07 March 2007
Secretary Rice spotlights Jennifer Williams, founder of WOZA
By Jim Fisher-Thompson
USINFO Staff Writer
Washington -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spotlighted the
achievements of Zimbabwean human rights activist Jennifer Williams with an
International Women of Courage Award presented at the State Department March
Williams, founder of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) -- a civil society
organization established in 2003 to protest government abuses -- accepted
the award in the name of the group's more than 45,000 members.
"The award is a great honor, but the real award will be a free and
independent Zimbabwe," Williams told USINFO during an interview at the State
Department on the day of the ceremony.
The Zimbabwean was one of 10 recipients of the courage award chosen from
among a field of 82 women activists nominated by U.S. embassies worldwide.
The ceremony was held on International Women's Day, during a month that the
United States celebrates as National Women's History Month. (See related
Announcing the award for Williams, the department cited the "harassment and
physical abuse" she suffered under President Robert Mugabe's regime and
commended her for "providing an example of courage and leadership by working
for change through peaceful and nonviolent means."
In establishing the award in 2006, Rice said, "Women of courage are standing
up for freedom and human dignity and the United States stands with them. We
must not forget that the advance of women's rights and the advance of human
liberty go hand in hand."
Arrested more than 25 times for leading protests against Mugabe's regime,
Williams said, "Zimbabwe supposedly got independence in 1980." But under
"dictator" Mugabe's disastrous land-seizure policies the economy is being
destroyed and the country is turning into a beggar of international food
Because of resulting malnutrition and lack of proper health care, she said,
"Women are dying at age 34 [median age]; men, at 37. You can't earn a
living. The authorities tear down houses that are not squatter houses and
stop you from making a living."
Hardships fall especially hard on women, Williams said, because it is the
children "who beg mama for more food or want to know why they can no longer
go to school" when there is no money for school fees.
Williams, a Matabele from Bulawayo, has paid a high personal price for her
social and political protests. She received death threats following her
arrests. Her thriving public relations business is defunct and her husband
and children live in "economic exile" in Britain. A Matabele is a member of
the Bantu people native to southern Zimbabwe.
Despite the personal sacrifices, the activist said she feels empowered
because WOZA's strength lies in its community members "who have ownership"
in the organization. "It is because of our united struggle, hand in hand,
that we are going to get the Zimbabwe we want," she said.
"Another very important aspect in saving our [protestor's] lives is the
solidarity we get from people around the world," Williams said. And in that
regard "the American Embassy in Harare has been very helpful."
"On the 12th of December I was arrested along with 300 others at
parliament," she related. "It was an incredible thing to see a U.S. Embassy
vehicle parked right there where we were seated on the ground under arrest.
One police official after another tried to get the Americans to move but
they just kept sitting there saying, 'we are just here to observe the
"That gave us a lot of courage," Williams said. "We had been brutally
beaten just two weeks before at a demonstration and we just needed to know
that someone was watching out for us this time around. And at the
demonstration at parliament, the police allowed us walk away free, which had
never happened before.
"So, we think it is important for the diplomatic community to play a role in
helping us achieve our struggle," she added. "We can do it ourselves but it
helps when the Mugabe authorities know the world is watching."
(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs,
U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
On Monday 5th March over 100 WOZA members in Gweru
marched through the centre of town to launch the
People's Charter and to encourage the people of their
city to join in the struggle for social justice. Two
water cannons were also out on the streets but did
not deter WOZA from starting the protest. 36 were
arrested but 27 were released on Tuesday - no news at
the moment of the remaining 9.
WOZA again took to the streets with the Peoples
Charter on Tuesday - this time in Masvingo. In the
face of heavy police presence, many of the women
intending to march scattered, but a brave group of
about 30 managed to march several blocks through the
centre of the city to the Civic Centre, where 20 were
arrested; lawyers are in attendance but no news yet of
This morning (Wednesday) the People's Charter was
successfully launched in Mutare. WOZA members marched
through central Mutare, defying a police ban on all
demonstrations throughout the country. Approximately
30 women processed, singing and waving placards, from
near Kingdom Bank up to the Civic Centre where they
left their placards. The few police in the area
ignored them and no arrests took place.
Here in Britain a round table meeting was held in
London at the beginning of February in response to
WOZA`s appeal to Zimbabweans and friends in the
diaspora for support in their People's Charter
campaign. There has been a good response to their
call - you can see what people are doing in the
support up-date attached.
Finally - WOZASolidarity will be joining the Dignity
Rally for Zimbabwe in Trafalgar Square this Saturday
10th March 1pm - 4pm. Please try to join us and help
distribute WOZA information leaflets, selling WOZA
scarves and generally making a show of support for
WOZA and all those struggling on the frontline in
Zimbabwe. I also attach the leaflet we will be
distributing. Please make copies and bring them for
distribution if you can!
Update on support for WOZA's People's Charter campaign.
March 6, 2007
ALISC (African Liberation Support Campaign Network) and WOZASolidarity
hosted a charter awareness event at the School of Oriental and African
Studies London on 14th February; speakers included Mcdonald Lewanika of
ZINASU (Zimbabwe National Student Union) Student Solidarity Trust and Alois
Mbawara of Free Zim Youth.
The ALISC Network in Scotland had got UNISON`s Edinburgh branch to pass a
resolution supporting WOZA in October 2005, and the Transport and General
Workers Union Central branch to adopt a resolution on WOZA in September
2006. They also donated money for WOZA to attend Africa Liberation Day in
Lusaka in May 2006.
The Zimbabwe Vigil and WOZASolidarity joined forces to hold a charter launch
event outside the Zimbabwe Embassy on Saturday 17th Feb. Speakers included
Tokunbo Oke of ALISC, hundreds of signatures were gathered for the charter
ENS (Education Not For Sale), the UK education campaigners who invited
WOZASolidarity to address a Feminist Fightback Conference in September 2006,
have now circulated the charter to their members and placed information
about WOZA on their website. www.socialistfeminist.org.uk.
The Zimbabwe Womens Network will be taking part at the International Women's
Day to be held at the Hammersmith and Fulham Townhall. They will have a
stall and will be publicising the WOZA campaign as well as taking signatures
to support the Charter For further information contact:
Southampton University`s Amnesty International group are hosting an
awareness and fund raising event for Women Of Zimbabwe Arise on Thursday 8th
March 2007. For further information contact email@example.com
Leeds Amnesty International group will be holding a Zimbabwe Family Party
for Zimbabweans living around Leeds in April and have offered to include
information about WOZA`s charter campaign at the event. For further
information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Britain Zimbabwe Society has posted information about WOZA and their
charter campaign on their website www.britain-zimbabwe.org.uk
Photographer Biddy Partridge incorporated information about WOZA and their
charter campaign at the opening of her exhibition `Double Vision` in London
and is distributing the charter and the petitions there For further
information contact email@example.com
AND HAPPILY WOZA NOW HAS A WEBSITE OF THEIR OWN! www.wozazimbabwe.org where
copies of the charter and their open letter can be found.
WOZASolidarity`s charter film on youtube has now had over 1000 viewers - you
can see it on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Ig_XDdlrg We have also made
a short DVD presentation summarising WOZA`s actions over the last year and
outlining the charter action. If you would like a copy to show at a WOZA
support event please contact Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org.
view pamphlet at ................... www.zimbabwesituation.com/woza.html
By Rhoda Mashavave
FOR this year's International Women's Day, Zimbabwean women celebrate the
signing of the Domestic Violence Bill into law though they continue to face
insurmountable difficulties under the current Zanu PF regime.
Indeed it is a triumph for the organisations and individuals who have been
fighting against domestic violence that we now have a law that protects
those who suffer domestic violence in their homes.
The Bill was met with different reactions in Parliament and outside the
House but it finally managed to sail through. I know many still remain with
their reservations but the most important thing is that we have a piece of
legislation on the side of the poor Zimbabwean woman for once.
It is my hope that domestic violence will decrease in Zimbabwe as men and
women who suffer domestic violence are now protected by the law.
However, victory cannot be celebrated in the other sectors as women continue
to fight against political violence and grinding poverty that has been
exacerbated by the ongoing economic and political crisis. For the past seven
years there really has been nothing for the Zimbabwean woman to celebrate as
the world marked this very important day. The odds have and continue to be
All the same, Zimbabwean women never cease to amaze me. They have continued
to carry on in the face of adversity. They continue to soldier on for their
families and over the past few years we have seen the growth of the Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and others leading the cause for the poor Zimbabwean
As millions of women around the world were preparing events to mark
international women's day, the Zimbabwe police were fighting running battled
with over 100 WOZA members in Gweru who had marched through the centre of
town to launch their People's Charter meant to encourage people to join in
the struggle for social justice.
Two water cannons were out on the streets but this did not deter WOZA from
starting the protest. Thirty-six members were arrested and 27 of them were
WOZA again took to the streets with the Peoples Charter on Tuesday - this
time in Masvingo. In the face of heavy police presence, many of the women
intending to march scattered, but a brave group of about 30 managed to march
several blocks through the centre of the city to the Civic Centre, where 20
Yesterday the People's Charter was successfully launched in Mutare as WOZA
members marched through central Mutare, defying a police ban on all
demonstrations throughout the country. No arrests were made.
The brave women of Zimbabwe who for a long time have been used as political
pawns have been fighting their corner. Many more are needed in the struggle
for better services, lower fees for their children, peace, stability, food,
tolerance and related issues.
The major problem afflicting the Zimbabwean woman today as the world marks
International Women's Day is the absence of money to buy food to make sure
families have at least three square meals per day.
Many have resorted to cross-border trading, defying all the taboos that
women cannot work like men or sustain their families. We grew up knowing one
or two women who went to South Africa or Botswana to sell doilies and then
bring money home to supplement their husbands' incomes - things have
changed. The brave woman of Zimbabwe is toiling for her children whose
future cannot be guaranteed under the Zanu PF government.
With massive unemployment, class boycotts, teacher/lecturer strikes and all,
the situation looks very bleak and all Zimbabwean women hope for is either
an urgent change of government or Zanu PF policies that have seen the
country being treated as a pariah hence not much foreign investment has
taken place resulting in no jobs and poverty on the home front.
Poverty has made many women shuttle their wares between South Africa,
Botswana, Namibia and other neighbouring countries. The poor Zimbabwean
woman continues to face many obstacles as she tries to earn a decent living
for her family. On their sojourns to South Africa, many have been raped,
ill-treated and some have even lost their lives through crime, accidents and
all but that has not deterred them. The unity that is seen in their
cross-border trades should one day in the end be channelled towards dealing
with a regime that has made their plight worse by the day.
These unsung heroes have defied all the odds to sustain their families and
today we must all salute them.
I recall vividly the shouts of women vendors who sold sweeping brooms down
the dusty roads of my neighbourhood. At times they woke me up very early in
the morning with their shouts "Mitsvairo! Mitsvaro". Some would be selling
floor polish "Cobra yered!, Cobra yered!" As a naïve youngster I used to
get angry with them, especially if they woke me up from a lovely dream.
But later on in life, I have learnt to admire and envy their sheer resolve
.At least they tried to do something for themselves and their families.
Although their work was hard and returns meagre, they tried to make an
honest living out of it unlike the many chefs who continue to pillage the
country of its resources for their own benefit and not the country.
I am sure even to this day these women are still selling mitsvaro and cobra
yered early in the morning. They sent their children to university selling
vegetables and cobra. Today those children have no jobs as the job market
continues to shrink by the day. It is also sad that as we mark this day
today, we have just lost about 36 other such hard-working women in a nasty
bus accident that could have been avoided. May their dear souls rest in
The women died while going to Mbare where they earned a living for their
families, buying and selling vegetables. That is the Zimbabwean woman for
you. She will always find ways to feed herself and her family and today I
wish we were marking this day in a better mood where most of our mothers
would not be scratching their heads trying to think where they would get the
next meal from.
There are many things that need to be dealt with to help the struggling
Zimbabwean woman but her voice continues, however, to be muzzled in the
process whether they belong to Zanu PF or not.
Freedom of expression is still a pipe dream as women from Woman Of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA) have seen. They continue to be arrested for their peaceful
demonstrations against poverty, corruption and many other such ills
affecting our country.
It has become a job to afford sanitary products in Zimbabwe. Many women are
suffering today because things are so out of reach many are having to use
newspapers and pieces of material during their monthly periods - can you
imagine, the mothers of the country who produced Robert Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and all those men we call chefs are having to
suffer because their sons cannot let go and allow another regime to take
over. It is sad that there will be a Dignity protest campaign in London on
behalf of the long-suffering women of Zimbabwe.
I never thought we would one day live to see such a day that our own black
people will suffer at the hands of their own government to such an extent
that we will have marches being organised thousands of miles away in
solidarity with us. I think it is a shame that women of Zimbabwe continue to
suffer and that people are being given awards for being brave and talking on
behalf of the poor women while colleagues in other countries are tackling
issues that affect women like breast cancer, breaking the glass ceiling and
related issues and actually coming up with solutions. Can you imagine the
number of years we are losing as Zimbabwean women while others in Africa
continue to make progress.
The Public and Order Security Act (POSA), which was crafted as a tool to
crush peaceful demonstrations, is one piece of legislation that also
continues to affect Zimbabwean women.
We still have a long way to go as Zimbabwean women but for this year at
least we have some sort of victory for all those women who have been
beaten-up, harassed and threatened by their husbands or lovers. I sincerely
hope the Domestic Violence Act would be used to support the poor women who
are beaten-up and abused by their spouses day in day out and not used to
only protect the rich. Hopefully the Zimbabwean police will uphold law.
The struggle dear Zimbabwean woman continues but one day we will get there.
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
Press Notice - 8th March 2007
Rally for Zimbabwe
Zimbabweans in the diaspora are to gather in Trafalgar Square from 1 - 4 pm
on Saturday, 10th March, to support a rally against human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe. The rally is organised by ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa, the
successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) and is supported by British trade
unionists, who are appalled at the brutal treatment of fellow trade
unionists in Zimbabwe. The rally which marks international women's day, has
a particular focus is on women in Zimbabwe. ACTSA has invited high profile
speakers including the Zimbabwean trade unionists, Lovemore Matombo and
Lucia Matibenga, both of whom were brutally assaulted for peaceful in
September last year and Kate Hoey, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary
Group on Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean protest singer Viomak will also feature.
On Saturday, the Vigil hosted the biggest demonstration we have ever had -
around 400 activists. They are all keen to come and support the ACTSA rally
in Trafalgar Square.
For more information:
ACTSA: 020 3263 2001
Vigil Rose Benton 07970 996 003
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
By Carole Gombakomba
07 March 2007
Police in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, detained at least 21
students on Wednesday as they held a meeting at Hillside Teachers College,
Simbarashe Chivaura, a lawyer representing the students, said four of them
remained in custody after they being handed over to the criminal
investigation department of the Zimbabwe Republic Police's law and order
section, though no charges were made.
Those arrested included Zimbabwe National Students Union Secretary General
Beloved Chiweshe, along with student activists Tafadzwa Chengewa, Simbarashe
Mkambo, Trust Nhubu and Cosmas Gwature.
ZINASU coordinator Washington Katema told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that students will keep pressure on Harare
despite the arrests until the government resolves the national educational
and economic crises.
In the eastern border city of Mutare, meanwhile, members of the activist
group Women of Zimbabwe Arise said they had successfully staged a march to
publicize what the group calls its People's Charter, a social justice
manifesto, with no arrests.
The group published an account of the march on its Web site, saying 30 women
had marched 300 yards to Mutare's Civic Center then dispersed.
Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe spoke with
attorney Otto Saki of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights - also involved
in defending WOZA activists - who said the surge in protests reflects the
feeling among political opponents and civic groups that backing down is no
long an option for them.
Elsewhere, a lawyer for WOZA members and male associates arrested on Monday
in the Midlands capital of Gweru, said police released eight people on
$10,000 bail each after their arraignment in court. Attorney Hilary Garikai
said the eight were charged with blocking the sidewalk in front of Gweru's
main police station.
Lawyer Dumisani Hwacha, counsel for WOZA members arrested in Masvingo
Tuesday, said 18 people were still being held on charges of joining an
By Magugu Nyathi
JOHANNESBURG - It's a good Sunday morning. It's still dark outside but my
uncle Boniface Silo is already up and about, busy chanting Highlanders
Football Club praise songs. Highlanders FC is a Zimbabwean team which has
for decades united various Zimbabwean tribes.
Though we are not happy with him making noise there is nothing we can do, as
he is an avid supporter of the "National team" as it affectionately known to
its supporters. There is a big game that afternoon - giant teams are set to
clash on a Castle Cup game at Bourborfields Stadium, the home ground of
If you have been to BF you would definitely agree with me that when Bosso
plays Dembare at its home ground, there would be tension between the team's
supporters that would grip the city even weeks after the game. If you are
not at the stadium by 10 am there are chances that you won't get a place to
sit by the time the match starts.
In almost every house, one would incessantly hear their song that goes 'who
was there when Bosso played at Emagumeni during Madinda, Mercedes and
Willard's. These were the days in the 90s when a bit of sanity prevailed in
our beloved country. And it was on one such day that my uncle Silo was
waking everyone up ahead of the crucial game.
Everyone would look forward to the next game of soccer with enthusiasm.
Everyone knew everyone who would be at these matches. Silo would go to every
match Highlanders played but this was short-lived as he soon realised there
was nothing other than misery that his government could offer him. He, like
may others, decided to leave not only the team they loved and lived for so
much, but also their families and friends, all in a bid to find a better
Clutching a sack bag (renkini bag), with a handful of his old clothes he
left for South Africa. Then, only people from Matabeleland would go to SA in
search of greener pastures.
One by one the Zimbabweans followed his tracks either for economic reasons
or for political persecution. Some had visas, some risked the
crocodile-infested river as the octogenarian Robert Mugabe and his cronies
continued to cripple the economy and muzzle any dissenting voices.
Today more than three million Zimbabweans are estimated to have followed my
uncle's early tracks to South Africa and elsewhere. Though there is nothing
South Africa could offer to most Zimbabweans, they are still coming in
droves every day of the week. An average of 1 000 Zimbabweans are deported
every day and almost all of them return to SA within a day of deportation.
They say they don't have a choice - Zimbabwe is burning and people are
starving to death while the regime feasts. It's a sad awakening that
Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, is on its knees. The inflation of
1 593.6% is not only sky rocketing but worse than Iraq, a country that has
been ravaged by war. Things continue to get worse and with the government
clamping down on the opposition, people need to act fast.
Though the government has further suppressed Zimbabweans by banning all
political gatherings, every civic organisation and the oppositions are
calling for civil unrest to force the regime into agreeing to people's
"Zimbabwe will never be the same again even if the regime relinquishes power
to the opposition. It will take another 27 years to rebuild it. What with a
currency that is worthy nothing and almost every one outside the country,"
said my uncle Silo when I caught up with him in Johannesburg.
He admits that though life here has not been a bed of roses, he has managed
to settle well in South Africa.
"Home will always be the best. Someday when I retire I would want to go back
to my country and spend most of my old age there. It's so sad though; every
one I used to know is no longer there. Bulawayo is empty, people have either
relocated or they have passed on due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has
ravaged the country. Lobengula street in Bulawayo is barren, it looks like a
foreign land. The smokes of Bulawayo that used to symbolise the city are no
more, tears fills my eyes as I see my beloved country perish beyond repair
when the regime keeps holding on to power by all means possible," said Silo
with a gloomy face.
Silo words are echoed in most parts of Johannesburg where millions of
Zimbabweans have found places they call home. They live in dilapidated flats
with only those who have managed to strike it big living in spacious town
houses. They say their social contract has been breached without their
consent, as they may never meet with their families again.
Zimbabweans today are scattered all over the world. It is estimated that
more than a third of its populace is out side the country.
"I'm not making much money here but I'm thankful I'm able to send money back
home every month to my family. How I wanted to stay home, build my country
and protect our sovereignty but every month end my pay slip will mock me and
reduce me to a pauper until I realised it wasn't my pay slip speaking to me
but the government I was loyal serving laughing at my own stupidity," said
one former soldier who wanted to be called Sibanda.
Zimbabwean soldiers and the police are some of the lowly paid employees of
the government. Worse they are not allowed by the law to strike. Their
salaries are less than Zd$200,000 which is far below poverty datum line.
Consumer watchdogs say an average family of four would need over Zd$400 000
to survive monthly.
Most of the soldiers and police officers have since turned to crime to make
ends meet. Some have deserted - major destination being South Africa.
However, not all of them are lucky to escape the CIOs and others that are
planted all over SA to spy on them and the situation within the Zimbabwean
community here. Rumour has it that some have been taken back to Zimbabwe
where they are forced to remain loyal to a government that has turned them
"The story of South Africa and Zimbabwe in the past decade has been that of
different fortunes. The fortunes of South Africa have been on the rise while
those of Zimbabwe have taken a noticeable dive. While it is admitted that
South Africa still faces the challenges of poverty, unemployment and high
crime rates, the country's gradual economic growth since 1994 has
consolidated its position as the economic power house in the Southern
African region and in Africa generally," says Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
on the Diaspora.
It adds: "Zimbabweans have been leaving the country for other countries,
particularly to South Africa. Assorted groups have different reasons for
leaving Zimbabwe, ranging from professional, economic, political, to
linguistic and historic factors. Skilled professionals like doctors, nurses
and pharmacists leave mainly for economic reasons while journalists,
teachers, and the youth leave for political reasons".
Hilbrow, Berea and Yoeville suburbs house more than half the total
population of Zimbabwe in SA. Three-quarters of the street vendors are
Zimbabweans who were driven to exile by Operation Murambatsvina in 2005,
which was condemned internationally for displacing over 700 000 families.
The programme also destroyed their informal livelihoods with over 300 000
children dropping out of school as well as causing major disruptions to the
treatment and care of thousands of people living with HIV\AIDS.
"For Zimbabweans in South Africa, life is not as good as they might have
thought. They face hatred, discrimination, police harassment, and more so
when the South African government denies that there is a serious crisis that
demands urgent attention," says the Solidarity Peace Trust.
It says since independence in 1980, there have been three types of migration
of Zimbabweans to South Africa. The first consisted of white people who left
Zimbabwe after Zanu-PF's victory in the 1980 elections.
"The brutality of the scary Robert Mugabe, led to exodus of a significant
number of whites to South Africa. The second type was of the Ndebele
refugees who fled the demagogue Robert Mugabe who did not spare them as he
unleashed the notorious fifth brigade 'Gukurahundi' to Matabeleland and
Midlands provinces in 1983 to 1987.The brigade committed genocide in the
above mentioned places. The final group is Zimbabweans who have left their
homeland since 2000 to date as a result of economic collapse or political
persecution or combination of both," said the Solidarity Peace Trust.
Though the situation is not anywhere near conducive in South Africa,
Zimbabweans continue to risk limb and bone crossing the crocodile-infested
Limpopo River to seek greener pastures. But most of them have come to
realise that South Africa is not as green as it looks. Zimbabwe will always
mourn its lost dignity in many years to come regardless of any meaningful
change that may take place in the near future.
The Mugabe era would never be erased from the minds of most Zimbabweans who
saw the birth of poor millionaires. Zimbabwe has turned to a
refugee-producing nation where graduates, in a country that regards
education highly, have been turned to beggars.
By a Correspondent
HARARE - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) will next month
join the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in its two-day strike by
demonstrating "in all the establishments of the Zimbabwe Government".
In a statement released in Harare, the ZCTU said COSATU would target
Zimbabwe government establishments such as its High Commission in South
Africa in solidarity with the general strike called by the ZCTU on 3 and 4
Cosatu, which has been one of the ZCTU's major blocks of support over the
last seven years, said it would never turn a blind eye to the ruling Zanu PF
government's abuse of workers and human rights.
The union's international secretary, Bongani Masuku said while Cosatu
recognised "the heroic role" played by the Zimbabwean government and its
people in the liberation of South Africa during apartheid, that did not mean
it would "close its eyes when Mugabe's government trampled on workers' and
human rights while blaming all his country's problems on imperialists".
Masuku said Cosatu appreciated, however, that "perhaps President Mugabe" and
Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, were among the "very few world
leaders willing to confront head-on the naked hypocrisy and general
aggression of the United States government".
"Whilst it is true that the global balance of forces limits space for more
radical change, he (Mugabe) too must take personal responsibility for
leading his country from being the breadbasket of our region and continent
to being the basket case of our region and continent," said Masuku.
The militant workers' body, noted at its recent executive committee meeting
that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe was getting worse "as reflected
in the swelling tide of migrants fleeing into South Africa which has led to
widespread exploitation of these workers by unscrupulous employers who are
taking advantage of their situation whilst at the same time distorting the
South African labour market".
According to the ZCTU statement, the committee resolved "to struggle to
organise and protect these and other vulnerable immigrant workers and to
demand harsh penalties for employers breaking the labour laws".
A number of state institutions had their requests for foreign currency from
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) turned down during the past two months,
amid reports that reserves have hit an all time low. Investigations proved
that the Registrar General (RG), the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(ZINWA), Air Zimbabwe and other state institutions have made applications
for foreign currency but were told by governor Gideon Gono that the central
bank couldn't provide.
Sources within the RBZ forex section revealed that reserves had drastically
fallen over the past three months owing to continuous falls in the levels of
exports. The rising of trade and exchange rates on the parallel market,
which Gono has failed to tame since taking office in 2003, had also affected
reserves, the sources said.
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede has said the operations of his department
are at a virtual halt due to lack of foreign currency to import vitally
required ink and material used to make passports and identity cards.
ZINWA is in a desperate need of forex to procure water and sewage treatment
chemicals, while Air Zimbabwe is battling to pay off international debts.
Minister of Water and Infrastructure Development, Munacho Mutezo, who is on
a massive campaign to popularize ZINWA, confirmed having been told by Gono
to wait before getting foreign currency. "The foreign currency reserves
have drastically reduced over the last couple of months, and that is why
Gono has been turning down most of these requests," an RBZ source said.
"There has been very little inflow from exports, at times nearing to zero
whilst the other sources are also drying."
BY ITAI DZAMARA
Reports of shooting incidents at State House have been confirmed by several
sources, and serve to highlight the rising levels of discontent within the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). Senior ZNA sources emphasized that the
situation was under control, but said there was "some nervous situation"
concerning President Robert Mugabe's security.
They told The Zimbabwean of general confusion among members of the
presidential guard over salaries, the economic decline and whether or not to
continue harbouring the Zanu (PF) regime.
Incidents involved guard members opening fire at State House and in their
barracks to send a message to their leaders and to Mugabe that they were not
happy and could turn against the current regime, sources said.
Defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi said he couldn't comment "on that
information and any other issues of state security".
A senior official from Manyame barracks also confirmed the incidents. "It
has not only been about salaries but also the pertinent issue of how to
handle the prevailing economic situation and one cannot rule out the
possibility of some sections within the army deciding to take the route of
protest and defiance," he said.
A source within government circles claimed that Mugabe himself had
ambiguously commented on "wrong signs coming from the army regarding the
security of our country" during a recent meeting with top officials in his
BY GIFT PHIRI
HARARE - The government has launched a fresh offensive to infiltrate the MDC
in a desperate bid to render the opposition's structures dysfunctional amid
a rising tide of resistance to President Robert Mugabe's disastrous
After a report in The Zimbabwean three weeks ago blew the whistle on
government's smear campaign, involving the use of fliers aimed at fomenting
divisions in the opposition party, the Central Intelligence Organisation has
dug into its bag of tricks once again and is attempting to use female
intelligence operatives to extract information from opposition officials on
the party's strategy and course of action.
Intelligence officials said the main targets in the MDC were the young MPs,
some of whom have already been approached by a lady known as Irene -
believed to be an employee in the Ministry of State Security.
Irene's mandate, sources said, was to lure the MPs to parties where
"hostesses" would be provided on the house. The sources said these late
night get-togethers were arranged at a hotel on Samora Machel. Parties had
also been held in outlying areas, some as far as Karoi in Mashonaland West.
The sources said five MDC MPs attended one of the parties in Harare
"The idea is to extract information on the party's policy from the MPs, some
of whom have been found to be quite malleable under the influence (of
alcohol)," the source said. "The hostesses are trained to extract
information from men and they rarely fail as they select their targets
The CIO is eager to sow seeds of disunity in the opposition and to silence
some of the more vocal MPs by offering them financial rewards in exchange
for assisting the establishment.
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed during an exclusive interview last
week the ploy to infiltrate his party but could not say if some of his MPs
had been compromised.
"I have heard about the plot and I have told members to be on their guard,"
Intelligent sources said the efforts to infiltrate the party were aimed at
achieving two results. Firstly, Zanu (PF) wanted to "eliminate" some MDC MPs
so that the two parties could fight more by-elections, which will naturally
be rigged and surrender more political space to the ruling party.
Intelligence sources said the latest efforts by the intelligence arm was
modeled along a maneuver dubbed "Operation Mazana" that was employed by the
CIO to destabilize Margaret Dongo's Zimbabwe Union of Democrats in 1999.
Operation Mazana resulted in the disintegration of ZUD, with the late
Kempton Makamure forming his own party; Transparency Front, while Dongo went
her own way.
The Zanu (PF) government has tightened its screws on civil servants found
reading copies of The Zimbabwean newspaper at workplace, insisting that they
are anti-Mugabe "sellouts".
Several civil servants, who spoke to CAJ News Agency during a snap survey,
said reading a copy of The Zimbabwean was a punishable offence, deserving
dismissal or suspension from work.
"Some of us cannot read the state newspapers because they don't tell the
truth real issues happening in the country except propaganda. I don't
understand as to how are we going to live in this country called Zimbabwe
because we have no freedom of choice, no right to read the newspaper of our
choice," said Joseph Makazhe at African Arise shop.
"Mugabe is denying citizens their right to access to information. This means
the forthcoming presidential election will not be free and fair," he said. -
The MDC's Mutambara faction has expressed a need for unity in the party.
Speaking to The Zimbabwean last week the faction's deputy secretary for
information, Abedinico Bhebhe, said people should expect unity in the party
just like in any other relationship.
"Just like in a marriage a husband and a wife can divorce but they can still
come back together after resolving their differences", said Bhebhe.
Both factions have recently been attacked by state law enforcement agents.
"They have come to realise that neither Tsvangirai nor Mutambara is the
enemy of Zimbabwe, but that the current regime which is brutalising its own
people is the one worth fighting," said Bhebhe.
He confirmed that his faction would not going participate in any election
unless the proper tools for a free and fair elections were put into place,
"We are saying no to elections which are not free and fair," he said.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku, said he was
confident that both MDCs would boycott elections if proper democratic
measures were not put in place.
"I think they have learnt from their past mistakes. Repeating them is a non
starter," said Madhuku. - Trust Matsilele
MUTARE - In Makoni West, MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai addressed a
gathering at Chiwetu shopping centre on Sunday. The police, led by Rusape
officer-in-charge only identified as Mai Muchena, arrived after the rally,
threatened villagers and ordered the shopping centre to close. The officer
in charge, brandishing an AK 47 rifle, ordered patrons to go home.
Tsvangirai told the people that the MDC believed they had a right to own
land and to use it productively. He said his party believed in the equitable
distribution of land and not the parcelling out of prime land to senior
government or party officials.
He explained the party's social agenda, with a properly funded health and
education delivery system and outlined the roadmap, whose key signposts
include a new, people-driven Constitution, a period of national healing, a
reconstruction and stabilisation package in a post-transitional era.
Tsvangirai held a special meeting with community elders soon after the rally
and listened to their concerns. He requested the elders to urge their family
members to save the country by investing their confidence in MDC in the
forthcoming Presidential elections in March 2008.
In Murehwa, the national chairman Isaac Matongo and the national organising
secretary Engineer Elias Mudzuri addressed another gathering of about 3 000
people at Rhodes shopping centre. The national chairman told the people to
be wary of the Zanu (PF) tactics of using food as a political weapon. He
urged the people to vote and not to listen to a minority of the chiefs and
headmen who were being abused by the ruling party to fight against the
people. About 100 policemen turned up in full riot gear, but the crowd had
"Throughout the country, the people are in a defiance and resistance mood.
The spirit of change has gripped the nation. The people have vowed to defy
the ban imposed by the regime on the people's democratic right to assemble.
The MDC will continue to consult the people through meetings and rallies
which are the only remaining platforms we have to interact with Zimbabweans.
The people are determined to defy and end tyranny. We have chosen the harder
right than the easier wrong. The people are determined to save their
country. Zimbabwe is the only country we have. Its future is our business,"
said party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa. - Own correspondent
No one can suppress the truth
By Stanford G. Mukasa
Deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, has made a rare admission that
the Mugabe regime has been jamming external radio broadcasts, notably SWRA
and Studio 7. This was, in reality, an admission of ignorance by the
not-so-bright minister about the dynamics of information, the mass media and
society in today's Zimbabwe.
For some reason, he thinks he can control the flow of information to the
extent of turning all citizens into fanatical supporters of Zanu (PF).
Over 60 years ago, Hitler's propaganda minister, Paul Joseph Goebbels, said
people would believe a lie if it was told often enough. In Zimbabwe,
Goebbels found a dedicated disciple in former information minister Jonathan
Moyo, who at one time reportedly ordered the replay every five minutes on
ZBC/ZBH of a mindless ditty, sendereka mwa wevhu, about imagined prosperity
arising from the land seizures.
Ian Smith also suppressed the independent press, like the tremendously
popular Daily News, and distributed the African Times as a government
propaganda tool to get Africans to accept his UDI government.
However, Zimbabweans have shown a consistent pattern of rejecting
propaganda. Smith's propaganda may have fooled some Zimbabweans all the
time, notably the chiefs. But it did not fool all Zimbabweans all the time.
This was consistently shown by mass rejection of the regime's attempts to
win public acceptance of the Pearce Commission proposal to resolve the
political dispute back in 1972.
When Mugabe took over, propaganda was unleashed on the people of
Matabeleland in the aftermath of the Fifth Brigade genocide. Enos Nkala,
then defence minister, proclaimed that 1985 elections would see a landslide
victory for Zanu (PF) for the first time in Matabeleland. The opposite
transpired. Zanu (PF) suffered a massive defeat and Zapu candidates won.
Media coverage of Zapu candidates was due to the efforts of a few courageous
journalists in the state media.
What these dictatorial regimes have not grasped is that people will not
believe media that does not tell the truth about their predicament. When
people read newspapers, listen to radio, or watch TV, they compare what is
reported with what is happening in their lives. If there is a yawning gap,
people will not believe the media.
Worse still, people's belief in state media will sink even lower when the
regime tries to suppress the press.
In colonial Zimbabwe, many turned to radio broadcasts from outside the
country. The same situation exists today.
The biggest challenge for Mugabe today is the information revolution, which
allows access through new channels such as the internet, email, satellite
dishes and cellphones.
Even those who cannot afford this new media have their information networks,
through which they discuss issues affecting their lives. Zimbabweans get the
most serious information from their experience. Zimbabwe is like an open
newspaper. Everyone can read and see for themselves the brutal oppression,
the abject hunger and starvation in the country. There is nothing the media
can hide from Zimbabweans about their reality and experience that
Zimbabweans do not know.
The independent media has had a far greater influence than anyone can
imagine. Evidence of this is the mobilisation against Mugabe taking place in
Zimbabwe today. There is practically nothing the ministry of information can
do that will change people's hatred of Mugabe. Jamming external broadcasts
will not improve the image of Mugabe and Zanu (PF), nationally or
HARARE - A group of Danish doctors has released a damning report condemning
Zanu (PF) for using food as a political weapon.
Physicians for Human Rights, in a report seen by The Zimbabwean, that there
was gross abuse of food imported by the Zimbabwe government.
The doctors spent two months collecting information, and interviewing
people, mainly in the dry Matabeleland province in southern Zimbabwe.
The report says the government's Food For Work program is corrupt, and gives
several examples of MDC supporters who were hired to work on the program and
then were not paid. The report also says that many suspected opposition
supporters were denied access to employment in the Food For Work program.
It also says the government is selling grain only to chosen retailers, known
to be Zanu (PF) supporters. The report says they, in turn, have their own
lists of people they will allow to buy food. The report gives several
examples of corrupt Zanu (PF) officials allowed to buy grain at the low
official price, who then sell it at huge profits to ruling party supporters.
The report mentions an example of an opposition supporter, who Zanu (PF)
officials would not include on a list of those who qualify for food aid
distributed by a non-governmental organization until she cancelled her
membership in the opposition party. The World Food Program, responsible for
importing nearly all food aid into Zimbabwe, only has resources to feed two
million people in Zimbabwe, fewer than a third of those it says are at risk
of starvation. - Gift Phiri
Historic rally scheduled for Highfield on Sunday, Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Madhuku to speak
BY ITAI DZAMARA
Barely a month after police brutality saw street battles with MDC supporters in Highfield high density suburb, another serious clash looms this Sunday when the Save Zimbabwe Campaign intends to hold a rally there.
Opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara will join hands for the first time, together with National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, to address the rally at the ceremonial home of Zimbabwean politics since independence in 1980.
Save Zimbabwe is an initiative comprising churches, civil society and the opposition parties seeking a solution to the political crisis gripping Zimbabwe.
Organisers of the rally said they are determined to defy a ban of political rallies and meetings in Harare, imposed by the state recently following violent clashes involving the state and members of the opposition, student movement and the National Constitutional Assembly.
"No amount of teargas will stop us. No water canon will stop an idea whose time has come. No tanker or truncheon will stand between us and our collective vision of a new Zimbabwe. We are determined to save our country. On Sunday, 11 March 2007 at 1000hrs, let us all meet at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield and make a profound statement to tyranny and dictatorship," read an internal statement issued to MDC members this week.
Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena said the ban on political meetings stood and further threatened the "full wrath of the law will descend on all those who defy the order".
Police have in the past also cracked down on meetings organized by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. In January armed police stormed into a church and arrested church leaders in Kadoma and at meeting to launch programmes of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign
BY JOHN MAKUMBE
In the 27 years since Zimbabwe attained independence President Mugabe has
never had such a torrid time. By his own admission, his ruling Zanu(PF)
party is in shambles. He is actually the architect of most of that shambles.
There are now clearly three factions the Mnangagwa faction, the Mujuru
faction and the Mugabe faction.
Obviously, Mugabe will deny that he leads a faction of Zanu(PF), preferring
to continue to live under the illusion that he leads a united party that is
loyal to him. Well, nothing can be further from the truth if recent
developments are anything to go by.
The outbursts about there being no vacancies in the Zanu(PF) presidium late
last year seem to have resulted in a backlash that Mugabe and some of his
faction adherents had under-estimated. The resistance that has been
generated by Mugabe's attempt to extend his deplorable stranglehold on power
to 2010 must have come to him as a shock.
In typical authoritarian style, Mugabe has now ordered the restructuring of
the leadership in selected provinces known to be hostile to this latest
project by the dictator. Elliot Manyika, the Minister without Portfolio has
embarked on provincial visits with the primary objective of ensuring that
elements that are opposed to Mugabe's continued stay at State House do not
get elected into the provincial executives of the beleaguered party.
Incidentally, Manyika now has a deputy by the name of Nhara, who was
appointed to that position recently.
Mugabe must be a bureaucratic joke. How do you appoint a Deputy Minister for
a Minister without Portfolio? It does not make sense. Unless, of course, the
"without portfolio" is a deceitful way of saying "Zanu(PF) Affairs", as I
have always maintained. Fortunately, the police have just arrested Nhara for
alleged involvement in the widespread diamond looting that is devastating
this nation. We wait to see whether the self-made Zanu(PF) spin-doctor will
get away with this latest economic crime, given Gideon Gono's numerous
accusations against thieves and economic saboteurs in the midst of Zanu(PF)
Begging bowl in hand, Mugabe last week took off to Namibia for a state
visit. While he was there Grace Mugabe donated US$2000 cash to some school,
much to the surprise of many Namibians. Normally such donations are made
through cheques, but the Zimbabwean First Lady gave actual cash, but
only$2000? Most Namibians are not aware that to a Zimbabwean, such money is
a huge amount. On the parallel market it will be said that the First Lady
donated Z$17 million - not to be sneezed at.
Impeccable sources in Namibia allege that the fuzzy agreement signed between
that country and Zimbabwe was nothing but a Chinese sanctions busting ploy.
They allege that when the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, passed through
Namibia recently he left some money with instructions that it be passed onto
The electricity agreement was therefore a way of getting the Chinese money
to Mugabe's collapsing economy without implicating the Chinese who are
anxious not to antagonise their lucrative trade partners in both the EU and
the US. How can Namibia, which gets its electricity from South Africa's
Eskom, suddenly be capable of rehabilitating the Hwange Power station? Now
A high-powered delegation of disgruntled, elderly Shangaan-speaking
traditional is in South Africa to rally support from their sons and
daughters against Mugabe's tyranny.
The leaders, from Chiredzi south, arrived here last week to meet President
Thabo Mbeki and Reserve Bank Governor of South Africa Tito Mboweni. They
want to brief them about the disrespect shown to local chiefs by the ruling
Zanu (PF) party which recently imposed legislators on them.
Mboweni is Shangaan, and Mbeki's mother is believed to be also from the
tribe, with strong links to the people of Chikombedzi and Sengwe Communal
lands under chief Sengwe in Chiredzi south.
The delegation first met with their sons and daughters, who are academics,
professionals, students and activists in Alexander, Johannesburg, before
going to Pretoria to book an appointment with the president.
The headmen, who visited the CAJ News Agency offices in Braamfontein on
Thursday, insisted they needed another by-election, to be financed by their
own sons and daughters working is SA. They said the salary of a
democratically elected Member of Parliament (MP) for their area would be
paid in Rands by these members of the tribe.
"Hikarhale hikusheluziwa hiZanu PF. Svesve hahihava tamo nematimba hikuva
Satan uhingenele tikweni rahina. Svaatsva eku hiendla mamnwani maelections
lawa hitohumesa timali taMP hihitsutsekile svinene. Kahle-kahle amovha yaMP
ishaviwe Johannesburg," (We are sick and tired of this dictatorship which
has since become a cancer by Zanu (PF). We no longer have powers because of
this devil, animal called Zanu (PF).)
They said Mugabe's tribal sidelining of minorities was increasingly a grave
cause for concern. "Today it is Chiredzi and tomorrow it will be Beitbridge,
Chipinge, Binga and Plumtree, so we are saying no to this nonsense. We have
been supporting Zanu (PF) since 1980 up to now, but what they did to impose
Gwanetsa on us is a clear insult. We will conduct our own fresh and
independent by-elections involving MDC, UPP, Zanu (PF) and independent
candidates. The election has already received the financial backing from our
sons and daughters here in SA," said one elder, who only identified himself
The candidates likely to contest are Ndlela Chauke, Elisha Kwinika,
Miyethani Chauke the United People's Party (UPP) and Emmaculate Makondo of
the MDC (Tsvangirai).
Mangezi said the 250 000 Shangaan tribal members in SA had pledged R25
million (about Z$225 billion) a month to fund drugs for clinics and
hospitals in the constituency, construction of bridges, boreholes, upgrading
of roads, and installation of electricity.
"I think we can do without Zanu (PF) until the 2010 parliamentary election,"
said a fuming Mangezi. - CAJ News
The Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede has been given a list of political and
human rights activists that the state wants restricted in travelling outside
the country as part of repressive measures to contain burgeoning political
This paper has established that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
is orchestrating the plan. Already, a member of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has been the first victim of the plot.
MDC, Tsvangirai faction's deputy secretary for foreign affairs, Grace
Kwinjeh confirmed to having had Mudede's office confiscate her Emergency
Travel Document (ETD) this week. Kwinjeh said she had established from
Mudede's offices that the CIO was behind the confiscation.
"I was informed that there was something about my ETD," Kwinjeh said.
"However, I have since established from officials in Mudede's office that
they were being directed by CIO to confiscate it."
Sources within the RG's department speaking on condition of anonymity
confirmed the political plan, saying it was similar to the failed attempt by
Mudede to strip publisher Trevor Ncube of his citizenship status.
"There are targeted people, and some of them might actually have their
passports cancelled for various reasons," a source said. "It is of course a
political plan and is in fact being implemented by officials from the
President's Office (CIOs)."
Efforts to obtain comment from Mudede failed but a lady who answered the
telephone from his office in Harare said, "do you seriously expect him to
answer such questions, yet you say its being said to be a political matter".
The state is on a warpath following recent rises in political tension as
opposition parties and civil society press for a new constitution and are
unequivocally rejecting President Robert Mugabe's plan to extend his tenure
by harmonizing presidential election with general elections in 2010, thereby
breaching the constitution requiring for the holding of presidential polls
It was revealed in this paper last week that the CIO has drawn up a list of
50 political, human rights and media activists targeted for victimization as
a way of containing increasing dissent.
HARARE - The Zimbabwean government has begun laying off more than 2,000
civil servants in moves to streamline the public sector, the state workers
union said this week.
The move comes after a bitter stand-off between civil servants and
government over poor salaries.
Thousands of workers from the education ministry were handed letters of
termination when they turned up for work on Monday, the Apex Council said.
Although civil servants were notified in September that certain departments
would be abolished, no date had been announced. On Monday, a union leader
expressed concern about the short notice given to workers.
"Our worry is that people were given notices in September that their
departments were to be abolished but the letters did not state when exactly
when they would leave employment," said an official with the Apex Council,
which represents civil servants. Normally workers laid off are given a
Stephen Mahere, the permanent secretary for the Education ministry, said
workers knew well in advance about the impending redundancies.
"I am surprised that there are some workers who feel that they have not been
notified of the exercise," he said.
Multilateral lending agencies have long recommended Zimbabwe reduce its 150
000-strong civil service as part of western-backed economic reforms. - Gift
In an unprecedented development, lower ranks within the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) are reportedly siding with the suffering masses of Zimbabwe and
reluctant to carry out orders from their superiors.
The juniors have told their officers that they "need to face reality and
avoid killing people unnecessarily", according to informed sources.
They were responding to queries from the minister of Home Affairs, Kembo
Mohadi, channeled through Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri about why
there were increasing reports of police being overpowered by members of
opposition forces during demonstrations.
This came after yet another defeat of police details by supporters of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Budiriro on Sunday. Police
spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the incident in which, he said, more
than 30 police details were overpowered and chased away by supporters of the
Tsvangirai faction who had gathered to hold a rally.
"We have made it clear that we sympathise with the people and are not
willing to execute the directives that include killing of demonstrators,"
said a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We are aware of
the suffering people are going through and quite a number of us are also
advocating for change. We are also battling for better salaries and hunger
doesn't discriminate police officers."
Officials in the opposition ranks have confirmed having received solidarity
gestures from lower ranks of the ZRP, who they say have pledged their
support in the ongoing campaigns of defiance against the regime of President
The European Union (EU) has continued to spend millions of Euro on
humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, despite President Robert Mugabe's
repeated claim that the country has been ravaged by sanctions imposed by the
EU and America.
Information released by the EU mission in Harare shows that the EU has spent
close to 100 million Euro on health and education support rendered to
Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2005. That is in addition to about 25 million Euro
the EU spends annually on food aid given to the starving masses of Zimbabwe.
Huge budgets were also put in place and are currently being implemented for
the 2006-07 years for the critical areas of health, education and food
"The European Union is the largest donor on Health and Education sectors in
Zimbabwe. Between 2000 and 2005 contributions from the EU amounted to 79
million Euro," the EU mission in Harare stated. "In 2005 alone, the EU
contributed 18,5 million Euro. Building on these efforts, a sum of 16
million Euro has been
approved for 2006-07 to continue these activities and to develop incentives
to address the shortage of skilled health personnel in rural areas."
The EU aid in the health sector has focused on provision of funds for
procurement of drugs, which have been in serious shortages in Zimbabwe since
the advent of economic recession in the late 1990s. That form of aid has
helped especially in alleviating the problem of Anti-Retro-Viral drugs for
HIV /AIDS patients.
In the education sector, the EU has budgeted a total of 11 million Euro for
the current year, to benefit mostly impoverished children in Zimbabwe's
remote areas through institutional strengthening and provision of learning
Through the European Commission's Director General for Humanitarian Aid, the
EU mission in Harare has spent over 81 million Euro over the last couple of
assisting more than 8 million Zimbabweans affected by economic problems in
A total budget of 12 million Euro is currently being implemented in the
country for various forms of humanitarian assistance, that include water and
sanitation and HIV /AIDS home based care programmes.
Closer than ever before
We are closer than ever before. Like those first rains after a long
drought, we can smell it on the wind. Change is coming.
We salute all those courageous Zimbabweans who have risked life and limb by
taking part in numerous public protests in the streets of our towns and
cities during the past few weeks. They know full well that the vicious might
of the Mugabe empire is ranged against them - and for a little country like
Zimbabwe it is considerable.
Now is the time, more than ever before, for courage; for counting not our
lives unto death; for standing up and being counted; for refusing to fear.
The Zimbabwe government is preparing for war against the people of Zimbabwe.
But it is a war that Mugabe cannot win. It is tragic that it should have
come to this - all because of the utter corruption of a once good man by his
lust for power and riches. But now, all his power and all his riches have
turned to dust and he has become nothing but a scared old man, terrified of
living out his remaining days in prison in The Hague, paying for his crimes
against humanity, or finding a bolthole in some foreign land as so many
dictators before him have been forced to do.
Elsewhere in this newspaper we carry a story quoting the International
Crisis Group as saying there is now consensus among Zimbabweans that Mugabe
must go. This is not just wishful thinking. The writing is on the wall.
There is general disgruntlement among doctors, teachers, civil servants,
soldiers, policemen, workers, rural communities and students. The list of
shortages is endless.
Even Mugabe's henchmen, who for so long have enriched themselves at the
feeding trough he created, are now looking beyond him - to a post-Mugabe
We urge all those in a position of influence at this hour to do the right
thing. The hour is terribly late - we are all condemned to years, maybe
decades, of hardship and re-construction as we seek to build again the jewel
of Africa that was once ours. But the sooner we start, the sooner the task
will be completed.
Everybody knows what needs to be done. The MDC roadmap has been carefully
thought out and widely communicated - a new constitution, fresh elections,
repeal of repressive legislation, freedom of the press. It's all in there.
If an all-embracing constitutional commission were to start NOW, elections
could surely be held next year. Instead of the presidential election being
deferred to 2010 to take place jointly with general elections, why not the
general elections being brought forward to 2008 to take place jointly with
the presidential election?
Admittedly this would be a huge task. But it is by no means insurmountable.
The international community stands more than willing to help us. Remarkably,
there is still an enormous fund of good will towards Zimbabwe. If we
demonstrate our determination to return to true democracy, they will
certainly put their money where their mouths are.
Bulawayo-based former Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association (ZINAWA)
Secretary-general, Andrew Ndlovu, has been accused of stealing Z$6,5 million
worth of wheat from fellow A2 farmers in Nyamandlovu, which he is alleged to
have sold to the Grain Marketing Board last year.
Morgan Sibanda and Bekithemba Mafengu, both Ndlovu's neighbours at a
four-hectare farm in Plot 02 of Lot A, Mandalay Farm in Nyamandlovu, told
The Zimbabwean that they filed a joint report of theft against the war
veteran in November last year, but he is yet to be arrested by the police.
"He is there at his house in Nkulumane but police have not yet arrested him.
All they tell us is that they are still investigating the case and we have
lost all hope of recovering anything from him. I think he is using his
influence as a member of the ruling party," said Mafengu this week.
The two men said they shared a diesel engine with Ndlovu to draw water for
use in irrigating their crops. Last year they used the war veteran's diesel,
with his consent, to irrigate their crops. When he wanted it back, they
could not source any diesel.
"We offered to give him money so that he could try and buy it himself, but
he refused. One day in November he took a combine harvester and harvested
our wheat, which he later sold to the GMB. When we asked him why he had done
that, he said he was trying to recover his diesel, whose price was way below
that of the wheat he stole from us," said Sibanda.
Police sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed they had
received such a report but received orders from above not to arrest Ndlovu.
Police spokesman for Bulawayo, Inspector Shepherd Sibanda refused to
comment. - Bayethe Zitha
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government's plan to impose a new set of price and
wage freeze lay in tatters this week as the so-called social contract
flopped amid warnings by economists that if government was to go ahead with
the plan it would create shortages and an alarming increase in smuggling.
Government-gazetted a four-month price and wage freeze with effect from
March 1, but the price of goods skyrocketed hardly a week after the
so-called price freeze came into force. Commuter fares also went up this
week after another sharp hike last week.
The freeze was imposed on a long list of products to cushion consumers
against rising prices and an inflation rate that hit nearly 1,600 percent in
The list includes fuel, all meat products, dressed chickens, salt, vegetable
oils, fats and sugar. It also covers alcoholic beverages and household items
like soap, candles and toilet paper.
The freeze also aimed to control the price of building materials and
blasting explosives, accessories for the mining industry, vehicles and their
accessories, agricultural tractors and implements, chemicals, veterinary
products and maize, barley, soya-bean, sorghum, wheat, groundnut and
But while government shouted itself hoarse about the social contract, which
it claimed was the "panacea" for Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis,
prices continued to skyrocket, while workers continued to agitate for better
"If government continues enforcing the social contract it will create
shortages," said Harare economist Givemore Bhachi.
Price controls meant that goods were either not being produced (because
manufacturers were not recouping costs), goods were sold on the black market
at higher prices, or they were being smuggled over the border, he said.
"Deliveries of sugar to Mutare have doubled but there is no sugar for sale
in the town - it is being sold across the Mozambique border at higher
prices," he added. Bhachi said the social contract could not work because
businesses were battling to access the foreign currency they needed and the
bulk of their key inputs were sourced from the black market. - Gift Phiri
There were scenes of jubilation as charges against five of the eight leaders
of the Christian Alliance were dropped by the Magistrates' Court in here on
However, the court will press on with charges against the remaining three
leaders Pastor Wilson Mugabe, Rev. Raymond Motsi and.Pius Wakatama, under
the criminal codification law.
Advocate Tim Sherry, representing the three accused, applied for their
discharge, arguing that the allegations against them did not constitute a
The court has alleged that the three had incited the people by saying that
the Operation Murambatsvina had brought misery, and highlighting the
economic difficulties Zimbabwe is facing.
He said the leaders' right to express themselves was enshrined in the
Constitution, and they had a responsibility to speak about the suffering of
The Magistrate, Jemwa, remanded the three to the 23rd April. The state is
expected to oppose the application to have the case dismissed, in a case
that has implications for the freedom of worship and expression for the
church in Zimbabwe. - Own correspondent
BY TREVOR GRUNDY
Extremist commentators who tell the world that every man, woman and child in
Zimbabwe is in danger from an "unrelenting autocracy" controlled by
President Robert Mugabe, who they often liken to Idi Amin or Adolf Hitler,
are doing more harm than good, says a respected historian.
Delivering the first Swantz Lecture at the University of Helsinki, Professor
Terence Ranger told academics: "Robert Mugabe is not Idi Amin. Yet some
commentators have made even more extreme comparisons."
Giving a review of his work as an "expert" when it comes to clarifying the
rights of some of the thousands of Zimbabweans seeking residence in the
United Kingdom, Professor Ranger called on political commentators to be
balanced when writing and talking about Zimbabwe.
"Zimbabwe is currently a country of unpredictable violence. Some women are
in danger of rape; some teachers are in danger of assault; violence has been
contracted out to war veterans and youth militia; lists of 'traitors' have
been compiled; hundreds of thousands of people are sick, or suffering from
AIDS, or in exile.
"But this is very different from maintaining that every Zimbabwean is in
danger from an unrelenting autocracy."
Commenting on reports published in a leading British weekly paper which
claimed that Zimbabwe's genocide is 10 times worse than Darfur's and more
than twice as large as Rwanda's, Ranger declared: "This kind of
exaggeration spoils the case of critics of Zimbabwe."
Apart from writing some of the most interpretative books ever published
about Zimbabwe and its pre-colonial history, Professor Ranger (a former
Professor Emeritus in Race Relations, University of Oxford) is Chairman of
the Britain-Zimbabwe Society.
It has established a panel from its members consisting of academics with
enough knowledge of Zimbabwe to act as "experts "in asylum appeals.
He told the academics gathered at Helsinki University on February 14 -
"Between us we have written hundreds of assessments. The result is an
extraordinary archive for future historians of the crisis of the 2000s."
He went on to explain that every time an asylum seeker presented an argument
for staying in Britain, the Home Office made a counter narrative
"de-constructing, disbelieving, distancing Britain from any ex-colonial
While the Government condemns the Mugabe regime the Home Office claims
Zimbabwe is a perfectly safe place for a 'failed' Zimbabwean asylum seeker.
One case involved a young girl gang raped by so called "war veterans"
because her uncle supported the MDC. The Home Office accepted her
credibility but refused her asylum, saying she did not fall within the terms
of the UN's Convention relating to the status of refugees.
Moreover, said the Home Office letter, "the fact that you were not killed
during this time causes the Secretary of State to believe that agents of
Zanu (PF) have no interest in killing you."
Said Professor Ranger: "It is disheartening that a couple of years ago, the
Home Office assessors denied young women asylum because they would not
accept that war veterans and youth militia were government agents and today
they deny young women asylum if they have not been abducted, raped or killed
by ' brigands' empowered by the same."
Professor Ranger has an impeccable revolutionary track record. Deported by
the Smith Regime in 1963, he became one of the few white academics who sided
with black freedom fighters during the Second Chimurenga.
Like millions of others, he was ecstatic when Mugabe became the first black
head of state in1980. He returned to Zimbabwe in that year and helped
establish the Britain-Zimbabwe Society the following year.
He told academics in Finland that Gukurahundi posed a terrible problem for
him and the society. "Our silence paralleled that of almost all other
agencies concerned with Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, I became ashamed of it.