The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 12:55 AM
Subject: Are you sitting comfortably?

Dear Family and Friends,
For four years and three months I have faithfully written this weekly letter
about events in Zimbabwe. As Zimbabwe's laws have changed and our
has become ever more oppressive and repressive, I have had to be more and
careful about what I say and how I say it. I have documented horrors which
belief and understanding, talked about people I have met who have seen and
experienced hell and always I have had to guard my words, mind my language
delete the adjectives long before you read my letter. I hope that after 51
months people have learned to read between the lines because never have I
so reluctant to write this weekly letter as I do today. It would be much
to tell you about the weather, the thick frost lying on the ground and the
magnificent birds in my garden but after much thought I have decided that to
so I would be lying, not only to myself but also to you.

In the last fortnight the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated
It began with an altercation in Parliament where the opposition MP of
Chimanimani finally lost his temper at the personal abuse being thrown at
and pushed a Zanu PF Minister to the floor. The opposition MP happened to
have a
white skin and his action was exactly what the Zimbabwean government have
waiting for. Since the incident in Parliament there has been a blatant
up of rhetoric and anti-white sentiment in the media. RACIST, RACIST, RACIST
the screams. In a country of 11 million people generous estimates put the
of white people still here at about 70 000 people - it is a miniscule
of the population but for four years and three months people with white
have consistently been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in the
We have become the easy targets, the incessant and obvious scapegoats.

Since the incident in Parliament the opposition offices in Harare have been
attacked, windows smashed and property destroyed. A 35 year old white farmer
been abducted, tortured and beaten black and blue on his back, legs, arms
buttocks. Another white farmer, lies in hospital with two broken arms, stab
wounds and a charge of murder hanging over him. The opposition offices in
Chimanimani have been attacked, windows smashed and roofing destroyed. A
woman has had her house stoned and been paraded through the streets,
humiliated and hugely traumatized. There have been increasing reports of
harassment to the few remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe and the JAG
for Agriculture) chairman has said that "in all cases the attackers have had
common message that whites must leave and go to Britain."

After the horrific events in Rwanda, the UN and the world said that never
would they sit back and watch genocide and ethnic cleansing. My message to
now is "Are you sitting comfortably ladies and gentleman?" I will not end by
saying 'until next week' but just, thank you for reading. Love cathy.
Copyright cathy buckle 29th May 2004.
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa  from: ; ; ;  in Australia and New Zealand: ;  Africa:

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Mnangagwa snubbed
By our own staff

*Timing not right, says Mugabe SPEAKER of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa's
name was, at the last minute, struck off from the list of 370 graduands who
were capped at the Midlands State University (MSU) on Friday after it was
decided that the timing was wrong, sources told The Standard.

Mnangagwa was supposed to have been conferred with an honorary Doctorate of
Law degree together with the late Vice President Simon Muzenda, who was
posthumously conferred with a Doctor of Letters degree last Friday.

Well-placed sources told The Standard that Mnangagwa's name was deleted from
the list after MSU vice-chancellor, Ngwabi Bhebhe held an urgent meeting
with President Robert Mugabe on Friday. They resolved to strike off the
Speaker's name, sources said.

"With all the allegations levelled against Mnangagwa, they felt that the
timing was wrong so they had to remove his name," said the source.

Mnangagwa, a key political figure in the Zanu PF party and possible
successor of Mugabe, was early this year probed by police over his alleged
involvement in the looting of diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo

His name also cropped up in the trial of a gold dealer, Matthew Burden,
accused of contravening the Gold Trade Act by buying gold from millers as
well as exchanging it for fuel.

Some MSU officials said Mnangwagwa's name was dropped because proper
procedures were not followed. However, other sources within the university
said Mnangagwa and Muzenda's names were submitted using the same procedure
and were approved but the Speaker's name was dropped at the last minute.

"To say proper procedures were not followed is not true because the two
names were submitted at the same time," said the well-placed source.

Under normal circumstances, the university council recommends the names of
the people it wants to honour to the chancellor, President Mugabe, through
the Ministry of Higher Education.

Bhebhe could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print. MSU
registrar, Mr G T Gurira, refused to comment.

"I am not the spokesperson for the university, talk to the vice-chancellor,"
said Gurira.

On Thursday, a day before the graduation ceremony, Zanu PF chief whip Joram
Gumbo told The Herald that apart from being a leading figure in the Midlands
province, Mnangagwa would receive the honorary degree in recognition of his
contribution to the liberation struggle of the country.

He said Mnangawa would also be honoured for his important work after
independence as well as his immense contribution towards the establishment
of the university.

"He is also being honoured for his impartiality as the Speaker of
Parliament. As the Speaker, his impartiality has endeared him to both Zanu
PF and MDC MPs," said Gumbo.

However, Gumbo yesterday refused to comment. "Phone MSU authorities or
Mnangagwa. They will tell you what happened, not me," said Gumbo.

Mnangagwa could not be reached for a comment yesterday.

After capping the graduands, Mugabe who was earlier conferred with an
honorary Doctor of Commerce degree at a bushy site at MSU said there was
little progress made on the construction of the university.

"I have found some progress in a sense. There are dungeons being dug,
perhaps to frighten me not to bring my pigs. I will accept that progress has
started being made," said Mugabe jokingly.

This time, the graduands were conferred with their degrees in a soccer pitch
on the campus.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Hungry Zanu PF youths turn on their masters
By Richard Musazulwa

GWERU - Street kids and Zanu PF supporters, who had been ferried from
resettlement areas to demonstrate against MDC MP Roy Bennett who manhandled
two cabinet ministers in Parliament a week ago, destroyed war veterans'
offices in Gweru after failing to get the food they had been promised for
taking part in the demonstration.

After nearly three-hours demonstration, pandemonium broke out at the war
veterans' office when close to 3000 tired looking and hungry Zanu PF
activists, who had been singing and toyi-toying, found that the food they
were promised as inducement to demonstrate was not available.

The youths claimed that only senior party officials "feasted" after the
demonstration, leaving the rest of them hungry outside the building.

"This is the last time I will be used by the war veterans. They promised to
give us food after the demonstration, but they did not fulfill their
promise," said an elderly woman, who preferred anonymity fearing

Some of the demonstrators, who had been bused into the city from nearby
resettlement areas, had to use their own money to pay for bus fare back home
after the transport, which had been hired to bring them for the
demonstration, did not show up for the return trip.

The demonstration by the ruling party was in solidarity with two ministers,
Patrick Chinamasa for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Didymus Mutasa,
for Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies, who were floored by Bennett after
Chinamasa hailed abuse at the MDC legislator.

During the demonstration, the youths allegedly went berserk beating up
innocent people in the city centre and burning mock coffins and papers near
the mayor's offices. The police, who accompanied the demonstrators, watched
in silence as the demonstrators took the law into their own hands,

On Monday last week, police officers attached to Gweru Rural Police Station,
marched and toy-toyed in the city centre while mimicking the Zimbabwe
Television jingle 'Sendekera Mwana Wevhu'. Soldiers have also become a
permanent feature on the streets of Gweru most afternoons as they march
around the city singing and chanting Zanu PF songs.

Contacted for comment, Lyson Mlambo, the MDC Midlands chairperson, said
according to the country's constitution, soldiers and police officers are
supposed to be non-partisan.

He said by singing ruling party songs at parades, police officers were
showing that they were partisan and violent.

Efforts to get a comment from police spokesperson, assistant commissioner
Wayne Bvudzijena were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Mlambo also hit out at chiefs who agree to be used by Zanu PF and said such
traditional leaders risked losing the respect of the people they represent.
He said some of the chiefs were only holding their positions because of
their "marriage" to the ruling party.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Empty promises irk Matabeleland elders
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - As next year's general election approaches, Zanu PF has stepped
up its campaign to win the hearts of the people of Matabeleland region amid
claims that President Robert Mugabe's government is using the same old
political promises it has used before to lure voters

Elders in the Matabeleland region told The Standard this week that they have
completely lost patience with Zanu PF for making unfulfilled promises and
its failure to pay compensation to the victims of the 1980's Gukurahundi

Among the outstanding projects in the region that crop up towards elections
is the Matabeleland-Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), the Lupane Gas Project as
well as the Bulawayo-Nkayi road.

Post Independence Survivors Trust (PIST) executive director, Felix Mafa,
said each time elections were at hand, Zanu PF always abuses people in the
region by telling them lies.

He said the much-awaited MZWP, which has been on the cards for many years
now, would not come to fruition unless a new government comes to power.

In a separate interview, the Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative (ZLPI)
president, Max Mkandla, said the so-called University of Lupane and the MZWP
were designed to hoodwink locals into believing that the government is
concerned about their welfare. "What surprises me most is that in Zanu PF we
have our own sons and daughters who hold influential posts but they are
doing nothing to help us.

"Imagine big names like Jonathan Moyo, John Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa,
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Simon Khaya Moyo, Cain Mathema and many others but they
are doing nothing simply because they are benefiting from the Zanu PF
government," said Mkandla.

MZWT chairman, Dumiso Dabengwa, refused to comment saying he was in Harare.

"Look my friend, I will only talk to you when I come back next week," said
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Law must take its course: Gono on fleeing bankers
By Our Own Staff

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono says he has been asked by
prominent banking officials to intervene in criminal cases facing some of
their colleagues who skipped the country amidst accusations of illegal
foreign currency dealings.

In an interview in Harare on Friday, Gono said he had given the matter much
thought but felt the right department to deal with it was the
Attorney-General's office.

At the same time Gono has denied planning visits to the United Kingdom and
United States last week despite comments made in the British Parliament
suggesting he was already in the UK.

NMB Holdings Ltd directors Julius Makoni, James Mushore, Francis Zimuto and
Otto Chekeche fled the country for the UK after government threatened to
take them to court for alleged dealings in foreign currency at parallel
market rates.

Barbican Holdings Ltd boss Mthuli Ncube and Intermarket Holdings Ltd founder
Nicholas Vingirai also fled to the UK and US for the same reasons.

"I have to consult with the AG's office first before dealing with the
issue," Gono said. "This is a legal issue and those that deal with such
items should handle it."

Gono said he had decided to take a very tough stance on financial matters
because the international community was now demanding monthly reports on the
operations of all central banks worldwide in a bid to stop terrorism

He said he held regular meetings with top officials from various
international security organisations including from the US, Europe and South

He had also held wide consultations with various international personalities
and organisations in Harare, said Gono.

"I did not go to London and am surprised the media decided to write about
things before clarifying the facts on the ground," he said. "I wonder where
and why this information is being circulated world-wide. Maybe it is meant
to discredit me."

Media and Internet reports this week said Gono was in London on a private
visit and was scheduled to go on to the United States to attend the Zimbabwe
Expo 2004.

Gono however denied he had been invited to the US, saying it was news to

His reported trip to the UK led to British parliamentarians asking why he
should be allowed to visit the country when he should be on the list of
individuals banned from travelling to the West.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

I am now destitute, cries man after losing property worth $3bn
By our own staff

THE former proprietor of Turnpike Service Station, Kenneth Greebe, says he
has been left a destitute after William Zvinavashe, the nephew of the former
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) boss, Vitalis Zvinavashe, allegedly
fraudulently took over his company and property worth $3 billion.

Greebe said he has been living in abject poverty since 2002, when he tried
to sell the company to Zvinavashe, who failed to pay the agreed amount. But
Zvinavashe now claims to be the rightful owner of Turnpike Service Station,
a house, equipment and some vehicles.

"I am now a destitute and have to rely on gifts from family and friends to
survive. I don't have anything of my own now. My fully furnished personal
family home is gone you can imagine, everything from clothes to furniture
was left at our family home in Sublime Township, Lake Chivero," he said.

He said trouble started when he sold his businesses to Zvinavashe but the
bank disowned his cheque. Greebe claims that when the cheque bounced he had
already handed over the keys for the business, house and motor vehicles in
the hope that it would be honoured.

"We had agreed he would pay R4, 164 million and had signed a memorandum of
agreement but William offered me a dishonoured cheque from Lloyds Bank of
London which proved to be fraudulent," lamented Greebe.

As the ownership wrangle rages on, Greebe said Zvinavashe is selling some of
the disputed property despite that the High Court recently reserved judgment
on the matter.

Greebe in March wrote a letter to Vice-President, Joseph Msika, seeking his
assistance to enable him to retrieve the service station, a house,
furniture, equipment and vehicles from Zvinavashe.

The letter in our possession, dated March 29, 2004, was also copied to the
Commissioner of Poliace, Augustine Chihuri, Zanu PF Politburo, the Attorney
General's Office and the Minister of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies,
Didymus Mutasa.

Zvinavashe could not be reached for a comment at the time of going to print
last night.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

State moves to block offensive e-mails
By Caiphas Chimhete

THE government is trying to force all Internet Service Providers (ISP) in
Zimbabwe to sign a contract that will oblige them to divulge the source or
block individual electronic mail (e-mail) messages deemed politically
sensitive, objectionable, unauthorised or obscene, The Standard has

The latest move comes at a time when there are vigorous efforts by President
Robert Mugabe's government to feed Zimbabweans with crude propaganda ahead
of next year's crucial general elections.

According to the contract in our possession, all ISPs would be mandated to
ensure that objectionable, obscene, communication infringing copyright laws
or those that are inconsistent with the laws of Zimbabwe are not carried by
any network.

"In particular, provider is obliged to provide, without delay, all the
tracing facilities of the nuisance or malicious messages or communications
transported through his equipment and network, to authorised officers of
TelOne and Government of Zimbabwe/State Government, when such information is
required for investigations of crimes or in the interest of national
security," reads part of the controversial contract.

The contract also forbids the use of the network "for anti-national
activities" construed as an offence punishable under the Zimbabwe Law or
other applicable law.

However, the ISPs are resisting the government's censorship drive.

An official with one of the ISPs said the majority of the service providers
had resolved to refuse to sign the controversial contract since it infringes
the freedom of expression and could also drive them out of business.

"We are saying no because it is illegal," said one ISPs, who refused to be
named for fear of reprisals from government.

Among the country's leading ISPs are M-web, Zimbabwe Online, Telconet,
AfricaOnline, Eco-Web and E-world.

Analysts said the move is designed to control the cyberspace, the only free
avenue of communication that has remained after government tightened screws
on the print and broadcast media.

Already, there are widespread fears that the government could be
eavesdropping e-mail and telephones despite a Supreme Court ruling last
March that declared this to be illegal.

In the past few weeks, Internet users have complained about blocked e-mail
messages mostly those that carried political information. One such blocked e
mail was from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s
information department destined to several subscribers.

"The following mail was blocked since it contained sensitive information,"
read part of the blocked mail, "Recipient, content filter has detected
sensitive e-mails."

The e-mail was titled, "Both Roy Bennett and the Minister of Justice must be
held accountable for their actions."

An information technology expert said it was possible for government to
eavesdrop e-mail messages as most of them are routed through TelOne.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Zanu PF youths on rampage in Chimanimani
By Nyasha Bhosha

ZANUPF supporters and war veterans last week ran amok destroying people's
homes, MDC offices and beating up suspected opposition party members in
Chimanimani in retribution following the scuffle in Parliament involving two
cabinet ministers and MP for the area, Roy Bennett.

A Zimrights activist based in Chimanimani, Birgit Kidd, said rowdy Zanu PF
youths and war veterans, numbering about 2 000, rampaged her house and
looted food.

After that, they force-marched her to the MDC offices, which they had
destroyed and then ordered her to clean up the mess. Kidd is also the owner
of the building that is being used by MDC as offices, the group broke down
doors and windowpanes.

They also burnt everything that was inside including important party

"They were about 2 000 of them, they destroyed the gate to gain entry into
my premises. While others were busy removing roof tiles, the rest were on my
verandah singing and dancing and throwing my garden furniture to the ground.

"They made me carry the Zanu PF flag, force-marched me while they sang all
the way to the offices which are about 600m metres away," she said.

On arrival at the offices Kidd was given a broom to sweep the office while
the mob teased and mocked her through the broken windows. After she cleaned
the whole building, the group ordered her to sit down in the dust together
with an MDC councillor, David Matengu to wait for their "organisers".

Up to yesterday no report had been made to the police as the member in
charge for Chimanimani was said to be in Chipinge.

"Since yesterday (Friday) I have been trying to report the matter but I have
been told the member in charge is in Chipinge. They are just trying to buy
time. I need the docket number to give to my lawyers," said Kidd.

MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube confirmed that the party's Chimanimani
offices were attacked. He, however, could not say what was destroyed in the

"We have not established the extent of damage but the act was barbaric,"
said Ncube.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Women demonstrate against falling education standards
By our own staff

BULAWAYO - Police yesterday dispersed scores of women who took to the
streets to demonstrate against government over the fast deteriorating
standards of education in the country.

The women also accused government of spending billions of dollars on buying
military equipment instead of channelling the money towards social sectors
such as health and education.

The peaceful demonstration was organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA),
a Bulawayo-based women's pressure group.

Waving placards denouncing the government, the women said the training of
the notorious Border Gezi Green Bombers should be stopped, especially as
next year's general election draws near.

The Green Bombers have been used on several occasions to harass, intimidate
and beat up people believed to be sympathetic to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

WOZA spokesperson, Jenni Williams, said the march was to protest against
falling educational standards as well as the training of the notorious youth
militia by the government.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Mutare council struggles to recover $2,4bn debt
By Our Own Staff

MUTARE - Financially troubled Mutare City Council, which is owed $2,4
billion in unpaid revenue by residents and other debtors, has engaged the
services of the Messenger of Court in its bid to recover the outstanding

Sources within the council's treasury said chief among the debtors were
government ministries and departments.

The city's treasurer, Kudzai Mumbengegwi, last week told a finance committee
meeting that the council was owed "millions of dollars" by residents,
individual companies and government departments.

Mumbengegwi, however, declined to divulge the exact figures of amounts
involved or the names of companies and government departments owing the
council saying he was not at liberty to do so.

"My department would put emphasis on recovering the money owed to the
council as a first priority," he said.

However, The Standard has it on good authority that the debtors owed the
council $2,4 billion.

As a result of defaulting by debtors, Mumbengegwi said, the council was
having problems in ensuring some of its capital projects get off the ground.
Apart from that, he said, more than half of the city's revenue was being
gobbled by salaries of council staff.

"A situation of that nature is not conducive for efficient service
provision," complained Mumbengegwi.

Mutare, with a population of about 500 000, has only 28 000 residents paying
rates to the local authority.

Last week, the Minister of Local Government and National Housing, Ignatious
Chombo, froze any further increases of the city's rates shattering plans to
improve service provision in the eastern border city and putting planned
salary increments for workers in jeopardy.

Immediately after Chombo's declaration, Mutare executive mayor, Misheck
Kagurabadza, warned that service delivery in the city would collapse.

"We had plans to improve roads, refuse collection water reticulation, drug
availability in council clinics and hospitals and workers salaries. All this
has gone with the wind," said Kagurabadza.

He said Chombo had taken a political decision while initially he had
approved the city' $52 billion budget with its increments.

The city raised rates by 98 percent in April and was set to increase the
rates twice this year by 105 percent in July and by another 112 percent in

The April rates hike prompted protests from some sections of the residents
mostly Zanu PF activists who called for the ejection of the MDC council. The
demonstrations at the civic centre lasted a month leading to Chombo's latest
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Police scuttle MDC meeting
By Our own Staff

ARMED riot police yesterday barred Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leaders from holding a provincial assembly meeting for Midlands South
constituency at the opposition party's offices in Gweru.

Party officials said they had invited all elected leaders of the party from
around the country to the meeting to educate party representatives on the
electoral process ahead of next year's general elections.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai described the police's action as undemocratic
and geared towards suppressing the party's election campaign.

"It appears we are having a problem with the police here. The commanding
officer for this province is responsible for disrupting our meeting and this
is not the first time we have had this problem in the Midlands.

The police actions are deplorable but we are not at all intimidated. They
will not stop us," a defiant Tsvangirai said.

William Bango, Tsvangirai's spokesman said police officers stormed into the
venue of the meeting before ordering those present to disperse.

"The meeting was blocked by police early this morning (yesterday). They
ordered everybody to disperse threatening to fire teargas if we resisted,"
said Bango.

He added that the police even prevented them from paying out bus fares to
the delegates who had been invited from other towns. The leaders had
assembled at the venue of the conference on Friday night prior to the
arranged meeting yesterday.

Bango said the party held several provincial assemblies in Harare, Masvingo,
Mutare and Bulawayo without experiencing any problems with the police.

The MDC sought police clearance for the cancelled meeting last week on
Monday but by Friday evening, police had not responded.

Under the draconian Public Order and Security Act (Posa) any person or
organisation wishing to hold a meeting of more than five people is required
to seek police clearance.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Makwavarara in trouble
By Angela Makamure

AS the City of Harare services to ratepayers continue to deteriorate and the
mindless battle for offices at Town House rages on, acting mayor, Sekesayi
Makwavarara has come under fire from some councillors who accuse her of
profligacy and making unnecessary trips locally and abroad.

A number of councillors who spoke to The Standard last week expressed dismay
at Makwavarara's behaviour of late, describing her frequent trips abroad as
a waste of council funds.

The councillors claimed Makwavarara had been spending council money lavishly
with her husband, while neglecting the concerns of the city's ratepayers.
They accused her of spending over $25 million on her last trip to Paris,
France last month.

In an interview, Linus Mushonga, the Councillor for Ward 23 in Waterfalls
told The Standard councillors were unhappy with the expenses that the acting
mayor was incurring. "This is abuse of office by Makwavarara. All those
trips must be approved by the finance committee, but it's sad that we get to
know about them after she has already left the country," Mushonga said.

Mushonga said there was need to make priorities and use the council funds
for the benefit of ratepayers."It is unfortunate that we have not been able
to meet to take stock and deliberate on all these issues. This is why all
this has been happening without our knowledge," Mushonga said.

Another councillor, Last Maengahama, said Makwavarara had to seek the
approval and abide by the rules and regulations of the council before making
trips. "We have to sit down and see if we can finance her trips before she
leaves," Maengahama said.

Edwin Mushoriwa, the Dzivarasekwa Member of Parliament expressed similar
sentiments saying after Mudzuri's dismissal, the acting mayor was supposed
to perform executive duties and not relegate herself to a ceremonial mayor.

When contacted for comment over these allegations, Makwavavara said
councillors had to come to her and settle matters with her and not discuss
issues through newspapers."We must not operate like that. Are these
Councillors afraid of me? I am not a lion. We must co-operate," Makwavarara

She said there was nothing wrong with her travelling with her spouse because
as a mayor she was entitled to such privileges.

"I do not see any reason why these councillors should question why I travel
with my husband. I am entitled to travel with him and moreover he has some
council duties to perform," she said.

Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya, defended Makwavarara saying she did not make
several trips as alleged. He said he was only aware of one trip Makwavarara
made when she visited Paris recently.

"Moreover that trip was funded by an outside organisation through the Urban
Councils Association and not the council," said Chideya.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard


The sooner the better, Mr President

BY the words he spoke and the face he showed the world during the infamous
Sky News interview, President Mugabe will be doing himself a lot of good if
he were to step down immediately rather than clutch straws until 2008.

To put it bluntly: the man is too old. And it showed and is showing. We are
entitled to ask President Mugabe why he continues to cling to power when it
is so evident that he has completely gone off the rails. At 80, what
strength is left in him even to write books and memoirs as he now says he
will do after retiring in 2008?

Going by what he said on the urgent issues of our time i.e. the food crisis,
the economic crisis and the governance crisis, it is very clear to everybody
that President Mugabe is keeping himself going by self-deception. His
account of these issues on Sky News was sadly self-deluding. And we say this
more in distress and sorrow than in anger. Change of the guards should be
now not in 2008.

It must be a source of pain for every patriotic Zimbabwean to see the
President becoming a hostage to the likes of Jonathan Moyo, Patrick
Chinamasa, Didymus Mutasa and many of the ilk. For that is what President
Mugabe has become: a virtual prisoner in both the State House and his
Munhumutapa Offices. It will not be long before the Johnos and Chinamasas of
this world pay a high price for this.

President Mugabe is no longer in charge of anything. He is no longer in the
driving seat. As the Sky News interview showed, he is locked in a denial
mode and is preaching a gospel which is far removed from the reality of the
suffering of the Zimbabwean people.

The food crisis in Zimbabwe shows no sign of abetting. And for President
Mugabe to claim that there is sufficient food in the country is a blatant
lie. Perhaps his assessment, like that of Joseph Made two years ago, was
made from some highflying aircraft above the cloud cuckoo land in which both
men appear to live. The truth is not far to find.

You have only to travel around the country and see that very little activity
is evident on most of the former commercial areas. Conditions are far from
good and in many cases much much worse and so it boggles the mind when one
listens to all the hype about a bumper harvest.

What has to be accepted, whether we like it or not, is that the country is
in dire straits. A defiant President, locked in a fierce row with imaginary
enemies like British Prime Minister, Tony Blair will not change anything.
The President and his ruling Zanu PF party must boldly accept and recognise
that they and they alone are to blame for the crisis that we find ourselves
in. Their pathological refusal to listen to anyone has brought us these
tragic results: the demise of a once beautiful and lovely country.

Zanu PF no longer commands either respect or devotion. In the past, the
ruling party commanded immense crowds both at the ballot box and at ordinary
political rallies. That has all changed and Zanu PF sees this but chooses to
ignore their changed status and instead unleashes violence and mayhem on
fellow Zimbabweans. Elsewhere in this issue, we publish the shocking extent
to which Zanu PF rented crowds engage in political violence and destroy with
impunity other people's properties.

For how long can this continue? For how long can this kind of tension go on?
The truth is that as long as President Mugabe continues to be a prisoner of
people acting from the instinct of self preservation, there will be no end
to the tragedy that has engulfed Zimbabwe. The President must go for the
level of tension in the country to drop or to disappear altogether.

Besides, being President for more than twenty years must surely take its
toll in ill-health. His wrinkles and his use of the English language during
the Sky News interview showed that words have clearly become his enemies.
President Mugabe used to be one of the most articulate African leaders on
the continent but inevitably, old age and its attendant senility must now be
having an upper hand in the control of his faculties.

His ignoble attacks on Archbishops Desmond Tutu and Pius Ncube were without
parallel in the 24 years of the country's independence. To describe the good
archbishops as "angry, evil and embittered little bishops" is to push
looseness of language to unacceptable levels. We can only detect illness and
anguish in State House. Both South Africans and Zimbabweans must have been
apalled by President Mugabe's attacks which even for a doddering old man who
has completely lost it, were most unbecoming.

On our own part, we can only pray that President Mugabe has enough sense
left to know that his time is up and step down for his own sake, that of his
family and more importantly, for Zimbabwe. Everything comes to an end.
Everyone has, at some stage to narrow their horizons and bow to the passage
of time.

Mr President, the sooner the better.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Old friends, new enemies?
overthetop By Brian Latham

A sometimes troubled Asian nation may soon fall out with a troubled central
African country. The news that Malaysia may soon investigate dodgy dealings
in the troubled central African basket case is said to have angered some
Zany leaders.

This is because Malaysia, hardly a haven of democratic or corruption-free
governance, has traditionally been very pally with the troubled central
African police state.

And that's part of the problem, because Malaysian politicians are wondering
whether their money may have been diverted to build the most equal of all
comrade's palatial retirement villa.

The villa, set on the side of a leafy hill in a nouveau riche suburb
popularly known as Mbaredale Sewers, is adorned with an brightly coloured
oriental looking roof. The area is home to many Zany fat cats, money
launderers, arms dealers and crooks. It will also soon be home to the most
equal of all comrades - just as soon as his quivering, frail hearted
subordinates pluck up the courage to urge him into retirement.

Still, that may take some time now that questions are being asked. The
principle question, of course, being how the most equal of all comrades
managed to build the 25 bed roomed property on a salary of US$400 a month?
Or thereabouts.

It seems the previous Malaysian top man, a close friend of the most equal of
all comrades, may have lent a little support to his hard up counterpart in
the troubled central African dictatorship.

In an unusual and surprisingly gentle interview with a foreign television
station, the most equal of all comrades let slip he'd had a little help from
former Malaysian leader, Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Assistance had also come, said
the most equal of all comrades, from the Chinese. This surprised no one
because the

Chinese are well known to support anyone who emulates their tactics at
Tiananmen Square.

Still, the disclosure did raise squawks of outrage from the emerging
opposition in Malaysia, which is better than nothing. And while the Zany
Party made much of the lack of protest from the Chinese opposition, Over The
Top would like to point out that there is no Chinese opposition. The Chinese
opposition, by definition, is either doolally, dead or in jail.

But in Malaysia, where the opposition is excitedly finding its feet after
learning how to avoid death or imprisonment, there was much excitement. An
opposition leader said there was no moral reason to fund the troubled
central African regime's 'rotten and corruptible regime.'"

OTT welcomes these remarks, but points out that the Zany regime has passed
beyond the realms of corruptible into the minefields of thoroughly corrupt.

Meanwhile troubled central Africans were hoping the issue would not die a
natural death - or even an unnatural death, that being altogether more
common these days.

"We hope the Malaysians will force their government to investigate the
issue," said an Mbaredale Sewers resident on his satellite phone from sunny

"That will take the pressure off me because I am being investigated for
externalising foreign currency."

In a statement some months ago, the most equal of all comrades promised a
crackdown on corruption in the troubled central African basket case. He said
he did not care what quarter the corruption occurred in, how high it rose or
whether it was in his own backyard.

OTT can reveal that the most equal of all comrades has already initiated an
investigation into corruption at his Mbaredale Sewers mansion. When the
investigation is completed, a report will state that there was no wrongdoing
and that no corruption was evident. This is because the investigators do not
want to die.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard
Banks are fleecing us, complain Zim clients
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWEAN banks are charging more levies than many others in the region and
many clients last week urged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to intervene and
curtail some of the charges.

Clients who spoke to Standard Business said many of the charges were
excessive and were forcing clients to shy away from putting their money into
savings accounts with commercial banks.

The result is that Zimbabwe has one of the lowest savings' ratios in the

A snap survey conducted by Standard Business found that there was no
uniformity in the bank charges for services such as depositing money or
transacting on cheques. It also found out that the larger traditional banks
general charged more than the small, black-owned institutions.

Among the charges a client with a Zimbabwean bank has to pay include ATM
surcharges - for making any transactions at automated teller machines - and
fines for transacting third party cheques.

Some banks, such as Century Bank, have recently hiked charges to obtain

Century last week announced new charges for cheque books of $10 750 for a
30-page book and $45 000 for 100 pages. The bank said the increases were in
line with the rise of procurement costs.

Other banks have hiked their service fees since March almost on a monthly

To maintain a current account with many of the larger commercial banks, the
minimum service fee rose from $1 250 in January to $1 500.

The minimum service fee for a personal account also went up to $5 000 from
$3 500. Ordering interim statements now attract a penalty of $500 while
counter cheques are levied at $2 500 each leaf.

Some of the fee hikes have now prompted the public to clamour for an
investigation into the issue of bank fees.

They say the central bank should conduct a proper pricing code for
increasing fees and charges while some bank clients said they felt so
cheated by the banks that they have closed their accounts and now keep their
money under pillows at home.

Some of the banks however told Standard Business that the levies were
necessary because of the increasing cost of doing business in Zimbabwe.

They said the fees and numerous charges were used to recover, as far as
possible, the real costs of transactions and by means of
differential-pricing, they want to force customers away from expensive
branch-based transactions to cheaper electronic ways of banking.

First Banking Corporation, which is relatively young in the financial field,
said its charges range from processing fees, to take care of cheque books
and other stationary - and the issuance of ATM cards.

Local banks say they cannot compare themselves to those in neighbouring
South Africa where banks are scrapping some of the minor bank charges
clients pay for small transactions.

"Zimbabwe is a hyperinflationary society, unlike South Africa," says First
Bank spokesperson Lydia Mavengere.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Bleak outlook for continent as Africa Economic Summit opens
By our own Staff

INDUSTRY and International Trade Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi and Standard
Chartered Bank chairman Honour Mkushi will represent Zimbabwe at the World
Economic Forum's 14th African Economic Summit to be held in Maputo this

The duo will join more than 550 leaders from all sectors of society and from
more than 43 countries that will take part at the summit, which runs from
Tuesday to Thursday.

Twenty-six African nations will be represented under the theme "Engaging
Business in Development". With more than two thirds of participants coming
from the business sector, the summit will be an opportunity to speed up the
pace of economic and business reform which is holding back the potential of
many African economies.

Zimbabwe's economy has been in a tailspin for the past six years.

Foreign currency shortages and energy constraints have resulted in most
manufacturing companies ceasing operations. Foreign investors have since
been fleeing out of Harare. However, the Summit presents a rare opportunity
for Zimbabwe and local businessman to market the country.

The three-day summit, to be chaired by President Joachim Chissano of
Mozambique, will also be attended by seven heads of State and government.

The business community is particularly well represented with CEOs from
across Africa and from major global companies who have a stake in the
continent expected to attend.

More than 20 leaders of non-governmental organisations and trade unions will
also be represented.

Among key leaders from business, politics and civil society participating in
the Africa Economic Summit are Jacob Ajekigbe, Chief Executive Officer,
First Bank of Nigeria, Paul Bohoun Bouabré, Minister of Economy and Finance
of Côte d'Ivoire, Alec Erwin South Africa's Minister of Public Enterprises
and his Finance counterpart Trevor Manuel.

"The Africa Economic Summit is an opportunity for the continent's leaders,
both from business and politics, to move beyond listing African challenges
to developing scalable action plans that unleash Africa's full potential,"
said Haiko Alfeld, the Director for Africa at the World Economic Forum.

For more than a decade, the Africa Economic Summit has consolidated its
status as the region's premier annual gathering of leaders from business,
politics and civil society.

It has served as a unique platform to rally the key actors in a
collaborative effort to address the major development challenges facing
Africa and has galvanized a strong business contribution in support of the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

The co-chairs for the summit will be Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman, Anglo
American, UK, and Vincent Maphai, Chairman, BHP Billiton, South Africa. They
will join other participants at the summit to tackle the crucial issues
facing the continent.

In Maputo, participants will engage in dialogue aimed at producing results
and advancing the cause of Africa's reintegration into the global economy.
Focusing on the role and contribution of business in development, the summit
will highlight best practices, draw lessons, propose practical solutions and
provoke concerted action to act as a catalyst for change and impact on the
African development agenda.

Some of the key topics on the summit's agenda that have been championed by
business leaders who have helped shape the programme are: showcasing African
success stories; looking at the scope and scale of South-South
collaboration; infrastructure development and its financing; African capital
market development; enhancing regional integration by removing barriers to
intra-regional trade, creating larger markets; and the global fight against
HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

One of the key topics of discussion at the summit will be African
competitiveness and the World Economic Forum will be launching its third
Africa Competitiveness Report 2004 on the first day of the gathering.

Accelerating the pace of development is crucial if Africa is to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals and reduce poverty, hunger and disease.

To grow, Africa requires first-rate levels of governance, sound
infrastructure, coherent policy and an improved institutional climate for
domestic and foreign investment.

The crippling cost of doing business in Africa hinders the private sector
from fulfilling its potential as the main engine of economic growth. A few
African countries are addressing these issues, moving towards growth rates
that could lead to independence from foreign aid and enable sustainable
growth from trade and investment.

"While the political landscape in most of sub-Saharan Africa has
significantly improved in recent years, a renaissance of Africa's economy
has yet to take place.

"African countries have not yet succeeded in laying a foundation of
macroeconomic stability and a variety of structural and institutional
rigidities have hampered growth performance. Indeed, it is difficult to
point to a single group of African economies that have experienced high,
sustained per capita income growth," said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chief
Economist at the World Economic Forum.

The Africa Competitiveness Report 2004 analyses some of the key challenges
confronting policy makers in the region, whether in the area of
macroeconomic management or in terms of the need to strengthen the quality
of public sector institutions, which must underpin economic reforms
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Zim magistrates grapple with poverty
By Angela Makamure

SHE looks tired after a hard day's work and walks home after handing down
several judgments on different suspects - some which their relatives may
consider too harsh - and turning down several bail applications.

Fearing for her life, she walks cautiously as she is suspicious of those
around her. She might be attacked or even killed anytime by unknown

Her attackers may be the relatives or friends of suspects she may have
denied bail or those she slapped with stiff penalties in her court.

Tendai Nhemachena (not her real name) represents a big chunk of magistrates
in Zimbabwe, who live in abject poverty despite their prestigious job. They
cannot afford to buy cars or have decent accommodation because they are
poorly paid.

They walk to and from work, and it is not uncommon for some of them to
jostle and shove with the crime suspects they would have dealt with in their
courts at bus terminuses as they board commuter omnibuses to and from work.

Ironically, some of the magistrates even envy some of the accused persons
who appear in their courts because they seem to live a better life than
themselves. Such is the wretched existence of scores of senior officers in
the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs under which they
are employed.

A Harare magistrate who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity last
week confirmed he was living a miserable life.

"We have been asking the government to provide us with cars because our job
is very risky, but this request has fallen on deaf ears," he said.

A number of magistrates have been harassed, beaten or threatened while
others have been forced to flee for dear life after work after delivering
what the convicts considered harsh penalties.

Among those that have been beaten or harassed are Betty Chidziva, Felix
Charamba and Sukai Tongogara. Tongogara even had her shoes taken away by the

Magistrate Tendai Madanhire was beaten up in Kwekwe recently while McGregor
Kufa was victimised for ruling in favour of white commercial farmers in
Mwenezi by suspected war veterans.

Several magistrates have expressed dismay over the attitude of Patrick
Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, whom
they accuse of neglecting them.

A Bulawayo magistrate, who spoke to The Standard, said on paper magistrates
were entitled to a $20 million loan each for vehicles.

"We have not yet received the loans although some of us have applied for
them. If we ask we are simply told that we are on the waiting list," he

He added: "It is however sad that even if some of us access the loans, we
would not be able to pay them back because our salaries are just too low."

He said it was better for magistrates to be moved from the Public Service
Commission (PSC) and be placed under the Judicial Services Commission (JSC)
so that they could enjoy the same benefits as the judges.

"We hope this time the Judiciary and Legal Services Bill will sail through
because it has been tabled 14 times in Parliament, but nothing came to
fruition," he said.

Except for a few stations like Gokwe, Plumtree and Masvingo, where
magistrates have decent government houses, magistrates in other parts of
Zimbabwe were lodgers, he said.

"It is really embarrassing because most of us are renting from those people
we try in our courts. We are getting peanuts and this cannot go on like
this. It's high time the government respected us and realised we are
professionals, who have to be treated as such," said another magistrate, who
preferred anonymity.

Before the 250 % salary increment granted to all civil servants effective in
January this year, many magistrates said they were getting "peanuts" after
the job evaluation exercise.

For example, a chief magistrate earned between $734 305 and $807 735 a
month, while a regional magistrate - who is in the next lower grade - earned
between $385 00 to $478 391, a difference of more than $300 000. Provincial
magistrates earned about $378 000.

Last June, magistrates formally petitioned the government over poor working
conditions, low salaries and gross anomalies resulting from the job
evaluation exercise.

Enias Magate, the Magistrates' Association of Zimbabwe secretary-general,
did not respond to the questions faxed to him by the time of going to print
but late last year he said magistrates were left worse off by the
government's job evaluation exercise.

Efforts to get a comment from David Mangota, the Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary, were fruitless.

Last week Chinamasa was quoted in The Herald as saying the government was
still deliberating on the Judiciary and Legal Services Bill that was aimed
at improving the conditions of service in the judiciary.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs recently recommended the speedy introduction and passage of the

Committee chairman and Zvishavane Member of Parliament Pearson Mbalekwa last
week said judicial officers had to be paid handsomely to stop the brain
drain from Zimbabwe.

"Magistrates and prosecutors cannot afford decent houses and they rent
cottages or rooms and sometimes they preside over cases of their landlords,"
Mbalekwa said.

He said his committee had learnt that some legal clerks in the courts earned
as little as $90 000 a month net, tempting them to accept bribes.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Doctor robbed
By Our Own Staff

SVERON Branislav, a local health practitioner, who runs a surgery at Michael
Gelfand Clinic in Harare's Avenues area, was last week robbed of money and
goods worth millions of dollars by thieves about 25 km out of Harare along
Masvingo road.

Branislav, who was on his way to Masvingo for a Zimbabwe Medical Association
conference held last weekend, said he suspects the thieves trailed him from
the city centre.

He said when he had travelled for about 25 km along Beatrice road a white
pick up truck, which had been following behind signalled him indicating that
something was wrong on his car.

"I pulled off the road and noticed that one of the tyres had a puncture.
Before I could settle down someone smartly dressed offered to help me saying
he was a mechanic. When I gave him the tools and he could not assemble them,
I became suspicious," said the 66-year old physiatrist.

The next moment, Branislav said, the man grabbed his bag from the car and
ran away.

"He grabbed my bag and ran along the road before he was picked up by the
same truck that was behind and returned back to Harare. It was so swift that
I could not figure out what was happening," he said.

Branislav believes the tyre puncture was caused by the thieves in Harare.

Ironically, the doctor had a gun on him but said he could not use it because
he did not want to kill or injure anyone. "I had a gun on me but I did not
want to use it to wound someone because I am a doctor," Branislav said.

In the bag, the doctor said, there were his spectacles, a palmtop computer
(organiser), cell phone, vehicle registration book, medical documents for
his patients and some money he had withdrawn for his friend in Masvingo.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Mugabe's evil-for-evil doctrine exposed
Americanotes by Ken Mufuka

I WAS passing through Great Britain when I found myself faced by President
Robert Mugabe's face in The Guardian, The Times, ITV news and the BBC hourly
broadcasts. At last, I thought, perhaps they are showing the human face of
Zimbabwe's Third Chumurenga to the world. I was completely wrong.

To begin with the Sky News Network that had arranged the interview took
fifteen months to gain access to Zimbabwe. And when they finally did, they
were thrown out only to be given a reprieve.

The purpose of the interview with President Mugabe was apparently to redeem
Zimbabwe's good name to the world.

Nobody wants a bad name as the white racists in South Africa eventually
found out to their cost. It seems, however, that President Mugabe was not
told of the questions to be asked, or the questions were deliberately
designed to provoke his anger and thus make him look like a monster.

It may be that Dr Tafataona Mahoso and Professor Jonathan Moyo did not grill
President Mugabe before hand, which is normal practice in the US before the
President goes on television.

We assume that President Mugabe wanted to tell the world that Zimbabwe was
justified in taking back the land that was stolen by Cecil Rhodes and that
when sixty percent of the land is occupied by foreigners, that country
cannot consider itself a sovereign State. Even a Form One student could have
made such a case.

What the two gentlemen should have prepared the President for is the cruelty
visited on white farmers and their black farm workers when they were driven
off the land.

The white farmers, most of them citizens were callously treated and the
black farm workers were thrown out without any job or home to go to. Rather
than address this issue, it seems that President Mugabe was side-tracked,
and the news headline that came on the BBC was rather different: President
Mugabe launches a fierce attack on Tony Blair.

Mugabe accused the British Prime Minister of thinking of himself as
"superhuman, and now the world is in turmoil". The reference to turmoil has
to do with the Iraqi war, in which Blair and US President Bush, against all
the evidence and advice of wise men, went to war. Even if that is true,
British listeners will not consider us kindly if we attack their Prime

We also assume that the aim of the interview was to encourage businessmen
and tourists to visit and invest in Zimbabwe. If that was the aim, surely, a
more conciliatory approach - that Blair misunderstood the nature of the land
issue, which had been a festering wound for ninety years since the
treacherous Rhodes seized 200 000 Matabele cattle and land in 1896.

From that point on, the interview went downhill. Mugabe is shown as
clenching his fists, whether to box Blair or to make a point is unclear. The
questions asked made him "more angry" (black English.) He was asked if
thousands of Zimbabweans had died from hunger induced by his land policies.
He denied the issue completely.

"Oh, come on, 10 000 people (died), where did they die? Even show me a
single person who died of hunger."

Further, he denied the possibility of starvation this year.

"We are not hungry. It (United Nations food aid) should go to people who are
hungrier than ourselves."

He denied the bloody activities of the Green Bombers. They (the youth
training centres) were teaching "culture and respect for the African

He denied any chance that Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo have a case in pleading with him about the
treatment of whites and blacks under his authority. About Archbishop Ncube,
President Mugabe says that: "Pius Ncube - he thinks he is holy and telling
lies all day, everyday."(sic)

I wish President Mugabe well, but I think Mahoso and Moyo served him badly
if they did not prepare him to answer such obvious questions. Going negative
on everybody, which I have illustrated above, shows a terrible attitude.

The saying is that a madman who joined a marching band was out of step. When
asked why he was out of step with the marchers, he accused the band of being
out of step with him - and he alone was in step. Even if Blair is an
imperialist (as shown by the Iraqi policy) President Mugabe does not have a
good word for anyone mentioned in the interview.

In The Times, it was suggested that the Zimbabwean government thought that
Zimbabwe's case had not been given a fair hearing abroad and that the
President should address the balance. Those who prepared the president for
the interview, in my opinion, do not understand what Zimbabwe is accused of.

There are 3,5 million Zimbabwean economic refugees abroad, and close on a
million of them in Britain.

Zimbabwe is accused of devastating a once prosperous country into a desert
and destroying the flourishing careers of its own black citizens. Mugabe is
personally accused of encouraging an atmosphere of crony corruption.

He was asked point blank: "Are you corrupt?" He avoided an answer.

Archbishop Tutu and Archbishop Ncube are concerned about revenge. It is
accepted that Cecil Rhodes was an evil man and that blacks were done wrong.
But, as the two Archbishops emphasise, you achieve more by not returning
evil for evil as Nelson Mandela has done. It seems that for all those who
have ears to hear, the two Archbishops are correct.

South Africa is doing much better than Zimbabwe precisely because it did not
take the path of returning evil for evil.

The whole interview was a waste of time. It did not make any new converts
for our cause and I cannot see any businessmen changing their minds and
hurrying with their bags of money to invest in a country they consider to be
run by madmen and cronies.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Zanu PF not interested in real dialogue
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

SEVERAL times, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has invited the
ruling Zanu PF party to the negotiating table in order to find a political
settlement and thus solve the country's problems.

Recently, The Sunday Mirror of April 14, 2004 quoted Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the MDC, as saying; "as leaders we can register a significant
shift in our political mindsets and in our personal attitudes if we were to
confer directly to identify the main impediment to sincere and principled

In his quiet diplomacy, South African President, Thabo Mbeki tried his best
to promote dialogue between the two major political parties without success.
He had, infact, promised the world that by June of this year, Zimbabwe's
monumental problems would have been solved through dialogue. He was way off
the mark. Instead, the country's problems have worsened and President Robert
Mugabe has made it abundantly clear that he and his party are not interested
in talking to the MDC which they regard as a creation of the British.

I and several others who understand the Zanu PF mentality, have always said
that the MDC was naive to even think that Zanu PF would agree to participate
in open minded dialogue. They are well aware of their intellectual
limitations. The only dialogue they are interested in is for the MDC to
repent and join Zanu PF in "unity". When they speak of unity in Zimbabwe
they are actually talking about capitulation. Unity between the Zimbabwe
African People's Union (ZAPU) and ZANU came about when Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU
surrendered to join ZANU. The only change was the addition of PF after ZANU.
There was no fundamental change except for the incorporation of a few ZAPU
members into the Zanu PF cabinet.

In a book, The Communication of Ideas, published by the Royal Bank of
Canada, one of the writers says: "Many Canadians have come to believe that
dialogue maybe a more effective setting for nation-building, or social
reform or community survival than is the battle field. ...anyone who
unswervaringly refuses to submit his ideas to the test of dialogue will be
quite unfit to meet the demands of existence in these days.

"...The ideal society in an age of total communication is the civilisation
of the dialogue...Monologue (as we have in Zanu PF) is the language of the
primitive-brained man who thinks he is the centre of the universe. Dialogue
is constructive because it adds to knowledge; monologue destructive because
it evidences fear that a creed or opinion is in danger of being disproved by
question and answer. ...Democratic institutions and political freedom can
not survive without discussion, criticism and deliberation.

We are all aware that Zanu PF has some very educated people who should
understand the value of dialogue in a democratic society. Why are they so
intransigent? It is not that Zanu PF does not understand that the only way
to unify the country and to bring about peace and prosperity is through
dialogue and not through the use of brute force and propaganda composed of
all manner of subterfuge. The naked truth is that the leaders of Zanu PF are
not interested in the well-being and prosperity of all Zimbabweans. They are
only interested in clinging on to power so that they can protect their
ill-gotten prosperity.

In order to do this, they have effectively shut all doors to any form of
dialogue. The print media has been effectively muzzled by the banning of the
vociferous Daily News and the harassment of independent media journalists.
Radio and TV are now the sole preserve of opinions favourable to the ruling
party only. Other ideas are not welcome. Rallies and meetings of the
opposition are strictly restricted. There is, therefore, no real dialogue in

Zanu PF prides itself as being a revolutionary party which is carrying the
revolution further by giving the people land. Anyone who questions the
veracity of this or its methodology is labelled an enemy of the revolution
and a puppet of the western imperialists.

Our revolution is conceived and carried out by one man and a close-knit
group of faithfuls on behalf of us all. This is why even our Vice-President
Joseph Msika did not know the inside story regarding the seizure of Kondozi

After talking to representatives of people of the area,Vice-president Msika
was convinced the take over of the farm by ARDA was not in the best
interests of the people. He, therefore, ordered ARDA, the army and the
police to vacate the farm and allow business to carry on. He was immediately
contradicted by a junior minister who said that the take-over of the farm
was irreversible. Msika only got to "understand the situation" after talking
to the President himself. The decision had nothing to do with the wishes and
needs of the people. It had everything to do with the political needs and
wishes of the party and the President. The people were, therefore, not party
to that revolutionary decision.

The world renowned Brazilian educationist' Paulo Theire describes our
situation graphically in his book; "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" which was
published in 1972, well before our independence. He says: "In order to
dominate, the dominator has no choice but to deny true praxis to the people,
deny them the right to say their own word or think their own thoughts. He
can not act dialogically; for him to do so would mean either that he
relinquished his power to dominate and joined the cause of the oppressed, or
that he has lost that power through miscalculation.

Conversely, revolutionary leaders who do not act dialogically in their
relations with the people either have retained characteristics of the
dominator (or in our case the Rhodesia Front) and are not truly
revolutionary, or they are totally misguided in their conception of their
role;... and are equally non revolutionary.

"If revolutionary leaders who incarnate a genuine humanism have
difficulties, the difficulties and problems will be far greater for a group
of leaders who try (even with the best of intentions) to carry out the
revolution for the people. To attempt this is to carry out a revolution
without the people, because the people are drawn into the process by the
same methods and procedures used to oppress them.

"Dialogue with the people is radically necessary to every authentic
revolution. This is what makes it a revolution, as distinguished from a
military coup. One does not expect dialogue from a military coup, only
deceit(in order to achieve legitimacy) or force (in order to repress) Sooner
or later, a true revolution must initiate a courageous dialogue with the
people. Its very legitimacy lies in that dialogue. It cannot fear the
people, their expression, their effective participation in power. It must be
accountable to them, must speak frankly to them of its achievements, its
mistakes, its miscalculations and its difficulties.

"The earlier dialogue begins, the more truly revolutionary will the movement
be. This dialogue which is radically necessary to revolution corresponds to
another radical need: that of men as beings who cannot be truly human apart
from communication, for they are essentially communicative creatures. To
impede communication is to reduce men to the status of ":things" - and that
is a job of oppressors, not of revolutionaries." Who can argue with that?

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Back to the Top
Back to Index