They lost everything in Zimbabwe. But a hardy bunch of white farmers is
making a new start.
By Joshua Hammer
Updated: 1:22 p.m. ET March 5, 2006
March 13, 2006 issue - The sun is rising over the maize fields of Kwara
state in western Nigeria, and Graham Hatty has already been up for hours.
Bouncing in his Indian-made jeep down a track that borders his property,
Hatty points out a pair of kestrels gliding on a breeze, and a flock of
Abyssinian rollers sweeping across the brightening sky. "It's a bird
watcher's paradise," says the 66-year-old Zimbabwean farmer. But Hatty has
more on his mind than nature viewing. He pulls alongside a dozen Nigerian
laborers packing burlap sacks with maize. The farmer runs his fingers
through the yellow kernels, and draws back in revulsion: the bag is infested
with weevils, gnatlike bugs that can quickly destroy a whole crop. "We'll
have to fumigate the maize to get rid of these pests," he says. "I haven't
seen these insects before in Nigeria. We've got a lot to learn here."
The learning curve has been steep since Hatty and a dozen other white
farmers fled Zimbabwe last year to restart their lives in the Nigerian bush.
The 13 men were among 4,000 whites who lost their farms in a disastrous
land-reform program initiated six years ago by President Robert Mugabe. Now
Nigeria's president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is harnessing the expertise of these
Zimbabwean castoffs to revive Nigeria's commercial agriculture, which has
fallen into ruin since the country became a major oil producer in the 1960s.
It is still too early to assess the results, but Obasanjo's experiment is
spreading. Dispossessed white farmers have settled in Zambia, Mozambique,
Malawi and Uganda. In Nigeria, 20 more farmers from Zimbabwe will soon take
over land in both Kwara and the region around Abuja, Nigeria's capital; 75
others are on the waiting list. "You can plant anything here and it grows,"
says Hunter Coetzee, one of the first Zimbabwean pioneers. "If it gets
itself together, Nigeria could feed Africa."
The Nigerian experiment is offering a second chance to men who lost
everything. Hatty, the oldest member of the group, emigrated as a boy with
his parents from London to British-ruled Rhodesia. In the early 1960s he
bought 1,600 acres near Harare, invested heavily in irrigation and built a
profitable commercial farm. He moved to South Africa after Zimbabwe's
independence, but returned in 1997, convinced that Mugabe had brought his
country stability. Three years later Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms.
In 2004, a former general appeared at Hatty's house with an expulsion order.
"He told my wife and me, 'I've been wanting this farm since 1999, and I'm
going to take it'," Hatty says. The family sold their tractors and other
equipment at fire-sale prices, and left their land for good.
By then, plans were already underway to bring the first group of farmers to
Nigeria. The governor of predominantly Muslim Kwara had contacted the
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union with an offer of free land and guaranteed
bank loans to any member willing to settle there. Hatty and his fellow
farmers were skeptical. "We had heard that the Nigerians were crooks, that
people who travel to Nigeria never come out again," he says. "But we had no
other option." Hatty and 12 others arrived in early 2005. With an initial
$250,000 loan per farmer, the men drilled wells, built houses, imported
tractors and seed drillers and planted their first maize crop in July. Five
weeks of drought stunted the harvest, but the yield per acre was still much
greater than the average for Nigeria. So far, Hatty and the four other
farmers in his syndicate plan to sell 600 tons of maize, which should earn
Despite promising returns, the transition has been bumpy. The farmers have
suffered bouts of malaria and typhoid fever. Their wells have collapsed and
their water has run dry. Unscrupulous contractors have swindled them, and
political opposition figures have accused them of stealing the local
farmers' land. (The government gave the peasants compensation and new plots
in another part of the district.) "We've had locals tell us, 'If you don't
leave we'll sort you out'," Hatty says. "Ninety percent welcomed us."
Isolated from friends and families, most suffer from bouts of homesickness.
"Sometimes you get depressed and say, 'What am I doing here?' " admits Nikki
Coetzee, one of eight wives, including Hatty's, now living with their
husbands in Kwara. "You have to put it out of your mind."
Hatty looks at the upside. "I could be sitting in Zimbabwe being a miserable
old fart, like most of my friends," he says, bounding through the bush in
his jeep. "Instead I'm just getting on with it."
© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.
March 05 2006 at 11:54AM
The Zimbabwean government has mobilised its security forces to counter
expected protests against a spate of price increases of most basic
commodities. For ordinary Zimbabweans this past week has been perhaps the
worst in the country's six-year economic crisis, with many prices being
doubled or more.
President Robert Mugabe faces no real organised threat from his
political opponents, who are in disarray, but officials said his government
was taking no chances, as spontaneous demonstrations against similar price
hikes in the late 1990s had led to several deaths.
Kembo Mohadi, the home affairs minister, is said to be co-ordinating
the security alert with the army and police. Police and army officials said
all the security agencies had been put on full alert to deal with any mass
Some officers had been permanently deployed to monitor the "normal
trouble spots" like universities and other tertiary learning institutions.
Leave had been cancelled for the army and police until further notice.
This week bakers defied government efforts to control prices by
unilaterally doubling the price of bread from the government's controlled
price of Z$44 000 (about R3) to between Z$75 000 and Z$100 000. Others
Urban and rural transport companies also doubled the price of
transport, making it even more difficult for workers to get to and from
work. The increases were triggered by a doubling in the price of fuel, which
can only be acquired on the black market. A litre of fuel now costs Z$250
Michael Nyambuya, the energy minister, announced that Zimbabwe's
electricity import bill had increased by 12 000 percent.
He wanted a single 1 000 percent tariff increase for consumers to pay
for it, but Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, blocked him.
Instead, the government said the price would be hiked more gradually, by 95
percent a month.
University tuition fees were also increased, fivefold, to as high as
Z$50-million. Scores of University of Zimbabwe students were arrested after
trying to stage protests against the fee hikes that will certainly force
many of those from poor families to drop out.
Mugabe faces no real organised threat
The price of a kilogram of beef shot up to Z$450 000, while a small
bag of potatoes will now set a Zimbabwean back by between Z$500 000 and
Z$600 000. A 5kg bag of maize now costs Z$350 000.
Before Zimbabwe's economic collapse began in earnest in 1997, when
Mugabe ordered a huge off-budget payment of gratuities to veterans of the
1970s liberation struggle, a Zimbabwean dollar was almost equal in value to
the South African rand.
Now it takes Z$15 000 at the official rate to buy a rand and Z$26 000
or more - and fast climbing - at the more realistic black market rate.
The government's Central Statistical Office says an average family of
six needs Z$22-million a month for a basket of basic commodities. The
average wage is less than Z$5-million.
The economic hardships have not spared even the highly paid. For
instance, a head of one Zimbabwean bank said he was earning Z$162-million a
month. This is R4 000 or less, depending on the exchange rate of the day.
The banker, who did not want to be named, said life was equally tough
for him as his monthly income was barely enough to pay for decent groceries,
school fees, mortgage, medical aid and pension contributions, running costs
of his vehicle and other essentials.
Fanwell Dube, a teacher, said Zimbabwe now needed to be put under
"curatorship" as the Mugabe government had no capacity to reverse its
decline. Dube has resigned from his job as it was no longer a paying
proposition: the Z$4,6-million he was bringing home was no longer enough to
meet monthly bus fare and lunch costs.
"People like teachers and nurses have resorted to coping mechanisms.
Many have substituted meat with mbeva (bush mice), bread with chimu-potahayi
(a thick home-made type of bread) and cabbages with nyevhe (a traditional
vegetable that grows wild)."
Dube said he would be joining the thousands of Zimbabwean teachers who
had quit to seek jobs in neighbouring countries. - Foreign Service
Sokwanele Report: 5 March 2006
Some of the IDPs who initially lodged in Cowdray Park after the "Mugabe Tsunami" have since moved on. Who knows - or cares - where these wretched victims, deprived of shelter, food or any support network, have now taken refuge. The Mugabe regime certainly cares not one jot for their welfare. For their part those who planned and executed this criminal venture have achieved their objective in removing them from a settled way of life in the city environs and dispersing them to remote, rural locations where their desperate plight will be hidden from public view. Moreover they can be reasonably confident that henceforth all the victims' energies will be devoted to the daily struggle to stay alive - with no time or opportunity to support angry street protests or the food riots the military were anticipating. Many have died along the way, succumbing either to malnutrition or one of the many diseases spawned by their unsanitary living conditions. Those few who have made the effort to monitor the IDPs progress or provide them with emergency food rations, testify that a significant number of young to middle-aged victims have simply given up all hope and died of deep despair.
Eight families whose homes at Killarney (on the far side of the city) were flattened by Mugabe's storm troops were later relocated from a government transit camp to makeshift accommodation at Cowdray Park. There they were housed temporarily in tents provided by the Red Cross. That they were not taken and dumped in a remote rural area like so many other victims was a tacit admission by the authorities that these eight families had no connection whatsoever with any rural area. In fact most of them could trace their ancestry back to Malawian roots. They have no known relatives in Zimbabwe.
A visit to these displaced people today would reveal that, though they have some shelter from the elements and are therefore better off than many, they are still living in abject poverty and in the most appalling conditions. When our reporter visited the site recently he found ten persons from two families crowded into one of the tents. The fabric of the tents is worn and lets in water during heavy rain showers. The muddy conditions have also provided a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, which are present in large numbers and torment the inhabitants by night and day. Our reporter called on a cool and wet day. He was invited to shelter by the fire in a low corrugated iron structure which serves as a kitchen. Crouched there he spoke to some of the children who have been forced to make this their temporary home. He was amazed to discover that some were attending a school nearby - fees provided by Christian friends - and one little girl was even coming first in her grade. Our reporter confesses to being both amazed and humbled by the resilience shown by these youngsters. Somehow the trauma scars and deep insecurity of their parents have not yet transferred to them.
But this may soon change because the Red Cross have given notice that they want their tents back. The eight destitute families will have to move on - again - but where? Without any resources of their own, without family to turn to or any claim to urban or rural land, they have become totally dependent on others for their welfare - indeed for their very survival from day to day.
By a cruel irony the Red Cross tents stand right alongside some new permanent housing units hastily constructed by the regime under its much vaunted "Operation Garikai" or "Hlalani Kuhle" - a reconstruction programme they claim was intended to provide housing for those who had been evicted from their homes under Operation Murambatsvina. In June 2005, under intense pressure from the United Nations, the regime claimed it had set aside USD 300 million to build 1.2 million houses, promising to build 4,900 houses within a few months. The reality was, and is, very different of course. Not only has Hlalani Kuhle provided but an infinitesimally small number of the housing units promised, but the regime has imposed financial and income qualifications on applicants which effectively exclude all those whom it was claimed the scheme would benefit. In December 2005 the international human rights group Human Rights Watch published its findings that "the number of houses being built was negligibly small compared to the hundreds of thousands of persons rendered homeless by the evictions and so far few houses have been completed."
In the same report entitled "Evicted and Forsaken" Human Rights Watch also noted that their own research "indicates that Operation Garikai has little to do with humanitarian relief effort, as the vast majority of the internally displaced will not be among its beneficiaries, as they are unlikely to meet the criteria for ownership of the new houses."
Invariably those moving into the few completed units have come from the ranks of the army, the police and civil service - many of whom already have other homes elsewhere. It is yet another example of ZANU PF patronage at the expense of those in desperate need. We ourselves are yet to discover one single instance of a genuine victim of Operation Murambatsvina being offered a house constructed under the so-called reconstruction programme.
When asked to comment one of the soldiers guarding the incomplete building site at Cowdrey Park, who gave his name as Mataviri, confirmed that there was no prospect of any of the homeless families sheltering in the adjacent Red Cross tents being allocated one of the new units. Enquiries at the housing department of the city council revealed further that they had not been consulted nor their own long waiting lists of homeless families even considered in the process of allocating the new units.
To make matters worse the army and the building contractors who constructed the new housing units at Cowdray Park chose to ignore the planning by-laws and professional advice offered by the local authority. They completed the structures before laying the sewer system, only to find that they had built on bedrock. Were they to use dynamite now to break up the rock in order the install the required sewage pipes they would severely damage the completed houses. A serious question therefore remains whether anyone will benefit from this particular development which has been executed in such a shabby and unprofessional manner.
So what kind of future faces the eight displaced families about to be moved on again from the tents they have been occupying at Cowdray Park ? Their prospects are indeed bleak. That they were better off living in their own (albeit inadequate) homes at Killarney before the regime's vicious campaign of evictions, goes without saying. Indeed out of sheer desperation, some displaced persons have returned to Killarney to sleep in their makeshift structures by night and spend each day on the move, dodging Mugabe's riot police. But this is clearly not an option to be recommended. What then can these evictees do ? Or rather, given their own complete powerlessness and the regime's callous disregard of their plight, what can others do to help them ?
Before attempting to answer that question one must take account of the scale of the disaster caused by the Mugabe Tsunami. The United Nations Special Envoy deployed to Zimbabwe by the U.N. Secretary-General in June 2005, estimated that 700,000 people lost their shelter, livelihood or both as a result of Operation Murambatsvina, and that about 570,000 of them had been internally displaced. But that massive displacement came on top of years of ZANU PF misrule which had already created tens of thousands of internally displaced people. Between 1999 and 2004 large numbers of people were forced to move from their homes due to an escalation in political violence and state-sponsored human rights violations across the country. The largest single group so affected were the farm workers who were chased off the commercial farms on which they had been employed, some for several generations. In December 2003 the U.S. Committee for Refugees estimated that more than 100,000 people were internally displaced in Zimbabwe. So to the number of IDPs created by the 2005 blitzkrieg must be added the huge number of those systematically targeted for forced removal in the preceding years.
Kofi Annan, the U.N. Secretary-General's assessment that Operation Murambatsvina had done a "catastrophic injustice" to the poorest citizens of Zimbabwe, was therefore no overstatement. After carrying out a competent and professional assessment of the situation on the ground, his Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka, had already concluded that the operation had "precipitated a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions" from which it would take several years to recover. At the same time she called on the government to "recognize the virtual state of emergency" that prevailed across the country and to take urgent measures to provide relief for the victims.
Eight months after the evictions it is plain for all to see that the Mugabe regime has no intention of providing the relief so urgently required. Even worse, they are in denial even to the extent of denying there is a crisis. Consequently they have deliberately obstructed efforts by the U.N. and the international community to provide humanitarian assistance and protection for the victims. To quote again from the report "Evicted and Forsaken":
"In blatant disregard of the recommendations of the U.N. Special Envoy and the requirements of international law as reflected in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the government of Zimbabwe has denied international humanitarian agencies access to the majority of the internally displaced, and deliberately obstructed the provision of international assistance and protection to the IDPs. The authorities prevented the U.N. and other international agencies from providing tents or other temporary shelter to the displaced and prevented the distribution of food to people displaced by the evictions."
Human Rights Watch noted the "concerted effort (of the authorities) to coerce the people displaced by the evictions to leave the cities and move to the rural areas". The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), a once professional force now shamelessly used by Mugabe to execute his arbitrary and often unlawful commands, resorted to threats, harassment and beatings of the internally displaced in order to achieve this objective. At the same time the regime applied pressure upon the humanitarian agencies not to provide shelter or food to those who chose to remain in the urban areas.
The rural areas to which the IDPs were effectively banished are in most cases impoverished and already overpopulated relative to the numbers which the land will support. Their arrival therefore is not welcomed by those already scratching out a meager existence. Social services and economic opportunities are generally minimal. The obstacles facing those dumped in these locations without any support system whatsoever are overwhelming. The closest analogy that comes to mind is the programme of forced removals under apartheid rule in South Africa, under which whole communities were relocated from land designated for white occupation and literally dumped on arid patches of the veldt to cope as best the could. Indeed there are some striking similarities between Mugabe's doctrinaire social engineering policies and the brutal forced removals conceived by the architects of apartheid.
Not only does the Mugabe regime act in blatant disregard of the wise counsel of the United Nations; it is also in violation of both national and international law. Not without good reason did the U.N. Special Envoy refer in her report to the regime's "disregard (of) several provisions of national and international legal frameworks," and recommend that those responsible for the injury caused by the operation be held to account Specifically the regime's obstruction of international humanitarian assistance contravenes the U.N. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement which establish the right of "international humanitarian organizations and other appropriate actors … to offer their services in support of the internally displaced" and call on the national authorities to consider such offers in good faith, "particularly when the authorities concerned are unable or unwilling to provide the required humanitarian assistance."
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) at its recent meeting in Banjul, The Gambia, expressed itself to be "alarmed at the number of internally displaced persons and the violations of fundamental individual and collective rights resulting from the forced evictions being carried out by the government of Zimbabwe." The ACHPR urged the regime "to cease the practice of forced evictions throughout the country, and to adhere to its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other international human rights instruments to which Zimbabwe is a party." They also urged compliance "without further delay" with the recommendations of the U.N. Special Envoy made in her report of July 2005.
The stage has been set therefore for international action to address the issues raised by Operation Murambatsvina and, given the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of victims which is not only continuing but intensifying daily, it is incumbent on the international community to act without delay.
Three things are now crystal clear:
The case for urgent and concerted action by the international community is a compelling one. Moreover the U.N.'s own world-wide experience of assisting displaced people in crisis situations has already shown that, faced with an uncooperative regime like Mugabe's, a slow or muted response only compounds the problem. A comprehensive survey on the U.N. response to IDP crises in nine different countries undertaken some years ago by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs and the Brookings Institution-John Hopkins SAIS Project on Internal Displacement in fact concluded that situations "where access is denied and the displacement problem ignored or minimized … require exposure to public scrutiny and a more assertive response from U.N. agencies on the ground and from U.N. headquarters and the Security Council."
To quote again from the Human Rights Watch report "Evicted and Forsaken" and in fact the final sentence of that measured and careful analysis: "The plight of people displaced by the Zimbabwean government as a result of Operation Murambatsvina cannot be overlooked any further. It must generate a sense of outrage sufficient to trigger concerted action to protect and assist the displaced."
Doubtless the few caring human beings who have been assisting the eight stranded families at Cowdray Park will continue to do the little they can to reduce their suffering, and we applaud their efforts. But we are faced here with a far bigger crisis than any number of humane individuals on the ground can ever cope with. It is a tragedy of immense proportions which can only be addressed adequately by the international community through the United Nations. And the time to act is now.
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Mon 6 March 2006
BULAWAYO - The government's spy Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) is probing five senior police officers, including national criminal
investigations chief, Steven Mutamba, for allegedly shielding dangerous
armed robbers from arrest in return for money.
Authoritative sources told ZimOnline that apart from Mutamba - whose
rank is senior assistant commissioner - other top policemen being probed are
senior assistant commissioner Charles Mufandaedza, assistant commissioners
Crowd Chirenje, Alexio Paradza and another one only identified as Nyathi.
Our sources said the probe began last Monday after three of some of
the country's worst carjackers and armed robbers, who have been on the
police's most wanted list for the past two years, phoned CIO headquarters in
Harare complaining that they were "tired" of being extorted millions of
dollars in protection money by Mutamba and other rogue police officers.
"Our seniors told the gangsters to come over and lay their charges in
person which they only agreed to do after being assured that they would not
be arrested," said a CIO agent who is part of the team investigating the
The secret agent, who cannot be named because he is not authorised to
disclose details of the investigation to the Press, added: "The gangsters
claimed that Mutamba and the other senior police officers would phone them
almost on a daily basis demanding huge sums of money.
"They said the police officers threaten to have them (gangsters)
arrested or shot dead if they refuse to pay up."
After the gangsters, two of who are based in Bulawayo and one in
Harare, spilled the beans on Mutamba and the others, a 10-member team was
set up to investigate the robbers' claims against the policemen, sources
"Six CIO officers were on Monday (last week) dispatched from Harare to
Bulawayo where they have teamed up with four other investigators to probe
the policemen. Other senior members of the police who are opposed to what
Mutamba and his friends are doing are helping us with information," said
another CIO agent, who also cannot be named.
The secret service agent could not say when the probe on the policemen
was likely to be completed.
Both police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena and Home Affairs Minister Kembo
Mohadi, who oversees the police, claimed ignorance of the probe against
senior members of the law enforcement agency although the two said they
would welcome such an inquiry because no one was above the law.
"I cannot confirm that but if there is indeed such a probe then we
will wait for the outcome and the Police Commissioner (Augustine Chihuri)
will act on that. If they (Mutamba and others) are found guilty of any wrong
doing they will be treated in the manner they deserve because the
commissioner does not want corrupt officers, whatever their ranks," said
Mohadi said he would act accordingly if and when the findings of the
probe are brought to him. He said: "We cannot allow a situation whereby our
police force is led by greedy individuals who are bent on satisfying their
personal interests at the expense of national integrity. Nobody is above the
law and as senior officers they should know better themselves."
But Mutamba and some of the senior police officers accused of
protecting criminals either denied the allegations or would simply not be
drawn to discus the matter at all.
"Iwe mufana, usada kutamba neni (young man, stop fooling around with
me). I do not know what you are talking about," said Mutamba, before
switching off his mobile phone.
Mfandaedza, who is commander of police in the Midlands province, said:
"Let them do their investigations, I am not worried because I know that my
hands are clean. I do not have any relationship with criminals other than
hunting them down and making sure that they are brought to book. Whoever
told you that is a liar."
Chirenje, who is based in Bulawayo, dismissed the claims that he was
taking protection money from criminals as a mere "allegation that will not
make me lose my focus".
"I am a dedicated police officer who is out to fight crime, even the
commissioner knows that himself. That is why I have been sent outside the
country on United Nations duty on more than two occasions," said Chirenje.
The other two police officers accused of taking money from criminals,
Paradza and Nyathi, could not be reached for comment on the allegations
But according to our sources, police investigators across the country
are required to compile weekly and monthly criminal intelligence reports
which are forwarded to senior officers.
As senior officers Mutamba, Mfandaedza, Chirenje, Nyathi and Paradza
would also have access to some of the criminal intelligence reports, which
normally would include details such as residential addresses and mobile
phone numbers of wanted criminals and the crimes they committed.
It is from such information that the five senior policemen would
allegedly select which criminals to target for extortion. The sources said
the police officers would act individually or sometimes in concert to
pressure the criminals to pay up.
For example, in one case Mutamba sometime last month allegedly
approached a well known gangster and demanded Z$50 million.
"When the gangster tried to refuse to pay the money Mutamba is said to
have told him that he would order his 'boys' to shoot him dead and that the
police would cover up the whole thing by simply issuing a statement saying
that the robber died in a shoot-out while resisting arrest," said a source.
Apart from taking money from criminals, the senior police officers
also allegedly victimised their juniors if they tried to arrest the "paying
The five senior police officers are also alleged to have also used
their positions to have dangerous criminals who would have paid them money
to be released from police custody under unclear circumstances.
"There are several cases in the past 12 months when dangerous
criminals have been released on the orders of these top policemen only to go
and commit further crimes," said another source.
Corruption has over the past six years risen sharply within Zimbabwe's
police and other uniformed forces as worsening economic hardships in the
country push both ordinary citizens and law enforcement agents to bend the
rules in order to survive.
Several policemen and soldiers have over the last couple of years
appeared before the courts to answer to charges of theft, taking bribes or
even armed robbery. - ZimOnline
Mon 6 March 2006
JOHANNESBURG - The High Court on Friday ordered the city of
Johannesburg to stop evicting hundreds of foreigners from flats the council
said they had occupied illegally.
At least 250 Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals were late last
year forcibly evicted from buildings in Johannesburg central in an operation
the city authorities said was necessary to rid the flats of illegal
But on Friday, High Court judge Mahomed Jajbhay said the city
authorities must first provide alternative accommodation to the illegal
residents before evicting them.
Stuart Wilson a researcher from the Centre for Applied Legal Studies
which represented the 300 foreigners said the court had interdicted the
council from evicting the foreigners saying they must first provide
alternative accommodation for them.
"The judge interdicted the city from evicting or seeking to evict the
residents until such time as adequate alternative accommodation in the
inner-city area has been provided.
"He also ordered the city to devise and implement a comprehensive plan
to cater for foreigners living in the inner city of Johannesburg who are in
desperate need of accommodation," said Wilson.
Johannesburg mayor, Amos Masondo, could not be reached for comment on
the matter last night.
The Johannesburg council last year began a massive campaign to rid the
city of hundreds of foreigners who had illegally occupied buildings in the
Most Zimbabwean nationals who are staying in South Africa often
complain of ill-treatment at the hands of South African government
At least three million Zimbabweans are living outside the country, the
majority of them in South Africa, after fleeing hunger and political
persecution in Zimbabwe over the past six years. - ZimOnline
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
March 5, 2006
Posted to the web March 5, 2006
The Mozambican government has denied reports in the Zimbabwean press that
the Zimbabwean electricity parastatal, ZESA Holdings, is to purchase 25 per
cent of the shares in Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the company that
operates the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi river.
Interviewed by Mozambican Television on Saturday, Industry Minister Salvador
Namburete said he knew nothing about any such arrangement.
Last week, the "Zimbabwe Standard" carried a story claiming that ZESA "is on
the verge of clinching a 25 per cent equity in HCB to augment its
electricity requirements ahead of power outages in the southern region next
The move to acquire a stake in HCB, the paper claimed, citing ZESA general
manager for corporate affairs Obert Nyatanga, was among several measures "to
meet energy security requirements".
The fundamental assumption of this story - namely that buying a stake in HCB
will increase the amount of HCB power flowing to Zimbabwe - is wrong. For,
with or without a holding in HCB, ZESA would still face the problem of
paying for the Mozambican electricity.
The line from Cahora Bassa to Zimbabwe can carry 500 megawatts. But
currently, according to the Zimbabwean press, ZESA is only importing 250
megawatts from Mozambique. In the recent past the figure was as low as 170
To increase its consumption of HCB power, ZESA needs no shares in the
company at all - it merely needs the money to pay for the power imported.
Which it does not have. After the recent devaluation of the Zimbabwean
dollar (to 99,000 per US dollar), the cost of importing power (from South
Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as from Mozambique) is,
on ZESA's own figures, 600 billion Zimbabwean dollars a month. ZESA's total
income is only 340 billion Zimbabwean dollars a month.
ZESA also has huge debts: according to its chairman, Sydney Gata, it owes
the World Bank and other international creditors 334 million US dollars.
Gata says the debt continues to increase because of "cashflow problems".
The obvious solution is to increase Zimbabwean electricity tariffs
(currently by far the lowest in the region). ZESA proposed a 560 per cent
increase to take effect on 1 March, followed by a rise of 185 per cent on 1
June, 15 per cent on 1 October and 10 per cent on 1 December.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) rejected this proposal fearing its impact
on inflation - which, on official figures, stands at 613 per cent a year.
The RBZ would only allow a 95 per cent rise in the price of electricity in
2006, followed by 70 per cent in 2007.
In short, ZESA has no money. Were it a private company, it would be declared
bankrupt. It is thus quite impossible for ZESA to produce the cash to
purchase a quarter of HCB (at a conservative estimate, the amount needed
would be 279 million dollars).
Furthermore, HCB does not yet belong to Mozambique, despite last November's
agreement on the dam between the Mozambican and Portuguese governments.
Currently, the Portuguese state owns 82 per cent of HCB, while the
Mozambican state owns the remaining 18 per cent. Under the November
agreement, Mozambique will take an 85 per cent holding, and the Portuguese
holding will be reduced to 15 per cent.
But this depends on a payment of 950 million dollars to Portugal. 250
million of this will come from HCB's own coffers, but the Mozambican
government must find the other 700 million.
No money has yet changed hands, since finalising the deal is taking much
longer than expected.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has acquired
electrical equipment from China to replace the power utility's obsolete
infrastructure in Harare and to light new suburbs in the city.
The move is expected to improve electricity distribution in different
parts of the city, whose supplies were, in some instances, being affected by
The Zesa Holdings board of directors, the parastatal's chairman,
Sydney Gata, was quoted by Sunday Mail as saying that 166 service vehicles
were also part of the consignment.
He said the equipment, which was financed through tobacco exports, was
brought into the country over the past three weeks and would this week be
officially handed over to the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company.
Among critical components are transformers, switchgears, circuit
breakers and meters. The equipment will be dispatched for installation
immediately after this week's hand-over ceremony.
"We have done very well in the area of non-recourse finance for the
purchase of power supplies. Already, we have purchased new equipment from
China and this was made possible through tobacco exports venture by Zesa
Enterprises," he said.
According to the Zesa chief, the equipment would release pressure on
the existing infrastructure, which has collapsed under the heavy weight of
supply demand. He said the ageing equipment had resulted in seasonal power
outages in several parts of Harare.
Gata pointed out that new suburbs were also expected to benefit from
this initiative, whose implementation will be spread over the next six
Although the focus is on Harare, outlying areas will also get a
portion of the consignment.
Sunday, March 05 2006 @ 12:54 PM GMT
Contributed by: Zimdaily
Zimbabwe's ruling party has won back a mayoral seat from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the central town of
Martin Zimani of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) won Saturday's poll,
ousting the MDC's Francis Dhlakama, the incumbent mayor. The polls were
characterized by widespread apathy: Zimani polled 3,236 votes, while
Dhlakama polled 2,335 out of a total of 20,574 registered voters, state
media reported. Mugabe's party has been steadily regaining ground first lost
to the MDC in parliamentary elections in 2000 and subsequent mayoral and
Analysts blame disillusionment with the MDC, which recently
split in two, as well as widespread voter apathy due to the prevailing harsh
living conditions in Zimbabwe. Opposition voters also have to decipher
conflicting signals from the MDC, which sometimes advocates poll boycotts.
The authorities have suspended MDC mayors in three cities: the capital
Harare, its dormitory town Chitungwiza and the eastern city of Mutare. Life
in many of Zimbabwe's cities is getting harder for ordinary residents amid
frequent power cuts, broken sewage systems and erratic rubbish collection
while rate bills are rising dramatically.
From The Sunday Mail, 5 March
Sunday Mail reporter
The Zimbabwe Republic Police have increased by 1 000 percent fees for
fingerprints, firearm certificates and police clearance certificates with
effect from tomorrow. Firearm certificates have been increased from $1
million to $10 million. The renewal or replacement of certificates and a
temporary firearm permit will now cost $5 million each from the previous
$350 000. To obtain a firearm dealer's licence, one would have to pay $20
million and the renewal $15 million from $2 million and $1,5 million
respectively. A firearms auctioneer's permit and import permit will now cost
$10 million each from $1 million. The dealer's import permit, reloader's
permit and ammunition supply permit are all now pegged at $10 million each.
The fingerprint vetting services, which were costing $100 000 for seven-day
processing and $150 000 for one-day processing, are now pegged at $1 million
and $2 million respectively. Police clearance certificate (one day) would
now cost $5 million and $3 500 000 for seven-day processing. Those in the
Diaspora would have to fish out US$75 to apply for a police clearance
certificate. Police chief spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
said the hikes have been necessitated by the continued spiralling costs. The
fees were last reviewed in November last year. Members of the public have
been thronging the CID Morris Depot offices in Harare in a bid to process
their papers before the increases were effected. The depot is the sole
provider of such services in the country.
By Diana Mitchell
Last updated: 03/06/2006 03:00:58
...and just when I thought there was no such thing as a UFO!
This one carried home Arthur Mutambara who could not have landed any other
way; it's a dangerous journey by road and flight passenger lists are watched
closely by the spooks.
He is going to fight the Mugabe regime `tooth, nail and claw'. No guns I am
glad to note. Not even the `axes and spears' that the gentle Enoch
Dumbutshena had the temerity to mention fourteen or so years back.
This one is a natural fighter, taking his cue from the sage who gave us
`nature, red in tooth and claw'. The image is scary but thrilling. A REAL
professor this one. We have had so many charlatans awarding themselves the
title. But this new excitement of the opposition taking off with a rocket
scientist - aeronautics is close enough - is dizzying.
To shift to another allusion: he came with an earthquake, didn't he?
Mozambique last week experienced a huge one - 7.5 on the Richter scale and
its tremors were felt as far off as Harare and Bulawayo. Even in
Johannesburg. Mr Mbeki must have felt it. Tell the people that when a man of
Arthur's calibre lands on Zimbabwe's soil and says he's going to help kick
out the tyrant, and the earth moves... its magic. That's the sort of thing
they need to believe in since all else, especially `quiet diplomacy' has
failed. Only a leader proclaiming himself `the anti-Senate leader of the
pro-Senate faction' could utter such powerful incantations. And all this in
the midst of Mugabe's 82nd birthday celebrations which nobody in the
opposition wanted to attend. Maybe they hadn't heard about it?
And there's more mystery. Some would call it synchronicity. What about
coincidence? The MDC pro-Senate faction has just got its $Zim8bn worth of
funding for its parliamentarians. Patrick Chinamasa, the responsible
Minister, says he hasn't heard about the split: lucky he went blind and deaf
for a shortwhile when that decision was being debated in the corridors of
It gets better: a new Bill is on the way, nicknamed `crosstitution' (who was
the genius who thought that one up?). MDC Members of Parliament will, under
this law, be allowed to keep their seats, whatever their factional or
political preference. With a little more luck, some `loyal' Zanu PF MPs
might perhaps think about crossing to the MDC if it means the money keeps
coming in. Nobody can afford to lose a job in a Zimbabwe with 70-80%
Sad though it is that Budiriro MP for the MDC, Gilbert Shoko, passed away at
this moment of joy, his spirit will surely smile upon Arthur and his
re-invigorated band of knights and damsels as they take up the fight again
at a by election.
Other opposition spirits whose lives were wasted in battle will surely be
around wherever there is a plan to help to re-unite an incredibly brave band
of democrats in peace - or at the very least, to bring friendship and
co-operation between the two factions. No harm in dreaming.
Zimbabweans, keep your eyes on the stars! Watch out as you make your flight
to the moon for the spirits of Kaguvi and Nehanda hovering out there.
MASOLA WA DABUDABU HOPEWELL
Last updated: 03/06/2006 02:19:00
HISTORY and scriptures are so full of similarities. History is
arrogant for repeating itself from time to time; so are the scriptures! May
be scriptures make history and history makes scriptures!
The end shall be as in the beginning and the beginning shall be like
Scriptures tell us of how the children of Israel sought solace and
comfort from the land of the Pharaohs culminating from Joseph's appointment
to second in charge of Egypt just behind the absolute Pharaoh Potifah. With
the passing of the never waiting time, the Egyptians began to feel some
hatred towards their guests. They started routinely subjecting them to
arbitrary torture, abuse and discrimination.
For the children of the nation of Israel, Egypt had become one big
prison where they all served life sentences. Their collective crime was that
they were Israelites; intruders and space invaders of a notoriously
dangerous degree. Poor Israelites; they had to sing choking songs that
insulted their esteem and had to dance on hot coals that blistered and
charred their bare soles. Egypt was a place of misery.
After enduring untold misery under the Egyptians, the Israelites got
reprieve from their wretchedness and stay of execution through Moses'
emergence to some leadership role. Deriving guidance and inspiration from
Devine powers, Moses staged one of scripture's (history's) most daring
prison breaks. He grouped all the children of Israel and matched them
towards promised freedom and dignity.
Scriptures tell us that the Red Sea opened and allowed the nation of
Israel to escape the wrath of the pharaohs. Lock, stock and barrel, a whole
nation boldly matched towards Canaan, the Promised Land that was said to
flow with milk and honey. Despite conceited efforts by the mighty army of
the Pharaohs to hunt down a nation matching to freedom, faith delivered the
Israelites out of the immediate danger posed by the blood-sucking and
As it is written in the scriptures, Scriptural Prophecy precipitated
and sustained the exodus. History still marvels at the feat achieved by
Moses and his lieutenants. Yet, as it is always with fate and destiny as
well as with history and scriptures, Moses only managed to lead the children
of Israel out of Egypt. He did not live to experience the rewards of his
audacious leadership as honourable death took him before Promised Land was
Is that why the opposition in Zimbabwe needs to produce a martyr to
draw inspiration from?
Whilst Moses extricated the children of Israel from vile bondage,
Zimbabwe's history of cruel years has seen Robert Mutable notoriously
misleading and abusing the children of Zimbabwe to his own self-fulfilling
village of bondage. Each year that has passed with Robert Gabriel Mugabe in
the helms, more misery has been added as an augmentation to the unenviable
lives of the people of Zimbabwe.
Welcome to the largest jail of the modern world! Welcome to Greater
Zimbabwe-Chikurubi Prison, a country damned to notorious prison-hood for all
its citizens by the ugly and the brutal Mugabe!
From a historical perspective, the period of bondage experienced by
the children of Israel in Egypt has repeated itself in the form of the
children of Zimbabwe serving life-sentence in one big prison that commands
more notoriety than the real Chikurubi Maximum Prison in Harare. The slight
difference in the prisoner-populations of the real Chikurubi and Zimbabwe
prison as a whole is that one does not need to commit a felony to be put
away in the great Zimbabwe Prison.
Zimbabweans, countrymen and denizens; we are all inmates of one big
jail created for our discomfort by the sadistic Mugabe. We have all
committed one crime that has made us legible for incarceration in Mugabe's
jail. The only crime we a guilty of is being docile Zimbabwean citizens with
no outward exploration for true emancipation. As Zimbabweans, we have
allowed Mugabe to slowly test his imprisoning skills on us in his filthy
jail called Zimbabwe. We have allowed his warders, the police, the army and
other functionaries of Zanu PF to abuse us.
To add salt to the injury, Zimbabweans have allowed Mugabe and his
henchmen to systematically work their ways into our manhood, womanhood,
childhood and sanctity to satisfy their lewd desires. Zimbabweans have been
raped by Mugabe and Zanu PF! The sadness in this issue is that some of the
people seem to enjoy this sacred-bodily abuse. I surrender the ineptitude of
some of our citizens. Some of the prisoners in this megalith known as
Zimbabwe seem to enjoy serving as Mugabe's maids.
No-one but ourselves can take the blame for the untenable situation we
are in. We brought it upon ourselves by letting Mugabe taste our blood. Now
he demands blood at thirty-seven degrees Celsius straight from our jugular
vain. As Zimbabweans, we are an emotional and political wreck! We cannot
talk about the 'print more money' economy! It rapes our appetite for decency
Now for the jail break! When will the mutiny begin? When will our own
version of Moses in a Black skin be retrieved from the Mukuvisi River in a
basket of reeds? It is only my hope that the Moses is roaming the streets
somewhere. If he is not yet born; woe to the people of Zimbabwe! There will
be many more years of bondage until a Moses can boldly stand up and whisk
the children of Zimbabwe out of Mugabe's misery.
If Chidhumo, Masendeke, Chauke and company; a group of daring
prisoners could breach the defences of Chikurubi prison; how is it that ten
million abused people cannot stage an escape from Mugabe's imprisoning evil?
Zimbabweans do not need to run away from Zimbabwe in order to escape Mugabe's
tyranny. It is Mugabe who has to be chased from Zimbabwe to save the people
Mugabe's Exodus; the beginning? Let us flush him into one of his
smelly 'Blair-toilets' at Zvimba/Murombedzi. I rest my case.
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: email@example.com
March 5, 2006, 12 hours and 40 seconds ago.
By Andnetwork .com
THE anti-Senate opposition MDC, that is desperately seeking a credible
leader in the Matabeleland region, has reportedly approached former Governor
for Matabeleland North province Mr Welshman Mabhena to take up the post of
vice-president, local media reports have indicated.
The party, which is already torn apart by internal jockeying for
positions in the region, reportedly has no faith in both Lovemore Moyo and
Thokozani Khuphe, little known politicians who do not have any known
following in the sensitive and politically decisive region.
This comes amid reports that jockeying for positions in the
anti-Senate camp has reached boiling point ahead of the faction's congress
pencilled in for between March 17 and 19 at the City Sports Centre in
Sources in the opposition party told The Sunday News on Wednesday that
some of the people in the opposition party wanted Ms Thokozani Khupe to take
the post of vice-president so that it emulates Zanu-PF that elected Cde
Joyce Mujuru as Vice-President.
Ms Khupe is the opposition party's Member of Parliament for Makokoba
Constituency and a trade unionist.
Another name that was being thrown in for the position of
vice-president was Mr Lovemore Moyo, the MP for Matobo.
Sources say the Tsvangirai-led camp was scouting for firebrand
politicians to fill most of its top positions, even from outside the party
as it was reportedly shaken by the ascension of former student union leader
Professor Arthur Mutambara to the helm of the other faction.
"These people are agreed that (Mr) Tsvangirai should retain the
position of president of the party. It is the post of the vice-president
that is going to cause problems because other people want it to be taken by
(Ms) Khupe, while others have said (Mr) Mabhena should take up that
position. There is a group that wants (Mr) Moyo," said the source.
Mr Mabhena fell out with Zanu-PF and has become a critic of the ruling
In an interview yesterday, Mr Mabhena confirmed convening four
meetings with Mr Tsvangirai, but dismissed reports that the agenda of the
meetings was for him to take up the post of vice-president of his faction.
"Some people told (Mr) Tsvangirai to come to me and get some advice
during the time when their party split. I can confirm having meetings with
him four times. I want to make it clear that these are the meetings the
people are mistakenly saying he was approaching me to take up the post of
"During the first meeting, I told him that if they split, the people
were going to call him a sellout. You form a party and allow people to
follow you and after that you leave the people. I asked him whether he had
informed the people that the party was facing problems. I told them to go
back to the drawing board, swallow their pride and solve the problems they
were facing. I told him that the issue of tribalism they were raising was
silly because there is no nation without tribes. What the people want is
leadership that understands," said Mr Mabhena.
He said that he told Mr Tsvangirai to go to the ground and seek the
people's mandate if he thought he was right, adding that he was shocked to
hear later on that Mr Tsvangirai was fired from the party.
Mr Mabhena said he believed that the people on the ground had nothing
against Mr Tsvangirai, but some of the top leadership of the party.
Source : Sunday News
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-06
ST Albert's Mission Hospital in Centenary, Mashonaland Central, is allegedly
forcing relatives of patients with outstanding medical bills to surrender
livestock including cattle, goats and sheep as payment, a high-ranking
health official in the province has revealed.
The official - who spoke on condition of anonymity - said the arrangement
had been adopted by the hospital to help people who could not afford to pay
hefty medical bills settle their debts.
"The cost for treatment continues to rise yet most people, especially in
rural areas, cannot afford to pay the bills. This arrangement would assist
patients to settle their bills and the proceeds would benefit the hospital,"
the official said.
Brian Marira (23) of Dunhope, Village 7, Centenary, who was once treated at
the hospital told The Daily Mirror that most patients were bringing in crops
and clothing as payment, but were being turned away because the hospital
"If a patient fails to raise the required amount, he or she is given two to
three weeks to raise it. This is a very short period for someone to raise
money such that most patients will be forced to surrender their livestock,"
He added that patients were detained at the hospital for failing to settle
medical bills, adding in most cases negotiations for payment were conducted
in a way that disadvantaged the ill.
"I am not happy with the way they evaluate the price of the livestock. It's
not very clear such that the hospital benefits all the time," he said.
When asked about the issue, the Doctor-In-Charge at the hospital Elizabeth
Tarira refused to comment referring all questions to the hospital
administrator identified only as T Size, who was said not to be in office.
The hospital matron, only identified by her badge as Sister R Changata said
she was not in a position to give intricate details of the scheme said it
was a noble idea.
"The best person to speak to is our Doctor-In-Charge. I disagree with those
patients who say that we have turned them away with their goods. We treat
them first before we discuss anything on payment," she said.
Hegifa Chitekedza of Centenary Plots said she had a bad experience with the
hospital after her daughter was detained for failure to pay her bills.
Chitekedza claimed her daughter later died of pneumonia after she was forced
to sleep on the floor without blankets, an accusation hospital officials
Last Friday, Chitekedza claimed that on another occasion hospital officials
detained her granddaughter after she failed to pay $4 million.
"They won't release you until everything is settled. I have these expensive
jackets I brought with me to the hospital. I wanted to surrender them until
I raised the $4 million for my granddaughter whom they have also detained,
but they refused," she lamented.
Her granddaughter was said to be still at the hospital by Friday.
Another patient who had just been discharged said she felt the hospital was
doing a good thing as most people were financially burdened.
"We have welcomed this innovative idea and wish this could go on as most of
us are unemployed," she said.
The mission, which also runs a secondary school, is said to be offering
parents who fail to raise school fees the option to offer livestock as
The mission farm was reportedly in possession of more than 20 beasts
forwarded as school fees, but the figure of livestock surrendered by
patients could not be determined.
Meanwhile, Karanda Mission Hospital in the same province has reportedly
adopted a similar method of payment, but in the form of foodstuffs such as
maize and beans.
Last week Health minister David Parirenyatwa, professed ignorance over the
He said: "I am not sure of the arrangement. Whether it is an innovative
thing or a hindrance, I still have to study that."
The development comes at a time when the government has increased hospital
consultation fees across the country.
Consultation fees for central hospitals were increased from $10 000 to $300
000 while provincial and general hospitals now charge $180 000 up from $120
At district hospitals, adults now have to pay $120 000 while rural health
centres offer free service.
Children seeking treatment now pay $110 000 at central hospitals while those
at provincial hospitals $90 000 per visit.
According to a circular sent to hospitals a fortnight ago, the increments
were far less than the actual cost of medical care with the bulk of the
amount being subsidised by the government.
The circular stated that many patients took advantage of the subsidy and
sought treatment directly from central hospitals without reference from a
clinic or a doctor.
"It is clear that the low fees are the primary cause of the breakdown of the
referral chain, leading to congestion, long waiting times and the misuse of
the skilled health workers who remain at referral level," read part of the
A follow up survey conducted by The Daily Mirror last week revealed that
most hospitals had not yet increased fees by Friday with the institutions
still charging $10 000.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Mar-06
THE high interest rate regime that now characterises the country's financial
services sector has come under stinging attack for its unsustainably high
yields, which have hit players in the sector hard.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) benchmark accommodation rate for secured
lending stands at 700-percent - a strategic measure to effectively manage
However, financial institutions are failing to match the RBZ overnight
accommodation rate, and to compound the situation has been the persistence
of market shortages on the money market in the region of $5 trillion per
Last week, during the presentation of her company's financial results,
Barclays Zimbabwe managing director, Charity Jinya took a swipe at the rates
for putting group margins under tremendous pressure.
"It is very difficult to sustain the current interest rates. The burden
falls on us as monetary players, and we cannot sustain the yields," said
The interest rate regime, implemented by the central bank to fight record
high inflation and mop excess liquidity of the market, has been welcomed
differently by the players.
The central bank had in the past, come under increasing attack for its
failure to manage the country's liquidity, and its new overnight
accommodation rates have courted both the ire and praise of different
players in the financial services sector.
"They are monetary authorities. Their role is to eliminate excess liquidity
and they are doing it well. Before, banks were having it good and attacking
the central bank for failing to manage liquidity. It is a two-faced coin,"
said Witness Chinyama, a financial analyst.
The predicament is worsened when one considers RBZ requirements that banking
institutions raise their minimum capital adequacy levels to the equivalent
of $1 trillion by September 30.
Chinyama contends that banks are in for a rough ride, having to deal with a
short money market and scurrying to raise the required $1 trillion.
"The huge interest rates and those capital adequacy requirements will be
very difficult obstacles for financial institutions to handle," Chinyama
But some financial services players were harsh on the RBZ's overnight
"It is fleecing under the name of liquidity management. The sector cannot
sustain massive outflows, which are hitting us really bad, most owing to the
short money market.
"It obviously will put a damper on the governor's (Gono's) 'inflation is our
number one enemy' maxim, if you look at the downstream effects," said one
banker who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Already, some are talking of mergers and takeovers, but with little
"It still doesn't remove the fact that liabilities will remain. Merging or
taking over a new operation will not eliminate them. If the short money
market persists till September, then it makes no sense to actively pursue
mergers," said the banker.
Constraints that will obviously hit financial services in the chain include
insurgent inflationary forces such as fuel and electricity hikes, which have
failed to get a counter-insurgent deflationary force in the form of dropping
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-06
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is set to establish bakeries in the country's
10 provinces to increase the availability of bread in outlying areas and
increase its market share.
GMB public relations officer, Victoria Munyoro, at the weekend said they had
one operational bakery located at the Marondera depot and planned to open
others around the country.
"Construction of bakeries is ongoing in Bindura, Chinhoyi and Masvingo.
Bakeries in Mutare and Hwange are now around 92 percent complete," she said.
She said the board had also embarked on a number of value addition projects
such as maize milling, which was started to stabilise the market price of
mealie-meal and enhance food availability.
"This project was embarked upon in 1999 and to date, the organisation has 37
milling plants dotted around the country. Plans are underway to have 57
milling plants nationwide," she said, adding this would ensure every
Zimbabwean had access to mealie-meal, maize or both.
She said the board established a flour milling plant at Concession depot and
plans to have plants at other depots were at an advanced stage to ensure
Construction at a stock feed project-manufacturing plant at the Norton depot
was also underway, with 90 percent of the machinery having been purchased
and delivered from South Africa.
"GMB's target is to have the plant operating by June 2006. This will go a
long way in supporting the livestock farmers, as they will get all their
stockfeed free of charge, rear their livestock
and pay back to GMB after offloading their animals on the market," she said.
The Vigil ended in some disarray when the Vigil dog Chai (Indian for tea)
slipped his halter and set off towards Leicester Square after an exuberant
Patson Muzuwa advanced on him bearing food. (Silly dog. No one else has
complained about Patson's food.) Grateful thanks to Patson, Julius
Mutyambezi, Addley Nyamutaka, Nick and Anna who spent hours searching for
him. We went back to the Embassy at 1 am in case he had returned from the
fleshpots of the West End and again at daybreak. (We are grateful to the
dustmen and homeless people - some of them no doubt Zimbabweans - sleeping
rough in the Strand who responded so courteously to our appeal for help.)
We were dreading having to report the loss to Chai's owner when seventeen
hours later he appeared barking outside his home seven miles away. A
miracle! And one that we hope augurs well for the lost people of Zimbabwe.
It may be a long and unknown journey but hopefully we will all find our way
home. We just hope that Chai does not head off now for his birthplace in
the streets of the Indian holy city of Benares / Varanasi. Perhaps the
reason for Chai's nervousness was the sheer size of the Vigil, pulsating
with wonderful music.
One of our supporters brought popular MDC headbands and cotton wraps and -
after last week's interruption - we were able to offer two weeks' editions
of The Zimbabwean. We were pleased to hear that Francesca, our schoolgirl
supporter, managed to get publicity for the Zimbabwean cause in her local
Supporters who can get there are urged to gather outside the Royal Courts of
Justice in the Strand at 10 am on Monday, 6th March, when the Home Office is
to appeal against a ruling halting the return of Zimbabweans. Apparently
the Home Office is arguing that returnees are not badly treated. They
appear to rely on information we question and we urge anyone who can
contradict this to contact the Zimbabwe Association. (Tel: 020 7549 0355,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website:
FOR THE RECORD: 73 signed the register today.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 5th March, 7.30 pm, Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at the
Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand
from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn
right and you will see the pub). The speaker this week is Lois Davies, the
UK co-ordinator of WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise). Lois will show us a video
of their most recent events in Zimbabwe and talk about the work of the WOZA
founder - Jenny Williams and others, who recently received humanitarian
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Saturday, March 04 2006 @ 08:36 PM GMT
Contributed by: s.maranda
Hunger at Chinhoyi University of Technology
Block release Students at Chinhoyi university are currently
starving from debilitating hunger ever witnessed at the institution.A meal -
a plate of sazda and stew is costing a cool $140,000 and breakfast is
costing $110,000 and daily accomodation is $25000,00 and per day a total of
$415000-00 is needed.Fees have been pegged at $28million excluding
subsistence.Most of the students who are employed, self funded and poorly
paid are starving and a few who still have money survive on bread only.The
staff at the university are not spared.
Nigeria Daily Independent
In this season of political division and sectarian skirmishes, recent
reports from Shonga in Kwara State give a cause for optimism about the
future of Nigeria. The reports also give a heart-warming indication of the
future of agriculture in Nigeria and most importantly, of the difference a
visionary and committed leadership can make.
Shonga, a small community on the western bank of the River Niger in rural
Kwara, is the new home of about a dozen white farmers brought from Zimbabwe
early last year by Governor Bukola Saraki under the Kwara State Commercial
Agriculture Initiative. Less than a year after they cleared the first swathe
of bush, the farmers have reaped 4,000 tons of maize and two tons of Soya
beans from their maiden harvest, according to media reports. This yield from
just over 1,000 hectares of land is substantially higher than the Nigerian
average per hectare, which according to official statistics is 1.5 tons per
hectare for maize.
The success story from Shonga has vindicated Governor Bukola Saraki as a
foresighted and focused leader. More significantly, it may finally pave the
way for a green revolution in Nigeria. Governor Saraki is convinced that
agriculture offers Nigeria the best route out of poverty. But for the sector
to achieve its potentials, he argued that it must be driven by commercial
farming, with the state creating an enabling environment and providing
necessary support. This is a radical departure from what Nigeria is used to,
whereby government's intervention in the sector revolves around subsidies on
fertilisers and a few other agricultural inputs, even when these subsidies
never really get to the farmers and other end users. Saraki's definition of
commercial farmers is educated professionals familiar with modern best
practices in agriculture and possessing the ability to raise funds from the
capital market. This breed of farmers, of course, does not exist in Nigeria
at the moment as most of the 70 or so percent of the population practicing
agriculture are old, uneducated people doing so at the subsistence level.
Thus when President Robert Mugabe began to throw out the white farmers from
Zimbabwe under his land reform programme, Governor Saraki saw a window of
opportunity. He promptly reached out to the farmers and persuaded 15 of them
to relocate to Shonga to pioneer his commercial farming initiative. And thus
began the Shonga story.
It is noteworthy that when the governor announced this initiative in 2004,
it ignited a furore. Vocal elites and political opponents of the governor in
Kwara State condemned everything about it from his decision to invite the
white farmers to the smallest details of the collaborative agreement he
signed with them. As late as last Christmas, Minister of Communications,
Chief Cornelius Adebayo, who was governor of the old Kwara State in the last
three months of the Second Republic, harshly criticized the initiative,
canvassing that the cause of the state would have been better served if
Governor Saraki had stuck to the ineffective practice of providing
subsidized fertilizers to peasant farmers or simply handed over the money
involved in the project to Nigerian VIPs who have retired into farming.
Thank God the young governor has the courage of his conviction and stuck to
his guns. And today, this project has not only put Kwara on the world map
and re-branded it in Nigeria as the state of innovation; it has also created
a fresh official awareness for agriculture as the key to poverty alleviation
and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.
President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the many dignitaries that visited
Shonga last year. The visit started a momentum for federal initiatives on
agriculture. The president was so impressed with what he saw at Shonga that
he immediately summoned a meeting of the white farmers with managing
directors of financial institutions where they brainstormed on how to get
around the inhibitions of financing agriculture in Nigeria. After that
meeting in Abuja, Obasanjo encouraged about a dozen governors to visit
Shonga before leading them to Kaduna for a summit on agriculture. The
president has since the summit announced a number of policy decisions to
reposition agriculture and encourage commercial farming. The first was to
remove the cap on loans available for agricultural ventures under the Small
and Medium-scale Industries and Enterprises Scheme (SMIES). He also
announced a N50billion federal package for agricultural projects in 2006,
the largest ever government support for the sector in Nigeria. And in
another unprecedented move, Nigerian banks this year reduced interest rate
on loans for agricultural ventures to 14 percent. The Central Bank will
further subsidize this by six per cent, thus effectively reducing the rate
to eight per cent.
Perhaps, the best compliment to the Kwara State governor on the Shonga
initiative is the decision of some of his colleagues to adopt the project in
their states. On the same day that politicians gathered in the six
geo-political zones of the country for public hearing on the amendment of
the Constitution, Governor Adamu Abdullahi of Nasarawa State signed a
memorandum of understanding with another group of 20 commercial farmers from
Zimbabwe to create his own Shonga in the state. In Kebbi State, a report
said some Chinese farmers have entered into an agreement with the state
government to set up farms in the state. Even Kwara plans to spread the
initiative to other parts of the state with another group of farmers
selecting a site in Asa Local Government Area of the state.
If commercial farming takes root, it will change the face of agriculture in
Nigeria forever. That will no doubt be a great legacy for the young man at
the helm of affairs in Kwara State. According to a Zimbabwean farmer,
everyone in the country wants to be a farmer. That is because unlike in
Nigeria, farming is very lucrative in Zimbabwe. Before President Mugabe
introduced the land redistribution programme, there were over 4000
commercial farms in Zimbabwe, employing close to a half a million people.
The farms produce enough to make the country a major exporter of grains,
earning Zimbabwe more than half its foreign exchange. The land reform has
seen thousands of these farmers out of Zimbabwe. But the result for the
economy has been so catastrophic that recent reports in the British media
claimed that Mugabe has reversed the reform and has now invited the
displaced farmers back to their seized farms.
The harvest in Shonga marks the completion of an important phase of the
project. In driving the project to this stage, Governor Saraki has
demonstrated leadership qualities uncommon in Nigeria. He has shown vision,
focus and courage of conviction. No wonder his face now readily comes to
mind when people search the Nigerian leadership clouds for a silver lining.
He deserves the acknowledgement and encouragement of all lovers of Nigeria.
Saturday, March 04 2006 @ 08:39 PM GMT
Contributed by: Jay Sibs
Fellow Zimbabweans, allow me to voice some of the things which I
believe we should have in place if we are to dislodge the evil regime of
Robert Mugabe, whose government and party which has no mercy on its own
people; it steals even the medication meant for suffering masses. I am one
of those youths who participated and campaigned vigorously, from the time
the MDC was formed. I participated in the February 2000 referendum, June
2000 parliamentary elections, DEADLY March 9 & 10 2002 Presidential
elections, and my final campaign was the failed final push in June
2003.These are some the things I think we as a people tend to underestimate,
but non the less important if we are to remove the DICTATOR Mugabe.
I have observed with great pain the way the media and citizens
add fuel to the fire, diving the opposition, MDC even further. We tend to
call whoever who dare oppose our points of view a Zanu agent, or we use the
commonly used rhetoric- Tribal slurs. If you are a shona we tend to accuse
the one who opposes our views as a confused Ndebele, and vice versa if one
is a Ndebele. How long are we going to use this formula we inherited from
uncle Bob? We should become more politically mature, no one has all the
answers to Zimbabwe's problems, we need to put our heads together, agree to
disagree, and come up with one common point of view that we all agree to. We
should develop a culture in which citizens have tolerance to others views,
stop immature rants like, ibva apa!, suka lapha!, you are drunk! Etc etc.
Instead we should sit down, as brothers as sisters and engage ourselves in a
dialogue, show each other where we missed on our additions, divisions,
analysis, subtraction, that way we will build a nation. We should stop the
culture of " I know it all', therefore my views should be universally
accepted, that way we will always be viewed as a confused and divided
people, because we will never get to a common meeting place and we will
forever be ruled by the evil monster, Zanu-Pf.
The opposition parties and civic organisations tend to mis-time
the political temperature. For example operation Murambatsvina was a
"perfect opportunity" for an up-rising of the Zimbabwean masses, from all
walks of life. But, they choose press conferences and other issues, instead
of coming together, and rise up to remove this monster from power. Another
example is the failed final push by the MDC in June 2003. In my opinion,
correct me if I am wrong, the best way was to rise up soon after the
elections were announced (presidential elections in March 2002), then the
political climate was at an all time high, with very fertile ground for mass
demonstrations, people were really wounded emotionally, psychologically you
name it. Those elections, most viewed it as their only hope for a better
(b)Crystal clear policies
Had the MDC made its Land reform policy crystal clear, the way
articulated by Honourable Nelson Chamisa, when it was formed or after the
first congress in 2000, told the masses that their land allocation policy
had title deeds, systematic, etc, don't you think the MDC could have got
important friends who were ultimately going to vote out Zanu-pf? Here I am
talking about war veterans, if we still recall very well, they did not see
eye to eye with the Zanu-pf government, and the all important votes-rural
landless masses!. The land reform( chaotic, criminal, barbaric) that Zanu-pf
implemented, went on to win them crucial rural votes, war vets loyalty, and
the MDC then got a new brand name, puppets. This propaganda destroyed the
MDC somehow, especially in the crucial rural votes. I should say the land
reform is one of many important MDC policies that wasn't asserted well to
(c)Constituency restructuring and reduction of polling stations
in cities and towns
Just before the March 2005 parliamentary elections, Zanu-pf and
its henchman carried out a constituency restructuring exercise, which
reduced number of urban seats in parliament, and poling stations in cities
and towns. This significantly disadvantaged the MDC, given that most of its
support base is in cities and towns. If the MDC was serious about boycotting
elections, this was the election to boycott and call for serious mass
uprising. There was no way the MDC was going to win, Zanu had done is
mathematics well, be known to the MDC, but they never vigorously challenged
(3) Last but not least, Unity, Unity, Unity
It is time to come together, bury our hatchets, petty
ideological differences, petty personal issues, and put Zimbabwe's suffering
masses first! Those who support the anti-senate MDC do you honestly think
that they can clash head on with Mugabe divided with out the other factions
help and win the war? Those who support the pro-senate MDC do you honestly
think that you will get enough votes to unseat Mugabe without the help of
the other faction? Its simple, very clear-it is mission impossible. Look at
history, the only election that I remember the opposition soundly trouncing
the Zanu-pf regime (February 2000 referendum), was not fought by only one
party, but by multi party organisations with one common voice, mainly the
MDC, NCA, and other civic organisations. We need to look beyond the two MDC
factions, and come up with one broad based organisation that will tackle the
regime head on. One of the favourite manifestos of dictators is to "confuse
the opposition, make them fight amongst themselves, so that they will
prolong their stay in power". And this is exactly what Pharaoh did in Egypt
against the Jews and this is exactly what is happening today in our beloved
Zimbabwe. I should say that this bravado, founder member politics should be
carefully looked at. This is the 21st century. Those who have the sound,
concrete, tangible ideas as long as they are citizens should be allowed to
have input on policy making, irregardless of their age, gender, ethnic
background, educational qualifications etc etc. In this way everyone's views
will be considered, and no one will be left out.
Ladies and gentlemen we have to put our house in order,
strategise and come up with one voice, one common agenda, that is, to remove
Robert Mugabe from power. We have to have self belief in our selves, at the
moment is there any of you who can risk his or her life by demonstrating on
the streets without any viable concrete government in waiting? I am
encouraged by the NCA, WOZA, ZINASU demonstrations, however I must say, that
small clans or groups of our society can be easily destroyed by the state
machinery. If we come together, iron our differences, have one voice and
ultimately one common enemy, organise a mass uprising comprising of groups
like both MDC factions, WOZA, ZINASU, ZCTU, NCA, to name but just a few, at
the right time like now, when the prices, school fees are sky rocketing,
SURELY MUGABE WILL GO!!!