right ear and lifting him into the air. He
landed on the ground several feet away.
From boyhood, Stephen, who is described as a perfect double for actor Kiefer
Sutherland, loved violent storms and would run outside with his mother and
siblings at the first sign of a deluge and lay on the lawn marveling at the
sheet lightning. One night, when Stephen was 11, his mother remembers him
running up to her "in a state of fear" following a storm.
"He said the most extraordinary thing," Colquhoun recalls, '"'The angel of
death [lightning] has just flown over the house and I know it is looking for
me, Mom.' He never again shared the storms with us and his nightmares of
being 'trapped in a loaf of bread' haunted him for years. It is as if he had
known that one day he would be struck down by lightning and trapped within
his own body."
The lightning knocked Stephen unconscious and he remained in a coma for
several weeks, during which time he underwent a tracheotomy. His mother was
assured the device was merely a temporary "nursing aid," but he was never
weaned off of it over the subsequent eight years.
Stephen Colquhoun's diagnosis depended on who was paying the doctor's bill.
Physicians hired by Stephen's wife of approximately one year, Zana
Colquhoun, determined he was in a permanent vegetative state, although no
tests were ever taken to assess his level of consciousness. Answering a call
for help from Susan Colquhoun and her family, a prominent neurosurgeon from
South Africa flew to Harare to examine Stephen and reported there were signs
of cognizance, but could not determine how much damage had occurred or how
long he could survive.
The neurosurgeon admitted very little was known about lightning-strike
victims, as it was rare for them to survive a direct hit. Africa has the
highest lightning-strike fatality rate in the world. An expert on
lightning-strike victims consulted over the Internet helped tip the scales
in favor of Zana Colquhoun.
Like Terri Schiavo, in the months directly following his injury when he was
given physical therapy, Stephen made progress toward rehabilitation. He
moved limbs, wiggled toes and ate bowls of porridge by mouth. When his
efforts to respond to commands during therapy sessions were applauded,
Stephen is said to have returned the praise with a smile. Susan Colquhoun
maintains she was able to communicate with her son through a language of
hand squeezing and facial grimaces.
Zana Colquhoun wrote her observations at that time on a visitor's journal
kept on the wall beside Stephen's bed, noting Stephen's progress with
optimism. Like Michael Schiavo in the early months following Terri's injury,
Zana Colquhoun believed her spouse was aware of her presence and that of
their son born two weeks after Stephen's lightning strike.
Then, as with Terri, Stephen's rehabilitation was abruptly aborted on the
orders of his spouse. Oral feeding was replaced by tube feeding. Plans to
fly him to Johannesburg for special treatment in a hyperbaric chamber were
abandoned. Like Terri Schiavo, he was transferred to a hospice facility. The
team of physical therapists who had attended to Stephen on a daily basis was
dismissed by the spouse, as was a subsequent therapist privately employed by
Susan Colquhoun. No explanations were given.
Will to live or die?
As in the Terri Schiavo case, the reason for stopping rehab was not
financial. Zana Colquhoun received substantial sums of money in donations to
fund Stephen's care. Like Michael Schiavo, Zana Colquhoun, who already was
dating another man, decided her spouse needed to die. Her apparent change of
heart coincided with the e-mailed prognosis from the lightning-strike
victims' expert, whom neither met nor examined Stephen. She suggested he
would be better off dead. The recommended course of action from this
prominent physician was to introduce Stephen to the "old man's friend,"
which is a euphemism in the medical community for pneumonia left untreated
until death ensues.
In a 1998 letter addressed to her mother-in-law and Stephen's siblings, Zana
Colquhoun demanded her husband should not be "forced" to live.
"Steve is lying in bed with absolutely no function of any part of his body
and certainly, to me, there is no hope or sight of any possibility to prove
otherwise," Zana Colquhoun wrote. "My opinion is that there is no
noticeable, meaningful or significant improvement. And maybe he hasn't
chosen to live like this, but rather we are responsible for forcing food and
medication down his throat daily, which is keeping him alive."
Zana Colquhoun's family backed her stance, as did the hospital and hospice
administrators who were bound by law to answer to the patient's next of kin.
Just as in the case of Terri Schiavo, the spouse had the legal upper hand in
the dispute. Susan Colquhoun believes that needs to change.
"It makes a mockery of basic human rights when a comparative stranger enters
a family through marriage and has the immediate right to decide on whether
their partner can live or die," she asserts. "And the parent loses all
rights to save their child, under circumstances such as those experienced by
the Schindlers, myself and untold thousands of others."
Susan Colquhoun and Stephen's siblings viewed his situation entirely
differently from his wife.
"If my son wanted to die, he would have done so years back," Colquhoun
stated to WorldNetDaily. "I have a report from a doctor I smuggled into the
nursing complex a couple of years ago, confirming that Stephen was very
cognizant and co-operative, but [was] in a poor state of nutrition and [had]
a malfunctional trach tube which [was] likely to cause dependency pneumonia.
The report also refers to lack of sufficient physiotherapy, which is
essential for patients in Stephen's condition."
Susan Colquhoun describes an uphill battle to keep her son healthy over the
years following his brain injury, and meeting with constant resistance from
his caregivers who took their orders from Zana Colquhoun. When she
discovered her son feverishly fighting the infection of bedsores, or
dependency pneumonia as a result of the tracheotomy tube in his throat, she
arranged for him to receive care and antibiotics from a wound specialist.
When Stephen started to appear "skeletal," Colquhoun says she got his weight
back up by bringing homemade, high-protein soups and feeding him, while his
brother in South Africa arranged for him to receive special food
Stephen's tracheotomy tube was left uncovered at one point, allowing flies
to feed on the raw flesh around the stoma. Cockroaches that were breeding in
the frame of his hospital bed moved into the tube. After watching her son
cough up dead cockroaches, Colquhoun erected a mosquito net around his bed.
On the orders of the facility's administrator, this was immediately taken
down. Colquhoun reports that after she threatened to bring in the police and
the media, the netting returned and was kept in place.
Colquhoun alerted the International Red Cross, the Nursing Association and a
human rights attorney, but got nowhere.
Family dispute becomes public debate
In May 2001, the familial debate over Stephen's fate spilled onto the
editorial pages of the weekly local newspaper, the Financial Gazette,
beginning with a column by reporter Grace Mutandwa, who had visited Stephen
at the hospice.
"I know deep in my heart, that it would be wrong to let this young man die,"
Mutandwa wrote. "He is mentally alert, recognises people, gets quite excited
when his mother visits and while squeezing your hands tries to mouth 'hello'
or 'hi'. Yes, he might be bedridden and has developed paralysis, possibly
through lack of adequate physiotherapy, but should he just be left to die?"
Zana Colquhoun responded with a letter to the editor. "Every medical opinion
[concurred] that there [was] no prospect of improvement," she wrote,
maintaining her husband remained "deeply unconscious." She also disputed the
suggestion of medical negligence and abuse.
"I was 25 years old at the time of the tragedy and I have worked tirelessly
and to the utmost of my ability to ensure that Stephen is looked after to
the best possible standard in Zimbabwe," Zana Colquhoun wrote. "I have been
devastated and very deeply hurt by the unwarranted and unsubstantiated
attack by Grace Mutandwa ... concerning Stephen's treatment. Most offensive
is the suggestion that attempts have been made to terminate my husband's
life. The fact that Stephen is still alive three and a half years after his
injury is more than adequate proof that there is no such intention."
Stephen's brother, David Colquhoun, penned a rebuttal in another letter to
the editor: "My brother is alive today due to the wonderful care that his
privately employed nursing staff have provided over the last three and a
half years, together with Stephen's amazing willpower to stay alive," he
wrote. "I believe that together with his nurses and the right rehabilitation
programme he would have been afforded a far better quality of life today."
On Dec. 6, 2005, Stephen Colquhoun died of a reported massive heart attack.
According to the death certificate, the heart attack was triggered by
bronchopneumonia in the right lung. He'd made the acquaintance of the "old
man's friend." Stephen's body was moved to the morgue hours before his
mother was informed of his death by his eldest brother in Johannesburg.
Neither the widow, nor the hospital administrators contacted the mother with
the news. By the time she reached the hospital, her son was gone and all
traces of his ever being there completely erased.
U.S. 'exporting euthanasia'
Susan Colquhoun sees no coincidence in the eerie parallels between her
family's ordeal and that of the Schindlers continents away. She believes the
death of Terri Schiavo lit the fuse of euthanasia around the world. "Terri
Schiavo" became a household name in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere.
"I knew the moment I learned of Terri's demise, my son would have less than
six months of life left to him, unless I could get him out of the hospice
and under the care of a doctor who cared enough to help," Colquhoun wrote
WND. "I believe to this day, they refused to let me take him out, because he
was a living testimony to the practice of deliberate negligence leading to
ensured fatality. Nothing I can do or say will bring my son back to me, but
I cannot remain silent while so many innocent human beings are suffering in
silence under a sentence of death imposed on them by a society that has lost
all sense of value for human life."
"The Third World takes very careful note of what goes on in the USA, as it
is regarded as the most powerful country in the world, as indeed it is," she
continued. "What the USA does must be right - ergo - to dispatch human waste
because it offends, or because the law considers it useless to let someone
unfortunate enough to suffer [brain injury] ... continue their right to
In addition to the global precedent set by the death of Terri Schiavo,
Colquhoun draws a more direct tie between the U.S. and her son's death. The
physician her family first consulted over the Internet for expert medical
advice on treating lightning-strike victims was located in the U.S. In an
e-mail to the Colquhoun family, the doctor suggested Stephen would be better
off being helped out of this world through "old man's friend." And that is
where Susan Colquhoun's nightmare, and Stephen's dying, began.
As in the United States, euthanasia is illegal in Zimbabwe. But if you ask
Susan Colquhoun, euthanasia takes place under cover of malpractice and
The Herald (Harare)
March 29, 2006
Posted to the web March 29, 2006
Jeffrey Gogo And Pharaoh Lomazolo
POWER utility Zesa Holdings Limited is seeking to raise $500 billion to fund
electricity imports and coal purchases.
Yesterday, the power utility invited investors to subscribe to its $500
billion Megawatt Bills with a 180-day tenor.
This is an open tender with a tender-based coupon rate but carries an
irrevocable guarantee by the Government, and can also be traded on the
secondary money market.
Only tenders upwards of $100 billion would be considered.
If Zesa manages to raise the targeted funds, it could go some way in
bridging the utility's perennial power outages.
Lately, industry and individual consumers have been subjected to regular
power cuts, as supply fails to match demand.
Zimbabwe imports 35 percent of its electricity requirements from its Sadc
neighbours, notably South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of
But shortages of foreign currency, antiquated equipment and vandalism at
suburban power stations have compounded Zesa's woes.
Furthermore, Southern Africa could next year run short of surplus
electricity for export, leaving countries such as Zimbabwe that are
dependent on imports in a precarious situation.
The situation has also been aggravated by weak pricing structures that make
candlelight and woodfuel more expensive than multi-purpose electricity.
Analysts say alternative energy sources such as methane gas should be
explored. Explorations to generate power from this fossil fuel are already
in progress in Matabeleland North.
According to unofficial estimates, Zimbabwe's methane gas deposits are among
the largest in Southern and Eastern Africa.
As part of strategies to avert the projected Sadc-wide power shortages, Zesa
Holdings has drawn up
contingency plans to boost production by up to 900 megawatts at its Hwange
and Kariba power stations this year.
Plans to mobilise over US$2 billion for power generation projects to be
undertaken in the next four years are also gathering momentum.