Monday 05 March 2007
By Thabani Mlilo and Brian Ncube
HARARE - Zimbabwe Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has cancelled leave
for officers and beefed up manpower in Harare and Bulawayo in preparation
for possible opposition protests in the two cities, as political tension
mounts in the southern African country.
In a memo addressed to all police stations last Tuesday but made available
to ZimOnline at the weekend, titled, "Cancellation of Leave and Placement of
Members on Standby," reference number MJ57/2007, Chihuri cancelled all leave
and placed all officers on alert.
"All police officers who had been granted leave should return to their
respective stations with immediate effect and be deployed as commanded by
their provincial commanders.
"The dress order of the day will be full riot gear until further notice and
those members who remain at stations should be alert for urgent calls of
action," read part of the memo.
In a separate memo, also written last week, highlighting rising tensions in
Zimbabwe, Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources Barbara Mandizha, ordered
police stations around the country to compile lists of "able-bodied"
officers for immediate transfer to Harare and Bulawayo.
Sources at the police headquarters in Harare told ZimOnline at the weekend
that the transfer was a "pro-active" strategy to prepare for possible
protests in the two cities, both strongholds of the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
"All provincial commanders are directed to submit a list of able-bodied
members for immediate transfer to Harare and Bulawayo.
"Commanders should treat this matter with urgency as this is a directive
from the Minister (of Home Affairs). No excuses should be entertained as
this is a national call," says the memo.
Political tensions have risen sharply in Zimbabwe over the past few months
as a steep economic crisis takes its toll on a population grappling with the
world's highest inflation rate of nearly 1 600 percent, surging unemployment
The tensions worsened after the ruling ZANU PF party proposed last December
to extend President Robert Mugabe's term which was due to end next year by
two more years to 2010.
Both factions of the MDC and civic groups have vowed to take to the streets
to force Mugabe not to extend his term arguing that the country could not
bear to have the veteran president in power for two more years.
Two weeks ago, the police fought running battles with MDC supporters in the
working class suburb of Highfield as they sought to block the opposition
party led by Morgan Tsvangirai from holding a rally to launch the party's
campaign for next year's presidential election.
The Zimbabwe government has banned protests and rallies following the
violent protests in Highfield. The MDC says the ban amounted to a
declaration of a state of emergency by the Harare authorities.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena refused to comment on the matter saying
he is not at liberty to discuss matters of strategy with the Press.
"I am sorry this is an issue of strategy that cannot be discussed with the
Press. In any case, transfers are a normal phenomenon in any organisation.
So why should it raise eyebrows?" he said.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi could not be reached for comment on the
matter. - ZimOnline
Monday 05 March 2007
By Batsirai Muranje
HARARE - Tafadzwa Gomo rummages through a heap of clothes by the street side
and chooses a second-hand pair of brown corduroy trousers and a worn-out
She immediately stuffs them into her tattered bag where her "new" clothes
find their place between a bottle of cooking oil and bar of soap she bought
earlier on from another vendor along Harare Street on the outskirts of the
capital's central business district.
Gomo trudges on to the next "shop", hoping to find an old acquaintance still
at her usual vending spot at Mbare Musika, a sprawling market place and bus
terminus - very filthy - but also the source of low priced goods especially
green vegetables and other food stuffs.
At Mbare Musika, Gomo will be able to buy matemba, a cheap dried fish of the
type of that relief agencies usually distribute to refugees or other
distressed communities. She will also be able to catch a bus at the terminus
back to her base in Domboshava, a farming area, to the north just outside
A university trained teacher, Gomo says she has resigned herself to a life
on the margin, scrounging for every morsel of food because her salary - even
if after an almost 600 percent hike two weeks ago - is just not enough to
ensure a decent living in a country where inflation is nearly 1 600 percent.
The government increased teachers salaries from Z$84 000 to $548 000, bowing
to pressure after teachers abandoned classes to press for more pay. Teachers
however remain earning below the $686 000 that the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe says a standard family of five requires for basic goods and
services per month.
"I have to buy these second-hand clothes because I cannot afford buying from
the expensive boutiques in town," said Gomo, 36, and a mother of four
children. "Sometimes I wonder the fate of fellow Zimbabwean workers when a
university graduate like me struggles to make ends meet."
Fianos Kawara, a guard with Harare private security firm, who ZimOnline
spoke to a little earlier before meeting Gomo, appeared to have the answer
as to how those at the bottom of the food chain were surviving as Zimbabwe
grapples its worst ever economic crisis.
Security firms are traditionally the lowest paying in the country and Kawara
says his $90 000 per month salary is only enough to pay for his bus fare to
and from work for 15 days.
"God knows where I get the rest of the money for food, rent, school fees,
clothes and other basics," Kawara said.
"To raise additional cash, I sometimes hawk old clothes by the roadside or
till people's gardens and fields on days when I am off duty at work. It is a
tough life for us ordinary folks," he added.
Indeed it is a tough existence for Zimbabwe's crisis-sapped workers, who
have to endure the sharpest edge of an economic meltdown described by the
World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone.
For example, the average worker earns $100 000 per month but following last
week's pay hike for teachers and the bulk of the civil servants, prices of
basic commodities rose significantly, effectively putting a strain on the
newly introduced salaries while those in other sectors were virtually
plunged into a hopeless abyss of poverty and deprivation.
Last week, the price of fuel went up by 50 percent from $4 000 per litre to
$6 000, igniting a fare increase which means that a worker from Chitungwiza
will need $120 000 for transport fare every month, far above the country's
average salary of $100 000.
Considering that fuel price increases have a domino effect on prices across
the board, the future looks bleak for the country's hard-pressed workers.
"The ordinary worker continues to carry this crisis on his/her shoulders,"
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Wellington Chibebe said.
The union has promised to roll out worker protests next month to demand
better salaries and living conditions for workers but the government which
has banned political rallies and public demonstrations in major cities has
vowed to crush the worker protests.
President Robert Mugabe'ss government admits workers are facing difficulties
but claims the ZCTU is pushing a political agenda, using genuine worker
grievance to incite Zimbabweans to revolt and remove it from power. The
union denies the charge.
Chibebe said: "As a trade union, we have decided to roll out protests in
April to force the government to arrest the declining political and economic
crisis and to restore the dignity of the few workers who are still in formal
The union leader said only about two percent of workers still in formal
employment earned above the breadline salary of $600 000, while multitudes
of workers made redundant following company closures over the past years
were having to eke out a living as petty traders in the informal sector.
Zimbabwe is in its eighth straight-year of economic recession, marked by
record inflation, burgeoning unemployment and poverty.
Western governments, the ZCTU and the local opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party blame repression and wrong policies by Mugabe for
ruining what was once one of Africa's most vibrant economies.
The 83-year old Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from
Britain, denies mismanaging the economy and instead claims the country's
problems are because of sabotage by Western governments opposed to his
controversial seizure of land from white farmers for redistribution to
landless blacks. - ZimOnline
Monday 05 March 2007
By Pfudzai Chibgowa
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is holding onto three
truckloads of sugar belonging to a Harare-based company, which the authority
impounded at Nyamapanda border post en route to Mozambique almost a
The three trucks marked Maidei Transport were carrying 30 tonnes of refined
sugar each for export to Mozambique although the export permit showed the
Harare-based haulage and earth moving equipment company was authorised only
to transport goods to South Africa.
Sources say the consignment belonged to two Tanzanian nationals. They added
that the owners of the consignment, listed as Chisipite Investments, owe the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe US$27 000 arrears for other earlier exports.
Maidei Transport trucks in September 2005, caught media attention when they
broke down in no man's land carrying wheat that was being smuggled into
Mozambique, leading to the arrest of President Robert Mugabe's nephew Leo
Mugabe and his wife allegedly for smuggling. The President's relatives were
however freed by a magistrates' court for lack of evidence.
"We can confirm that three trucks carrying 90 tonnes of sugar destined for
Tanzania are being held at Nyamapanda Border Post pending the verification
of export documents that were presented to ZIMRA" said a ZIMRA official.
"Unfortunately the Revenue Authority Act precludes us from divulging
specific information pertaining to our clients."
Sugar is scarce in Zimbabwe, which also faces shortages of nearly every
basic commodity as it grapples a severe economic crisis now in its eighth
The government has banned the exporting of sugar unless one obtains special
clearance from the Trade Ministry. - ZimOnline
Mail and Guardian
Angus Shaw | Harare, Zimbabwe
04 March 2007 03:29
The ruling party in Zimbabwe expelled one of its co-founders,
veteran politician Edgar Tekere, for insulting President Robert Mugabe in a
recently published autobiography, the state Sunday Mail reported.
A meeting of party leaders in Tekere's home district of
Manicaland, eastern Zimbabwe, "unreservedly condemned" Tekere's book, A
Lifetime of Struggle, launched in Harare in January and selling briskly,
according to the newspaper, a government mouthpiece.
It quoted provincial Zimbabwe African Nation Union Patriotic
chairperson Tinaye Chigudu saying the autobiography "clearly and explicitly
denigrates and vilifies" Mugabe.
He said provincial leaders would not consider an appeal by
Tekere (69) a former ruling party secretary general and long
seen as a political maverick, left the party a decade ago to form a
short-lived opposition group he called the Zimbabwe Unity Movement.
He said he founded that party to oppose corruption in Mugabe's
government. Last year he was granted readmission on condition he took no
ruling party office for five years.
In his book, Tekere claimed Mugabe lacked charisma when they and
a group of other political prisoners in the country, which was known as
Rhodesia before 1980 independence, broke away from an existing liberation
group, most of whose leaders were in jail, and founded what was to become
the ruling party. He said Mugabe did not favour the split, contrary to
official ruling party history that Mugabe led the schism.
But Tekere's more personal accounts have angered the autocratic
Mugabe, the country's only leader since independence, and his close
colleagues. Mugabe himself dismissed the autobiography as the work of an
Tekere, who like Mugabe was one of the architects of the
seven-year guerrilla war that ended white colonial rule, insisted Mugabe was
indecisive, "weak" and had no military experience. The book strongly
questioned Mugabe's role in guerrilla operations and alleged he had been
reluctant to flee to neighbouring Mozambique to join guerrilla commanders
there after his 1974 release from prison.
He claimed that, at the time, neither Mozambique's
then-president, Samora Machel, nor Zimbabwean guerrilla chieftain General
Josiah Tongogara trusted Mugabe and held the ascetic former school teacher
in disdain. Machel later died in a plane crash and Tongogara was killed in a
Mugabe was not liked by the presidents of independent countries
in the region, known as the Frontline States, who supported the guerrilla
war, helped train fighters and allowed them to set up rear bases on their
territory to launch cross-border infiltration into the Zimbabwean bush, said
Tekere's book, a local best seller as Mugabe's popularity plummets amid the
nation's worst political and economic crisis since independence.
Tekere said Mugabe was aloof and haughty and made no friends. He
quoted his sister Sabina once remarking that if he had died "we would have
been unable to call out anybody as friends" for the funeral.
He said Mugabe had at least one illicit love affair during his
marriage to his first wife, Sally, a Ghanaian, who died in 1992.
Mugabe later admitted two of his three children with his second
wife, Grace, a former secretary in his office half his age, were conceived
shortly before Sally's death in accordance with African paternity and
polygamous customs. Sally Mugabe had been made sterile by a kidney
illness. - Sapa-AP
March 04 2007 at 01:24PM
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has attacked the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), as "nonsense" and has taken a veiled swipe at South
Africa for dominating the Southern African Customs Union.
Mugabe, on a four-day official visit to Namibia this week, told the
Namibian business community at a dinner organised by the Namibia Chamber of
Commerce and Industry, that "if you follow the IMF you will not go anywhere.
They will always prescribe for you".
He said countries in the region did not need to run to the IMF and to
other Western donors every time they needed financial assistance. "We can
help each other among ourselves," he said.
"When we don't have that capacity, then we are like economic slaves.
We go begging. There are still countries in Africa which go begging for
money to pay their civil servants, and they got independence in the 1960s,"
Last week, the IMF expressed deep concern over the deteriorating
conditions in Zimbabwe and called for payment of outstanding arrears.
The IMF board urged Zimbabwe "to address the ongoing economic crisis
by immediately implementing a comprehensive stabilisation package comprising
mutually reinforcing actions centred on fiscal tightening (including
transferring the quasi-fiscal activities carried out by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe to the budget) and price and exchange regime liberalisation".
It also called for fundamental structural reforms, including public
enterprise and civil service reforms, strengthened property rights and
improvements in governance.
In a veiled attack on South Africa's continued dominance of the
customs union, Mugabe said "all countries need to grow (economically). We
don't want to remain small. Countries in the region should be allowed to
enter into trade agreements without restrictions".
He said the smaller members of the union, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia
and Swaziland, had all expressed their desire to grow their economies but
were being hampered by restrictions within the regional organisation which
were imposed by South Africa.
He said President Mogae of Botswana had likened South Africa's
partnership with the smaller members of Sacu to "a donkey being made to pull
together with a cow".
"Where there is bigness, there is usually a claim - inherited,
historical claim - for the large partner to want to continue to be large and
to want the small ones to continue to be small. I'm not saying this is what
is happening," he said. - Tribune Foreign Service
This article was originally published on page 6 of Tribune on March
LONDON – Tired of the political situation afflicting their country, Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom came out in their hundreds Saturday to their biggest demonstration ever here to protest against President Robert Mugabe’s continued rule and to show their support for the opposition MDC back home.
The protesters met in the historic Trafalgar Square and then marched to the Zimbabwe Embassy where speaker after speaker denounced, among other things, the Zanu PF government, it’s inept policies, human rights abuses, corruption and the recent three-month ban on political rallies and meetings.
Various branches from all over the UK were all represented at the protest, which was characterised by loud singing, drum-beating and MDC anti-Mugabe slogans. Passers-by came to join the protest in the dancing and singing while others inquired about the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe and how they could help.
Ephraim Tapa, the chair of the MDC-UK and Ireland said 2007 should be the last year that Zimbabweans should be forced to live under Zanu PF rule. He said the UK province would do all it can to support their colleagues fighting for regime change in the country.
Tapa said the party in the UK should continue to play an instrumental role in making sure the Zimbabwean story does not fall off the international radar as well as mobilising those living in the Diaspora to contribute not only towards the survival of their extended families but also those fighting to remove the Zanu PF government from office.
“What we are saying is that we are tired of the corrupt Zanu PF government. We are tired of living in the bush, suffering as we are,” said Tapa to wild ululations and applause from the protesters. “It is time for Mugabe to go. His time is up and we should be seen to be doing all we can to bring people together so we can remove him from office.”
Adella Chiminya, the women’s chairperson in the MDC-UK and Ireland urged women here to play a more active role in the party so they can help those on the ground back home fighting to liberate Zimbabwe from Zanu PF rule.
Labour Member of Parliament Sally Keeble (Northampton North) told the demonstrators she would support the Zimbabwean cause in the House of Commons whenever such a need arose, especially anything that would support the opposition and pro-democracy groups in their quest to fight for democracy in Zimbabwe.
Jameson Mashakada, the MDC-UK chairman, said Zimbabwean youths here were ready and raring to go in their programme to support their colleagues back home who are struggling without jobs to keep the party going.
Tendai Mutyambizi, a long-time MDC and human rights activist, said there was need for unity within the Diaspora and at home if meaningful change was to come.
Zimjournalists.com spoke with a group of activists from Derby that was at the protest. Deborah Moyo, Maggie Musemwa, Jessica Chimuka, Lawrence Sibanda, Jethro Nyakunu, Chipo Nhandara and Mathew Maiwasha all sang from the sang hymn sheet on the need for a new dispensation in Zimbabwe.
“We are tired of suffering here and also at home. We struggle to keep things going so what we are all saying is that Mugabe should just go because he is the reason the country is so upside down today. We have suffered for a long time and this should be last year that he should be in office. To hell with his 2010 project,” said Moyo.
Musemwa said: “Mugabe has to go next year or even sooner, if possible. We want elections next year and then we can harmonise after he goes. His government has been stealing from the people for a long time now, the oppression of opposition supporters and all. We are just tired and I’m happy I have been able to be part of this very big demonstration to show that we are united in our desire to have Mugabe out of Zimbabwe House.”
Meanwhile Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) will on Saturday lead a huge protest again in Trafalgar Square on behalf of the women of Zimbabwe who for the past seven years have been forced to endanger their lives through the use of unhygienic materials during their monthly periods.
Coming two days after International Women's Day, ACTSA says the day will be a celebration of the role of women in the global struggle for justice - with particular focus on the struggle for freedom in Zimbabwe and the role of women in this struggle.
Speakers will include Lovemore Matombo, President, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union, his deputy Lucia Matibenga, Baroness Amos, Leader House of Lords, Frances O'Grady, deputy General Secretary, TUC, Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, Joan Armatrading, Singer, Gillian Anderson, Actress, Glenys Kinnock, MEP, Kat Stark, NUS Women's Officer, Ruqayyah Collector, NUS Black Students Officer, Kate Hoey, MP, Chair APPG Zimbabwe, Anna Chancellor, Actress and Henry Olonga, cricketer and musician.
Mail and Guardian
Godwin Gandu | Zimbabwe
03 March 2007 11:59
The Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) this week
seized all unedited tapes of President Robert Mugabe's exclusive birthday
interview with state broadcaster ZBC after sensitive comments about the
controversial succession issue were leaked.
In a rare outburst, Mugabe had lashed out at his Vice-President,
Joyce Mujuru, for demeaning him and using unorthodox party procedures to
take over power.
The president's office had directed that parts of the interview
be edited out and the edited version was aired last week. But copies of the
unedited interview found their way to the private media, which reported on
it, prompting state operatives to storm Pockets Hill, the ZBC headquarters.
"All the raw footage is gone," said a staffer at the ZBC. "They
[CIO operatives] accused the editorial team of releasing unauthorised
versions of the interview."
Coxwell Chigwana, a CIO official, headed a four-man CIO team
that interrogated the editorial board at the broadcaster about the leak last
"The thinking within the president's office was that Mugabe's
succession outburst was going to create disharmony within the party and
government," another staffer at the state broadcaster told the Mail &
"Mugabe had never named and shamed his colleagues in government
over the succession issue before, but had grown exasperated over what he
thinks are attempts to remove him before his term expires," the source said.
Mail and Guardian
Mail & Guardian reporter
03 March 2007 11:59
Zimbabwe is going to be rocked by more "illegal" protests
following Wednesday's demonstrations in which 50 people were arrested for
defying the recently imposed three-month ban on public protests, says
Lovemore Madhuku, chair of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).
Madhuku said his group is going to "rubbish the ban" by getting
involved in fortnightly protests demanding a new constitution under which
next year's presidential elections could be held. He said that this Friday,
branches of his organisation outside Harare would embark on further
protests. "This year we are likely to deliver change," he said.
The NCA will be assisted by the Zimbabwe National Students Union
(Zinasu), whose president said they would embark on a stay-away from next
A media confererence held in Johannesburg this week brought
together representatives of the opposing Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) factions led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, as well as
Jenni Williams of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and Promise Mkhwananzi of Zinasu.
A source at the meeting said the meeting of the two MDC factions
is part of a broader attempt to bring the two factions together to "confront
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
LOVEMORE Madhuku and Raymond Majongwe look like fairly average, tax-paying
citizens of Zimbabwe.
They may share a few distinctions: they both teach and also share a common
denominator of a peculiar sort: one of them appears to have too much weight,
while the other, some might say, needs it.
If you were being theatrical, you could say they resemble that most famous
celluloid comedy duo of yesteryear, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Otherwise, if you met either of them on the streets of Harare, where they
both live, you would not find any characteristics in them to justify their
being the targets of constant Presidential wrath or ire or invective.
To the gullible - and Zimbabwe, like every other country in the world - has
its own fair share of such citizens, or else who would be voting for Zanu PF
in so many elections since independence? - their names might soon be
associated with "enemies of the state", or at the very least, people not to
be associated with loyal, patriotic citizens.
Otherwise, why would President Robert Mugabe, the leader of a country of 13
million people, single them out as targets of public rebuke.
Mugabe is a politician of the old school, although he shares his style with
modern politicians like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the Iranian president.
Among the politicians of old, Mugabe shares certain political idiosyncrasies
with the likes of Fidel Castro of Cuba and the late Soviet Union leader,
Nikita Sergeyevich Khruschev, who banged his shoe on a United Nations table.
Mugabe is a former guerrilla leader and his manner of both speech and
gesticulation at a public rally reflects all this to an extent that reminds
older Zimbabweans of the old Mugabe, described by some of his detractors as
a Highfield (expletive deleted).
In his 83rd birthday interview on television, Mugabe spent an inordinately
long time in an exasperated monologue on Madhuku, the leader of the National
If Mugabe was not president, Madhuku could sue him for defamation. In fact,
he might have first sued Absolom Sikhosana, the secretary of Mugabe's Zane
PF youth league.
Sikhosana must surely be remembered by many Zimbabweans for calling publicly
for Madhuku's removal from his job as a law lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe, to be replaced by someone more representative of the fascist
mould of legal mumbo-jumbo espoused by the lunatic wing of Zanu PF, whose
pressure has resulted in some of the defiance of High and Supreme Court
rulings by such legally dubious entities as the commission ruining Harare.
Most people can understand Mugabe using rather colourful and sometimes
unpresidential language to attack his prime political rival, Morgan
Tsvangirai of the anti-Senate Movement for Democratic Change (MDC); within
the limits of his own status, Tsvangirai has attacked Mugabe as a political
opponent will attack his rival.
But neither Madhuku nor Majongwe are politicians; Majongwe is the leader of
the Progressive Teachers Union, the radical rival of the Zimbabwe Teachers
Association, believed by many to be so pro-Zanu PF they can quite often not
distinguish which decision was forged by the Zimta teachers on their own or
Still, Mugabe must have his reasons for so constantly assassinating the
characters of the two men. One reason could be that, in spite of what damage
Zanu PF intrigue, Nature or the Fates - or all three - have wreaked on the
MDC, the bastion of opposition to Zanu PF remains fairly solid, particularly
in the urban areas.
Mugabe seems to be quite convinced that, without him at the helm, his party
would not survive a free and fair election against even the divided MDC.
He must know that Zanu PF has performed so pathetically, particularly on the
bread-and-butter economic front that even previously incurably diehard party
zealots would not vote for him or Zanu PF in any election while the economy
remains in its present state of near-death.
Soon, however, Mugabe might start reacting to any criticism with a knee jerk
rejoinder, accusing the critics of being in the pay of the West.
He must be so desperate that he is incautiously ignoring how harmful this
kind of reaction may be to people who had previously taken a neutral
position on his fight for survival against the MDC,
As long as he accorded the people of Zimbabwe the respect and recognition
that they, collectively, still had their marbles intact and were not so
inebriated with desperation they had become easy meat for any alien
blandishments, such as that from the West, he retained their respect.
If they were to conclude that he had decided they had all stopped thinking
on their own and were ceding all decisions to the British and the Americans,
the price for him could be an outraged renunciation of his legitimacy.
To many analysts, this notion has always lingered on the surface,
particularly among intellectuals. Most have suspected that Mugabe has for a
long time been convinced that they didn't have the time or the inclination,
on their own, to make decisions which could influence political events in
He had almost always kept them out of his government, primarily because most
of them did not belong to his party. Zanu PF, after the end of the war, was
hell-bent on rewarding those who had participated in the struggle,
regardless of their calibre as leaders of a civilian government in a
Most of them had honed their leadership qualities during the war. In that
atmosphere, they had learnt that a forceful approach could result in
positive action rather than one which sought, always, to achieve consensus.
Mugabe himself is a well-read man and, although he has only one degree
acquired from physically attending a university, South Africa's Fort Hare.
There was no way he could have acquired his other degrees by correspondence
without putting in some hard work in the night, swatting.
A man who can quote from Aesop's Fables can be no slouch in grasping the
need for research and analysis. Yet Mugabe has the impatience of all
so-called Men of
Action. His impatience with Madhuku and Majongwe stems from his inherent
lack of respect for people whose rationale is based on some form of
intellectual deduction of facts, particularly on what does and what does not
constitute the ideal democratic scenario.
The NCA was his nemesis in the 1999 constitutional referendum. Tsvangirai
cut his political teeth as leader of the NCA, as did Madhuku. Zanu PF's
defeat in the referendum has been largely ascribed to the NCA. Zanu PF
itself blames its own lack of appreciation of how much work was needed to
convince the people that a YES vote was in their interests.
"We could not conceive of the people voting against us," said one leader
after the results came in. "They had always voted for us since independence.
Why would they not do so this time?"
Well, they didn't and their decision then is what Mugabe has to grapple with
today as he fights, virtually, for his political survival. Before the
referendum results had shaken the party out of its stupor of complacency,
Mugabe had probably never heard of Lovemore Madhuku or Raymond Majongwe,
whose teachers' union had yet to be formed.
Today, Mugabe lashes out at the two men because he realizes their strength
and their staying power. Both men have had serious brushes with his security
people and have emerged unscathed, mentally and physically. In spite of his
small physical stature, Madhuku has been thrown into the police cells a
number of times and has come out of there unbowed.
His detractors have hurled accusations of self-aggrandizement at him,
alleging he is clinging to power for entirely selfish reasons of material
advancement. But Madhuku remains unfazed. Whenever he can, he organizes
demonstrations against the government and his activists have clashed with
the police, and have not always come out the vanquished.
Majongwe's union is largely credited with the government's decision to award
teachers massive pay hikes after their strike, ignored by the moderate Zimta
Mugabe can only be publicly vocal against the two men because he is,
grudgingly accepting their courage and determination as leaders.
In spite of himself, he must see in them replicas of himself in the early
days of the struggle, a Highfield (expletive deleted) agitator.
THE Zimbabwe Government has shelved plans to resume beef exports to the
European Union due to the stringent demands that the economic bloc is making
before trade can kick off, an official said last week.
Veterinary Services Department principal director Dr Stuart Hargreaves said
that the Government had shelved plans to resume beef exports to the EU as it
was pursuing other markets in the East with less stringent conditions.
Dr Hargreaves said the conditions the EU was insisting should be met before
resumption of trade were too cumbersome and required huge financial
investments which the country could not afford.
"We have shelved the plans for several reasons," he said. "The major reason
being that the EU is insisting that all cattle in the country should be
identified to the farm and dipping tank of origin through either ear-tagging
He said although the country wanted to resume the exports, it could not
afford purchasing ear tags as well as putting up fences in some areas that
the Government had resettled landless Zimbabweans.
Other EU demands include zoning the country to prevent movement of cattle,
erecting fences around national parks to prevent cattle from getting into
contact with buffalo, which are believed to carry the foot-and-mouth virus
as well as vaccinating cattle against the disease.
The EU banned beef imports from Zimbabwe in 2001 following an outbreak of
foot-and-mouth in some parts of the country.
Zimbabwe enjoyed an annual beef quota of 9 100 tonnes to the EU and the ban
on exports to this lucrative market has impacted negatively on the country's
foreign currency earnings.
Last year inspectors from the economic bloc visited the country to assess
compliance with the standards ahead of resumption of trade.
In an effort to comply with the EU demands, the Government erected fences
around the Gonarezhou and Hwange national parks and vaccinated cattle in
It also divided the country into zones and introduced laws prohibiting free
movement of cattle without authority from the Veterinary Department and the
police mounting roadblocks on all sensitive roads throughout the year.
In addition, the Government imported large quantities of vaccines from
Botswana to vaccinate cattle against foot-and-mouth.
Suspecting that the EU demands were politically motivated, the Government
shifted focus to alternative markets in the Far East.
Markets have since been established in Hong Kong and Malaysia where the Cold
Storage Company is currently sending samples for quality checks. - New
THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe expects to buy between 10 000 and 15
000 tonnes of jatropha seed from farmers.
In an interview, Noczim acting director of technical support services
Engineer Innocent Masunungure said the State enterprise had already started
collecting the seed from various parts of the country where the tree is
grown in abundance.
"We have conducted a survey and within the next three months we are
expecting to collect between 10 000 and 15 000 tonnes of seed," Mr
He said jatropha seed was being bought from farmers at $60 000 per tonne and
urged them to continue collecting the seed.
Areas that Noczim, the sole buyer of the seed, has started visiting include
Mutoko, Guruve, Chivi, and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe. Government, through the
Ministry of Science and Technology, is in the process of setting up plants
in UMP, Mudzi and Mutoko, where the seed would be processed into bio-diesel
Jatropha is a drought-tolerant plant producing seed with an oil content of
between 30 and 40 percent. The oil has great potential for making bio-diesel
while the by-product could be used as organic fertilizer.
Jatropha is also a high value crop and Government has since specified the
tree, banned its export, and adopted the tree along with cassava as major
development crops for the next five years.
Cassava is a high-energy plant rich in starch and ethanol. There are also
measures to raise production of sugar cane, castor bean and soya bean, among
others, as crops which could be used to develop bio-diesel.
The Government has stepped up efforts to increase jatropha farming and has
identified over 122 000 hectares to be put under the plant.
By 2010, the Government is targeting to have substituted 10 percent of the
country's annual diesel consumption with bio-diesel.
Many countries in the world, including France, Germany, South Africa and
Egypt, are already powering motor vehicles with bio-diesel, a cheaper and
more environmental friendly alternative to fossil fuel.